Taste in Provo: a compliment despite my best efforts
I have never been kind to Provo. I have no intentions of changing my attitude or moving there ever, but gosh darn-it if Provo doesn’t keep serving me up surprises.
Not that I recommend anyone visit that city, but if you do, go to Taste.
They make, and sell, chocolate. Good chocolate.
Surrounded by pseudo French styled decor you can sidle up to the bar for an $8 chocolate and balsamic tasting. Or you could spend just a touch more for afternoon tea, Friday night chocolate and cheese pairings, or, because of where you are, non-alcoholic wine.
I am a bottom dweller so I ponied up 8 bucks.
For that I got a square of 6 different chocolates, 3 balsamics , and a taste of the stuff Nutella is trying to be. The chocolatier explained as we went a long what it was we were eating and the process of its production.By far the best was called Karamelizalt Levendulaviragok Csillaganizsos Tejcsokoladeban. Those are real words. I didn’t make that up. This stuff won a silver medal at the Academy of Chocolate and it is the only milk chocolate I like- because it also has caramelized lavender and anise- and my heart. It also has my heart.What I walked away with is this stuff made in Portland called Pok Pok Som. It is a drinking vinegar with ginger and I think I swooned.
Swooned? In Provo?
Men and Food:the premise of too many televison shows.
The premise of the show is a guy, maybe two of them, who travel around eating at various locations. Anthony Bourdain, Guy Fieri, a sub plot in Master of None, or the main plot in The Trip, they are all the same show, and they are incredibly cliche’.
Just like me.
I suppose it is better to live those shows than CSI.
Solvang: mancation IV
Solvang is a little town in Southern California that pretends to be in Denmark. It was founded around 1900 by Danish immigrants who liked sunshine more than snow, but apparently still wanted windmills, wooden shoes, and Hans Christian Andersen.This is made “apparent” because if you go there today what you will find is windmills, wooden shoes, and Hans Christian Andersen.
Most people would describe it as cute more than quaint, and in concept it is simply odd- but in execution it is surprising in its level of commitment to a theme. It isn’t like there is just a main street with similar facade, the imitation game goes multiple blocks long and deep.They have bakeries and gift shops, a town square with a scaled reproduction of Copenhagen’s round tower, a mermaid statue, and a museum dedicated to Mr. Christensen and his fairy tales.
All of that is fine. Very nice. Whatever.
Th real reason to go there is because this place called the Succulent Cafe has hands down the best charcuterie and cheese platter I have ever experienced.
Go there. Eat it. Wear some clogs, have two blonde braids, read about a princess and a pea, or show up on a Harley, any of those things… just make sure you have what they call the 4+4 for $44. (four cheeses, four meats, and a whole bunch of great little nuts, peppers, spreads, jams, olives, etc.)
Harley Farms Goat Cheese: mancation IV
So there is this “thing” called the California Cheese Trail. I imagined it as a sort of cheddar brick road leading to a wizard who can instantly age Gouda. It isn’t. It is much more like the string of California Missions that the Spanish set up, except instead of Catholic churches and priests, it is herds and artisans. I should note that both are beautiful and have use for tasteless wafers.
It was raining when we arrived at Harley Farms outside Pescadero. We had never heard of Pescadero either. The rain was fortunate for us as it served to scare away all the people with sense and other places to be, so we had the place all to ourselves. If you want the place all to yourself you may have to plan ahead. Like a year in advance. The place is all booked from now till forever.
There is a reason why.
The first reason is that these animals make great cheese. It is the kind of cheese that inspires a bunch of poor planning lunks to quickly buy a Styrofoam gas station cooler to try to preserve this beautiful food through a long weekend. The goat cheese/chocolate cheesecake did not go in the cooler. We ate it before we left the parking lot.
The second reason to go is the dining. The party wasn’t for us and they wouldn’t tell us what they were serving that night. In fact, they never tell anyone what they will be serving. The surprise is part of the experience. It is a new menu every night (which is hard to fact check if they never tell you in advance what they are serving) and if the food is only half as good as the fromage, it will be worth it.
