Nick Rhodes

On the street: Nick and Julie Anne Rhodes
Since the only globe-trotting this wing-clipped gypsy will be doing for a while is oral, I let my “tastes buds do the walking”, and went to Susan Feniger’s Street this week. The restaurant is where the celebrity chef (Top Chef Masters, Chef vs. Sun City, and Two Hot Tamales), co-founder of the Border Grill, and thirty year veteran of the culinary world shares her take on “exotic ingredients and unexpected flavors from the food of the streets.”

Street vendor in Cairo
Of course it helped substantially to have a group of adventurous eaters along with me, creating our own tasting menu from the torturously vast array of tantalizing choices. Here is what we had:

Kaya Toast: A uniquely Singapore experience. Toasted bread spread with thick coconut jam, served with a soft fried egg drizzled in dark soy and white pepper. Verdict: Sublime. She never should have been voted off the show for this. It was so good we ordered seconds.

Panni Puri: Small tastes of spiced potato, chutneys, and sprouted beans, enclosed in crispy puffs of dough dipped in yogurt-cilantro water.Verdict: Bring it on! Yum.

Spinach Varenky: Small Ukrainian dumplings filled with spinach, and a light layer of salted cheese; boiled, and then pan fried served with sour cream, fried onions, and lemon marmalade.Verdict: Tender, great flavor combination, well executed, and authentic according to my Lithuanian dinner companion.

Brazilian Acaraje: Small black eyed pea fritters with palm oil, garlic, and cilantro; stuffed with citrus cabbage slaw and malagueta chile sauce. Verdict: Very pretty and interesting temperature, texture and flavor combinations that made every taste bud pop.
Japenese Shizo Shrimp: Marinated shrimp rolled with shizo, nori seaweed, and crispy dough; served with ponzu, grated radish, and wasabi. Verdict:Exquisite.

Toasted Amaranth: With slivered almonds, cuzco corn and roasted yam in almond milk. Verdict: Such a soothing, comfort food, and definitely one of our favorites. That is a dish I will be mimicking for myself at home often.

Argentine Ricotta Noquis: From the Italian district of Buenos Aires; sheep’s milk ricotta dumplings simmered with brown butter and lemon with celery root puree: Yummy, creamy, decadence in every bite. Verdict: What it lacked in color was soon forgotten by the mouth full of satisfyingly mild, creamy decadence. Again, comfort food at it’s best. Children and the less adventurous members in your party would love this.

Malaysian Black Pepper Clams: Served on Singapore’s Eastern coast clams simmered in oyster sauce with cracked black pepper, palm sugar, soy and lime. Verdict:This dish came highly recommended to us by foodies and waitress alike, so I reckon this might have been an off night. They were good, but not executed as well as the other offerings… the flavors were a little too watered down and the clams were chewy.

Hawaiian BBQ Pork: Wrapped in banana leaf and slow cooked on the wood oven with marinade of sugar cane, pineapple, and soy served with traditional accompaniments of steamed rice, macaroni salad and sweet roll.Verdict: Falling off the bone, juicy and succulent, but warning… huge portion if you have more than one course, and you really need to save room for…

Turkish Doughnuts: Small spiced pastries fried and then simmered in cardamom rose syrup served with sour cream and rose hip jam.Verdict: We each had one, and it was the perfect note to end a fabulous meal. Just a touch of sweetness spiked with cardamom (a great alternative to cinnamon) that melded so well with the rose hip jam, leaving a wonderful taste in your mouth to savor. An absolute don’t miss!

Agnes, Romante, Julie Anne, and Steve
Trust me, even after this kind of gluttony (we ordered one of every dish, except for the Kaya Toast that we ordered seconds of, and each had a bite), we did not even put a dent in the menu which also features impressive cocktail and tea lists. I will be back to sample the rest over time. Street is located at 742 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038, (323)203-0500.

PS. Please excuse the lack of B&B test. I’m still on crutches, so I was too lazy to check out the bathroom, and they do not serve bread at the beginning of the meal at Street. Instead they give you a scrumptious kind of grown up rice crispies treat… a bite size ball of puffed rice, popcorn, date, cardamom, and marshmallow? Just hazarding a guess from one quick nibble.

I thought you might find this video of both menu and restaurant coming together as interesting as I did. There are more on you tube and the Street website.

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