i've been wanting to try animal restaurant in west l.a. for ages. my friend weezermonkey has been a handful of times, and her photos and blog posts always make me drool like mad.
so when our friend ms.blake decided to come down for a visit and magically scored a reservation there, i was out of my mind with excitement. i pored over the online menu and got myself all riled up, even knowing that the offerings change regularly. well, and of course, i was stoked to see my friends, too. heh.
since AMP lives out in my direction, i traded a few tweets with her and proposed that we carpool. she was a little worried that we'd run a little late, but it was okay - i figured it would be better to ride together and be able to roll out in the carpool lane. we managed to get on the road and pulled up to the valet just in time. luckily, she'd done her research and knew where the place was - tricky, because there's no signage to let you know that you're there. i guess if you gotta ask, you got no business being there.
you think that's bad? oh, wait. the rest of the photos i'm about to share are no better. heh.
the menu really hadn't changed from what was featured online. i was excited to step out of my comfort zone and try pretty much anything - but i had to draw the line somewhere, and that was "veal brains." nuh-uh, buddy. ain't no way.
while a chunk o'chicks shared a house bottle of vino, i was excited for some mexican coke. the monkey and 10yearstogether went with the bottled root beer.
we started out with some non-animal dishes - the baby kale and shaved asparagus. both pretty tasty, but definitely not the star of the show. at least, not for most of us.
the first real animal-y dish: pig's head! and it was really effing good. i'd been imagining a big ass plate o'decapitation, but it looked and tasted like...meat. mighty tasty meat, at that.
pig's ear. no, not the hairy dried up kind you give your dog as a treat. and that egg was cooked. to. perfection.
oh, and at the end of the bench sat the mayor of l.a. yup, we dined with vee-yah-rah-GOH-ssa. not that you can tell from my picture. you'll just have to trust me on it.
barbecued pork belly sliders. this was my pick, and it was super delicious. of course, i thought they looked like boobs. because i am 12.
i also liked the napkins with a little buttonhole. too bad i didn't have a button to feed through it. my necklace fit nicely, but it was choking me and i had to pull it off.
aside from those fabulous sliders, i was super bowled over by my first taste of poutine, topped with oxtail gravy. ms.blake and i seriously contemplated licking the plate clean.
melted petit basque with chorizo. it was when this was served that we learned something astonishing about our friend insomniac: she doesn't like hot cheese. i gasped even as i typed that.
thai bbq quail. such a teeny-tiny little bird. and so delicious. we felt like giants as we noshed on this.
balsamic pork ribs. they were meaty and tender. yes, my picture is sideways.
this evening also marked my first foray into the world of foie gras. we chose two dishes - the foie gras loco moco (unlike any old hawaiian plate lunch you've ever had) and the foie gras with biscuit and maple sausage gravy. oh, so good. i'm a fan.
what's a good meal without dessert? despite the monkey's warning of mediocrity, i was antsy to try the bacon chocolate crunch bar. she was, of course, totally spot on - but i knew i'd regret not at least trying it once. it was...blah. and i didn't detect any bacon in it aside from a few crumbles sprinkled on top. oh, well.
terrible photos of the sticky toffee pudding (the best out of our selections) and tres leches cake.
our server mistakenly ordered the berries with vanilla custard, so a few of us ended up enjoying it on the house. not me, though. duh.
as we tallied up and took care of the check, i opened my foursquare app to check in. i was super amused to be reminded that my first meeting with ms.blake was almost a whole year ago.
and look! i only have to go seven more times to snatch the mayorship. yeah.
it was a wonderful meal with fabulous friends and lots of laughter. as we waited outside for our cars, the server came scurrying up to us with a plastic bag in hand - "you forgot your pants!" ms.blake had brought a pair of premium denims for the monkey, and she'd left it behind. besides a hilarious story from 10yt about waking up the night before and roaring like a damn lion out of hunger, that was probably the funniest line of the evening.
oh, how i love my friends. and eating with my friends. they're the best.