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A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen

A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen

For most, hearing the words "East L.A." doesn't conjure up visions of rainbows and unicorns. However, for the fanatically food-obsessed - ahem, me - the first thing that comes to my mind is Mexican cuisine. So you can imagine my intrigue when I came across "Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen." Aside from its chichi location - which borders Soho and Tribeca - there is nothing remotely fancy about Lupe's. Actually, it's kind of a dump.

Just after noon on Sunday, I met Dara - my willing Mexican-food brunch companion - at Lupe's. The two of us were able to score a cozy booth that could have easily seated four. *I'm not sure if this is what led our waitress to treat Dara and I like red-headed stepchildren, but I felt confident that something must have transpired. Seriously.

While we perused the menu, I made eye contact with the devil and flagged her over. "Can we have some chips & salsa? Also, some waters would be nice, too." She looked at me as if I had just told her that her car had been towed.
Remember that whole "low fat" food craze that included Tostitos' "Baked" tortilla chips? You know, the ones that taste like salted cardboard? Well, that's kind of how I'd describe Lupe's tostados. Luckily, the bowl of incredibly fresh and delicious, homemade salsa - laced with tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and just the right amount of salt - was flavorful enough to dumb down that cardboard-esque aftertaste.

To further whet our appetites, Dara and I chose to split two appetizers: guacamole, and a cup of chili verde.
Guacamole: This mound of creamy, cilantro-studded guacamole was crowned by a salsa verde-filled reflecting pool which, when blended with the avocado, created quite a flavorful dip.
Chili Verde: This heartwarming stew proved to be the perfect accompaniment to Sunday's arctic temperatures. Green chile, tomatillo, onions, roasted tomatoes, and cubed potatoes were harmoniously bound in a zesty, vegetable-based broth. Dara and I especially enjoyed sopping up all of the savory goodness with a warm flour tortilla.

While Dara chose a brunchier entree, I simply could not resist ordering the cheese enchiladas. Our waitress even recommended that I try both the red and the green gravy, as she could not recommend one enchilada sauce over the other. Wow, maybe the Advil / lithium / Xanax / or whatever was finally kicking in!
From the gently smashed, grated cheese-topped refried pinto beans - the stubby, fluffy saffron-tinged rice - and even the shredded iceberg and chopped tomatoes dressed in a light vinaigrette - to the cheese enchiladas, I was very pleased with my entree. And speaking of, the enchiladas were packed with chopped white onion and gooey, white cheese. And while each of the sauces were equally tasty, I slightly preferred the red over the green.

While we waited for our tallied meal ticket, Dara and I split one of Lupe's homemade Mexican "wedding cookies." Filled with chopped pecans and topped with powdered sugar, the crumbly sweet treat proved to be the perfect ending to our delicious meal.

Conclusion: Would I return to Lupe's? Hell yes - rude waitress, or not. Though it's more "New Mexico" than "SoCal," I'm still a fan. From the kitschy atmosphere and no-frills decor, to a menu filled with plenty of familiar dishes, Lupe's made this Texan feel right at home.


A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen - Recipes


CAFE PINOT: OUTDOOR ELEGANCE IN THE HEART OF L.A.

An evening spent at Café Pinot is an evening well spent. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this Patina Group restaurant sits on some of the best real estate in the city near the Los Angeles Public Library, adjacent to Maguire Park at Flowers and Fifth Streets.

My party arrived for a light, late evening dinner and sat on the outdoor patio. Immediately we were transported from the high-energy urban setting to a serene garden atmosphere. Delicate white lights strung from the trees twinkled above us and candles flickered on the tables as we settled in for an easy, relaxing meal.

