The Standard Hotel Downtown undoubtedly retains its mojo as party central. I love the design, rooms are cheap, the pool is delicious, and its success is good for Downtown. Still, it's sort of an odd place for us to spend part of our first anniversary weekend, since we wound up practically hiding in our room to avoid the crowds of good-time seekers.
Yet if you want to celebrate a milestone event with memorable food, I can't recommend the Standard's room service. Even if it's well priced compared to other room service charges at other hotels, breakfast arrives cold and they mess up a couple of items. Oh well. No biggie. We enjoy our mini-local vacation Downtown anyway. Despite these glitches the Standard has a decent if not innovative wine list, including Sea Smoke Ten for $115; not bad for a wine that retails for $70-80. Those fools might not know what they've got.
A lot of sentimentality:
Most of our many out-of-town guests stayed at the Standard for our wedding and it's close to Traxx, where we had dinner on Saturday night (technically the night before our anniversary). How strange to think back on our big noisy festive celebration and see Union Station so quiet and nearly deserted this past weekend. Hello, memory dissonance.
A little bit of bargain hunting:
A trip to Compton to get a scratch and dent model Vinotemp wine fridge is recommended anytime. If not the most romantic of activities, many good deals are to be found there.
The glorious freedom that we currently enjoy to go out as a couple without babysitters and lots of fuss is soon coming to an end � all the more reason to have two nice dinners. We spent a couple nights at the hotel during our nuptials, thus we're sticking to the theme by having a big Sunday night meal at Whist at the Viceroy. When we came here last year with a big group I was still reeling from all the goings-on, so uncharacteristically I forgot what I ate.
This year I'm more clear headed. And many hours later the side of sauted wild mushrooms and the main course of sea scallops topped with caviar, separated by a procession of fresh potato chips standing at attention, and placed over potato puree and lobster butter is very much still with me. For better or for worse, portions match the prices at Whist and if I didn't hate to waste food, I wouldn't finish my plate. Heavy stuff. With the exception of the under-cooked, completely bland braised leek and perhaps too much salt on everything else, the food at Whist is quite good and suave. As is H's elk, and how often do you see that on a menu? For those who wonder, it's textured sort of like a filet and not gamey. Dinner turns out to exceed my modest expectations based on the tepid reviews I read.
Ah, the best coda to the weekend, and the one I most greatly anticipate. I carefully unwrap the multiple sheets of silver foil, anxious to see how will the cake hold up a year later. Well, it does, and beautifully! Not as good as fresh; saying so would be an insult to Roxana's masterful work, right? But the hazelnut flavors chime through as if it were recently baked. Giandujia remains smooth as the butter with which the cake is loaded. A perfect way to mark the occasion, maybe with some friends over later to help us finish it off and taste Sauternes.
But not the Chteau d'Yquem. That's for a later anniversary.