Caprese – The Bazaar & Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
A trip to Los Angeles this fall was nearly torturous for this food-lovin’ girl. So many places, so little time and all that TRAFFIC with restaurants spread so far apart!! So I did what I could with the few free meals I had. That meant no maple-glazed bacon brioche donut, no fabulous food trucks, and sadly not even an In-N-Out Burger (still kicking myself for that one)!
But what I did find, were some of the best Caprese salads I’ve ever dreamed of. Both consumed in the same day and both wonderful beyond description.
The first came as an afterthought at Pizzeria Mozza. I first went for some appetizers and a greens salad. But then I saw the Caprese delivered to the table next to me. Just the appearance of the soft, fresh mozzarella caught my attention – a rustic and gorgeous presentation. It was served with a deep green basil pesto then topped with oven-roasted whole tomatoes, still on the vine. Mmmm. The taste was even better than the imagery. Soft and rich in my mouth, the flavors blended wonderfully together but still held each of their own distinct characteristics. Amazingly luxurious and wonderful!
That evening, a friend and I went to The Bazaar to experience the storied samplings of Chef Jose Andres. Located in the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, this was definitely an experience! The menu is tapas style and divided into the more traditional fare on one side, then Chef Andres creative cuisine on the other. Selected from the adventurous list, we couldn’t resist the Caprese which the server described as “mozzarella that has been completely liquified then reformed into little balls.”
And in usual Chef Andres style, the molecular-twist on this classic was fantastic. The gleaming white little mozzarella balls had mounds of flavor! Sitting atop a thick pesto and surrounded by deep red cherry tomatoes, this dish was a work of art.
If you make it to either of these restaurants, don’t think the Caprese is the only dish that will impress. My favorite tapa at The Bazaar was the Wagyu Beef Philly. This is a small and unbelievable version of a Philly Cheese Steak. About the length of your iPhone, this airy pastry packs some serious flavor. The light and hollow bread is filled with liquid cheddar and topped with amazingly tender, thin slices of Wagyu. The first bite is an experience! The runny cheese covers your tongue and the soft bread and rich meat join to make an unforgettable experience!
At Pizzeria Mozza, don’t miss the dessert! And that’s an order! The Butterscotch Budino is a must. It came highly recommended from the server and a friend I made sitting across the aisle (but come to find out, we were on the same side of the “political aisle”, both work in politics and know many of the same people….small world!).
I rarely choose a pudding-like option for dessert, but this rich little glass of creamy heaven was pure goodness. The intense butterscotch budino was topped with whipped creme fraiche. It was simple and perfect. But the hidden treasure of this dessert are the Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies served alongside. Salty and slightly sweet, the herbal aroma lingers with each crunchy bite. Absolutely superb!! I wanted to ask for a shoebox full to take home with me!
It was a tasty day in LA, but there’s so much more to try. I know it will require many trips to get a bite of all it has to offer.