Our server expertly guided us through the wine and menu selections, which required some explanation, until we landed upon our choices. We began with a basic California red and two appetizers: the lightly-breaded Dungeness crab cake with Asian pear, lemongrass aioli and a small lettuce salad and the Seared Hudson Valley Valley fois gras complemented by a mountain huckleberry sauce with pistachio and frisée (curly endive). Both choices were exquisite and rich, although I favored the crab cake combination. My entrée selection was the rotisserie of free range chicken with three grain mustard and pinot fries, a safe bet compared to the more unusual fare, such as the farm-raised rabbit, lavendar [sic] poached loin, pot-roasted leg, autumn bean cassoulet, and braised Tuscan kale, or the Wagyu beef cap loin, porcini ravioli, roasted root vegetables with salsify mousseline. The chicken was tender, just as expected, and perfectly complimented by the mustard sauce and the ample portion of light crispy fries. I ordered the truffle mashed potato side dish, mostly out of curiosity. At an extravagant $22, I assumed the flavor would be a singular experience. The family-style serving was plenty to share however, I could only faintly distinguish a mushroom taste, not distinctive enough to justify the expense.

Choosing dessert proved to be difficult, as the options were all equally intriguing. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Vanilla Anglaise as well as the Jasmin Pannacotta with Sweet n Sour Berries and a balsamic reduction. The Jasmin Pannacotta was almost like experiencing two desserts in one. By itself, the pannacotta with the balsamic reduction was strangely strong and sour as well as slightly sweet. Combined with the berries, it had almost no flavor, but its creamy, custard-like consistency was a light contrast to the intensity of the fruit. The menu boasts of some delightful cheeses from Wisconsin, Spain and France and a selection of teas for lighter after-dinner fare as well as dessert wines and liquors.

I had a glimpse of the inside décor, which is simple yet elegant. I will look forward to enjoying a meal from that perspective on another occasion. My first visit to Café Pinot was impressive. This expensive dinner in a world-class city sets the standard.


A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen - Recipes


CAFE PINOT: OUTDOOR ELEGANCE IN THE HEART OF L.A.

An evening spent at Café Pinot is an evening well spent. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this Patina Group restaurant sits on some of the best real estate in the city near the Los Angeles Public Library, adjacent to Maguire Park at Flowers and Fifth Streets.

My party arrived for a light, late evening dinner and sat on the outdoor patio. Immediately we were transported from the high-energy urban setting to a serene garden atmosphere. Delicate white lights strung from the trees twinkled above us and candles flickered on the tables as we settled in for an easy, relaxing meal.

Our server expertly guided us through the wine and menu selections, which required some explanation, until we landed upon our choices. We began with a basic California red and two appetizers: the lightly-breaded Dungeness crab cake with Asian pear, lemongrass aioli and a small lettuce salad and the Seared Hudson Valley Valley fois gras complemented by a mountain huckleberry sauce with pistachio and frisée (curly endive). Both choices were exquisite and rich, although I favored the crab cake combination. My entrée selection was the rotisserie of free range chicken with three grain mustard and pinot fries, a safe bet compared to the more unusual fare, such as the farm-raised rabbit, lavendar [sic] poached loin, pot-roasted leg, autumn bean cassoulet, and braised Tuscan kale, or the Wagyu beef cap loin, porcini ravioli, roasted root vegetables with salsify mousseline. The chicken was tender, just as expected, and perfectly complimented by the mustard sauce and the ample portion of light crispy fries. I ordered the truffle mashed potato side dish, mostly out of curiosity. At an extravagant $22, I assumed the flavor would be a singular experience. The family-style serving was plenty to share however, I could only faintly distinguish a mushroom taste, not distinctive enough to justify the expense.

Choosing dessert proved to be difficult, as the options were all equally intriguing. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Vanilla Anglaise as well as the Jasmin Pannacotta with Sweet n Sour Berries and a balsamic reduction. The Jasmin Pannacotta was almost like experiencing two desserts in one. By itself, the pannacotta with the balsamic reduction was strangely strong and sour as well as slightly sweet. Combined with the berries, it had almost no flavor, but its creamy, custard-like consistency was a light contrast to the intensity of the fruit. The menu boasts of some delightful cheeses from Wisconsin, Spain and France and a selection of teas for lighter after-dinner fare as well as dessert wines and liquors.

I had a glimpse of the inside décor, which is simple yet elegant. I will look forward to enjoying a meal from that perspective on another occasion. My first visit to Café Pinot was impressive. This expensive dinner in a world-class city sets the standard.


A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen - Recipes


CAFE PINOT: OUTDOOR ELEGANCE IN THE HEART OF L.A.

