A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘Hungry Cat’

Valerie Confections Rose Petal Cake

In Food on September 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Saturday night we celebrated my sister Claire’s birthday—and celebrate we did! Starting with pink Champagne and potato chips with crème fraîche and caviar at our friend Lizzie’s, followed by a three-tier seafood tower situation at Hungry Cat, and culminating in a Valerie Confections Rose Petal Cake back at chez Foodinista. I do not exaggerate when I say it is now my favorite cake on offer in the entire city of Los Angeles! This is where Alice Waters of Chez Panisse and I part ways: Waters recently special-ordered a chocolate cake with candied mint from Valerie, and added that after trying Valerie’s candied basil she might steal that idea for Chez Panisse. So while Waters ponders which of Valerie’s cakes with candied herbs she wants to heist, I’ll be keeping this rose petal number all to myself. This is the second of these cakes I’ve ordered from Valerie in as many weeks. Proof positive:

Thank god we have a little of Claire’s cake leftover, because turns out it is also spectacular with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Happy Birthday, Claire!

A Hungry Foodinista at The Hungry Cat

In Food, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on February 10, 2010 at 9:49 pm

© the hungry cat

Am still swooning over last night’s dinner at The Hungry Cat in Hollywood, one of our very very favorite restaurants in LA. My husband and I got a little gussied up—he wore a pink and green pocket square I got him for Christmas from Hermès that has sort of a Beverly Hills Hotel wallpaper pattern happening. And I busted out some aubergine fishnets I got in Dublin, Ireland, a few years ago and my wedding shoes, which are palest platinum metallic d’orsay heels from Brian Atwood. They look kind of vintage. I only wear them a couple times a year, like on our anniversary or Valentine’s Day! So dinner. We started with half dozen oysters, some peeled shrimp (Mr Foodinista’s favorite) and a prickly sea urchin from the raw bar, which is my absolute fave. For our entrées, Mr Foodinista went with the Alaskan king crab legs, grain mustard buttery sauce and toast, while I went with house-made pappardelle  with dungeness crab, more sea urchin!!!!, English peas and topped with a slow-cooked egg. Mercy! I washed it down with a couple glasses of Tasmanian Riesling while Mr Foodinista—totally out of left field—went with a Dark & Stormy. And then when the check came, we were informed that my sister had taken care of dinner! What an awesome date night. Thank you, Claire!!!

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide (for Him)

In Design, Drink, Fashion, Food on February 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Since Mr Foodinista will be traveling the rest of this week, I will be traveling all of next, and we’re having 8 friends over for dinner on Saturday night, we are celebrating Valentine’s Day this evening with dinner at Hungry Cat. We don’t typically do a gift exchange (last year he surprised me with a favorite Chanel nail varnish, and I spent an absurd amount on a pair of Façonnable boxer shorts), but if we did, these would all be a huge hit with the mister, minus the gin—but as the saying goes, happy wife, happy life. Clockwise, from top left:

Nuñez de Prado Olive Oil ($26.75/1L): An organic and fruity olive oil from Spain with a great nutty flavor. And love the tin.

Hermès Orange Vert Soap ($30): My husband hates to wear cologne, but is totally into this soap with a clean and subtle citrusy, woodsy scent. Ladies: this is what you dream a dude will smell like.

Paul Smith Pyjamas ($215): I got a pair of just the bottoms for Mr Foodinista for Christmas (I think you can grab them separately at the West Hollywood boutique for about $100—ask for Chad) and the cotton is sooo nice and washes really well.

Junipero Gin ($30/750 ml): The name of this artisanal gin from San Francisco says it all. This one is SUPER juniper-y and crisp, and tastes deceptively light in a gin in tonic. But make no mistake, it’s 100 proof.

Converse Chuck Taylors All Stars ($45): Mr Foodinista’s go-to shoe, which he buys pair after pair in black. I’m digging the charcoal though and wonder if I might persuade my Valentine to go grey?

Wilson Six.One Tour Racquet ($200): Federer’s and Mr Foodinista’s racquet of choice, which I don’t quite get on the part of the latter because apparently it’s nearly impossible to play with but I guess he likes a challenge. I’m just happy to make contact with the ball and drink Arnold Palmers…

Cocktail Q & A

In Drink on March 3, 2009 at 6:41 pm


Q: What’s the fastest way to ruin a cocktail and get a hangover?

