The Hungry Cat in Hollywood has been talked up by Sue to keep it fresh in my mind, and it turned out it was just a few blocks away from the little bungalow we stayed overnight. All we had to do was roll out of bed, stumble around a bit, then saunter over to Vine.
The restaurant was moderately crowded, but there was plenty of room at the raw bar and I love sitting at the bar, so this was perfect.
We got to watch the men prepare a variety of seafood dishes, including ours. Their hands moved swiftly but with gentle concentration, the memory of one man quietly tossing what turned out to be Gordon’s salad is still vivid in my head.
It was also interesting to see how this Hungry Cat was different to the Santa Barbara one, and in the course of conversation, the man who was working on Gordon’s salad joined in. It turned out he’d been assisting in the SB location fo a number of months. Including New Year’s day? I asked. He said yes, and then asked if I’d been at the table near the far side window. How about that. I’m fascinated that we were both in the same place, and happened to meet up again half a year later.
So, what’s different? Well, at the Hollywood Hungry Cat, the Cobb salad uses apple slices instead of citrus. Perhaps that makes the Cobb here more traditional. Either way, it’s good and Gordon found it to taste amazing. Mark that salad down as the highlight of this meal for him.
I ordered an item off the raw menu that intrigued me. It was Tandoori cured char, spiced lebeni yogurt, cucumber, pickled pineapple, pepper cress, dates and house-made naan, about $14. I had no idea what char was, but I loved it. The whole dish was great with rich spices, although I wished the naan was a little less crisp, it was difficult to slice with a fork and knife.
We also ordered a selection of pastries: a chocolate croissant, monkey bread, and a sticky bun. These were not made on site, but brought in from a pastry company, but they were warmed for us and the sticky bun had been cut in two for us to share.
For drinks, Gordon had a Bloody Mary with an oyster, while I had a non-alcoholic Grapefruit Cooler. This brings me to the second item that was different with the Hollywood Hungry Cat. The Grapefruit cooler in my town is more like a virgin Greyhound cocktail, using grapefruit syrup and candied grapefruit peel. The one in the Hollywood location was its own concoction of fresh grapefruit juice, fizzy water and fresh chunks of muddled grapefruit and fresh peel. Honestly, I like the one in my town a bit more. Using the fresh peel was a bit too pithy for my tastes. Still, it was refreshing to taste and I do like that recipes in each location differ according to their chefs and bartenders. And btw, I do believe Gordon quite liked his Bloody Mary with the oyster. Wish I could have had one, but I must be a responsible driver.
Bonus: the Hungry Cat was just a block away from Amoeba Records, where I did a 15 minute power shop for some Boards of Canada and other electronic fun.