Birthday Dinner at Providence: Dessert

My wonderful husband arranged a dinner with friends at Providence to celebrate me turning 21 for the 10th time in my life. You can read about the first part of the meal here.

After that delicious dinner, it was time for dessert, the real reason all of us were there.  😉  Despite starting to feel full, I still went for the full 8 course dessert tasting menu.  I didn’t know when I would be back so…*shrug*  Can you blame me?

Cocktails

First up was “Cocktails”.  Three different drinks manipulated via magic (okay, more like molecular gastronomy) into morsels that you pop in your mouth.  From left to right was a grapefruit concoction,  gin & tonic and mojito.  The grapefruit and mojito were contained within a very thin bubble that burst in your mouth.  The gin & tonic was turned into a jellied substance.  I can’t say I was an avid fan of any of the drinks mainly because I don’t care much for grapefruit, dislike gin and prefer my mojitos on the sweet side.  But texturally, this was quite a new and fun experience for me.

#2 kalamansi gelee - one of my faves

Next came the Kalamansi Gelee, which was my favorite…I think.  It’s a bit of a tie between this and the 4th course.  The kalamansi gelee was a first for me.  Turns out it’s a fruit that looks a lot like a lime and is popular in the Philippines.  Surrounding it was a soup of white chocolate coconut milk with tiny tapioca balls.  On top of the gelee was a litchi-shiso sorbet and coconut.  Now, I’m not at all a fan of coconut.  I usually avoid anything with the stuff, which is ironic given that I used to gnaw on raw coconut as a kid growing up in the South Pacific.  This dish wasn’t overly sweet nor was it strong on coconut flavor which is probably why it appealed to me.  It was also light and refreshing.  I think one of the reasons that I loved this dessert so much was the nostalgia the ingredients inspired in me, what with the coconut and the tapioca balls which reminded me of my boba-slurping days as a college student…

#3 mandarin-rose sorbet

The third course was the mandarin-rose sorbet.  There was a cute little pistachio macaron, some fluffy bits of yogurt cake and cardamon.  I believe under the sorbet was a raspberry gelee.  I’m not sure where the “mandarin” comes in but I did taste the rose and smelled it too.  It wasn’t too flower-y and went well with the raspberry and yogurt cake which reminded me a lot of angel food cake.  Macarons seem to be popping up all over the place nowadays which is fine with me because I love them.  And mini-versions are just adorable which makes me love them even more!

#4 sweeter side of panzanella

Another favorite, the sweeter side of panzanella came next. This had burrata ice cream on one side and strawberries marinated in basil and balsamic vinegar with a pan-fried frangipane.  I think the outstanding part of this dish was the strawberries.  The basil, balsamic and strawberries all melded together into something delicious yet I could still taste each individual component.  I am going to try and recreate it at home…but I’m sure I’ll probably come up with only a poor cat’s version.

#5 caramel pudding - oh so salty!

Caramel pudding was fifth on the list.  This dessert consisted of a cup filled with salted caramel pudding topped with a sprinkle of apricot, caramel popcorn and a chocolate peanut.   I love the whole salt and caramel combination so when I started, I was pleased.  However, when I reached the bottom, I found the pudding to be overly salty, so much that I really couldn’t finish it.  Sadness…

#6 dark chocolate mousse

Up next was the dark chocolate mousse with kumquats, ginger and goma ice cream.  Goma, it turns out, is sesame seed.  While it wasn’t as strong in flavor as the black sesame ice cream I had at Tsuruhashi, it was still quite enjoyable.  I think sesame seed ice cream is something that needs to become trendy so I can eat more of it.  Then again, my hips are already too wide…

#7

Next was the affogato.  This was pretty fabulous.  It’s an Italian ice cream dessert that’s topped off with a shot of coffee or espresso.  This version had canele ice cream with over a hazelnut streusel.  The bitter of the coffee was softened by the sweetness of the ice cream and the streusel helped give a nice textual contrast.  It was just a harmonious dish that I enjoyed.  I think this was my next favorite dessert from the tasting after the kalamansi and the panzanella.

#8

For our last course, we were treated to a plate of mignardises – bite-sized desserts that are a type of petit four.  Mini chocolate macaraons, caramels and what I think were blackberry jelly candies graced our platter.  We chowed down on the macarons and the jellies but most of the caramels were collected and taken home to be savoured later.  These caramels had some salt in it and it was just right this time.  I wish I had taken them all!  😛

Another almost too pretty to eat thing...

Dark chocolate ganache

Not everyone partook in the tasting menu.  Husband and another friend opted for only one dessert but their one dish were just as fabulous as our tasting menu.  Husband went for the dark chocolate ganache which is a chocolate lover’s heaven.  I am not sure what my friend ordered but it was beautiful…an edible marble-looking ball filled with something yummy; This was a sophisticated version of those chocolate eggs or something like that.  Everyone was ooing and aahing when it arrived.

