Thursday, February 23, 2006

I (heart) NY Part 1; Magnolia Bakery

I was in New York City a couple weeks ago and The Magnolia Bakery on Bleeker Street was at the top of my list. The bakery is famous for their cupcakes- they were really the first to start the cupcake craze. It was very small and charming, with lots of cupcakes! They sell so many they actually have to limit each customer to one dozen. They had three people just icing cupcakes. I tried a vanilla cupcake with violet frosting. Sugar Bomb big-time. A good inch of frosting, which is just powdered sugar, butter and a little milk. I couldn't finish it. But I can't stop thinking about it. It reminds me of the time the frist Krispy Kreme Doughnits opened in California - 30 miles from my house. My dad and I made the drive and devoured a couple doughnuts each, with a sugar rush so strong and fast it was over before it even started. we only experienced the downslide. We drove back so stuffed...yet the smell of the doughnuts in the backseat keep calling me...I reached back and took a bite, only to feel so full and sick I couldn't even swallow it. We were back down there within a week. It's a good thing The Magnolia Bakery is all the way in Geeenwich Village.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ford's Filling Station

Steak tartare with fried quail egg
Oregano salami, lomo, and chorizo
Grilled shrimp on rosemary flatbread with white bean puree

I went to Ford's Filling Station in Culver City last night, their first week in business. We tried to sit at the bar but there were only two bar stools, with more to come someday, the bartender assured us. So we moved to a four top in the main dining room. Nice interior, brick walls, mirrors (reminiscent of Lucques), open kitchen with a wood burning oven. I glanced in the kitchen and found Ben Ford sticking his finger in a pan of food and tasting it. That maneuver should probably stay at home.

They still need to work out the kinks, like the foggy drinking water, and inattentive service. Since we were in a good mood, it just provided us with amusement rather than aggravation. Once we got our fresh glasses of almost perfectly clear water, we were served four mini, slightly undercooked baguettes. Reminiscent of Little Caesar’s's pizza bread sticks, yet delightfully chewy and oily. We started with a $36 bottle of Joel Gott Zinfandel, and a "flatbread" pizza with white bean puree, grilled shrimp and micro greens. Wonderful super-thin crust. We ordered a selection of cured meats including lomo and chorizo. I moved on to the steak tartare with truffle potato chips. The chips were nice and thin, but just the slighted hint of truffle. My friend had the polenta cake with chanterelles, and greens, topped with a dollop of mascarpone. A excellent rich vegetarian dish. These were only appetizers, yet substantial enough for an entree.

By the time we left, the bar was 3 deep and almost every table full in the house. Once they receive their shipment of bar stools, and the servers slip into their groove, FFS should hit its stride. What a welcome and needed addition to the Culver City restaurant scene.