Hatfield’s

A food blog from yours truly would not be complete without an entry on Hatfield’s, the Jimmy Choo of restaurants in LA.

Hatfield’s is a place we frequent every few months, whenever we get a craving to spend some cheddar on a very decadent meal.  It’s one of my old faves, and is, in my opinion, one of the best restaurants in the city.  But you don’t have to take just my word for it: Bon Appetit named them one of the best new restaurants in North America in 2010.

So let me start by saying on this particular occasion, I was high as a kite on cold medication.  I’m the type of person who believes in self-medicating with the good stuff whenever a cold arises, because that’s what over-the-counter medication is for: to be enjoyed.  Also, I was not under any circumstances going to miss out on Hatfield’s, because that’s just crazy.  Plus, my friend David Hewlett was going to be joining us, and he hates/is almost irrationally afraid of sick people.  And I like to watch him squirm.

Every Hatfield’s experience starts out the same: we hum and haw (is that how you spell haw? why is haw a word?) over the menu, debating on what we’re all going to get, and then my friend Martin Gero inevitably says, “Guys. Why don’t we just do the tasting menu?”  Then we all gasp like he’s a madman and mutter things like, “there’s no WAY we’re going to be able to eat that much food! Remember the last time we got the tasting menu? It was a mistake!  It was too much!” etc. etc. etc. Then Martin gets his way and we order it regardless.  Subbing one of the courses for the croque madam, of course.  Because it’s epic.

So on we went with the 8 course tasting menu, which went a little something like this:

Course One: my beloved croque madame.  A little baby grilled brioche sandwich of yellowtail sashimi, prosciutto, and garnished with the prettiest sunny-side up quail egg on the top.  I know this sounds weird, I know it sounds like it wouldn’t work.  But I’m weird and I don’t work most of the time, and look how I turned out!  It’s simply the best croque madame I’ve ever had in my life.  Trust me.  Even David liked it.

Course Two: warm cuttlefish salad with artichoke, maitake mushrooms and arugula.  Perfectly salty, creamy and delicate. Which was a good thing, because we were about to get hit with the heavy.

Course Three: Butternut squash flan served in a coconut soup with hon shimiji mushrooms and crispy sweetbreads.  This was rich.  Like Oprah rich.  It cut through my Advil Cold and Sinus like a warm, sticky knife, hitting my tongue first with the gooey flan and then blasting me with that thick and luscious coconut soup.  Totally bizarre, but strangely comforting, especially when you managed to scoop up a nibble of those luscious little sweetbreads.  Oh, and friends?  Don’t shy away from sweetbreads if you know what they are.  And if you don’t, best not to find out.  Just eat them.  Remember what I said last time about things that are deep fried?  Fried things make the world go ’round.

Course Four: pan roasted scallops with a lovely puree of salsify, some braised celery, and an apple froth.  I love scallops, I really do.  Especially when they’re deeply caramelized and buttery like these ones are.  But these purees and sauces were starting to knock me out a bit, in that “I may have a heart attack tonight” kind of way.

Course Four and a half: another Advil Cold and Sinus.

Course Five: buttermilk chicken, steamed and sitting in a pool of cauliflower puree, with royal trumpet mushrooms and a little bit of foie gras.  If you don’t eat foie gras, I get it.  When you really think about it, it’s gross, and sort of sad, and maybe even a wee bit shameful.  Kind of like how I feel when I lie at the doctor’s office about how much I drink.  But wow, is it delicious. (I’m sorry, little ducks.) And so was that chicken.. Moist and sweet, beautifully tender and light as a feather.  So far, besides my precious croque crack, this was my fave.

Course Five and a half: cancel pilates class in the AM due to cold

Course Six: braised pork belly with a smoked white bean puree (yeah, more puree), roasted baby broccoli, and something called a meyer lemon confiture, which was sorta like a thick and sweet lemony paste.  I was full, guys.  I’m not one to abandon a pork belly dish, especially one as succulent and lovely as this one, but at this point I was starting to feel slightly nauseas, like my stomach was coated in five different purees.  Because it was.  I was starting to sweat.

Course Seven: Wagyu flat iron steak, creamy swiss chard, pickled red onions, and chiodini mushrooms.  They really like their wild mushrooms at Hatfield’s.  That’s really all I was thinking about as I willed myself to eat this dish.  That, and why the hell do I let Martin Gero talk me into this all the time?  Again, it was rich and heavy and deliciously, gluttonously, insanely indulgent.  And I finished it, because it was Wagyu, and I cannot will not MUST not leave a perfectly good piece of Wagyu on a plate.  Neither should you, ever.

Palate Cleanser: a tart and welcoming cold bowl of green apple “slush” with a wheat beer sabayon.  This is what my tummy was calling for, something acidic to cut all that richness.

