Sunday, May 10, 2009

She's Crafty

I'm still several weeks behind on blogging, but it's time to go a little out of order for Mother's Day. We took Mama Monkey to craft for brunch.
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I liked the lights.
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Tom Colicchio's Los Angeles eatery is usually not open for Sunday brunch, but this was a special Sunday -- three courses for $48.
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Complimentary fresh-baked scones, blueberry crumb cake, carrot crumb cake, and cheese bread greeted us after we placed our orders. Very very good and worth taking home if you don't finish!
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Spring pea soup with lobster fritters.
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The golden nuggets arrived naked, and our server poured a wondrous savory green pea soup atop. Fried lobster? In creamy soup? Thumbs up.

Crispy oysters with warm leek vinaigrette and almonds.
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So light and crunchy and wonderful that even this bivalve hater loved them.

Foie gras torchon with cocoa nibs and ginger.
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Nom nom nom-errific. Particularly delish with the cocoa nibs.

Pork terrine with spring lettuces and ramp oil.
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Nobody's perfect. Not even Tom Colicchio. This was the loser dish of the day. Flavor was fine, but it was really just a total of two full bites. Sad.


Dungeness crab omelet with California asparagus and roasted tomato.
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Generous portion of crab embraced by light, fluffy, and perfectly cooked egg. A seafood lover's morning dream treat.

Roasted and braised lamb with spring garlic and morels.
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Are you a carniwhore? I am. The braised portion was particularly droolworthy.

Fried pheasant egg with crispy Berkshire pork belly and shoulder ravioli.
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This fat-filled, cholesterol-laden dish was worth it. I still haven't encountered any pork belly as good as the pork belly at Animal, but this was tasty. I enjoyed the ravioli very much.

Moulard duck with mulberries and green almonds.
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Winner, winner, ducky dinner! My fave main, hands down. Tender, meaty, and a little sweet. Yum.


Chocolate mousse with seared marshmallow and candied kumquat.
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I adored the marshmallow! Mousse was fine. Kumquat was not so great.


Crème fraîche panna cotta with strawberries.
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Panna cotta makes me happy. This didn't disappoint. Smooth, creamy, and a little tangy, topped with fresh strawberries and a bit of granita. Refreshing.

Red velvet cake.
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Good enough. The vanilla bean ice cream actually outshone the cake.

Salty chocolate tart.
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The salt brought out the dark richness, but, again, I enjoyed the ice cream more. This scoop had a buttery toffee flavor.

Rhubarb blueberry cobbler.
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Best dessert of the day. Hot tart cobbler! In a mini cast-iron pot! Paired with more ice cream! Really awesome stuff.
***** Begin Side Story Re Camera Stuff*****

The previous day (which I hope to blog tomorrow), I went to Samy's Camera for its No-Sales-Tax Mother's Day Sale (going on until Wednesday, May 13), intending to buy a nice zoom lens and a decent prime lens. Lo and behold, Papa Monkey was just down the street at LACMA, so he met me at the store...and bought me my coveted zoom lens! Ahhhhh! Ahhhhh! Even better than paying no tax! Thank you, Papa Monkey!

Sadly, however, the store had run out of the prime lens I wanted and suggested I call the next day in case there were any in stock. As directed, I called Sunday morning, and the store had two of them! I asked the salesperson to hold one for me and told her I'd be there in 20 minutes.

Apparently, these lenses have been selling like hotcakes. You can't even get them on Amazon right now. No exaggeration. By the time I got to Samy's, the other lens had been sold. Good thing I put one on hold!

Anyway, the point of this side story is that I have two new lenses, including a prime lens that's perfect for food photography. I ripped open the packaging in the car on the way over to craft and used my new lens for the food at this brunch. I can't wait to see how it fares during a dimly lit dinner -- it's so much faster than my kit lens!

***** End Side Story Re Camera Stuff*****
For those of you uninterested in lens talk, allow me to show you my other purchase from Samy's before our brunch with Mama Monkey.
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The. Cutest. DSLR. Camera. Case. Ever. Totally ideal for my restaurant excursions!

Shiny happy people laughing.
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Many years ago.
And now.
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After brunch, we went to Brother Monkey's house to watch the Laker game. I snapped these outside his place.
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I found this little story that BroMo wrote when he was four.
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BroMo has been making Mama Mo (and the rest of us) laugh since forever.

Another laugh for you -- when I gave Mama Mo my corporate photo, she asked, "Where is my Tiffany bowl?" Told you she reads my blog!

Happy Mother's Day, Mama Monkey! We love you!


  1. 1. carniwhore? *raises hand*
    2. i think kumquats might be the only citrus fruit i don't like, even when candied or otherwise sweetened.
    3. YAAAAAAY! for the new lenses! YAAAY for papa monkey buying you one!
    4. love that mama monkey reads this and asked for her tiffany bowl. love.

