Los Angeles – Cleo

With it being Christmas there wasn’t much open today. At least traffic was non-existent and we were able to quickly get out to Santa Monica and Venice to walk around. We’re staying downtown and I was excited to see the Cleo would be open so I could finally experience a Jose Andres restaurant. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed even giving them credit for being opened and slammed as there was a Lakers game and many people were there before it started. We had to send one dish back, the calamari that tasted like mush. The rest of the dishes tasted fine but not on the level I’d expect from such a celebrated chef. My favorites were the fried chicken, fish and hummus.

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Hummus – “masabacha” style, chick pea, tahini, cumin, lemon

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Freekeh Salad – Persian cucumber, tomato, watermelon radish, yogurt, lavash

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Moroccan Fried Chicken – harissa aioli

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Fish & Shellfish Tagine

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Spanakopita – phyllo, spinach, feta, sesame, oregano

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Curried Calamari – chick pea flour, horseradish cocktail sauce, scallions

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Grilled Octopus – smoked paprika, celery, lebaneh, grilled potato

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Lamb Shawarma – grilled laffa, lebaneh, caramelized onions

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Apple Crostata – butter crust

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Sticky Toffee Pudding – butterscotch, walnut tuile, vanilla bean ice cream

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Los Angeles – Robata Jinya

My HS friend’s family lives in LA and recommended this Japanese izakaya, boy did it deliver. We pretty much stuck to yakitori but had a bit of sushi and a few cooked dishes. Everything was fantastic and the sake we got complemented everything well. We sat at the bar which wasn’t great for talking but we were able to watch the chefs in action and get our food directly from them on a long wooden paddle.  Great start to this Christmas in LA even though it’s not cold like I’m used to. Granted I’ll be wanting the warm when I’m in BC skiing at the end of the week.

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Triple Hot Roll – salmon, avocado, jalapeno, spicy tuna, chili serrano

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Seaweed Salad

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Mixed Green Salad

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Anago – one of the best I’ve had

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Spicy Creamy Shrimp Tempura – remarkably close to Nobu’s version

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Prime Beef & Garlic

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Kurobuta Sausage

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Okra

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Tender Beef Tongue

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A5 Wagyu Ribeye – my dad’s favorite

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Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

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Karaage

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Prime Beef Tongue

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Foie Gras & Prime Beef

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Panna Cotta – graham cake, vanilla ice cream

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Croissant Bread Pudding – vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce

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Los Angeles – La Azteca

No trip starts well without a stop at my favorite place to get tacos. I called from the plane and was told they closed at noon and we didn’t get into the rental car at LAX until 11:25 and I drove like a bat out of hell to get there in time. They were actually open until 1 but I was hungry so it was worth almost getting a ticket. Sadly they were out of carnitas so got an asada, chicharron, and egg & chorizo.

Before picking up my parents back at the airport we went to Santa Monica to shop and see the pier which in all honesty was a bit of a dump. At least got a nice sunset.

 

Milky Way Shots

Had a friend help me setup Lightroom to get the best looking photos.

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Air Canada

Most people seem to hate Air Canada, but after spending 14+ hours with them I can’t really complain other than there was nothing on their entertainment system that I wanted to watch. Thankfully I had plenty of podcasts to listen to as only slept 5-6 hours. The seat was comfortable and even had a setting to change the firmness when in bed mode. Food was ok but after almost four weeks of gorging myself I didn’t need to be full for half a day.

Air Canada doesn’t have a lounge in Sydney so we got to choose between Singapore or Air New Zealand, we went with the former as they had better breakfast options. Again got a few judgmental looks for having a beer at 8:30am but it went well with the greasy noodles and sausage.

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AC has one of my favorite styles of seats, the reverse herringbone so I was ending the trip with similar layout as EVA. The side compartment was able to hold all my small electronics and the area to left held my laptop fine.

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Sydney vs Vancouver out the window.

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Sydney at Night

We were able to see the Opera House after all by taking the ferry that went around the harbor.

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Sydney – 12 Micron

For K’s only night in Sydney met up with a friend for dinner who had been looking after the wine I bought in Oz. My friend recommended two options, the restaurant in the Opera House complex or some place with better food and not as good views. I let K choose and surprisingly she chose the better food. The oysters were great, much better than the ones I had at the Melbourne market. K’s fish was very flavorful, much like salmon in the PWN not much needed to be done to it. Dessert was really interesting and the flavors worked well together, very creative.

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Rock Oysters – dessert lime, furikake

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Moreton Bay Bug – king prawn, shellfish emulsion

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Pork Jowl – black pudding, riberries, chestnut

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Lamb Neck – potato, broad beans

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Mulloway – horseradish, broccoli, almonds

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Green Beans – lemon aspen, walnuts

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Rainforest – valrhona itakuja mousse, apple and rain forest lime puree, frozen chocolate, passionfruit, shitake sponge, chocolate crumble