Tea and Cake at Jin Patisserie in Venice
Not much going on for this weekend for me asides from processing the slew of press releases and advisories for Valentine's Day "specials" (though my personal take it is that it's infinitely more romantic to do something at home . . . no waiting in lines, dealing with promoters/bouncers or potentially getting annoyed with rude table neighbors.) And in case you're shopping for wine on a budget (for Valentine's, or anytime) -- Rundown has a list of bargain buys at Trader Joe's for $10 and under a bottle.
Per a tip-off last week, I checked out the Jin Patisserie grand opening event at Century City. It was a nice classy reception with a variety of finger sandwiches and sweets, though I would've preferred having tea instead of red wine. Despite the more chic-boutique feel of this store, I think I still prefer the Venice outlet more for now. If you think parking near Abbot Kinney is tough, wait till you head to Century City, where the only option is the hotel valet. Also, I prefer the Venice's courtyard atmosphere for the soothing afternoon tea. But hey, if you live/work near the C.C., Jin is a worthwhile checkout -- their sweets are very elegant and flavorful, and somewhat light and never too sweet.
For those avid eaters who had trouble squeezing in all the places they want to try in the 12 Days of DineLA, the Chowhound board just dropped the note of a few places that will be extending their prix-fixe offers a little longer. So far on the list includes Valentino's on Mondays, Grace for an extra week, Gordon Ramsay for the rest of February, and perhaps the Roof Garden at the Peninsula. Of course, always a good policy and check first beforehand or while making the reservation. (Update: Just got confirmation from DineLA's press release sent my way, check out the restaurant week website for the restaurants that are extending their offers, the exact dates of extensions are listed on the "Notes" section of each restaurant on the list)
Finally, my fun read this week - Slate.com recently published a food writer's piece on making restaurant dishes based on their cookbook recipes, then comparing to the real deal by sampling those dishes at the eateries themselves. No shocker really, but even for someone with a culinary degree, while "all of the recipes I tested resembled their originals . . . none perfectly recreated the restaurant version," largely owing to recipe tweaks in the cookbook versions, but also due to factors such as a home vs. professional kitchens, and chefs switching the recipes to take advantage of what's seasonal. Interesting food for thought for the home cook looking to recreate that Alinea dish; though of course, we all know it's mostly food gawkage.