Celebrating Bastille Day in L.A. This Weekend

The Patio at Cliff’s Edge

As foodists, we all have a little Francophile in us. Why not celebrate France’s Le Fête Nationale some place around town? Whether it’s to enjoy a couple Kir Royales outdoors under the canopy of the Farmer’s Market, playing Pétanque after having slurped a dozen oysters downtown, a dinner in an intimate French Bistro or out on a gorgeous patio, Bastille Day is a perfect excuse to get out and live it up. (As if you really needed a reason to eat French food, right?)

Check these special celebrations in and around town. Most are on Saturday, but Church & State has delayed their celebration til Sunday just for belated revelers:

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Monsieur Marcel – Mid-City West, Santa Monica (Open 9 AM – 9 PM)

The little restaurant stand inside The Original Farmer’s Market is now also on Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade and ready to serve up cocktails for the holiday. Monsieur Marcel will be serving Kir Royales for $7.99 and Kir Normales for $6.99 each on the holiday. After all, you’ll have every reason to toast Felix Kira, a member of the French resistance, the French Parliament and eventual mayor of Dijon in Burgundy.

Prefer to celebrate with some eats? Start off with a French Onion Soup ($6.75) accompanied by a Frisée Salad with Feta Cheese and Hazelnuts ­($13.75). Other options you’ll want to consider:

Niçoise Salad with Seared Ahi Tuna, Egg, and Lemon ($19.50)
Ham on Fleur de Sel Baguette with Cornichons and Radish ($15.95)
Moules Frites with Steamed Mussels and Fries ($19.25)
Steak Frites, a classic Hanger Steak with Fries ($19.50)
Duck Confit with Lentils and Kale ($27)

Crème Brûlée ($5)
Affogato ($4)
Macarons, Fruit Tarts ($5-6)

Papilles – Hollywood

At Santos Uy and Tim Carey’s no-nonsense, curiously ambitious wine bistro, they’ll be celebrating Bastille Day with a three-course prix fixe menu for a bargain $30. Enjoy $12 carafes of natural French wines to further  Two seatings (6-6:30 & 8-9 PM) are available, as is this menu:

  1. French Onion Soup or Frisée Salad with French Radishes
  2. Moules Frites or Steak Frites
  3. Camembert or Chocolate Mousse

And that shall take care of the all essentials – and then some. Be sure to call to reserve your seating.

Cliff’s Edge – Silver Lake

Celebrate the storming of Bastille with a menu by Ben Bailly on Saturday night while enjoying the patio at Cliff’s Edge – hands-down one of the most beautiful settings in LA. Choose from the following options for a 3-course delight ($45 per person):

  1. Frisee aux Lardons
    poached egg, crispy bacon, bleu cheese, croutons
    or
    Escargot au Gratin
    braised snails, garlic, parsley, mushrooms, tomatoes
  2. Saumon a L’Orseille
    Atlantic salmon, puy lentils salad, sorrel butter
    or
    Onglet a L’Echalote
    Prime hangar steak, shallots sauce, roasted fingerling
  3. Apricot Tart, Vanilla Creme Brulee or Glacee & Sorbet

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Church & State – Downtown LA

11 AM – 3 PM

If you feel like extending your celebrating to daytime Sunday, Downtown LA’s stalwart French bistro, Church & State has got something just your speed.

Chef Jeremy Berlin will be offering assorted French sandwiches. Maître Écailler Christophe Happillon, will be on hand with his famous raw bar serving up not only oysters (!!!), but clams, crab, shrimp and accompaniments for you to enjoy throughout the day.

Sarah Clarke, Church & State’s Sommelier and Beverage Director has a  special menu with a selection of French wines, artisan beers and new summer cocktails for guests to enjoy all afternoon as well. And when in Downtown LA, do as the French do, and play a little Pétanque. It’ll be a perfect way to casually celebrate, as there are “no reservations – just fun.”

Happy Bastille Day, wherever you’ll be! See you around town.

Monsieur Marcel
The Original Farmer’s Market
6333 W 3rd St #150
Los Angeles, CA
323.939.7792

1260 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA
310.587.1166

Papilles
6221 Franklin Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323.871.2026

Cliff’s Edge
3626 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323.666.6116

Church and State Bistro
1850 Industrial Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
213.405.1434

Favorite Dish: Escargot Risotto at Fraiche Culver City

Escargot Risotto, Basil, Tomatoes

I had a wonderful dining experience at Fraiche the other night, and the standout dish was an amazing bowl of basil sauced and perfectly cooked risotto. The rice grains altogether made up a creamy consistency but had a firm bite underneath it all.

