I was really happy that I managed to squeeze in a trip to LA last weekend. It takes about four hours to drive there from the desert if you swing by Cypress to pick up a gorgeous lady called Amee.
A couple of years ago, the ridiculously talented Mike and his beautiful wife Carolyn, whom I often refer to as "the classiest person I know", moved out to LA. A few months ago, Amee also moved out there. My Stunt Guy and I had managed to pull off dinner with Mike and Carolyn back at the tail end of our San Diego trip last summer, but we hadn't seen them since their wedding last fall.
Mike and Amee are both great actors, and I remain hopeful that wonderful things will happen for them soon. I sometimes feel like Carolyn could be my food soulmate. Her taste is impeccable and she really really knows food.
Carolyn suggested dinner at Vintage Enoteca. We were planning on heading to a show not far from there, and they had a pretty hard to beat happy hour that timed out perfectly with when we would like to be there.
Vintage Enoteca is lovely.
We decided to sit outside. The front of the restaurant is almost like a big covered porch. The benches around were strewn with comfy cushions and, though the street was noisy, the atmosphere just felt really good. I instantly tucked in to some really stellar Blackberry Sangria. It was light, fruity and perfectly balanced.
The Happy Hour special was for half off food not including the cheeses and salumi. With prices like that it was so easy to try several great things off the menu.
Carolyn and I are both really into cheese and I wish I had had the presence of mind to write down what we ate but, well, that didn't happen. One of the cheeses was a smoked blue cheese though and it was simply stunning.
I adored the Medjool Dates, which were stuffed with Manchego, Goat Cheese, Pepper and Speck. They were piping hot and quite good.
Next came a Bruschetta Trio. I went for Grilled Peach with goat cheese and bacon marmalade, Blue Crab with lemon and mint, and Chicken Pate with pickled shallot. Holy crap they were amazing. All three were just insane. So delicious. The crab was light and tangy and delicious. The bacon marmalade was out of this world. The pate, oh the pate. The pickled shallots were perfect on top. If you find yourself at this restaurant, you have to order those three. They were beyond superb.
I grabbed a bite of Mike's Mac and Cheese. It was really yummy, but I just wanted to get back to my Bruschetta.
Seriously. Grilled Peach. Goat Cheese. Bacon Marmalade. Perfect.
The last dish that came out was the Gnocchi with Fava Bean Puree and Truffled Ricotta. This is the dish that I keep thinking about. The gnocchi was light as air with a perfect crisp edge to it. The truffle was pronounced, yet balanced, and the puree was unexpectedly good. I could have eaten it on it's own and loved it, though it's not something I would have thought to order.
Our bill was remarkably low for dinner and drinks for four people. I think we came out to less than $30 each including tip which strikes me as impressive in LA.
Spending time with friends was so worth the drive. I'm so happy for a lovely meal in such great company!