Here begins the first of several write-ups from my flying visit to the States recently. I will do my best to blog these posts ASAP. But you know how it is – with work and a busy schedule, it will probably take me longer than I would like. Please bear with me. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy the taste of the first instalment – SPAGO.
With the help of some of my American readers (thanks to you all – you know who you are) I managed to come up with a fantastic shortlist of restaurants to try. Spago Beverly Hills is the Los Angeles flagship restaurant of Wolfgang Puck, that all-conquering Austrian-born celebrity chef to the superstars, who for the last 16 years has catered at the star-studded post Oscar’s Governor’s Ball. With its guest list being 1,500 long, this is no mean feat. (An interesting fact about the Governor’s Ball which I picked up during a tour of the Kodak Theatre, the home of the Academy Awards ceremony: there is always one item on the menu that it shaped like the Oscar’s statuette. This year it was the hand-cut Oscar croutons in the salmon starter – can you imagine making 1,500 of these?)
Puck’s name is indelibly marked everywhere. His empire extends across the US, and covers a range of eateries (casual to fine dining), catering products, supermarket food ranges, cookware, and of course, cook books. So I was sceptical about Spago. Could it possibly live up to all the hype? Would it really be that good? It held two stars in 2009, but was that based purely on the fame of the chef’s name as sometimes Michelin restaurants tend to be? (Note that in a backwards, cost cutting measure for Michelin, the guide stopped reviewing the city of Los Angeles in 2010. Therefore there are no restaurants in LA with stars (Michelin ones, that is) at the moment). I debated long and hard about whether to go to Spago, especially given my time limitations, but in the end I decided to try it. After all, this restaurant embodies everything that is LA.
(Continue reading her story…)