Vespertine, take two
Starting the fooding off with the old Konami favorite, Baja California Fish Tacos. Even during the stay at home, they're quite busy for take-out. And the shrimp tacos (well shrimp and fish both), so good! Got a restock from Smog City Brewing as well. The Snugglebug (in the 32oz can) in particular was quite good, and the June Lady is well-known.
Revisiting Vespertine. Chef Jordan Kahn's second take-out menu for his Michelin 2* during the COVID-19 safer-at-home order is based off the Georgia/American south Lowcountry, and works much better than his first menu go-around (Asian fusion based off his old Red Medicine restaurant).
Unlike Vespertine itself, which is an experience, the take-out is instead takes the literal ton of food approach. The preference for literal boxes of raw vegetables, dishes where other vegetables-hide-the-actual-vegetable-dish, and bowls of grits or porridge don't always make sense to me, but in the context of the Southern cooking, I defintely see the fit this week. In this case, the grits, the pickles, and especially the seafood boil are all culturally appropriate, take-home-friendly, and delicious. Even the collard greens, once you find them under the celery garnish, are intense-yet-fitting.
The desserts this time around are overrated-- they're still good, but not worth the hype... and that seems to remain the biggest spoiler to Vespertine. The exquisite experience of dine-in still doesn't translate, and to his credit, Chef Kahn realizes that. His execution has significantly improved from his first menu, I'm just not quite sure how excited I am to keep paying the non-insubstantial price. As of this writing, menu three (Yucatan) is now being served. As intriguing as it is...
Wrapping up fooding with Kogi Taqueria, the distinct opposite of fine dining and Chef Kahn. Done by the founder of the noveau food truck movement, Chef Roy Choi's Kogi is bold flavors, Asian fusion done into rice bowls, burritos, french fries, and most famous, tacos. The Chego-era bold flavors of the pork belly bowl are almost always good, although this time the rice was clumpy and soggy, gross. And the carintas kimchi fries have apparently been changed (or maybe they always have been, and I forgot?) to beer-battered, which is much too crunchy and doesn't quite balance right with the sauce on top.