I’ll admit it. I’ve got a geek crush on Rick Bayless.
Ever since I stumbled on his PBS show, I’ve wanted to try one of his restaurants. We’ve been waiting a little bit to try his new LA place–mostly to try to coordinate with some friends. We finally got it together for last night. We showed up here at 8ish for our 8:30p reservations (unheard of for us–we are usually stuck in traffic somewhere).
We waited outside next to the paparazzi (I’m not even kidding you) for our friends to show up while we watched people walk up to the bouncer at the door for admission to the restaurant.
So let’s get down to it.
1. People seemed to love the apps (or savory snacks as they’re called on the menu)
I didn’t take photos of everything and the lighting was not great but the faves were these:
My fave snack was this:
I wish they had a little more corn flavor, though. [It’s always something with me, eh?]
I think my dining companians also liked these:
I don’t really do shrimp (they are the bugs of the sea) or taquitos so that was a no-go for me. They ate them all up though so they must have been pretty tasty.
2. The Tinga Poblana dinner entree was a hit. Hubs said it was the best thing of the night. The description on the menu says:
Braised Gleason Ranch pork shoulder & belly, homemade chorizo, roasted tomatoes, smoked chipotle, Yukon gold potatoes, avocado, queso fresco
I tried a bite of potato and avocado with the sauce and it was really delicious with lots of layers of flava.
3. I think the interior of the restaurant was pretty awesome. It had kind of a polynesian meets shabby chic flare to it inside, a front outdoor patio area for people to hang out and be seen (this is LA after all) and a tequila tunnel.
4. Everyone loved their margaritas. Hubs got the Market Margarita:
Fresh cucumber & honeydew melon muddled with agave nectar, Arette blanco tequila, lemon & lime juices. Served on the rocks.
I tried a sip and it was actually pretty refreshing.
1. I ordered the tortilla soup with a side of black beans for my main and I didn’t even take a picture of it. It didn’t have the depth or the heat I was anticipating. They tried to add some dazzle to it all when they brought it to the table. They gave me a bowl with tortilla strips in it and then poured the soup into my bowl for me. The fact that we were in a banquet style table and I was on the inside made the procedure very strange overall.
2. According to one of my dining mates, his tacos were just ok.
The fact that his plate looked similar to when he got it and when he was finished eating was a little telling.
3. The valets all have to wear these really cheesy straw hats. The LA Times reviewer called said of their outfits: they wore embroidered guayabera and natty straw hats. That about summed it up I think.
1. I hit the restroom before we sat down only to find that the two-stalled small space was being run by an attendant. I mean, really? She told me which bathroom to use and begrudgingly gave me a hand towel after I washed my hands. Talk about awkward and uncomfortable.
2. There is a bouncer at the front door. Enough said.
3. Either I didn’t get the memo on the dress code or I’m just not a whore. Most of the women in the place were sporting skin tight skimpy dresses. I’m not a prude by any means, but seriously, this is a Mexican restaurant people!
4. Paparazzi. Yeesh. We heard they were casing the place because this guy was there:
Hubs’ nickname for him is that little gnome guy. Isn’t that sweet?
All in all? A little trendy for my taste. I’m never gonna be a hipster and I don’t like to feel I’m being judged because I’m uncool. That’s my stuff, though.
My Faux Pas of the evening (because with me, this is a given):
When the first couple arrived, we hugged hello and I looked at Danny and he looked at me and looked at hubs. Nice beard, he said to me. I said, I know, he looks like a bear.
Oh dear god. Danny is one half of Danny and Andrew. I totally meant this kind of bear:
Danny looked at me and said: drop him off in West Hollywood and he’d get raped in a second!
I didn’t mean that kind of bear.