Thursday, March 04, 2010

Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals + GIVEAWAY

Congratulations to Alicia Brandt for Winning the Menuism Giveaway! :)

Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals

Last month, as part of a Menuism sponsorship, 3 lucky members from my Meetup Dining Group, Pleasure Palate, got to join me for a free Dine LA dining experience at Gorbals. Owned by Top Chef Season 2 Winner, Ilan Hall, Gorbals is known for combining Jewish and Scottish food sensibilities. For those who you have never been to Gorbals before, you should know that it's inside the historic Alexandria Hotel, so don't look for it streetside.

Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals

We ordered a total of 8 dishes that we shared family-style and it all started with the Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls and Horseradish Mayonnaise, one of three different appetizers. The matzoh ball was really more for texture than anything else since the bacon overpowered it flavor-wise, but the horseradish added a nice little bite that was appealing.

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Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals

The Persian Cucumbers, Za'atar and Sesame, which was the second appetizer to arrive, was actually a surprise hit. With the cool crunch of the cucumbers and the herby freshness of seasoning, this dish was very refreshing to the palate.

Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals

Rounding up our trio of appetizers was the Potato Latkes with Smoked Applesauce. In all honesty, this wasn't a memorable dish for me. I remembered that it I liked it at the time and that it had a nice light crispness to it, but nothing else really stood out.

Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals

On to our entrees and the first of the lot was the Octopus, Gizzards and Lemon. There were mixed feelings about this particular dish. I'm not into gizzards, so I only ate the octopus. I enjoyed its tenderness and the char of the grilled skin while a couple of other people in my party preferred their octopus a little more chewy.

Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals

Unfortunately, I can't speak about the Lamb Sweetbreads and Green Bean Chutney, which was second to arrive since I'm not a fan of sweetbreads, so didn't partake. I didn't necessarily hear any ooohs and ahhhs from the group, so I have no idea whether it was liked or not.

Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals

Our last entree was the Confit Pork Belly, Clapshot (Mashed Potato and Parsnip)and Onion Pickles. I really enjoyed the pork which was juicy and had some good flavor; however, the onion pickles really bothered me. There was just a strange taste to them that I couldn't identify and that I just didn't like. Thankfully, it wasn't difficult to just push them to the side and just concentrate on the pork.

Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals

It's dessert time and we shared an Oat Kugel and Whiskey Whipped Cream and a Sticky Toffee Pudding, Ice Cream and Maldon Salt. When it came to the Oat Kugel, we were served two portions. One was a thicker slice and the other was a thinner slice. The thicker slice was really dry and quite flavorless and I wasn't a fan of the whiskey whipped cream either. I would have entirely dismissed it, if I hadn't take a bite of the thinner kugel. That thinner kugel was a vast improvement. I can't remember what was in it, but it was moist and definitely had nice flaky texture.

Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals

The Sticky Toffee Pudding was definitely the finale of the evening with a cake that was moist and I enjoyed the counterbalance of the maldon salt agains the sweetness of the toffee. Our group was sharing 2 of these desserts, but I could have easily eaten one of my own easily and without guilt.

Menuism Sponsored Dinner at Gorbals

In summary, the meal at Gorbals definitely had its ups and down. It wasn't the best meal I've ever had, but it was interesting to me how certain ingredients were brought together to form a particular dish. Interesting enough that I would go back and explore more of Chef Hall's menu and if nothing else, hopefully, the Sticky Toffee Pudding would be waiting at the end of the meal.

Gorbals (inside Alexandria Hotel)
501 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 488-3408

Before I tell you about Menuism, first a disclaimer. I work for Menuism on the side. I help manage their Social Media and also work on other special projects as they come up. Ok, now that's all out in the open, let me tell you more.

Simply, Menuism is a restaurant review website. You won't see reviews on dentists, hair dressers or retail stores. The focus is only on food, which is my favorite topic anyway. :) It's a great way for someone who loves to share their dining experiences, but doesn't really want to take on starting and maintaining a food blog. As a food blogger for more than 3 years, I can attest to the fact that it does take work to keep one going.

With Menuism, you can keep an online dining journal chronicling all your eating out adventures, plus you can give specific dish reviews and even upload photos that would show up next to your dish reviews. For example, to see the exact same Gorbals review on Menuism, you can click here. When it comes to your own personal dining journal, features include:
  • adding a restaurant to a try list
  • adding a restaurant to a favorites list
  • a search function via tags or keywords
  • quick access to your friends's latest reviews
  • quick access to the photos you posted
...and so much more!

Menuism even has a blog with lots of fun foodie information as well as a Monthly Review Contest where you could win up to $100.00. There's a lot to explore about Menuism and they'd like to give you a little incentive to check them out.

Prize Giveaway
(Open to US and Canadian Residents Only)

Menuism has offered to give one lucky winner a $50 Gift Certificate to the restaurant of their choice. Wouldn't it be nice to have a meal on someone else for a change? There are a few ways to enter. The first way to enter is mandatory, but you can gain additional entries as well.

Mandatory (for at least one entry)
  1. Sign up to Menuism if you haven't already and post a restaurant review, good or bad, with a minimum of 50 words. The review could be written about a recent or past restaurant visit. Reviews must be posted from March 4 to March 11 up midnight, PST. Once you've posted that review to Menuism, leave a comment here with a link to your review. One review for at least one entry for this Prize Giveaway!
Additional Entries: (These additional entries will only count if you fulfill the mandatory entry above.)

New to Menuism? You can do any or all of the things listed below for additional entries.

Already Following or a Fan of Menuism? Please mention whether you've already done 1 through 3 below for additional entries.
  1. Follow Menuism on Twitter
  2. Fan Menuism on Facebook.
  3. Tweet: Win a $50 Restaurant Gift Certificate from @Menuism:
In both scenarios, you can have up to 4 entries each; however, please note that you have to comment back and let me know which of the actions you took so that I can keep track of them. If you don't, you'll only have one entry for the posted review instead of having a total of 4.

Contest ends March 11 at 12 midnight, PST. Winner will be chosen randomly. Please leave some kind of contact info so that I can get a hold of you if you win.

Gorbals on Urbanspoon



aliciaely said...

twitter follower @aliciabrandt

Paula said...

Hi Abby, this is Paula. I had a lot of fun at our Gorbals dinner. I agree, I liked the persian cucumbers and the bacon wrapped matzoh balls a lot. I actually liked the potato pancakes a lot though. (After many a soggy latkes in my day, I was thrilled to get a crisp one!) I was only so-so on the lamb sweetbreads. The texture was great, very juicy, but the flavor was a bit too gamey. I've had better. I liked the pork belly better, but again, I've had better. I did like the clapshot and the pickled veggies though. Oddly, I wasn't a fan of either dessert.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Abby, Here's my Menuism review of food fair by Diego and i've both joined Menuism the group & fanned Menuism the Page on FB.
kathleen c

aliciaely said...

my review

aliciaely said...

tweeted contest at @aliciabrandt

aliciaely said...

face book fan at alicia brandt

SinoSoul said...

awww, this is SO! nice of you! as always... (not entering, just saying)

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Abby,

Thanks for the review. It sounds like The Gorbals hasn't improved very much from when I first went (w/ their grand opening). :( I'm glad you enjoyed some items at least, but like you, I found quite a few items that didn't really wow me at all.

Rosemary from Montreal said...

Dear Makan Kaki,

I wrote about a place which now has a new name:

I am also following on Facebook and on Twitter (handle rwarren69). And I tweeted the contest too.

bon appetit :)
Rosemary (Menuism rwarren69)