Porridge & Puffs
Verve Cold Brew
Cabbage Slaw + Rau Ram, Peanuts
Purple Haze + Cosmic Carrots, Curry Aioli, Pomegranate
Short Rib – Kokuho Heirloom Rice, Braised Beef Short Ribs, Lacto Fermented Mustard Greens, Pickled Egg, Pickled Pears, Herbs
Pork! Pork! Pork! – Black Rice, Ham Hock Stock, Crispy Ham, Loin Roulade with Shiso + Mushrooms, Turmeric Pickled Onions, Crispy Shallots, Herbs
Chicken + Mushrooms – Kokuho Heirloom Rice, Chicken + Mushrooms Braised in Black Pepper Molasses, Soft Egg, Roasted Carrots, Pickled Celery, Crispy Shallots, Herbs
Diver Scallop in XO Sauce – Kokuho Heirloom Rice, Prickly Ash-Makrut Butter, Herbs
Cold Teff Oatmeal + Rye – Teff, Oatmeal, Millet, Amaranth, Rye Stout, Roasted Champagne Grapes, Rosemary, Hazelnuts, Cream
Autumn Velvet + Winter Melon – Roasted Kabocho, Blue Hubbard, Butternut Squashes with Numbing Spice Braised Winter Melon, Mochi, Herbs
Brown Butter Mochi + Miso Caramel
Essentially a permanent dinner-time pop-up inside Field Trip, with an entrance off Selma Avenue at the corner of Morningside Court despite the 1555 Vine Street Address, it was literally seconds after reading Jonathan Gold’s review that an adjustment in schedule was made to the Los Angeles agenda in order to afford a visit to Porridge & Puffs and although the irony of visiting three ampersand joints in a row is not lost on someone who finds the whole trend hilarious it can only be said that the team in the kitchen isn’t just here to make a quick buck from the hipster trust-fund kids, these ladies and gentlemen are serious about their sourcing, preparation, and craft.
Transitioning substantially from the morning and afternoon menu to a well-culled selection of vegetables, puffs, and porridges as well as purees beginning at 5:30 it was just as the doors opened that we entered the small space and first sitting at a table but later moving to the bar in order to watch the kitchen while ordering two counter-exclusive ‘flights’ it would not be long before a complimentary starter of snappy and savory slaw arrived and, fast on its heels, a plate of heirloom carrots with seemingly impossible natural sweetness enhanced by brown butter and pomegranate seeds that found its foil in vegan curry aioli that was both up-front and delicate, the sort of thing rarely achieved in even a fine dining establishment charging double the menu price.
A bit concerned by the porridge preparation as the made-to-order flights unfortunately necessitated some bowls resting idly while others were cooked and blended it was just after 6:05pm that the sextet of bowls arrived and paired to a trio of golden puffs – free on Fridays – the only ‘problem’ that arose was deciding where to start – a decision made a bit easier when the Chef suggested we start with a silky risotto rich with butter and topped with lightly seared scallops, my dining companion’s favorite taste of the night while the best was yet to come for myself.
Moving next to creamy squash puree with marshmallow-soft mocha and winter melon tinged with numbing spice adding all sorts of textures and sensations it was on to the teff that the tasting progressed and although the cold creaminess was interesting compared to the rest a hefty amount of booze and acid simply did not mix well with the rest of the options, a few bites proving enough before moving on to the second trio where both the short rib and chicken were impressive in their balance of light sweetness with pickling flavors while the pork!pork!pork! was s savory slap to the tastebuds with so much salinity and umami that it was almost too much, the mushrooms and turmeric thankfully adding just enough earthiness to keep the broth grounded, though it was still best when sopped up with the puffs.
Finishing up the evening with Verve’s Cold Brew poured over ice, served next to chewy strips of mochi seared in a pan with brown butter and topped with a sweetened miso glaze, it was with a modest bill of $31 per person after tax and tip that we made our exit and with the dining room now more than 3/4 full I only hope the concept continues to thrive so I can return during a new season to see what the team thinks up next.