An evening spent at Café Pinot is an evening well spent. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this Patina Group restaurant sits on some of the best real estate in the city near the Los Angeles Public Library, adjacent to Maguire Park at Flowers and Fifth Streets.

My party arrived for a light, late evening dinner and sat on the outdoor patio. Immediately we were transported from the high-energy urban setting to a serene garden atmosphere. Delicate white lights strung from the trees twinkled above us and candles flickered on the tables as we settled in for an easy, relaxing meal.

Our server expertly guided us through the wine and menu selections, which required some explanation, until we landed upon our choices. We began with a basic California red and two appetizers: the lightly-breaded Dungeness crab cake with Asian pear, lemongrass aioli and a small lettuce salad and the Seared Hudson Valley Valley fois gras complemented by a mountain huckleberry sauce with pistachio and frisée (curly endive). Both choices were exquisite and rich, although I favored the crab cake combination. My entrée selection was the rotisserie of free range chicken with three grain mustard and pinot fries, a safe bet compared to the more unusual fare, such as the farm-raised rabbit, lavendar [sic] poached loin, pot-roasted leg, autumn bean cassoulet, and braised Tuscan kale, or the Wagyu beef cap loin, porcini ravioli, roasted root vegetables with salsify mousseline. The chicken was tender, just as expected, and perfectly complimented by the mustard sauce and the ample portion of light crispy fries. I ordered the truffle mashed potato side dish, mostly out of curiosity. At an extravagant $22, I assumed the flavor would be a singular experience. The family-style serving was plenty to share however, I could only faintly distinguish a mushroom taste, not distinctive enough to justify the expense.

Choosing dessert proved to be difficult, as the options were all equally intriguing. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Vanilla Anglaise as well as the Jasmin Pannacotta with Sweet n Sour Berries and a balsamic reduction. The Jasmin Pannacotta was almost like experiencing two desserts in one. By itself, the pannacotta with the balsamic reduction was strangely strong and sour as well as slightly sweet. Combined with the berries, it had almost no flavor, but its creamy, custard-like consistency was a light contrast to the intensity of the fruit. The menu boasts of some delightful cheeses from Wisconsin, Spain and France and a selection of teas for lighter after-dinner fare as well as dessert wines and liquors.

I had a glimpse of the inside décor, which is simple yet elegant. I will look forward to enjoying a meal from that perspective on another occasion. My first visit to Café Pinot was impressive. This expensive dinner in a world-class city sets the standard.


A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen - Recipes


CAFE PINOT: OUTDOOR ELEGANCE IN THE HEART OF L.A.

An evening spent at Café Pinot is an evening well spent. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this Patina Group restaurant sits on some of the best real estate in the city near the Los Angeles Public Library, adjacent to Maguire Park at Flowers and Fifth Streets.

My party arrived for a light, late evening dinner and sat on the outdoor patio. Immediately we were transported from the high-energy urban setting to a serene garden atmosphere. Delicate white lights strung from the trees twinkled above us and candles flickered on the tables as we settled in for an easy, relaxing meal.

Our server expertly guided us through the wine and menu selections, which required some explanation, until we landed upon our choices. We began with a basic California red and two appetizers: the lightly-breaded Dungeness crab cake with Asian pear, lemongrass aioli and a small lettuce salad and the Seared Hudson Valley Valley fois gras complemented by a mountain huckleberry sauce with pistachio and frisée (curly endive). Both choices were exquisite and rich, although I favored the crab cake combination. My entrée selection was the rotisserie of free range chicken with three grain mustard and pinot fries, a safe bet compared to the more unusual fare, such as the farm-raised rabbit, lavendar [sic] poached loin, pot-roasted leg, autumn bean cassoulet, and braised Tuscan kale, or the Wagyu beef cap loin, porcini ravioli, roasted root vegetables with salsify mousseline. The chicken was tender, just as expected, and perfectly complimented by the mustard sauce and the ample portion of light crispy fries. I ordered the truffle mashed potato side dish, mostly out of curiosity. At an extravagant $22, I assumed the flavor would be a singular experience. The family-style serving was plenty to share however, I could only faintly distinguish a mushroom taste, not distinctive enough to justify the expense.

