I have a lot of foodie friend in Los Angeles. My favorite kind of friends
Amongst the most adventurous, and certainly THE MOST avid food blogger I know is Amy (backyardbite.com).
Many of the most exclusive and exciting food experiences I’ve been a part of the last 4 years have been connected to Amy somehow (or she ends up being there!).
About a week ago, Amy invited me to attend the very first cooking class at Al Bacio in West Hollywood. She had attended the opening dinner in December, and the chef, Christian Simionato, had personally invited her (and a few honored guests!) to attend.
This morning, we arrived at 11am, at the storefront in West Hollywood. We were met by fresh shots of espresso, and a group of new friends (the other half of the class, friends of one of the servers at Al Bacio – who were so awesome!). From there, we began a 4 hour demonstration and dining extravaganza!
I know you’re way more interested in seeing pictures than reading about my experience, so I’ll keep it short!
Here’s a list of our menu for the day to help guide you through all the drool worthy pictures!
Al Bacio Salad: octopus, potato, olives, shaved carrots, tomatoes, fennel, lemon and olive oil
We started with a WHOLE raw octopus…
I particularly like Chef Christian’s explanation (video here!) of how they used to tenderize octopus in the olden days back in Italy
And after cleaning it, Chef Christian showed us how to dip the octopus repeatedly into the hot water before letting him rest/cook in there for a while (dip until the tentacles start to curl up!).
I’d had squid before (mostly fried a la calamari) but NEVER just cooked with the tentacles still showing! Chef Christian offered us chunks of the cooked octopus to try before he added it to the salad.
Needless to say I was a bit nervous!
This big piece was a little much for me all in one bite! But when I sliced the octopus pieces in my salad into smaller bits, I found that I actually enjoyed it!
Hand made tagliatelle pasta with veal bolognese sauce
After making the pasta from scratch (with freshly imported whole grain semolina flour!), we moved onto the sauce!
While we were cooking the pasta dish, the assistant chef offered us some Prosecco to enjoy – with some fresh parmesan cheese! A nice ‘break’ to stop and relax while things are simmering in the kitchen!
Dessert: Christian’s Grandmother’s recipe!
A baked apple tart, with blood orange sauce and freshly made sweet cream gelato.
After all the food was prepared, Chef Christian and his staff ushered us over to the covered front patio to eat! They told us there was a special surprise!
We sat down and one of the partners brought out fresh mozzarella flown in from Italy (the day before!).
I’ve had a lot of cheese in my time and this stuff was truly OUTSTANDING. Mind blowing. I’m serious people. We all had at least 2 balls of it with the fresh bread at the table.
Classes will be held once per month starting in March! They are trying to keep the classes to a conveniently small size so everyone can participate in the preparation, and because the kitchen is very cozy! The staff work 14 hour days, 6 days a week – so they run the classes on Sunday – their day off! Clearly, these people love food!
Check the website for upcoming classes in the next few months. I’m sure they’ll fill up fast! Or stop by for lunch! They just started a new special last week! $12 chef’s special ‘express lunch’ for those in the area who “Only have an hour lunch break – we turn around dishes in less than 10 minutes,” said the Chef!
Al Bacio also has a private dining area for parties up to 40 people, and Chef Christian personally coordinates the menu options for each event!
HUGE thanks to Chef Christian Simionato and his amazing staff! Can’t wait to eat at Al Bacio again, SOON!