Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yamashiro




I never thought I'd write about Yamashiro's, 1999 N. Sycamore Avenue, Hollywood CA 90068, 323-466-5125. It's above the Magic Castle two block north of Hollywood and Highland on that steep road up. There's a lot of history associated with this amazing Japanese style mansion.

Back in the day, the food was really horrible. It was a joke in the LA Japanese food community but several years ago, they turned it around. Last night was my first time there since the change. Two friends reccomended it to me in the past six months so I decided to go.

We had Tuna Tataki, Yuzu Ceasar Salad, Rolls, Baby Back Ribs, etc. It was all very rich and delicious. We also decided to drink healthy, so we ordered their non-alchohol elixirs. I had a ginseng and lemon drink, it was refreshing, subtle and reminded me of a virgin mojito.

The interior is beautiful but it's the night view of the city from the front garden that's amazing. By the way, we spent close to $150 for three people.

Monday, July 30, 2007

La Ciudad



I'd been here before but not in seven years or so. La Ciudad, 445 South Figueroa St., LA CA 90019.

It was pretty much the same place; trendy interior, cool-folk servers, RSVP just in case, and loud as heck in the interior dinning room (it's hard to carry on a conversation unless everyone at the table has their projector actors voice! The outdoor patio is much more pleasant but it was just too hot and humid today.

I ordered the El Cuban, their Cuban sandwhich. It was awesome and came with garlic fries. The meat was tender, maybe too much mayo for my taste, and Delicious bread, all pressed into a semi tight hand held meal. I also had the watermelon lemonade which was very refreshing and not too sweet.

The last time I was here, I ordered the miniature banana split. I ordered it again this time and didn't have the same experience. Maybe I should wait till the weather gets cooler. The coffee ice cream was already melted by the time it got to our table. I love the little banana's they use but the amount of rich cream was to intense.

Brite Spot



Brite Spot, 1918 West Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90026, 213-484-9800. How many times have I been here to eat. It's one of the best places for a quick diner meal.

Chilaquiles with chicken, I saw that on the menu and had to have it. It was delicious. In the past, I have had their blueberry pancake, cobb salad, hamburger, chicken fried steak, and chili. The also make good soups. Nothing fancy, just good all-American style food.

Awash



Ethiopian food as authentic as it gets can be found at AWASH in LA. I am not going to tell you the address. You have to make that extra step and find it on your own. Why? Because the person who told me about it said not to tell too many people and she found out via an Ethiopian taxi cab driver who was reluctant to share the idea and he said not to tell too many people about it. They don't want it to become "gentrified".

When you walk in, it makes sense. First of all, the storefront has two signs that say "Awash" but the windows are covered and there's a big metal screen door. The main door is always closed and it is far from inviting. Dare to enter in and everything changes, it feels like you are in another world. Soccer on the big screen, R&B pumping through the speakers and everyone in the room is a native Ethiopian. Cold beers, smiles, old friends giving each other hugs and handshakes, it's really amazing.

The food is fantastic. That's all I need to say. Good luck finding it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Cafe Brasil



My friends and I decided to bike from Downtown LA to Cafe Brasil for dinner. Cafe Brasil is located at 10831 Venice Blvd, LA CA 90034, 310-837-8957 and there is another one on Washington Blvd.

Most of us had been there before. It was absolutely delicious. I had a flank steak that was really tasty and hearty. The plantains were heavenly, heavy and rich. Bike riding afterwards was fun but boy did I get sleepy after a while.

Oh yeah, BYOB, we went to a liquor store a block west of the cafe but there's also a Ralphs across the street.

El Conchinito





Here we go again! Cuban food!

El Conchinito, 3508 Sunset Blvd, LA CA 90026, 323-668-0737 is a very comfortable restaurant where the people are very friendly and the service is excellent, especially if you are accompanied by a very attractive woman. How lucky I am to have beautiful friends!

We'll, again, never been to Cuba, so I don't know how authentic this is but I've been going for atleast ten years. They make a mouth-watering Cuban sandwhich. Yesterday, we ordered the garlic shrimp and roasted chicken.

So rich, so good. I ate so much, my forehead almost crashed onto my keyboard at work.

