Monday, April 5, 2010

SAAM Kind of Wonderful

You'd think that, after visiting The Bazaar by José Andrés four times, I'd be sick of it.


We knew exactly where to celebrate Ms. Cruiser's birthday -- SAAM.
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What is SAAM?

According to The Bazaar website, SAAM is "The Intimate Chef's Tasting Room" -- a "hidden space designed by Philippe Starck...lined with Murano glass sconces and creamy leather with clean lines inspired by Italian 1940s decor." Here, "guests...enjoy a personalized journey of modern creations and traditional flavors."

Reserving a table at SAAM requires a phone call and a filled-out form with your credit card information and your party's food allergies. The experience costs $95 per person.

Our birthday girl tried an Uva Bella -- gin, St. Germain, house-made grape soda and grape air. Mr. Cruiser opted for José's Gimlet -- Bombay Sapphire and fresh lime heart.
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I got another Magic Mojito. I know you guys love the animated GIFs. Make your own on Gickr!

Our "personalized journey of modern creations and traditional flavors" started with a shot for each of us.
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The Golden Boy -- Amontillado Sherry wine, bitters, Cava and gold dust.

Beet "Tumbleweed."
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How could a crunchy fried red bite be so good? Delightful!

Black Olives Ferran Adrià.
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Our first spherification of the night. These membranous globes of olive and squid ink burst in our mouths. Such a crazy sensation!

Bagel and lox steam bun.
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Light and fluffy, warm and starchy pillows with salmon roe that go pop, pop, pop!

Olive oil bonbons.
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What? I'm supposed to eat...oil? With what? Nothing? Just oil? Huh? Ok, I'm eating candied oil...and loving it. So weird but so gratifying.

Tuna Handroll 2009.
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This is my favorite cone here. A great amalgamation of different textures and flavors.

Jose's Combination -- jamon iberico + caviar.
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Insanely delicious and decadent. Two ounces of this acorn-fed, free-range Ibérico ham will typically set you back $38. Use this to wrap caviar inside, and you have quite the extravagant bite.

Boneless coconut Thai chicken wing.
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A slight twist on The Bazaar's usual boneless chicken wings with green olive purée. I didn't think it was possible, but I thought this version was even better. Loved the sweetness.

Beet salad.
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We got the beet! Just beet it! And that is the extent of my stupid beet lyrics. This dish was surprisingly delicious and complex. I had no idea that beets could be so tasty. The initial tumbleweed foreshadowed beautiful things to come.

Chipirones en su tinta.
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This baby squid in its own ink was succulent and superb.

Baby Japanese peaches and kiwi, Greek yogurt and zataar.
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Another slight twist on The Bazaar's usual Japanese peaches. I liked this much more than I did my first visit. The kiwi worked better for me than the regular menu's persimmon.

Guacamole "New Way."
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Like an avocado caterpillar filled with icy tomato inside and dressed with tiny corn chips outside. Like a fancy schmancy chef catered your Super Bowl party.

Hot & cold foie soup with corn.
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Wow. WOW. Maybe my favorite course of the night. Gorgeous cold corny foie mousse on top and creamy hot corny foie soup underneath. Rich and absolutely amaaaaazing.

Norwegian cigalas.
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Hey! Crawfish for the wealthy! Quite possibly the best crawfish I've ever had. That golden crunchy top. Man, oh, man.

Smoked Arctic char chickpea cake, cucumber Tzatziki.
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I'm not a huge fan of salmon, but this was perfectly cooked, and the chickpea cake was excellent. The accompaniments provided a lovely contrasting coolness.

Not Your Everyday Caprese -- cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella.
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More spherification! You've seen this before. Still great. Mr. Cruiser called the little croutons "bread Chiclets." Ha!

Wagyu beef cheeks.
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We wants it. We needs it. Must have The Precious. Myyyyy Preciousssss.

Wild mushroom risotto with white truffle ($25).
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This addition pleased the Cruisers very much, and even Monkey the Mushroom Hater had to admit it was wonderful. I've said it before, but it's kind of weird that I like truffles but don't like mushrooms.

