Tag Archives: Melisse

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2020

This past year was brutal for all of us, and the restaurant industry was hit especially hard. Like many of you, I have tried my best to support the eateries I love by ordering take-out or delivery. Plus I think we all need delicious comfort food now more than ever to make us feel better and provide a sense of normalcy. As in prior years, I have put together a list of my favorite ten dishes I wrote about (mostly via Instagram lately) during the past year. Here’s hoping for a happier and healthier new year!

Ube Creme Caramel (in the center) from Creme Caramel LA.

10. Ube Creme Caramel from Creme Caramel LA. This Filipino-inspired dessert shop specializes in different flavors of crème caramel. All are amazing but the Ube (purple yam) flavor is my favorite.

Bagels from Maury’s

9. Bagels from Maury’s. We are in the midst of a bagel renaissance in L.A. and these are some of the best. They are ideally consumed hot out of the oven with a scallion cream cheese schmear.

Crispy Soft Shell Crab from Rustic Spoon

8. Crispy Soft Shell Crab from Rustic Spoon. Crunchy, salty and crabilicious, this is my favorite dish at my favorite Valley Thai eatery. It’s served on a bed of Papaya Salad with a sugary Plum Sauce on the side.

Cheeseburger Potstickers from Ms Chi Cafe

7. Cheeseburger Potstickers from Ms Chi Cafe. These jumbo fusion dumplings made with Ground Chuck Roast, Diced Onion and Shredded Cheddar Cheese, and served with Tomato-bacon Jam, were a winning dish for Chef Shirley Chung on Top Chef.

Fried Clam Basket from Connie and Ted’s

6. Fried Clam Basket from Connie and Ted’s. Whole Belly Ipswich Clams are hard to find in LA., and the ones fried up at Chef Michael Cimarusti’s New England-themed restaurant are wicked good!

Bee Sting Pizza with Tomato, Soppressata, Chile, Honey and Basil from Roberta’s

5. Bee Sting Pizza from Roberta’s. Brooklyn’s most hipsterish pizza joint has expanded into Culver City, and this spicy, doughy, cheesy and slightly sweet work of culinary art is not to be missed.

Bread Pudding from B Sweet Dessert Bar

4. Bread Pudding from B Sweet Dessert Bar. In addition to her other incredible offerings, talented pastry chef Barb Batiste serves a rotating selection of 50+ hot bread puddings, each with its own accompanying sauce. My favorites are Salted Caramel, Glazed Donut, Banana Chocolate and Pumpkin.

Lobster Risotto from Melisse x Citrin

3. Lobster Risotto from Melisse x Citrin. There is no better place on the Westside to splurge for a special occasion. This fine dining establishment’s fixed price menu of gourmet delights changes every week and, when ordered to go, includes instructions on assembling each course at home. This heavenly Risotto was from their “Lobster, Lobster, Lobster” set menu.

Dulce de Leche Besito Cookies from Porto’s Bakery

2. Dulce de Leche Besito Cookies from Porto’s Bakery. “Besito” means “kiss” in Spanish and I am head-over-heels in love with these Cuban buttery cookies filled with gooey thick caramel and dusted with powdered sugar.

Uni Pizza with Santa Barbara Uni, Uni Cream Butter, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil from The Joint Eatery

Uni Pizza from The Joint Eatery. This gourmet seafood restaurant and market offers a seafood-themed pizza on Sundays. Every version of this pizza I’ve ordered there has been amazing, but the one that they occasionally make with Uni, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil is transcendent. It’s the best thing I consumed in 2020.

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Filed under Burbank, Culver City, Downey, Glendale, North Hollywood, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Valley Village, West Covina, West Hollywood, West LA

Haute Stuff

If you’ve read my Manifesto, you know I believe that Los Angeles is the most exciting food city in the world right now.  But with that said, there’s one thing that’s sorely lacking here.  There is a surprising dearth of fine dining restaurants in this city; places that offer very high end cuisine, a tasting menu, a sommelier, impeccable service and an elegant and romantic atmosphere. One of the few such places that we do have is Melisse. Helmed by master chef Josiah Citrin, Melisse serves gorgeous plates of contemporary French cuisine and offers a world-class wine list. The food is refined and innovative, and the offerings change nightly.

Dinner at Melisse is not just a meal, it’s an experience, and one that typically lasts between 3 1/2 and 4 hours, especially if you get one of the lengthier tasting menus. One of Chef Citrin’s signature dishes is “Egg Caviar,” a cut eggshell with a layer of runny yolk at the bottom, a layer of lemon-chive creme fraiche in the middle and a pile of American Osetra caviar on top. When all mixed together, it is a spectacular taste sensation. Other dishes I love are the unusual Fennel Flan with Orange Gelee, Cashew Foam and Vanilla, the incredible Maine Lobster Bolognese with Fresh Capellini, Truffle Froth & Grated Black Truffle, and the perfectly cooked Filet of Beef and Braised Cheek with Potato Pave and Puree, Mustard Greens, Bearnaise and Red Wine Braising Jus. As you would expect, a meal at Melisse is not inexpensive. So for most of us, this is a special occasion restaurant; the perfect place to celebrate an important birthday, anniversary or job promotion, and live large for a few hours.

Melisse is located at 1104 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.

Amuse Bouche: Salmon Skin with Cured Salmon and Salmon Roe

Fennel Flan with Orange Gelee, Cashew Foam and Vanilla

Egg Caviar with Poached Egg, Lemon-Chive Creme Fraiche and American Osetra Caviar

Blue Fin Tuna with Abalone Gelee, Rhubarb, Fennel & Finger Lime

Hot and Cold Foie Gras with Blueberry, Ginger and Hazelnut (off the menu now because of the foie gras ban)

Artichoke Truffle Agnolotti with Charred Leek-Orange Blossom Jus

Maine Lobster Bolognese with Fresh Capellini, Truffle Froth & Grated Black Truffle

Seared Hokkaido Scallop with Salsify, Toasted Barley and Vadouvan

Filet of Beef and Braised Cheek with Potato Pave and Puree, Mustard Greens, Bearnaise and Red Wine Braising Jus

Liberty Duck Breast with Confit of Blood Oranges and Turnips, Spiced Couscous and Sauce Bigarade

Chocolate, Caramel & Strawberry

The dining room is elegant, romantic and understated.

Melisse on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Santa Monica