Archive for the ‘eclectic menu’ Tag

Bestia, the Besty   Leave a comment

Reservations at the highly-rated Bestia in industrial Los Angeles are hard to snare. Although unable to reserve a table, we did, nonetheless, get two seats at the chef’s counter. (Thanks to my brother.)

Some people might not have appreciated the view. However, we were thrilled to have our line of vision occupied by the well-orchestrated crew preparing colorful, creative salads. Interestingly, we didn’t begin our meal with a salad. We ordered one later.

Our well-versed server suggested sharing several small plates. His subtle nod of approval when we decided on the crab crostino suggested we were off to a great start. Ordinarily, squid ink aoili, crab and Thai basil might vie as the leading flavor. Instead they all win.

I can’t resist bone marrow. It’s served here with spinach gnocchetti that we scraped it into.

Next, agnolotti, one of six pasta offerings; house-made, of course. The mini ravioli-like “parcels” were light and savory. Coated with brown butter and filled with braised oxtail, it was silky and surprisingly light. Toasted pistachios and currants added texture and sweetness.

Finally, the chopped salad, a combination of Brussels sprouts, endive, mint, salami, and fried lentils — all thinly sliced, er chopped.

We had to have dessert. Really! Imagine bananas Foster with peanut butter ice cream. I couldn’t. The ingredients, only a playful mind could conjure, was childlike in the best possible way: fun, crunchy, salty and sweet. The ice cream is made in-house.

Bestia is in a reclaimed warehouse. It’s loud, lively and its accolades are well deserved. I can’t wait to return.

Five Plates
2121 7th Place
Los Angeles

The Kitchen Zink   Leave a comment


Zink Kitchen+Bar is a well-kept secret. After all, who’d think to look in a Doubletree Hotel for an eclectic restaurant with a bold menu, good service and quality food? Half a dozen small plates are offered, any combination of which would make a complete meal. Our group opted for All Things Bacon as a starter. It was more than bacon, but somehow All Things Pork or even All Things Porcine doesn’t have the same ring. This indulgent plate successfully combined pork belly, maple bacon, pancetta and polenta in a mustard and dried fruit sauce.


Our server recommended the entrée items from the Wood Stone Oven: BBQ Pork Mac ‘n Cheese, Smoked Chicken Enchiladas, Vietnamese Chicken Clay Pot and Artisan Flatbread Pizza topped with sausage and red pepper. It was a culinary version of the U.N.


The Mac ‘n Cheese was thick, rich and creamy. The tangy barbecue-sauced ribs provided much needed balance. The enchiladas featured a white sauce augmented with Hatch green chile. It had a trace of a kick which allowed the chicken filling to take center stage. The sweet corn relish was a nice addition, but the side salad was superfluous. My Vietnamese Chicken wasn’t really in a clay pot. Still, it was quite good: an Asian version of chicken soup thick with Shitake mushrooms, bok choy, crispy pieces of chicken and Jasmine rice.


Zink taught me a lesson about good restaurants hiding near hotel lobbies. I won’t be so dismissive of them in the future.

Zink Kitchen+Bar                                                                                                                                                                           Four Plates
Doubletree Denver Tech
7801 E. Orchard Rd.
Greenwood Village, Colo.

A Subtle Pizza Place   Leave a comment


Among the first things you notice when entering Baked is the absence of tables. Then eyes turn to a turntable playing records, real 33 1/3 LPs. The distressed brick walls also command attention as does a large frame on part of a chalkboard listing the day’s offerings. It’s an eclectic scene which reflects the menu: five types of pizza, a soup, a salad, two types of Angel Food cupcakes (chocolate and vanilla) and (usually) another dessert. The other distinguishing feature is the friendliness of the staff.

They have good reason to be amicable; this is a pretty relaxed place that serves food based on what’s fresh and available locally. In Galesburg, IIL., in late winter you might think that wouldn’t be much, but that would be wrong. Fresh isn’t relegated only to produce. At Baked it also refers to locally-sourced meats and cheeses.

Pizza is available by the slice and by the pie. We tried the “low pork” which was slow roasted and shredded. The crust was thin enough to fold and the pork jumped off the red sauce with a slight kick. Mozzarella was almost superfluous. The Angel Food cupcakes were funky-looking, but airy and frosted with creamy, tangy icing.


Other pizza offerings included pepperoni, tomato, cheese and the intriguing-sounding pistachio and red onion. The pepperoni comes from Walt and Cole, unless you’re a local that doesn’t mean much more than tasty.
Although Baked has no tables, it does have a small counter space with barstools to accommodate as many eight people, if everyone is a close friend – or wants to be.

Four Plates
57 S. Seminary St.
Galesburg, Ill.