Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fancy Dinner

When your boyfriend moves away, you must cook him a fancy dinner. I guess it isn’t an obligation, but when you care about someone as much as I care about Roman, it is kind of a no-brainer. Not to mention, the excitement of a fancy cheese plate can almost help you forget the sad occasion.

Roman mentioned filet a couple of times in the month or so leading up to his departure from Los Angeles, so I decided that beef wellington would be a good start (portobello mushroom wellington for me). I had some asparagus from my CSA delivery and purchased some potatoes to roast.

I heard that I had to try McCall’s Meat & Fish Co. and thought this would be the perfect time to do it. The rumors are true, this place is great. So great that it almost made me want to turn meat-eater again. The employees (and there are only a few - McCall’s is small) are knowledgeable. They know what the animal was eating when it was alive and exactly where it came from. When the cut of filet was slightly lighter than I asked for, the woman behind the counter apologized “I’m sorry we’re coming up short for you today!” I accepted the unnecessary apology. I was more than pleased with what I was getting. Although I hadn’t planned on it, I picked up some white shrimp when I was there. They looked great, so I bought them all.

Next stop was Say Cheese in Silver Lake (right next to Trader Joe’s). I love Say Cheese, but that place is dangerous! I told the guy behind the counter that I wanted to make a cheese plate for a nice dinner and he gave me four cheeses to try, thinking I’d select three. I loved all four and couldn’t choose, so I bought them all. The Gouda (aged 6 years) and Humboldt Fog were my favorites. To compliment my cheeses, I also got some sea salt crackers and fig quince.

While my wellingtons were cooking (recipe adapted from Food Network / Emeril Lagasse), I tossed the shrimp in olive oil with fresh dill and garlic before grilling. I made a dill, paprika butter as a dipping sauce for the shrimp. The asparagus were lightly tossed in olive oil with lemon juice, salt and pepper and the potatoes were coated in olive oil, garlic and rosemary before roasting. When everything was cooked and plated, I topped the wellingtons with a bearnaise sauce. Dinner was served with delicious wine from Jaffurs and Ledson.

Ice Cream Cake for dessert. Mint chocolate ice cream cake.

Although I overcooked the beef wellington slightly (Sacrilege, I know!), everything turned out wonderfully. I hope I can cook another dinner like this for us sometime soon. In the meantime, I’m seeing him this weekend and we’re going to San Francisco, Berkeley and Napa. Maybe we can let Alice Waters do the cooking for us this time around.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I’ve been hearing about Mozza for about three years now. Everyone who went raved and insisted that I go. So when I was down to just a couple weeks with Roman in L.A. I wanted to try Mozza with him. In an effort to be slightly more frugal, I opted for the Pizzeria instead of the Osteria. I also couldn’t get a reservation so last minute (and by last minute I mean two weeks prior) at a normal time for the Osteria. I heard plenty of good things about the Pizzeria, so I was happy with my choice.

We were seated promptly and the tables had Mozza envelopes with silverware inside. The service was excellent and although the wine list was very tempting, we decided to skip the wine and splurge on dessert instead. To start we had the Mussels al forno with Salsa Calabrese and the Fried potatoes ceci with herbs. The Salsa Calabrese from the mussels was to die for. I could have dipped bread in that and called it a night. The potatoes were good too, but I’m told I should have picked the fried squash blossoms. Next time…

Roman ordered the Coach farm goat cheese, leeks, scallions, garlic & bacon pizza, which lived up to the hype. He gave me bites without bacon, but I can see how this would be an excellent combination. As soon as I saw burrata on the menu, I knew which pizza I wanted. My pizza had squash blossoms, tomato & burrata. While the blossoms made for a beautiful pie and the burrata was tasty, I don’t think I’ll get this pizza if I return to Mozza.

Dessert was the best part of dinner in my opinion. Roman got the Espresso granita with espresso gelato & chocolate dipped honeycomb and I got the Butterscotch budino, Maldon sea salt & rosemary pine nut cookies. I often use the word complex when describing wine and beer and on occasion for exceptional food, but never for dessert. This dessert was complex. Each bite was sweet, then salty and had a creamy finish. The rosemary pine nut cookies offered a break from the decadent texture of the budino. I think Roman got two bites before I polished off the entire thing.

Overall, I was impressed with Pizzeria Mozza and glad we ended on such wonderful desserts. Their pizza is much prettier than this picture. We were told by a seasoned Mozza diner that pictures are not allowed…we had to sneak one by phone.

Pizzeria Mozza (Open Noon - Midnight)
641 N. Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036