Choosing dessert proved to be difficult, as the options were all equally intriguing. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Vanilla Anglaise as well as the Jasmin Pannacotta with Sweet n Sour Berries and a balsamic reduction. The Jasmin Pannacotta was almost like experiencing two desserts in one. By itself, the pannacotta with the balsamic reduction was strangely strong and sour as well as slightly sweet. Combined with the berries, it had almost no flavor, but its creamy, custard-like consistency was a light contrast to the intensity of the fruit. The menu boasts of some delightful cheeses from Wisconsin, Spain and France and a selection of teas for lighter after-dinner fare as well as dessert wines and liquors.

I had a glimpse of the inside décor, which is simple yet elegant. I will look forward to enjoying a meal from that perspective on another occasion. My first visit to Café Pinot was impressive. This expensive dinner in a world-class city sets the standard.


A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen - Recipes


CAFE PINOT: OUTDOOR ELEGANCE IN THE HEART OF L.A.

An evening spent at Café Pinot is an evening well spent. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this Patina Group restaurant sits on some of the best real estate in the city near the Los Angeles Public Library, adjacent to Maguire Park at Flowers and Fifth Streets.

My party arrived for a light, late evening dinner and sat on the outdoor patio. Immediately we were transported from the high-energy urban setting to a serene garden atmosphere. Delicate white lights strung from the trees twinkled above us and candles flickered on the tables as we settled in for an easy, relaxing meal.

Our server expertly guided us through the wine and menu selections, which required some explanation, until we landed upon our choices. We began with a basic California red and two appetizers: the lightly-breaded Dungeness crab cake with Asian pear, lemongrass aioli and a small lettuce salad and the Seared Hudson Valley Valley fois gras complemented by a mountain huckleberry sauce with pistachio and frisée (curly endive). Both choices were exquisite and rich, although I favored the crab cake combination. My entrée selection was the rotisserie of free range chicken with three grain mustard and pinot fries, a safe bet compared to the more unusual fare, such as the farm-raised rabbit, lavendar [sic] poached loin, pot-roasted leg, autumn bean cassoulet, and braised Tuscan kale, or the Wagyu beef cap loin, porcini ravioli, roasted root vegetables with salsify mousseline. The chicken was tender, just as expected, and perfectly complimented by the mustard sauce and the ample portion of light crispy fries. I ordered the truffle mashed potato side dish, mostly out of curiosity. At an extravagant $22, I assumed the flavor would be a singular experience. The family-style serving was plenty to share however, I could only faintly distinguish a mushroom taste, not distinctive enough to justify the expense.

Choosing dessert proved to be difficult, as the options were all equally intriguing. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Vanilla Anglaise as well as the Jasmin Pannacotta with Sweet n Sour Berries and a balsamic reduction. The Jasmin Pannacotta was almost like experiencing two desserts in one. By itself, the pannacotta with the balsamic reduction was strangely strong and sour as well as slightly sweet. Combined with the berries, it had almost no flavor, but its creamy, custard-like consistency was a light contrast to the intensity of the fruit. The menu boasts of some delightful cheeses from Wisconsin, Spain and France and a selection of teas for lighter after-dinner fare as well as dessert wines and liquors.

I had a glimpse of the inside décor, which is simple yet elegant. I will look forward to enjoying a meal from that perspective on another occasion. My first visit to Café Pinot was impressive. This expensive dinner in a world-class city sets the standard.


A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen - Recipes


CAFE PINOT: OUTDOOR ELEGANCE IN THE HEART OF L.A.

An evening spent at Café Pinot is an evening well spent. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this Patina Group restaurant sits on some of the best real estate in the city near the Los Angeles Public Library, adjacent to Maguire Park at Flowers and Fifth Streets.

My party arrived for a light, late evening dinner and sat on the outdoor patio. Immediately we were transported from the high-energy urban setting to a serene garden atmosphere. Delicate white lights strung from the trees twinkled above us and candles flickered on the tables as we settled in for an easy, relaxing meal.

