"Baby You Got It", Dinner At Lyle's In Shoreditch, London Ranks Among Most Pleasurable Of All Time

Halfway into the fish dish of a five-course dinner last Friday night at Lyle’s restaurant in London, soul singer Brenton Wood unexpectedly came on the sound system cooing one of my all-time favorite songs, “Baby You Got it”. It was a stunning moment of sheer bliss. The song, the comfortable setting, the charming service , the bread and the butter, the brill fish on the bone and - most of all - the woman seated across from me brought a feeling of such contentment, such pleasure that it was immediately placed on the list of the prized moments of my life.

We had a lunch at Lyle’s on a Wednesday and in very unusual fashion returned two days later for dinner to this “casual fine” Shoreditch restaurant. As we nestled in, the staff charmed. They weren’t over the top effusive, nor superlative-heavy in speech, but rather they were all people we enjoyed chatting with. There was Francesca, and Sally and Emma ( who looked like that actress Emma Stone) and they talked when it was right and left when it was right.

The first lunch from chef James Lowe was a hanger steak and a monkfish tail on a bone that had Nancy going on and on. Familiar with monkfish, but not on the bone. this dish had her mesmerized. There were a few superlatives she didn’t use - she knows better to say ‘amazing’ around me - but very few. The beef was delicious, too,

The dinner, our last in London, began the same as lunch; with a loaf of house-made bread and - even better - a slab of house-made butter that had me fooled it was from Normandy. This butter was the closest thing to Rudy ( Rodolphe La Meunier’s buerre de baratte) I have had in recent memory.. It was so good that Nancy asked me to get the recipe - which chef John told us at the table - for the upcoming “The Barrish” restaurant at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. For the record I told her I’m not gonna write him a email asking for the butter recipe. First. let me tell on Krikorian Writes how divine the the meal was. then I’ll ask.

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The main course was a guinea hen, a breast and thigh. Was superb.

Then the kicker, the co-owner/GM John Oiger, came to the table and - speaking with charm and a slight bit of even more charming awkwardness - told us that “The folks on table 31 would like to buy your dinner.” How do you refuse that?

Turns out it was some chefs from New Orleans who had been to the same Miami Beach food festival recently that Nancy was at, but hadn’t met her. They wanted to show their appreciation of Nancy buy buying us dinner. (Nancy calls this my “fringe benefits.”)

Anyway it was a lovely end to a extraordinary dinner. Later we learned the place not only has a Michelin star, but was ranked 38th on that World’s 50 Best list. a list that with the inclusion of Lyles, I now have a little more respect for.

Here’s to fringe benefits and here’s to Lyles. Their website… https://www.lyleslondon.com/

And here’s to Brenton Wood, and the writers of “Baby You Got it , Alfred Smith, Joseph Hooven and Jerry Winn.

Listen here and hear https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDTFxK-ssnk

I run after you 
Like a fool would do
But mama didn't raise no fool
And I should know
That baby you got it 
That's all I can say to you

You got soul, too much soul
Foxy clothes, the cutest nose
The greatest shape
There's nothing fake about you 
Baby you got it

People can be cruel
They say I lost my cool
But it's very hard to keep my cool
When I'm around you 
'Cause baby you got it
That's all I can say to you

You got soul, too much soul
Foxy clothes, the cutest nose
The greatest shape
There's nothing fake about you 
Baby you got it

Now that I found you 
Gonna cling to you 
I'll give you lovin', money
Everything to you 
No matter what they say 
Doesn't matter what I do 
I'm never gonna love another girl but you 
'Cause baby you got it 
That's all I can say to you

You got it….


monkfish

Nancy Silverton's Five Most Memorable Meals

A memorable meal doesn’t have to be extravagant. It might be a cheeseburger at dive bar that hits the right spots or even a bag of Fritos on a road trip. That said, the most memorable meals I’ve had in my life have been on the extravagant side.

The first was when I was 11; my dad told my sister and I that we were going out for our mom’s birthday. “We’re going to celebrate at some place prestigious,” he said. My sister and I looked at each other and mouthed that word – “prestigious” – in anticipation.

