Thursday, December 15, 2005
Patina: here comes the fromage
Having picked up some last minute tickets to the Harry Shearer/Judith Owen Holiday sing-a-long at Disney Hall last night (yes I'm a sucker for everything Christmas), we had empty stomachs and about an hour and a half to kill before the show. We had to keep it within walking distance since the car was already firmly ensconced in the bowels of the music center. Being big fans of bar dining as a way to sample but not splurge at pricey places, we thought we'd grab a snack at the bar of Patina, restauranteur Joachim Splichal's marquee place, located at the southeast corner of the Gehry-designed concert hall.
Well, we already had drinks in hand when the bartender informed us the only food service at the bar was caviar or cheese. Us: Okay, we'll get a cheese plate. Him: Let me get the fromager. Cue fromager to wheel in his big ol' cart of cheese. While I was thrilled by the diverse selection and piles of accoutrements (membrillo, apricots, lavender honey), it was rather awkward to sit in the restaurant's very tiny bar, right next to the hostess stand with other patrons coming in and out, and order our cheeses. Awkwardness wasn't alleviated by the annoying schmuck next to us, looking over our shoulder and pronouncing that all he needed was a block of Velveeta. However, the fromager was unfazed and managed to quickly put J. and I at ease.
We sampled three cheeses: Beaufort, a hard mountain cheese from France; Le Gariotin, a French goat cheese, this one soft and from the Perigord region; and finally a satisfyingly stinky Spanish Cabrales, which paired beautifully with the lavender honey. (The fromager gave us a small brochure with a listing of the cheese we got and a few notes--that's how I "remembered" the list). While not what we had in mind when we first sat down, the cheese service was a delightful way to begin our evening and experience the luxury of a chichi restaurant without committing to a whole meal.
141 S. Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA