Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Field Trip Los Angeles

Autumn velvet + winter melon.

[Field Trip is closing in May 2015; Porridge and Puffs is moving to a new home, location unknown for now.] 

The dear friends took us to Field Trip for dinner. Run by Minh Phan and her partner Sarah Lange, the menu was creatively awesome. One thinks of Asian-inflected savories and the other sorts out Amish-influenced pastries. Grinned. I could be wrong, but if the menu held just three more seafood items, it would be so totally Northwest.

Located right outside where a farmers' market is held on Sundays, three-month old Field Trip serves up pastries and coffee in the mornings, along with the usual eggs, but there're Mexican street corn scones, sausage-stuffed pretzel and all at brunch and lunch. What I love is its focus on porridge at dinner. Yes, PORRIDGE. Minh Phan's Porridge and Puffs that share a space with Field Trip. While I like my congee (or 'chok') Hong Kong style, I also love savory oats. Sorry, I don't like gruel or Teochew porridge's watery rice. What do I know, Porridge and Puffs do savory oatmeal porridge and also regular congee fabulously in a few combinations.

No matter whether it's congee, Cantonese chok, Thai jok or oatmeal porridge, the base stock matters.  Dunno about the alcohol situation in the future. But for now, they don't serve any. It's BYO. So we did. Also, we ordered just about the entire menu, no thanks to the friends' indiscriminate pointing and nodding yes to everything. My favorite is that dish of rich golden-yellow in the photo above. It's autumn velvet + winter melon- velvet cream of roasted kabocha, blue hubbard, butternut squashes with numbing spice braised winter melon, mochis and herbs. THIS. OMG I cried at this one. SO GOOD.

Minh Phan does Next Level Porridge. Think- Diver scallops in XO sauce- kokuho heirloom rice, prickly-ash makrut butter and herbs. See the plate of purple? That's black rice, ham hock stock, crispy ham, loin roulade with shiso + mushrooms, turmeric pickled onions, cripsy shallots and herbs. Yes, it's pulot hitam, savory. LOVE. Also, kokuho heirloom rice, braised beef short ribs, lacto-fermented mustard greens, pickled egg, pickled pears and herbs. Cannot remember the rest. Exciting flavors. Food coma ensued.

Thanks for the awesome meal and the conversation, Minh. Your team took care of us really well too. Love your food. Jonathan Gold, this PulitzerPrize-winning food journalist with the Los Angeles Times gave Field Trip and Porridge and Puffs the thumbs up. The city is flocking to it. Porridge rocks. You too, take a Field Trip.

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