USA Dine Out: Eat, Drink and Fight Hunger


For the 4th year now S. Pellegrino has held the USA Dine Out fundraising event. In Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego and San Francisco participating restaurants offer a $25 lunch or $35 dinner prix fixe menu with your choice of S. Pellegrino or Acqua Panna water. For every Dine Out meal served S. Pellegrino donates $1 to Share Our Strength, a national non-profit organizations fighting hunger.

Now that's music to my ears. And my wallet. Most of the restaurants on the Los Angeles list I haven't been to. But at the same there were only a few I was interested in. Here they are...

**Ciudad** {Lunch}

Chile Lime & Seeded Tortilla Crisps with Olive Tapenade & Latin Hummus
Argentine Empanada with Chipotle Crema & Tomatillo Sauce
Brazilian Shrimp Salad
Goat Milk Cajeta Flan

beautiful flan.... but rubbery flan

Friday was such a beautiful day. Perfect weather and no work (took the day off) I headed to downtown to meet my boy for lunch at Ciudad. I had heard some good things about Ciudad so I was excited to try some of their dishes. The tortilla crisps, tapenade and hummus were really good. The mushroom Empanada wasn't very good at all and the accompanying sauces very bland. Not impressed.

Then Brazilian Shrimp Salad also sucked. It was a shrimp and crab salad with carrots, beans, crispy fried potatoes and aji dressing. The potatoes weren't crispy but was soggy and stale. I didn't taste the aji in the dressing. The whole salad just looked and tasted like it had been sitting around waiting for someone to order it. I barely ate any of it. It shouldn't have been sent out of the kitchen. Just bland, flat, stale and even looked unappetizing.

If I were to make improvements upon it I would have served the salad minus the shrimp with a lil height over a bed of fresh watercress, placed the shrimp whole on top of that and then piled the FRESHLY fried shoestring potatoes on top of that with a sprinkling of cilantro. I'm not asking for new ingredients or new cooking technique. Just serve me my dish fresh and appetizing.

Then the Flan. It tasted good, looked beautiful but was very rubbery. Overcooked maybe? All in all Ciudad was a big diappointment.

445 S. Figueroa St

**Lucques** {Dinner}

Soupe au Pistou with Amaranth and Grana Breadcrumbs
Steak Frites
Chocolate and Pistachio Terrine with Pistachio Lace Cookie

Lucques has been on my Go To restaurant list for ages now. So I was really happy this opportunity came up. Everthing was soo good! We started off with some delicious cocktails, the Lucques Jasmine and Hangar One Mint Gimlet. The Gimlet is a must try. It's minty, mojito-y and completely addicting.

The Soup au Pistou was so yummy. Pistou is a mixture of basil, garlic and olive oil used in variety of ways including on pasta, in soups or as a condiment or sauce. The crispy breadcrumbs soaked up the delicious soup but still retained its texture til my last spooning. The Steak Frites was delicious! The steak and fries were perfectly cooked and served with a small handful of arugula which were wilted and nutty from the heat of its neighbors. I was very happy and very satisfied. That's one yoony in a good mood.

The Chocolate and Pistachio Terrine was okay. Kind of plain. Nothing to flip out over or something I would order again.

8474 Melrose Ave

**Xiomara on Melrose** {Dinner}

Organic Baby Green Salad with Citrus Shallot Vinaigrette and Cilantro
Churrasco Nicaraguense with Porcini Mushrooms, Huitlacoche and Cabrales Mash
Caramelized Chocolate & Finger Banana Cream Cake with Mango & Raspberry Sauces

We were pretty starving from taking advantage of MOCA'a free Thursday 5-8 entry to check out the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition. By the end I was too hungry to look at any more art. We shot over to Xiomara on a quiet stretch of Melrose. My first impression of the restaurant was: low key and beautiful.

Unfortunately the service didn't live up to that split-second hope and expectation. We order mojitos from the bar and chomped on the complementary bread basket and black bean dip. The bread was hot and the dip was completely cold! Not the most pleasant combination. We weren't served water until I was practically dying of thirst and had to ask for it. We weren't given any menus until about 10 minutes into dinner.

My Salad was delicious though. Then there was about another 10 minutes during which we just twidled our thumbs til the entree came out. Geez the restaurant only had three tables occupied that night. I wonder how they handle their weekend service.

However the Churrasco Nicaraguense was so frickin delicious. The skirt steak was cooked perfectly and laid upon a mound of blue cheese mashed potatoes and a mixture of beans and corn. I was just happy to get some meat in me, you know? The Cake was good but nothing special. And anyways I was so full from the generous portions of salad and skirt steak.

The other dessert we order was a plate of three flans, each made with a different tropical fruit: guanabana, mamey and guava. Also delicious. The food here was really great and our incompetent waiter very sweet. I would definitely go back but get your shit together Xiomara. Good food + bad service =unimmaeatchu.

6101 West Melrose Ave

1 comment:

justinsloe said...

good one, yoony!