Course Seven and three quarters: Re-book pilates class.

Course Eight, the finale, thank god: A duo of desserts- Chocolate caramel semifreddo with salted peanut crunch and bitter chocolate sorbet, and cocoa dusted beignets with Venezuelan chocolate fondue and a Mexican chocolate mini milkshake.  My favorite was the semifreddo, like a sweet and salty little caramel ice cream cake, but those beignets, which I’ve had a few times at Hatfield’s, never really disappoint.  I was just having a problem choking down a doughnut at this moment in time.  Because I am a human.

Listen, tasting menus are great.  It’s a really good way of experiencing all a restaurant has to offer, and I’ve had some very enjoyable, very innovative tasting menus in the past.  And I’m not writing off the whole tasting menu experience completely.  But I’m a bit over feeling like I’m about to give birth to a beach ball and rolling around in bed in fatty agony while trying to digest 8,000 calories.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s just too much food.

My advice is, go to Hatfield’s, have their fabulous sommelier Peter suggest a cocktail to start (they made me one sans booze to help my cold, a spicy ginger something that was just what the doctor ordered), order the croque madame, and stick to one main course and a dessert to share.  You’ll enjoy yourself immensely, I promise.  Or, if you really need to, go die-hard and order the tasting menu.  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

www.hatfieldsrestaurant.com

PS I’ve been reading your comments and suggestions, and I love them all.  I promise, more pictures will accompany these excursions in the future.  I’m just getting warmed up.

54 Comments Add yours

  1. Kara says:

    I feel like I should be lying down with a stomach the size of a beach ball myself after reading all of that. It sounds incredible, and seeing as I live nowhere near LA, and nowhere with a great restaurant scene, I may just eat vicariously through you from now on! The pork belly and white bean puree sounds right up my alley. As does the ginger cocktail.

  2. Heather Franklin says:

    Jewel,
    You have done it again! Even better this time! Acting what? It was enjoyable, made me hungry and full at the same time! You have a gift for analogies, madame! From the deep fried sock to about to give birth to a beach ball!
    Do you thank someone for their natural talent? You do when they share it so well with the rest of us poor souls!
    Thank you!
    -Heather(@faeriegemini on twitter)

  3. Dave says:

    “Haw”- a noun meaning “a sound or pause of hesitation”. 🙂 Unfortunately, the phrase is usually “hem and haw”, with hem being a verb meaning “to hesitate in speaking”. But maybe you and Matt hummed before you paused. 🙂

    Your blog is well written and funny. Good job! Of course, you wrote well ten years ago…

  4. RobM says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of food! I think it’s taking the whole starve a fever, feed a cold thing to the extreme (and I hope for your sake it’s not the other way around). I think I barely would have made a dent in course five (shame since the braised pork belly in the next course sounds delicious).

    I absolutely love your writing style. You are too funny and I can tell you really enjoy good food. I’ve never been able to get past the shall we say mental hurdles regarding foie gras but I may just give it another try.

    Looking forward to your next post and I hope you feel better!

  5. Andrew says:

    Food blogging is akin to talking dirty to me. Me Gusta. Keep it up. P

  6. Sounds utterly glorious! I’d be awfully envious if my sweetie hadn’t cooked me an excellent dinner tonight. 🙂 You write beautifully about food — makes me want to try all of this myself. (Too bad LA is so far from western Massachusetts.)

    (and hi — Firefly and SGA fan here, thanks for blogging!)

  7. Jen says:

    Sounds yummy.

    I just cooked some quail eggs from our quail the other day. They are difficult to crack open without trashing the yolk. I’m going to incubate the rest so we can eat the actual quail.

  8. I’m just getting over a cold as well, and this definitely woke my taste buds back up! Your descriptions are fantastic, I could almost smell each dish!

  9. Pam says:

    Laughing, salivating and then feeling just a touch of emphatic nausea while reading that. Nice job!

    You have a naturally funny and effective writing voice. Hope there’s a memoir bubbling away in there somewhere? (Preferably stuffed with cheese and deep-fried – how could it miss.)

    1. Channon says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more! I am so glad my husband found your blog on Twitter

  10. fojoy says:

    My Hubs and I went to Hatfield’s on our trip to LA for the croque madame (based on your tweets), but were there for lunch and they were closed. Too bad, you hate missing out food that’s “Oprah rich”!
    Ahh…the meat sweats, I know them well. My Hubs gets them from Brazilian BBQ…

  11. Karen Dunbar says:

    Congrats on the blog…love what you have written so far! Can’t wait to see where you dine next!