That place was La Serre, then the fanciest restaurant in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, where we lived. I don’t remember what we ate – it was 53 years ago! – but it was a turning point in my dining life. Knowing the impression La Serre left on me, my parents later bought me a set of its serving plates. I still have them.

**

In 1978, after training at Le Cordon Bleu in London, I was working at 464 Magnolia in Larkspur, California, and kept hearing about a restaurant in Berkeley called Chez Panisse. So I went. As clichéd as it sounds, Alice Waters’ food that night changed my life. I can vividly remember the quality of the ingredients: be it a snap pea or raspberry, it was clear they’d been selected with the utmost care. I prefer food where ingredients are the star, not the chef. Chez Panisse (chez panisse.com) continues to shine at that.

When a kitchen is involved in what I call “Manipulative cuisine”, the ingredients do not matter as much as the technique. I’m not a technician. I prefer the food to be the star, not the chef. At Chez Panisse, which came along well before manipulative cuisines, Alice has thankfully stayed true to its original path.

**.

Since 2013, during my summer vacation in Italy, I have been having a lunch – planned months in advance – at Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Modena. Massimo takes traditional Italian dishes and refines them, increasing their intensity without losing the rustic roots. My favourite memory of “OF” was ordering the first time. We were a group of six and spent 30 minutes carefully selecting from the menu. Five minutes later, Massimo appeared. He looked at our order, shook his head and said, “Let me order for you.” We did. It was a wise decision.

At another lunch at OF, I kept saying to my dining companions, “Who the hell does Massimo think he is? He’s making the rest of us chefs look like slackers.”  I was having fun, but I wasn’t 100% joking. Check that story out here on Krikorian Writes http://www.krikorianwrites.com/blog/2015/7/23/nancy-silverton-to-massimo-bottura-who-the-hell-do-you-think-you-are

**

About two hours south of Massimo, nestled amidst the postcard hills of Chianti vineyards, is the realm of the world’s most famous butcher, Dario Cecchini of Antica Macelleria Cecchini, who, by the way, calls me his sister. He does not call the rooms where one eats a “restaurant”, but rather “the home of a butcher.” If you go, make sure Dario is there. He is part of the experience and expect him to hold up two gigantic bisect Fiorentina and, in a booming voice, say “To beef or not to beef!”

If you are fortunate, Dario will tell a touching story about the first time he ever had a bisect Fiorentina.   His family was poor, and they taught him the value of every part of the cow, and how the tendons were as good as the loin. I can’t duplicate the story, can’t do the story justice, just go to the butcher shop in Panzano en Chianti and eat his story.

**

Still, if I had to name a single most memorable meal I ever had in my life it would have to be at the Hotel de Ville, in Crissier, Switzerland, a small town outside of Lausanne. The chef and owner was someone I bet most young cooks and chefs around the world today don’t even know of. Yet, by any measure, in the 1980s and 1990s, he was the greatest chef in the world, a title even Joel Robuchon bestowed on Fred;y Girardet.

Flawless. That’s what the meal was. I’ve had versions of the dishes at other restaurants - seared goose foie gras, lamb loin, pasta with morels and truffles, and so on – but, everything Fredy sent out was the best version I have ever had. The precise Swiss technique combine with a Coltrane creativity, and the almost maniacal search for the best ingredients combined to make Fredy Girardet meal the best dining experience I have ever had.

One quick story form Girardet alumni Daniel Humm who runs Eleven Madison Park in New York City. “We would find these tomatoes, that were magnificent,” Daniel told me several years ago. “And then Fredy would look at them, sniff and say ‘Good tomatoes, but not good enough.”

One more thing at Fredy’s and I’ll finish. The eclairs. You may have seen eclairs with their fillings as bright as crayons. At Fredy’s they brought out these eclairs that had just a hint of hue, just enough tint that you had a inkling of what they were. It might seem curious to end a segment on the greatest restaurant talking about eclairs, but that was part of the thrill of this meal at Fredy Girardet.

