Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CiCi's in Tarzana

CiCi's, 18912 Ventura Blvd Tarzana CA 91356, is only open for breakfast and lunch. I was in the valley on a photo shoot and we took a break and came across this place. Excellent establishment. I ordered the CiCi's eggs benedict with portabello mushrooms. delicious! The potatoes were amazing. I can't wait to go back.

Monkey Forest Road Coffee in Oakland

Adventuring around Merrit Lake in Oakland, I came across the most Zen coffee shop I have ever been to. Monkey Forest Road Coffee, 3265 Grand Ave Oakland CA 94610. The coffee was delicious. Way beyond a cup of joe, this hot brew was the perfect was to end my stay in Oakland. The scone was especially delicious. The exterior and interior are inspired by a spiritual center and make for a very different, zen coffee experience. At first I thought it was going to be pretentious but the people are very cool and helpful and the coffee is excellent.

Lynn and Lu's Escapade Cafe in Oakland

Recently, I was in Oakland near Lake Merrit. A man-made lake in a really wonderful residential-retail area, an area with historic charm. I woke up early and took a walk around the "lake". It took me 90 minutes to get around this thing. It looks like it goes through around five distinct neighborhood. It's huge. When I finished, it was time for breakfast so I chose a really neighborhood joint called Lynn and Lu's Escapade Cafe, 3353 Grand Ave, Oakland CA 94610. I had a really wonderfully zesty and filling Huevos Rancheros. This place had wonderful charm.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Taka's Japanese Cuisine in Fort Bragg CA

Taka's Japanese Cuisine is located at 250A Main Street, Fort Bragg CA. So the way Kaoru and I found this place is that Dietmar and Anne of the Lost Coast Culture Machine in Fort Bragg highly recommended it to us. They spoke fondly of the head chef Taka, who was a sea urchin (uni) diver in Japan before coming to the US, marrying a Latina and settling down in Fort Bragg to raise a family. So naturally, I ordered uni amongst other sushi dishes. This place is very community driven. everyone seems to each other and they were very nice to us, although we clearly were from out of town. The fish was fresh and well prepared. Most memorable was the uni. It melted in my mouth and where most sushi places would have one piece over a bed a rice, Taka put two pieces on mine. How easily my heart can melt when you double the amount of uni.

Brandy Ho in San Francisco

Kaoru Mansour and I (Ear Diorama Ear) had a gig at the Luggage Store in San Francisco several weeks ago and for dinner, we found this place through Yelp, Brandy Ho, 4068 18th St, SF CA. It's next door to the famous bookstore, City Lights, in Chinatown. I think Kaoru and I were expecting the Cantonese or Mandarin style Chinese food prevalent in LA but here it taste more like a Szechwan style Chinese food. They use to MSG here. The food taste fresh. The green beans snapped and the won ton soup was perfect. There so many places to eat in SF Chinatown, thank goodness for Yelp and iPhone.

MO Chica in Downtown LA

Last week, I had the pleasure of dining with Carl Stone and Kio Griffith at the re-located Mo Chica, the Peruvian inspired Japanese cuisine. We ordered a lot of plates including some baby octopus, a tasty multi-meat hamburger, and even a quinoa delicious curry-esque bowl of fun. You have to walk in with an open mind, a hungry belly and with friends so you can share this explosion of combinations and sauces that will blow you a way. They are located at 514 West 7th Street, LA CA 90014

Mr. Ramen in Little Tokyo

Revisted Mr. Ramen two weeks ago. It's summer time so some cold noodles were in order; Hiyashi Chyuka. Look at this thing, it's so delicious with that sesame seed sauce. I love the al dente noodles and fresh cut vegetables. I recorded a song that was inspired by this restaurant many years ago called Rasta Ramen. The combo of Reggae music while you eat Hiyashi Chyuka is just so perfect.

Initi on Melrose

Initi is a Peruvian place located at 5870 Melrose Ave LA CA 90029. The interior is modest but the food is uber hearty. They have wonderful sea food dishes that will make you want to count sheep afterwards. The shrimp dish I ordered was so delicious. It's not a fancy place but it really delivers the punch. make sure you're super hungry.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Morinoya on Sawtelle in West LA

While at Mayumi Tanaka's opening at Balconi Cafe, I asked artist Kio Griffith if he could recommend a place for dinner and he recommended Morinoya just above Balconi, 11301 W Olympic Blvd #210, LA CA 90064, 310-473-3960. It was extremely delicious, what a find! I couldn't reccomend this place enough.

Mapaya in West LA

Several weeks ago, I went to artist Mayumi Tanaka's exhibition at Balconi Cafe. While hanging out in front, we noticed a new shop next door. Crepes! Mapaya is located at 11301 West Olympic Blvd, LA CA 90064, 310-237-8155.CREPES!!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Manhattan Bagel in Woodland Hills

This is a chain bagel place called Manhattan Bagel. It takes a lot of guts to call yourself Manhattan Bagel. This one is located at 20048 Ventura Blvd Woodland Hills CA 91364, 818-883-0166. It takes a lot of guts because most East coast transplants and visitors, who have partaken in a delicious fresh bagel from some place like Essa-A-Bagel for instance, will sneer at anyone claiming their bagel is as good as a NY bagel. I think this place is trying to make this type of claim. Well, it does fall short, predictably so. Fortunately, most of us get acclimated to a CA level of bagel, so we need to make the measurement with this ruler and not the NY ruler. If we do this, this place is not bad. It certainly hit the spot for me, 6AM on a Thursday morning, on my way to a photo shoot on the newly opened Metro Orange Line Extension. I asked for it toasted so it came quite crunchy, my thin and toasty Everything Bagel with cream cheese. I enjoyed it. That's all that really matters.
Mr. Baugette, 8702 E Valley Blvd, Rosemead CA 91770, 626-288-9166, is a Vietnamese-style sandwich shop. It's got a fast food chain ambiance, because it is. I ordered the Saigon Sandwich which was actually very delicious with the french roll, spicy meat and peppers. Is it the best Vietnamese-style sandwich I ever had? no, but it's good. They also make delicious fruit shakes as well. It's worth a visit.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

French Market Cafe in Venice

Went bike riding with friends a couple of weeks ago and we took a brunch break at the French Market Cafe, 2321 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice CA 90291, 310-577-9775. it was quite a wonderful place south of Venice Blvd. With plenty of outdoor seating, it was the perfect place to sit down and eat a meal while still being able to keep an eye on your bike. I can't seem to find my pictures of the food but they had an amazing onion soup that I thoroughly enjoyed with my mushroom and cheese omelet.

Moksha in Canoga Park

A decent Indian food outing with my co-workers during a tour of the new Orange Line Stations. For lunch, we stopped by Moksha, 7140 De Soto Ave Canoga Park CA 91303, 818-884-4770. It was a buffet style. I had thirds so I think it's all you can eat. My Mango Lassi was very delicious and combated the valley heat.