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Soleil on a Rainy Day

9 Jan

When we pulled up to Soleil, the only Canadian restaurant in the entire Zagat guide, and apparently all of Los Angeles, it was a rainy, dreary LA day, the sky was rumbling, and our stomachs were grumbling (that’s as poetic as this post is getting).

A good mate of mine was in town from London, and he was in the mood for a ‘proper lunch’…so why not take him for Canadian food, eh?   I also secretly knew that there was Poutine at this fine establishment, a French Canadian treat that wars have been fought over (I’m being dramatic), and oodles of alcohol has been sopped up with following late-night bar sessions.

This establishment had been on my LA restaurant hit-list for some time, given I’d lived in Montreal for five years, and consider myself somewhat of a Poutine aficionado.

If you’re not familiar with Poutine, my definition and the dictionary definition is quite different.  First, the dictionary definition:

“Poutine (Quebec French pronunciation ) is a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curd, covered with brown gravy and sometimes additional ingredients.”

My definition:

“Really effing good.”

My English mate has an affinity for alcoholic beverages from time to time.  We were both thirsty, all that rain outside…so we remedied that situation by telling the not-quite-sure-about-us French Canadian waitress that we wanted every Canadian beer in the house, one after another.  I think there were 10 on the list…consisting of the Unibroue family, Labatt, Molson, Moosehead and the regular Canadian suspects.  The Unibroue beer is worth the trip alone!

We started with some type of Pate which was unreal.  The bread hot and crusty out of the oven and the warm spinach salad with balsamic reduction was good, but not Spago good.    Then we had a Poutine as an appetizer.  The fries were a tad skinny for my liking, the gravy good, but the savior was the actual authentic cheese curds.  It disappeared!

By the way, click here for their entire Poutine menu!

For our mains, I had chicken in a Marsala sauce over linguini, and my half-cut British mate had the beef Bourguignon.  He was very impressed with his meal, even though the waiter decided to dump fries all over his lap.  It was passing onto three o’clock by now…not sure how many diners come in and spend $175 on lunch at Soleil, but we managed it easily, over three courses, a bunch of wine, and more beer than the waitress cared to haul.

Souhaitez-vous s’il vous plaît nous appeler un taxi?

Soleil Westwood

1386 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA, 90024

(310) 441-5384

Intelligentsia, Venice: Serious About Coffee

29 Aug

A fresh poured latte – double shot, 2% milk, ceramic cup. (Pictured Above)

Intelligentsia is serious about coffee.  My first experience went something like this:

ME: (pointing at the wall) “Hey how much is that coffee by the pound?”

Barista: “$21”

ME: “Oh, ok, I’ll have to get some when I’m done using my Lavazza”

Barista: “Lavazza?  (look of disgust), sorry to hear that”

(sound of crickets)

“Ok, thanks for the latte, see you next time”

This is pretty much a true story?  Did the experience leave a bitter taste in my mouth…absolutely not, I actually inquired as to why this particular Barista thought the Lavazza is shit.  He plainly explained that there is no control over when the beans were roasted – it’s not fresh (good point).

I’ve been buying coffee at Intelligentsia by the pound for the last few months, and it’s absolutely delicious (made in an Italian Press, stove top).

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