Thursday, August 30, 2007

Dinah's




Fried Chicken is not easy to make and there are so many ways to make it. I've been trying to figure it out and it's not easy. I think it takes years to master. Dinah's, 6521 S. Sepluveda Blvd. LA CA 90045, 310-645-0456, was introduced to me by guitarist Jimmy Yamagishi in the early 1980's. Thursday night is all you can eat fried chicken, doesn't that sound great? They also make their own pies there. I'm a pecan pie person but their peach pie and apple pie look delicious too. Whenever I need to go pick someone up at LAX, I always try to stop buy. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen often and rarely coincides on a Thursday evening.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Olympic Cafe, House of Breakfast





Just down the block, my family has been going to House of Breakfast for over 30 years. A very fond memory of my childhood was the toast here. There was something special about the melted butter and spreading the jam over it with that stainless steel knife. It was always toasted perfectly. It's not that I didn't eat toast for breakfast at home. It's a great example how food can taste better or have a fresher feel outside the home sometimes.

There used to be a big Japanese population in my neighborhood. There are still many Japanese families and Olympic Cafe, 3728 West Olympic Blvd, LA CA 90019, 323-731-5405, is one of the last clues to that ethno-populous.

For instance, they still have Spam and Portuguese sausage on the menu. That's very Hawaiian-Japanese. The pancakes are delicious, light and fluffy, not overcooked. You can even substitute sides with fried rice. It's a wonderful place for breakfast.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ed's Coffee Shop




Ed's Coffee Shop, 460 Robertson Blvd, LA CA 310-659-8625, has been open since 1960. That's a long time for LA. I was introduced to this place by artist Steve R. in the early 80's. Steve grew up in the B Hills community. Back then he was a punker and had a fantastic wardrobe. He was the lead vocalist for the LA punk band the Seditionaries. Anyway, It was fun to hang out with him because he always had cool clothes and was and is a really nice guy.

I walked into Ed's recently after not having been there for atleast 15 years. They make a great breakfast burrito titled "Ed's Special Breakfast Burrito" which consists of scrambled eggs, cheese, and salsa on a toasty flour tortilla. It also comes with great homefries. I had a coffee and afterwards ordered their blackberry pie. This pie really kicks ass! Homemade, flaky crust and the filling is not too sweet. It's just right. I think back in the day with Steve, I would have been able to finish this whole meal but now-a-days, I leave a piece of pie on my plate. it was really good and the folks who run it are fun.

Back in the day, there was a counter but looks like there was a fire a while back and they had to remodel. They got rid of the counter and opened it up. I love counters but it does feel much more open now.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nana's





Well, this isn't a place you're going to be able to go eat. I mean, it's not a restaurant. It's Mike and Ale's house where Nana cooks. Nana raised all of Ale's sisters and all of the nieces and nephews. She's an amazing person, a beautiful woman and a magical chef. Nana introduced me to mole. I've mentioned her before on this blog. Well, Ale emailed me two weeks ago and the last sentence was "Nana wants to know when you're coming over to have mole". Instantly, I booked a motel online, asked my boss for some time off and BAM! I'm in SD.

Here are pix of the great meal we had. Mike and Ale, sisters, Juan Pablo, Terry the neighbor, Giustina, Andrea, Joanna who calls herself the back sheep of the family and is unaware of how beautiful she is, the kids, Mike the Poet, James Paligutan and friend and myself. It was alot of fun. This is what dinner is suppose to be like. Our moment where all these friends and family converge and explode with fun and information while enjoying food that is perfect and made with a great deal of passion and love.

SoHoJu


Nomadic Asian Food? What's that? Basically, this is Contemporary Korean Cuisine in Little Tokyo. SoHoJu is at 106 Japanese Village Plaza, LA CA 90012, 213-621-2288. I ordered this Korean Beef Wrap combo that was really good. It's great grilled beef with a semi-sweet sautee and you wrap it in fresh lettuce leaves, then dip it in a spicy red chili sauce. The soup was also very good. I enjoyed this Aloe Tea they serve. Not too hot but pretty good and "healthy" I guess. The salad was a wild color. I think the dressing had beets in it. i love the color of beets. I'm

Yukon Mining Company



A 24/7 place I think? My friend Meg was really hungry and she felt that this place would definitely not have a wait, even though it was lunch time on a Sunday. She also warned me that it wasn't that good of a place but she was just so hungry.

Yukon Mining Company is in that old school mini mall on Santa Monica Blvd just west of La Brea. It's the mini mall with the Trader Joes.

I ordered the chicken friend steak. Meg had the breakfast combo. it wasn't that bad. Actually, my chicken fried steak was really good. It's a great people watching place too. There's all these cool characters there, like from a Bukowski novel. I was into it.

