The Watermelon Radish

The Watermelon Radish
A Kid's Point of Food

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Amazing Birthday Dinner at the New and Improved Bel Air Hotel

Yes, last night we did have a birthday dinner for my mom at the new and improved Bel-Air hotel, we enjoyed the menu created by Wolfgang Puck. We sat at a lovely and warm outdoor table to start. This table did not meet the expectations of my grandmother, so we moved inside. Inside, the table did not meet the expectations of my father who was getting very annoyed at the kitchen door banging in his ear. Finally, after two moves, we went back to the original table. My grandmother agreed to sit under the heater and my father was quite happy that there was no annoying noise in his ear. The menu was spectacular, there were so many mouthwatering options. After a long time, we each decided what we wanted. Our kind server, Lathrop, came over to get our orders for appetizers. My mother, the birthday girl, went first, ordering tuna tare- tare wrapped in cucumber with edible flowers. Then it was my grandma's turn, she had spotted a nice spring salad with watermelon radish. My grandfather, who doesn't usually like things with exotic seasoning, ordered tortellini pasta with mascarpone cheese and sweet peas. It turned out that the pasta was one of the best appetizers we ordered. My father was caught between two options, the hand cut steak crudo or the scallop sashimi. After much inner debate he chose the scallops, and I chose the fava bean soup. While we were waiting for our interesting assortment of appetizers my mother opened the birthday cards from my dad. I had already given her a card, an egg hunt. Each egg contained a note saying something I loved about her and they each had a different face. If you use that idea for mothers day or a birthday you must pay me three million dollars because its my idea. I'm joking, really! The cards were lovely, and before we could talk more, the food arrived. I didn't try grandma's salad, but she said, "This is quite good." From her, that is a huge compliment.

Spring Salad

I did try my mother's tuna tar-tar, and it was very good. The tuna tasted fresh and with cucumber it tasked cold and refreshing, the edible flowers were just icing on the cake but I ate both of them.

Tuna Tare-Tare

I tried one of my grandpa's tortellini's, and that was enough. They were very sweet, and creamy, and the peas were drowned out in the cheesy sauce.

Pea Tendril Tortellini

I did not try dad's scallop, I never eat them, something about with seeing them alive at a sushi restaurant turns me off.

Scallop Sashimi

Of course, my soup was the best (hair flip here please). It tasted a lot like regular peas, but every once in a while you would get the strong taste of olive oil. Did I mention that there was a fruity foam on the top? Well there was. There were also whole fava beans at the bottom so that you could eat them with the puree/broth. I always know the best things to get at restaurants, so take me out to dinner!

Fava Bean Soup

After we finished the appetizers we talked and commented on how good the appetizers were. During this time my grandmother paid me the biggest compliment she has ever given me, "The part in your hair is perfect!" Even if it wasn't exactly perfect, I felt very honored and patted my hair all night. While I was wallowing in pride the main courses came.

Almost Perfect Part

My father ordered lamb saddle with a topping that tasted to me like cream cheese. The meat itself was rare, and it melted in your mouth.

Lamb Saddle

My mother ordered scallop and langoustine. I only tried a small piece of shrimp, which I drowned in sauce, so I'm not sure if I liked it or not. My mother did not enjoy it, but she liked my fathers and mine.

Langoustine and Scallop

My grandma got a grandma sized piece of salmon, which was crispy because it was grilled. It also melted in my mouth. My grandpa got a hamburger, a specialty order, which I didn't try but he seemed happy with it. But, he is with almost every hamburger.

Burger with Yummy Fries

I got, the best by far, three small pieces of Dover Sole. The sole was presented with mint, spinach and sliced green beans on top and drizzled in a fava sauce. I ate the vegetables and then tried the fish. Lets just say that I valued every morsel, it was amazingly yummy.


After all that food I didn't think I could eat another bite.......of dinner that is. Yes, it was dessert time. Mother said that, "They wouldn't sing or give her a birthday dessert." They did the later of the two, they brought her absolute all time favorite thing. A COOKIE PLATTER WITH A CANDLE AND CHOCOLATE SAUCE! She was overjoyed and sampled her various cookies, one chocolate chip cookie was about to explode with chocolate. It did, right on her shirt, thankfully it rolled down, leaving her spotless. I got raspberry sorbet which tasted exactly like an actual raspberry. It was amazing but super sweet and rich, so I settled for a peanut butter cookie which was good, except it didn't taste like peanut butter.

Raspberry Sorbet

The one problem was that once the restaurant was overwhelmed with people, the service became lackadaisical. If you don't know what that word means then
a) get a dictionary
b) it means lazy and lacking, it took almost 20 minutes to get the check
Kellen-Watermelon Radish


  1. Just loved this! I love that you order such interesting food. I never would have ordered fava bean soup and now I am craving it. And I also love the stories of the personalities - that kind of dynamic is such a part of any interesting and fun dinner. Love to you and all, and keep on writing and experimenting and enjoying!

  2. The first paragraph is classic family dysfunction in the Addams/ Munster mode, without the bad makeup, but with perfect hair.

    Demanding seaters, as well as demanding eaters.

    Did Stella get any leftovers in a Wolfie bag?

    Great post!

  3. I'm with Christopher...what a great description of the family :)
    Food sounded amazing and dessert sounded even better. Sorry about the service though, it's a drag when you have a good meal and you have to wait forever for the check. Oh well, sounded like a fun night with the family. I would have tried you Dad's scallops in a second! And of course your grandpa ordered a hamburger.

  4. This sounds like a critique from the New York Times.
    I think you should go to the Cordon Blu school in Switzerland ! You have a great deal of experience with dining for a young adult.
    You also enjoy it and write so well about each bite.
    The hotel service will improve they just need time - growing pains.

  5. Hey look, those people at dinner last night who kept moving from table to table, their kid has a food blog of all things. It sounds like she finally got fed pretty good.I would love to ask Wolfgang about these folks; "Yah they are all sooo crazy and then the poor kid has a thing about her hair. She keeps touching her head. But I'd eat with them any time". Me too! I love it, Kellen! I'll have one of each please.

  6. Kellen -- really enjoyed reading this. Especially entertaining part about the moving twice. Classic!!
    Looks like an amazing birthday dinner, very beautiful photos. Keep up the writing. Well done!


  7. sounds like you enjoyed
    i haven't heard great things about it
    and pricey….

    glad someone I know had a nice experience
    spanish eyes

  8. I enjoyed reading your blog, especially since I understand the family dynamics

  9. Kellen,
    I absolutely loved reading thru your blog!! You inspire me to want to step out of my comfort zone and try new tastes. Your soup sounded delicious!
    You have also inspired me to make sure I have a "perfect part" before coming to the next "Thanksgiving dinner"...especially if I'm sitting by your grandma.
    Keep blogging! I always love a good read!

  10. i cannot begin express how impressed audrey and I are with your blog! We are also very jealous! looks like an amazing dinner!! Dads lamb saddle and your dover sole looked very tasty! Keep up the great work! Love ya!!

    love ,
    Chris and Audrey