Warning: Charlie Palmer's New Small Plates May Be Bad For Your Health (But Not In The Way You Think)

Last night, the bar at Charlie Palmer, South Coast Plaza, launched its small plates menu--available from 4pm until close--with a media shindig.

I have to confess that I only tried one dish, but I do have a legitimate excuse: I'd just chowed down on the five-course tasting extravaganza at Marché Moderne and could only face something small and sweet by this point.

So my eyes were drawn to the bottom of the menu--churros with smoked chocolate sauce. I've always loved churros, ever since I was a kid, when I used to engage in the yearly ritual of eating them at dawn after a hard night at the feria in Almería.

They had to be mine.

Sadly, it was not to be.

A woman who, just seconds earlier, had asked me to take a photo of herself and her friend (I'd obliged), got to the counter first and grabbed the last two plates of churros. Two! One for herself, and one for her friend.

She gleefully whisked them off, as I fumed and seethed to myself--blood pressure going through the roof--and shot her a "die now" look.

So I had to settle for the sweet sherry ice cream, spicy almonds and saffron syrup. A massive sugar rush ensued, which no doubt would've happened with the churros con chocolate too, but that's not the point.

In any case, the new bar menu looks damn good, featuring blue cheese-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, grilled skirt steak with chimichurri and roasted peppers, and a daring roast bone marrow with raisin marmalade and grilled bread.

And that's just the meat section: there's also salt cod-stuff piquillo with parsley and fried shallots, slow-braised octopus with olive oil, potato and paprika vinaigrette, and fried three-cheese risotto cakes with chorizo aioli.

And those churros.

When I go back, I'm getting them, and I'm going to order two portions to myself.
My body--with the possible exception of my thighs--will thank me for it.

For the full small plates menu, CLICK HERE.


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