19 December 2008

The Foundry + Sprinkles

Last Sunday was my birthday. Considering I am still recovering from my wedding three weeks earlier (hence this being the first BFT post in 5+ months -- w00t!), I decided on a low-key affair consisting of: sleeping in, coffee infused with a cinnamon stick (inspired by Mexico honeymoon), passively watching football while tooling around on my new MacBook Pro, and finally getting up in the afternoon to hit up two Los Angeles spots I've heard much about.

I first heard of The Foundry from an admissions counselor at Kitchen Academy in Hollywood (I have and still do flirt with enrolling). They offer a fixed menu on Sundays. According to our waiter, Chef Eric Greenspan hits up the local farmer's markets and devises the menu that very day. Which is a bit of a lie since I peeked at the menu on their website on Saturday, and a large majority of it was indeed there on Sunday, but no matter. I really dug the vibe: Low key, sophisticated without being pretentious, with a bar out front that has just enough room to squeeze in jazz and blues acts. Chef Greenspan even came out a couple of times to make sure everyone was enjoying their food. Sure, you will be surrounded by entertainment industry conversations, and the valet is seven freakin' dollars, but the food... oh the food.

Finely crafted. Gorgeous. Flavorful. We stuffed ourselves on four courses.

Camille's 1st course -- Duo of raw fish: spicy albacore tartare, chestnut, persimmon / yellowtail sashimi, celery, kumquats

She says: "Fabulous. Phresh with a P-H. I really liked the salt on the yellowtail with the celery and the citrus." Note the tartare rolled up inside a date.

My 1st course -- Potato soup: gruyere and leek bread pudding / bacon / fried egg

They bring out the dish with the bread pudding, bacon, and egg by itself. Then they pour the soup right in front of you. The soup was flavorful without being too heavy. And I'm a big believer in topping anything and everything with a fried egg. When you think about it, it's like a classic diner breakfast in soup form. Except really elegant. The bread putting puts it over the top. Lots of different textures going on.

Camille's 2nd course -- Potato Gnocchi: swiss chard / figs / blue cheese

She says: "The best thing there." I had a bite. Twas most cheesy, in a good way.

My 2nd course -- Crispy pork belly: yams / fennel / raisins

Somewhat similar to one of my favorite Filipino dishes, lechon kawali. Which is exactly why I ordered it. It didn't disappoint. The pork belly was perfectly cooked, with crispy skin/fat that wasn't oily in the slightest, plus really tender and juicy meat. Camille suspects that, instead of deep frying it, they probably ladled hot oil to crisp it. The salty/crispy of the pork on top of the rich sweetness of the yam was delightful.

Camille's entree -- Crispy skin salmon: broccoli / walnuts / orange

She says: "Cooked perfectly. But it was 'eh.' Something you can get at any restaurant."

My entree -- Duck confit: squash / piquillo peppers / dried cherry / spaetzle

I was surprised they gave me two duck legs. At this point, after potato soup and pork belly, I was beginning to fill up. Crispy and juicy in all the right spots. I don't know what kind of salt is used, but it brings a subtle yet distinct layer of flavor to the duck. The fixings were fine, but not the melding of flavors that my previous courses had.

Dessert -- Eggnog creme brulee: dried fruits / orange sherbert

At this point we were about to explode. I didn't mention that between each course, a small bread was served. No more than two bites apiece, but we're four courses in, now. Woof. I really liked the addition of the fruit and especially the orange sherbert. The citrus helps cut through the richness and sweetness of the creme brulee. I wanted the sugar coating to have a more distinctive crunch... you know, the whole brulee bit. In fairness, I was done before this thing hit the table. Lots. Of. Food.

We had actually gone to Sprinkles beforehand to pick up cupcakes. You'd have to be a hermit to not have heard of Sprinkles. They were recommended by Martha Stewart at one point, which is basically like having the clouds part and God tell you you are his son. And as evidenced by the "coming soon" part of their site, they are going to be positively everywhere. Cupcakes are the new gourmet frozen yogurt, apparently.

And lo and behold, when we arrived, there was a 20-minute line out front. I am immediately distrustful of famous Los Angeles proprietors who flaunt their fame and have excessive lines (Pink's Hot Dogs can lick my ass), but I was won over by one distinct menu offering on Sprinkles' wall: a shot of frosting. Awesome!

We didn't actually get a shot of frosting, but the cupcakes were good. Firm and moist and sweet and all that stuff. They do a cream cheese frosting that's very nice. The red velvet cupcakes are one of their most popular, and for good reason. Even though I was stuffed, I plowed through one when we'd returned home. Most satisfying.

And to top it all off, they make dog-friendly cupcakes.

1 comment:

Peace said...

Yum-tastic! May have to try The Foundry soon, but you neglected to mention one vital piece of intel: How much do four courses run (on average)?