Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My 2 New Favorite Words

Alta Langa.

It's not a dance step. Or a kind of wool. It's a region in Northern Italy, and out of it came the deliciousness I had the good fortune to savor on Sunday night at Palate (palatefoodwine.com), one of my favorite restaurants in LA that is, tragically for me, located in Glendale (ie a 40 min drive if there's no traffic).

But before I tell you all about it I have to tell you the other tragedy: our camera. It was overtaken by a wave while traveling in a dinghy in the waters of Southern Brazil at the start of this fine new decade. I feel a sequel to Life of Pi.......It wasn't swept out to sea, but it did get drenched, and it refuses to take any more pictures, so for the moment I am left with my trusty iphone. And had I known how much I would dream of the morsels of Alta Langa I would have snapped them before consumption, but alas, my desire was too deep and the morsels too delicious. So what I will show you is the room at Palate from whence the morsels came.

Not bad for a smartphone!

That's right. Cheese. That's the inviting room where it's all kept at Palate. Tempting you to come back and try everything you haven't had yet while growing a steady list of favorites.

I had dinner at Palate on Sunday with my friends Robin and David who know a lot about cheese. I suggest getting some of these friends. We decided to have a "light" dinner since we were seeing a play after. So of course cheese was the natural choice. We had 5, and all were pretty fantastic. Palate, I love you. But it was the first one we tasted that I keep thinking about. The Tomma della Rocca. From my new favorite place on the planet: Alta Langa. It's a region of Italy making cheese in the French style; they are most famous for a cheese called La Tur which apparently many people know and love, and I am the dimwit that's never tried it. I know what I'm doing this weekend! The Tomma, like La Tur, is a blend of cow/goat/sheep milk. It's semi ripe, and described by Palate as having a fragile and delicate flavor. For me it was like stepping into silk pjs: they look light (as Robin said, like a piece of ricotta cheese) but turns out its warm, luxurious, and something you can sink into for quite a while. David described it as "fermented glory" and "mouthwateringly sour". YES to all of that.

We did sound like Paul Giamatti's character in Sideways as we pulled apart flavors and components; potentially we could have annoyed anyone who just wanted to dive in and eat; but playing the Name that Flavor game does make the morsel of choice last longer.

So go. Now. To Palate (and catch a show at A Noise Within while you're on the block) , or to your favorite cheese store (Beverly Hills Cheese Store is a good one for those of you in this city, Venissimo in Solana Beach and I think there's one in Long Beach is fab too). Maybe pick up a bottle of good Viognier (we had Le Bastide), and thank me later.
Buon viaggio a formaggio; Bon voyage a la fromage


  1. You're so cute. I love trying the fun, fancy cheeses when at dinner parties, etc....it is my favorite! And that "warm, luxurious" description made me kinda hungry!! :)

    I also enjoyed your last post so so much! SO proud of you for throwing that scale out. I've never been on the scale more than several times a YEAR...however i know how easily it can determine a mood when it really should NOT!!

    You're gorgeous! Love you Mel!

  2. I am loving your insights and perspective on life. And, I can now get a consistent dose of Melanie--how precious is that!

    I agree with Jessica--yay for sublime cheese and boo to scales. Thanks so much for sharing!