The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2016

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22  /  the tasting panel  /  january-february 2016 THE MESSAGE Scratch Bar & Kitchen Brings Modern, Inventive Cuisine to L.A.'s San Fernando Valley T he San Fernando Valley might not be the first location you think of when considering fine dining options in Los Angeles, but Chef Phillip Frankland Lee is looking to change that. Currently a contestant on Top Chef, Lee is looking to make suburban enclave Encino—his hometown—a dining destination: "There's not a lot of options for new, creative cuisine around here. I had to go over the hill [to Los Angeles's Westside] to learn how to cook, and I've always wanted to open a restaurant around here, so this is a great opportunity." His other restaurant in nearby Studio City, The Gadarene Swine, is all-vegan, but his newest venture, Scratch Bar & Kitchen, caters to every appetite. The restaurant, relocated from its previous West Hollywood location, forms two con- cepts, with an à la carte menu, and for those more adventur- ous, a chef's choice tasting menu. Lee explains, "People tell me their allergies and preferences and we whip something up for them!" While there are pre-planned dishes, they're open to variations, and even if you're both vegan and gluten-free, Lee will offer up a plethora of delicious dishes. "It's not a traditional restaurant. We have no waitstaff; the chefs [they have eight for a 30-seat restaurant] pour the drinks and serve the food, which allows more interactions for the guests." With a planned expansion coming soon to the already popular space, there's no doubt that Scratch Bar & Kitchen will bring a spotlight to dining in the Valley. —Jesse Hom-Dawson Chef Phillip Frankland Lee and his wife, Margarita Lee, Pastry Chef of Scratch Bar & Kitchen. Time to Change Your Oil I n 2005, acclaimed French Mediterranean chef Laurent Halasz opened the first of what has become eight Fig & Olive restaurants in New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and Southern California, all based upon his mother's use of fresh, seasonal ingredients and inspired by the coastal cuisines of France, Italy and Spain. But what makes the recipes by Francine Halasz unique is her use of olive oils instead of butter, cream and heavy sauces. Now, more than 60 of these simple yet elegant recipes have been collected by Laurent and Francine Halasz in their new book, Fig & Olive: The Cuisine of the French Riviera (Assouline Press, $50). More than a cookbook, Fig & Olive is a practical "how-to" of Mediterranean dining, in which Chef Halasz not only shares his passion for olive oil married with the cuisines from the South of France, but offers techniques and tips, includ- ing how to pair the right olive oil with each dish, such as when to use a fruity and delicate varietal from Château Léoube in Provence, or a green fruit and herbal olive oil from Marqués de Griñon in Spain. Recipes, made even more mouth-watering by Harald Gottschalk's excellent photography, include aperitifs, soups, meat, fish, poultry, salads, vegetables and desserts. "There is nothing to weigh you down and compromise your health," notes Chef Halasz in the forward, "just the fresh, full, ripe flavors that are key to the Mediterranean diet I grew up on, and that are key to the recipes you will find throughout this book." —Richard Carleton Hacker Fig & Olive: The Cuisine of the French Riviera features the mouth-watering photography of Harald Gottschalk. PHOTO: HARALD GOTTSCHALK

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