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Redemption For A One-Time Fugitive, Dominique Crenn Becomes The First Female Chef In America To Win Three Michelin Stars

She was once wanted by the law, but last night, in her adopted home of San Francisco Dominique Crenn had the last laugh as she became the first woman chef in the United States ever to be honored with the holy grail of gastronomy; three Michelin stars.

It was only four years ago that Crenn fled the United States with several law enforcement agencies hot on her French heels after the controversial chef assaulted and basically ruined an extremely rare and wild Japanese sea bass during a cooking exhibition in Los Angeles. Japanese government officials demanded their American counterparts make Crenn pay for her crimes and warrants were issued for her arrest. The hastily formed Dominique Crenn Fugitive Task Force - FBI, DEA, Homeland Security, Paris PD - gave chase from Melrose Avenue to Marseilles to Marrakesh. Wanted posters were printed in at least 12 languages.

But, as the investigation dragged and other issued came to the front burner - the destruction of Aleppo, ISIS, the American presidential election, global warming - news of the fugitive chef’s whereabouts was related to back pages. And, with so many truly pressing issues on the forefront, the sentiment grew that Crenn’s crimes - which included the theft of chef Michelle Francis’ sunglasses - were relatively minor.

Meanwhile. Crenn was hiding in plain sight, globe trotting and lending her celebrity “bad girl” name to an array of admirable causes such as world hunger, women’s rights and disaster relief. Soon, with the world in turmoil, the masses marched to her side,

Her restaurant Atelier Crenn had been awarded two Michelin stars in 2011, but the top prize eluded her. Many observers thought perhaps her rebel outlaw past was the reason for withholding the crowning glory. Every year she would wait for the news of triumph. It did not come. She would have to wait ‘til next year.

But, last night, Dominique Crenn’s wait came to an end.

Her fellows chefs, many of whom never abandoned Dominique in hard times- were thrilled to her she had been honored with the ultimate accolade.

“Everybody knows Dominique Crenn is a nut case, but the girl can sure the fuck cook,” said chef Elizabeth Falkner, who had once faced charges of harboring a fugitive during the height of the hunt for Crenn. Charges were eventually dropped against Falkner when it was learned the notorious “crasher” had no home to harbor anyone. “I’m beyond thrilled for her.”

Nancy Silverton was happy, too. “First three star female chef in the country. That IS a big deal.”

Late last night, after the celebrations had quieted, after the last diners had departed, Dominique Crenn sat alone on a cushy chair in Bar Crenn, her homage to the salons of Paris, adjacent to her now three star Atelier Crenn. After speaking with her mother, Louise Marie Crenn, in the town of Quimper in Brittany, a friend poured her a glass of the mythical 1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc, the treasure the staff had been saving for this occasion.

She sipped the nectar and, in her solitude thought of her father Allain Marie Crenn. She grew heavy hearted when she thought back to the day he died and she was not at his side. But, as the ‘47 Cheval worked its wonders, she felt her father sitting right next to her, his left hand hand on hers, his right arm around her shoulders.

“I was on the other side of the world when you left us,” Dominique said, her voice cracking. “Papa, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry, my sweet Dominique. I know your heart was with me. And, tonight. on this wonderful glorious night I am right here with you.”

Nancy and Crenn


Chief Justice John Roberts Denounces Decision To Name Lance Ohnstad As Mozza Employee Of The Month

Moments after it was announced that Lance Ohnstad, aka “The Humble Host”, had been named the newest Mozza Employee of the Month, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States issued a statement condemning the ruling.

Chief Justice John Roberts said naming Ohnstad as the 45th Mozza EOM “sent the wrong message to not only other Mozza workers, but workers across America.” He refused to elaborate, but many believe his comments were bitter residue from the feud he is embroiled in with President Don Trump who vigorously campaigned for Ohnstad.

Here’s is the original statement from Trump regarding the EOM.

FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Now that the midterms are finally over with, it’s time to move onto issues that matter most to Americans. I’m talking your border security reinforcements due to the imminent Honduran Special Forces invasion, your lower taxes for multi-billionaires and, of course, the your new Mozza Employee of the Month.

This month we have chosen an employee who is, refreshingly,  not politically correct. An employee who yells to the beat of his own drummer. Who didn’t show up for the Mozza party. An employee who has endured the worst that humanity has to offer, that, of course, being the 6-top who arrive 40 minutes later for their 8 o’clock on Saturday night and demand to be seated. That employee, the newest employee of the month is Lance Ohnstad.

After leaving the U.S. Marine Corps, Lance began his career at Pizzeria on April, 21, 2008.  During that 10 year stretch, he has encountered more assholes than a proctologist. At the Front Desk he has endured  9,547 douches, 1,012 obnoxious Armenians from Iran, Bette Milder on a bad day, Bette Milder on a good day, 4.89 billion friends of Nancy and a white guy from the Westside whose excuse for being an hour late was “Do you know there’s a fire out there?”  

So congratulations to Lance, Sincerely Don Trump.

BREAKING NEWS – As The Mozza Times went to press it was learned that Nancy Silverton had ordered a recount of the ballots for this month’s employee of the mouth. A source said Silverton was overheard saying “I can’t believe what Lance has done now. He sat an incomplete.”   If Lance is disqualified the 2nd place finisher in the balloting, Eduardo’s son Oliver, would get the award.

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Apron Baroness Ellen Bennett Enters Rehab For Drinking Problem 24 Hours After Extravagant Wedding

It was a fairytale wedding. A handsome, adoring groom and a gorgeous bride in haute couture that garnered “ooh’ and “ahs” form the international guests that included chefs from a dozen Michelin-starred restaurants. A seven piece mariachi band and a five piece classical ensemble echoed off the walls of a 16th century building.

But, in real life, fairy tales don’t last forever. Less than 24 hours after Casey Whatchamacallit and Ellen Bennett tied the knot, the apron baroness was stumbling down a Mexico City sidewalk, spewing expletives, splashing her to-go margarita on unsuspecting al pastor taco vendors and pleading with her stunned husband for “just one more.”

The next morning, Bennett, whose Hedley and Bennett company is the largest gourmet apron manufacturer in the world, checked into “New Beginnings”, a celebrity rehabilitation complex in Malibu. made famous by the cable show “Californication.”

“She is not, I repeat, not an alcoholic. Ellen’s just a drunk.”, said Betty Ford, the director of several rehabs that bear her name. “Ellen should be functioning within a week or two.”

A Bennett insider, chef Jonathan Waxman, said Bennett rarely drinks and for her to go to rehab was “a bit dramatic”, but he understood the underlying reason why. “Ellen has a gigantic contractor with Saudi Arabia and those fuckin’ Saudis don’t like drunks. Or journalists. Is that redundant?”

Nancy Silverton, a Hedley and Bennett customer, said “Now that i think about it, I wonder if Hedley is a drunk, too. I’ve never ever seen her. Or him.”

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Furious Trump Vows “We Will Get Nancy's Wallet Back", Sends Delta Force To Mexico City

Seizing an opportunity to regain momentum a day before the midterms, an irate President Donald Trump announced Monday morning he was sending three dozen Delta Force commandos to Mexico City to rescue the stolen wallet of revered Los Angeles chef Nancy Silverton.

“See? See? What have I been telling you people about these people?” Trump told a rambunctious group of supporters at a rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “These people have now gotten personal. Stealing the wallet of one of America’s most believed icons, Nancy Silverstein.”

Silverton, in town for the elaborate wedding of apron baron Ellen Bennett to Casey Something, was at a crowded bakery/cafe in the Roma Norte neighborhood with boyfriend/journalist Michael Krikorian and cookbook writer Carolina Carreno when she realized her wallet was missing from her purse. In the chaotic ensuing moments, Krikorian, after briefly accusing Carreno of the theft, scoured the neighborhood in search of suspicious characters. After detaining and questioning more than 500, such individuals, he gave up his quest. A emergency court order to obtain security camera footage of the area near the bakery was granted early this morning by the Mexican Supreme Court

The Delta troops, officially knowns as the United States Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-D, have likely already landed in and around the Mexico City.