Our server expertly guided us through the wine and menu selections, which required some explanation, until we landed upon our choices. We began with a basic California red and two appetizers: the lightly-breaded Dungeness crab cake with Asian pear, lemongrass aioli and a small lettuce salad and the Seared Hudson Valley Valley fois gras complemented by a mountain huckleberry sauce with pistachio and frisée (curly endive). Both choices were exquisite and rich, although I favored the crab cake combination. My entrée selection was the rotisserie of free range chicken with three grain mustard and pinot fries, a safe bet compared to the more unusual fare, such as the farm-raised rabbit, lavendar [sic] poached loin, pot-roasted leg, autumn bean cassoulet, and braised Tuscan kale, or the Wagyu beef cap loin, porcini ravioli, roasted root vegetables with salsify mousseline. The chicken was tender, just as expected, and perfectly complimented by the mustard sauce and the ample portion of light crispy fries. I ordered the truffle mashed potato side dish, mostly out of curiosity. At an extravagant $22, I assumed the flavor would be a singular experience. The family-style serving was plenty to share however, I could only faintly distinguish a mushroom taste, not distinctive enough to justify the expense.

Choosing dessert proved to be difficult, as the options were all equally intriguing. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Vanilla Anglaise as well as the Jasmin Pannacotta with Sweet n Sour Berries and a balsamic reduction. The Jasmin Pannacotta was almost like experiencing two desserts in one. By itself, the pannacotta with the balsamic reduction was strangely strong and sour as well as slightly sweet. Combined with the berries, it had almost no flavor, but its creamy, custard-like consistency was a light contrast to the intensity of the fruit. The menu boasts of some delightful cheeses from Wisconsin, Spain and France and a selection of teas for lighter after-dinner fare as well as dessert wines and liquors.

I had a glimpse of the inside décor, which is simple yet elegant. I will look forward to enjoying a meal from that perspective on another occasion. My first visit to Café Pinot was impressive. This expensive dinner in a world-class city sets the standard.


A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen - Recipes


CAFE PINOT: OUTDOOR ELEGANCE IN THE HEART OF L.A.

An evening spent at Café Pinot is an evening well spent. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this Patina Group restaurant sits on some of the best real estate in the city near the Los Angeles Public Library, adjacent to Maguire Park at Flowers and Fifth Streets.

My party arrived for a light, late evening dinner and sat on the outdoor patio. Immediately we were transported from the high-energy urban setting to a serene garden atmosphere. Delicate white lights strung from the trees twinkled above us and candles flickered on the tables as we settled in for an easy, relaxing meal.

Our server expertly guided us through the wine and menu selections, which required some explanation, until we landed upon our choices. We began with a basic California red and two appetizers: the lightly-breaded Dungeness crab cake with Asian pear, lemongrass aioli and a small lettuce salad and the Seared Hudson Valley Valley fois gras complemented by a mountain huckleberry sauce with pistachio and frisée (curly endive). Both choices were exquisite and rich, although I favored the crab cake combination. My entrée selection was the rotisserie of free range chicken with three grain mustard and pinot fries, a safe bet compared to the more unusual fare, such as the farm-raised rabbit, lavendar [sic] poached loin, pot-roasted leg, autumn bean cassoulet, and braised Tuscan kale, or the Wagyu beef cap loin, porcini ravioli, roasted root vegetables with salsify mousseline. The chicken was tender, just as expected, and perfectly complimented by the mustard sauce and the ample portion of light crispy fries. I ordered the truffle mashed potato side dish, mostly out of curiosity. At an extravagant $22, I assumed the flavor would be a singular experience. The family-style serving was plenty to share however, I could only faintly distinguish a mushroom taste, not distinctive enough to justify the expense.

Choosing dessert proved to be difficult, as the options were all equally intriguing. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Vanilla Anglaise as well as the Jasmin Pannacotta with Sweet n Sour Berries and a balsamic reduction. The Jasmin Pannacotta was almost like experiencing two desserts in one. By itself, the pannacotta with the balsamic reduction was strangely strong and sour as well as slightly sweet. Combined with the berries, it had almost no flavor, but its creamy, custard-like consistency was a light contrast to the intensity of the fruit. The menu boasts of some delightful cheeses from Wisconsin, Spain and France and a selection of teas for lighter after-dinner fare as well as dessert wines and liquors.

