HI DARLINGS! I think the only thing I love more than designing is eating. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I spend a lot of time traveling and finding the most delicious places to please my palette. When Norris started MOUTH WATERING MONDAYS on his blog, about a year ago, it quickly became a favorite segment, and I often got to enjoy the fruits of his labor when I joined him on his tasting ventures. Recently I decided that since I plan to be sharing more about my travel, diet, and ventures in the kitchen, I would also start sharing some “must eat” restaurants I have visited.
BEWARE: Drooling may occur while reading this post.MIRO is situated in the financial district of Downtown Los Angeles, with just under a year old the restaurant has quickly become the talk of the town. I watched for months as they built MIRO a few blocks from my previous office and I couldn’t wait to try it. It is a gorgeous building with a warm and inviting feeling. On Friday Norris and I accompanied by April had the pleasure of sitting with the chef and sampling some of his favorite dishes.
Chef Gavin Mills is a warm and unassuming man with a wonderful humbleness about his genius. He has been cooking 23 years, and as his mother tells it, he came home from school at the age of ten and said, “I want to be Chef.” He moved to Los Angeles from Essex London 8 years ago and has quickly made an impression.The food was magnificent! It’s fresh with simple flavors that make such an impact. Every mouthful was an experience. The thing I enjoy the most about MIRO is that Chef Gavin cooks with what he finds at the farmers market, so everything is local and fresh! There are new additions to the menu weekly which always keeps me coming back. Not to mention that everything is done in house including his delicious Charcuterie (pictured below). I had a chance to sit and chat with Chef Gavin…
Mimi: What is your food philosophy?
Chef: Here we try to do everything from scratch. Whole animals we get in, we butcher. As cliché as it is, we try to be respectful to the animal, we use every single part of it. It gave its life for us. I think that’s very important. Basic, just trying to use all great produce. Put simply, you know, it just needs to be one, two, three flavors on a plate no more than that. Just cook simple good food, that’s it.Roasted Heirloom Carrots (house-made ricotta, carrot-top pesto, carrot vinaigrette)
Mimi: Do you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, like oh my god!?
Chef: Sometimes. It just comes from experiences. After doing this for so long you just kind of know what works. It’s funny when you go to farmer’s market, and you see tomato and basil come out at the same time. And all these classic flavor combinations that you see, you’ll see them come out at the same time. So whether it’s fava beans and morels you’ll see they come into season at the same time, I think this is how our classic combinations come about. Back in the day, you had tomato and basil so you put them together and that’s how it becomes such a staple of your life. What grows together goes together. If you go with that philosophy of what’s in the market as a general point will go together. In California we’re kind of lucky, we don’t have huge seasons because we get a nice consistent temperature, but tomatoes in August compared to tomatoes now are like night and day.
Mimi: I like that, “What grows together goes together”
Chef: I just thought of that (laughs)Mimi: So when the restaurant opened was the idea to have a changing menu your idea? Was that something you really wanted to do?
Chef: It’s something I think every chef wants to do but not every chef is lucky enough to have an owner like me that allows that, so I’m very blessed in that the owner is very lenient with me lets me kind of be creative and do what I do.My favorite (although I couldn’t decide) was the PACCHERI (above) a wonderful pasta with braised oxtail, root vegetables, and parsley. We also had the SQUID INK CORZETTI which had lobster, tarragon, cherry tomatoes, and saffron. Next up was the HAND-CUT SPAGHETTI with a pork bolognese, gremolata, and parmesan. This was the best bolognese I have ever had! The pasta is cut on a CHITARRA which Chef Gavin was kind enough to show us.The MARGHERITA PIZZA was so good! The dough is fermented for 48 hours and comes out of that oven with the perfect bubbly crust. Then to top it off we enjoyed a wonderful dessert with black sea salt atop a delicious caramel ice cream. It’s a true gift to create such incredible dishes using fresh local ingredients and simple flavors that literally blow your mind. I will always remember what Chef Gavin said when I go shopping now “What grows together goes together”
If you are in LA or plan to visit please stop by and tell Chef Gavin Mimi and Norris sent you.