Thursday, October 07, 2004

Foodie quiz: Can you read an L.A. restaurant menu?

I like to think I know my way around a restaurant menu pretty well -- after all, I read restaurant reviews the way horseracing fans devour the Racing Form. It was the alfajores on the dessert menu at Grace that got me thinking, though -- what does the average diner do when confronted with a trendy, inventive modern menu? I worry about my poor boyfriend, the Rhode Island diner, who will eat anything but has never been to France or Italy, and doesn't know his speck from his lomo. Fortunately the likes of salsify, Prosecco sabayon, tian of farro and sumac are no problem for me. But here's a few items from local menus that have me stumped. I know, I could eventually find the definitions on Google, but Eating L.A. will award the prize of a Zagat 2005 Los Angeles restaurant guide or a sandwich from La Brea Bakery, if you come meet me there, to anyone who wants to come up with explanations for these items. I'll throw in a cookie if you swear you didn't Google.
From Sona:
Jivara beignets (I know a beignet is a fried fritter, but Jivara?)
Snapper with sepia (I thought sepia was a color...do snappers give ink?)
Yuzu-kosha (this turns up three times, with watermelon, macaroons and chicken)
From La Terza:
Battilarda di salumi (ok, got the salami part, but still...)
Costata di bue with risina di spello (completely lost on this one)
From Lucques:
Saba
Arzua-ulloa ("I'll have some arzua, please, but hold the ulloa.")
From AOC:
Chickpea sofrito (yes, I know chickpeas are garbanzo beans)
Charmoula
Eggplant in saor

Leave responses in the comments section.

99 comments:

Dana said...

Wow, that's a stumper. However, this is what I know, google-free: saba is a grape syrup, kind of like balsamic vinegar; sofrito usually refers to a saute of tomatoes, onions and olive oil as a seasoning base; and charmoula is a sauce, texture in the pesto or aioli family, but with red pepper. It's spicy. And yuzu is a this, citrusy soy sauce. Don't know what kosha is, but it's got a lot of work to make that work with watermelon or macaroons.

Anonymous said...

Jivara is a type of milk chocolate, made by Valrhona.

Sepia is cuttlefish, most prob. the ink.

Yuzu-kosha is misspelled. Should be Yuzu-kosho, and it's Japanese citrus flavored pepper.

Arzua-ulloa is a cheese.

Charmoula is a sort of spicy dip with paprika, yogurt, garlic and oh, I forget.

"In saor" is a bastardization of "il saor" which is something cooked in a sweet-sour marinade.

I'm not in the contest, as my husband is a chef (310 Bistro--you should go). And I own about 700 cookbooks. And I eat with Charlie Perry twice a month.
Best,
kateCoe

Anonymous said...

battilarda is a wooden paddle like bread board upon which the salumeria are placed and served.

Risina di spello are tiny rice kernel shaped pasta made from spelt flour

Chickpea sofrito is a fritter made from chickpea flour, mediterranean style

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Anonymous said...

Saba is Japanese for mackerel.

Anonymous said...

``In saor'' is a Venetian thing: it means, basically, sweet and sour, or vinegared.

Sepia is undoubtedly a misspelling of seppie, cuttlefish.

Costata di bue is a rib steak or beef chop; risina di Spello are tiny, rice-size beans from Umbria, very delicious.

Batillarda di salumi is a board laden (or in the case of La Terza, not quite laden enough) with cold cuts.

Sofrito is the minced, sauteed basis for a sauce, like a cooked brunoise, that gives depth. My soffrito has onion, pancetta, carrot and a little thyme, sweated until they almost disappear. I have no idea what a chick pea would be doing in there.

Saba is sweet, boiled grape must, like unaged balsamic vinegar; an ingredient introduced to the U.S. by Mario Batali.

Do I pass?

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ArzĂșa-Ulloa (no "Arzua-ulloa") is a cheese from Galicia, region of the North-West of Spain. Galicia was the first independent kingdom in Europe when the Roman Empire fell.

"Sepia" is not exactly a misspelling of seppie. "Sepia officinalis" is the scientific name of that animal, and "sepia" is its common name in several idioms.

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Having decided upon your goal and being determined to build your faith you need to give your desire-force a 'vehicle' through which it may materialize. This 'vehicle' will take the form of a definite plan of action.
Do you need to acquire certain skills? Do you need to know certain people or be in certain places to help you achieve your goal? Make a plan that will help you get closer to your end objective. Research your desires and get clear on what you need to do. Then do it!
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Step 5. Visualization
Visualization is the art of creating mental movies of your completed goal. This has many beneficial effects upon your consciousness. Without going into the deeper esoteric benefits of using this art let me just say that you are truly designing your life when you use it. It has one other major benefit - it strengthens your desire and persistence because you momentarily experience the thrill of having achieved your goal!
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Step 6. The Subconscious Mind
It is within the subconscious part of your mind that you hold all th positive and negative beliefs about yourself - your self-image. These beliefs are reflected back to you in the form of attitudes. Therefore it is from the subconscious mind that the thought of failure or success comes.
Attitudes are just mental programs and so is your self-image. They can easily be changed (yes I said 'easily'). Any attitude or belief can be changed by using the formula outlined in this article - by combining affirmations with visualization. Henry Ford used it, as did Ralph Waldo Emerson and even Arnold Swatzeneger. It is reported in some circles that a similar technique was employed by Bill Gates to build his global empire. Andrew Carnegie used it exactly as described to attain and give away multi-millions even though he was an unschooled manual worker when he started it. Carnegie's legacy can still be seen today when you freely borrow a book from any Carnegie library of which there are thousands.
If you use these six steps there is nothing you cannot achieve. Luckily we have the advantage of living in the Twentieth Century with all its new technology and innovations such as hypnosis and subliminal programming. Use these steps in conjunction with your favourite personal development system and you are assured success. lucid dream

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