A quick (and to be honest probably final) 'Places To Eat In Los Angeles' today (most of the meals out in LA I ate after this were at some of my favourite haunts like The Tasting Kitchen), a little spotlight on an absolutely lovely lunch Kathryn and I shared on Friday before a bit of shopping (I picked up my final Sephora and Victoria's Secret hauls) in Westfield, Century City. I used to be highly suspicious of food as shopping centers as a kid, but now I find I can have rather fantastic meals in between shopping; at my local mall in England, Bluewater I can dine at Byron Burger, Loch Fyne, Carluccio's, and apparently since I've been away they've also opened the first out of London Leon branch. (Their Byron branch was also the first out of London branch for them, too.) In London I favour Westfield, Stratford City where I always make a bee line for Cabana Brazilian Barbecue, so it makes sense that the food would be pretty awesome here, too.
We at at Breadbar. I like to plan ahead, and when we both saw Moules Frites on the menu online while putting our makeup on that morning we knew instantly what we wanted for lunch. Best friends are supposed to share a lot of things, and while Kathryn and I are total opposites in so many areas, we share our absolute love for this dish in all forms. Interesting fact, Moules Marinières is my all time favourite dish, but because my parents don't eat mussels I'd never had them growing up, and I thought the idea of them was horrible. It was Kathryn when they turned up at school lunch one day who talked me, kicking and screaming to try one, and since then they have become my favourite. I had actually been living part of the year at my French house in Brittany, which is basically the Moules Marinières capital of France where they grace practically every menu for two years before putting any of the local seafood in my mouth. I now eat them for practically every meal there.
Who remembers the Jack Whitehall sketch from his live DVD about Americans and their free drinks refills? We went for constantly refilled cups of unsweetened iced tea (me) and American cloudy lemonade (Kathryn). Incidentally, we thought each others drinks tasted absolutely vile. I've been trying to turn her into at least an ice tea appreciator on this trip, but somehow I don't think that is going to happen.
The mussels were done 'Belgium Style', though that is a term to be used loosely They were delicious however. I think there was a little bit of white wine in there as well as traditional German beer (Kathryn suggested the flavour might indicate a bit of Cider in there, but American Cider is basically sparkling apple juice, not what we see as Cider. The whole thing is rather confusing), and chilli in the bowl to give it a bit of an after kick. We also noticed the mussels were a bit different from what we were used to, less big and plump and they were shaped slightly different, but only really things that people who eat mussels as much as we do would notice. Anyway, they, and their broth (we like to dip our bread and chips (fries) in there too, were delicious.
Regular readers will know I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about all the additives in American bread, but I am happy to report Breadbar's breads were lovely, passed muster and were great for mopping up the seafood broth. (You'd hope it would be, as they are named Breadbar!) Our server was also kind enough to bring us extra bread for our leftover broth, too.
Finally, long term readers of the blog will understand this photo of empty mussel shells is a reference to a lot of my French Photo Diaries where I've usually become so impatient for my favourite dish to reach the table I've forgotten to photograph them before they have simply been turned into a massive stack of empty shells. Since I've been making a point of shooting the shells after I've eaten at most meals. So, here is to my first bowl of Moules, of many, this Summer! On another final note, my post on How To Eat Mussels is actually one of the most popular foodie posts on this site so I thought I'd link back to it; at this meal, I was presented with a baby fork to eat them with rather than using the shells which made me shudder, and there was a closed one in my bowl, check out my post to learn how to do things the right (well the right French) way, and how to avoid getting sick eating these little ocean delicacies.
Do you have any stories behind your favourite dishes to eat out or cook at home?