Many Democrats were skeptical, including congressman Adam Schiff (D-California), an outspoken Trump critic who accused the president of using one of “our heroes” as an excuse to send in Special Forces to Mexico.

“He could; give a hoot about Nancy’s wallet,” Schilff said Sunday night. “He’s using it as an excuse to send Delta to attack the caravan.”

Trump has ordered up to 15,000 regular army troops to the US-Mexican border as a caravan of a few thousand impoverished migrants - many from crime-ridden Honduras - slowly marches toward the boundary. They are currently marching toward Isla, in Mexico's state of Veracruz, with some reportedly headed toward Mexico City.

However, sources say, several thousand of the regular army troops are now being diverted to Mexico City, not to deal with the caravan, but to purse all leads on the Silverton pursenapping.

As for Silverton, she was forced to rely on financial support from Krikorian, not generally known as “high value source” of money.

She expressed frustration at the theft, which included not only her wallet -with all her cash, credit cards and driver’s license - but a Mont Blanc ink pen in its leather case and her beloved Church’s yellow leather shoe horn. On top of it all, the wallet contained a cherished memento; Nancy’s mother Doris’ unactivated Neiman Marcus credit card from the 1970s.

“I don’t care that much about the wallet, even though it’s a major headache.” Silverton said as she spoke to local media upon leaving Mexico City’s justly-famous National Museum of Anthropology. “But, they stole my best shoe horn. And my mom’s credit card. Those fuckers. And to have this happen in a bakery? A place sacred to me? That blows.”

In an unguarded moment, Silverton, a devoted liberal democrat, switched alliances and endorsed Trump and his proposed wall. “build that fuckin’ Wall. Not to keep Mexicans from coming to American, but to keep Americans from coming to Mexico.

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But, an hour later, an incident occurred as heartwarming as the walletnapping was blood-boiling.

With both of their cell phones dead, Silverton and Krikorian, walking to a restaurant two miles from the museum, began asking strangers for directions. Well, Krikorian did. Most pedestrians either couldn’t understand Krikorian or thought he was begging. But, then he asked at a coffee shop.

The workers didn’t know what he was talking about, but a 40-something Mexican couple at a booth overheard his request.

“Where do you want to go?", the lady asked.

“Durango Calle, 200”

She turned to her husband and asked him if he knew where that was. He did.

The man, Alejandro Medina, begin telling the Americans where to head, but then he said “Come on, follow us. We will take you there.”

Nancy and Michael looked at each other like they had discovered the winning Mega Millions ticket.

Alejandro - Spanish for Alexander - and his wife walked them all the way to their destination. Any bad thoughts about Mexico City vanished like the banana puree at Maximo Bistro, the charred avocado tartare at Quintonil, the al pastor at Tacos El Huequito, and the mole at Pujol, four of Nancy’s favorite restaurants in this lovely city.

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L.A. Gang Members Suspected Of Killing Boston's Whitey Bulger In Prison Were Hard Core Dodger Fans

Three Los Angeles gang members suspected in the brutal prison beating death of infamous Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger were all hardcore Dodger fans and two correctional officers said the killing was “World Series payback”.

Arthur “Joker” Garabedian, 42, of Florencia 13, Luis “Silent” Ramirez of Geraghty Loma, and Salmon “Grill Boy” Johnson of 89 Family Swans - once regulars in the right field bleachers - are alleged to have been lied in wait for Bulger as he arrived at the Federal Penitentiary in West Virginia and then beat him to a bloody pulp with a Kirk Gibson autographed baseball bat smuggled in during a recent visit.

“Bulger was pounded worse than the Dodger relievers,” said a guard, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “In my 23 years as a correctional officers I have never seen such a vicious shellacking. He looks like he was beat for 18 innings.”

