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Restaurants & Bars 5

Mini Chowhound Weekend for Four

Barbara | Jun 10, 200204:30 PM

I'm a little late in posting this but two weekends ago, my husband and I celebrated our friends' wedding anniversary in the most meaningful way we know, i.e., wining and dining. Our dinner at Water Grill on Friday night was wonderful. We were spending the night across the street at Checkers Hotel so we had a head start there with a bottle of good (1985) Champagne, compliments of the anniversary couple. We had ordered a bottle of Schramsberg Blanc de Noir to have chilled and waiting for our arrival at Water Grill. It turned out to be the perfect complement to the Malpeque and Hama Hama oysters on the half shell. We brought two bottles from home: 96 Didier Dagueneau Silex Pouilly-Fume and '96 Williams & Selyem Olivet Lane Pinot Noir. Both were graciously poured and served by our very wine knowledgeable server, Josiah. The Silex worked extremely well with our Soft Shell Crabs served over a fennel puree with a purslane and lime vegetable beurre blanc. The presentation was beautiful and, more important, the flavors combined well. The Pinot Noir was equally good with the Copper River (king) Salmon served with salsify puree, sweet peas, and applewood moked bacon. Since we still had some of the Pinot Noir left, we ordered a cheese assortment that did not disappoint. We have been to Water Grill three times in the past month and have enjoyed exceptional food and service each time. (Our other two visits were before/after theater.)

Our Saturday experience was very different from Friday's, but no less exciting. Lunch was beef, chicken, and pork tacos from a taco stand in Grand Central Market that I had read about on this board. The "mild" (green) sauce was way too spicy for two of us but the tacos were really good. After walking through various parts of downtown, we decided to pick up a few things to take back home to eat. First stop was my husband's favorite burrito stand, Al & Bea's Mexican Food on 1st St. in East L.A. He lived in the area as a kid and still loves their burritos. He bought two cheese/bean burritos as his contribution to dinner. Next was Philippe's on Alameda where we bought one lamb and one beef French dip sandwich. By now, it was about 6:00 PM and the lines were long. Fortunately, there were many lines and they all moved very quickly so our wait wasn't all that bad and certainly worth the rewards. To round out the menu, we picked up some just o.k. Chinese food at ABC Seafood around the corner from Philippe's. The soft shell crabs had been frozen (can't figure out why since they are in season) and were small and greasy. The minced duck in lettuce leaves was pretty good. I don't think that we will go there again although the variety of fish swimming in the tanks was impressive. So, back home it was with our feast along with some wine (beer would have been better). All in all, a wonderful culinary weekend.

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