May 23, 2012

Stefan's at LA Farm

Before I share my two cents on LA Farm, I have some exciting news: 

Today marks my 2-year blogiversary!  

In the past two years, I've eaten well, drank plentifully, gained new friends -- You thought weight, didn't you? Well, I gained that, too -- learned a lot about blogging and food photography (still learning), and received more attention through this blog than I've ever expected!  All in all, it's been a fruitful two years. And I figure if I can maintain this blog through law school, I'll do a decent job of managing it for years to come.  Thanks for reading, enjoying, and best of all, supporting!

Now enough with the cheese & corn.  Let's see what Chef Stefan Richter and his crew are up to over at LA Farm...

First, I have to admit that I didn't watch Stefan on Bravo's "Top Chef."  In fact -- brace yourself -- I don't recall ever watching a single episode of "Top Chef," much less an entire season.  Now before you judge me, I will say it's been in my queue for awhile now.  I just don't know where to gain access to full episodes!  Please help me (be a normal, food-loving human being).  All this to say, you can dish out the Stefan gossip from that show, and it will all mean nothing to me.  I'm glad.  I care far more about food than celebrity dirt anyway.

Second, my last visit was my third time at the restaurant.  Two dinners and now, one lunch.  If I had to compare, dinner's better, but lunch is still pretty damn good, mainly because they know how to properly cook and serve their food.  No wonder they do so well.

Bar area

"Outdoor" atrium dining area
Lunch menu, 5/22/2012

Lunch menu, 5/22/2012

Complimentary bread and sesame and poppy seed grissini with butter

While I waited for my party to arrive, I dug into the bread bowl.  Nothing innovative or special here, other than the typical noshing of a carb-loving gal.

After we killed the bread, we ordered the Crab & Artichoke Risotto, Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwich, and the Local Halibut. Now, in order of preference:

Local Halibut - $25

If there's one thing LA Farm does perfectly, it's cook their fish.  This halibut fillet sits upon sliced radishes chilling in a champagne vinaigrette with sliced fingerling potatoes and topped with cucumber, pickled carrot, frisee.  While I thought the overall combination was on the saltier side, I was impressed by the flakiness of the fresh, cooked fish.  Bravo!

Crab & Artichoke Risotto - $24

Risotto is surprisingly tough to master.  At LA Farm, it's not too al dente and not too mushy.  In other words, it's cooked just as it should be - chewy with a slight bite.  The lump crab and baby artichokes compliment each other well.  And though the foam made the dish seem pretentious, and quite frankly, tasteless, I'm still a fan of the whole dish.

Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwich - $15

There is something so simple, but wonderful about the combo of brie and apples.  The Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwich takes the delicious duo and mixes it with celery, walnut, and a light mayo that doesn't turn me off.  Grilled panini-style, one bite of this sandwich will have all the ingredients spilling out, but rest assured, nothing gets left behind.

What I love most about LA Farm is that they know how to take the best, even fancy, obscure-sounding ingredients and create a dish that is simple and memorable.  That is what we like, right?

Chef Stefan, thanks for the laughs and some comments that would be inappropriate to post here.  And I'm glad you like my business cards.  I like them, too.  Until next time!

Getting cozy with the chef/ owner

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Stefan's at L.A. Farm on Urbanspoon

cuisine: American
location: Santa Monica
websites: { LA Farm | yelp }
cost: $15-30
attire: Casual
parking: valet lot
notes: They're debuting their front patio soon.  Go check it out!