Monday, September 24, 2007

Xiomara






Xiomara, 6101 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood CA 90038, 323-461-0601, was highly recommended to us by my great friend and artist Steven M Irvin.I didn't know what to expect but he just said you'll really enjoy the food there. It turned out to be very well prepared and fancy Latin food with a healthy root in Cuban cuisine. The Mojito was delicious. We ordered Paella, Shredded Duck, Empanadas, as well as a Chocolate Souffle.

The interior is very beautiful with a touch of sporty elegance yet quite romantic in it's idiosyncratic way. The service was fantastic. We were treated so well. The price is not cheap. For two it was just over $80 but really well worth it. Highly recommended to anyone who can splurge and is into very hearty but detailed oriented preparation. Thanks Steve!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Joans on Third




Alas, I finally made it to Joans on Third, 8350 West Third Street, Los Angeles CA 90048, 323-655-2285. Here's what I got and sampled with my officemates at work.

Pecan bar
Apricot bar
Brownie
Vanilla cupcake
Spice with maple frosting cupcake
and the much coveted
Peanut butter cupcake

I'm everyone's hero for the day, here at work.

Joans on Third has a beautiful place, recently renovated. They serve lunch, sell cheeses and coffee as well as some of the most delicious and thoughtful baked goods in LA.

When I opened the front door and looked in, I believe I heard a harp and a choir sing, like in the movie Wings of Desire.

I especially enjoyed the elegant taste of the Apricot Bar and the youthfully fun taste of the Peanut Butter cupcake. It's all so civilized. Cover me, I'm going back for seconds!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tomy's aka Big Tomy's



A West LA favorite for the late night early morning party crowd, Big Tomy's is located at 11289 W Pico Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90064, (310) 479-0601. Basically, it's on the corner of Sawtelle and Pico, across the street of Best Buys and right against the 405 freeway.

I didn't have a hangover but I got in late last night seeing live music at the Wiltern till 11:15 PM after a full day at work. At my age, it is a kind of like a hangover.

I can't say it's great food but it's great junk food. I really love the burritos here. I have had the house burrito and the bean & cheese. This morning, I had the breakfast burrito. With a coffee, it's the perfect eat-while-you-are-driving meal. traffic was hell this morning but a burrito from Tomy's and the morning show on Indie 103.1 makes it bearable.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Empanada Place

The Empanada Place, 3811 Sawtelle Blvd, LA CA 310-391-0888, is a small little place off the corner of Venice Blvd, just west of the 405 freeway. I've got many-a-take-out from this place for parties and potlucks. My kids and friends love the Empanada Place and everyone has a favorite, there's about eighteen "flavors" including cheese & onions, corn, ricotta, eggplant, pepperoni, chicken, spicy chicken, etc. They also sell Yerba Matte, one of my favorite hot beverages of all time. My friends Steve and Kumiko, tango fantaics, introduced me to Yerba Matte. They hadn't me a bag of it, the metal straw and taught me how yo prepare and served it.

Johnny Rocket's





Here's a big chain hamburger place. Johnny Rocket's is the place we go to if we can't decide where to go with a group of people. It's not super great food but it's reliable. They have a fun interior, soda fountain-like theme. People are usually very cool and the menu has several salads on it for a healthier alternative. We have been to the one at Hollywood/Highland, Santa Monica Promenade, Century City Mall, Melrose and Gardner, Long Beach, and the one we went to yesterday was at the Grove. It's all about the chili fires and they make a great chicken breast sandwich with grilled onions.

Zeke's Smoke House

A couple years ago, we finally got a Target and a Best Buys closer to our house, on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and La Brea Avenue, actually. So as part of this new development, there are places to eat on the street-level. One of them is Zeke's, 7100 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood CA 90046, 323-850-9353, which we tried for the first time Saturday. This whole area has changed, it's a shopping haven and fancier then back in the day, the goal of redevelopment.

The folks at Zeke's are super cool. We shared a salad and an order of baby back ribs with sides. The ribs were good. They were Memphis style. I love ribs that don't need sauce. The rub was gooooood. They do have that multi-sauce offering which is fun and there was some tasty choices but having the option of no sauce is something I deeply appreciate.

Lastly, the mash potato was awesome. A nice size mound with a lake of gravy in the middle. The gravy was delicoous, some of the best I've had in a while.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Roy's Hawaiian Fusion Cusine





Yeah, there's been quite a few places opening up with "Hawaiian Food" lately. Most of them are fast food places but one in Downtown LA is different. Roy's, 800 South Figueroa Street, LA CA 90017, 213-488-4994, mixes various ethnic flavor's with traditional down-home Hawaiian and then puts a chic spin on the presentation. The Hawaiian food I love is at my family parties, i.e. Christmas or birthday parties. Once in a while my Aunt will get lau-lau's from Hawaii or for a local fundraiser. Other than that, it's slim pickings. I was excited that there was a place that opened up near my work.

"Fusion" and "pricey" are two things to keep in mind. The foods great but i would rather spend half of the cost and go to one of the places in Torrance or Gardena. Well, maybe you'd end up spending that half on gasoline anyway.....I guess it works out.