Big Kitchen in SD



I had so much fun at Big Kitchen in the South Park area of San Diego. Located at 3003 Grape St San Diego CA 92102, www.bigkitchencafe.com , this is a true community hangout filled with a lot of love.

I ordered the Garlic Fritata. Roasted fritata in large portions. I had never had a fritata before. Round like a pancake, it's different from an omelet. It's got a dry texture, hearty and filling. Big Kitchen also has a great orange juice. I met a really cool guy named Don who is a former cannabis activist. We talked for an hour. Don saw my Chrome bag and we talked for another while about bicycling. That night happened to be Midnight Madness, a once a year fundraiser where 2,000 bicyclists converge in Downtown SD for a 17 mile ride. I borrowed a friends bike and we took over the road from midnight to 2:00 AM. It was a blast. They even give you a number patch like in a marathon. My number was 1 69 1. I was a little embarrassed.

Ghiradelli's in SD



How can I ever pass up chocolate? Ghiradelli's is famous. I believe the original is off the wharf in San Francisco. I remember having a b-split there that was really good. So when Alessandra said we were going to the one in SD, I was game. It's in the historic part of downtown that now looks like an inverted shopping mall with all the major chains like Urban Outfitters, Gap, etc.

Our B-split came with no chocolate. How could this be? This is Ghiradelli's? I was so dissapointed. Ale asked for a cup of chocolate fudge, which they were more than happy to give us but by then 2/3 of the B-Split was gone (I eat my ice cream fast).

It reminded me that good b-splits can only really be made by those who really love b-splits. Obviously, the Ghiradelli's SD could give a rats %#*.

Hilltop Cafe SD


I finally made it to the 1:00 tour of the Taylor Guitar factory in El Cajon CA. I was early. The woman at the front desk recommended that I walk up the hill to the Hilltop Cafe, 1870 Cordell Ct, El Cajon CA 92020. I walked in this fairly non-descript cafe in this industrial park. I wasn't that hungry having driven in the heat for three hours from LA. BLT? those are usually pretty light, ok. I told the woman working there that I wasn't that hungry. Well, this sandwhich unlocked my appetite and I finished it in five minutes.

This was the best BLT I ever, EVER had! It came on a toasted marbleized french bread. The bacon was paper thin sliced cured ham with fresh vegetables. This made for a memorable experience.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Pantry





WOW!!!! Let he pigeons loose! Here's the 100th entry. It's the Pantry, 877 South Figueroa LA CA 90017, 213-972-9279.

In the early 80's, I was a young man in art school. My friend Steve R. and I would excuse ourselves from drawing class, get in the car and drive to the Pantry. It was there that I was introduced to buckwheat pancakes. Having been brought up on instant pancake mixes and refrigerated syrup, fresh buckwheat pancakes at the Pantry where amazing and new to me. Even today, I am still in awe of them. I love how dark they are with a hint of purple. The texture, drenched in butter and mable syrup, has a bread-like/ grainy consistency.

The Pantry has a great history, important to the City of Los Angeles. I'm not going to get into the specifics but you can really sense it when you walk into the place. It's old school on hyper-drive and the food is wholesome and very filling. They also have lunch and dinner but breakfast is the sentimental meal for me at the Pantry.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Colori Kitchen




At 429 West 8th Street LA CA, 213-622-5950 is a brand new restaurant so wonderful, I almost hesitated to tell you. But, you've hung in there with me for 99 eateries so "Colori Kitchen" is today's entry.

Drummer Chirs Torres was boasting about their minestrone soup for a while now. "Hey mann, a new place just opened up and it's awesome".

Greek? Italian? I am not sure what the ethnographics is here but we ordered pasta this afternoon.

Alright, first of all, they have a beautiful bread. It looks like they bake it on the premises. I didn't confirm this but it's that delicious, rich inner with a crusty crunchy crust. I ordered the special which was a pumpkin ravioli. WOW!!! Hearty aldente pasta and the filling reminded me of Baklava.

The interior is very cool, like something from Readymade magazine and the people their ooze with delight and pride in what they serve. There's a woman who runs the place. She reminds me of an old friend of mine, Isabella from Italy. I wonder how Isabella is doing? "Come bella" (did I say that right?)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

La Piazza

La Piazza, 189 The Grove Drive, G90, LA CA 90036, 323-933-5050, is right across the walking road from the movie theaters at the Grove. This is my kids third favorite pizza place in LA.

We are a thin crust family. I don't know how that happened as I grew up on thick crust like Mr. Pizza, Numbero Unos, certainly Wildflowers, Palermo's, etc.

After a movie, my friend and I walked across the road to La Piazza. WOW, it's Tuesday evening and the Grove is packed. My friend at work said the Grove is where you go to hold hands. It certainly was true last night, wall to wall.

