Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wonderful Pistachios at Ray's and Stark at LACMA

I used to live in the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles. While I don't miss my disgusting apartment and psychotic neighbors, I do miss my proximity to LACMA which is one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon. Since I've been gone, some exciting changes have happened at the museum. There is a temporary Tim Burton exhibit taking place and a new, fun restaurant and bar in Ray's and Stark. Named after Ray Stark (the late film producer), the restaurant and bar are turning out fun and seasonal Mediterranean inspired dishes in a beautiful and casual setting. The restaurant has recently paired with Wonderful Pistachios to do a food and cocktail pairing and I was recently invited to sample some of their offerings. Chef Kris Morningstar, formerly of District and Mercantile, tantalized our taste buds with a variety of small bites which were all meant to taste well with Wonderful Pistachios. They also tasted well with the cocktails they were paired with.

Cheese Plate at Ray's and Stark

Wonderful Pistachios, Aged Gouda, Gala Apple Wedges, Drizzled with Lavender Honey was a great dish to whet our appetites. The apples were enhanced to draw out more of their apple-y flavor. The Ginger Rogers cocktail was a great accompaniment. It was not too sweet and slightly spicy and ever so slightly effervescent which highlighted the flavors in the apple.

Wonderful Pistachios, Aged Gouda, Gala Apple Wedges Drizzled with Lavender Honey

Ginger Rogers Cocktail at Ray's and Stark

Pistachios with Lime Tortilla Chips and Watermelon Chunks Sprinkled with Chili-Lime salt had the right mix of refreshing and spicy. The tortilla chip was a bit to salty even for sodium loving me, but I liked the mild heat the had. Especially with the Mel spicy margarita that it was paired with.

Wonderful Pistachios, Lime Tortilla Chips, Watermelon Chunks Sprinkled with Chili-Lime Salt

"The Mel" Spicy Margarita at Ray's and Stark

Pistachios, Cured Olive and Salami Skewer, Rosemary Parmesan popcorn. The deep flavors in the olive and meat went well with the 2006 Dalla Ponicia, Chianti they were paired with. It was at this point that realized all the food we had would be "small" which I actually really appreciated. Sometimes, you leave these events feeling ridiculously overstuffed and unable to move for days, but I felt light and almost springy after leaving this one.

Wonderful Pistachios, Cured Olive and Salami Skewer, Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn

Pistachios, Peaches, Vermouth, Capricious Goat Cheese. More cheese, but since I am a cheese-a-holic I thought "bring it on". The peaches were amazing and so sweet. Even though I am not the biggest fan of goat cheese, this was more mild than I expected and went well with the sweet peaches.

Wonderful Pistachios, Peaches, Vermouth, Capricious Goat Cheese

Pistachios, Shrimp, Dates, Orange, Smoked Paprika paired with Raspberry Rooibos Tea. I was not expecting tea and I also don't love raspberries so I was pleasantly surprised by the tea. The shrimp was amazing as well. It was perfectly cooked and the sweet puree underneath it was full of flavor. My only complaint (which really isn't a complaint) is that this tiny bite came on a full sized plate. It looked kind of silly, but who cares because it tasted so good?

Wonderful Pistachios, Shrimp, Dates, Orange Smoked Paprika

Ben said that the Pistachios with Crispy Pork Rib Skewer, Radishes, and Salsa Verde was his most anticipated dish of the evening. It's not hard to see why. The pork was crispy on the outside and tender inside and perfectly seasoned. I'm still hit or miss with radishes, but the salsa verde they were dressed in.

Wonderful Pistachios, Crispy Pork Short Rib, Radishes and Salsa Verde

This dinner not only did a great job of highlighting how many flavors go well with pistachios, but it makes me want to go back and have a full dinner at Ray's and Stark. Now that I have a ticket for the Tim Burton exhibit, I just may have to make a day of it soon.

*All food and drinks were comped. Opinions are my own

Ray's and Stark Bar
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 857-6180

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Georgia Pellegrini said...

Looks delicious!

marla {family fresh cooking} said...

Love pistachios, sounds like a fun meal!

Nancy said...

I am so bummed that I couldn't attend this event - it sounds like it was too much fun! So happy that I was able to read about it though!

Joanne said...

Pistachios are my favorite nut and I love that they're infused into every aspect of this meal!

Kristen said...

My kids, especially, go nuts for Pistachios!

vanillasugarblog said...

that is some aged cheese on the right side! wow.
i would love to try that spicy margarita--like that doesn't surprise you lol

Diana said...

Give me a call or text when you are doing your day at LACMA for Tim Burton and Ray & Stark -- I'd love to join you! :) Miss having you in my hood!

aida mollenkamp said...

I too am a big fan of LACMA and am so far very happy with the new additions of Rays and Stark Bar. That event sounds tasty, especially because it had a few of my favorite foods: pistachios and aged Gouda (of which I just sang the praises on my latest blog post)!