Wednesday, September 30, 2009
We went upscale last night. Echo Park is home to a place started by two Bostonians, Allston Yacht Club, 1320 Echo Park Avenue LA CA 90026, just north of Sunset. I decided to have wine last night. Our server was extremely helpful. This guy wanted us to have a great experience last night. He helped me with my wine selection. I told him, if I only drink wine once a year, what would be the wine to drink. I know it's a difficult quesiton but I was wearing my hat from Flock Shop so I felt a little flamboyant. We started with a 2006 Kuyam 13 Moons Merolt (cab). It was good but a little too much tannin for me. I'm just not that sophisticated. So he recommended the 2005 Domaine LA Rocaliere, Lirac, a Grennache/ Syrah from Rhone. BINGO! Why is it that the Rhone's always make me happy? Anyway, we were on our way to Catasonic to master our new CD so were a little pressed for time but excited. Our server suggested we order two snack plates each. Here's the line up: Green Papaya and Ginger Salad, Brandade and Roasted Tomato, Duck Breast, Grilled Cheese, Pork Belly (my favorite, HA!), and Arancini (little orange). The foods are dynamic collectively and really allow you to eat well but savor your drink. This place is well designed for even the modest culinary enthusiast.
The first time I went to this place was amazing. I really like the home cooked flavors of this modest place but heroic eatery. Architect Robert Villagomez introduced it to me. Knowing well my appetite and leanings, he knew I'd fall in love with La Fonda on San Fernando Road, 2135 1/2 San Fernando Road, LA CA 90065 and I did. Today, I was driving around the Cypress Park area and decided to pig out. Today, I ordered the grilled shrimp in sauce or Camaron Al Mojo de Ajo, Ranch Style. The red sauce and chips were pretty good. The shrimp was amazing, filled with that grilled goodness and tenderness. The beans were excellent. What can I say. It's an awesome place.
First of all, major apologies to Jeffe. I promised we go together and try this place but this week, alone and hungry, I was a block away from it and couldn't resist. Cook's is located at 1944 Atlantic Avenue Monterey Park CA and allegedly rivals the Torta place on First in East LA. Hmmm? maybe? I ordered the Milanesa. The thick fried batter around the flank steak was spicy and full of flavor. The torta was filled with spices and fresh tomatoes. The bread was fresh too. BUT, it didn't work together for some reason. I want my torta to explode in my mouth like a deli sandwich and this didn't do that. Rather, it's a delicate version of the torta. It's like an upscale version but something was lost in translation. Sorry.
Friday, September 25, 2009
The Corner Place Korean BBQ is located at 2819 West James Woods Street (formerly 9th Street), LA CA 90006, 213-487-0968. At night, especially, when you arrive, when you open the door and the BBQ smoke circles around and out like spirits, you know you've arrived. Today, photographer Bill Short and I ordered two dishes of beef; Bibolgi and the shank beef. The waitress made sure that's what we wanted, "Are you sure?" Bill and I thought maybe the shank was odd but when our order came, we quickly realized it wasn't what we ordered but how much. Each large plate was piled with pounds of beef. I am proud to say or maybe ashamed to say that other than a handful of the shank, Bill and I conquered the BBQ. At the end of our meal, the waitress came over to pick up the empty plates without saying a word. The hostess came by to drop off the bill and was giggling. Bill and I checked in via text and voice messages for the rest of the day to see if the other was ok. I'm still full. This is a great place.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I was working on a project today in East LA and finally went to this stand on 3rd Street. Lupe's is located at 4642 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA. The three women that work there (maybe one of them is Lupe) were suspicious of us at first but the moment I showed sincere interest in an item on the menu, they seemed to totally welcome us. That items was the Guaca Fries. Homemade guacamole over delicious oil hot french fries. It was really good, like habit forming good. I also ordered the Green Bean Burrito. It's a thin burrito with refried beans, a stewed green chile, cheese and salsa. Yummy. One funny note, they seem to be having a bee problem. The bees kept flying around, drinking my root beer, and generally being friendly. None of us got bite.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Artist Jeff Mohr and I were hungry today and driving around Angelino Heights (immediately West of Downtown LA, you know, Carroll Street!). Jeff had eyed Little Ongpin for months if not years and so we went. It's located at 1700 West Beverly Blvd, LA CA 90026, 213-483-4280. WHAT! Adobo for lunch, heck yeah! It was awesome, everyone was super cool and even though there was C in the window, I really enjoyed it. The pork adobo, awesome and the vegetable Pinakbet was DEElicious! It had the Asian pumpkin with that slightly bitter skin on it. Yummy! It was like Yoda's stew. "Eat it you will!"
Look what I found in West LA!!! Sweet Home Grill, 12227 Santa Monica Blvd LA CA 90025, 310-820-6149, it's a hut on the corner in a tiny mini-itty-bitty-mall. I think the family that runs it is Korean but it's a spin on Japanese food, comfort food. I ordered the chicken teriyaki. Wow, old school. It even came with miso soup. I ate it in my car. I felt like I just came back from a carnival. It felt like I was waving goodbye to summer with each bite. It reminded me of Bright Eyes. How the music is sad but it reaffirms life.
