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2.5 Stars For Saddle Peak, J.Gold Hits Baek Hwa Jung

1) Saddle Peak Lodge: This week SIV checks out Saddle Peak Lodge—a place she’s been frequenting roughly twice a year since the late-90s, seemingly every time with a different chef. New addition to the SPL team is Adam Horton, who has been at the restaurant for just over a year. “His enthusiasm shows. He's still got the fire in his belly, discussing his food with diners, thinking up new dishes and trying them on regulars. His cooking is deft and modern, a breath of fresh air in this once stolid place.” Although the restaurant is rumored to be over one hundred years old, but it’s unlikely that Old Hollywood guests would have enjoyed: “delightful roasted pink lady apple salad with feathery endive, candied pecans and a little soft blue cheese. Or perfectly seared foie gras, a few rich bites, perched on buttery brioche. Berkshire pork belly is beautiful too, crisp and caramelized on the outside, tender within, perked up with heirloom tomatoes in a sherry agri-doux sweet-and-sour dressing.” For something a little different, SIV is all about the chef's game trio of the night, which could be elk tenderloin with sauce chasseur, antelope with Brussels sprouts (and, oddly, bearnaise), and some ostrich tenderloin.” With an extensive California wine list and a more professional staff, SPL shines with two and a half stars. [LAT]

2) Baek Hwa Jung: This week, J.Gold checks out Roy Choi’s favorite K-Town haunt, Baek Hwa Jung on Olympic. Although Choi is notoriously closed-lipped when it comes to discussing his favorite restaurants in town, “he tends to get shy on you, occasionally praising the dining room he visited most recently, or a place owned by a friend, or a grand restaurant in New York,” he has admitted to having a soft spot for the daeji galbi, the specialty at Baek Hwa Jung. Gold describes the spot as “not quite a barbecue restaurant, and its pork is sizzled over a fire in the open kitchen rather than at a grill set into your table." But here it's all about the "gool bossam, which has more parts than a Revell dragster and may be more complicated to assemble: a pound or so of sliced belly arranged around the platter like dominoes, a mound of scarlet turnip kimchi, a dozen shucked oysters if you order them, and a special, mild yet pungent cabbage kimchi stacked as precisely as two decks of cards. There will be leaves to wrap things in, in this case the sweet, yellow inner leaves of napa cabbage cooked just enough to make them supple, and a small dish of sliced raw chilies and garlic...pile and arrange your chosen ingredients on a leaf of the cabbage, fold, and dip into the shrimp sauce — superb...Don't tell Choi, but I think you can make a pretty good taco with them, too." [LAW]

The Elsewhere: The Find visits La Huasteca in Lynwood, LA Food Blogging dines at the Foundry, Diana Takes A Bite at Test Kitchen, Refined Palate hits Wilshire, and LA Mag drops by The Olive.

Saddle Peak Lodge

419 Cold Canyon Road, , CA 91302 (818) 222-3888 Visit Website

Saddle Peak Lodge

419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA, 91302