James Welling photo courtesy of Dérive.
Last night we invited our friends D & M to join us for a trip to Regen Projects for the opening of the James Welling: Glass House exhibit. The place was architect-heavy (Greg Lynn was there) and so D & M (both architects) instantly ran into people they knew. Also, as it turns out, M designed the Regen Projects space, so of course M knew the owner. And She and M both knew Stacy, who is Regen’s assistant. It’s strange how small the second largest city in the United States can be.
Oh yeah, the show was great. We had two glasses of nondescript white wine in plastic cups and perused the very colorful images of Philip Johnson’s Glass House.
It was obvious that we wanted to eat some Suzanne Goin. I have never been to a Goin restaurant (except The Hungry Cat, which isn’t totally her) and have only eaten her food secondhand; meaning what we have cooked out of the book Sunday Suppers at Lucques. It’s almost a crime to live in LA and not eat at AOC or Lucques, so I was pushing for one of those.
We pulled up to Lucques and could see through the window that we were not going to get a seat here anytime soon. Off to AOC.
AOC was less full, but still busy, busy. We asked the host if there was any possibility of us getting a table for 4, or sitting at the bar. She informed us it would be almost impossible, but would be at least 50 minutes. (To be fair, it is ridiculous for us to think we are going to get 4 seats at AOC on a Saturday night without reservations.)
She decided that before we left to our third choice for dinner, She would use the restroom. And who does She see on the way to the restroom…her old dear friend Suzanne Goin. The hostess saw them hugging and I heard the maitre’d mutter “oh” under her breath and look back at her reservation list to see if there was anything she could do.
Suzanne came and introduced herself to D, M & I, and then spoke to the hostess (Suzanne also called Lucques herself to see if there was anyway for us to get in there. This woman might be the greatest restaurateur I have ever seen; calm, hospitable, sweet, very welcoming.)
Five minutes later we had a 4-top at AOC. We began with some bubbly and then the wine steward came over to introduce herself (at Suzanne’s bidding) and assist us with selecting our wine. We had:
- Lassalle Champagne (to begin)
- Bordeaux Superior (with dinner, recommended by the steward and very nice, but we both forgot the name. Think it starts with an “M”.)
- Tement Sauvignon Blanc (for dessert)
- jamon serrano
- chicken liver crostini with pancetta
- little gems, dungeness crab, avocado and lime
- braised pork belly, kabocha purée and gremolata
- farro and black rice with pinenuts and currants
- arroz negro with squid and saffron aioli
- clams, sherry, chanterelles and garlic
- grilled quail (Sent out by Suzanne)
- hooks blue
- tomme savoie
- warm pink lady apple crostata with caramel and vanilla ice cream
- banana choux à la crème with toffee and bittersweet chocolate
Everything was great; the food, the wine, the service. I want to go back very soon (can we get a reservation tonight?)
We didn’t take any pictures, but for a very comprehensive review with nice images, check out Kevin Eats (from whom we borrowed the pic above).