Another great find via lighting artist Jose Lopez. He drove me there in his Volkswagen Vanagon, so awesome. Tommy's Restaurant is located at 1150 West Riggin Street, Monterey Park CA 91754, 323-721-7122. The Korean waitress spoke perfect Spanish. Very cool. Jose recommended I order the Machaca, a delicious cooked pork in eggs and green chile. I mean, my return visit may happen tomorrow, it was awesome. Sorry for the horrid pix but I only had my phone with me.
Made a U Turn for this one. Barn Burner Texas BBQ, 1000 South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena CA 91105, 626-405-RIBS, reminded me of Dallas. Not that I miss Dallas but ... well maybe I miss the BBQ. They even had Shiner Bock but I was driving so I didn't order any. Hey, good pork ribs but of course it would have to be, when you have that many Texas flags hanging in the interior. The sculpture of John Wayne in the front is pretty cool too.
I was in Pasadena Sunday because I really wanted to see Barry McGee's installation on Holly St. He's one of my favorite artists in the whole-wide-world! Here's my panorama of his installation. On the same street is Mignon Chocolate, 6 E Holly Street, Pasadena CA 91103, 626-796-7100. It was a very hot afternoon so I decided not to get a box 'cause it would melt. I selected two pieces. They said they had a policy of no photography in the shop so I don't have a pix of their display which is pretty cool. I ordered one "Mojito" with a lovely green motif with dark chocolate and one "Peanut Creme" in the shape of an Egyptian Pharoh. I walked over to the Armory Center for the Arts and while sitting in Michael McMillens installation (which is really incredible), I ate my chocolates. The Peanut Creme wasn't too good. Something earthy about it, like mummy dust. I think mummy dust is a acquired taste. The mojito was really good, rich dark chocolate and the sensation on mint leaves.
I went Sunday morning to the Sunset Cafe, which is located at 1701 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica CA 90415, 310-399-6526, wanting those freshly baked and extra yummy muffins but the muffin baker didn't come that day and there were no muffins. So sad, what to order? The three women who own/run the place all have English accents so it always makes me want to order Earl Grey. It's a natural reflex. Well, let's see, what do they have? I chose the apple cobbler. It just sang to me. You know you're in for a treat when they fill a good size bowl with a cobbler. They heated it up for me and I was in my Sunday zone, sipping my tea, listening to English accents and eating a delicious and warm bowl of cobbler. Awesome!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Artist Megan DeArmond asked if I'd ever had the Coolhaus Ice Cream sanwhiches or "Sammies" and I'd never heard of it. An Ice cream truck that only does ice cream cookie sandwich's. The ice cream is original and the cookies are original. The paper like wrap it comes in is edible and vegan (soy inks and made out of potato). Currently, they have only one truck and through their site eatcoolhaus.com, you can follow the location via Twitter. Two architects and a realtor started it. One of the architects was at UCLA and did a paper on the effect of food on architecture and that idea blossomed into Cool Haus (i.e. Rem Koolhaas). Other sammies are named after other architects or related institutions like "Mintimalism" and one named after the late Julian Schulman. The $3.50 sammies are chunky, filling and DEE-licious! Today's venture coincided with Park-ing, the Citywide temporary pocket parks sprouted at various street meters. Also fitting was the Kogi truck across the street. I ate two sammies first and then walked across the street and ordered the Korean styled Spicy Pork Burrito; dessert first and meal second as in shoot first and ask questions later. Gotta have your priorities straight on Park-ing Day.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I first posted this place in June of 2008 but I recently realized that many of my friends didn't know of this place and may not visit past posts. I went there with my friend and set out to have a hamburger heaven afternoon. This was my fourth visit and felt confident enough to order the Papa Bear this time. It was my first time to graduate from the Mama Bear. The Papa Bear is 1/2 pound of burger with a huge sesame seed but. The fires were beautiful as always. I finished it but didn't eat a thing till the next morning. That's a lot of ground beef/pork. Please, if you are into hamburgers, you have to try out this place.
Senor Fish, 4803 Eagle Rock Blvd, Eagle Rock CA, has been there for decades. They make incredible Mexican food with a neighborhood loyalty and royalty. There's one in South Pasadena across the original Trader Joe's, one in Little Tokyo at Alameda and First and there used to be one on Figueroa in Highland Park (That was my favorite one). Pictured here is my Fish Taco Sampler plate. I was so hungry and totally into a conversation I was having with my circuit bending guru and musician extraordinaire Joe Berardi that I forgot to take a shot of my plate. Sorry about that. It was absolutely delicious, fresh and sumptuous. I picked Halibut, Swordfish and Mahi Mahi. They were all delicious. I highly recommend this place. It' s not fancy but it's a so local the place beams like a smile.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Nichols is located at 4375 Glencoe Avenue, Marina Del Rey CA 90292, 310-823-2283. it looks like a chain restaurant but they make some good grub. The soup is a favorite amongst it's regulars but I was in the mood for a patty melt. It was the most "meaty" patty melt I ever had. I ordered it with cut fruit? It's a compromise. It was late.
Raku, 11678 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064, 310-478-3090, is pretty awesome. A group of us headed there Saturday night after our art opening. We were tired, hungry and thirsty. Beef Sashimi, Otokoyama and Onigoroshi Sake (they had Kubota but it wasn't in our budget), Okonomiyaki, Ginger Pork, Sashimi Plate, Bibimbau (spelling?), Flourless Chocolate Cake. The chef is Japanese-Korean and the cuisine is a celebration of this. It's a great place, a good date place and open late.