200th post, time does not fly.

Mr. Gold has some of the most disparate (note: not DESPERATE) following of perhaps all current restaurant critics in America. People worship him, people hate him, people love to hate him, people lust after him. The week his Essential 99 hit the newsstand, twitter-dom, blogspheres and Chowhounds were all on fire. Many a folks were ticking off entries from the list. Some went as high as the 50s.

Not wanting to get caught in the sycophantic hype, I waited a few weeks. And then I went for a Westside grand slam in one day.

anisette barAnisette Tiles

Anisette Bistro – Brunch.
Lovely brunch. But it was really lunch. Mussels and grilled cheese + ham. Looked at the menu, saw the room (reminiscent of Bouchon in Yountville), saw mussels, wanted to re-create the illustrious 3 hour lunch-dinner we had under Napa rays, eschewed all brekkie items and dug into heavier protein instead.

Anisette moule, no frites

I didn’t get molested by Chef Alain Giraud ala Daily Gluttony, but wish I had. Chef Giraud and Hubert Keller are the sexy mature Frenchmen personified. And they cook. That’s hot. Anisette is LA’s Balthazar, Santa Monica’s Church & State. Which reminds me, someone tell Church & State they should start brunch service on Saturday.

Nothing ground breaking to add, except I got some kickass photos of this place. Not as nice as Daily Gluttony’s… She actually has a creative bone, whereas I just have a creative gut. Next time, it’s the burger, for brunch, maybe with the eggs benedict. And then off to the Saturday Santa Monica’s Farmers Market, cuz neither stomach will be grumbling with hunger after an Anisette meal.

Anisette, Santa Monica Anisette Upstairs kitchen

Unfortunately, above scenario won’t occur soon since this guy recently donated $50 to the Santa Monica general parking coffers, and Santa Monica can be a real biiiiiatch for (cheap) Angelenos who drive.

Anisette Brasserie
http://www.anisettebrasserie.com/
Anisette Brasserie on Urbanspoon

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Border Grill, Santa Monica, SignBorder Grill, Santa Monica, Happy Hour

Border Grill – Happy hour
By happy hour, I meant prickly pear margarita. After 1, I was feeling pretty happy. Not because the margarita was spectacularly strong, but we’d been drinking all day at the Malibu Wine Classic. It was a simple margarita, but devoid of fake strawberry flavors. To think the cacti fruits in my yard can actually produce a drink this good titillates my pruning scissors.

Border Grill, Santa Monica, prickly pear blended margarita Border Grill, Santa Monica, amarillo ceviche

Wishing to bond with Mr. Gold, we went for a (amarillo) ceviche. Wow. That ceviche was mighty good! Not Mo-Chica good, but… in Santa Monica, this is probably as good as ceviche gets. No surimi! With nearly raw fish! And some cute flourescent pink stuff! I dig.

What I don’t dig, is the pricing. With our tab, I could’ve fed a East Los Angeles family of 6 with the local seafood trucks. Compliance with the 99 suggestions got expensive right quick. Then again, the locals can have a field day with the happy hour so… next time after Copa, Border Grill’s HH it is.

Border Grill
http://bordergrill.com
Border Grill on Urbanspoon

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Akasha, Culver City

Finally, Akasha – kinda sorta dinner
Akasha’s opening hoopla was easy to remember. A friend suggested a visit because her coworker apparently was a silent investor of some sorts. Never made it. Nothing popped out. Tried going for a burger once, but they didn’t serve it during dinner, or something. Don’t quote that. It’s not even important. The decent reviews are out there. The tweets are even out there. Chef Richmond endorses Silk. Hate Silk, love VP Tofu.

Once again, we tried to eat what Mr. Gold ate. What he liked happened to be the only 2 interesting things on the menu: lamb sliders, “awesome” (per waiter) onion rings. What a waste of lamb. Yes, tiny patties of ground red meat isn’t the most conducive to carrying flavors but this is just… Why bother? Why can’t the plural be amalgamated into a singular, thus producing a lamb burger? The sliders were dry, insipid even with the fancy cheese.

Rant: $12 cocktail devoid of “free radicals” does not sound appealing. A $12 cocktail should obviously tastes something akin to good, and fuck me up right quick. That’s all; this isn’t a marriage, let’s keep it simple. Cocktail should make girls want c**k, not make everyone think of wrinkles.

Akasha, Culver City, Onion Rings

Don’t get this place. How is it any different from any “market driven” (a sorry, ugly restaurant PR cliche) restaurant in LA? How does it get away with charging $14 for “mung beans and rice”? $28 for braised short ribs? $25 for roasted chicken? This ain’t no Zuni Cafe !#@!#$

Akasha
http://www.akasharestaurant.com
Akasha on Urbanspoon

Essential 99 round 4 was within sights that night, but the girl dining companion probably would’ve puked up some damn expensive lamb sliders. Finally, only 60+ of the Essential 104 have been stricken off the list. upm8hwse9v

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