  12. Ulysses Scott Adkins says:

    Thank you so much for your input. When we get a chance to come out to the west coast we will give it a shot. Look forward to reading more.

  13. twosmokes says:

    Sounds spectacular! Sadly, though, I can’t palate anything that swims. The Croque Madame would be a no-go for me. I’ve just never liked fish of any sort. Which is weird, as I’m a chef. It makes work difficult at times. Trying to come up with a new dish by gauging the reactions of others tasting it…not easy.

    So far, the blog is quirky, well-worded, and passionate. I’m diggin’ it. Keep it comin’.

  14. Lupin says:

    Holy hell they couldn’t cram any more chocolate into that dessert selection if they tried!

    I’ve seen so many reviews of tasting menus, dying to try one! I don’t mind feeling like a whale after a great restaurant feast- helps to balance out the empty wallet 😀

  15. Tarisa says:

    Wow, I haven’t had most of the types of food in here, and I’m the type of person who would usually see those things on a menu and go “gross!”. But you made it all sound delicious, and made me wish I was wealthier than the student that I am and living in L.A.! Well written, madame!

    Also it’s crazy that only three people have commented. Makes me feel like a die-hard fan 😉

  16. Jess says:

    That sounds like an amazing meal!! I had a 5 course tasting menu at blue hill stone barns – much more reasonable amount of food, but if I had gone to Hatfields I would have done the exact same thing!

    I love reading about your meals on Twitter and it’s great that you started this blog! I’m a big fan and appreciate you sharing your food life (especially!) with your fans!

  17. josephmallozzi says:

    Where’s the pics?

  18. Eridani says:

    Holy cow, that sounds over the top. The dessert sounds especially delicious.

  19. Michael A. says:

    Yikes. As a picky eater, this meal sounds like a nightmare. If ever I got dragged into a restaurant like that I’d have to nibble on bits of recognizable things like steak and chocolate, then make a beeline for the nearest Chipotle when I escaped.

    I like watching Iron Chef because the creativity that chef’s put into this kind of thing is impressive and I like seeing people sweat the details, but I wouldn’t eat most of what they make.

  20. Ouch. That menu, despite sounding delicious, sounds painful to digest that many courses and such “Oprah rich” food. I hope your food baby treats you well.

    Thanks for posting these reviews! They’re enjoyable to read!

  21. Clemente says:

    “Hem” and haw…so that is how you spell haw…but its hem. But this isn’t a grammar blog and I’m not an English teacher.

    Anyway….I’m not really a foodie, but there is something about someone writing with passion and joy that makes for a great read and that is why I am really enjoying this blog. So you keep eating and drinking and I’ll keep reading!

  22. Tallulah says:

    Fantastic! You’re lucky I just made some amazing biscuits, or I would be feeling seriously deprived. And jealous. Actually no, still jealous.

  23. Mike Smith says:

    Wow – you make it all sound so decadent… Must try harder when preparing breakfast in a few minutes – save the chocolate dessert for later though!

  24. Rococo says:

    I’ve never heard of a croque madam before, but now after you’ve described it, I am bound and determined to find one and conquer it! What a lovely treat, thank you so much for sharing with us.

  25. oaktree says:

    I’m really enjoying your eating adventures!

  26. Thomas says:

    Sound really delicious I should try it one day if I come to L.A, but how many stomachs do you need to eat so much food. It’s insane, after tasting menu you can’t eat during two days?
    Thanks for sharing this delicious meal

  27. May says:

    Wow that is a lot of food. At least I presume it’s food. Gotta admit, I have no idea what about 70% of those things even are, but it sounds amazing.

  28. Pious Agnostic says:

    I couldn’t help imagining Romans reclining at table while the slaves brought in steaming platters of lark’s tongues and ocelot noses, and wine cooled by Alpine snow.

  29. YenFetish says:

    TLDNR

  30. Christine says:

    Wow, what a deliciously decadent meal!! It’s like all the top chef shows in one sitting.

  31. Nele says:

    Mjam, mjam. All a bit too far away to check out personally but loving your descriptions! Rich like Oprah. Hihi.

  32. Maggie says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but how big are the portions for a tasting menu like this? And is it totally gauche to take home what you can’t eat? Or do you just eat it all? And how do you balance your love of dining with being an actress and having to stay thin? (I do love that you enjoy food so much and you certainly don’t look like you ever eat like this!)

    Enjoying the new blog, and definitely second the requests for pics!

  33. Amy Lucille says:

    This is a great read on Foie Gras production.. I bet this is the farm Hatfield’s uses.

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/12/the-physiology-of-foie-why-foie-gras-is-not-u.html

  34. Jessica O says:

    Wow, sounds fantastic! Maybe travel channel should hire you or have you do guest spots on Anthony Bourdain, or even Andrew Zimmerns Bizarre Foods. Love how describe everything! Can’t wait for the next installment!

