Greens for Dinner and an Accident

Dinner: Sprouted Broccoli, home baked bread and vegan pate

I baked some bread on Saturday and it was one of the best tasting breads I ever baked, if I do say so myself. It had a good flavor, a chewy crust, and an airy inside. The BF made a vegan pate out of roasted mushrooms and walnuts for Saturday as well. Since we still had leftovers, I toasted some of the bread, slapped on some pate, sauteed some broccoli sprouts and called it dinner.

We went to the farmers’ market Saturday morning, which is where we picked up the broccoli sprouts. They were so tender and sweet that they didn’t need much cooking at all. I just par-boiled them and sauteed them with a decent amount of olive oil, slivers of garlic, and hot pepper. It’s simple, but delicious.

The BF tried to open a bottle of wine for dinner, but the cork broke apart. A google search suggested that we just push the cork into the bottle instead of trying to pull it out. I was afraid that pushing the cork threw would make the displaced wine fly everywhere.

I was right. I hope Mr Clean’s Magic Eraser will clean our walls.

Upstairs 2

I took the BF out for a surprise birthday dinner last night to a nearby restaurant called Upstairs 2. It’s actually part of the Wine House which is downstairs. The place features tapas-sized plates of food as (obviously) a variety of wines.

They were offering a prix fixe menu that night and the items on the menu sounded good to me, so I chose that.

Upstairs 2

My appetizer was smoked blue marlin on top of some salad greens dressed with a pink peppercorn dressing. The smoked fish was good but didn’t taste any different than smoked salmon. The dressing was too salty, which overpowered the peppercorn taste to the point where I wouldn’t have known it was there if it were not on the menu. The salad dressing almost tasted like fish sauce, but I couldn’t tell if it was because of the fish on top or the excess salt. I would have preferred the dressing to be a bit more acidic to balance out the saltiness.
[Read more…]

Review: AOC

AOC

To celebrate our anniversary, the BF treated me out to a wine and tapas restaurant called AOC. The food is roughly mediterranean and comes out in small dishes to be shared with the whole table. The space itself is sleek and modern while still being cozy and warm. We were seated upstairs in the back room, which ended up being a great idea once the restaurant filled up because the rest of the restaurant was really noisy.
AOC

Upon being seated, the waiter brought out some bread and spread. The black olives that accompanied the harissa spread were delicious. They weren’t overly salty and had a great savory flavor to them. The spread was a bit spicy and smoky, but went well with the olives and bread.
AOC

Our helpful waitress suggested the Valencay Loire Valley goat cheese from France and it was delicious. The rind had a peppery taste, the outer layer of the cheese was creamy and melt-in-your-mouth, and the inside was savory and chalky. It took me a few tries to get used to the inside, but it definitely tastes better with the rest of the cheese. If I could just get a huge chunk of that cheese, some figs and a nice glass of wine, I could eat it all day.
AOC

The BF, an olive fiend, ordered the marinated olives. The small green ones were good and had a fresh spring taste to them, and there was a big one that was stuffed with something like a smaller olive with lots of small seeds in it, which was interesting. I’m still not sure if I like olives yet, but these tasted alright. The really big olives were awkward to eat because the seeds were also large and hard to maneuver out of my mouth.
AOC

The endive salad with fava beans and meyer lemon dressing was refreshing and a fitting spring dish. There could have been more fava beans, but considering how much of a pain they are to shell, I could understand why there were so few. The dish was good, but not that easy to eat because it’s so hard to spear a crunchy endive with a fork.
AOC

I ordered the marinated beet salad with fried chickpeas and feta on the side. The beets were sweet and tender without being too soft. I thought the lighter colored beets were great and not that heavy. The white sauce that came with it was confusing because I couldn’t tell what it added to the dish. It tasted a bit like sour cream, so I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to dip my beets in it or pour it over my salad. The fried chickpeas were great and added a nice crunch to the salad.
AOC

I love fish, but I’m always scared of ordering it at restaurants because I’m used to fish prepared the Chinese way. Despite that, I thought the halibut with bacon, sorrel, and gribiche was delicious. The halibut wasn’t too overdone or dry and the bacon definitely added to its flavor. The fish was topped with chopped sorrel, which gave it a fresh lemony taste without the acidity. It also came with a side of gribiche, which I suppose is a fancy way to say ‘delicious hashbrowns’.
AOC

Then we had some young broccoli, which sounded simple and boring, but was surprisingly good. It looks just like young broccoli cooked with some garlic, but it had a lot of depth to it. It tasted so much more than just broccoli.
AOC

After that came the farro and black rice with pine nuts and currants, which was satisfying and comforting. I thought it was a bit heavy on the pine nuts, but that might be because pine nuts have such a bold flavor. I really liked the farro, which was plump and chewy, and the currants which lent a smoky sweetness to the dish.
AOC

The waitress later suggested the long-cooked cavolo nero, which she described as a black cabbage that tasted like cooked kale. It was an accurate description, but I was surprised when it came out because I had it before in Chinese cooking. In Mandarin, we call it mei gan cai and we usually only get it dried here. It’s soft, but dry at the same time and tastes really earthy. It doesn’t look pretty, but it has a satisfying savory taste to it, like a delicious autumn leaf.
AOC

For dessert, I had almond cake with strawberries, candied rhubarb, and vanilla ice-cream. The almond cake was unexpectedly dense and moist. It tasted great, but I would describe it as more of an almond bar. The rhubarb was good, but since it was my first time having rhubarb, I thought it was a bit weird. It was like a cross between a celery and a tart apple.
AOC

Lastly, the BF had the blood orange sorbet, which was what you would expect blood orange sorbet to taste like: tart, rich, and delicious.

The food at AOC as a whole was good, our wine was good, the cheese was great, and they were accommodating to the BF’s vegan-ness, which is always a nice thing. I wouldn’t mind going there again, maybe for our next anniversary to try some of their other cheeses. I saw that they had something called a Stinking Bishop cheese from England that I’m curious to taste.


View Larger Map

AOC
8022 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 653-6359