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Mother-in-law Report #3: Peach Pie, Vintage Pig, Hungry Cat, and La Terza

JudiAU | Sep 12, 200502:40 PM

I am going to go a little out of order here and am skipping Thursday (tasting menu at Providence) and Friday (tasting menu at Sona) because I haven't had a chance to digest them, both physically and figuratively.

Friday we tried snacks from Boule (brilliant kougin amin; slightly greasy take on a BLT), Jin Patisserie (gorgeous little fleur de sel caramels), Stroh's Gourmet (unremarkable sandwich and salads but terrific potato chips), and Ivy at the Shore (planters punch excellent as always).

On Saturday we toured Surfas for our annual "anything we can grab" annual shopping trip hosted by MIL. Traditionally the "grab period" is limited to ten minutes but a special dispensation was made to JudiAU for a thirty minute grab period because of her attractive but unreliable footwear and a lack of wheeled shopping carts. If you were at Surfas on Saturday and saw someone grunting as she pushed a flat of canned tomatoes with her feet while lugging both an industrial kitchen mat and a bottle of balsalmico in her right arm and an overflowing shopping cart with their left arm whilst grabbing for the peach bitters it was me. I don't think the time limit will be extended in the future.

Saturday night's formal Vintage Pig Tasting revealed a preference for 2005. The pig was smaller overall but the fat cap was proportionally larger giving an even richer taste and a texture that was both more meaty and yielding than 2004. This bodes well for the future because we have another 100 pounds to eat. My trial peach pie from Tenerreli Farms was deemed a success so provisioning for the winter took place the next day.

We started the day on Sunday with a visit to the Hollywood Farmer's Market. After packing 25 pounds of prime grade Tenerreli peaches into the trunk of my car for peach pie production, we visited the Hungry Cat for brunch. Bloody Marys were spicy and hama hama oysters briny and firm. We snacked on a pecan sticky bun and beignets with blackberry dipping sauce to begin as we waited for our main courses. Beignets were tasty but in need of more fluid dipping sauce. The lobster roll, much discussed on this board, was delicious. I would prefer a plainer bun but the brioche does cradle the perfectly cooked lobster salad in a loving manner. It isn't cheap and it isn't big but was more than enough for me. Also sampled was a crab frittata and several orders of a crab cake benedict with perfectly poached eggs. I could make a habit of this. Interesting crowd of post-market families and really good looking people suffering from severe hangovers.

Sunday afternoon we attended Pagliacci at the Los Angeles Opera. Very good staging with an excellent performance by Angela Gheorghiu. Needless to say we did not eat at Pinot Hut, aka Parent of Swill Hut. My original thought was to eat in SGV but the lure of Campanile's bar brought us across town. Campanile was closed so we headed to La Terza.

I often forget about La Terza and I am not sure why. Almost all of the meals we have eaten there have been good. We sampled a best of class caprese, a saute of scallops and foie gras, farro pasta with chanterelles (earthy), rigatoni with pig's ear (rich and meaty), the excellent angelotti, and an amazing grilled pork belly with the crispest skin imaginable. The standout of the meal was a new carne crudo dish. County bread toasted on the grill was topped with a thin smear of aioli made with bacon. Both elements contributed a subtle smokiness to the dish. The toast was crowned with hand cut raw filet of beef tossed in a caper vinaigrette. The carne crudo was served with an arugula salad. A complete show stopper. It would make a good light meal on its own. Frankly, it was all delicious and a bit hard to face. My desire for food, any food, was quite low.

My MIL left town this morning but her presence lingers with a badly scheduled Slow Food tasting menu and vodka pairing scheduled at Grace tonight. The meal is going to have to be exquisite to make me interested in it!

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