The Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival activities continued Friday afternoon, with lunches and tastings sprawled across the city. With lunches ranging from a seafood lover’s delight at Providence, to an extravagant Italian soiree hosted by Giada De Laurentis at Cicconi’s, the day promised to be a foodie’s dream come true.
Wolfgang Puck’s CUT Restaurant in Beverly Hills opened its doors for lunch for the first time in honor of the Los Angeles Food & Wine event. CUT, located inside the iconic Beverly Wilshire – A Four Seasons Hotel (of ‘Pretty Woman’ fame) is normally open only for dinner. Angelenos scrambled to snap up a ticket (at $125 apiece) to lunch luxuriously in one of Beverly Hills’ most popular restaurants. The sold-out event featured an hour’s worth of silver-platter passed appetizers, followed by a delectable four-course menu prepared by Chefs Ari Rosenson of CUT and Paul Bartolotta of Bartolotta and Ristorante Di Mare at Wynn Las Vegas. Wolfgang Puck, and his esteemed pastry Chef Sherry Yard, were also in the kitchen. The Beverly Wilshire’s sommelier and beverage director Dana Farner poured the wines.
One after the other, silver-tray passed appetizers filled the room, ranging from handmade Kobe beef pastrami on dark rye with gruyere cheese, to loin of rabbit with artichokes. The crowd favorites were the duck liver pasticcio, an airy duck liver mousse swirled with black truffles on brioche bread bites, and tuna tartare “sandwiches,” with wasabi on Togarashi toast.
The first course of the meal featured grilled Sicilian amberjack (a fish hailing from the Yellowtail family, but with a softer texture and more delicate flavors) prepared with radicchio and a tangy anchovy sauce. This might have been my favorite of the day. Paired with a buttery 2008 Tayson Pierce Durell Vineyards Chardonnay, it was the perfect start to the meal.
The second course featured classic Piemontese meat-filled ravioli with a heavenly brown butter and sage sauce, that had you wanting to wipe the plate clean with a piece of focaccia bread. It was perfectly paired with a 2008 Pinot Noir wine from Cannihan Family Exuberance.
The entrée course featured an indulgent duo of Snake River Farm’s Kobe beef, slow-braised cheek with autumn root vegetables, alongside a grilled New York steak with celery root-wasabi puree and a yuzu kocho emulsion. The 2008 Chappellet, Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon was the perfect accompaniment.
Fourth Course – Dessert:
The grand finale was a Fuji apple tarte, prepared with Mitsu apples and a cassis sorbet, topped with a not-too-sweet Yuzu caramel sauce. Paired with a sweet dessert wine, the 2009 Joseph Phelps Eisrebe, Napa Valley – it was an elegant finish to an indulgent meal.