I was concerned I had an eating problem. Not the one you might think. Not one that makes headlines or lands people in the hospital. Ok, so it's more of an issue than a full blown crisis. After my last few meals, I found myself a bit listless, unexcited, bored. Did I have horrible meals? No. Was there a bad scene? Nope. Everything was fine. Just fine. Neither great, nor awful. I feared I may be suffering from a numbness that occurs from repeat dining. Kind of a carpal eating syndrome. I thought I loved eating. Could the love be gone?
Then I went to Freddy Smalls. The restaurant isn't in France. There's no white tablecloths, and no reservations. It's more gastro pub than restaurant. Service is friendly, but slow. The wine is mediocre at best. Rock music plays at a decent decibel and you'll likely have to wait a while for your table in this small spot. Yes, this could be the carpal talking, but then I ate the food.
I've been eating my own zesty avocado-lime stuffed eggs most mornings for a while now and really enjoying them, but then I had Freddy Small's buffalo deviled eggs. The only thing I can think to compare it to was if I made hamburgers made from dog food versus a Japanese chef cooking a premium grade Kobe beef burger. The eggs were rich and creamy with crisp bits of chicken skin, bold point reyes blue cheese and a dash of hot sauce to devil 'em just right. Oh man. I'm not sure I needed to know that exists in the world.
I was told the chicken liver mousse was the closest thing I'd get to foie gras around town, and oh yes, I closed my eyes and was transported. All the right notes of earthy and sweet with the mousse generously slathered on a large (thank goodness) piece of thick, toasted bread. I'll need to know if I can get those on a drive-by, take out basis.
Our waitress told us that the brussels sprouts were voted best in LA. I don't remember voting on them in the last election, so figured further research was needed. All the bitterness of the sprout was gone as they must have been laid in apple cider for 6 months and then they were perfectly roasted to get those nice crisp edges. If they would have stopped there, they would have had my vote, but then they threw a dollop of smoked goat cheese in the middle. The cheese had no place for me and not only didn't add to the dish, but detracted for competing flavors. Luckily the cheese was easily avoided so the sprouts could still be enjoyed.
I looked at the table next to ours and saw 3 guys giving a good go to the large chicken panzanella, but not finishing it. No, I didn't ask to, but I looked at my female dining companion and said should we try? We agreed, thinking we'll just take the leftovers home and have a nice lunch tomorrow. It was an entire half chicken individually cooked using a sous vide method to lock in moisture in each part of the bird, then fried to get that nice crispy crust and reassembled on a wood cutting board with sweet creamed corn underneath, as well as grilled zucchini and slices of apricot. Uh yeah, we were both high and dry for lunch the next day. It was that good.
And just like that, Freddy Smalls cured me of a potentially deadly eating virus. Let's all breathe a sigh of relief. You now know where to find me.