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Food

Just One Plate. One Gorgeous, Mouth-watering Plate.

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Launched last October by Neil Kohan, Max Wanger, and Margaux Elliott, Just One Plate is pretty self-explanatory. They select one plate from some of the top restaurants in town, including Grace, Fraiche, Bastide and La Cachette.

They glam things up with some professional-quality food photography, and include a detailed recipe for each dish. It is one beautiful and classy-looking website. The goal is to update the site weekly. Upcoming restaurants include the Saddle Peak Lodge and The Water Grill.

There are some real gems here, like Auntie Em's Chocolate Peppermint Cake, and Square One's French Toast with Bourbon-Pecan Topping. Simon LA offers doable short ribs with easily available ingredients. Michael's snuck in two plates; I will definitely be trying their calvados reduction and that maple panna cotta.

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As is to be expected, some of the recipes are for experienced cooks only, requiring advanced moves like homemade pasta. Some recipes require pre-made ingredients without including the directions, and others require difficult-to-find ingredients. For example, Madame Chocolat's Amour Caramel Hearts expect you to have already prepared heart-shaped chocolate shells all on your own, and Il Grano's Fantasia di Crudo suggests pre-prepared ingredients such as "Live Maine scallop with candied meyer lemon peel."

One of the most interesting features of the site is the Ten Questions posed to each chef. My favorite is, "What's the best restaurant we've probably never heard of?" I definitely have a few new finds to add to my repetoire.

The Just One Plate site will soon become more user-friendly with the addition a search function and sort functions. Restaurants will be listed both alphabetically and by location, and plates will be listed by category. Each recipe will also be individually linkable, which unfortunately han't happened yet. The site will eventually expand to include other cities as well as Los Angeles.

Even if you are unable to replicate some of the more advanced dishes, you will definitely pick up some basic skills by learning how to make the stocks and sauces. If nothing else, you can indulge your penchant for food porn before picking up the phone to make reservations.'

Photo courtesy of Just One Plate