Susina Bakery and Cafe

Susina, 7122 Beverly Blvd.,LA CA 90036, 323-934-7900, 1/2 block west of La Brea, was touted to have an amazing cake by my friends Mona and David. "When you decide to go, call us and we'll drop what we're doing and meet you there, absolutely". It's nice to have a place where you're willing to go anytime and especially if it means turning a friend onto your secret treasurer.

Well, last night, quite late, artist Jeffery "Bud" Mohr and I decided to go to this "amazing" place. We couldn't get anyone on the phone who had been telling us about this place, no one to tell us what to order. we left several messages. So, we asked the server what is the most popular and second most popular cakes. We got the Bear, a chocolate mousse cake and the Berry Blossom, a three layer sponge cake with orange liquer and fresh berries. Luckily, Jeff is allergic to fresh berries. So I got the Berry Blossom all to myself. Susina's most popular cake!

This Berry Blossom was amazing. So moist and filled with sweet and tart tastes engulfed in this giddy liquer. WOW! If I was to imagine what it would be like to dine at a royal palace, this would be the cake that would make it into my fantasy.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pho Cafe




Nothing like a little Pho in the afternoon. Well actually, I prefer the Bun rather than the Pho at Pho Cafe, 2841 West Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90026, 213-413-0888.

The Bun is a cold vermicelli rice noodle with cooked beef, shrimp, fried roll and fresh vegetables. It comes with a light sweet sauce you pour over the whole thing and man is it tasty. The thin cut cooked beef which is close to a teriyaki type grilled beef gives the meal a down-home feel for what is otherwise a super-healthy meal.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Yorkshire Grill





Yorkshire Grill, 610 West 6th Street, LA CA 90017, 213-623-3362, just west of Pershing Square in Downtown LA, is perhaps my favorite Downtown Deli. I've been eating lunch there since 1992. Their old school deli sandwiches are fantastic like the pastrami with swiss cheese and coleslaw. It's called the Yorkshire Special. I like the Pershing Square Special which is peanutbutter and bacon. Today, I ordered the potato pancakes with applesauce and sourcream. My friend Zipporah, who's a vegetarian, ordered the grilled cheese. We shared, so the image you see here is the two orders shared on a plate. I also love the matza-ball soup. it comes with this baseball-size matza-ball. I didn't order it today. Next week!

By the way, the interior photo was taken around 11:40 AM. See how there's seats. About 12:10 PM, there's a line outside. Just a heads up!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Engine Company No. 28





It had been over ten years since I last went to Engine Company, 644 nSouth Figueroa St. LA CA 90017, 213-624-6996. We walked in and a lot memories poured back into my mind. This place used to be a fire station and then it closed and was empty for a long time. These guys came in and turned it into one of Downtown LA's most successful places to eat and drink. Thye have a good wine selection and lots of tasty beers on tap. This is where i had my first Samuel Adams.

There soups are delicous, the chili is loved, they make a great cobb and the crab cakes are some of the best in LA.

Mani's

Deepest and sugary apologese for not having images of the desserts David, Mona and I ate last night. I brought over six various cookies and cakes. Mani's is located at 519 South fairfax Avenue, LA CA 90036, 323-938-8800.

Almond Roca Cake had an almond cream center and the outter shall was a crisp layer of chocolate completely covered with almond powder. It was subtle and awesome. it melts in your mouth and doesn't fill you up with sugar. The almond overtones is dreamy.

Another one of note is the butter cookie dipped in chocolate. It's a thick brown cookie and the hardened chocolate dip cluthes half of the cookie brick.

Again, sorry there aren't any images. We waited for David who was preparing the tea. It took a bit so when it was time to dig in, I lost sight of taking pictures.

By the way, Mani's also has a great food menu and their baked goods use natural ingredients and sugar alternatives. They also make great sugar-less sweets as well.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Doughboys



I met up with some friends at a place called Doughboys this Sunday morning. Located at 8136 West 3rd Street, LA CA 90048, 323-651-4202. It's near where Aaron's records last store was just north of Santa Monica Blvd.

Actually, I had just eaten a big breakfast so i decided to order dessert. I asked the server what was their most popular cake and he said the Red Velvet Cake. I ordered that with a coffee.

