WP24 and MVolt

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

Downtown LA was abuzz last week thanks to LA Film Fest. I love indie films as much as the next Angeleno, but my Awesome Friend Irene pointed out a particularly interesting event – a screening of Dinner Rush along with a conversation with the artist in residence Michael Voltaggio. Since this one was at LA Live, Irene and I decided to have a pre-movie dinner across the street at WP24 on the 24th floor of the Ritz Carlton.

WP24 (WP = Wolfgang Puck, 24 = 24th floor) is a snazzy restaurant with a dining room and a bar/lounge, both boasting a beautiful view of the Downtown LA cityscape. The upscale Asian cuisine-based menu is generally on the expensive side, but they are currently running a special called Four for $24 — a rotating menu of their “Asian tapas” selections — as well as a $24 three-course tasting menu, both from 5-7pm daily. It initially drew us in but because of traffic, we arrived a bit too late to partake. No matter! We ordered several small plates to share and they were simply delectable.

Baby Pork Belly “Bao Buns” / Chinese Honey-Garlic Glaze

Baby Pork Belly “Bao Buns” / Chinese Honey-Garlic Glaze

The first thought that crossed both of our minds simultaneously was, more or less, “There are two pork belly dishes on the menu. Let’s get both!” This one turned out to be my favorite dish. The bao was perfectly fluffy and warm, the pork belly were succulent and coated in a delicious glaze, and the mini “sandwich” was topped with housemade pickles and a nice crispy julienne of scallion. It tasted wonderful as assembled, but once I dipped a bite into the hoisin-sriracha dollop, my taste buds were  immediately transported to the full sides of roast pork hanging in the windows of Chinese barbecue joints back home.

Tiny Dumplings / Pork Belly / Black Vinegar / Chili Oil

Tiny Dumplings / Pork Belly / Black Vinegar / Chili Oil

When I saw the words “tiny dumplings” alongside “black vinegar”, I assumed they would look like a cousin of xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings). I was a little thrown off when I saw they more closely resembled gyoza (Japanese potstickers), but they were absolutely delicious nonetheless. The filling was juicy and glistening with the fat from the pork belly, and the dumpling wrappers were a bit crispy from the pan searing.

Chicken “Dan Dan” Dumplings / Ground Peanuts /Chili

Chicken “Dan Dan” Dumplings / Ground Peanuts /Chili

These round spheres of dumplings arrived swimming in a flavorful peanut sauce that reminded me of Vietnamese satay soup (not to be confused with satay the grilled meat skewer dish). The chicken filling was very juicy and melded well with the strong flavor of the sauce.

Peking Duck Roll / House Special Hoisin Glace

Peking Duck Roll / House Special Hoisin Glace

Irene was quick to point out that these rolls left out the very best part about eating peking duck… the crispy skin! That was quite sad and a bit disappointing. The duck, however, was moist and well seasoned and the rolls themselves were crunchy without being too greasy. I’m not a huge fan of fancified egg rolls, but these were pretty good and went well with the hoisin sauce.

They recently added some summer cocktails to their lounge menu as well — if we weren’t in a rush to catch the screening, we would have stayed longer to try some of them. I spotted some refreshing buzzwords like cucumber, lemonade, and verbena. The service was just attentive enough and they brought out the food quickly since they knew we were pressed for time. Our server even closed out our tab and had the check ready in her hand right when we were asking for it. Props!

Many people mentioned that WP24 is dressy, but the lounge area is relatively casual since many patrons come straight from work in the nearby DTLA buildings. But then again, it is in the Ritz Carlton, so I don’t know about you, but I’d go a bit nicer than t-shirts and jeans. I will definitely be back sometime between 5-7 to try the Four for $24 menu! It’s a great alternative to regular ol’ happy hour specials.

Off we went to see the movie Dinner Rush, which was an interesting portrayal of the restaurant industry through a “day in the life” sort of perspective. Plus violence. But I don’t want to give away any spoilers. And grand finale we had been waiting for – a Q&A with the artist in residence Michael Voltaggio.

Michael Voltaggio at LA Film Fest

All in all it was a great evening and very much an “LA” thing to do. If you’re in Downtown or near LA Live, I’d definitely recommend swinging by WP24 for a pre-event meal. As someone who grew up watching the Food Network, I’m borrowing the closing words from Wolfgang Puck himself — live, love and eat!

———————

Check out WP24: www.ritzcarlton.com

900 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015

See their Yelp reviews here!

7 Days Left – Foie Gras & Jelly Doughnut

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

The countdown to Foiehibition currently stands at 7 days, and we’re tracking down some notable must-try dishes before then! Yesterday we spent the day at work (yes, on a Saturday) at Martin’s office in Downtown LA so it was the perfect opportunity to swing by UMAMIcatessen for the FG&J off their And A Donut menu.

The FG&J Doughnut

The menu describes it as foie gras mousse, forest berry jame, peanut. The doughnuts are all fried to order and come out wonderfully warm and crispy. (Unfortunately not as hot as we’d prefer but at least we don’t have to worry about an explosion of hot oil in the first bite!) It’s a beautiful brown roasty-toasty color and topped with a dusting of powdered sugar and crushed peanuts. I loved how the sphere of dough clearly showed the trail of foie mousse pumped in on one side and the berry jam oozing out the other. If you get the perfect bite of mousse, jelly, dough, powdered sugar, and peanut crumbs, it tastes exactly like peanut butter and jelly. The mousse itself was a little too salty for my liking and it didn’t taste as buttery as I would expect, but of course, the nature of the foie yielded a nice, smooth, creamy texture. I enjoyed the pairing of the mousse with the forest berry jam; I’m a big fan of cold foie preparations with a fruit compote or marmalade.

The forest berry jame side

Sure $8 is a little steep for a doughnut but we were glad to have had the chance to try it before it became a “black market doughnut,” as our server phrased it. It was a very fun example of deconstruction and we could see why it made it on Grub Street’s list of 24 foie gras dishes to try before SB1520 takes effect. Only 7 days left, so hurry hurry if you want to experience this fascinating flavor combination on your taste buds!

How are you spending the last week before the foie ban? We knew we had to make reservations for Waterloo & City for June 30th, and we might squeeze in Animal on Friday. Any other must-haves? Let us know! :) Happy eating!

———————

Check out UMAMIcatessen: www.umami.com/umamicatessen

852 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014

At the corner of Broadway and 9th

See their Yelp reviews here!