I was contacted by the folks at LXTV.com to film a segment on my experience at Fraiche, and here it is! Yes, I was very nervous.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Immediately after landing in Catania, after seemingly endless sleepless hours of flying, my aunt and uncle drove me to the center of Catania, Sicily. A bustling city crowded with people, cars, noise, the smell of deisel fuel, and beautiful (though in a state of disrepair) old churches and buildings. We parked the car, paid some local Sicilian, who seemed to run the public parking, a couple euro to "watch the car," and headed straight to the open air market. Filled with vegetable, fish and meat vendors, it was a sight for sore, sleepy, jet-lagged eyes. By the way, when we returned to our car, we had gotten a parking ticket, which our "parking attendant" took from us and said he would "take care of it."
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I had quite a wonderful dinner at the newly opened Fraiche in Culver City. They offer a special bar menu for the outdoor lounge and indoor bar area, which is nicely sequestered away form the main dining room. There are a couple of stools at the service counter as well, so you may watch the cooks prepare your meal in the open kitchen. Our waiter was very pleasant, although could have used a little more knowledge with the wines, and our request for the sommelier was never fulfilled. Other than that, the evening and food were perfect, and I look forward to returning. We started of with a selection of salumi and charcuterie, and we received a second platter, courtesy of chef Jason Travi (my friend is an acquaintance of his). We had crespino, felino, procuitto, porchetta, rabbit rillete and my favorites, guanciale and lardo ($5 each or $25 for the chef’s selection).
We moved on to the appetizers. A lemony and light beef tartare ($13), and a smoked eel salad ($11).
Unfortunately, they were out of the boudin noir, which my friend told me was excellent. From the pasta selctions, we choose the braised rabbit tortelli ($13), and pork osso buco agnolotti ($13), both superb.
The servings are appetizer sized, but you may opt for entrée size. The appetizer size is perfect to share in between an appetizer and main course. For our mains, we shared the Monkfish “Francaise” with spinach, white wine and shallots ($22), and the roasted veal cheek with semolina, romesco and pickles lipstick peppers ($20). The entrees were excellent and well priced, although the portions are slightly small, especially if you do not order appetizers. Unfortunaltely, it became too dark at this point to take a clear photo. We moved on to a cheese plate ($3 for $12 or 5 for $15), then the Paris-brest for dessert. They have a bar menu which includes a decadent cheese fondue, which I will surely try next time. I highly recommend Fraiche, the food is well executed, artfully presented and very satisfying.
9411 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, Ca 90232
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I spent the last two weeks traveling through Sicily and the Amalfi Coast, or, I should say, eating through Sicily and the Amalfi Coast. It took a boat, a funicular, and white-knuckled bus ride to reach the charming town of Anacapri, on the island of Capri. Here are photos from my lunch that day on Capri:
Fried bread and mozzarella:
Farfalle with zucchini and cream:
The man at the table next to us spilled something on his shirt, so the server brought out a little cleaning kit:
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I had lunch today at the 2-day-old Meltdown etc. in good ol’ downtown Culver City. Shortly after they opened for lunch today, they quickly had a steady line out the door. Their main attraction are grilled sandwiches (including breakfast and dessert sandwiches), along with some side dishes like soup, salad and potato chips. I had the Market Melt ($8.75), with herb goat cheese, fontina cheese, grilled vegetables, caramelized onions and walnut pesto on ciabatta bread.
My friend ordered their “classic 3 cheese” with cheddar, muenster and fontina, and he opted for one of the 3 add-ons, applewood smoked bacon ($6.75 + $2.00).
Both sandwiches were enjoyable, and certainly made for a great affordable, easy lunch. They carry a variety of bottled teas, juices, water, and even bottled Coke from Mexico (made with sugar rather than corn syrup). My only criticism is that my sandwich was just lightly grilled, and the vegetables inside were on the cool side. I really enjoy grilled sandwiches very dark and crisp, perhaps I can make a request next time. They sell bags of Dirty brand potato chips, which are pretty good, and similar in style to Kettle Chips. Although, it would be really fabulous if they made their own chips, or even just offered a nice side of fries or onion rings, which would have rounded out the meal perfectly.
9739 Culver Blvd
Culver City, Ca 90232