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Weekend trip to LA part II (Birthday celebration!)

Posted on | March 12, 2009 | No Comments

Since the Santa Monica Pancreatic Cancer Research Walk roughly coincided with my best friend Amy’s 40th birthday, a few of us had a little celebration the night before.

The night started with dinner at Musha in Torrance. It has the appearance of a typical izakaya inside; cozy, yet extremely lively at the same time. Myself, Amy, and our friend K were there shortly after they opened, and were seated at the bar… my favorite spot!

We started things off with a nice, fruity bottle of cold sake:

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We ordered four dishes, including the MFC, aka Musha’s Fried Chicken (although K gave it another charming nickname… lol!)  The crust was extra crunchy, and the chicken was seasoned to perfection. It was accompanied with a soy based sauce, chives, and grated daikon:

mfc

Another dish was their Kakuni, basically stewed pork belly with potatoes. The meat was so tender it was falling apart! It was all bathed in a wonderful sweet dashi broth. Excellent.

porkbelly

The Takotama seemed to be a varient of okonomiyaki. It was basically an octopus omelette over soba noodles, with ginger, nori, green onions, and tons of mayo layered on top. It wasn’t bad, but was probably my least favorite dish of the night.

omelette-022

I’d heard about the Musha Risotto, and it was a unique dish. I don’t think I’ve seen risotto on a Japanese menu before! The waiter brought it out in this big hollowed out cheese, mixed it up to infuse the flavors, and served it to us on a plate. I believe it consisted of brown rice, bacon, and lots and lots of cheese, rendering it almost TOO rich. Definitely not your typical risotto, but not too shabby..

risotto-024

risottoii-025

Cost: $$

1725 W Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501
Phone: 310 787-7344

Musha on Urbanspoon

Our next stop was Bar Centro at the BAZAAR, where we met up with two more of Amy’s friends. My intention was for us to go to the Bazaar after dinner for drinks and dessert, but it didn’t exactly work out that way. Since the Bazaar is currently one of LA’s “It” restaurants, I wasn’t able to secure a reservation. It was still early in the evening, so we were able to walk into Bar Centro for drinks, but could only order off of the menu at that one station. The Patisserie was literally right next to us, and was completely empty, but the hostess informed us that they were booked for the evening. Okay, so I figured we’d just order desserts from there and take it back to the bar… but was curtly informed that was NOT allowed. Hmm. Next time I obviously need to call a few months in advance for a reservation, or hope that the popularity dies down! To make matters worse, my primary motivation for going here was to get Amy one of their liquid nitrogen cocktails. After ordering the drinks, the waitress returned a few minutes later to inform me that the platter for that drink was ‘out of commission for the evening’. !!!!  It was only a little after 8PM on a Saturday night, and that’s one of their signature drinks! SIGH. I ordered her a Passion Fruit Martini instead, and this “New Way” Dirty Martini for myself. My favorite things about this drink were the salty brine air layered on top, and the olive spherification, which was a faux olive. It consisted of some type of thin membrane containing an extremely olive tasting olive oil inside. I could’ve eaten a bowl of these! Unfortunately the martini itself was quite bitter, and even with a $16 price tag, I couldn’t finish it. I also had to factor in the fact that I was DD for the night…  =D

“New Way” Dirty Martini:

blurredmartini

Olive Spherification:

olive1

One of Amy’s friends ordered some tapas, so I did get to try some of the food. Pictured here is the Croquettas de Pollo (chicken and bechamel fritters), Pa Amb Tomaquet (Canadian style toasted bread with monchego cheese, tomatoes and olive oil), and sweet potato chips with yogurt tamarind and star anise sauce. All of them were pretty good..

tapas

I guess I’ll have to return to try the full menu, plus that liquid nitro drink!

465 S La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: 310 246-5555

www.thebazaar.com

The Bazaar By Jose Andres on Urbanspoon

Since we couldn’t get our dessert at the Bazaar, we hopped across La Cienaga to Tokyo Table for one of my favorite desserts, Honey Toast! We ordered the Cinnamon and Original Honey Toast, which were both good. The cinnamon reminded me a lot of cinnamon toast (gee, I wonder why) which I adore. The original was good, but I have to say that my favorite honey toast is still at Ichiza’s here in Vegas. I think it’s the butter they layer in theirs that gives it that special something..

blurredhoneytoast

50 N La Cienega Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Phone: 310 657-9500
www.tokyotable.com

Tokyo Table on Urbanspoon

The birthday celebration continues this weekend right here in Vegas… stay tuned!

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