But again, the place is booked from now till forever so good luck.
Commissary: food and table tennis
Dining inside a greenhouse situated next to a pool on the balcony of a hotel is one of the most L.A. things I have ever done. Add to that the fact that we ordered a shrimp po’ boy and a curry for brunch and the L.A. meter just explodes.
the Commissary is a Roy Choi project located on the pool deck of the Line hotel in Los Angeles’s Koreatown. It fancies itself as a bridge between different socio-economic strata. I fancy it as delicious.
I would say the po’ boy was run of the mill. The green curry with lemongrass was worth the drive.The company was unmatched, but unless you call me I cannot vouch for your ability to replicate my standards. And by “match my standard” I mean a woman who insists you use the ping pong table on the balcony and when the ball goes flying over the edge she just sets down the paddle and walks away without a word.
SK Donuts & Croissant
A cronut is a doughnut made from croissant dough. It is deep fried, sugared, filled, glazed, and it is heaven in your mouth. The Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York invented the thing and trademarked it in 2013. I do not live in New York, and consequentially, I am in full endorsement of trademark infringement for the greater good.
The cronut, and the bakery that spawned it, are rather high end, unlike my budget. S.K. Donuts is decidedly NOT high end and open 24 hours. Forget which end is in play here and just know that no matter what these things are legally named, you should eat one. Or seven.
I had one topped with Nutella and peanut butter, filled with cream. Topping anything with Nutella feels a little bit like cheating, but to stick with my extralegal theme here, I don’t care. It was great.
The menu is always in flux but the quality is as reliable as the hours. It is worth a drive.
The Food is So Much Better Than the Name: Eggslut
Los Angeles is not a shy city, nor am I a shy guy, but something about this place makes me pause just a little when people ask for good places to eat in town. Especially when my 12 year old daughter asks where we are headed for lunch.
While I may pause, not only do I still go, but I encourage you to do the same.
These folks have been featured everywhere. In Flight Magazine, every style or travel magazine in existence, and every food blogger alive has recommended Eggslut. So trendiness aside, because it is that, they have picked one singular food item, the egg, and just slapped it on everything worth eating, and it works.
Alibi Room: because your first time in a bar should be with your Mormon aunt and uncle.
It makes sense that if you are 21 and have never been inside a bar before, your first time would be with your Mormon aunt and uncle.
My niece is not a party girl, or a Mormon. She is a pastry chef. A foodie of sorts. So when she came to visit us we took her out for good food. At a bar. I knew what I was doing.
This particular bar’s kitchen is the only stationary location (of which I am aware) to find the fare of the famed Kogi BBQ food truck. Same food, but with seating.I have extolled their kimchi quesadilla before but today i must praise the chilaquiles.
Mole, scrambled eggs, and chicken. Heaven on a fried tortilla.
I must say that ordering the Korean BBQ tacos, quesadilla and the chilaquiles at the same time and trying to eat it yourself is way too much, it is oh so tasty and still surprisingly affordable. If you don’t count the costs of overeating.
They serve food at Bottega Louie. I have seen it, but I cannot speak of it first hand. But fear not, millions of other people can, and have.Yelp has declared Bottega Louie as their most photographed restaurant ever. My Instagram feed believes that statement.
While I saw sandwiches, the kind with bread and meaty things, I opted for the kind with sugar almond and chocolate. Upon reflection I have no regrets.
No, that isn’t true. Given the budget and time I had for the day, I do not regret my decision but on a grander scale I definitely regret my budget and time constraints. I need to go back and eat more. And I need to eat everything. Then I need to go eat more of everything.
High ceilings, high expectations, high brow; this place is all of those things and it lives up to what you would both hope and demand. I regularly doubt Los Angeles’s place in the pantheon of world cities. It has not completely (or at all) won me over to the idea that it belongs in the company of New York or Paris, but Bottega Louie is LA’s best argument yet.