The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Los Angeles, Lucques, etc.

LOS ANGELES magazine--a rag that I generally pay no attention to--just named Lucques, on La Cienega and Melrose, LA's best restaurant. I saw this when the wife and I stopped at the outdoor newsstand on Fairfax near Canter's and I perused the issue. Why I decided to look at this magazine was that we were just walking back from Lucques, where we had dined on Friday night, and the cover announced the rankings of the "25 Best Restaurants in LA."

I haven't been familiar with LA restaurants for about five years, since we lived there, and so I can't attest as to whether Lucques is LA's best restaurant. But it sure was the best place I've eaten for years. Damn. I had the suckling pig, which I was initially concerned would be served whole, with an apple in its mouth. Rather, it was served as a kind of pulled-pork cake, topped with crackling skin. The waiter assured me that it was cooked in a pit on the property for eighteen hours and then something else was done with it before serving. I don't care what they did with it, but it was brilliant. Now, I don't know that it needed to be quite as spendy as it was--it was truly pulled pork, Carolina or Tennessee-style, and I could have gotten equally good stuff in Spartanburg or Durham, I'm sure--but in L.A. it was just brilliant. The wife had the vegetarian dish--a mushroom lasagna--which was very tasty but soupier than it needed to be.

I've also never had a $14 martini. Now, it was a damn good martini, absolutely. And it's fun to be out in the big city, and all, but $14? Oy. What made the drink worth it was the snacks that came along with it: olives and roasted almonds accompanied by extra virgin olive oil and coarse salt. They were just fantastic.

Good spring-break trip to LA on the whole, although the boys were sick throughout. Disneyland was awful (although my sister-in-law got us in to "Club 33", which made the trip worth it. Very, very strange.



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