Philly cheesesteak air bread, cheddar, Wagyu beef.
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We've had this a couple times, but we've never had it served by a monkey! The stand was so neat!

Dragon's Breath Popcorn! Dragon's Breath Popcorn! Dragon's Breath Popcorn!
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Hooray for nitro! Pop this in your mouth and chew immediately. Breathe out. You are Puff the Magic Dragon! You want whimsical? I got your whimsical right here. This made grown men giggle gleefully all around the room.

Thai dessert, peanut powder, gelée.
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When I first got this, I was puzzled to eat just powder. Powder! But this turned out to be a yummy-nummy joy. Loved it a lot.

Hot chocolate pear.
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This was the dessert that Mr. Monkey and The Cruisers enjoyed.

Nitro coconut floating island, passion fruit, vanilla, bananas.
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In lieu of the hot chocolate pear, I got this on account of my mild chocolate allergy. You can see how the floating island is made here. Pretty cool!

When you celebrate your birthday at SAAM, you get a candle in a crazy sugar cage.
Make a wish, Ms. Cruiser!

Petit fours -- tablets, bonbons, marshmallow, gelée.
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Sweet and tiny bites to end the night!

We each got a ribboned scroll to remember our night.
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I love taking menus home!

Before we left, our server showed us the kitchen.
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The staff was busy cleaning up.

As always, some decor shots for you. Here's my fave table in the Rojo Room.
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Berry titillating night. Thank you, SAAM.


  1. As usual, beautiful photos of what looks like to be a fantastic meal. I haven't made it to SAAM yet, but I will definitely check it out soon. :)

  2. what an amazing spread this was. everything looked so delicate and drool inducing. i'm intrigued by the olive oil bon bons!

  3. great shots and honestly a completely different menu than what we had. Your post almost makes me want to post my dinner and head back and try it again.... :)

  4. Looks amazing. I've only been to the Bazaar once and I'm dying to go back. Some of these dishes look it because you guys dined in the SAAM room? Or are the new variations part of their new menu?

  5. This wasn't really only $95 per person?!

    I loved all of the detail! I feel smarter having read this entry.

  6. Incredible. I absolutely love Jose Andres' food. We had the risotto w/ white truffles that night too. SO amazing. And I love that the little monkey served you the cheesesteak. Perfect for you. :)

  7. With SLS's low occupancy, I think you should just move into upstairs? Can't be that expensive...

    Looks like Saam's menu is completely different from the last tasting menu I had at Bazaar, save for the not your everyday caprese.. And look at the mad amounts of truffles! Crazy!

  8. Love that she called the air bread "bread Chiclets"!

    By the way - truffles are tubers and not mushrooms. Maybe that's why you like one and not the other?

  9. Good think you liked the beets or else I would have to "beet" you up! Bwhaha!

  10. Yum! I love that tuna cone thing! I really need to go back...

  11. Wow. That kitchen staff totally earned that $95.

  12. so amazed at what they can do in the kitchen! and the photos are stunning, as always.

  13. um. amazing. the dragon's breath popcorn looks all sorts of awesome. love it all.

  14. So, um, you know, if you ever feel like doing that again, please call, 'kay? :)

    I've had the coconut dessert and I LOVED it! So freaking yummy!

  15. The boobs are amazical.

    I think I'm going to send Mr. FGD & his brother to this. They would love it so much. I'll wait for them at In n Out.

  16. If you have been there this many times and still want to go back, I definitely need to try it! Thanks for the tip on the private room!! <3

  17. The wait is over! What a fantabulous new post.

  18. that's amazing!!! i loved my experience at bazaar and this definitely seemed like a VIP experience and totally worth the $95!

  19. i want to go there for my birthday now, for that sugar cage if nothing else. ha!

  20. I'm going through your posts one by one while catching up on my DVR. I should probably stop before I starting eating the screen.

  21. i have yet to go. still. i want it all! wah.


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