05 August 2011
"Roughing it" isn't my idea of travel. If I'm not going to be staying in a really nice place and dining well, I'd really rather stay home! On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of having brunch in Culina Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Didn't stay there though (maybe someday ... over the rainbow ... sigh), just spent a leisurely couple of hours in Culina, thanks to a gift certificate for Sunday Brunch for Two.
And what a brunch it was! I've never been a big buffet brunch kinda gal. I can't eat much at one sitting, so it's kind of wasted on me. And I have a tendency to get overwhelmed by all the choices and just get three things. But since this is no ordinary brunch buffet and it was going to be an opportunity to try many different dishes, I came up with a strategy. To sample many things without stuffing myself or wasting food--two things I hate--I would definitely need a plan! I decided a two-bite serving size would be about right.
Culina is famous for its crudo bar (an Italian take on the sushi bar), so I assumed raw fish would be on the menu. I don't eat raw fish or meat, so I could eliminate that entire category. Perhaps I would try up to three cooked fish dishes, three meats, three poultry, three pastas, one egg dish, nine vegetables and salads, three fruits, three desserts. Hmm ... 28 foods times two bites each equals 56 bites ... sounds like a normal meal.
Well, I wasn't counting on the dim sum station! Or the cheese station! As if I needed to even know about another wonderful high-fat cheese. Saint Andre is a soft, buttery cow's milk cheese made with extra heavy (triple) cream. Of course, there was an omelet station, Belgian waffles, bacon and sausages. The carving station had prime rib, lamb and pork.
I focused on the vegetables and salads (As you can tell from the photo, we couldn't be bothered to "compose" our plates!) and particularly enjoyed the heirloom eggplant, heirloom squash ... well, you get the idea. I steered clear of the breads because I'm a hopeless breadaholic, though I did allow myself one tiny piece of focaccia to go with the eggplant.
If I could offer one suggestion it would be to make the food labels/signs a bit larger with larger type. Nobody wants to have to put their reading glasses on to go through a buffet. Two things that really impressed me: Used plates and flatware were promptly removed and clean flatware set. And when I ordered my tea (which was very good, by the way), the server asked if I would like milk for it. I know, those seem such simple things, but they are often neglected. It's a pity they don't do afternoon tea; I'm sure they would do it well.