The highlights were the little tempura mushroom with a touch of sweet and sour sauce in my Caesar salad, the lobster sauce on my Mahi-mahi with the roasted macadamian nuts, and the carmalized slices of banana's on my Coconut Haupia Puffs.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

East India Grill





Mona and David introduced me to this really delicious India place a while ago but it took us a while to return. There we finally were last night at the East India Grill, 345 North La Brea Avenue LA CA 90036, 323-936-8845, walking in with, "well we have a lot to do tonight so we should eat light" or "I need to eat light 'cause I've been eating heavy lately" Yeah, that didn't happen. We totally pig'd out! The Indian beer didn't help. I was so happy and tired when I got home, I went to bed at 10:00 PM. WOW! When was the last time that happened? The food here is intoxicating. The company was great too but we just couldn't stop eating. We even had dessert, Gulab Jamun (two orders), it's a kind of fried dough ball in a light honey syrup with sliced roasted almonds. We wanted to have a coffee with it but we had hit our limit at that point and didn't.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mani's


Mani's, 519 South Fairfax, LA CA 90036, 323-938-8000, www.manisbakery.com, is about two blocks away from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and right across the street from Park La Brea. I love the baked goods there. Saturday, we got an assortment of cookies. They were so delicious!!! They also have a wide variety of foods there too. I've had very good breakfasts and fun late night hook ups at Mani's.

Randy's Donuts



I had to drop off my Aunt at LAX Sunday morning. On my way home, I decided to get donuts at Randy's, 805 West Manchester Ave, Inglewood CA 90301, 310-645-4707. This iconic donut shop is really fun. The donuts are delicious. It's the perfect morning snack. I felt I deserved a reward for waking so early on a Sunday morning.

Babe's & Ricky's




Back in the early 90's, I used to go to jam night at Babe's & Ricky's on Central Avenue. The veterans put up with my drum playing and we had a really good time. It was a great environment filled with a diverse crowd but everyone in the room loved the blues. They closed and it was in all the papers. It was very sad and really the end of an era in the LA music history.

Babe's & Ricky's eventually re-opened (thank goodness) in Leimert Park at 4339 Leimert Blvd, LA CA, 323-295-9112. I finally went with friends Saturday. First, we were the only one's in the house at 9:00 PM but by 10:00 there was a good crowd. It's a very down-home place. The waitress is also the chef, they have a good selection of beers/wine and the house band is absolutely hot. Guest musicians and vocalists are invited up to perform a few songs, one after the other, and it's a really show while you munch on your fried chicken, greens and potato salad. One suggestion, make sure to ask for the hot sauce for the chicken.

Hayama





My sons basketball team mates family just opened a restaurant called Hayama, 1803 Sawtelle Blvd, LA CA 90025, 310-235-2000, www.bar-hayama.com, so my friends and I decided to go for lunch this past Saturday. Now, the mother of my sons team mate is the chef and the father is the sushi chef and another mother of another basketball team mate is the macro-biotic chef. Isn't this funny, it's like sports-culinary crew.

It was very delicious and evidently the macro-biotic lunch box is very popular. At night, the sushi bar is popular and they also have this very cool outdoor large black granite counter table with a far pit in the middle. At night, the fire pit dining experience is the house favorite. Check out these pix of our lunch. I hope the images do the food justice. It was very healthy, filling and yummy.

Oh yes, they used to own Hama Sushi, a very popular sushi bar in Venice CA.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Tokyo 707 Coffee Shop



I was introduced to Tokyo 7-7, 3839B Main Street, Culver City CA 310-204-5728, by artist Clement Hanami. A couple years ago, he asked if I'd been there for breakfast and when I said "no", he insisted I had to check it out as it's been there for so long (24 years two months from now) and was a staple for not only the Culver City area but the local Asian American community as well.

This morning, I had some time between dropping my kids off school and visiting Nova Color Paints, so I planned to stop by Tokyo 7-7 for breakfast. It's in an odd space. In between a parking structure, alley way and the backside of Main Street Culver City, it's like a secret. There are lots of places in these out-of-way spaces or off-the-beaten-path places in Tokyo. Often, they are the more affordable and tastier mom and pop eateries and Tokyo 7-7 is kinda like that.

I ordered Cha-shu with eggs. Tokyo 7-7 Cha-shu has teriyaki sauce on it which is unusual. I had sourdough toast and it comes with either homefires or rice. I ordered homefries. When I asked for hot tea, I was asked "Lipton or green tea?", now that's too cool.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Village Coffee Shop

Hadn't been here in years, maybe over a decade. I used to go a lot with my friend who lived up in the Beachwood Canyon area back in the late 70's and early 80's. It hadn't changed a bit. Village Coffeeshop is located at 2695 North Beachwood Hollywood CA 90068, 323-467-5398. Across the street is the Hollywoodland Reality Company as well as Ned Beatty's home.

I used to order the Beachwood Cafe omelete back in the day but this time we went pancakes and eggs benedict. It was delicious but a little too greasy for me. I am going back to have that omelete.