A.G. Newsletter #85: 3Twenty Wine Lounge, The Village Bakery, Canele & Osteria Mama

Hey Newsletter Fans,

So, I kind of slipped this under the radar, but the title of my new cookbook is now "Secrets of the Best Chefs" not "Great Chefs." (Turns out "Great Chefs" is trademarked, if you can believe that.) Either way, I had a terrific time this weekend speaking to 130 librarians about the book at the American Library Association conference in Anaheim. The audience was really warm and receptive, possibly because they enjoyed what I was saying, but more likely because I bribed them with 144 RED VELVET CUPCAKES. (Click that link to read all about this epic cooking experience... I'd never cooked for that many people in my life!)

The night before my Anaheim speech, I met my friend Japhy for wine at a place called 3Twenty Wine Lounge down on La Brea:

What's cool about this place is that instead of ordering a glass of wine, you're given a card and then you go up to these nifty machines that are attached to bottles:

You stick your card in the machine, press a button for whatever wine you want, and out comes one ounce of that wine. If you want more, push the button again.

What's nice is that each ounce is, generally, around $4. So you can try all different kinds of wine without breaking the bank. And if you want to try a SUPER expensive bottle of wine (like $300 bottles) you can, it'll just be $24 a squirt.

The funny part is that if you order a French wine, the screen says "Merci!" after you push the button; if you order a Spanish wine, it says "Gracias." Then it tells you how much you owe, total:

As you can see, I had $24.35 worth of wine, which seems about right.

It's also a very social experience. As you can see, these girls are socializing while ordering wine:

I wish they would've socialized away from the other side of this machine so I could've tried some of that wine!

Earlier in the week, I'd journeyed back to Atwater Village because of something somebody had said when I crowned Proof Bakery one of the best bakeries in L.A. That person said something like, "You idiot! How could you say that without ever going to The Village Bakery?"

So I went to The Village Bakery:

It's a charming place in a charming spot. As I waited in line, I spied delectable pastries like these S'mores Bars:

But I was there for lunch, so I ordered this tuna sandwich:

And it was a very good tuna sandwich on good toasted bread. Did it change my life? No it did not, but I'd gladly go eat it again. So there you go!

Now let's return to two favorite spots real quick:

I went to Canele again for dinner, this time with my friend Travis. Say hi to Travis:

This time around, I had this awesome brandade:

Brandade is whipped salt cod; what made this one great were the roasted tomatoes underneath it that gave everything great tang and acidity.

For my entree, I had a duck that came with wild rice and cherries:

It was a really lovely presentation, but the real star of the show was the dessert... a phenomenal strawberry shortcake:

This was a stunning dessert. So simple in concept---sweetened biscuit, whipped cream, strawberries, berry sauce--but just so perfectly executed it entered the realm of the sublime. I could eat that again and again and again.

I won't bore you with another account of dinner at Osteria Mama, since I've raved so much about it on here before; I just wanted to show you this awesome appetizer of roasted tomatoes, roasted eggplant and burrata:

Isn't that gorgeous?

That place is the best.

Ok, that's all for this week folks! SO much is going on in our world right now, it's a bit overwhelming. The book, Craig's film stuff, a few career opportunities that've come my way, and lots of visitors headed our direction, including my cookbook photographer, Lizzie, who I'll be cooking dinner for on Thursday. It's an exciting time!

Until next week....

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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