Location: 5233 W Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027. (323) 663-3104
Date: December 4, 2012
Rating: Gut burning great
After a three week break, it’s time for the Hedonists to ride again. Actually, they rode several times without me, but who’s counting?
This time we venture out to Jitlada, an outrageously authentic Southern Thai place deep in Thai-town. The joint gets 27 in Zagat! It’s run by Jazz Singsanong with Chef Tui in the kitchen. The menu can be found here.
You know it’s real because they don’t skimp on either the chilies OR the fish sauce.
Parker 94, “The 2002 Chardonnay Martinelli Road Vineyard has a striking minerality with notes of gravel and hot rocks, a steely backbone, huge body, leesy flavors with good acidity, tremendous ripeness, and a singular terroir character. If California were making a Meursault-Perrieres, this might be an example of that style of site-specific wine.”
By most people’s taste this wine was over-the-hill. I personally, didn’t mind it, but I’m used to drinking old white Burgundy’s. It had mellowed into a caramel-coconut kind of vibe.
Much younger and full of crisp acidity. Parker 94+ “Cool, inward and impeccably layered from start to finish, the 2010 Chablis Montee de Tonnerre impresses for its fabulous sense of balance and poise. Slate, crushed rocks, lime and white flowers are woven together in a fabric of unusual class and elegance. All the elements fuse together impeccably here. This is a gorgeous Chablis, but it will require patience. Today the 2010 is quite reticent, but the pedigree is evident.”
Coco Mango Salad. Green mangoes with fresh shrimp, and dry shredded coconut topped with cashews. Yummy, a bit of sweetness, and a coconut flavor that went very well with the older Chardonnay.
A very nice Kabinett with citrus notes and a good bit of richness and complexity.
As we begin a flight of three Rieslings it’s worth mentioning the red/write debate. About half our compatriots aren’t really white wine fans, and prefer to move on to reds. I myself like a harmonious wine/food pairing and find that reds, particularly big reds, clash badly with Asian food. Spicy Thai is even more extreme, as sweeter Riesling is a tremendous pairing to counter the bracing heat. I’ve noticed that those of us who prefer the soft mouth feel grapes (Pinot, Nebbiolo) over the much brazen grapes (Cabernet, Merlot) fall on my side of the divide.
The aromatically expressive 2000 Riesling bursts with spicy pears. This oily-textured, medium-bodied wine is feminine, refined, and has outstanding balance. It is armed with great depth. This apricot and apple-flavored wine has a long, pure finish.
Parker 90-92, “The Burgundian 2003 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard shows a low pH style with high acidity, crisp, red currant, cranberry notes with a hint of rose petal and strawberry. It is Burgundian, medium-bodied, pure, and impressive.”
This pinot went as well with the Thai as any red does, at least until the heavy spice kicked in. I enjoyed it, as it could have passed for a half-decent premier cru Burg, which is rare of new world Pinots. They just don’t do it for me, usually being pale shadows of their Burgundian fellows.
Parker 2009, “The 2009 Pinot Noir Pastorale Vineyard is all about focus and length. The Pastorale doesn’t quite have the richness of the Quarter Moon, nor the suppleness of the straight Pinot, but it nevertheless impresses for its fabulous overall balance. Bright acidity provides a lively counter to the wine’s highly expressive dark cherries, plums, licorice, mint, tar and sweet herbs.”
From my cellar: Parker 96, “The 2000 Riesling Rangen de Thann Clos St.-Urbain reveals awesome aromatic depth to its botrytis, apricot, mineral, and quince-scented nose. This medium to full-bodied wine is hugely concentrated, densely packed with smoke-infused white fruits, and has exceptional balance. A profound effort, it is complex and displays an awe-inspiring finish.”
Now this is a Riesling (and perfect with the spicy dishes). It would have been nice to have an ice bucket!
Parker 90, “This outstanding Syrah is realistically priced given its impeccably high quality and character. The opaque ruby/purple-colored 2001 Syrah Napa exhibits a big, full-bodied, smoky bouquet of roasted meats, licorice, black currants, and pepper. Supple-textured and layered, with well-integrated toasty oak in addition to a rich, spicy, concentrated finish, this powerful (15.1% alcohol) red is both voluptuous and silky.”
Spicy chicken. Turmeric-seasoned chicken. Wow was this hot. It had a really great flavor too, but made one reach for the rice, and more rice, and sweet wine, and start wiping the sweat off the top of one’s head!
Parker 95, “An explosion of blueberry liqueur, black raspberries, and exotic floral scents soars from the glass of the spectacular inky/purple-colored 2002 Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard, a vineyard that is proving to be a tremendous source for many different varietals. Although this cuvee possesses 14.9% alcohol, it is well-concealed by the wine’s full body, awesome richness, great purity, and tremendous sense of fruit as well as place. There is a remarkable vigor and intensity, yet it does not taste over the top or heavy.”
Dungeness Crab in Curry Sauce. Crab meat, shrimp & peas sauteed in a red curry paste. This wasn’t AS hot. It was a little hard to get at the succulent grab meat, but the curry was explosively good too. Compare to the Singaporean classic.
Parker 95+, “The 2004 Syrah Piggott Range (from 40-year-old vines) requires 3-4 years of cellaring. This is a powerful, intense Syrah meant for true connoisseurs who have cold cellars as well as enough patience to wait it out. A perfume of crushed rocks, acacia flowers, blackberries, roasted coffee, pepper, spice, bacon fat, and a subtle touch of eucalyptus is followed by a deep, rich, full-bodied wine.”
These are great Syrah’s but the heat of the food swamps them out.
Dynamite beef. Oh boy, too bad I was “wafer thin mint” full when this came out. In serious physical pain from all the chillies and the amount of food I’d had. This stuff was like pure red pepper beef. Look at all those pepper seeds!
Jitlada was hands down the best Thai I’ve had in LA. The menu is enormous and full of goodies. All the flavors are great, the meats succulent, and boy is it hot. You could order sweet, or you could order hot, or both. I’ve had hotter food (I’m thinking of a certain Szechuan restaurant in China), but you certainly don’t WANT it hotter than this. And I’m a guy that puts Haberneos in my guacamole.
One of our number summed up the evening as “eating like Pharaohs,” which is about right. Just way way too much food, and no small dose of other good stuff.