[UPDATED] California Love Finale, But First Reflections on Los Angeles

Graffiti in the alley behind Animal Restaurant, shot yesterday when we checked in with Vinny and his chefs Dave and Alex about prep for today's cookbook event, the last of our week-long trip in California. We head back to Miami tomorrow.

UPDATE: We’ve got a west coast hangover, but had time to upload behind-the-scenes photos here.  Thanks for an amazing event, Jon, Vinny, Helen, and the entire Animal Restaurant team!

What have we learned in our visit to Los Angeles? Life is a little different out here.  In West Hollywood, gorgeous super-sized alien women preside on billboards overlooking terraced boulevards lined with thin, towering palms.  The water and air are very hair-friendly. There are no cats. People like to hike in their neighborhood canyons for exercise with their dogs that, if they’re little, are dragged along in the dust wake of their owners’ thunderous strides.  There is no walking, but if you do, cars stop for pedestrians without the need for stop signs or stop lights. I’m sure that hasn’t caused any accidents. Food is great if you’re eating at Nancy’s place i.e. Silverton’s Mozza Pizzeria.  Same goes for Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s new Son of a Gun, where its nautical theme is expressed in family heirlooms on the walls and right now in shrimp toast sandwiches (they go through 70 a night,) kusshi oysters, and hiramasa with mojo de ajo, red onion, and crispy sunchoke flakes on the plate. Wine and service when you’re in the capable hands of the chef/owners’ operations director Helen Johannesen is effortless.  It’s La La Land for sure, and we like it.  Dinner tonight at Animal Restaurant should be no exception. We head over there to continue prep at 10:00 a.m. PST.  Now, where’s my Peet’s coffee? For photos from LA, visit our Flickr set here.

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