Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Osteria Mozza in LA...

I had THE Best Meal, and am even proclaiming it as the SFFoodMaven Favorite Meal of 2008 at
Osteria Mozza in LA. This is what I was talking about in my previous post about 'Italian as the new French' as one of the latest Food Trends and I'm excited for you to read about my experience here.

This past December, I traveled down to LA on an impromptu trip with my girlfriend. We stayed at the London which was awesome. I had stayed there many times, many years ago when it was the Belage and was completely amazed at the transformation. The rooms were spacious and gorgeous and the bathroom was an absolute spa dream! Not to mention that The London is a perfect location nestled between Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards and we absolutely loved it there!
But what was even more Memorable of course was what I ate while I was
there... The concierge scored us a rezzie at Osteria Mozza, a Restaurant by three Veritable Virtuosos of the Food World - Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery.

The Meal literally blew me away and it was my idea of the Perfect Trifecta of any Memorable Dining Experience that I so often look for - Great Food, Great Atmosphere/Decor and Great Service.

From the moment that I walked in I felt the warmth of the decor, a classic yet contemporary space, which enveloped me as if to welcome me within its embrace, and at the same time, I felt a frisson of excitement by the energy buzzing in the room. I had been wanting to eat here for quite some time and thus far it was living up to my expectations even though I haven't even tried the Food yet! Perhaps it was just me and the fact that I live for and obsess over all things Food, but I was absolutely beside myself and the Food did not disappoint...

Here is the Breakdown...
Bear with me on some of the photos as it was a bit dark in there and I hate using a flash when it comes to Food..

We were given an Amuse of Creamy Ricotta on Toasted Crostini topped with an Olive Tapenade and Basil Chiffonade. The simplicity of it tickled our Palates and was a sound start to our Meal...

Osteria Mozza is known for its Mozzarella Bar, so naturally we opted to start with the
Mozzarella Tasting, which offered 3 kinds of Mozzarella from the Bar - Burrata, Fior di Latte & Bufala Mozzarella. All three were Rich, Creamy and Light versions of Mozzarella that were nothing short of Dreamy. The Fior di Latte being our favorite of all, because it was just Divine...

Ever since first trying Agnolotti pasta at Quince long ago, I have been a devotee. Agnolotti is very similar to a Ravioli or Tortellini, but it is made with one thin sheet of Pasta which is essentially folded over and made into tiny little pockets filled with Meat or Cheese. So whenever I see it on a Pasta or Secondi Menu, I always have to order it. Perbacco here in San Francisco usually has a couple versions of it, one made with Roasted Veal and Savoy Cabbage and the other with Roasted Rabbit and a Truffled Sugo D'Arrosto. Can you say YUM?

But Osteria Mozza's
Agnolotti, Burro e Salvia filled with Veal, Chicken, Capiccola and Pancetta far transcended any other Agnolotti that I have ever had! They were Silken, Little Pockets of Heaven in a Sage Butter Sauce. I mean, I had one of those SFFoodMaven 'Moments' while eating it, where my eyes rolled back and I just didn't want the Dish to ever end! It was THE BEST thing that I have consumed, devoured and indulged in all year! And I STILL salivate at the just the thought of it. This is the kind of Moment that I LIVE for...




The socks are not just off, they're gone!

Outta the Park!
See Ya!
Believe me, I am still recovering... And the only remedy, may be to go back for more.

Gimme a moment to get myself together...

Grilled Quail wrapped in Pancetta with sage & honey...

I had the Crisp Duck al Mattone with Pear Mostarda & Brussels sprouts which was pretty amazing! It was served on a huge cutting board so it felt like it was a hedonistic sacrifice fit for a goddess... Yes that would be me... The Skin was Beautifully Crisp yet the Meat was unbelievably Tender and Juicy, so much so that the Meat just fell off the Bone...

For Dessert we had the Bombolini, very Light, Round Fritters served with Vanilla Gelato and a Mountain Huckleberry Compote, which I thought were Unique and Happy Ending to a Truly Memorable Meal...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

2008 Food Trends & 2009 Predictions

Every year, many different publications such as, Epicurious, Time Magazine and SFWeekly, write about the Top Food Trends and Predictions for the New Year...

Not surprisingly, one of the Top Trends this year is Recession Dining. Many restaurants in San Francisco are offering recession deals such as Prix Fixe options and the like. Some good money-saving examples are - Laiola in the Marina was offering a deal called Pink Slip Sundays where if you brought in a friend who was recently laid off, they comped their Meal. Not sure if it is still ongoing, but considering the vast amount of layoffs that are happening, it may not be the best idea in spite of how generous an offer it may be. Epic Roasthouse offers a lunch deal called the 3 B's - Burger, Beer and Brownie for $20. Dine About Town seemed to be more popular than ever this year which was also a big indicator of the state of the economy. So much so that a lot of restaurants extended their DAT Prix Fixe deals through the following weeks and months.

One trend that I am loving and have been dying to tell you about is the 'Italian as the new French' trend. I got to thinking this after assessing my Top Meals of the past years and realizing that a lot of my Favorite Meals were Italian, more specifically Regional Italian where the Pasta is made fresh on the premises. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am a big fan of Rustic Food which you will see below is one of the Epicurious predictions for 2009. My Favorite Meal of 2008 was my Meal at Osteria Mozza in LA, which I will be posting very soon. But I was pumped to read something to the same effect in an article by Alan Richman in this past December's GQ magazine where he pretty much proved my sentiments to be correct and proclaimed 'Italian as the new French'. In that same issue, GQ named Vetri restaurant in Philly as the current best Italian Restaurant in America. Next time I am in Philly, I have to go...

The following links discuss the Past Trends of 2008:

Top Ten Food Trends Time by Meredith Brody, SFWeekly - which references the following trend list in Time magazine, the Top Ten Food Trends by John Cloud
Top 10 Hottest Food Trends of 2008 by Doug DuCap - Pretty accurate, I thought..
did a write up of Future Predictions for 2009, which I thought I would share.

1. "Value" is the new "Sustainable"

2. The Compost Pile is the new Flower Garden

3. Peruvian is the new Thai

4. Noodle Bars are the new Sushi Joints

5. Ginger is the new Mint

6. Smoking is the new Frying

7. Regional Roasters are the new Starbucks

8. Portland (Maine) is the new Portland (Oregon)

9. Rustic Food is the new Molecular Gastronomy

10. "Top-Rated" is the new "Critic's Pick"

Here is a link to the above list with further details -
Epicurious Predicts Top 10 Food Trends by James Oliver Curry

One last thing before you go and probably a good way to wrap this up...
The SF Chronicle did a great article called The Food-Obsessed Wish List for 2009 by Stacy Finz and Tara Duggan, which I loved! Check it out at the link here and make sure you read all the way to the end with what they would like to Ring In for 2009.

Some of my personal faves and things that I would like to see more of are:

Affordable Cocktails. This would go hand-in-hand with the Recession Dining trend.

Good Regional Food. I love this trend and definitely want to see more of it.

Jewish Deli. Oy Vey! We can count on only 1 hand how many of these we have in the City? That's SO wrong-ge!

Late-Night Dining. Haven't we been cryin' about this one for years now?

Sustainable Sushi. Goes without saying...

Reservations. Yeah! What's with not taking rezzies anyways? Lame.

Affordable Wine Lists. Like this one and would like to see lower corkage fees too.

I am leaving you with these thoughts and articles for now because I have to go finish my Osteria Mozza write up now...

Happy Readin' and Eatin'...

Yours, As Always, In Food..

The SFFoodMaven