December 2014 - Page 2 of 5 - Please The Palate
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With so many new restaurants opening up in Los Angeles at record speed, it's hard to keep up. While the list of new restaurants to try gets longer and longer, it's also good to remember restaurants that have stood the test of time and have been open for more than 3, 4 or 5 years. One of these restaurants is Bombay Cafe in West Los Angeles which is celebrating it's 25th anniversary. Bombay Cafe Bombay Cafe, owned by Kamal Git Singh, has been serving traditional Indian cuisine for more than two decades. Perhaps it is because Indian food is very natural, using spices like cumin, coriander, cardamom, tumeric and saffron to add color and flavor to the food.  And, with most food cooked in the tandoor oven where fats cook off naturally, the meats are lean and healthy. Some highlights on the menu are: Aloo-Ki-Tikki - Indian potato pancakes, topped with chopped onions and tamarind chutney.
I went to S.Y. Kitchen for my first time last summer and loved it.  So, when I drove up to Santa Barbara wine country for the weekend recently, I knew I wanted to go back. I remembered that the chef and sous chef are Italian brothers Luca and Francesco Crestinelli and I have actually known Luca from when he lived in Los Angeles and worked at Vincenti and then Bar Toscana. Luca hadn't been there the last time I was in so this time we got a chance to catch up. But, suddenly, I realized that I was surrounded by Italians - the chefs, the bar manager Alberto Battaglini and many of the waiters. The wine director Emily Johnston is American but, like me, an Italo-phile. I almost felt as if I was in Italy. Luca and Francesco Crestanelli I took a seat at the bar and started with cocktails (and wine). SY Kitchen is one of the only places in Santa Barbara wine country to get well-made cocktails. And, truth be told, after a day of wine tasting, a cocktail is what is needed. Bar Manager Alberto Battaglini focuses on fresh ingredients and makes all of his own garnishes. There is a wall of jars with candied citrus, herbs and other housemade garnishes. Alberto has created a good menu but really likes to hear what guests want and he has trained his staff to do the same.