Of course, the real treat was the four snails that rested atop the green bed. Buttery and flavorful as ever, their richness was a pleasure to apportion to every other bite of risotto, which stood by itself thanks to the vibrant basil. The tomatoes were a perfect addition, providing a subtle sweetness that complimented the other rich flavors in the dish.

Paul, Fraiche’s sommelier, poured us a delicious 2008 Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc – the crispness of which made a perfect pairing to the richness and creaminess of the risotto dish. Every bite I took was beautifully finished off and washed down with a sip of Sancerre.

There are other spectacular dishes you should try at Fraiche, like their Endive Salad with Truffle Vinaigrette and Copa de Parma – a savory and indulgent yet balanced salad (thanks to the dates) like you never had, before. Their House-Made Agnolotti, filled with mascarpone and topped with wild mushrooms and truffle butter were another favorite of mine. The mild mascarpone was a good match for the heavy truffle butter, with the delicious wild mushrooms that lined the plate making me close my eyes for a moment. Of course, if I failed to mention Chef Ben Bailly’s awesome truffle burger, I’d be omitting a huge reason why foodies across town dine in Culver City. Try it for yourself, and unless you also had the tasting menu, plan on eating the whole thing yourself. No room for sharing.

These are the kind of dishes that cause food-gasms, and it looks like Chef Bailly has settled in to his new home (since Petrossian) pretty well. Drop in to see what he’s up to – that is, a rustic menu with some solid dishes.

Mon – Fri

11:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Mon – Sun

5:30 PM – 10:30 PM

Happy Hour

5:30 – 6:30 PM ($3 draft, $4 house wine, $5 well drinks)

Fraiche CC
9411 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
310.839.6800

@fraichecuisine

Recap: Dine LA Quickfire Challenge at Petrossian

Chefs Celestino Drago, Ben Bailly, Akira Hirose

Last Thursday, merely the day after Blogger Prom, I joined Josh Lurie of Food GPS and Chef Ben Bailly of Petrossian West Hollywood in judging the second of four Quickfire Challenges hosted by Dine LA in promotion for their upcoming restaurant weeks.

Potato Leek Soup w/Japanese Eggplant Caviar, Yuzu Kosho, Smoked Salmon, Piquillo, Roasted Hazelnuts & Jerez Vinegar

The challenge was cold soup, and it was a contest of the Italian and French schools of culinary arts. Fifteen minutes were allowed and the “surprise” ingredient was Alverta President caviar – a premier, new American strain of caviar. Chef Akira Hirose prepared a potato leek soup that had much of its treasures buried at the bottom. We, the judges, were instructed to go to the bottom to scoop up the essence of everything that was in the cold soup. And, so we did. The salmon was perfectly smoked, the yuzu packed a refreshing citrus punch, the hazelnut and potato leek carried weight, and the thick soup had great complexities overall. The piquillo pepper that dotted the soup was a nice touch, spicing up the soup a tad.

Gazpacho With Juice of Yellow & Red Heirloom Tomatoes, Cucumber Juice, Guacamole, Orange Zest, Yuzu Juice, Cucumber, Caviar, Croutons and Basil Oil

Alas, it was then time to try Chef Celestino Drago’s creation. True to form, it was a cold gazpacho incorporating the juices of fresh, yellow and red heirloom tomatoes. Cucumber juice provided a bit of green color and rounded out the sweetness of the tomatoes. The juices enveloped a bit of guacamole – the weight in this soup – along with orange zest and yuzu in the martini glasses, which further brightened the concoction. Then came the caviar and diced cucumber. Basil oil was drizzled and croutons were floated atop the cold soup. Though this was not as unique as Chef Hirose’s soup, Chef Drago’s was the winner in my camp. I really enjoyed the flavors all the different juices – and even caviar – brought to the table, and while gazpacho is a common menu item in Italian menus, I thought this was a well-executed dish.

But the beauty of having three judges is that if not unanimous, a winner would be determined by two, and I was ultimately outvoted by Chef Ben and Josh. They favored Chef Hirose’s cold potato leek because of its complexity. There was speculation that Celestino was outnumbered by those from the French camp. Me – I was content to be outnumbered and stood by my decision. I myself skewed toward the lighter soup since I prefer my cold dishes without a ton of weight, but also thoroughly enjoyed Chef Drago’s gazpacho.

And so continues the Dine LA Quickfire Challenges… Stay tuned for today’s rendition: Cold Noodles. It also comes complete with sneak preview of Starry Kitchen Dine LA dishes for $5 a pop and an after-party at CASA.

Held last Thursday, September 23, 2010

6 – 8 PM

Petrossian West Hollywood
321 N. Robertson Blvd. (one block north of Beverly Blvd.)
West Hollywood, CA 90048
310.271.6300