Subscribe Now - My Next Meal

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why Lupa is my favorite restaurant...

First...sorry for the long delay in posts.  Hopefully I am back to writing at least monthly food posts.

So the topic is - Why is Osteria Lupa my favorite restaurant? is consistent and delicious.

Let's back up.  I was working on a movie called Things We Lost in the Fire in early 2007.  We did the last three months of post production in New York City (January to March - damn cold it was).  I was able to rent a cute little apartment in Soho.  It was a great neighborhood to hang in, and if it wasn't for the cold, I might have been converted to being a New Yorker.  But Los Angeles rules on weather, so there ya go.

But the best part of my apartment is that it was walking distance from Osteria Lupa - a small little Roman Italian joint owned by Mario Batali and under the direction of chef Mark Ladner (a true artist).  My first meal there was a Saturday was packed, but I was able to get a seat at the beautiful bar.  I was glad I did, because that bar became my spot (I wish more restaurants had eat-in bars...makes being a single party a lot more relaxing).  My first meal was an amazing one - the special Lamb Chops Scottadito (truly heaven on a plate) and a parsnip custard that was out of this world (their menu changes seasonally).

I was hooked.  I literally went to Lupa one to two times a week in those three months.  And because of that, I got to try many dishes on the menu: Crispy Duck, Lupa Rabbit Sausage, all their pastas, sardines, wonderful vegetable sides (they specialize in small plates that you can share).  And the most amazing thing is that I never had a bad meal.  All those times and it was always top notch.  I took my brother, Adam, to Lupa and I think he just about died (he is not a fan of lamb, yet said the bite he had of my Scottadito made him a convert).

There are favorite restaurants of mine all over that have once in a while given me a mediocre meal.  Not Lupa...and that is why it is my favorite.  That and they are just plain nice at this joint.  Within a couple of weeks they entered me as a "regular" in their computer system.  I would walk in and they would say, "Hey, Justin.  We'll get you a seat in a bit."  You just cannot beat that type of personal touch.

So, when in Manhattan, run don't walk to Osteria Lupa.  Your taste buds will be very happy with you indeed.

Five Smacks...every single time!!!!!


Osteria Lupa
170 Thompson St.
New York, NY  10012

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Vancouver on Per Diem

So, I'm here in Vancouver working on a movie called Things We Lost In The Fire, starring Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro and David Duchovny. One of the great things about being on location is meeting new people and getting to eat at wonderful restaurants with your per diem (you gotta love per diem).

On this week's podcast, we are introduced to the editing crew: Pernille, Bruce, Shelly and Julia. In A Week of Lunches in Yaletown, we review lunch spots in Yaletown, a hip part of Vancouver, as well as some diner spots.

The Lunches:

Yaletown Brewing Co. -
Your basic bar food place...but on a good day, it can be really nice. Unfortunately, it can be hit and miss. Two and a half Smacks

Hamilton Street Grill -
Depending on what you get here, it can be pretty decent. Good burgers and very good yam fries can be had at this joint. But again, get the wrong thing and you'll be disappointed. Two and a half Smacks

Subeez Cafe -
I liked this place. Nice atmosphere and good food. And Shelly really likes the coffee here. It's one of these "you can get anything" type of place. Three Smacks

Simply Thai -
The best of the lunch places in Yaletown, in my opinion. Very good food, and not too expensive. The noodle dishes are excellent, as is the green curry. Three and a half Smacks

The Diners:

Cru -
Small restaurant with excellent atmosphere. Two owners, the wife is the chef and the husband is the sommelier. I recommend sitting at the bar and ordering from the small plates menu. The food is to notch and they have a great wine by the glass menu that has color codes that match with their food dishes...that way you can pair your own wines. Three and a half Smacks

West -
I have not gone here (it looks a little too California Cuisine to me). But Bruce and Pernille have both gone and loved it. Pernille has actually gone several times. She says the food is quite good, but the wines are too expensive. She gives it four smacks.

Vij's - So far, this is one of my favorites. A high end Indian restaurant, you pretty much can't go wrong here. They don't take reservations, so there is a wait for tables...but they have a wonderful bar and bring around free appetizers (I wish more restaurants did this). The best dish is the Lamb Popsicles (grilled rack of lamb in a creamy, curry sauce). It is to die for. I would definitely say this is a must go if you are visiting or living in Vancouver. Five Smacks


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Love them Texas Eats

In this week's podcast, I join my other family - the Ordeneaux Clan - for some excellent eats in the Dallas area of Texas (Wylie, Murphy, Richardson and Plano). This episode is special to me because it's the first time you get to hear from Renee's family (wonderful people who I love as much as my own family).

My guests include sisters Chantel Bardin and Michelle Jones, mother Beverly Almaraz and brother in law Matt Jones (who can be heard on the podcast LOSTCasts).

For those of you Californians who think Texas has nothing to offer (I used to be one of you), I have one thing to say...get your head out of your asses! Texas is a great place to visit and has great restaurants to try. Big servings and outstanding flavors are awaiting you in the Lone Star State.

The best place we went to was a TEX-MEX restaurant called Casa Milagro - 1403 E. Campbell Rd., Suite #110, Richardson, TX 75081, (972) 234-6999. This consistent Four Smack restaurant has excellent tex-mex cuisine (best I've ever had). While in the Dallas are, you have to check it out. Great chili rellenos! Everyone agreed that this is the best place for tex-mex.

Matt and Michelle listed off some of their other favorite tex-mex restaurants, including:
Mia's, Luna de Noche, El Ranchito, Manny's, Herreras and Monica's (transvestite host).

