Kia’s K900 Experience in L.A.
The day that we returned from Anacapa Island – back to the land of the living with WIFI and cell service – I was pleasantly surprised to find an email invitation to Kia’s K900 Experience in my inbox. The event was designed to give guests the opportunity to test drive the new Kia – the 2015 K900 luxury sedan – followed by a complimentary dinner at former “Top Chef Masters” competitor, Susan Feniger’s restaurant, Mud Hen Tavern. With nothing to lose at the prospect of a complimentary experience, Jave and I decided to take advantage of a free date night and promptly RSVP’d.
Upon arriving to the restaurant’s back lot, we handed over our keys to a valet and were immediately escorted to a table where we provided some Kia staffers with our drivers licenses. Then, a salesman invited us to test drive the K900. I drove first, making sure that I drove extra slowly to avoid any collisions as we were testing at the height of L.A.’s rush hour. The ride was extremely smooth. While driving, the sales guy tried to point out some features to me as Jave gushed in the backseat, but I was too focused on not running any obscure stop signs to really take note.
A few features I do recall, however, are the K900’s surround view which provides a real-time, bird’s eye view of the car on the monitor so that you can see what’s going on with the car from every angle. I also really liked the blind-spot detection. Images of cars or objects in your blind spot will appear on the car’s side mirrors and the car will beep to alert you of any blind spot dangers. Also, the car features a button that when pushed, allows the driver to take their foot off of the brake when the car comes to a complete stop. So when you’re at a standstill in rush hour traffic, there’s no need to keep your foot on the brake. I thought that was kind of cool – especially when wearing heels. Jave and the sales guy couldn’t relate.
After I finished my drive, Jave took the wheel and we got to see the blind spot detection feature in action (LOL!). As he drove, I fidgeted with the car’s gadgets in the backseat.
While the K900 is a fabulous, high-tech luxury model and we really enjoyed the test drive, there are two disappointing facts about it. First, this new Kia has a very poor fuel economy with only 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. On the other hand, my 2013 Honda Civic EX has an excellent fuel economy with 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. It’s really hard to beat that. Living in a city as spread out as Los Angeles where we’re dependent on our cars, fuel economy is something that we Angelenos don’t play cheap when buying cars. The only other turnoff about the K900 is its price tag, as the MSRP is $66,400 – way above what we’d be willing to spend on a car at this point in our lives. Plus, I just got my Honda last year, so Jave and I definitely aren’t in the market for a new car right now. Still, it was great to learn about the K900 and Kia in general as it’s a South Korean brand that I previously didn’t know much about, and it’s one that I certainly didn’t associate with luxury vehicles.
Following our drive, we were required to complete a survey and were given the chance to pose for pictures in front of the step-and-repeat and with the car . Then, we headed into the restaurant for dinner.
As soon as we entered, we were surprised to run into Susan Feniger herself. Jave’s face immediately lit up as he posed for a picture with her. I knew that our dining experience was going to provide him with some inspiration for his future restaurant.
The Mud Hen Tavern occupies the space that was currently held by Feniger’s now-closed restaurant, Street. I have to say that I dined at Street a few years ago and I wasn’t thrilled, so I was hoping that the food at her new restaurant would change my opinion. It absolutely didn’t disappoint!
While we waited for our orders to be taken, we were given a cantaloupe gazpacho amuse-bouche that was completely refreshing and delicious. We were also given a plate of homemade hummus and pita. I devoured the first round of hummus and couldn’t help myself from asking for more.
Feniger designed a special menu for the K900 experience and provided three options for the first course. Jave chose the lamb meatballs with fresh mint chimichurri and yogurt sauce while I chose the pumpkin ravioli with shiitake mushrooms, truffle oil, kale, garlic, and aged pecorino.
The lamb meatballs were good, but the pumpkin ravioli blew my mind. If all vegetarian food packed as much flavor as that pumpkin ravioli, I’d gladly convert. The other first course option was a tuna ceviche.
Before our second course came out, Feniger came by our table to check on us. I was really impressed by how down-to-earth she seemed and how hospitable she was. In many ways, I feel that hospitality is a lost art in certain parts of the U.S., so it was great to see that a celebrity chef like her is still invested in her guests’ satisfaction.
Up next, Jave ordered the pan seared Hawaiian swordfish served with a summer succotash while I went for the wood oven roasted pork chop with white corn grits and bacon-wrapped peaches. Both dishes were amazing. Jave’s fish was cooked to perfection and the summer veggies only enhanced the flavor.
And my pork chop was gargantuan! The pork, the creamy grits, and the bacony peaches made for the perfect bite. The other second course option was the spinach potato pierogi.
By the time dessert rolled around, we were both stuffed, but having the insatiable sweet tooth that I have, I’m never one to turn down dessert. There were two dessert options, so we tried one of each. The malted chocolate stout cake was good with crumbled malt balls sprinkled on top, but the peach and cream donut bites were heavenly. I could’ve done without the hints of bourbon inside, but they were great nonetheless. Following dessert, our waiter handed us a gift bag, and we left at our leisure.
The Kia K900 Experience was definitely an exceptional affair. It was well-planned, well-executed, and the brand has definitely made a lasting impression on me. I’ve always been a Honda girl, but I’d definitely consider a Kia when I’m in the market for a car again. Also, Feniger’s Mud Hen Tavern is a great improvement from Street, and it’s definitely a restaurant that I’ll be returning to and one that I highly recommend!
*While we were invited to this complimentary event, Kia didn’t request me to write a review. All thoughts and opinions about the event are, quite obviously, my own!This post is a part of Date Nights L.A. – a series on the blog wherein I highlight local points of interest that Jave and I explore during some of our weekly date nights. In any relationship, it’s important to keep things fresh, and the same is true of my relationship with Los Angeles – my home, my friend, my nemesis, my love. So here’s to gaining a new, fresh perspective of L.A.!