1) Pasadena: A three star trip to The Royce in Pasadena has SIV raving uncontrollably over David Féau’s cooking. Her obsession begins with the first dish: “My first course arrives: lentils. They're not just any lentils, though. They're lentilles de Puy from the Auvergne region of France... just as I'm about to wield my fork, the server hurries over with a major black truffle, which he proceeds to shave over the plate until it's entirely covered? The truffle is a very good one. I don't have to put nose to plate to get a whiff of its intoxicating dank scent: It comes to me. I take a bite. The flavors riff from sweet and grassy peas to the lentils' stony minerality overlaid with the profound earthiness of truffle. Its winter and spring in one dish. I could stop right here and feel satisfied. But this is just the start of a meal at the Royce.” Feau is "turning out seriously delicious food in a new dining room that has traded in its old-school fustiness for a bright new look...Féau's pared-down menu is sophisticated and smart. In the world of fine dining, it's also an incredible bargain at just $85 for a five-course tasting menu...another big change is the service, which has a new energy and professionalism. And under [Eric] Espuny, the wine service is as good as it gets...[he] is one of the best sommeliers in the business — relaxed, engaging, knowledgeable...fine dining is making a comeback." [LAT]
2) SGV: This week Gold asks, “Are you looking for dan dan mian?” Dan dan mian, which he describes as “a simple, intensely flavored dish of noodles heaped with dried chile, pickled mustard, fried peanuts and a bit of vinegar? There is almost always a handful of crumbled pork in the bowl — it is the soul of the dish.” The flagrantly spicy top quality version of this noodle dish can be found at Lucky Noodle King. Gold arrived with low expectations, stating “? I wasn't expecting much more than a plate of dumplings and some fried chicken, maybe some spicy eggplant.” But he was happily surprised when he recognized the former owner’s wife of his now shuddered favorite, Chuan Yu Noodle Town. It was then he knew he was in good hands, as he adds “...within a few seconds, I was looking down at a magnificent bowl of dan dan mian — the very bowl I'd been yearning for, but even better, because it was made with what seemed to be fresh noodles instead of dried, a bowl whose slippery, living texture was finally as intriguing as its 220-volt taste?Chuan Yu hadn't really closed — it had expanded into a larger space a couple miles to the east.” [LAW]
The Elsewhere: The Find tries Flavors of Belize, Midtown Lunch discusses Mariscos Chente, Eastside Food Bites eats a slice from Two Boots, kevinEats at Mori Sushi, Eat: LA samples Itzik Hagadol Grill and Caroline on Crack drinks brunch at Eveleigh.