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Name: Gutenberg

Location: Somewhere near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Occupation: BRPR (Bunrab public relations.)

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February 1-9, 2008


go to next week's blogs


  Saturday, February 9, 2008

Those cowgirls make fine cheese. Not only are there the ever-present creamy pucks of Mt. Tam and Red Hawk, they also produce seasonal lactose loafs. Pierce Pt. is semi-firm, and herb coated. Previous years have had more gastro-turf than this faintly grassy, delectable Straus Dairy cow milk round, but this weed whacked version was fine by us.

Fatted Calf salumi and homemade crackers topped with Maldon salt and cubeb pepper intersected this point nicely.

When Pierce Point season is over, some of the sting is taken away by its stinging nettle wrapped replacement in Spring. St. Pat is a flavorful consolation that takes us away from a fromogenized schedule.





  Friday, February 8, 2008

We have detonated more than our share of dough bombs but this morning began with a floury start at Clementine. Annie Miler is the chef and owner of this cozy oasis.

Her experience at La Brea Bakery and Campanile is evident from the first buttery bite in the sunny dining room of her counter service eatery.

Intelligentcia coffee washed down an apricot scone ($2.75):

... which had a ginger kick to this triangulation of flavor, texture and appearance. This qualifies as a “quick bread” in both the leavening and the downing as it disappeared into my concave to expand myself equilaterally.

Chubby got a strawberry scone ($2.75):

This floral cut flour arrangement was a patch of tender pastry dotted with chewy dried strawbs (that looked like raisins on first glance.)

The blueberry coffee cake ($2.95):

... qualified as a light and tender muffin with a cloud-like texture seeded with blubes. It had a nice crisp shell and was toothsome from top to stump.

Chubby couldn’t pass up the chocolate chip cookie ($1.50):

... based on its appearance alone. This thin, buttery, chocolate intensive disc was meant to be “for later” but I don’t need to tell you what actually happened.

They also serve simple breakfasts of made to order oatmeal, breakfast sandwiches, eggs and a more extensive weekend menu. For lunch they have an array of salads, sandwiches and some tasty looking pies. If you phone in your order, they will run it out to your auto for curbside pickup – pretty darling if you ask me.


1751 Ensley Ave.
Los Angeles, CA


We are catching up on our Bunrab email, “John” writes:


Congratulations, you've just won the Punniest Blog Post Ever award with your visit to the new Fatted Calf location on "Ground Hog" Day. You make me so proud


Gutenberg replies:

Dear “John”

We proudly and enthusiastically engage in the lowest form of humor because it constrains our movement to only one direction.





  Thursday, February 7, 2008

Strip Mall sushi is one of our favorite things about L.A. It’s casual, inexpensive (by S.F. standards) and often very good.,

The specials board:

... at Katsu-ya is always cluttered with everything but the prices which requires a leap of faith (or a long series of questions) from the customer but we find that our bill is always reasonable enough that we do not regret ordering blindly.

Our dinner included Halibut fin:

... seared jumbo scallop:

... a couple makis:

... a sashimi assortment ($10):

... uni, hamachi, tako:

...and Spanish mackerel.

We gobbled down our fresh and flavorful fare in this friendly and funky fish spot.

Today we completed a class were invited to take. We love Apple products and it was fun to spend a few days getting an overview of some new software.

The 3 day seminar ran from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. which left us plenty of time for dinner as well as sleeping in (unless you prefer to multitask.)

11680 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA



  Wednesday, February 6, 2008

We tanked up at Ford’s Filling Station during this evening’s dinner rush hour.

Their Coleman chuck burger ($16.00):

... was topped with Maytag blue cheese, caramelized onions and served in an onion roll. The sliced, raw red onions offered some crunch, but seemed like retreads alongside their slow cooked brethren – especially since they came with a set of puffy onion wheels that were slightly greasy. Shredded lettuce on burgers is just wrong. Not only does it fall out like confetti it has the wrong texture in this political document form. Although this felt like an onion tasting menu, it was still hit the meat spot.

The flat iron steak ($23.00):

... was delivered medium rare as requested. It was served sliced with rapini and scalloped spuds. Nicely seasoned and satisfying chow made this filling station a decent pit stop, but it’s not a detour.

Ford’s Filling Station

9531 Culver Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA



  Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Osteria Mozza has a different feel than its counterpart Pizzeria next door.

They are both lively and fun, but the Osteria doesn’t have the sardine seating arrangement for anchovy topped pies, it’s more of a dining (than an eating) place.

The server brought a “zucchini stew” to the table as an amuse.