I had a glimpse of the inside décor, which is simple yet elegant. I will look forward to enjoying a meal from that perspective on another occasion. My first visit to Café Pinot was impressive. This expensive dinner in a world-class city sets the standard.


A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen - Recipes


CAFE PINOT: OUTDOOR ELEGANCE IN THE HEART OF L.A.

An evening spent at Café Pinot is an evening well spent. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this Patina Group restaurant sits on some of the best real estate in the city near the Los Angeles Public Library, adjacent to Maguire Park at Flowers and Fifth Streets.

My party arrived for a light, late evening dinner and sat on the outdoor patio. Immediately we were transported from the high-energy urban setting to a serene garden atmosphere. Delicate white lights strung from the trees twinkled above us and candles flickered on the tables as we settled in for an easy, relaxing meal.

Our server expertly guided us through the wine and menu selections, which required some explanation, until we landed upon our choices. We began with a basic California red and two appetizers: the lightly-breaded Dungeness crab cake with Asian pear, lemongrass aioli and a small lettuce salad and the Seared Hudson Valley Valley fois gras complemented by a mountain huckleberry sauce with pistachio and frisée (curly endive). Both choices were exquisite and rich, although I favored the crab cake combination. My entrée selection was the rotisserie of free range chicken with three grain mustard and pinot fries, a safe bet compared to the more unusual fare, such as the farm-raised rabbit, lavendar [sic] poached loin, pot-roasted leg, autumn bean cassoulet, and braised Tuscan kale, or the Wagyu beef cap loin, porcini ravioli, roasted root vegetables with salsify mousseline. The chicken was tender, just as expected, and perfectly complimented by the mustard sauce and the ample portion of light crispy fries. I ordered the truffle mashed potato side dish, mostly out of curiosity. At an extravagant $22, I assumed the flavor would be a singular experience. The family-style serving was plenty to share however, I could only faintly distinguish a mushroom taste, not distinctive enough to justify the expense.

Choosing dessert proved to be difficult, as the options were all equally intriguing. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Vanilla Anglaise as well as the Jasmin Pannacotta with Sweet n Sour Berries and a balsamic reduction. The Jasmin Pannacotta was almost like experiencing two desserts in one. By itself, the pannacotta with the balsamic reduction was strangely strong and sour as well as slightly sweet. Combined with the berries, it had almost no flavor, but its creamy, custard-like consistency was a light contrast to the intensity of the fruit. The menu boasts of some delightful cheeses from Wisconsin, Spain and France and a selection of teas for lighter after-dinner fare as well as dessert wines and liquors.

I had a glimpse of the inside décor, which is simple yet elegant. I will look forward to enjoying a meal from that perspective on another occasion. My first visit to Café Pinot was impressive. This expensive dinner in a world-class city sets the standard.


A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen - Recipes


CAFE PINOT: OUTDOOR ELEGANCE IN THE HEART OF L.A.

An evening spent at Café Pinot is an evening well spent. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this Patina Group restaurant sits on some of the best real estate in the city near the Los Angeles Public Library, adjacent to Maguire Park at Flowers and Fifth Streets.

My party arrived for a light, late evening dinner and sat on the outdoor patio. Immediately we were transported from the high-energy urban setting to a serene garden atmosphere. Delicate white lights strung from the trees twinkled above us and candles flickered on the tables as we settled in for an easy, relaxing meal.

Our server expertly guided us through the wine and menu selections, which required some explanation, until we landed upon our choices. We began with a basic California red and two appetizers: the lightly-breaded Dungeness crab cake with Asian pear, lemongrass aioli and a small lettuce salad and the Seared Hudson Valley Valley fois gras complemented by a mountain huckleberry sauce with pistachio and frisée (curly endive). Both choices were exquisite and rich, although I favored the crab cake combination. My entrée selection was the rotisserie of free range chicken with three grain mustard and pinot fries, a safe bet compared to the more unusual fare, such as the farm-raised rabbit, lavendar [sic] poached loin, pot-roasted leg, autumn bean cassoulet, and braised Tuscan kale, or the Wagyu beef cap loin, porcini ravioli, roasted root vegetables with salsify mousseline. The chicken was tender, just as expected, and perfectly complimented by the mustard sauce and the ample portion of light crispy fries. I ordered the truffle mashed potato side dish, mostly out of curiosity. At an extravagant $22, I assumed the flavor would be a singular experience. The family-style serving was plenty to share however, I could only faintly distinguish a mushroom taste, not distinctive enough to justify the expense.