  2. 1) dying over the lobster fritters & sweet pea soup.
    2) sad that d doesn't like kumquats!! haha
    3) excited for your latest lens acquisitions. ;-)
    4) obsessed with the mini cast iron pot. i would've tried to lift it.
    5) you have a beautiful family!!!
    6) i like lists! xo

  3. you.

    SOOOOOOO freakin jealous!!!! i lagged on ordering it online and to your point, it's sold out everywhere!!!! yay for you for finding one...that's awesome!

    and great pics as always--esp. love the now & then family shots! so adorable!

  4. I am soooooo jealous that papa monkey bought you a new lens!!!! You are so, so lucky. Hello mama monkey! She looks very elegant. I love that she reads your blog.

  5. I love that outdoor seating area at the restaurant. And yay for a new lens! Do you think my husband would buy one of those little camera purses for his camera so I can carry it around?

  6. love the food! love the bag! and I still say that you look like mama monkey.

  7. I love love love the pictures of you as kids and now. So adorable. Since I don't eat meat (chicken and turkey are the exception) I can't comment on the meal. Although those desserts looked heavenly!

  8. i heart craft. i heart your cute little family.

  9. alright, if anyone was going to get the Corporate Glamourshot, I guess its okay that it was Mama Monkey. (i'd put me in a cool 2nd though)

    That's so funny about BroMo's drawing. My mom dropped off this book I had made when I was little titled 'I am special' b/c she thought I could put it on the blog. I love when moms love your blog :)

    and yes, 'I'm Special' is going to be debuted VERY soon :)

  10. I now have a #1 restaurant to try when Mr.P. and I visit L.A. We were having such a hard time making this decision.

  11. so much fun, deliciousness, and LOVE!! in one post. your bro's story was adorable.

  12. I LOVE my 18-200 lens! I need to get a prime lens still, but man! It's so much fun! :-) Looks like an awesome Mother's Day!

  13. We almost went to Craft for dinner last night to celebrate Josh's bday. Looks like brunch was good!

  14. That's quite a spread for a brunch. But I guess that's what Craft's known for--prodigious amounts of food

  15. ugh. too much i love in this amazing post. the winner is definitely the monkey with a black hat ;)

  16. I want to go to there.

    There = Craft, and Samy's for that camera case!

    Can I take you out for lunch sometime to get a hands-on training in food photography? I gotz the swanky camera stuff but gotz to work on my skillz.

    Love all the Monkey family pics, and the drawing, too!

  17. Uber cute camera bag. Don't you already have a ridiculously cute Jessica Claire bag though??

    I must say that I don't have the slightest idea what a prime lens is.

  18. OK so this is how much of a nerd I am: i've been checking the net for the last few weeks to see if I can get my hands on one of these 35mm's, but after reading your post, it just reinforced how serious the situation really is--the *ish* is really, REALLY hard to find!!! So I spent my morning calling every single camera store in socal and after calling about 20 stores, i finally found a store in woodland hills that had one left. I had to pay $15 for shipping but I got one! YAY!!!

    Thanks for the inspiration! hahaha

  19. Mom went to Craft when some friends after it first opened. They got their food and then heard some man say "ladies, how is everything?" It was Tom! I guess he's MIA at LA Craft now, but I'm still super jealous. I love your bro's story! Nice penmanship for a four year old, damn!

  20. Well, this certainly puts my free Panera dinner this evening to shame.

  21. Carniwhore checking in! :)

    So much to love in this post .....

  22. What a sweet mother's day - literally.

  23. This post made me long for my mom. And then when you got to BroMo's drawing it touched me even more. PS - awesome re new lenses! I'm sure you'll have lots of fun with them.

  24. This post gave me warm fuzzies all over. What a great start to my day!

  25. I saw Ed Burns at craft.

    Your mom? Is bee-you-ti-ful.

  26. 1. woohoo for the new lens.

    2. I love Craft's desserts. Yum.

    3. Great family photo op. I love it.

  27. Craft's Catherine Schimenti is no joke. I prefer Craftbar purely due to cost, but we've been here thrice in the last 2 months and it's been dead on every single time.

  28. Awwww I love this post! From the delicious food to the beautiful pictures with Mama Monkey!! Yay for the new lens I can totally see the difference.

  29. OMG...I love every part of this post. I looove the 80s kid pictures. Cuties brother and sister! AND YOUR CAMERA BAG. I want it!

  30. mama monkey is adorable.

    i am undone at "pre-dessert." REALLY??

    the bag is divine. i love it so.

  31. I'm glad you had a good time at Craft. We really enjoyed it when we were there.

    I really need to get Squatty. The other lens will have to wait a bit.

    Adorable camera case!

  32. you look like a blowfish with those cheeks of yours.....try some water pills.


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