We also went to The Flying Fish, a seafood restaurant that is best when ordering the fried stuff (fried shrimp and catfish...yum). Renee really, really liked the hushpuppies. Love the giant beers as well. While not great, you definitely get your money's worth here. I gave it two and a half smacks on the podcast, but I'll up it to three delivers what it advertises.

We also went out to my favorite breakfast spot while visiting our family - Ballard Street Cafe in Wylie. Great biscuits and gravy, grits and egg dishes all at a quite cheap price (you can't beat a big breakfast for under $10). Renee gave it two smacks, but as Matt points out, you can't trust a pseudo vegetarian at a greasy spoon like Ballard Street. "Hey, I'm Renee...this place doesn't have good coffee...whine, whine." The rest of us gives breakfast at Ballard Street Cafe Four Smacks!

Finally, Matt took me on a road-trip to a BBQ joint called Clark's Outpost. You get some great eats here (Matt says that it is consistently in the top ten BBQ joints in Texas). I loved it...smokin' tender brisket and melt in your mouth smoked turkey was my favorite. It also had great sides (perfectly cooked collard greens, giant onion rings and fried cheese squares). We finished off with a big hunk of Coconut Meringue Cream Pie (pictured above)! Delicious!!!! You can also order online! Four Smacks.

I had a great time doing the podcast with my Texas family. Can't wait 'till the next time.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Erna's Elderberry House...Damn Good!

Erna's Elderberry House is a definite 5 Smack experience! My parents, Jan and Larry, go on to say that it is better than Napa Valley's The French Laundry! So if you have the dough, and you are in Oakhurst, you have to go to this fine restaurant. Here is the menu that we had:

Amuse Bouche - Roasted Veal Sweetbread on Summer Squash Pudding with Asparagas, Opal Squash and Carrot reduction. Paired with Boncillou Cuvee Lerose, Corbieres 2004

Marinated Gulf Shirmp, Tomato Risotto with water chestnuts, Pecorino Romano and Chinese Long Beans in a Yellow Bean-Leak Broth. Paired with Fort Ross Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2002

Whie Corn Soup with a Wild Mushroom Dumpling and White Truffle Emulsion. Paired with Marc Kreydenweiss Les Charmes Gewurztaminer, Alsace 2003

Grilled Angus Beef Tenderloin, Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Lamb's Quarters, Red Wine-Torpedo Onion Jam, Lacito Kale and Bok Choy with Lavender-Beef Jus. Paired with Westbrook Wine Farm Fait Accompli, Madera County 2003

Salad of Baby Field Greens, Arugaula and Lentils, Roasted Red Peppers and Savory-Champagne Vinaigerette (and tapanade).

Pecan Waffle with Blueberry Sorbet and Dark Chocolate Mouse. Paired with Rudolf Muller Riesling Eiswein, Rheinessen 2004

This place is a winner...and quite beautiful with excellent service. A must try!


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Australia - My Next Meal Episode #008

On this week's episode, Justin and Renee discuss their trip to Australia. We hear the sounds of the Flying Fox and the Kangaroo Island Penguins.

Renee and Justin review several restaurants in Australia...four in Sydney and one (a Bed and Breakfast) on Kangaroo Island. Special thanks to Norm, Madge and fellow Los Angelenos, Kristen and Jeff for helping out with the podcast!

bills - a breakfast spot in Sydney, quite popular with the locals. This place loves the fat! But it was a little much for my taste (can you believe that). I give it two and a half smacks.

Tetsuya's - one of the most highly rated and expensive restaurants in Sydney. Little plates of food meant to impress...but we were more impressed with the wine pairings. Two and a half smacks.

Billy Kwong - a high end Chinese restaurant in Sydney. We were tired when we went here, but it is worth a trip. Very good and unusual dishes to be had here. But get there early...there is a line to get in and they do not take reservations. Three Smacks!

Bungalow 8 - a seafood restaurant/bar on the wharf in Sydney...with club music to groove to. The seafood here is wonderful. The best dishes are the garlic shrimp and the bucket o' mussels. Four Smacks!

Correa Corner - an awesome bed and breakfast on Kangaroo Island. This was the highlight of the trip. The hosts, Norm and Madge, are wonderful people who will give you a stay to remember. The food is incredible! A must if you go to Kangaroo Island. Five Smacks!


Subscribe for the podcast at itunes!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Brothers - My Next Meal Episode #007

On this week's episode, I talk with my brother, Adam Bourret. Adam cooks some dishes for the family. Adam talks about his introduction to Asian cooking by celebrity chef, Martin Yan and discussess his views on Vegan and Asian cooking.

We also talk about to great Asian Los Angeles Restaurants - Cholada and Yang Chow. Adam is probably the best amateur chef that I know, so enjoy!

- JB

Subscribe for my podcast at itunes store.

Friday, May 19, 2006

My Next Meal #006 - Passover 2006

In this week's podcast, I share my secrets to making awesome vegetarian matzah balls. Listen in as family and friends review the soup and my brother, Adam Bourret, shares his new Passover Song! Enjoy....


  • 2 Tblsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Matzah Meal
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1Tsp Minced Dill
  • 2Tblsp Vegetarian Stock
  • 1Tsp Salt
  • 1 Bowl of Vegetarian Stock for Rolling Balls
Beat Eggs and Olive Oil together in a large bowl. Mix in Matzah Meal, Stock, Dill and Salt until smooth. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

After refrigerated, take out mixture and form into walnut-sized balls with your hands. Coat your hands in the bowl of stock before forming each ball.

Bring to boil a large pot of salted water. Put in the formed balls and reduce to medium heat. Cover and cook balls for 30 minutes. They will expand, so don't overpack the pot. Remove cooked balls from water with slotted spoon and store until ready to put in soup.

When you are an hour away from serving the soup, add balls to soup and bring it to a simmer. Let the soup cook with the balls for about 30 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!