Unleash the Bestia in Me!

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My wife Lisa and I decided to celebrate our 10 year anniversary by dining out in Los Angeles sans Beaumont, our 2.5 year old son.  Sure, he loves great food too and I love being with him, but sometimes you just need adult time. I told Cathleen Newmann, Figue’s Vivreau water rep, about our plans and she suggested Bestia, also one of her accounts.  The wait list to get a reservation for Bestia is so long that Beaumont would probably have a better chance getting a reservation in his lifetime than me in mine.  Cathleen said she might have incriminating photos of the Chef/Owner Ori Menashe, formerly Chef of Angelini Osteria and a certain inflatable goat from a recent trip to Las Vegas and perhaps they might be helpful in getting a ressie.  I eagerly asked her to pursue the coveted reservations by all means necessary.  The day we wanted to go was only five days away so we started forming backup plans just in case.  I hadn’t heard anything from Cathleen till Tuesday when she sent a coded message telling me my reservation at Bestia was secured.  In retrospect, the message could of said forget about it, Ori is proud of those pictures, go ahead post away. Hey what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas or something like that.

We arrived ten minutes early for our reservation and were told that no such reservations existed.  Devastation.  I had already figured out what 18 dishes I had to try on Ori’s kick ass menu.  I almost started crying, throwing a Beau like tantrum spewing different names and phone numbers that the reservation might be under.  It was a little like a scene from the movie Date Night when Steve Carell and Tina Fey are trying to eat at a trendy city restaurant.  Apparently some combination worked and we were seated outside in an atrium-esque industrial setting.  It gave the dining experience a wonderful ambiance.

Our waiter quickly arrived at our table and dropped off the cocktail menu and dinner menu and gave a brief history of the restaurant from it’s opening the day after Thanksgiving in 2012.  We were so amused by the Bespoke option on the drink list that we asked to learn more.  Our waiter told us of their mixologist Julian Cox who apparently is a genius and loves challenges.  Tell him an alcohol and at least one characteristic and the guy will blend the most amazing cocktail you ever tried.  I went mainstream and said Rum and Sweet.  Lisa tried to stump him with Campari and delectable.

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I could hear Julian chuckle at our novice attempt to confound him as he sent over two of the best cocktails we ever had in our lives.  Mine was called something like a beesting and Lisa’s was appropriately called ‘refreshing’.  Her cocktail had this super cool metal stirrer/straw.  The evening was starting so perfectly, setting the pace for the culinary onslaught waiting to be unleashed from the Bestia within.

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WE sipped wonderful cocktails and looked at the fig tree and cactus’s next to us.  I ordered four small plates and asked the waiter t space them out in the proper sequence.  We wanted to enjoy each one separately and deliberately.  Chef Ori is known for several things.  The thing that attracted me to him was the home made pickles and charcuterie, with the pizzas and pasta not far behind.  The first dish out was a amazing Kanpachi crudo with Squid Ink bottarga, breadcrumbs, chili oil, lemon and scallions.

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The honey flavors in my rum cocktail actually worked well with the dish.  My only complaint or comment was it could have used a touch of salt.  The crudo did what it was suppose too, it whet the appetite for the next round.  We ordered a bottle of 2007 Kabaj Cuvee Morel, a Slovenian Cabernet/Merlot, Cab Franc blend while waiting for the next dish.  The waiter could exactly take our desire for an earthy old world wine and translate it into liquid love.  I wish I had gotten the name of the waiter as he was extremely knowledgeable, enjoyable to talk with and exactly what a waiter should be.

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Chef Ori’s selection of house made charcuterie came next.  The Coppa di Testa with house made mustard was delightful.  I loved the fact that no one mentioned what part of the pig this came from.  You just ate it.  Us Americans are needlessly so squeamish about eating certain body parts.  The earthy wine sang songs with the various salumi on the wooden board.

Next up was the pan seared Octopus and Calamari with fennal, mixed mushrooms, arugula and aged balsamic.  The mushrooms worked so well with the octopus and calamari.  Yummy!

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Next up was Grilled Lamb Tongue Crostino with Garbanzo Bean Puree, Salsa Verde, heirloom Carrot and Lemon Cucumber pickles.  An explosion of yummy flavors and textures.  Lisa loved the lamb but kept thinking of Mick Jagger’s tongue.  I made a few ill timed imitations of our son’s lamb doll asking where his tongue went.  By this time we were getting full.  WE debated purging ourselves and continuing…  the food is that good!  We  were up between Pistachio pasta with a goat ragu, a sea urchin pasta or the Agnolotti alla Vaccinara, Cacao parcels with braised Ox Tails, Burro Fuso, Grana Padano, Pine nuts and Currants.  We decided on the last one and were completely blown away by the depth and range of flavors.

Bestia 25Sufficiently replenished and satiated we passed up more pasta, pizza and possibly an orata for two desserts.  I normally rarely eat dessert.  In America desserts are just to one dimensional and sugary for me.  However, Ori’s wife Pastry Chef Genevieve Gergis makes unbelievable desserts that could forever change my mind.  I won’t repeat what I said to the waiter about the desserts…  but it was all good.