  35. Pointy says:

    Jewel, this is the first blog entry I read and instantly had to subscribe. Thank you!

  36. Abby Bielski says:

    Loved your review. Reading about the mushrooms just made me want to swoon. Also catch a flight to LA.
    Anytime you’re around Cincy, I’ve got a few suggestions.

  37. Ross says:

    Wow – that is one detailed description. Somehow I get the impression that you’d be a fun dinner companion.

    Next time this starving, aging student gets hungry for more than I can afford, I shall just re-read.

    Keep it up, Jewel.

  38. Magie says:

    I’m putting Hatfield’s on my list of places to eat at for the next time I am in LA! Thanks Jewel and I am looking forward to pictures.

  39. JOY says:

    hello jewel
    im so jealous. your friend david came too?
    i have a love affair with dr rodney. smart,
    a little pudgy, brave, hes the perfect guy.
    love that show. i never get tired of the repeats.
    im going to go to rustic canyon to check it out.
    melisse is the best,i think. im a santa monica
    dweller so thanks for the tip.

  40. Ciji says:

    Jewel –
    I’m loving your out of this world descriptions of your culinary adventures. I’m along way from California but enjoying it anyway. It helps that you have a wicked sense of humor. Keep going 🙂

  41. I know this sounds weird, I know it sounds like it wouldn’t work. But I’m weird and I don’t work most of the time, and look how I turned out!

    I read this, and LOL’d. Then I read it to my other half, who LOL’d.

    Thank you for a food blog that doesn’t take itself too seriously!

  42. Robin says:

    Dear god, woman. Between you and Joe Mallozzi, I’m going to be starting every morning ravenous after I get through my blog roll. (Not that I’m complaining. I love eating vicariously through you guys.)

    Hatfield’s sounds delicious, and makes me want to call up my gang’s favorite indulgence spot to see if they have any openings in the next few months. Yes, they’re popular and small enough that you have to make reservations at least a month in advance. It’s totally worth it. (No, I’m not sharing the name with the general populous. But if you’re going to be in the Boston area and want it, Jewel, drop me an email.)

  43. Cat says:

    Awww…you made me drool on the keyboard. Very entertaining and fun reading. Look forward to your next posting!

  44. Slam says:

    Nicely done. I live on the east coast but I do visit LA and I am always looking for great food.

    Slam

    PS – Fan of Stargate Atlantis, Firefly, and Space Cases.

  45. Meg says:

    I have always wanted to try a menu tasting at a fancy restaurant but now that I’ve read about how much food it is, the food, food and more food, maybe I’ll take your advice and stick to a nice main course.

  46. Wow. And I thought I was hardcore for doing the prix fixe menu at Cutter’s Bayhouse in Seattle. It was nothing on this!

    I love your description of food intoxication – “like my stomach was coated in five different purees”. So true. A friend who was with me for the aforementioned Cutter’s trip recently showed me a picture he’d taken of me as we were walking through Pike Place Market afterward – I was leaning against a wall, looking pensive. He mentioned that it was one of his favorites because he thought I looked thoughtful and deep. My response was “I hope I’m not ruining all your fantasies, here, but I can actually tell you exactly what I was thinking at that moment – I was trying not to puke all over you guys!”

  47. T says:

    So far I am really enjoying your blog. Missy you have a way with words. The way you describe everything brings it to life. That is a true gift. I look forward to reading more.

    P.S. Pictures would be a wonderful addition.

  48. Stephanie says:

    I have come to the conclusion that I can’t read your blog on an empty stomach. You describe everything so well that it makes my stomach grumbles from reading it.

  49. Harlan says:

    I’m not sure whether I feel sorry for you due to your cold or me because I have not had the pleasure of going to Hatfields!
    Thanks for such a luscious description of such luscious sounding food, sadly LA is a bit far from the UK but I will endevour to get to that restaurant one day.
    Firefly is fantastic (slightly off topic but has to be said!)

    Harlan (@rancos on twitter)

  50. Ryan Lucchesi says:

    Great writing Jewel! It really feels like I’m listening to a close friend tell me about the latest restaurant they went to that was fabulous. 🙂 I’ll add Hatfield’s to the list of restaurants I must try!

  51. bigshotprof says:

    Yes, we definitely haw, but I believe we do so in concert with a hem as opposed to a hum. 🙂

  52. Jenni says:

    I’m pretty sure my arteries clogged up just reading this. Sounds amazing though, especially the beignets!

  53. SolarisOne says:

    Wow. Country boys like me who don’t have experience with all of that “fancy” food can sure as heck be intimidated by the food you describe. 😀

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