Friday, April 8, 2011

The Spice Table

Well, we picked up our CSA Wednesday and we haven't really taken account of what is in the bag yet. But we did go to a really good restaurant! The Spice Table in Little Tokyo ( is a new Vietnamese-Singaporeanrestaurant by one of the chefs from Pizzeria Mozza. The spaceis very romantic, and the service is excellent. It's in an old brickbuilding and they have created hanging ceiling lights from old bird cages. There is a long bar in the front room, and then two small dining rooms. Here's what we had: battered & fried cauliflower, sambal potatoes (spiced), grilled bok choy and mushrooms, baugette, gem lettuce salad with mint and grapefruit, eggplant with chile sauce, and laksa (coconut-based noodle soup with shrimp and fishy flavors). The chile sauce on the eggplant was thick and very hot and tasted of cumin, and the cauliflower came with a fish-sauce based dipping sauce. The bok choy and mushrooms tasted a little of wood smoke, and the bok choy was crispy on the edges. When we left, we noticed that there was a grill behind the bar with burning wood as its heat source. My favorite dish was actually the gem lettuce salad. I love salad, but I don't like the salads I used to like. I used to be perfectly happy to select five items out of choices of kidney beans, corn, beets, onions, peas, etc, and have them tossed with a standard dressing -- the Manhattan cheap tossed salad. Now those salads totally gross me out -- they are always too heavily dressed and the textures of the toppings are mushy and unappealing. The gem lettuce salad, on the other hand, was very refreshing, I think largely because of the quality of the grapefruit and the lettuce. Fresh mint brings salads to another level too. Whatever it was dressed with was very, very simple -- lemon juice and a little olive oil maybe? This is the kind of salad I'm going to try to make at home this week from our CSA stuff -- simple, refreshing, light, and flavorful.

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