Friday, August 05, 2005

The Remains of the Day

Sur La Table
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Yesterday I went with S'mee (a good friend) to Los Angeles. We were going to drive into the city to find a tailor for her dress for her son's wedding. You see S'mee is short of stature and women's fashion manufacturers think we'er all 5'8" or better.

We head to the center of fashion in Los Angeles. She finds a local tailor and asks him for a quote on how much it would cost to do a few nips and tucks and hemming of said gown. "Try on first" is his response. S'mee dresses in gown he and an assistant pin, pin, pin! The perfect length and dimensions have been met, "come back three hours, lots to sew" came his response. "how much?" S'mee asks. "Come back three hours" again was his response. What we have here... It was finally communicated that it would cost $70 to alter said gown. $70?!? "I only paid $50, I can't pay that to have it altered."
It was decided that I would do my best to "frankenstein" the dress and in exchange we would spend the rest of the day indulging my desires. Heh.

So off we went to the other side of town. I noticed last time I was at the Farmer's Market that Maggiano's had a restaurant there. I was hungry for pasta so we'd stop there. That way we'd be able to stop in a Sur La Table too!
We had lunch, S'mee choosing the meatball sandwich, me the chicken salad. What? I had wanted pasta. Hmmm. I was totally thrown off track by the inclusion of said chicken salad on the menu. I should have stuck with pasta. It was chicken salad. That's all that can be said.

However, S'mee's meatball sandwich was wow! Great tasting meatballs, the perfectly melted provolone cheese and just enough marinara sauce. They also included a small bowl of marinara sauce on the side for those wanting their sauce dripping. It was served on the perfect onion roll, no too much onion and the onions were sweet. We also started with a dish of bruschetta and crostini. Mmmm.

As you can see in the picture we found a few items at Sur La Table. A tasting spoon? It is a teaspoon on one end and a tablespoon on the other. However the tag listed it as a tasting spoon. I ususally use a stack of little demi-tasse spoons for tasting. But it was only 49 cents and blue! Also found some more of those great window cloths. I love cleaning glass with them. No streaks! And parchment - a couple of rolls with the 50% more free notation, a knife guard, and S'mee grabbed a few tartlett tins.

We then sped off to a couple of bakeries on Fairfax. I read an LA Times article a few months back and always wanted to stop in and have a taste. Hansen's and Royal Cake were the names. They have made baking cakes for the rich and famous and jsut about everyone else in LA. So we popped in to see what the fuss was all about.
I must say upon entering both galleries I was very hmmm how do you say "confused". I did read about the rivalry and that Royal was set in the middle of the two Hansen galleries, however, they kind of looked all the same. Each had a myriad of sample cakes on display. I must say I was amazed at the cake just inside the door at Royal. Definitely a cake for royalty. It was so large it could only be for royalty though. You could never eat all the cake available in that cake at a normal wedding. The cakes were reasonably priced. They started at $2 per slice and it was to the moon from there.

There was a bit of difference in the tastings. Hansen's keep their cake recipe a guarded secret (I'm sure Royal does too though). They've worked for years developing the recipe and have had huge success with it. It was a genoise, in many different flavors. In fact just about any kind of flavor you can imagine in cake can be found at Hansen's. The same with Royal. Theirs is also a genoise, just slightly different. Hansen's did have one failing , each cake had an underlying flavor. It seemed to be permeation of butter flavoring. It wasn't off putting, and if I hadn't tasted so many different kinds, I probably wouldn't have noticed it. I can even "remember" what it tasted like today. That being said, if you only eat one piece at an occasion for someone, it probably is not that big of a deal.

However, there are bakers out there that I know do cakes that could rival both of these well knowns. Bakers on a simple corner lot somewhere hoping to be noticed by the passing throngs. Look around, I am sure there is one in your very own neighborhood.

We then motored back to the outskirts of SoCal. The Inland Empire. We stopped for a quick dessert pickup to take back to the guys, cheesecake. We parted ways and motored home.
I did stop on the way home at my favorite scapbooking store and picked up some inspiration. I am hoping to redesign the page and needed some color guidance. So I bought a few sheets of paper and a sticker or two and headed back to the heat. It was a fun day, all in all.