Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Jeffe was having a bad day at work so we escaped in the afternoon to get a bite to eat. "Where we going?" he asked. At this point, he sort of trusts me, so he's asking more in anticipation than doubt. I honestly had no idea but we found our way onto the 5 so I was thinking Burbank or maybe Silverlake? Pause. "How does steak sound?" I murmured. Pause. "Yeah, that sounds so good" Jeffe said and off we went to Eagle Rock. Colombos is located at 1833 Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock CA 323-254-9138. I'd been there before to see a funky and hilarious art exhibit by Paul Zaloom. He keeps buying kwirky paintings at garage sales and then painting things into them to kind of pull them into a sort of dark comedy. It's really cool. Well, his paintings weren't up anymore but Colombos is super awesome. It has the Goodfellas vibe and serves a great steak. I ordered the Iron Steak with mash potatoes while Jeffe got the NY Steak. We had a full meal for two under $40.00. That's really a great deal. The Iron Steak (medium) was so tender. Jeffe asked for horseradish which was perfect. I was too happy with the meal and highly recommend this place. They also have live jazz in the evenings and a full bar.
Tribal Cafe, 1651 W. Temple St. LA CA 90026, 213-483-4458, is a down home, funky like the Meters, good vibe, healthy food, cool people, fresh brew coffee, incredible elixir and shakes kind of hole in the wall. They are also known for their live music and performances. When I was in there yesterday, they had artwork up salon style by students from Belmont High. You can't get more local than that. I once saw an amazing Hip Hop performance evening there that included Mike the Poet and some LA-based rap artists and musicians. I know Mike Whitmore performs there on occasion too. That's some serious local high aesthetics. For lunch, I ordered the Thai Chicken Salad with peanut dressing. It was huge! They put all these thin slices of juicy oranges and the greens were fresh and bouncy. I also sampled a kombucha brand I'd never seen before. The meal was huge and filling but very healthy. This is a great place just slightly away from the LA Downtown bustle, where you can get a quick meal, a hot organic coffee or just stop by and stay for while. Bring your lap top and update your Facebook or something.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
This was my first time at Happy Toms, although it's been open for 20 years. They are located at 1807 W. Sunset Blvd, LA CA 90026, 213-483-7077. I thought it was a hamburger place. It sort of looks like it from the outside but to my surprise it's a Mexican food place. I ordered the the Carne Asada Plate and it was a fantastic lunch. The meat is sauteed with limes and spices. It's cut up with roasted peppers and onions, perfect for little tacos. They gave me four hot corn tortillas which was perfect. I also ordered an ice cold Jamaica. The beans were also delicious but the green sauce was incredible with all the bits of roasted spices in it. Great lunch.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Yesterday, I was working at the Hollywood and Vine Station with photographer Tom Bonner and Mary Schwinn. We were photo documenting the subway portal in front of the W hotel. I had never been to this new hotel in Hollywood. What a great, up-scale, and hipper than hip place. There's also lots of public artwork around the building and very cool lobby. The men's bathroom on the lobby floor is pretty spectacular, for a bathroom. For lunch, we went across the street to Dillons Irish Pub and Grill, 6263 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood CA 90024. It just opened recently and was filled with people watching the World Cup, all rooting for Brazil. I think I counted 15 HD screens in that place. It was really loud too but they wouldn't turn it down in our little corner so we kept having to say "what?" during our conversation. I ordered the Traditional Irish Stew and two Oysters on a Half Shell. The Oysters were from a jar and placed on shells so they tasted so-so. It was just a $2 each I think. The stew however was awesome. I kept thinking it would be great with a cold glass of Bass but that didn't happen. Tom and Mary ordered a Veggie Wrap and a Hamburger which looked pretty good. Anyway, back to the World Cup. Brazil was playing North Korea. This was North Koreas first appearance in the World Cup in 40+ years and they were able to hang with Brazil 0-0 till half time. The second half was a different story and Brazil took it 3-1. North Korea looked pretty impressive though and it was heart warming to see how proud they were to be there.
Next door to the historic Cole's is a newer addition to Downtown LA, Baby Cakes, 130 E 6th Street LA CA, 213-623-3555. Baby Cakes is a vegan bakery that will kick your but. Everything here is awesome, fresh and filled with pure-addictive-evil joy. I ordered an ice matte which the server called liquid meth. With the drink and the cupcake, I was buzzing for about four hours. It made for an interesting second half at work for sure. The icing is so delicious. The icing on my cup cake was some of the best I ever had, light, not too sugary, filled with amazing tastes and depth. The cake was moist and filled with a very well thought out blend of flavors. This place rocks.
