LA is not my city. I could never live with the traffic. But I’m learning to love it when the subject is food.
Case in point: AOC. Consider it modern, California tapas. I knew I’d love place from the moment they set down the menu—the first page is nothing but cheese and olives.
AOC is not necessarily a vegetarian Shangri-La, but there are certainly plenty of options to keep a girl happy. Far more than most restaurants, I’m happy to say.
We started with the Root Vegetable Salad with Burrata, Ginger and Mint. The burrata/mint combo was inspired—subtlety defined as a salad dressing. It had that kind of effortless balance that actually takes a shitload of work. We also had the Marinated Beets, Olives, Fried Chickpeas and Feta Salad. Fried chickpeas, dude. Who knew? So crispy. So light. And the feta was as mild as a day in May. (That is to say a day in May if you live somewhere other than San Francisco. May here is apt to be colder than January.)
Next, from the wood-burning oven, came Cauliflower with Curry and Red Vinegar. And you know what a whore I am for roasted cauliflower. They nailed it, too. Just like my lovers at Pizzeria Delfina. It was cooked to a creamy surrender.
And finally, a Farro and Black Rice dish with Pinenuts and Currants. This was a reco from our waitress, and I’m so glad she steered us toward it. I might have overlooked the dish otherwise, and headed for the Crushed Fingerlings with Crème Fraiche. (I had the potatoes on a previous visit, and have dreamed of them ever since.) The farro and rice was a hit, though, with the currents adding a flirtatious hint of sweetness.
So, yeah. AOC. It kind of makes up for the boob jobs and chin implants in LA. But not really.