So this is a very exciting week in the HPM household!! My little sister (aka Sasster) graduates from Princeton on the 31st!! What that means for me is a list about 2 miles long of things that I had to get done before we left, including making a spare set of keys for my friend who will be house-sitting, laundry, packing, cleaning, and most importantly a dresser makeover so I had somewhere to put all the clothes that got temporarily relocated (read: thrown about).
What’s NOT on the list? Writing this blog post… BUT this was more fun than cleaning out the litter box, and frankly I had no clean clothes, so I couldn’t really pack! So here follows the results of some very effective procrastination!! A little backstory: The first year of the Border Grill Truck (back when I was still a flunkie), Rivera restaurant decided they wanted the truck to cater their holiday party. They also decided like the day before (okay that may be an exaggeration, but that’s how it felt) and if I remember correctly, I believe it was scheduled for like Christmas Eve or New Years Eve or some holiday where we might have wanted to have our own plans. I remember the Director of Ops was talking to their people and kind of hinted since it was so last minute, and inconvenient, and it was a holiday or the day before a holiday, or something like that, that maybe they would want to treat me and Vanessa EXTRA nice since we were both so kindly agreeing to do their party. Which to Rivera meant $100 gift certificates to the restaurant.
Had either Vanessa or I been less foodie-licious, we probably would have been pretty pissed. I mean, they’re all in the industry and they couldn’t tip cash? REALLY? Oh well. It worked out for us since Ness and I were really excited about trying Rivera. Except what happened is we kept waiting to double date but Ness was dating long distance and her boyfriend got a sous-chef position and couldn’t come to LA, and then Chef Sedlar became kind of a regular at Culina and told Vanessa to wait to come in because he was changing the menu, and then we kind of forgot we HAD the certificates…well you get the point.
When I stumbled across my certificate a little while ago, I realized they had put an expiration date on it (see, this is why a cash tip would have been better) and I called Ness up and we finally went out there. She brought her friend, Curt, and I brought D.
Rivera is one of those places with “rooms” and while there is an over-arching menu, the rooms have their own special menus that go with the theme of the room. We were in the “Sangre” room. Items off this menu are notated with an *. All other items are from their “Conexiones” menu.
The other thing that was kind of cool was the menu was set up so there were certain items where if you called you could hear a recording Chef Sedlar talking about the dish.
Barbacoa – so good. Spicy and savory – and who doesn’t love a piece of beef jerky in their drink? (You can find the recipe here)
Piquillos rellenos –stuffed piquillo peppers – these were sent to us courtesy of Chef Sedlar (he had seen that Vanessa had put the reservation in, and kindly sent us a few items of his choosing – I think he sent us the tortillas as well) with chorizo, golden raisins, gruyere
Pan de Santa Teresa – Rivera’s version of a capriotada with cherimoya ice cream, cactus pear esencia (which sounds so fancy. I was thinking, “Pureed tuna!!”, and salted peanuts
*Photo Courtesy of Vanessa Tilaka – because mine just didn’t come out right!!
Quesos Españoles – three Spanish cheeses (I think we had a cabrales – which, well, I freaking love cabrales, and honestly, I was so excited about the cabrales, I can’t remember the other two. This is why you take notes!! *kicks self*) mebrillo quenelle, sangria reduction
A delicious and enjoyable meal-so thanks for the gift certs Rivera team!! Thanks to Chef Sedlar for letting us view the kitchen and taking extra special care of us (although he WAS hiding in the kitchen from someone else when we went to go talk to him! LOL!!) AND there’s a video!!! There hasn’t been a video in AGES! What?! Check us all out talking about our thoughts on the meal…