The Distinguished Gourmand: Otium
Woke up. Felt slightly chirpy, until I realized I’m a has-been writer whose blog attracts only a fraction of its once-sizable audience. It’s a good thing there’s more than enough food in this city to sustain me, because with out it I fear my sanity would be compromised. What’s more, I have DINNER CLUB to look forward to every month. If you’ve not read one of these posts before, allow me to briefly explain:
Shortly after I moved to Los Angeles my roommates birthed the idea of a monthly dinner club. It was 2007, and I think it was Sari who suggested the name “Dinner Club For Day People.” The idea was that once a month a group of friends would go out to eat, and at each meal one member of the group was allowed to invite a “Day Person” as their plus-one. A “Day Person” was defined as someone who was not a douchebag, or the kind of person you might befriend randomly at a seedy bar or party (you know, a “Night Person”). Alas, Sari disappeared off the face of the earth, other roommates dropped out or moved away, maybe there was a n awkward breakup involved, and the idea languished in limbo. Finally in 2011, the newly rebranded “Dinner Club” came to life. As Louise put it, our group of friends consists of successful people who deserve to celebrate it. The rules of the new Dinner Club were quite similar to the original iteration. Once a month we would meet at a restaurant of one person’s choosing, and that person (the chooser) could bring a plus-one. The plus one must be vetted by the other club members before they can join in the fun. If all goes exceedingly well, the plus-one might even be made an official member of the club.
Since re-launching Dinner Club (v2.0) we’ve remained fairly consistent in our once-a-month culinary adventures. We started with Simbal (Amanda’s choice?), moved to Kinjiro (David’s choice?), and this month Nate (with his plus-one Kelie) managed to score us a reservation at Otium, one of the biggest recent estaurant openings in Los Angeles. In fact, Otium just started dinner service two days ago, so it’s easily one of the hottest eateries in town right now – and if the early buzz is any indication I’m sure its hype and the resultant rush of diners will continue well into 2016.
Chef Timothy Hollingsworth is a former Chef de Cuisine at The French Laundry in Napa Valley. He represented America in the Bocuse D’Or in 2009. Since coming to LA he’s opened the Texas BBQ joint Barrel & Ashes (it’s…pretty good!), but Otium at the Broad Museum downtown has been greatly anticipated ever since the restaurant was announced. You’re not hear to read about the chef, you’re here to read my embarrassing attempts at food criticism. So let’s get to it:
We had to wait a bit even though our reservation for seven was made for 8:30pm. We walked over to the bar area (not the most comfortable section of the restaurant) and ordered some drinks. According to Mark, the cocktail list was narrowed down from 20 options to six or seven, which have been honed to perfection. I ordered the Old Fashioned, which was quite good. That was the most popular choice, as David, Amanda and I all consumed one. A few people opted for the sake/yuzu/pepper drink, and Nate of course ordered the bonkers banana rum cacao drink that came with a weird vape ball emitting plumes of smoke. I’m not kidding. The drink was insane.
We were seated. We ordered some SAUV BLANC because wine is the way to go during dinner club. We cheers’d, and cheers’d, and cheers’d some more. We cheers’d everything we could imagine and more. Do we cheers when wine glasses are refilled? Do we cheers when each dish arrives? What’s the proper amount of cheers per Dinner Club meeting? Doesn’t matter. Food’s coming out hot.
By the way these are the worst photos I’ve ever taken, but it was quite dark in our section and I didn’t want to be one of those assholes whose camera flash is popping off every two minutes. Sorry for that.
John Carpenter – Through The Mirror [MP3]
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