We ordered the Caprese salad, fat slices of tomato and mozarella with fresh basil, mmmmmmmmmm yum. Poured a little of the Balsamic and we ate it like butter.

We shared a mushroom pizza. There were thin slices of white mushroom and a simple tomato sauce. The crust is thin and fresh. So good. Simple is best when it comes to pizza for me.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Cinnamon Vegetarian





Cinnamon, 5511 North Figueroa St, Highland Park CA 90042, serves a collection of vegetarian dishes. Well, the food was alright but the juices were incredible. I especially liked the carrot/ginger juice with several things including ginger.

Mateos


It's hard to pass up a banana split. It's even harder when you are with a new friend, who you have a crush on, and she introduces the idea. Thinking the same thing, especially when it's dessert, is a great foundation for a relationship. Mateo's, 4929 S. Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City CA 90230, 310-313-7625 is an ice cream shop so we picked our ice creams for the B-Split. Strawberry. Chocolate mint, and....I forgot? Anyway, the point is it wasn't traditional. Great whip cream, fresh strawberries and.....mango? This was my first time having mango in a b-split. WOW!!!!

Open Sesame




This was a highly recommended place in the LBC that serves authentic Lebanese cuisine. It's called Open Sesame, 5215 East 2nd Street, LBC, 90803, 562-621-1698. In all fairness, we went on a 40+ mile bike ride that lasted about two and a half hours down the LA River Bike Path and were very exhausted by the time we ordered food at Open Sesame. I personally don't remember what the food tasted like, my body just needed nourishment. I will say that I was very happy with the taste, the table of six got really quite once we began eating and we were able to complete our bike ride with rejuvenated attitude. What I do remember was the place was packed. A great people watching place and the potato appetizer, fried cuts drenched in vinegar and spices was fantastic!

North End Cafe



Manhattan Beach is a lot of fun with it's "singles" culture and volleyball torunaments. It's very different from my local beaches, Venice, Santa Monica or Will Rogers. This weekend, I went on a bike ride with my friend. It started in Culver City, down the Ballona Bike Path, onto the beach bike path to Manhattan Beach & back. Drummer Chirs Torrez reccomended we have breakfast at North End Cafe, 3421 Highland Avenue, MB CA 90266, 310-546-GRUB. "GRUB"

And, GRUBB, it is!. There's a lot of tasty stuff on this meanu. We ate a panini and an egg dish that were pretty good. They also have a killer fruit plate filled with berries and melons. I think when we go back, I would like to try their brie panini. They have a very nice selection of eats.

Galco's

Galco's, 5702 York Blvd LA CA 90042, 323-255-7115, has been a local LA favorite for over a century and if you're LA foodie, you most likely know about it already. They were a local market for decades, dating back to the early years of Highland Park. Their deli is great with a cool ole-skool meatball sandwich. For the past ten years, they put themselves on the national map by becoming a one stop shop for every soda pop made in the US. It's awesome! They got it all or they can certainly tell you if it's available and when they can get it for you. last week, I had XXX rootbeer from texas, DELICIOUS!!!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Al Gelato

Without a doubt, my favorite Gelato place in LA. It's located at 806 South Robertson LA CA 90035, 310-659-8069. I've been going there since around 1986. It opened in 1978, actually.

They're gelato is handmade each day. I ate the chocolate gelato. Why do i like the gelato so much here? The ice cream is rich and not overly sweet. You can taste the cream but it's not heavy. The atmosphere is fun and welcoming. They also serve pastas and desserts.

I have never been dissapointed with this place. Everyone is always helpful and postive. They'll let you sample as many of the gelatos as you want. It is truly an awesome place.

Mama's Hot Tamales

These folks are fantastic!. They have been so supportive of the arts community in Los Angeles by serving tamales at openings and premieres and having a gallery in their restaurant. They are located across the street from MacArthur Park at 2124 West 7th Street, LA CA 90057, 213-487-4300.

Yesterday, I ordered the tomato basil soup which came with a scoop of Mexican Rice in the bowl. It felt great to eat something so homemade and conforting.

The tamales were awesome, of course. This time, I ordered the Michoacan Tamale, beef with pasilla chile sauce. It was so tender and hot, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Nyala

This is the first Ethiopian restaurant I ever went to a really long time ago. It's located at 1076 South Fairfax Avenue, LA CA 90019, 323-936-5918. It's a very nice interior and when you walk in the , the aroma of many spices playfully touch your nose and slowly intoxicate you.

We ordered the vegetarian sampler and the beef sampler. I was very impressed with the Doro Wot, chicken that has been marinated in lemon juice and sauteed in onion, garlic, tomato, red peppers and butter. It was awesome.