 

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The desserts we choose were the valrhona fair trade bittersweet chocolate tart with salted caramel and the ricotta fritters with fresh strawberry jam, brown sugar gelato and whipped cream.   The crust on the chocolate tart was everything a perfect crust should be, crisp, flaky, sugary, yummy.  The ricotta fritters were my kind of dessert.  I may have to try to make them at Figue when I go to work this weekend.

 

All in all, we had a fabulous time.  The food and service were unbelievable,  I do not know Ori so I apologize about my bad humor.  You rock!  Dining here has revitalized me in my quest for culinary perfection.  It is so nice to go out and be stimulated and blown away!

I highly recommend eating there.  Location: 2121 7th Place Los Angeles CA, 90021; Telephone: 213.514.5724; http://www.bestiala.com/index.php

Chef Francois…

 

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Figue Mediterranean previews 2014 Jaguar F-Type Roadster

3T9A2319Figue Mediterranean to preview 2014 Jaguar F-Type Roadster

Figue Mediterranean (47-474 Washington St., La Quinta; (760) 698-9040) has joined forces with Desert European Motorcars (71-387 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage; (760) 773-5000) to host a special preview of the all-new 2014 Jaguar F-Type Roadster at a cocktail reception 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 7.  This will be the first opportunity for area residents to get a preview look at the new F-Type, which officially launches nationwide the week of June 6.“We believe that our guests and luxury car enthusiasts have a lot in common, including a passion for great style and fine taste,” said Lee Morcus, owner of Figue. “With the F-Type Roadster, we also share the common element of being true to tradition on one hand and cutting edge on the other. At Figue, we’re proud to say we’re changing the way people of the Palm Springs area enjoy exciting food and wine, while the F-Type Roadster is Jaguar’s first truly new sports car in 50 years and it’s been getting stunning reviews. It makes perfect sense to combine the two into one fun and delicious event.”

“The purity and elegance of the Jaguar F-Type design gives the F-Type lasting beauty. The proportions and stance communicate muscularity and latent energy. High power and low weight means effortless speed. Truly breathtaking,” says David Murphy, president of Jaguar Rancho Mirage/Desert European Motorcars.

At the Jaguar long lead press launch last fall, Car & Driver reported, “The F-type revealed its cunning on the Navarra Circuit in Spain and while attacking the Pyrenean foothills. After living with the comeback cat for a couple of days, we are certain this is not the reprise of your uncle’s vintage sports car or an abridged version of the Jaguar cruisers battling the luxury German juggernaut. Rather, the F-type is a feline bred with a wild streak and a feral yearning to meet or beat Porsche’s best moves.”

“We cast one unanimous ballot for the F-Type for top honors in Paris. We were simply taken with the style, the performance potential, and the heritage,” said Autoweek.com at the Paris Auto Show in October.

See for yourself at Figue Mediterranean on June 7. For information and reservations, contact Diana Marlo at Diana@deserteuropean.com or call (760) 773-5000.

About Figue Mediterranean: Figue Mediterranean, located at 47-474 Washington Street in La Quinta, (760) 698-9040. Figue Mediterranean seats dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday and from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Figue Bar opens at 4 p.m. and remains open until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday night for cocktails and light food. Brunch is available on all major weekend holidays. Figue also is available for private events or celebrations, and for on- and off-site catering. Complimentary valet parking is available. All major cards accepted. For more information or to make reservations, please call Figue at (760) 698-9040 or visit their website atEatFigue.com. “Like” Figue on Facebook at facebook.com/EatFigue and follow them on Twitter: @EatFigue.

 

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Special Menu Items at Figue Restaurant Tonight

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“Find the Shortest, Simplest way between Earth, the Hands and the Mouth”

 

small plates

Saffron Arancine $9

Saffron Risotto Croquettes filled with Fontina Cheese, Tomato Sauce

Crab cake $12

Italian Cauliflower, Chickpea and roasted Pepper Salad, Fennel Caper Aioli

 

Saltata di Cozze all Fiore $9

steamed PEI Mussels with White Wine, Tomato and Basil

 

Polpette al Barese $9

little Veal and Pork Meatballs from Bari, Italy simmered in a Pomodori Sauce

 

Fritto Misto $16

crispy Italian Lantern Fish and Calamari, Spicy Saffron Aioli

 

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota $32

shaved 2 year Iberico Ham served with house made Tomato Olive Focaccia

 

Wild Porcini and Salumi Pizza $19

wood fired Pizza with roasted fresh # 1 Porcinis, shaved Salumi and Mozzarella

 

Shrimp, Calamari and Scallop Pizza $18

wood fired Seafood Pizza, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella

 

Margherita Pizza $16

Tomato Confite, Basil and fresh Mozzarella Pizza

 

big plates

Bucatini all’ Amatriciana $19

classic Italian spicy Pasta with crispy house cured CookPig Pancetta and Pomodori sauce

 

Wild Spanish Turbot and fresh porcinis $38

sautéed Turbot with Potato Puree and Washington State Porcinis, Proseco Sauce

 

Sweets

Blackberry milkshake with Whipped Lemon Curd $10

Unbelievable taste of Summer in a milkshake form!