Choosing dessert proved to be difficult, as the options were all equally intriguing. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Vanilla Anglaise as well as the Jasmin Pannacotta with Sweet n Sour Berries and a balsamic reduction. The Jasmin Pannacotta was almost like experiencing two desserts in one. By itself, the pannacotta with the balsamic reduction was strangely strong and sour as well as slightly sweet. Combined with the berries, it had almost no flavor, but its creamy, custard-like consistency was a light contrast to the intensity of the fruit. The menu boasts of some delightful cheeses from Wisconsin, Spain and France and a selection of teas for lighter after-dinner fare as well as dessert wines and liquors.

I had a glimpse of the inside décor, which is simple yet elegant. I will look forward to enjoying a meal from that perspective on another occasion. My first visit to Café Pinot was impressive. This expensive dinner in a world-class city sets the standard.


A sweet 'n sour brunch at Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen - Recipes


CAFE PINOT: OUTDOOR ELEGANCE IN THE HEART OF L.A.

An evening spent at Café Pinot is an evening well spent. In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, this Patina Group restaurant sits on some of the best real estate in the city near the Los Angeles Public Library, adjacent to Maguire Park at Flowers and Fifth Streets.

My party arrived for a light, late evening dinner and sat on the outdoor patio. Immediately we were transported from the high-energy urban setting to a serene garden atmosphere. Delicate white lights strung from the trees twinkled above us and candles flickered on the tables as we settled in for an easy, relaxing meal.

Our server expertly guided us through the wine and menu selections, which required some explanation, until we landed upon our choices. We began with a basic California red and two appetizers: the lightly-breaded Dungeness crab cake with Asian pear, lemongrass aioli and a small lettuce salad and the Seared Hudson Valley Valley fois gras complemented by a mountain huckleberry sauce with pistachio and frisée (curly endive). Both choices were exquisite and rich, although I favored the crab cake combination. My entrée selection was the rotisserie of free range chicken with three grain mustard and pinot fries, a safe bet compared to the more unusual fare, such as the farm-raised rabbit, lavendar [sic] poached loin, pot-roasted leg, autumn bean cassoulet, and braised Tuscan kale, or the Wagyu beef cap loin, porcini ravioli, roasted root vegetables with salsify mousseline. The chicken was tender, just as expected, and perfectly complimented by the mustard sauce and the ample portion of light crispy fries. I ordered the truffle mashed potato side dish, mostly out of curiosity. At an extravagant $22, I assumed the flavor would be a singular experience. The family-style serving was plenty to share however, I could only faintly distinguish a mushroom taste, not distinctive enough to justify the expense.

Choosing dessert proved to be difficult, as the options were all equally intriguing. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with Lemon Verbena Ice Cream and Vanilla Anglaise as well as the Jasmin Pannacotta with Sweet n Sour Berries and a balsamic reduction. The Jasmin Pannacotta was almost like experiencing two desserts in one. By itself, the pannacotta with the balsamic reduction was strangely strong and sour as well as slightly sweet. Combined with the berries, it had almost no flavor, but its creamy, custard-like consistency was a light contrast to the intensity of the fruit. The menu boasts of some delightful cheeses from Wisconsin, Spain and France and a selection of teas for lighter after-dinner fare as well as dessert wines and liquors.

I had a glimpse of the inside décor, which is simple yet elegant. I will look forward to enjoying a meal from that perspective on another occasion. My first visit to Café Pinot was impressive. This expensive dinner in a world-class city sets the standard.


Watch the video: Τα πιο Εύκολα και Νόστιμα μηλοπιτάκια, που έχεις κάνει! - ΧΡΥΣΕΣ ΣΥΝΤΑΓΕΣ (December 2021).