The place was packed. We waited a little bit before a table opened up. They had a huge menu. My friends ordered a Blueberry Falxseed Griddlecake and another ordered the Pan Toast. I really liked the Pan Toast. There's a lot of egg in there and it was delicious!

My Red Velvet cake was intense. I couldn't even finish it. It had a large sugar content and the frosting was delicious. I think it was a cream cheese frosting?. The cake was rich and dense. The buzz lasted about two hours.

Dupars


Farmer's Market, on the corner of Farifax and 3rd Street, just south of Hollywood and just north of Miracle Miles, is a historic neighborhood market filled with tourist-friendly and local-friendly shops, restaurants and markets. Dupars, 6333 w. 3rd Street, 323-933-8446, is an old school diner that sits on the corner and has been recently been restored. (we sure did miss it) With the growth of local retail districts, apartments and The Grove (an outdoor entertainment mall) this area has become exciting and at times over-crowded.

Walking into Dupars, you are reminded of a more simpler time where LA was totally different from what it has become. The menu is familiar and nostalgic and the service is warm and friendly.

By the way, they were voted best pancakes in LA a few years ago too.

I recently meet a group of artists there including my long-time friends Celia Ko and Alessandra Moctezuma. I was happy to document the french toast for this blog. For 17 years, I have watched Alessandra order this at Dupars and it is a fact in my food life that is a must to document. She loves the FT at Dupars and rightly so. It's a very healthy portion of french toast with all of the sides smothered in a scoop of butter and drenched in syrup.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mendocino Farms





Drunk'n Goat in Paris.

I've never seen an intoxicated farm animal and I've never been to Paris so how could I not order this today? Mendocino Farms, 300 S. Grand Ave. LA CA www.mendocinofarms.com, has a great menu. This is no ordinary deli. Located on Bunker Hill below the Water Court Mall adjacent to MOCA the menu has items like Citrus Tuna and, Pad Thai Chicken and Curry Peanutbutter sandwhiches.

Todays cold soup was delicious. A roasted almond creme with whole grapes. I sampled a salad but next time I'm ordering one. They looked amazing.

We got there at noon and there was quite a line. Be forwarned. The line went fairly fast so no problem. Great service!

Monday, July 9, 2007



Peet's Coffee



For the past couple of years, artist Steve Irvin and I have been hooking up on Sunday mornings, sometimes Saturday mornings and riding our bikes from the Crenshaw area to Larchmont. We'll drop by the Farmer's Market and often ride several miles around the West Hollywood/ Beverly Hills neighborhoods.

Our main thing is to go to Peet's Coffee on Larchmnot. Larchmont's a great little strip of retail stores that have a real small town community (for LA). People are nice and there's a lot of sidewalk cafe culture. Peet's Coffee is often jammed and so Steve and I carry our loose leaf tea and pastries and find a street bench. We sit there and talk about what's going on in our lives (usually about relationships or the lack of), friends, family and of course art.




DODGER DOGS!!!!

I have a love hate relationship with hot dogs. Having been brought up with them in a big way, they are nostalgic to me but they're not very good for my cholesterol level. Going to Dodger games with my Grandfather are some of the best moments of my childhood. We loved to watch the games, wearing our blue caps and cheering them on. At home, he would watch away games on tv (pre-cable), while also listening to them on the radio while also reading the paper. I think he inspired my multi-media art work later in life and certainly was my first example of multi-tasking.

He raised me as a Dodger fan. Till this day, every summer, however not as much as I would like to, I enjoy going to Dodger games. The night games start an hour or two after dinner time so on those days, I try to eat lunch late so that I'll be pretty hungry for my Dodger dog. Day games for some reason, I can space two meals of the delicious past times in one game. Farmer Johns makes these and someone told me that the trick is to marinate them in beer overnight.

I heard for $40, you can get a bleacher seat and all you can eat hot dogs. That wouldn't work for me today but 20 years ago it would have been a steal.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Kwik-E-Mart




The Simpsons Movie is coming out soon and in a promotional extravaganza various 7-11 across the USA have been turned into the Simpson's Kwik-E-Mart.


