Last day in LA
Today was our last day in LA. We took our time getting out this morning. The first order of importance was going to my niece's school to celebrate every kid who had a birthday in March. My niece being one of them. It was very cute.
Next shop, sushi. Having sushi in LA is essential. Everybody has their favorite spot. Most of these spots are basically hole in the walls at the local strip malls. Your first reaction when you walk in is an unsure feeling if this is really going to be any good. But, it generally is. We went to one place a few years ago that was with plastic picnic chairs inside and bad neon tube lighting. It was fantastic.
Today we went to Sushi Zo which is just outside Culver City. A real sushi purist type of spot. A few rules. No cell phones. No ordering. It is only omikase. What they have that day is what you get. The waitress is firm and will decide exactly how to take the drink order by deciding who she will begin with and how to go around the table. She will also tell you when to use soy sauce and when not to. Pay attention. There were some true highlights and other things that were not as out of this world. All sushi is served on the warm rice, not a lot of rice but just enough. Some of the sushi also has a tiny topping to add to the flavor. For instance, the mackerel had a spicy pepper grated yuzi on top, like a spot ( see the picture ). The best, hands down, is something that is big in Los Angeles, the blue crab roll at the end. Not cut up, just one long roll that should be eaten immediately because the seaweed is fresh. The waitress stressed that, do not wait for everyone else to be fed. Delicious feast and certainly one that should not be taken lightly. Follow the rules.
Everyone went separate ways. Josh went to hang with his cousins, the girls and I went to get pedicures then I went to look at a store on Abbott Kinney, Fred had a business meeting. Nothing to write home about.
Next group event, dinner. Everything is always planned around the meal. By the time I get back to NYC, I might try something very LA and go on a detox flush program.
Dinner was on Abbott Kinney. You basically can't go wrong at most of the restaurants on that street. We went to GJelina. You can either share a variety of different small plates or there are a few big plates to have a regular meal if you want your own. We opted for the big share. BTW, GJelina is also open for lunch and brunch.
The restaurant was packed. We sat in the back which was classic LA. Lots of heat lamps, a mixture of tables and a huge sofa which was for us. I love it. In the middle was a fire burning rock piece to add to the ambiance. Also, if you stood up around our couch you can peek into the kitchen. They have a big fire burning oven in there for the pizzas. Sweet.
I am just going to give some of the highlights. Charred Brussel sprouts with dates, bacon and vinegar; grilled radicchio with olive oil, balsamic and sea salt; Gruyere, caramelized onion, fromage blanc and arugula pizza ( super crispy and thin crust ); Burrata with sliced yellow tomatoes, arugula and pesto; Grilled octopus on white beans, arugula and smoked paprika. There were more but you get the gist of the menu. Everything was good, the plates are small and I always love the communal share.
For dessert, we all shared just 2 dishes except for my nieces that had the flourless chocolate cake to themselves. That went quick. In a small old time diner coffee cup is butterscotch pudding with a dollop of whipped cream and topped with crushed sea salt. Woah. The other was a large square, about an inch high of banana bread pudding topped with melted chocolate and whipped cream in a bowl for the oozing to take place. Another omigod.
A perfect ending to a really nice week. Except for the driving, which is truly insane, I do love this town. Next stop, Napa ( and of course more meals ).