Overall, Providence has to be one of the best meals I’ve had so far.  The dessert tasting menu is definitely a bargain, I think, and I encourage you it out, especially if you are a lover of sweet!

5 NOMs for Providence!

Providence
5955 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 460-4170
Providence on Urbanspoon

My first Yelp party

Yelp Elemental party @ J Lounge

Recently, I was invited to become a Yelp Elite member. Shortly after being inducted, I got notice of Yelp’s March party – Elemental at the J Lounge in Downtown LA. I decided that would make a nice break from moving and decided to take Husband along as my guest.

Food trucks to whet our appetite

When we got there at 7pm for the Elite hour, there was already a line out the door waiting for entrance.  Fortunately, Yelp had hired several food trucks to keep us occupied – Flying Pig Truck, Fresser’s and Buttermilk.  I grabbed a pastrami sandwich bite and some ube (sweet purple potato) and red velvet pancake bites from the latter two trucks.

Lounge area in the patio

J Lounge is a swanky two-story space with an outdoor patio.  Kitchen 12000 had set up the patio to look like an airport/airplane; girls dressed up as stewardesses wandered around and some passed out little boxes with short ribs, mashed potatoes and green beans.  Kitchen 12000 also set up Pho King, Killer Kabob and Coffee Clinic booths around the area for food samples.

Chicken kabob from Killer Kabob

Husband and I grabbed a box of the short ribs early on and some Killer Kabob samples later on in the evening.  The short ribs box was a little cold.  My rib barely had any meat on it.  Overall, it was okay but nothing great.  The chicken kabob, served with rice and tzatziki sauce, were a bit more flavorful.  Husband wasn’t keen on his beef one but he didn’t have it with the tzatziki.  I tried it sans sauce and he was right; it was a little bland.  Still, I thought this was better than the short rib box.

Picture time!

Coffee Clinic

Dollhouse Bake Shoppe mini cupcakes

There was a photo booth set up where attendees could put on silly hats, glasses, etc and get their picture taken.  While in line, I picked up some goodies from the Coffee Clinic people – an espresso brownie and a coffee flavored rice krispie treat.  Both were really good.  I’m not a coffee drinker but I do like coffee flavors in sweet things so this was awesome.  I wanted more of the rice krispie treat…  The bitterness cut back on what is normally an overly sweet dessert.

Since it was a little cold, Husband and I decided to explore the inside of the building.  Waitresses from J Lounge were passing around goodies like bacon wrapped dates (YUM!) and other vendors were set up around the venue.

We visited the Dollhouse Bake Shoppe table.  They were serving up samples of their adorable and deliciously moist bite-sized cupcakes, cookies and other dessert items.

Flying Pig Truck - smoked chicken and spicy pork tacos

There were a few palm readers/psychics around.  There was also a swag table.  Grabbed a bag and a couple of shot glasses with the Yelp logo on them for our collection.

We also got to play with the Miracle Fruit.  After rolling around the fruit on our tongues for at least two minutes, we sampled lemons (tasted like lemonade) and apple cider vinegar (tasted like apple juice with a little bit of tanginess).

Still hungry, we visited the Flying Pig Truck.  They were all out of their pork belly buns, sadly, but they still had some smoked chicken and spicy pork tacos left.  I got one of each and have to say, these were pretty darn good.  The spicy pork actually packed some heat!

Feeling satiated, Husband and I headed back in and explored the upstairs of J Lounge.  A dance floor with a DJ had been set up and we found a couple more vendors as well as a hookah and cigar lounge. There was also an extensive bar taking up one of the long walls, bringing the total number of bars I saw to 3.  One thing you can be sure of, you’ll always be able to get a drink somewhere in J Lounge…

Plush Puff marshmallow

Plush Puffs had samples of their flavored marshmallows on skewers and little fires going for toasting them.  I adored the lemon flavored toasted marshmallow.  They also do gigantic marshmallows!  A perfect gift for the marshmallow lover in your life…  Apparently, they also do catering, a great idea for a special occasion party or wedding reception dessert stand.

L'artisan du Chocolat chocolates

Out on the upstairs patio, there was a chocolatier that I absolutely fell in love with – L’artisan du Chocolat.  French-trained, Whajung and Christian combine chocolate and various flavors like mango wasabi, Aztec chili, Korean garlic and anis honey to create exotic and delicious morsels of melty heaven.  I sampled the bacon which was amazing, one of the best versions I’ve had so far, and the Korean garlic, a strange yet yummy combination.

For entertainment throughout the evening, Yelp had performers from Zen Arts LA out on the patio.  Aerialists, belly dancers, burlesque and vaudeville performers and Capoeira demonstrations oohed and aahed the crowd.

Overall, this was a pretty fun event and totally made me want to attend more.  Husband was quite adamant that he get to come with me.

Thank you, Yelp!

You can see more pictures on the Catty Critic facebook page.