In June I had the great pleasure of eating Chef Aaron Foster’s creative Italian cooking at the event “Reel Eats Goes Sideways,” a celebration for storytellers, food fans and film buffs. We had a quick moment to chat after he had finished service and invited me to review his home at LA’s Italian + Bar.
I’ll never forget arriving at the restaurant on a hot summers evening on my brand new bicycle. The intention is for me to continue eating my way around the city but peddling to and fro (or between good eats) in an attempt to keep my waistline in check. I slipped my helmet in my satchel and stepped into the cool and comfortable dining room (thank the lord for air conditioning). I was greeted by the restaurant manager as well as Aaron who came over to welcome me. As always I arrived early to take pictures of the interior of the restaurant before my guests arrived.
I had barely seen Darryl or Mike all summer and invited Matt, Joaquin’s other half to join us for what I knew would be an enlightening dinner. I told the group in advance that I was impressed by Chef Aaron’s dishes at Reel Eats (especially his pork tenderloin) and was looking forward to sampling dishes off his Little Anthony’s menu.
Once finished taking pictures I found myself sitting at the table, staring out a massive window overlooking York Street. I could see the cities new favorite Greek restaurant Estiatorio Volos which is currently on my to do list. Moments later I was tapped on the shoulder and the owner of LA’s said hello. He also advised me that he manages Volos across the street. What a lucky man, running two fantastic restaurants and literally only having to hop, skip and jump across York Street to get to and fro.
Shortly before 7pm everyone had arrived at the table. We spent the evening sampling a colorful collection of Italian dishes, many of which have subtle asian influences. Prior to moving to Toronto, Chef Aaron Foster was much lauded in the Bangkok restaurant scene. While his food is Italian at heart it was nice to see a few creative combinations inspired by his tenure in Thailand. We all had a delightful meal, chit chatting about our summers and hopes and dreams for the fall and winter. The cheese centric menu offerings made me smile as I furiously peddled all the way home.
We enjoyed (* notes my favorites)
Buffalo Milk Ricotta *
truffled honey, crispy country bread
Bacon Wrapped Dates *
Sea Bass Ceviche and Italian Bean Salad
kidney beans, shaved red onions, pickled green beans, lemon confit
Tomato and Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella Salad *
cucumber, pickled red onions, basil pesto
Tagliatelle alla Bolognese
Lamb Sausage *
gremolata with goat cheese polenta
housemade relish, pickled red onions, arugula, dijon
Bacon Chocolate Bar *
smoked bacon caramel, house made guanciale, dates, hazelnuts