A: Cheap tonic. It is loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, and just destroys a cocktail. Not to mention that sugar + alcohol = the fastest way to get a hangover. Alcohol already spikes your blood sugar, and add to that all that syrupy sweetness and it sends your metabolism into overdrive, depleting your supplies of vitamin B and giving you a headache to end all others. 

Solution: Q Tonic water. Not only does it taste exceptionally clean and fresh with just a touch of pleasant bitterness and subtle sweetness, but it uses all-natural ingredients such as Peruvian quinine and organic Mexican agave nectar as a sweetener. But here’s the clincher: it has 60% less sugar than regular tonic water (and almost 80% less than Schwepps tonic)!

We picked some up at Surfas in Culver City a few weeks ago, but have seen it at Larchmont Wine & Spirits, and behind the bar at Osteria Mozza and Hungry Cat. We got the 750ml bottle with the Champagne cork because, let’s face it, we knew were going to finish it—plus I’m magnetically drawn to anything with a Champagne cork. However, it’s also available in 4-packs of 187ml bottles with crown caps. Yep, it’s spendy at around $10/bottle (ditto for 4-pack), but is just plain fantastic in a gin or vodka tonic, and just as soon as I can get my hands on some good strawberries, I plan to try using it to riff off one of my all-time faves, the Pimms Cup. 


Hearts on Fire

In Food, Recipes on February 14, 2009 at 8:49 am


The not-so-skinny: bread, custard, chocolate. The recipe is on the menu at The Hungry Cat in Hollywood, a seafood restaurant with scene and substance from David Lentz, husband of Suzanne Goin of Lucques and AOC fame. You can also find the recipe in Goin’s cookbook, Sunday Suppers at Lucques. It’s pretty much perfect as written. One note – I always have leftover custard liquid. I bet it would be good for french toast the next day. Of course, do you really want french toast the morning after you eat this? Oh, and I was out of whole nutmeg, so we just used ground instead.

One more thing—boys go CRAZY for this dessert, so if you were wondering what to make for your Valentine, look no further.


Caramelized Bread Pudding with Chocolate and Cinnamon

From Sunday Night Suppers at Lucques, Suzanne Goin 

GOIN WRITES: This recipe is a lifer. I’ve been making it for more than 20 years, and every time I try to file it away, someone inevitably comes along asking for it. I brought it to my first staff get-together when I was working at Chez Panisse and, from then on, for all of the parties that followed, when I would even thinkof making something different, my friends and coworkers would cry out for this caramelized chocolate bread pudding. A few years later, the bread pudding gained an East Coast fan club, too. I was working at Alloro, a tiny restaurant in Boston’s Italian district. Back then, the Mafia owned all the local cafés and had a monopoly on the dessert-and-coffee crowd. Whereas the other (probably wiser) restaurants on the street obeyed the unspoken law of not selling dessert, at Alloro we broke the rule and secretly served this bread pudding to our in-the-know customers. We worked hard to keep the highly requested dessert under cover, and it seems we succeeded: both the recipe and I are still around. 

A few things make this bread pudding better than most. I love custards and am often disappointed by bread puddings with too much bread and not enough pudding. So be careful to use just a single layer of brioche, which creates a crispy crust but won’t absorb all the rich, silky custard underneath. Once you break through the caramelized, toasty top layer and dig down through the luscious custard, a treasure of melted chocolate awaits you at the bottom. 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
4 or 5 slices brioche, or good quality white bread (I like Pepperidge Farm), 1/4-inch thick, crusts removed 
3 extra-large eggs 
2 extra-large egg yolks 
1/4 cup brown sugar 
1 1/2 cups heavy cream 
1 1/4 cups whole milk 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
3/4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate 
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, for caramelizing the top 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the softened butter on one side of the brioche. Cut each slice in half on the diagonal and then again into quarters. 

Whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the cream, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, whisking to combine well. 


Sprinkle the chocolate over the bottom of a 9-by-9-inch (or equivalent) baking dish. Arrange the brioche, buttered side up, with slices overlapping just slightly, on the chocolate (there should be just a single layer of bread). Pour the custard over the bread, pressing down with your fingers to make sure the bread soaks it up. Place the bread pudding in a roasting pan, and pour warm water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the pudding dish. Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the custard is set and the bread puffs up slightly. The pudding will be springy to the touch. 


Let the bread pudding cool at least 10 minutes. 

If you have a kitchen blowtorch, sprinkle the sugar over the top, and torch to brown and caramelize. You could run the pudding under the broiler to caramelize if you don’t have a torch, but be careful not to curdle the custard underneath. Serve the bread pudding from the baking dish at the table, using a big spoon.