She explained that its name is Italian slang for a little snack. These ricotta topped croutons were top-enaded with a chiffonade of basil to accent this savory olive and cheese toast. A herald of a good supper…

Tripe ($10.00):

... in a tomato sauce with garbanzos had an authoritative hit of hot pepper. We stomached this tender and tangy dish with grilled bread from the La Brea bakery which we used to sop up every drop.

It was difficult to choose what cheese to order from their famed Mozzarella Bar. The burrata with bacon and escarole ($15.00):

... was presented over crunchy croutons which contrasted with the creamy richness of the cheese cloud. Salty bacon and the vinegar accented astringency from the greens balanced out this delectable lactose snowball.

Slow cooked broccoli ($8.00):

... decided to forgo cosmetic augmentation in favor of personality. Melting, denture friendly veggies went well with the rustic, regional fare.

Wild boar gnocchi ($19.00):

... is what Magritte would order for dinner. The contrast of light potato dumplings and chunks of heavy game melded in a flavorful ragu gilded with a shower of Parmesan. We would order this again.

Orecchiette ($18.00):

... were tossed with sausage and chard. The pasta was muffed with browned bread crumbs to add crunch to these toothsome ears.

Instead of a carbo basket, they offer a slice of La Brea bread (without butter or oil) at the beginning of the meal. The bussed Chubby’s bread plate when he finished his slice. He had to ask for more to sop up the pasta sauce. I think they are protecting their customers from filing up on a basket of their crusty loaves.
The service was friendly and efficient and we will definitely come back to this hub of cheesy goodness.

Osteria Mozza

6602 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA



  Monday, February 4, 2008

After enduring a Starbucks breakfast food wad during last month’s power outage, we were glad to hear that they are illuminating this and all of their breakfast wraps and sandwiches from circulation.

Today we pulled off the highway:

... for our first drive-thru experience at this hub of corporate coffee. Even thought we were grateful to have hot joe for our long trip, we were horrified by the baked goods that they unloaded on unsuspecting motorists.

Their coffeecake tasted like sweetened wallpaper paste topped with sugar... hmm, that makes it sound better than it actually was.

There are regional differences in Starbucks. We have had their hot chow in other parts of the globe that qualified as tasty, but we have yet to have a scone, muffin or cookie in an American outlet that was worth the effort to chew. It seems odd that a company that prides themselves on premium coffee drops the dough ball. Their slogan of “great coffee deserves great food” must be a memo for their “to do” list.




  Sunday, February 3, 2008

French Laundry List

Laundries need water
and the French Laundry has a new spin on carbon filtration that cycles through a system from a Scandinavian Company called “Fresh”.

These new waterworks deliver still or sparkling refreshment to tables at 41 degrees. Even though impurities are removed, this constantly circulating setup does not strip out minerals which allow for a more balanced product to compliment the wine and food. After testing and tweaking, they found the right composition for the Yountville Municipal product and we love the results.

This Fresh Company took their product to the area said to have the worst drinking water - Malta. Their success created a wave of enthusiasm in the land of falcons which resulted in this flacon resting on the water table of the French Laundry.

These handmade water bottles complete the effect.

This new system l’eau-ers their carbonated footprint, but I wouldn’t look at it as a cost saving measure. It’s a little more involved than a hose and Mr. Coffee filter.

Of course, we had to have some poison with our purity in the form of alcohol. Local bubbles from J. Schram washed down:


Sesame cornets filled with salmon tartare and crème fraiche

Parsnip soup over diced bananas, celery greens and black truffle

These Barbie and Ken sized potato blini with chive butter and white sturgeon caviar:

2003 Selback-Oster Riesling

Kinki University has a fishery “school” that is producing Blue Fin tuna without all the pesky mercury. Three fish are imported to the U.S. every week. When we saw Corey in the kitchen, he was slicing this soft gem of the sea with a focus and precision that had me looking for the respiratory monitors and defibrillation equipment (which would have come in handy for me at the end of the meal.)

Corey framed this sashimi with mountain yam, radishes, mizuna from the F.L. garden and a hit of yuzu:

Cod shirako with broccoli (yeah, I know, most people won’t eat broccoli, but it was good.)
This cod piece was a deep fried delicacy:

Kona kahala belly in a bonito broth with pea tendrils. The kahala was seared
to a smoky, spectacular, perfection that permeated the bonito broth:

Beech mushrooms and ginko nuts and a beech mushroom custard came together in a chawan mushi inspired dish. We definitely didn’t eat off the side of the mushroom that makes you smaller.

The pain au beurre is baked with a pat of butter inside and served with Adante Dairy and Animal Farm butters. They add fleur de sel to the A.F. butter to make it even more irresistible.