Here's the one on Sepulveda Blvd and Venice Blvd. in Los Angeles. My kids and I didn't have time to stand in line so I only have pix of the exterior. it was very exciting. Lot's of folks taking pictures, standing in line and generally adding to the buzz in the air. it was like being at Grand Canyon.

This morning, local drummer Chris Torres, who went last night brought me back some Buzz Cola and Frosted Krusty O's. He said he and his friend didn't have anything to do yesterday so they went to Amoeba Records and stood in line for an hour at the Kwik-E-Mart. I thought the combination was perfect. Chris drank the cola last night and said it tasted overly sugery.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Cefiore


I wasn't blown away from this place but I thought it was so obviously a copy of the currently popular Pinkberry, that I just had to put it on the blog.

I may be one of the few who is indifferent about Pinkberry. I can definitely live without it. I am an ice cream guy. I've been to Pinkberry three times. I don't like the powder taste. I do enjoy the mixing of other ingredients. That's definitely the best part for me.

A frozen yogurt place opened up in Little Tokyo, months before a Pinkberry opened in Little Tokyo. The interior is similar to Pinkberry down to the small gravel filled floor and the over priced Tupperware on the shelves.

This place is called Cefiore, 134 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, LA CA 90012, 213-626-0806. I'm told there are many Pinkberry want-to-bees now across the Nation.

Hazuki


Hazuki, 319 East 2nd Street, #205, Little Tokyo Mall 2F, LA CA 90012, 213-626-6858 is sort of hidden away. I know a lot of people who eat lunch in Little Tokyo but i am always surprised how many of them have never been to Hazuki. It's the sort of Japanese Restaurant that reminds of Tokyo. it's not a large place but they have really designed it well to feel big. There's a traditional Japanese room you can reserve and your table and chair seating too.

Each day, they have the lunch time bento (illustrated above). It's always great and changes all the time. What really makes the meal for me is the hot barley tea they serve and the perfect rice. These two items set the palette for what is a phenomenal array of traditional Japanese flavors and delicacies.

I would like to apologize for this photo. it's a little dark in Hazuki and taking a picture of food against black lacquer is a challenge for me.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Tea Garden

I went for a bike ride this morning. It was perfect weather for me and my Motobecame. I went up to Hollywood and over to Beverly Hills. After about an hour of riding here and there, I stumbled onto the Tea Garden, 8612 Melrsoe Avenue, West Hollywood CA 90069, 1-800-288-4372. It's a small but inviting storefront. The front room has a delicate but colorful display of teas, tea sets and other tea items. Behind the counter is Dr. Tea, who's family has been in the tea business for 200 years. A very learned and passionate tea expert. They display a ton of teas and they will even combine them for you to take home or drink in their garden. Yes, they have a garden that feels like you are in another world. It's very Asian yet it's cleverly designed into a booth-like layout where you or you and your party can enjoy tea and company in semi-seclusion.

I spoke with Dr. Tea and said I was riding my bkie for an hour and would like something like an Yerbe Matte but not Yerba Matte. He reccomended a Hojicha. Actualy, I ended up spending the next hour drinking a Hojicha De La Creme with Tahitian vanilla and vanilla blossoms. Mannn, it was good. I had two pots worth while reading a book I've been recently trying to finish.

There's nothing like a tea that helps you trancend time.

Pacific French Bakery





For several years now, I've been meaning to stop by this bakery. Many mornings, on my way to drop the kids off, I would notice the "line" in front of this place. Wow, it must be amazing if that many people are willing to stand in line on a weekday morning.
It's certainly a measure of something good if not at the very least, somthing popular. Pacific French Market, 4152 West Washington Blvd, LA CA 900198, 323-735-1700, is a lot bigger than it looks from the outside. I walked in at around 2:00 PM on a Saturday and there was still a little line. The moment you walk in, the aroma of fresh baked goods, sugar and coffee hit your senses. I ordered danishes. The glaze, frosting and filling were light and delicous and the bread had a nice firmness. When you bite into it, it has that delicous soft give.




I had a cream cheese danish. It was fantastic. I'm definitely going back soon. They also have cakes, pies, breads and pandulce.

The staff is very warm and cheerful. I felt right at home.