I’m doing my best to keep up with posting on my blog at least once a week, but life can get so busy! I’m making it happen though! I was listening to my favorite podcast today, Hey Girl, by Alex Elle, and she and her guest were discussing the concept of self-care. I know self-care is this word that people have recently been throwing around and there seems to be a misconception that it involves massages or a mani and pedi, but it can be something as simple as journaling. Journaling is actually my favorite mode of self-care, and I think that’s the way I look at blogging. It can be quite therapeutic aside from the pressure of getting in at least one post a week. 😉
Another mode of self-care for me is meeting with friends on the same wave length. Today, I met with one of my best friends, and it had been awhile since I’d seen her. Whenever I spend time with her, I’m reminded how fortunate I am to have friends who are journeying through life with me, experiencing the growth process and handling it so well. It takes a lot of work to tease apart patterns, ideas, thoughts and judgments that we’ve developed over the years, and there’s nothing more amazing than seeing someone be so self aware and work on continuing that self-awareness. It’s also amazing to have such a good friend who can help me see my blind spots. I’m very grateful for days such as these.
Now onto food. (Hard transition, I know.) This past Friday, I had dinner at the NoMad Mezzanine. Since the beginning of the year, I had been reading about all the raves, and although I’d drive just about anywhere to try a good restaurant, there was something about NoMad that came off to me as a bit…pretentious. I really had no interest in going…at least in the near future. However, I heard people talk about it in passing, and I decided to make a reservation. I’m glad I did.
The restaurant was beautiful. According to our waiter, in the 1920’s, the building was the Bank of Italy, then subsequently became the Bank of America. It was a gorgeous space! It was very grand with draped curtains, high ceilings, velvet arm chairs, romantic lighting and an intimate feel. The 2nd floor was the Mezzanine and the lower level was the restaurant lobby with another bar. It was bustling and filled with Friday night energy. The presentation of each dish, from drinks to dessert, was something that really stood out to me. We were very impressed with our meal.
I started off with the Little Dragon, which was a cocoa-infused cognac cocktail with a hint of plum vinegar. The NoMad logo was molded into my ice cube, and the taste of the drink was amazing. I definitely caught the cocoa, and the ending with the plum vinegar was surprising, but very fitting for the drink.
For appetizers, we had the Pea Toast, which consisted of a flavorful pea mash mixed with mint, burrata, and pancetta. It had a great texture, and the pea and mint combo complemented each other well. We also ordered the Fava Bean Hummus. It had pistachios, seeds, edible flowers and a very evident basil flavor. It was perfectly paired with a crispy lavash. We were also served a loaf of olive, scallion bread, which was crispy on the outside, light and spongy on the inside, buttery, and NOT gluten free!!!
The Pappardelle came next, which had fava beans and peas as well. It was light, the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and it was finished off with parmesan. It was bright and citrusy. I really enjoyed the dish, but the citrus was a bit much for me.
The featured dish followed, which was the Roasted Chicken for Two. GORGEOUS PRESENTATION! After the chicken was roasted, they brought it out as a whole for us to see before they separated the chicken breast and the dark meat, then prepared them in two different ways. The wait was definitely worth it. The chicken breast came out with a horseradish mash, and it was so tender. The glaze was delicious.
The dark meat was SO tender and flavorful, and it came with a buttery sauce and bread crumbs sprinkled on top. I loved how it was served in two tiny Staub cast iron ramekins. The tantalizing meaty flavors reminded me of Thanksgiving.
We also ordered the Broccolini to accompany our chicken, which was served as an entrée itself. It came with a cured yolk and crispy black rice. The broccolini was slightly charred, which brought out an ever so slight smoky taste.
The 2nd meat entrée we ordered was the Beef. It was cooked perfectly on the inside, with the outside crispy with a crumb crust. The inside of the meat was so tender. The peas that were served with it were light and buttery, and I loved the mustard that was incorporated into the dish.
For dessert, we had the Milk & Honey,which was in itself a presentation. It came with bits of dehydrated milk and crispy shortbread, and it was topped with 3 dollops of ice cream that reminded me of cereal milk. There was a perfect hint of saltiness to the ice cream. It was so simple, but the flavors were subtle and present.
The final dessert was this amazing chocolate/peanut butter/marshmallow fudge platter. It was gorgeous! It reminded me of a deconstructed s’more, but to the hundredth level. It had walnut ice cream and also mini cones that resembled Drumsticks and finished off with crushed cookies.
Overall, I would give my experience at NoMad four stars. It’s definitely a spot to check out if you’re looking for a more sophisticated meal in the Downtown LA area. The dishes were creative, not lacking in flavor, and they came out beautifully. Our servers were very knowledgeable and their service was excellent. The ambiance was perfect to kick off the weekend.