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Porta Via – Beverly Hills, CA

A new found breakfast spot…and I like it!  I’ll be totally honest, there were probably only 4 tables filled while we were there and they service was painfully slow but the food was excellent and I would definitely go back.  Nothing about the menu (lunch and dinner included) is crazy different but it’s good food, good quality and well done therefore a success in my book.  Definitely worth a try.  It’s much more relaxing than most places I’ve tried in the area for breakfast not to mention the price is definitely right!

Chicken, Spinach & Onion Egg White Omelet – breakfast potatoes (I subbed fruit) & toasted baguette

The Blvd – Beverly Hills, CA

There’s no better place in Beverly Hills to eat well and have the best people watching right in front of you.  Located in the timeless Beverly Wilshire at the tail end of Rodeo Drive, The Blvd comes with a high price tag but it’s THE quintessential Beverly Hills experience.

Almost every time I’m there I get the Seafood Salad.  It’s changed over the years but is never disappointing to me and comes with the highest quality of seafood one would expect for a $33 salad.  My husband started with the Lobster Salad which was divine.  I especially loved the green apple.  It added such a lovely acidity and made the dish perfectly balanced.  For his entrée he got the Veal Schnitzel…whoa…I had a tinge of order envy but luckily he was nice enough to give me a couple of bites.  The veal was pounded thin and cooked to perfection.  So tender and full of flavor…this was definitely a success.  My only advice is to add a good squeeze of lemon juice on top.  It brightens the dish and makes it not as heavy tasting.

Just to name a few, Bob Green, Mariel Hemingway and André Leon Talley were all dining there the last time I was there for lunch.  Does it get much better than that?!  Go!

Great selection of breads

Maine Lobster Salad – green apple, avocado, jicima, lemon oil vinaigrette

Seafood Salad – pickled butternut squash, octopus, prawns, lobster, scallops, white port and hazelnut oil

Veal Schnitzel – fingerling potato salad, red radishes, lemon butter

Urth Caffé – Beverly Hills, CA

A favorite of mine and a must every time I go down to BH, I love Urth Caffé and I always order the same thing for breakfast  – the Urth Parfait.  It’s SO good!  I totally think of Entourage every time I eat there…and keep thinking I’ll run into E or Vince Chase but nope.  Back to the food…everything is so fresh and tasty.  My mom once ordered the quiche and I swear, it may have been one of the best I’ve ever tasted.  They have to use a good amount of cream because the texture and flavor was like none other.  One thing I’m dying to get next time are the Eggs Verde – two soft poached organic eggs over a bed of arugula, roasted corn, baby tomatoes and poached asparagus spears tossed with peppercorn dressing, garnished with cracked pepper and chive oil served with toasted whole wheat bread.  Seriously?!  Sign me up!

The Bazaar – Beverly Hills, CA

WOW! I left this meal a little speechless. The Bazaar honestly blew my mind. José Andrés is truly a molecular gastronomy genius. Located in the swanky SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, The Bazaar is bizarre (no pun intended). I didn’t look up the restaurant before we headed there (very unlike me) and although I didn’t know what to expect I DID know that it would most likely be fabulous based on what I know about Chef Andrés. Oh was it! This place is UNBELIEVABLE!!! It’s kind of like a mad museum…weird artifacts, photos, art, chairs, every turn you take. No two tables are the same. They even have you move to a different location in the restaurant (The Patisserie) for dessert.

We ate ourselves silly at this dinner and I don’t regret it one bit. In fact, I’m DYING to go back and can’t wait to explore the menu even more. Below are my favorites from the night. We ordered a good 20-22 dishes between 4 of us…they recommend 4-5 per person so we were pretty much on track (at least that’s what I’m telling myself:)).

