Archive | January, 2012

the Lazy ox canteen

2 Jan

What better way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon on the first day of the year than to indulge yourself with a new food adventure? Ah yes there is also good beer and Disneyland (the perks of living in LA), but the food won out this time.

Brunch time!  I love brunch.  The term so beautifully removes the guilt of having woken up too late on a Sunday to have breakfast, and adds the efficiency of combining 2 meals into 1.  Brilliant.  As if brunch could not be any more fantastic, the Lazy Ox has upped it one level by doing it tapas style. God do I love LA.

For your perusal, I had my personal food photographer/boyfriend capture a partial image of the delightfully long brunch menu:

Though exceedingly difficult not to order the entire menu, we managed to narrow our selections to  5 items.

1.  Roasted poblano soup – with pork belly, chicharron, autumn grapes, and creme fraiche

4/5 stars

This soup was a splendid blend of salty, sweet, smoky, and spicy flavors. The chiles brought enough heat to make my mouth tingle and heighten the other flavors without compromising my taste buds.  The pleasant, creamy, light texture was happily balanced by the crunchy chicharron. Win.

2. Caramelized cauliflowerwith chile, pine nuts, and mint

4/5 stars

This dish was a delight.  Turning a bland uninspiring vegetable such as cauliflower into an explosively tasty food is quite the challenge.  This spicy, warm, nutty combination with a vinegary tang on a lightly cooked cauliflower base rounded out by the caramelized coating not only rose to the challenge but also karate chopped it, ninja smacked it, and kung fu kicked it into submission. Win.

3. Pork and beef ragu – with egg pasta and fried egg

2/5 stars

We can’t have it all….This was a severe disappointment.  Growing up with an Italian mom who is an amazing cook made my standards for good pasta and sauce exceptionally high, and  here they were put to the test.  The egg pasta was overcooked and it seemed that the pasta water had not been sufficiently salted.  The meat sauce was decidedly lacking in an ingredient, possibly onion or garlic.  The usual savory quality of a good ragu sauce just wasn’t there. This dish had so much potential but didn’t make it to the finish line.  Fail.

4. Lazy ox burger – with cantal cheese & whole grain mustard

3.5/5 stars

This was a solid burger.  The seasoning and the cantal cheese were enough to enhance but not obscure the fresh meat taste.  The accompanying fries were beautifully seasoned with a crispy outside and tender inside – just the way I like it.  The side of smoky sweet chipotle mayo was a flavor bonus and a great addition to the fries.  Unfortunately for this place, this burger is no match for LA’s Umami burger or Austin’s Casino el Camino burger.   75% Win.

5. Anson mills polenta – with creamed mushrooms and curry

4.5/5 stars

Stupendous.  This dish made me float away on a polenta dream.  Polenta  was originally a food of the peasant Italian people but it has notably made its way into the most upscale of restaurants where the styles of cooking it are greater in multitude than the number of clothing items in Kim Kardashian’s closet.  The sweet, buttery, creamy polenta combined with charred bitter greens and delicate mushrooms whisked me off into food heaven.  Do not leave this place without tasting this dish.  I beg you.  In fact,  if there was a Nobel Food Prize, this dish would have it. Extreme Win.

Thank you Lazy Ox.  You were beyond worth the sacrifice of my post-Xmas detox.