Friday, September 23, 2011

Blue Whale Jazz Club in Little Tokyo






Blue Whale Jazz Club is located at 123 Astronaut E. S. Onizuka Street, suite 301, LA CA 90012. I'm not sure if they call that Weller Court anymore? Last night, the Necks, an innovative experimental jazz trio from Australia played and I bumped into my friend Kio Griffith there who works a lot with Rocco who heads the Angel City jazz Festival, which this concert was part of. We decided to eat at the bar while the trio played what was an amazing set of improvised textures, beats and elegant cacophony. Here's what we ordered; Angus beef sliders called the Live Evil , Bitches Brew an amazing combo of cheese/mushrooms/garlic on polenta. I had the English Oatmeal-Stout, which was not too heavy but really flavorful and went well with the food. For dessert, we shared the Chocolate Lava Cake which has warm fudge in the center of the cake and once you fork into it, the chocolate oozes out.

Mas Malo in Downtown LA






Mas Malo is Malo's sequel. This one is located at 515 West 7th Street, LA CA 90014. For the OG's it where the other Clifton's Cafeteria use to be. The ceiling and paintings are still in tact. I didn't venture upstairs so I don't know what remains up there from the ole Clifton's. Malo's has a inventive Mexican/Central American menu. I ordered the Chicken Pozole (a spicy red soup with hommus) and one Beef and Pickle taco, which my friend Josh Southwick recommended. The food is made with fresh ingredients and cooked with a healthy spin. Even the fried taco was refreshing. I also had a Cactus Flower water to drink which was awesome. It reminded me of watermelon juice.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mayura in Culver City





My co-worker friend Gwendolyn arranged a bunch of us from work to try this Indian place on Venice yesterday. They had a lunch buffet for about ten bucks. The food was surprisingly good for a buffet.. We found out there are four chefs who cook the food everyday. Tandoori Chickens, Domas, curries, fantastic mint and coconut chutneys, spicy sauces and eggplant dishes. I had seconds. Mayura is located at 10406 Venice Blvd Culver City CA 90232. Most of us had to get back for the same meeting. It was funny watching those who made it to Mayura try and stay awake half way through the 90 minute meeting. I had a deep black coffee that morning so I actually did well for a change. You know, my favorite, Groundwork's Bitches Brew.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dans's Korean Gourmet Food at the Hollywood Farmer's Market






One of the great things about going to the Hollywood Blvd and Ivar Sunday Farmer's Market is to grab a brunch while you shop for great produce and goods. Also, Amoeba records and Hennesy & Inglas Bookshop is also there. At Amoeba, I picked up Momus' new EP and Alvin Lucier's groundbreaking "I am Sitting in a Room." At the farmer's market, I picked up some great ice cold pomegranate juice and went to Dave's Gourmet Korean Food. There's quite a selection to pick from but I went for the Korean Pancakes and dumpling combo. The Pancakes aren't like breakfast pancakes but rather
Pajon, a wonderful Korean fratatta-like delicious grilled and spicy comfort food. The dumplings were amazing with that crunchy outer fried shell and semi spicy meat and vegetables filling. There's something about sitting outside on the streets of Hollywood with all these people, enjoying the Sunday morning; urban picnic.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spice Table in Little Tokyo





Spice Table is located at 114 South Central Ave, LA CA 213-620-1840. We went for lunch and having done so, I think dinner is actually important to try out before I make any final judgement. The special was an Asian Sloppy Joe and my friend Angelene ordered the cheeseburger with the intention that we'd cut them in half and share them. The fries were crispy and thin and came with sides of ketchup and a spicy cream sauce. The sloppy joe was not sloppy at all but it was a good medium spicy and came on a delicious baguette. The hamburger, which was grilled in front of our eyes (we sat at the counter) was decent but nothing to write home about. I thought the grade of beef or the quality of meats would be exceptional but the overall lunch left both Angelene and I sort of underwhelmed. I guess we were hoping to be blown away. The lunch ran over $30 so our expectations were perhaps too high. I suspect the dinner menu might be of higher grade and so I'm willing to go back one of these days. This place has a lot of promise.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Messob on Fairfax Ave








On Fairfax, there are all these wonderful Ethiopian restaurants. I've been to three of them so far but last night I was treated to dinner at one of the places I'd never been. Artist Phung Huynh is a big fan of Messob and now I am too. We ordered both brands of beers to sample. They are quite different from each other so I recommend this sharing technique. We were both hungry so we ordered the Super Messob Exclusive dinner plate for two which included Doro Wot (stewed chicken), Siga Wot (beef strips), Yebeg Siga Alicha (a mild lamb stew), Kifto (finely ground lean beef), Tibs (cubes of select beef), Yatakilt Alicha (steamed peas and onions), Yemiser Wot (split lentil in red pepper sauce) and collard greens. We also had the Sambossa as an appetizer which is a like a fried knish with delicious lentils inside. The food was excellent. Wash your hands before you eat. There's a spongy like bread that you tear off and pocket scoop each food. No sppons or forks here, it's all right hand. It's a great design to bring a mouthful to your lips, no more, no less. We could not finish the Super Messob Exclusive so I have left overs in my fridge now. However, we did order dessert; Baklava with tea, Phung had coffee. We were so full we had to walk around the block before we got into our cars. What a great place!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