Dessert is a whole other ballgame. Although the menu is significantly smaller it’s just as daunting because everything sounds so interesting and delicious. Aside from your “normal” dessert selections there are cookies, cakes, tarts, candy, pate du fruit, etc…and luckily, you’re able to give yourself a tour of the “others”…photo at the bottom. You’re stuffed and yet you want to try a little of everything. This place is dangerous:)

Market Fish Ceviche and Avocado Roll – jicama, micro cilantro and coconut

King Crab - raspberries, raspberry vinaigrette

Not Your Everyday Caprese - cherry tomatoes and liquid mozzarella

Japanese Taco – grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi, and chicharron

King Crab Mini-Sandwiches – pickled cucumbers, steamed buns

Smoked Yellowtail and Crispy Rice – yoghurt, grapes, capers, radish

Just Shrimp Cocktail“Yeah Right”

Ottoman Carrot Fritters – apricots, pistachio sauce

Sautéed Shrimp – garlic, guindilla pepper

Seared Squid – artichokes, chicken escabeche

Lemon Artichokes – black olive tapenade, dandelion

Baby Japanese Peaches – Di Stefano buratta, hazelnuts, arugula

The Patisserie

Chocolate, a cookie and a bonbon that I chose…yum!

Happy Birthday Kathy!

Yes…this is the restaurant. It doubles as a store and you can buy everything from coffee table books to fine jewelry to skull shaped candles. Eclectic one might say.

Spago (lunch) – Beverly Hills, CA

Although this is somewhat of a duplicate I thought it was deserving and different enough seeing that it was lunch this time, not dinner.  Spago is one of my favorite spots in BH that never disappoints.  On a recent trip down to the land of sun and skinny beautiful people who walk like they’re someone but aren’t, we dashed from the airport straight to lunch to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday.  Wolfgang himself even made an appearance which was warm welcomed.  It should not surprise you that the first thing we ordered was a round of tuna cones.  I really can’t be more enthusiastic about them.  I’ll spare you my thoughts…just order them!

Next we all split the House Smoked Salmon Pizza with shaved onions and dill créme fraiche and salmon pearls (aka salmon roe) – too big for one person and plenty to split amongst five as a starter.  Similar in concept to the Smoked Salmon (and Sturgeon) and Blinis but the pizza itself has more substance to it.  Not a light dish in the slightest but delicious in every bite.

For my main course I was sold on the Japanese BBQ Salmon Salad with cucumber, avocado, pickled vegetables, seaweed, butter lettuce and ponzu.  This was SUCH a good choice!  I will go back and eat this over and over if I can.

Because of the birthday celebration we had to indulge in a little dessert so the birthday girl chose the Candy Apple with honey poached fuji apples, salted pretzel puff pastry, apple cider caramel, and Tahitian vanilla ice cream…whoa…talk about the perfect ending.  This was so much better than I could have imagined it to be.  Well done Sherry Yard!  It’s not wonder she won “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation.

 

Spago – Beverly Hills, CA

Whenever we get the chance to pop down to Beverly Hills, Spago is a must!  The tuna cones (not on the menu) are such a highlight.  In fact, I find when I’m home in Seattle that I day dream about them.  They’re amazing so if you get the chance to eat there get at least one!  It’s easy to fill up on them and spoil your dinner but boy are they worth it.  Just beware…they’re not cheap:)

There are so many favorites on the Spago menu but because it’s seasonal things change which makes it even harder to decide.  This time around I started with the Hand-Made Autumn Pumpkin and Mascarpone Agnolotti with Sage, Pine Nuts and Parmesan…wow!  Savory and rich…I could have eaten a LOT of these.  For my entree I went with the Steamed Wild Grouper “Hong Kong” Style which was nice and light but full of so much flavor.  Perfect considering I started with a heavier 1st course.  My husband indulged in the Snake River Farms American Wagyu New York which was served with Pioppini Mushrooms, Baked Bone Marrow, Smokey Shallot Purée and Red Wine Bordelaise Sauce…another wow!  But being a Wagyu steak, that was a rich and filling dish.

However, just like when we were kids, our “dessert compartment” in our stomachs was empty so we chose to go with the Caramilk Chocolate Bar which was delicious.  I normally vote for the signature Kaiserschmarrn but this was a nice change.

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