Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Place in Ventucopa

The morning I left John and Mineko's, having already ate, I couldn't pass up a place called the Place on the highway. What a brainstorm. Look at this place, not being hungry, like hungry hungry, wasn't going to stop me. I ordered the lightest breakfast they had but had to have the Rhubarb and Strawberry pie. HOMEMADE!!!!! The server, not knowing I had already had a breakfast kept saying "You sure you don't want ice cream on the side?", After the fifth time, i gave in and I am so happy she was persistent. This pie ala mode was the best I'd had all year.

Santa Barbara Pistachio Company in Ventucopa

I went to Ventucopa several weeks ago to visit artist Mineko Grimmer and her husband John, who on the weekends, go to their studio near the Los Padre National forrest. On my way home, John recommended I stop by the Santa Barbara Pistachio Company, which recently got a write up in the Wall Street Journal as an upcoming company to watch. The fields of farms along with the desert forest makes Ventucopa really wonderful. The shop is modest and everyone is welcoming. I bought four bags, two hickory and two garlic. They make for excellent gifts and my kids really loved them.

Michael J's Pizzerie and Bar in Chinatown

Michael J's Pizzerie and Bar, 643 N Spring St LA CA 90012, was pleasant surprise. I wasn't sure what to make of this sports bar but the food was good. I especially liked the bread rolls. It makes sense that a pizza place has good bread rolls, if they make the bread rolls themselves, which is the case here. There's a full bar and lots of screens with various games on. I ordered the Eggplant Parmesan which was excellent. Not as wet as i like it but delicious nevertheless.

Berlin Currywurst in Grand Central Market

Sausages, there's a growth of these speciality places across the City. Here's one, Berlin Currywurst at Grand Central Market, 317 South Broadway LA CA 90013. They have a tiny counter and a select menu. They cut up the sausage and serve it in a sauce, curry sauce? with two slices of bread. I think it's important to have the sausage intact when served. The explosion of juices and heat when you cut into the casing is an essential aesthetic in the experience of eating high end sausage. There lies the problem. They are charging the price of a high end sausage but it's not that exceptional. The guys are really nice but they need to higher a consultant to step up their game. Clearly, they haven't a clue.

Document Coffee Bar in Koreatown

Document Coffee Bar, newly open, is a wonderful addition to well crafted coffee drinking joints in Los Angeles. They have several unique drinks including my new favorite, Document Cold Brew, insanely refreshing. Uniquely, this shop is the brainchild of two LA-based Korean artists and ironically, the store takes over the former Andrew Shire Gallery. There's a positive vibe in this place. The interior is clean, well designed and light. The furniture is customer and designed and built by the artists. Lastly, they are already curating the first exhibition. It's great to see this happening in my neighborhood. Document Coffee Bar, 3850 Wilshire Blvd #107, LA CA 90010.

Chendu Taste in Alhamber

Another introduction to a eatery by Ms. Jen, Chendu Taste, 828 W Valley Blvd Alhambra CA 91803. There was a bit of a line, so we waited for about fifteen minutes, not bad. Ms. jen came a little earlier and wrote us on the waiting list. So, this place is fairly well known, evidently. Jonathan Gold wrote that this is one of his fav, said Ms. Jen. The interior is active and energetic. The servers are are attentive but it was great to have Ms. Jen there to translate. We ordered Mung Bean Noodle w/ Chile Sauce, Toothpick Beef, and Boiled Fish with Green Peppers Sauce. Every dish was deep and fresh and delicious. Ms. Jen said there's an authenticity to the flavors that folks from China really appreciate, hence the line and the very happy brilliant mood in the dining area. We had a lot of leftovers. The food was delicious later that week. With all the chilies and and the freshness of the ingredients, it kept well.

Taipei Bistro in San Gabriel

I was treated to a bento from Taipei Bistro, 704 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel CA 91776, by artist Iris Yirei Hui. Actually, Iris bought us bentos and we ate them at the Koreatown gallery, Commonwealth and Council, where she and David Bell were having a show. Pictured here is Iris, David and Gallery Director Young Chung. The bento was really delicious a mix of various Asian flavors, it was slightly different from what I am used to, the Japanese style bento. It was great to meet everyone and talk about art, on a very full and happy stomach.