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A foodie friend of ours Lee from Vancouver was going to be in Los Angeles and called to see if we wanted to meet up for dinner at Animal a couple nights ago.  Jason and I haven’t seen Lee in a while and we love to try out new restaurants so we accepted the invitation.   There were 7 of us who ended up at Animal at 8:45pm on a Tuesday night.   As we waited for our table to open up, someone spotted Bobby Flay eating at a table near the bar.   That is a good sign…I figure Flay knows a little something about food.   Another good sign was a local who’d eaten there numerous times who was also waiting for a table absolutely gushing to us about the menu.  He listed about 6 things off the menu that we “had to order”.   I noticed that many of the tables were full in spite of the fact that it was late on a Tuesday – another good sign.   The restaurant was sparsely decorated…actually to call it “sparse” implies too much.  There were bare lightbulbs screwed into sockets on the walls and a couple of framed animal skulls hanging on the walls.  Clearly the decor won’t be distracting us from the food.   We were seated and started ordering almost immediately.   I was pleasantly surprised to see the 2008 Dragonette Rose (Grenache / Syrah) on the bottle list.  Dragonette is a premium quality, boutique winery located in Lompoc in an area affectionately called the “wine ghetto”.   They’re making some beautiful wines – we barrel tasted there a few months ago and I fell in love with a barrel of co-fermented Syrah and Viognier.   The rose was a perfect beginning to a fabulous meal!  We ended up ordering nearly everything on the menu – it was all outstanding!   Here is a photo of the menu for the evening that we were there.

Menu at Animal in Los Angeles

Menu at Animal: 435 N. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 (323) 782-9225

We loved everything with the exception of the green garlic broth with grilled toast, but there were a few dishes that you really must order.  First and foremost, the barbeque pork belly sandwiches with slaw.  We ordered this dish three times over the course of the evening and each time when it arrived at the table, I wasn’t able to get my camera out quickly enough to snap a photo before the food was devoured!  Suffice it to say it was amazing – especially with the bottle of 2005 Anjou Chateau Perray Jouannet (a red blend dominated by Cabernet Franc).   Another dish that went too fast for me to get a photo was the pig ear with chili, lime and fried egg.  I like bacon – alot- however pig ear sounded more like something my dogs would enjoy.  After tasting the saltiness of the pig’s ear countered by the tart acid of the lime juice , I won’t be sharing this with my dogs, ever.  Wow – this was really good!  Also, the rabbit loin with parsnip, pear mostarda and Benton’s bacon was fabulous (this dish and the barbeque pork belly sandwiches were my two absolute favorites of the evening).   Skatewing isn’t something you see on menus in the United States much – this preparation with collards, rutabaga and grainy mustard was wonderful.  We ordered two of these because the other side of the table kept hoarding the skate.  Skatehoarding is not a crime!   😉  Sorry, I just had to say it.  If you are into foie gras, Animal offers some really creative and very tasty versions.  a) Foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy and b) foie gras loco moco with quail egg, spam and hamburger.  Both were out of this world!    By the time we got to the end of the meal we were all too full for dessert…this fact wasn’t enough to stop us from ordering every dessert on the menu.  The tres leches with dulche de leche was rich and sweet – my husband gave it two thumbs up.  I was partial to the bacon chocolate crunch bar with s&p anglaise…bacon, chocolate and anglaise.  Need I say more?  Joe’s doughnuts with cinnamon sugar and caramel were also very good and so was the panna cotta with saba (which I learned is a sweet reduction of grape must).   Ultimately, I cannot do the food at Animal justice with words and photos…you simply *must* go there.   Better yet, go with a group so you can order the whole menu!

Foie gras loco moco quail egg spam hamburger

Foie gras loco moco quail egg spam hamburger

Sweetbreads, creamed spinach and hen of the woods mushrooms

Sweetbreads, creamed spinach and hen of the woods mushrooms

Melted Petit Basque with chorizo and grilled bread

Melted Petit Basque with chorizo and grilled bread


Poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar

Poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar - Poutine ("poutine québécoise") is French Canadian comfort food.

Skatewing with collards, rutabaga and grainy mustard

Skatewing with collards, rutabaga and grainy mustard - Skate hoarding is not a crime. 😉

2008 Dragonette Rose

2008 Dragonette Rose and Animal's by the glass list

Foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy

Foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy

Rabbit loin with parsnip, pear mostarda and Benton's bacon

Rabbit loin with parsnip, pear mostarda and Benton's bacon

Sallie, Michael and Maggie - Note the incriminating balsamic barbeque sauce on Michael's fingers from the pork ribs. 🙂

Liz wonders who ordered the vegetables as she eyes the balsamic glazed pork ribs.

Liz wonders who ordered the vegetables as she eyes the balsamic glazed pork ribs.

Happy Birthday Lee!

Happy Birthday Lee!

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