Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Gentleman's Beer Drinking Club and Palate

That's me, second from the right.

The NHL season has started, and the Gentleman’s Beer Drinking Club had their draft last Friday night, and I just finished the Gentlemen’s official membership cards for 2008-09 season the other day. As you can see from the list of our picks on the back of the card, I didn’t do too bad: OTT, NYR, BOS, COL, NSH, LAK. I’m usually really heavy in the East, but I’ve learned from watching Wes win the President’s Cup every year, that it’s best to diversify one’s portfolio. So I made a point of snatching up three Western Conference teams, two of which I absolutely loathe: Colorado and Nashville. Bleh! I decided I wanted to try new things. I wanted to be adventurous like Andrew Zimmern. Because, seriously, taking Colorado and Nashville, to me, is like chewing on a giant cow eyeball and then sucking on a durian fruit. Still, I’m looking forward to the season.

Unfortunately Doug doesn't have a cat. He just has a baby.

What does this have to do with food? Well the draft went down at our house and our house is right up the street from the new Los Angeles restaurant sensation: Palate. This place has been written up in every magazine and paper and it’s received rave reviews. Except that it’s not in Los Angeles, it’s in Glendale. Yes, we finally have our very own gourmet restaurant and it’s less than a mile from our front door. And it’s good. I wouldn't say it's great, but we've had nothing to complain about and we look forward to localizing the fuck out of that place.

What did we have… uhhh… I stopped taking pictures at the beginning of our dinner (I liked it so much I couldn’t be distracted), so I don’t remember. (This is a great review.) I kid, I kid. It's a simple menu and if you enjoy the complexity that a simple dish can afford you, well then you'll enjoy Palate. You can't get a burger, but you can order a bowl of cauliflower soup with a tiny little crab cake in the middle. Simple, but delicious. Or you can get gnocchi with braised ox tail. Or a plate of cheese. Everyone brags about the pork belly; it's good, worth ordering, but I've had better. In fact we visited Gordon Ramsay's "London" in New York last year and I told the waiter to tell the chef to put it on the menu (I was told it was a special and they were considering making it permanent). "My entire meal sucked," I said (and it did… kitchen nightmare?), "but I would come back for that pork belly." Anyway, before we went to Palate we knew we were getting the lovely charcuterie plate with the funny name, “The Porkfolio.” Oh such a sense of humor. But the humor—mind you—and the attitude, was one of the best things about Palate.

They have good wine at Palate. This is what it looks like when it comes out of my dick hole.

After we finished our meal, we decided to take a look around. It’s in a very weird space. We were told by a friend when we first moved to Glendale that the building, some ten stories high, is used almost entirely for storing wines. Ten stories of wine? I have been trying to figure out a way to steal the building and put it in our backyard, but the plan just hasn’t come together. And now, on the bottom floor, is Palate, which is much more than just a restaurant: it's a wine and cheese bar, and a wine shop. As we were wandering around checking out the rest of the space, we met the chef, Octavio Becerra.

Tania and Chef Octavio. You only get that face out of Tania if you're me, or Chef Octavio.

Octavio was a very friendly fellow and he offered to give us a personal tour of the place. It was quite fun, actually. We got to meet a lot of the staff and the other owners. We saw a boar's leg that had prosciutto in it.

We saw the cheese room.
Tania almost divorced me for this lady. I cut the cheese, but this lady HAS the cheese.

And Octavio loved Tania. And I think Tania loved him, if only because he had the keys to the temperature controlled cheese room. But he was indeed a very charming fellow. And I didn’t once get the feeling that our tour was some sort of a “it’s good for business” thing. He seemed to genuinely enjoy showing us around his restaurant.

We’re definitely going to localize the fuck out of that place. We've had two good dinners there (we ate at the bar on the second one...great choice, except it was a Friday night and the service was a little slow, but still, totally acceptable on a slammed Friday night) and we got a personal tour by the chef himself. I wonder if they’ll show hockey games at the bar? I also wonder if Tania's "imaginary boyfriend" has changed his name from "Joe Thornton" to "Octavio Becerra?"

"Dear Octavio, I wish you were here smoking cigarettes with me and shoving cheese in my mouth..."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Palate's website is fucking rad, I love these phonetic cheese pronunciation guidelines:

Puzzone di moena dop (poot-so-nay dee mo-ay-nuh)
Comté aoc (cone-tay)
Stinking bishop