Want to pucker your palate over the holidays? Southern California grapefruit are coming into season, the picking already underway in the Coachella and Imperial deserts where most of the State’s crop is grown. While they remain a gift-basket staple, the zesty big citrus brings its tangy, sour, sweet taste to a number of drinks and dishes at local restaurants, from tacos to trout, even beer.
“The grapefruit works in conjunction with the citrus flavors from the hops,” explains Reno King, head brewer at Poseidon Brewing Co. (http://www.poseidonbrewingco.com/), in Ventura. On Nov. 29, Poseidon released its latest batch of grapefruit India pale ale, which blends citrus hops and malts with organic white grapefruit zest from Mud Creek Ranch in Santa Paula.
For the zesty of heart, here are some other grapefruit-infused offerings:
The signature drink at The Hungry Cat in Santa Barbara (http://www.thehungrycat.com/santa_barbara.html) is the greyhound proper that combines Plymouth gin with fresh red grapefruit juice and candied grapefruit peel. Warner: Customers say this drink goes down deceptively smooth.
Fish and grapefruit compliment each other nicely, particularly in Asian dishes, and no better than at Hinoki & the Bird in Los Angeles (http://hinokiandthebird.com/), which serves a fresh and light snapper, grapefruit, lime leaf and puffed wild rice.
In San Diego, Searsucker’s (www.Searsucker.com/San-Diego) gives zing to its smoked trout salad with avocado, radish, watercress by splashing it with a grapefruit vinaigrette.
Among the most popular dishes at Morada, located in the inn – that is, the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe (http://www.theinnatrsf.com/sandiego_restaurants/), is the honey-glazed Chilean sea bass with micro-greens, Kaffir polenta, steamed bok choy and sections of pink grapefruit.
Salt’s Cure in West Hollywood (http://saltscure.com/) does the Key lime pie one better with its grapefruit pie, with a graham cracker crust and creamy filling whose grapefruit flavor – don’t worry – is subtle.
And bringing the grapefruit back outdoors is Guerilla Tacos (http://www.guerrillatacos.com/), which serves salmon crudo tacos with avocado and grapefruit out of its trucks that stop Los Angeles’ arts district and in Culver City.
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