Sunday, May 19, 2024

San Laurel

I was going to a show at the Dorothy Chandler, so I looked at Google maps to see what was walking distance (in heels) and this place showed up 1 block away. I didn't know it was several floors up inside the Conrad hotel, so my group was treated to gorgeous views of Disney Hall as we waited to be seated.

Yes they have seats outside, but it was chilly for us native Angelenos, so we sat inside enjoying the view.

None of us had ever been to San Laurel before and we were all impressed by the service, food, and decor. 

We decided to get dishes to share so we could all try several plates. 

We started with grilled beets with whipped garlic labneh for $18 and grilled baby gems with machego for $19. I had a wonderful glass of crisp sauvignon blanc, while another one of us enjoyed her buttery chardonnay. 

For mains we chose the garlic shrimp appetizer $42, lubina (a white fish filet) also $42, and rack of lamb for $62 done with a mole, roasted baby eggplant, puffed wild rice, cumin, lemon and pea tendrils. We also got a side of shaved raw asparagus which was a refreshing addition to all the other dishes for

The simply and perfectly done garlic shrimp and rack of lamb were my favorites, but every dish was perfectly executed and absolutely delightful.

We didn't have time to eat dessert, but that just means that I will be going back at another time :)

Bergamot Station

First time going to Bergamot won't be the last! So many wonderful galleries with artists from around the world.

There were various types of art, including modern art, interactive video, glass sculpture, photography, functional art, and textual pieces.

The architecture compliments the galleries and parking was easy midweek. The metro has a stop literally at the galleries if you want to take public transport. 

Excellent food at the Great Outdoors, including the best Greek salad I've ever eaten! 

I loved several pieces so much that I wanted to take them home, but I would have no room for them in my current place. 

I wish I had $$$$$$$ to be an art patron :)

Mosaic Tile House

Great way to spend a day immersed in art with living artists in residence! It took over 35 years to create this ever changing intricate, funny, profound, and life affirming house. Just email them for a reservation and show up with $20 per person (cash is easiest) to explore this lovely art sanctuary.

From the charming owners to their lively young volunteers and assistants, it is a pleasure to discover all the details all over the house.

Artists will appreciate access to the studios and seeing process unfold. I bought a piece to take home as a reminder to live with art everyday!

Monday, April 8, 2024

Star Leaf

Star Leaf is a beautiful place that hits all the perfect notes of service, flavor, decor, and location to create a truly wonderful melody that not only makes me smile, but has me humming the tune until I can experience it again! They have 43 locations worldwide, but this one is the first in the US!

Walking in the entry is a harbinger of the delights to come with a tiled walkway, pond, and greenery that transports diners to a Southeast Asian "railway" with plants and stars (lights) that are as unique as the fusion of Asian cuisines on the menu.

They had only been open 4 weeks when I dined before a show at the Pasadena Playhouse, 1 block away on a Sunday evening. This location is perfect pre-show evening at the theatre, and I highly suggest allowing 2 hours before curtain to truly savor the delights of your meal with plenty of time to enjoy your drinks and coffee. Come even earlier to enjoy happy hour between 3-5pm Sunday-Thursday. There is a public lot at 44 Madison Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

I chose a nice dry Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand for $16 a glass and then ended with a Bali Mary for $17 that was ridiculously beautiful and sublimely spicy. My dinner companion drank a nice rich coffee after dinner for $6.

Trying to balance out a bit of everything, my dinner companion and I chose the vegetarian Saigon Summer Spring rolls with a mango habanero sauce that was slightly sweet and very mildly spicy. If you want a "salad" this is an option you might want to try instead, carrots, cucumbers, avocado and mango filled rice paper for $20. It was a large enough portion to share with at least 1 or 2 other people.

After hearing the description of the Thai Royal Curry, we opted for the shrimp version for $38 and the slow roasted sambal rempah coconut cream, duck eggs and mashed potatoes was a divinely flavored rendition of fusion curry that was savory and hearty without being too spicy hot for those with a low tolerance for heat (personally I would have liked heat but this was perfect for my dining companion's tolerance).

We also chose the grilled New Zealand Lamb chops with cauliflower purée with minted chimichurri and roasted cherry tomatoes for $42 grilled medium rare, which were done to our preference and the minted chimichurri was a fantastic bright addition to the rich lamb chops.

We had plenty of time for dessert, so we split the tropical panna cotta coconut bowl made with coconut cream and fresh seasonal fruits of mango and strawberries with a few chopped cashews for $15 that was easily enough to share for a table of 4!

Can't wait to go back and try happy hour and more things on the menu!