Los Angeles Chefs Share Recent Inspiration

Mexican Food Los Angeles

La Casita Mexicana's chamorro de res is a traditional dish from the state of Jalisco.

Since so few Los Angeles menus are fixed, I checked in with 10 local chefs to see what’s been motivating them, asking a single question: What’s the most recent dish you created for the restaurant, and what was your inspiration and approach?. Read their responses.

Ramiru Arvizu (La Casita Mexicana) (photo courtesy of Ramiro Arvizu)

One of the most recent dishes that was added to our Menu is Chamorro de Res in guajillo chile adobo sauce. This is a traditional dish of the state of Jalisco, Mexico. It was also my grandfather’s favorite dish. It is a very Mexican dish that is very popular in many celebrations such as birthdays, weddings and during Mexican independence month.

We serve it at La Casita Mexicana accompanied with delicious red beans and and with a very spicy salsa made with dry chile de arbol, red onion, oregano and pickled with lemon juice. You can enjoy it with a cold Mexican beer or an aromatic red wine from Baja California Mexico. Buen Provecho!

Josie Le Balch (Josie Restaurant + Next Door By Josie)

For Josie Restaurant: I’ve been playing with small escargots. The meat is small — about the size of periwinkles — but they’re land snails. I like to cook them in a brown butter, parsley and garlic sauce; it’s kind of a take on traditional escargots but I prepare it in a pan with no shell. I top it with grilled barramundi fish. It’s kind of my fun culinary play on “land & sea.” I got the inspiration for this dish when my escargot vender said, “Hey Josie, I have these little snails — can you do any think with them???” It’s inspiring to have different venders who are always on the lookout for different and interesting.

For Next Door By Josie: I’ve been playing around with gnocchi and adding shredded short rib into the potato gnocchi pasta dough itself. It’s a great combination! Then, I’m tossing them with first of the season English peas, light tomato sauce and a little Reggiano cheese. The idea was inspired by our potato-short rib croquette that we were doing on the Josie side for DineLA — I just wanted to put a “Next Door” touch on it.

Pasta Los Angeles

Fundamental LA chef Philip Pretty pairs gnocchi with seasonal accompaniments.

Philip Pretty (Fundamental LA) (photo courtesy of Woogene Lee)

Dish: Gnocchi alla romana, king trumpet and hen of the woods mushrooms, herb puree, radish greens

Dishes on our menu change all the time — largely depending on the season and what we are able to get from the farmer’s market or from our purveyors. Our gnocchi alla romana has been on the menu a few different times since we’ve opened and it’s always fun to think up what’s we’ll serve with it. It’s a recipe that was given to me by a friend of mine, and it’s a pretty unique take on gnocchi that always surprises guests when they get it. We’ve served it in the fall with a prime hanger steak, heirloom tomatoes, and walnuts; we’ve served it in the spring with fresh fava beans, a poached egg, and pea tendrils. This winter version is all about the mushrooms — king trumpets roasted like a steak and basted with butter, garlic and thyme, crispy hen of the woods mushrooms, an intense mushroom froth, herb puree for lightness, and whatever peppery greens we can find at the market. Definitely not grandma’s gnocchi, but still has a rich, nourishing quality to it.

Mary Sue Milliken & Susan Feniger (Border Grill)

Dish: Smoked Chicken Salad Sandwich • pink lady apples • scallions • celery • chipotle mayo • served with chile lime BBQ kettle chips

Mary Sue Milliken: “Our Smoked Chicken Salad was a super popular staple on the menu at CITY restaurant for many, many years, so when it came time to create the menu for Border Grill at Los Angeles International Airport we immediately thought we could do that lovely chicken salad from CITY but as a sandwich with a Mexican twist. The salad holds up really well, you can buy the sandwich and eat it hours later on the plane.”

Susan Feniger: “I love the sweetness and crunch you get from the pink lady apples and that bite from the mustard. Plus the chipotle mayo has smoked jalapeño that ties in nicely with the smoked Nueske’s chicken. At the airport, try this with our Cadillac Margarita and you are ready for that nice long flight!”



Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Looks delicious!

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