Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Fancy Pants Dinner Club

There are few things I love more than good food, but spending time with good friends is one of them. So recently, I’ve started a fun tradition that incorporates both!

My dear friend Daniel and I have been meeting every month or so for a delicious gourmet meal. We get to see each other, catch up with what’s new, and try special places that we might ordinarily not get the chance to go to. We’ve been doing this for several months now and I love the new tradition – I look forward to it all month long!

You might be asking "Who's Daniel? He's a new character in the Royal Cast of Characters who we haven't heard about." Well, Daniel is one of my oldest friends - we've known each other since we were three years old! We went to elementary, middle, and high school together, and stayed pals all through college, but it was after we graduated and staffed the March of the Living together two years in a row that we really became close. He is super cute and hilarious and INSANELY smart - he goes to UCLA Law School! And has a key to my apartment in case he wants to come over and take a nap in between classes :) He is one of my favorite people ever and I love our new tradition together!

daniel loves this photo of us.

it was taken as we started hiking ein gedi, a gorgeous nature reserve in israel. within about fourteen seconds of taking this photo, i started bitching that i was hot and tired and did NOT want to hike, and daniel literally whipped an ice cold diet coke out of his backpack that he had purchased with the EXPRESS PURPOSE of shutting me up.

it worked. i was speechless :)

In the beginning, we made a list (that I conveniently keep in my phone) of all the new fancy LA restaurants we wanted to try, and we are slowly working our way through the list each month. It’s especially fun to go with Daniel because we mostly like the same foods, and we like to order lots of dishes and share all of them so we get to taste more things!

One night this summer, Daniel and I made plans for dinner, and I suggested Nook Bistro, a place I love on the Westside, just a few minutes away from where I live in Brentwood. After we arrived and looked at the menu, we started talking about what we were planning on ordering, and I was truly surprised by Daniel’s adventurous palate – I had no idea he was such a foodie! That was our first unofficial meeting of "The Fancy Pants Dinner Club”, as I’ve taken to calling it, and as we ate we started discussing other great restaurants in the city we were interested in trying. We started compiling that list, and from then a tradition was born!

In November, we went to Animal, which is possibly my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles. If you are an adventurous eater and like meat, you MUST go. I’ve been several times, and each time I am blown away by the inventiveness and deliciousness of the food. I’ve literally never had a bad dish there – my mouth is watering just thinking of all the things we split last time… sweetbreads with crispy capers and oyster mushrooms, poutine with cheddar and oxtail gravy, grilled octopus and chorizo… I think another meal there is in order, stat!

In December, we went to Hatfield’s. We split a tasting menu and added a few other interesting appetizers, including their world famous croquet madame (with proscuitto and hamachi), which was out of this world, but other than that, we were mostly underwhelmed. The room was beautiful though, and I’m glad we went, because I had wanted to try it for ages.

We missed January because Daniel was in Israel (LUCKYYYYYYY), but last night, we finally hit up Osteria Mozza, which we'd been wanting to try forever. I am a huge fan of the Pizzeria and go often, but I had never been to the Osteria. It didn't disappoint - we shared two different kinds of cheese (a fantastic buratta and a sheep's milk ricotta), a great octopus, and a few pastas (just thinking about the brown butter & egg raviolo is making me drool). When it came time for dessert, we skipped something sweet and ordered one more pasta - hey, we were going all out! I really liked it and would go back again for sure.

I wonder what our March meal will be?! Over dinner tonight Daniel mentioned Campanile, which I would love to go to, so hopefully we'll go there. What else is on our list? Well, it’s a work in progress, but we’re planning on hitting up Scarpetta, Cube, Jiraffe, Sushi Nozawa, Bokado, Tavern, and Pizzeria Mozza. We also keep adding… so we may never finish!

we're in poland. i can tell because he looks miserable, and im wearing sneakers and a backpack.

Now that you know of our tradition, if you have a suggestion of a great place to go in LA, leave me a comment and let me know – I may need to add it to the list!

And before I go, I need to give a shout out to a very special person... Daniel's girlfriend Brette! Today is her birthday - she lives in New York and Daniel actually flew there yesterday to celebrate with her, like the gem he is :) Brette, thank you for lending me your boyfriend to be my dinner date every so often. I hope you have a fantastic day!


Anonymous said...

1. giorgio baldi (santa monica) - lobster ravioli or sweet corn agnioloti

2. bouchon (beverly hills) - croque madame

3. valentino (beverly hills) - white truffle tagliatelle

4. gjelina (abbot kinney) - mushroom pizza and sunchoke side dish

hope you enjoy!


1. A.O.C

2. Grace - which I know you have been too but you should go again.

3. I have to throw in a Kosher one because well I am a rabbi after all Shilo's.