We had had the acorn flan before, but not in concert with Iberico pig (who was probably also an acorn flan) arugula, sunchokes and a red pepper glaze penned in this ham:

Buckwheat capellini reminded us of Japanese soba. This cold twist of noodles with hens egg, cilantro sprouts and cauliflower bits was gilded with a shower of black truffles at the table.

The laser like precision of a perfect mini dice of squid and potato confit hid underneath a scallop shaped piece of sautéed cod. Cilantro sprouts and Spanish capers gave the fish an herbaceous saline kick:

Butter poached lobster tails with a mustard emulsion and a caraway melba with melted Savoy cabbage and roasted cipolini onions was heads and pinchers above the rest:

2004 La Pousse d’Or Santenay 1er cru Les Gravieres

Seared Molard foie gras with Tokyo turnips, Fuyu persimmon, black truffle and a salt selection
was a ducky combo of rich, crunchy, sweet and salty.

Thomas Farm’s squab with sweet corn financier, chard and Michigan cherry jus.

Snake River Farm Coulette de boeuf with golden chantrelles, carrots and beans

Slices of soft, cows milk pays de Rhet with pain perdue, watercress leaves and niciose oil

Michigan cherry sorbet with white chocolate granite and black sesame nougatine:

Signature coffee and doughnuts. Cappuccino semifreddo with brioche donuts rolled in cinnamon sugar

Valrhona chocolate Doboce with candied chestnuts

Crème Brulee

Meyer Lemon Posset

Assorted Chocolates

Turkish Delight (before we had this delightful version, we were convinced we didn’t care for what we considered an inaccurately named confection)

Calissons cut in squares rather than the more common almond shape.

Chocolate truffles

Amaretti unlike any we had had before. Moist dense and delish.

Candied macadamia nuts coated in chocolate

Wrapped shortbreads for the road

The stock market and interest rates do not seem to have any impact on this restaurant. It was a full house with a livelier than usual crowd. We can’t wait to see the new china that will be in use on our next visit (as well as what Corey puts on top of it.)

The French Laundry
6640 Washington St.
Yountville, CA




  Saturday, February 2, 2008

Ground Hog Day

Some experts at grinding hogs have set up shop in Napa. The Fatted Calf store:

... is now open for business and even the miserable weather didn’t keep us from emerging from our hole like Punxsutawney Phil to get our fill of meaty goods.

Toponia was carving samples from this delectable porchetta:

Doesn’t this make you want to get in your car and drive to Napa now? The foie gras torchon with fleur de sel and botrytized Bordeaux was phenomenal but those who don’t have portefeuille gras can grab some of F.C.’s legendary saucisson sec:

... an assortment of their flavorful sausages, or some jerky.

Their old style manual slicer:

... is not only beautiful, it has the added benefit of not heating up (like the electric ones) that melt the fat of the meat upon contact with the blade.

The great thing about Toponia and Taylor’s shop is that the selection is bigger than their popular farmers’ market offerings and will keep expanding.

They plan to have some tables out front where you will be able to enjoy hot dogs from their grill. They also plan to serve sandwiches in this window-lined meatateria.

We took a walk around the rest of the Oxbow Public Market and there are still many shops that have not yet opened for business.

Three Twins Ice Cream had a huge queue churning with cone-sumers wanting to take advantage of the free ice cream being scooped today. The happy crowd enjoyed their tasty frozen treats despite the chill in the air.

Even though the Oxbow Market is not yet in full swing, it's worth the trip to Fatted Calf where every day is Ground Hog Day.

Fatted Calf
The Oxbow Public Market
644 C First St.
Napa, CA




  Friday, February 1, 2008

I asked for eggs scrambled soft and bacon fried crisp during our visit to the Corte Madera Café. My breakfast ($7.95):

... arrived with eggs that were on the firmer side, but the pork strips were pleasingly brittle. The hash browns had some crispy bits on the outside, but not enough to be spudtacular.

Chubby got the avocado pepper jack burger ($9.95):

... which was cooked to his specified medium rare and topped with some bland avocado slices which he wisely pulled off and replaced with some of my bacon. Instead of fries, he got a cup of serviceable split pea soup (additional $1.00):

... which made him regret making his more healthful selection – moral of the story? Never pass up fries.

All of the chow was standard issue, but to be fair, they aren’t trying to be haute, just hot (and filling). It’s a place where the locals order their usual and chat with the friendly staff. Even though it may not be a place we will put on our rotation, we enjoyed the hospitality and vibe of this breakfast and lunch spot.

Corte Madera Café
12 Tamalpias Dr.
Corte Madera, CA





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