Pot de crème: We've been through chocolate mousse, flourless chocolate cake, crème brûlée, croissant bread pudding, panna cotta and clafouti. It's worth noting that, with the exception of that old faithful, tiramisu, L.A.'s tastes tend to run to French-accented sweets. And now pastry chefs are circling back to pot de crème, the fragile French custard baked in a porcelain ramekin, classically with a pert lid. The texture is silky, the flavor subtle, and it's lighter than crème brûlée, silk organza as opposed to charmeuse. It could be vanilla, chocolate, coffee, even banana or passion fruit. It's all about texture and slipping that small silver spoon into the delicate custard. One bite: bliss.
Lamb: We've had our Kurobuta pork moment, our Kobe beef moment, our Jidori chicken moment, and now it's time for lamb to make a comeback. But not just lamb sirloin or scottadito (tiny chops to pick up by the bone and nibble) but lamb belly, lamb tongue, lamb brains and a cut I'm seeing more and more, lamb neck. Braised slowly, it's tantalizingly tender with a rich, deep lamb flavor that marries beautifully with root vegetables or fruit. It's part of the nose-to-tail movement. The secret is that they can be super delicious with much more nuanced flavors than the primo cuts for grilling or roasting. We're learning.
Poutine: Why, I don't know, but the Canadian snack of French fries topped with cheese curds and sometimes gravy seems to feed right into the American fast-food psyche. There's even a poutine food truck rolling out there. Ilan Hall is riffing on the dish with his bánh mì poutine at the Gorbals, which should be no surprise. And Michael Voltaggio at the season's most blogged about restaurant, Ink, extrudes puréed chickpeas into long pencil shapes to stand in for the fries in his version of poutine with stewed lamb neck and yogurt curds.
—S. Irene VirbilaCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times