Brad A. Johnson of Angeleno Magazine bestowed his awards on the best of Los Angeles, as he does every year, and it was time to celebrate. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to participate in this celebration, and boy did it impress.
So I didn’t get to try everything before the tastes ran out – but I don’t really blame the event organizers. I blame my sloth pace at really savoring every bite there was in the Fairmont Miramar’s beautifully appointed parking circle, which surrounds probably the oldest tree I know in Los Angeles. I was happy to note that Oxley Gin was a liquor sponsor (along with Veev), and whom created the cocktails with which I washed down all the heavenly plates of food. It was an impressive showing, indeed.
The beef tartar could have stood on its own – nevermind that the shavings of black truffles put it over the top in the best possible way. I had two.
Another favorite was Chef Ben Bailly’s Cauliflower Panna Cotta topped by Petrossian Transmontanous caviar. So indulgent and so delicious – it was like creamy heaven accented with that perfect, almost briny zest caviar gives. I, again, had two.
Chef Ludo Lefebvre was there to deliver punches to the mouth. Not literally, of course, but his Heirloom tomato smoothie came accented with its own extractions from the sea:Â Squid ink vodka jelly and seaweed tartar. As with LudoBites, the combination of everything together was done amazingly well – while in fact I love tomatoes, seaweed, squid ink and vodka individually. The shooter was surprisingly spicy, with the umami of the squid ink and seaweed probably augmented by the vodka. Delicious.
LaurentÂ Quenioux from Bistro LQ’s Lobster Tapioca topped with uni was amazing as always. Once upon a time I did the tasting menu at Bistro LQ and the lobster tapioca in particular, as one of theÂ starters,Â was my favorite dish. It was a decadent revisit and one I was glad to have.
My favorite fish of the night, however, was prepared by Chef Josiah Citrin of MÃ©lisse. The loup de mer,Â or seabass,Â stillÂ had the skin onÂ which helped retain a lot of the flavor and came in a pool of appropriately oily broth, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers and basil.
It was refreshing yet surprisingly weighty. The tiny filets were cooked to a perfectly tender consistency, and I was amazed I could appreciate the flavor in such a small piece of fish.
There were a few things that ran out by the time my leisurely pace took me to the other side of the courtyard, unfortunately, like Hatfield’s Braised Pork Belly, Craft’s White Wine Braised Octopus and Comme Ca’s Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Terrine. But as usual, it was good to enjoy the blogger company that was there, like Lindsay of LAist, Caroline on Crack, Hadley of GrubStreet LA, Josh of FoodGPS, Kevin Eats, Jo of My Last Bite, Kat of Eater LA, Mattatouille and much, much more. This was a great event with a great turn-out, and there was no better occasion than to celebrate this year’s winners (the first award of which I was very happy Lazy Ox Canteen won):
- Best New Restaurant: Lazy Ox Canteen
- Best New Chef: Michael Voltaggio (formerly The Langham)
- Chef of the Year: Michael Cimarusti, Providence
- Restaurant of the Year: Hatfieldâ€™s
- Pastry Chef of the Year: Zoe Nathan, Huckleberry CafÃ© & Bakery
- Outstanding Wine & Spirits: The Bazaar
- Outstanding Service: The Grill on the Alley
- Vanguard Award: Water Grill
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
101 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404