Bulger, 89, convicted in 2013 for, among other things, his role in 11 murders, was serving a life sentence. He served the sentence in full.

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Widespread Protests Breakout As Paris Prepares For Kate Green's Controversial First Visit

Even with security heightened in preparation of Kate Green’s inaugural visit to Paris, protests erupted throughout the City of Light as pro-KG supporters clashed with nationalists who demanded the Los Angeles socialite cancel her trip. At least 14 people were injured Tuesday evening, many by three day-old Poilane croissants thrown by opposing mobs in the 6th arrondissement, French authorities said.

“Go back to Modesto!”, several dozen demonstrators chanted in Paris’ Marais district where Green is expected to be housed in a high security building. They were referring to her hometown, often referred to as the “Paris of the Central Valley”.

Green, most famous for her flamboyant role as Nancy Silverton’s assistant, has repeatedly said in private that France was not her first choice for this highly anticipated trip overseas. Sources close to her, speaking off the record, said Green had tried to get into both Ramadi, Iraq, and Aleppo, Syria, but changed her mind after learning those two wartorn cities were running low on both Raveneau’s Le Clos Chablis and Echezeaux from both DRC and Henri Jayer. This outraged not only Parisians, but French from Alsace to Burgundy.

“Here’s a woman who a few years ago was prolly sipping, no gulping white Zin and wine coolers, a lass who likely considered Bartles and Jaymes wine royalty, a party girl who thought Cheval Blanc lost a match race against Seabiscuit and now she’s yapping about my Echezeaux?, “said Aubert de Villaine, co-director of the Domaine De La Romanee Conti. “It’s people like her that give us snobs a bad name.”

Other protestors who blocked the entrance to several highly regarded Paris bistros - including Le Comptoir, Verjus, Frenchy’s, Septime and the venerable Chez L’Ami Louis - held placards that read “Paris has some museums, too”, in ;reference to Green’s much quoted line “Museums are for tourists, I’m a traveler.”

Despite the widespread protests, many prominent French were looking forward to her visit.

“I can’t wait to see her again,” said Alain Ducasse, 62, a cook from southwest France. “Maybe she can get me into Osteria Mozza.”

Nancy Silverton didn’t get all the fuss.

“Once the customs officials at Charles de Gaulle airport see her passport, I seriously doubt they’ll even let her in the country,” said Chef Silverton “She doesn’t even have a passport photo. What she has is a mug shot.”

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L.A. Mayor Garcetti Backs City Council Plan To Officially Rename Homeless People As "Urban Campers"

You’ve seen the tents, from the Figueroa Street financial district to Sunset & Vine, from the bluffs of Santa Monica to the alleys of Koreatown. The tents, tens of thousands of them donated, have replaced cardboard boxes as the “homes” of the homeless. Once banished to the forsaken land known as Skid Row, they are now on view all over town for residents and tourist to glance and ignore.

Well now, hoping to stem the negative connotation that come with the word “homeless”. the mayor of Los Angeles, Gil Garcetti, who has all but announced he is running for president, has backed a City Council proposal to rename those unfortunate folks as“Urban Campers”.

“Who doesn’t like to camp?” said Garcetti, who has clearly never met Nancy Silverton or my sister Jeanine Krikorian Ash. “I think the city will benefit greatly as image is everything in this town. .Besides. if we do rename them, i can boast I got rid of the homeless.”

Several City Council members were vocal in their support of the mayor.

“Some people camp at Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite,” said councilman Duke Feldmeier, whose 1st District includes Skid Row. “Others like a spot off ‘Going To The Sun Road ‘ in Glacier National Park in Montana. Then there are those “Urban Campers” who go for 5th and Wall. To each his own.”

Some thought the new term was a natural progression for these downtrodden.

“They used to be called bums,” said Los Angeles deputy archbishop Rev. Lon M Burns “Then we upgraded them to homeless. Now they are going to be urban campers. Who knows? They way they set up camp near courthouses, in another few years we might start calling them judges.”

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