Last night, Cherry and I hit up the Viceroy in Santa Monica. A schmancy hotel near the beach. We were lured in by "Single Malt Sundays" which advertised single malt tastings, each vintage for $1. This sounded a little too good to be true, and indeed it was. We figured the catch was you had to order appetizers for a bazillion dollars each and then you got free scotch. But no. $1 per vintage meant if the scotch was aged 12 years, it cost $12. 30 years, $30. And so on and so forth. BUT, luckily there was a "flight" of five scotches together with an appetizer for $20. What they completely failed to mention was that the food was going to be so incredibly good that we would have to order twice. And the scotch just got better and better as the night went on. So good, in fact, that I haven't a clue what kind we had. Only that it started out good and by the time we made it to the last glass, the caramelly molasses-ness of it with our itsy bitsy diced apples soaked in a thin house-made caramel and used to garnish our apple frangipane tart with caramel ice cream was in every way a spiritual experience.
Our first appetizer was trout croquettes with an aioli and garnished with pickled radishes. The croquettes were insane. They had to have been fried in lard. They must have had some pork bits. They were divine with scotch. The pickled radishes were even better.
Next we had kielbasa with barely pickled cabbage and the most heavenly potatoes I've ever put in my mouth. Again, something to do with pigs and fat, I'm sure.
We then had our apple dessert which we chose from a list of dishes that were made out of that same kind of apple (it was the ingredient of the week)...hot apple cider with hazelnut ice cream, apple butter ice cream, and a few other things I can't remember.
By this time we were completely trusting the chef and would have ordered any odd sounding item on the menu (usually, I can't stand chefs doing stuff like chocolate bon bons with bacon. Eew.) So we ordered one more item: crostini with chicken liver mousse, mushrooms and ricotta. Unfortunately the ricotta was sour, but fortunately it wasn't mixed with the other ingredients. And very fortunately we got the entire dish for free. I appreciated that it said straight up chicken liver rather than trying to pretend it was something fancier. I knew that chicken-liver mousse could be quite good, but I did not know before last night that it could be good enough that I would actually consider picking up the plate to lick off the last bits. Or, I suppose that could have been the scotch.
We left after four hours having spent $30 each. My only regret of the evening was that my sister Gypsy was not there to share the experience with Cherry and me. Nothing's ever perfect. But that came pretty darn close.