Trumps was a 1980s food destination in Los Angeles. The term foodie got its start in the excessive eighties and Trumps became a foodie Mecca. The simple, streamlined South Western influence of the architecture was just a faÃ§ade for the extravagant tastes and flavors that Chef Michael Roberts was presenting to the Hollywood players that stopped in night after night.
Many credit Trumps for finally putting Los Angeles on the culinary map because it was as sophisticated and imaginative as any Manhattan eatery and had the extra allure of the grandest of Hollywood pedigrees. Agents, actors, directors lunched there because the room was flooded with the magical glow of the Los Angeles sun. Everyone looked good, which is massively important if one of the prime purposes of dining is to see and be seen.
But the main attraction was the food. It was adventurous and ever changing. The oh so sophisticated creative community demanded new tastes and unusual combinations. An emphasis was placed on food with a certain glamorous flair, but always slightly exotic. Quesadillas stuffed with grapes and Brie was served with a sweet pea â€œguacamole”. So you get the ideaâ€¦these new and creative taste sensations were embraced proudly and with a vengeance. We foodies rejoiced and some of my earliest experiences with the truly gourmet happened at Trumps and during this decade.
Though the restaurant came to define the 80s, nothing lasts forever. Trumps quickly closed shop about 1992 when the chef decided he had had enough. I was lucky enough to be treated to a (unknowingly) final meal there right before they closed the doors for good.
Well, I am going to breath new life into a classic Trumps appetizer. I am bringing back a simple CanapÃ© of plantains and caviar with a black bean puree. This appetizer is really just a creative look at the classic blini with caviar. But the bold flavors, combined in a very confident and unusual manner, were what made this dish so fresh and provocative.
- 1 cup salad oil, or enough to fill a medium skillet to a depth of 1 inch
- 3 medium-size plantains, peeled and diagonally cut into ½ inch slices
- 4 heaped tablespoons sour cream or crÃ¨me fraiche
- 4 heaped tablespoons black bean puree (recipe below)
- 2 tablespoon of black caviar
- 2 tablespoon of golden caviar
- ½ medium red onion, finely sliced tip to root
- 1 large carrot, roughly diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium onion, roughly diced (about ½ cup)
- 1 small ham hock ( 3 ounces)
- ½ cup dried black beans
- 1 sprig of thyme or ½ teaspoon of dried
- 2 cup water
PLANTAINS AND CAVIAR
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat to 375 degrees. Add plantain slices, in batches if necessary, without crowding the skillet. Fry until lightly golden, about two minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat until all slices are fried. Using the side of a cleaver or large chefs knife, gently flatten the slices to a thickness of 3/8 inch. (Can be prepared to this point up to 8 hours in advance and kept covered on a plate at room temperature.) Re-fry slices until golden, another 2–3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
To serve, arrange 3 to 4 plantain slices on each plate. Spoon sour cream, black bean puree, and black and golden caviar over slices. Garnish with slices of red onion.
BLACK BEAN PUREE
Cook carrot, onion, ham hock, black beans, thyme and water in a small pot over low heat, covered until beans are soft, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Drain. Discard ham hock and any water.
Puree beans in a processor until smooth, with slight chunks. Prepare beans no more than one day in advance. Reheat, in the top of a double-boiler for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.