THIS WEEK: MOM’S KITCHEN
Show Mom some love. Yes, your own mom, of course. But how about one of the talented and hardworking chef mamas around town as well?
Monique King, who has a trio of school-age girls and came on board last summer, calls the blackened swordfish dish she just added to the menu her “nod to the late ‘80s.” She cooks the fish in a cast iron pan and serves it with grilled lemon, charred corn pudding, sauteed green beans and artichoke hearts. 930 Hilgard Ave., Westwood, (310) 208-8765
Before she and her husband, Florent, opened their celebrated South Coast Plaza eatery, Amelia Marneau regularly prepared a colorful salad of ham, cheese, hearts of palm, tomato, cucumber, onion, asparagus and fresh chickpeas in a classic vinaigrette for Sunday lunch. Their kids (and everyone else) liked the salad so much, it made it onto the menu. It’s the popular “salade composee.” 3333 Bristol St., No. 3001, Costa Mesa, (714) 434-7900
Josie Le Balch, mom of one adult daughter, is especially jazzed about the current crop of fat asparagus from Zucker Farms at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Look for it served warm and paired with white asparagus in a Meyer lemon sauce or perhaps chilled and topped with sauce gribiche - a dressing of olive oil, vinegar, chopped egg, pickles, parsley, tarragon and chives. 2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 581-9888
Mojitos aren’t traditionally sweetened with sugar cane juice, but that’s how mom Xiomara Ardolina thinks they taste best. So she brings in sugar cane every couple of weeks from Florida that is squeezed per order at the bar at her 5-year-old nuevo Latino restaurant. The brilliant green juice gives the mojitos a distinct color and flavor that makes it hard to go back to pedestrian versions. 6101 Melrose Ave., L.A., (323) 461-0601
Not every expert is convinced that specific foods can boost immunity, but you could certainly do worse than wild salmon roasted over bamboo or “Buddha roll” with mushroom, cabbage and bean curd, two among several items identified as “immunity enhancing” on the menu created by the chef-matriarch of this modern Vietnamese restaurant, Helene An. 9646 Little Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 205-8990