For his birthday, I joked around and told him I was taking him to Denny’s. A rather fancy Denny’s. One with valet parking in the Downtown Los Angeles Arts District. Unfortunately, Bestia is not Denny’s and does not serve a Grand Slam breakfast. Our loss. (haha) But, our gain was an exceptional Italian dinner to celebrate his special day.
The evening’s menu was a cornucopia of delightful flavors. We stared with a special of the evening: The Salumi (chef’s selection of house-cured meats with grilled bread). The quality of in-house curing showed brightly within the thin cuts of charcuterie.
Next, the came the Lamb all’nduja (San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, stinging nettles, house made cheese, oregano). Pipping hot and fresh, every bite was savored. At certain points, I wanted to cut it in half and fold my side directly into my mouth. Few experiences are as awesome as watching your pizza created and then tossed into a wood fire oven directly in front of you. At certain points, we became memorized during eating by how effortlessly the pizza chef created and dished out pies. Dinner and a show, indeed.
For the main course of the evening, we shared the Rigatoni (house made prosciutto, tomatoes, cavolo nero, whipped burrata, pickled fennel seed, marjoram). Yet again, the entree another delicious plate of high quality ingredients and culinary craftsmanship.
Finally – and most importantly with a lit candle – we finished with the Winter Sundae (chocolate fudge torte, wet whiskey pecans, cinnamon star anise ice cream). After a quick singing of happy birthday by me, we dug in.
Every bite was proof that in the the scope of the LA food scene, Bestia is still at the top. It’s little wonder why I had to make my reservations almost four weeks in advance.
Note: PLAN AHEAD! I made reservations 3 – 4 weeks in advance by calling the restaurant directly. Even though Open Table might not show availability, screw the points and just call Bestia directly for a spot.
Original Post: December 14, 2015
Deep conversations –
Cavatelli, black truffles
A transcendent meal
Bestia – that special moment in which you realize that black truffles – rather than chocolate or diamonds – are a female’s best friend.
When Rosemary texted me that it had been way too long since we’d last seen each other, I was rather surprised. I thought about it and then was shocked that I hadn’t seen her in almost two months. Time had quickly slipped into the future – and it was time to rectify that. After the meeting day was settled on, I picked the place: Bestia.
First, drinks. After a rather stressful day and an even more stressful time in traffic and dealing with faulty Apple Maps directions, I desired something that was 1) not an Old Fashioned and 2) Unique and different. After asking our waiter for a suggestion, I settled on the Pecado Mortal (mezcal, vermouth rouge, amaro lucano, saler’s, mole bitters, bittersweet chocolate). It was – in one word, perfect. The smokey scent of the mezcal paired with the sliver of spiced chocolate on top reminded me of everything I enjoy about men and drinks. After a taste, Rosemary said that it reminded her of a proper study and leather books. I deliciously agreed. I had a taste of Rosemary’s The Puddle Jumper (bourbon, apricot liqueur, fig liquor, orange juice, lemon juice). Her drink was perfect for her: light, refreshing and smooth.
Second, we split the Homemade Country Bread (wood grilled, olive oil, garlic, salt). Upon first bite, I was immediately reminded of how open fire on a grill makes everything taste better. The bread was perfectly charred and paired well with the clean taste of the olive oil.
Shortly after, our main dishes arrived. Rosemary ordered the Casarecce al Pomodoro (twisted semolina pasta, tomato sugo, fresh ricotta, basil oil). After a taste, I found it traditional and well done. What did I order? A dish that was so magnificent that I could hardly contain myself from dancing in my seat after the first bite. A dish that touched that special umami place on my tongue, creating a symphony of flavor that rendered me speechless. The Cavatelli alla Norcina (ricotta dumplings, housemade pork sausage, black truffles, grana padano) was worth every single minute I worked at my day job to pay for it. It was exceptional. It was transcendent. It was a dish that, upon tasting it, Rosemary’s eyes almost rolled to the back of her head.
For desert, we finished with the Coffee and Donuts (spiced chestnut zeppole, whipped cream, coffee ice cream). As the coffee in the Coffee and Donuts referred to the coffee ice cream rather than an actual cup of coffee, two cups of Stumptown coffee soon followed. I finished my coffee while topping my donuts with fresh whipped cream and ice cream.
As our conversation dwindled down and the check was taken care of, I was struck by how many things in my life allow me the opportunity to be grateful. I thought back to a breath through I had while we sipped our cocktails. In that moment, I realized that some people pay thousands of dollars to go on weekend retreats to “find their mission” in life. But, catching up with Rosemary, I found myself saying the following – drawn out for clarity now:
“My mission in life is to relish quality friendships and conversations over delicious food and drink; celebrate my parents and appreciate all they’ve created in their life so that I may exist; be a loving mom and wife; and share what I learn with others so that they may benefit as well.”
Clarity can come in the most unexpected way when you least expect it.
Parking: You WILL need to valet your car. Assume this and do NOT consider parking on the street. Consider it as part of the cost of safety and security in enjoying your time at Bestia. Remember, this is an industrial section of Downtown with extremely limited safe street parking. Your sanity and safety is worth $7.50. The best part? Unlike the bars in the Castro district (-side eye-), the valet takes cards.
Note: IDFWU anymore, Apple Maps. Just like Apple Music, you have screwed me over and stressed me out for the last time. Not only did you have me get off the 5 freeway and then immediately back on the 5 freeway for absolutely no reason – but you had me turning on the Sante Fe bridge and then saying I needed to turn around – on the bridge. No More. Google Maps or Waze from now on.