The Bazaar By Jose Andres

City Sips, Heavenly Bites

If you’re tired of your regular spot and are looking for a fun and unique dining experience to spice up your weekend, then look no further! Jose Andres’s, Bazaar at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, is a revolution in food preparation and presentation.

Before I attempt to explain the technical aspects of Andres’s approach and his ability to handcraft the divine flavors of my favorite dishes, I feel obligated to describe the incredible atmosphere at The Bazaar. To simply describe it as unique would be an understatement because, without an ounce of exaggeration, I can say that there are almost no two chairs that are exactly the same in any one of its four fabulously decorated rooms — including a dessert bar! Every inch of the sprawling restaurant exudes extravagance — from its ornate chandeliers, retro wall paper and uniquely crafted chairs, The Bazaar has left no stone unturned when it comes to having an unparalleled dining atmosphere.

As if the unbelievable atmosphere isn’t reason enough already to make The Bazaar your next birthday, graduation or anniversary destination, let me tell you a little bit about what makes their food every bit as unique as their atmosphere…

Andres’s Bazaar is known for its modern take on traditional Spanish tapas. To this end, Andres has become famous for his use of an incredibly delicate technique called molecular gastronomy which transforms his dishes into true culinary creations. As awesome as it sounds and as amazing as it tastes, I am barely able to understand the chemistry of how it happens. Although, after a bit of research and a dictionary at my fingertips, I can finally explain how one of my favorite dishes, the “Not Your Every Day Caprese,” is made.

As you might have been able to guess, it consists of tomatoes and mozzarella BUT in no ordinary fashion. This dish requires a technique called spherification, which results in a small, translucent ball of mozzarella that seems to be held together, as if by magic. As much as I wanted to believe that, I recently learned that this is possible by combining calcium chloride and liquified mozzarella, and then immersing it into a mixture of water and alginate. Minutes later, a mozzarella filled, tasteless gel capsule the size of a grape forms and remains as such until punctured, at which point it pops, and delicious mozzarella explodes in your mouth — Yes, it is just as magical as it sounds!

These spherified mozzarella balls are served with equally sized, succulent cherry tomatoes, resting on a thin layer of creamy pesto sauce, and accompanied by a miniature crouton. The knowledgable waiters at The Bazaar will instruct you about the method of preparation (of all your dishes), as well as the proper way to eat this dish — carefully scoop up a mozzarella ball, cherry tomato, dollop of pesto and a mini crouton onto a single spoon and — voila — you have your perfect bite.

Another seemingly magical item on the Bazaar menu is the Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) Caipirinha — a combination of Brazilian cachaca, fresh lime juice and sugar, blended with liquid nitrogen to form a delicate, flavorful and strong, frozen cocktail tastier than any frozen margarita you have ever had before. The best part about ordering this futuristic drink is that it is made table-side! You get to watch as a magician with a whisk stirs the liquid nitrogen with the other ingredients as the frozen smoke spills over the mixing bowl. It is then scooped into a glass and served to you with a tiny wooden spoon for consuming.

With every dish more exquisite and delicious than the last, you’ll have plenty of tapas to choose from to create your very own culinary adventure at the SLS’s Bazaar. Despite the seemingly outrageous combinations and preparations, I have yet to taste a dish I didn’t absolutely love — from cotton candy coated foie gras, to jicama wrapped guacamole bites, and even passion fruit and espresso foam Wagyu beef — everything somehow, magically fits together like pineapple on pizza (only SO much better).

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Rating: 10/10

Address: 465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Type: Spanish Tapas

Price Range: $18 – $100

Must Haves: Caviar Cones, LN2 Caipirinha, Not Your Every Day Caprese, “Philly Cheesesteak,” Cotton Candy Foie Gras, Brussel Sprouts, Croquettes De Pollo, Papas Canarias

Reservations: Yes – Tough

Full Bar: Yes

Dessert Bar: YES!

Parking: Street, Valet

Blue Bottle Coffee

City Sips, Heavenly Bites

If you’re anything like me, you need your daily fix — of coffee, of course! And if you’re anything else like me, a bad cup of morning joe can turn a good morning into an unwelcome one faster than you can roll your eyes and say, “It’s 10 a.m. and I already need a nap!”

Well, if you want to put those dreadful mornings behind you, then make Blue Bottle Coffee the newest addition to your morning routine. With twelve locations in the Los Angeles area, you’re bound to be within a few miles of one wherever you’re hiding.

My personal favorite is their New Orleans. I’m not a fan of sweet drinks, especially when it comes to my coffee — but I also don’t like my coffee black. This usually leaves my options limited and my decision difficult when I want to try something besides my usual iced coffee with milk. But, Blue Bottle has squashed the competition and made at least one decision in my life a no-brainer. The New Orleans is a delightful, delicate and creamy combination of their fresh Cold Brew, blended with a little more than a splash of whole milk (I often substitute almond milk) and just a dash of pure cane sugar. The ultimate trifecta! BUT the most unique part about the New Orleans is the subtle hints of roasted chicory laced within every sip.

Coffee isn’t all they do right at Blue Bottle — their avocado toast is decadent and their poached eggs are flawless. They have a minimal selection of mouthwatering snacks, but the avocado toast stole my heart (as avocados tend to do). It is dusted with red chili flakes and topped with a sprinkling of freshly ground pepper — my favorite way to season avocado in every form!

Blue Bottle Coffee provides a unique, modern take on a centuries old tradition of brewing and drinking coffee. The story behind its inception and their services is just as sui generis as their cup of coffee. So please, feel free to read more here about how Blue Bottle Coffee evolved into the small but fabulous network of cafes that it is today.

XOXO,

Your Not So Basic Bitch

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Rating: Strong 9.2/10

Address: 132 South Beverly Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Type: Coffee Shop

Price Range: $3 – $8

Must Haves: New Orleans, Cold Brew, Avocado Toast, Poached Eggs

Hours: Monday – Friday from 6:00 p.m. – 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. – Location Dependent; Saturday – Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. – Location Dependent

Parking: Street

Non-Dairy Options: Yes