Is it Phillipe's or Coles? Who "invented" the French Dipped sandwich? They both claim to be but I'm not convinced either or. Cole's is a great place (too) and is located at 118 East 6th Street, LA CA 213-622-4090. The exterior and interior are old school and a little on the dark mystique side of design and lighting. The spicy fries Jeffe ordered were very spicy like those hot cheese puffs. I really liked it. The roast beef in the French Dip is so tender, more tender than Phillipes but I like Phillipes bun better. it's got more substance and girth. They both have a mustard which is an even draw (kinda sorta). Cole's is more of a bar environment where as Phillipe's is more of a deli environment. The vibe is totally different. In the end, they both have their merits and I'll continue going to both. I will say I am so appreciative that they revived Coles. it was closed for a really long time and went through some odd transitions but it feels like it's back up and doing really well.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I had a meeting yesterday at the W Hotel where the Hollywood and Vine Red Line station is. A co-worker recommended that I eat at Delphine, a French inspired restaurant off of Hollywood Blvd (actually attached to the W Hotel), 6250 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood CA 90028, 323-798-1355. It's a good thing I had a tie on, when I walked in, it felt a bit more upscale than I normally am used to. The staff was welcoming and I opted to sit at the bar, being solo. The menu was great and I hope to go again to try other dishes. I ordered the Escargot Persallade, Trout Meuniere and a virgin mojito (oh well, work, you know). The escargot was prepared well but not as tender as I had wished. I asked where they were from but the staff didn't know. However, the abundance of butter/oil/garlic left from this meal made for a very evil bread dip for me. Yes, I suppose it's not good for you but I would have hated see it go to waste and they brought a basket full of delicious breads. Besides, My friends and I are doing the LA Bike Coalition LA River Ride, 70 miles should burn most of this off. That proved to be the springboard for a great meal. The mojito was refreshing and cool. The trout came with sauteed potatoes, shrimps and capers. At first, I wasn't sure if I should eat this seperate from the trout but then I realized it's kind of a garnish or topping. I thought it gave the trout a Peruvian twist but I guess I just don't know enough about french cuisine. The trout was fresh and full of flavor. The topping made it unique and memorable. It turned out to be about $45 for lunch. It's a lot for lunch on a work day but once in a while is OK, right?
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Jeff and I eyed this new place the last time we were in Little Tokyo. Genkotsu is right across the street from the much touted ramen place, Daikokuya. Genkotsu is located at 314 E 1st Street, LA CA 90012. It's a very new place. The hour Jeff and I were there, they only had one other customer. We hope it will pick up soon because the ramen was awesome. I ordered the Genkotsu King Ramen, large bowl of hot soup, noodles, chashu, vegetables, etc. I loved the garlic in the soup. I really enjoyed the ramen. I drank the soup down to the bottom. Yum!
Speaking with artist and Artistic Director of JACCC, Hirokazu Kosaka, we were talking about good places to eat in Little Tokyo. He highly recommended Tamon, Miyako Inn, 2F, 328 E. 1st Street, LA CA 90012, 213-617-7839. Tamon is a new place and is on the second floor of the hotel, Miyako Inn, which I am also told has a great massage/sauna. I recruited my buddy artist Jeffrey James Mohr and off we went. The interior is very Japanese to me. Artwork on the wall, classic Japanese stalls, tables and chairs but what was nostalgic was the view. Something about having a thin horizontal view of the building across the street reminded me of so many places in Japan. I ordered the Sashimi Bowl and Jeff got the Teriyaki Salmon & Sushi combo. The fish was fresh and all of the side dishes were prepared very well. There's something old school, semi-high-end, and familiar about the food at Tamon. I quickly understood why Hirokazu recommended it. There's a wealth of knowledge behind every dish that you don't necessarily have in other places in Little Tokyo. I sensed that the decisions made in the kitchen were based not only on a refined knowledge of classic Japanese food but also a level of attention to detail not found elsewhere. Some places prepare food to only the chefs aesthetics and standards, like horse blinders. Other places prepare food to meet the common denominator, lacking personality. At Tamon, I sense the chef has prepared what they feel is exactly what the cuisine should be, a virtual bullseye in terms of regional tastes and presentation . I felt the staff was proud. I felt the chef really wanted us to enjoy and appreciate the meal. I especially enjoyed the chirasushi. This chirasushi blew me away on three levels. First and foremost, the rice was prepared exquisitely. There are hundreds of decisions/ options when preparing rice but you double that with chirasushi because you have to cool it off by hand fanning it and add things like vinegar. Tamon's chirasushi rice is slightly undercooked/firm so each grain is a pure taste experience even though it is bathed in vinegar. Two, the understated flavors of the toppings let you enjoy the depth of the rice. Three, the price is amazingly affordable considering the caliber of the chef's hand.