labor day weekend was the perfect excuse to escape the houston heat and hurricane season and i took the opportunity to flee to the west coast for a week. my ambitious agenda in addition to spending quality time with my L.A. friends included a lot of ambitious chowhounding.
my L.A. to do list:
splurge - providence
izakaya - musha*
dim sum - sea harbour
lobster roll - the hungry cat
fish tacos - tacos baja ensenada
ramen - santouka* and daikokuya
sichuan - chung king
burger - father's office
pastrami - langer's
sunday supper @ lucques
italian - mozza
soup dumplings - J&J, mei long
omakase - sushi zo
hatfield's, the foundry, anisette
* return visit
some of these to do's were leftover from my last trip to L.A. over memorial day weekend. others were recs from the houston chowhound discussion board.
my first day in LA, i made great headway checking off two restaurants from my to do list: the hungry cat and providence.
my first meal of the day was lunch at the hungry cat. the objective was to try the lobster roll that receives so many praises. the lobster roll, which is simply a mayo-based lobster salad sandwich, is one of my favorite things to eat in the world (and it's tragic that they are no where to be found in houston). whenever i make it to NYC, i always try to make it to mary's fish camp for the lobster roll and ambiance which i like better than pearl's oyster bar. mermaid inn will also do in a pinch too if i'm on the east side b/c although the lobster roll isn't as good, the old bay shoestring fries are really yummy.
back to my lunch plans. i learned the hard way the last time i was in L.A. that the lobster roll is only served on the lunch menu at the hungry cat.
the raw bar greeted us when we walked in. fresh sea urchin from santa barbara was displayed on ice. i was tempted to order a sea urchin, but i wasn't sure if my friend would like it. besides, i had an amazing dinner planned at providence that night, so i skipped it.
when the lobster roll arrived at the table, i was shocked how small it was.
not only that, the lobster meat to bread ratio was totally off. the bread was delicious and practically soaking in butter, but i was craving mouthfuls of lobster in my mouth and this dish didn't deliver.
the lobster salad itself was tasty and i noticed that it contained lobster claw meat which i love. seasoned with generous amounts of paprika, the mayo had a reddish tinge and lots of tiny diced red onion and celery which gave the cold salad some great flavors. i could only bring myself to eat about 1/3 of those fries and i left the hungry cat still hungry. for a $23 dish, i'll be saving my lobster roll fixes for manhattan from now on. the price is about the same, but at least the east coast sandwich is almost twice as large and reasonably satiates my yen for lobster temporarily.
D. had the watermelon and tomato salad with feta which was a lovely, light summer dish topped with baby arugula.
stay tuned for my next post about dinner in L.A. at providence!