Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Colors of Indian Cooking..Traveling Edition

I've been hearing about Umami for quite a while.The mysterious 5th taste..the elusive savory flavor that responds to certain receptors on the tongue, the flavor that goes beyond sweet, salty, sour hot etc. The nirvana of eating. Umami.
Most of us have been eating umami all our lives but we just didn't know it. Check this out for a more complete description of Umami

We're currently in Los Angeles on a business trip so no cooking for me. Instead, I've been eating my way across the city I used to live in for so many years. One of the places I've been hearing about from everyone here is Umami Burger. Now let me make this clear. This is no ordinary Burger joint. Far from it. This is a place where everything that lands on your plate is hand made and crafted with care.

Burgers made of choice ground beef, or pork belly, or lamb or veggies, or scallops. The tomatoes are no ordinary tomatoes, but slow oven roasted and glazed. The cheese, is a special Umami rich parmesan, gently resting on your burger like a lacy flavorful doily, a large slow grilled shitake mushroom, and all of it enclosed in a home baked Portuguese bun that has been designed to absorb all the juices to perfection and unlike other burger meets bun combos, lasts in the hand intact to the final bite.

I washed down my Umami burger with a umami version of an Arnold Palmer, a blend of iced green tea and watermelon juice, studded with small sweet basil seeds, which are again..umami and floated in my drink like so many tiny tadpoles. It was Umamai dude.

We ordered the special Umami pickles before our meal which included home pickled peaches, okra, mushrooms, carrots and well....pickle pickles. As one who will pickle almost anything I can get my hands on..these were stellar.

We decided to also order two orders of their malt liquor battered onion rings..for the table. They were for the table but we ate them all. Sorry table.

After that was there any room for dessert? You bet your Umamai there was. Mint ice cream dotted with chocolate sandwiched between two mint macaroons...and wait for it. Coffee Toffee ice cream between two latte macaroons. I wanted to try and get you a picture of that too but it was too late..sorry.
We didn't even get to the hand made version of Ho hos or devil dogs or whatever, as we were already planning our evening meal and didn't want to get too carried away.
In short Umami Burger is a must for anyone visiting or living in LA. I didn't even get to the restaurant itself,

which has a lovely wood interior, with large windows and an overall Japanese simplicity. There's also a patio for outside dining.
The Umami Burger is on La Brea just below Wilshire. Here's the website. It is one thing that made me sorry that I don't live in LA anymore, but in the future will make all business trips double fun!
Umami Burger



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