D and A Bar B Que in Compton







Just several blocks east of the Metro Compton Station is D and A Bar B Que at 1710 East Compton Blvd, Compton CA 90221, 310-637-8773. It's a honest shack aesthetic building with BBQ smoke frothing the streets. There's places to sit in the back it appears but I took my order to go. I got the 3 Rib lunch plate. The BBQ fell off the bone and the sauce was slightly tangy, smoky and had a strong kick to it. The cornbread was fantastic and the greens were tender and flavorful. The lunch special is suppose to be three pieces but they gave me four, which I really appreciated and finished while parked on the side of the road. Driving back to work was a challenge. It was a real pleasure to eat this BBQ. I'd love to go back and try the chicken. I was also told that they make the sweet potato pie and cake there. The food presentation is down home and heartfelt. I really appreciated this place.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kotohira in Gardena




Nostalgic to da bone, Kotohira is located at 1747 West Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena CA 90247, 310-323-3966. It's in a mini mall on the corner of RB and Western Ave. I ordered the Oyakodon and soba noodle combo. Oyako (parent and child) because of the cooked eggs and chicken in this broth with thinly sliced onions and some pickled ginger over steamed rice. My daughter ordered the tempura (batter fried shrimp and vegetables) and hot udon noodles. The interior is old school Japan with a lot of blonde wood, partitions between tables but there are these odd paintings and pastels of various non-Japanese looking individuals and animals. It's a combination of aesthetics worthy of the Museum of Jurassic Technology. The Oyakodon was very good. It's comfort food, hot and filling. The quality of the food reminds me of the corner cafes in Japan, where it's no-nonsense cooking to get you in and out briskly. My favorite element of this place is the Enka music. Enka is traditional Japanese post war pop. It's a hybrid music of Japanese folk, big band and Chanson. The singing resembles blues music but often it's in a minor key. I grew up listening to this style of music with my family and it creates a specific mood for me that goes very well with the food.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cafe Canela at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood CD






Cafe Canela at Plaza Mexico is located at 3100 E Imperial Highway Lynwood CA. They have a coffee they call Cafe de Olla which has cinnamon and brown sugar. I read they make the coffee in clay pots but I can't confirm if that's true or not. I forgot to ask. The coffee is delicious. I've had this at other places before and each maker has a different spin on it. Cafe Canela's version is super smooth and yummy. I was full from lunch so I didn't have a slice of flan or red velvet or cheese cake but I did order a little chocolate chip cookie. The people hear are very nice and understood my English unlike my earlier embarrassment. I read they have churros that are really good, homemade, maybe next time.

Rinconcito Poblano at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood







I heard about Rinconcito Poblano at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood on the Radio. I think it was Jonathan Gold? So when I saw Plaza Mexico off the 90 today, I was so happy it was already lunchtime. The address is 3100 East Imperial Highway, Lynwood CA. It's in the "food court", which is on the second floor in this corner of the humongous shopping center. Plaza Mexico is an attempt to bring you to the center of Mexico City, the zocolo. But the way it's laid out is a little hogg podge and you can get a little lost, which of course lends itself to the illusion that you're in another country. There are maps to help you find your way. I arrived in the little food court upstairs and found Rinconcito Poblano. Their displayed menu has pictures, so it should be easy to figure out what you want to order, unless you're moronic like me and ask them "What's your most popular food?". That question seemed to have lifted a barrier between me and them. "Popular" was a foreign word to them, atleast the way I was pronouncing it. They said no, they don't sell "popular". I should know Spanish, I grew up in LA. Luckily, a young woman came to my rescue and explained what i was asking and they said the "poblano", DUH? So I ordered the Milanesa (fried thin-thin skirt steak) Poblano (like a sandwich). When I sat down in the table next to the stand, I noticed that I was sitting where all the Latino's were sitting and the Asians were all sitting in front of this ice cream shop across the way that seemed to be the only shop in the food court run by Asians. I thought that was a little funny. My poblano was awesome. The toasted sesame bun was perfect. Not too much condiments fo you could taste the skirt steak, avocado, bread and this wonderful red sauce that comes as a side. There's also grilled onions and shredded cheese. It was very VERY good. I ordered a jamaica but they have sodas and a assortment of Jarritos too. The challenge of this place is finding parking. For its size, Plaza Mexico has tiny parking lots but it's worth the poblano.