Showing posts with label culver city. Show all posts
Showing posts with label culver city. Show all posts

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Baja California Food and Themed Cocktails at The Corner Door (Culver City)

This is bit of a late post, but a couple of months ago I revisited The Corner Door in Culver City, which is under the Umbrella Hospitality Group (Melrose Umbrella Company, LONO). I hadn't visited since Beau DuBois moved up north, but The Corner Door is still going strong under the direction of Liam Odien behind the bar and Executive chef David Lespron, who previously worked at various sbe establishments like Katsuya and Michael Mina's now-shuttered XIV.

The food at The Corner Door can be described as a Baja California menu. We started off with some fresh Shigoku oysters from Baja, served with "soft Aztec herbs" and citrus, $4 ea
Corner Door

For the cocktail, they're doing an Astrology themed menu. The menu is designed like an astrology chart with each drink for the twelve signs.
Being the clarified milk punch fan that I am, I started with Age of Aquarius (Real McCoy 3, Appleton rum, almond, aloe vera, clarified, glitter - $15)
The Corner Door
It's got quite the presentation with the blue glitter! On the sweeter side, but again, I like milk punch so ..

Chef Lespron is doing some beautiful tacos with handmade tortillas here. We got the Fish tacos (wild Japanese yellowtail tacos, you can get this fried or grilled - this grilled one was amazing. $13 for two, but ours was plated separately). Is this not the most beautifully plated taco you've seen?
Corner Door
The taco was actually really good, better than what I had expected, from the tortilla to the texture of the yellowtail and the flavors.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Picnic LA: Fast Casual with a Fine Dining Flair (Culver City, CA)

Culver City residents and workers have a great new lunch spot. Picnic LA is a fast casual, produce-driven spot that's perfect for a quick lunch, takeaway orders, and now even deliveries. Opened by trio Brad Zions, Noah Ellis (who formerly worked in the Red Medicine kitchen), and Eliot Silver, Picnic LA is slinging healthy, vegetable-heavy menu that features produce and proteins from local farms and ranches.

Walking in, you'll see today's selections of entrees, salads, and more displayed on the counter

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Each item can be purchased individually, or you can get a combo. A combination of any entree with any 2 salads will be $14.50, $17.50 for entree and 3 salads, or get 3 salads with no entree for $12.
Picnic LA
The bread they use come from Lodge Bread Co, a new darling in the LA bread world, which is also made in the Culver City area.

Picnic LA

As I mentioned, the items here are produce-driven so there are a lot of vegetable items featuring local farm products like in this Citrus and fennel salad
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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Come for K BBQ, Stay for Uni and Bone Marrow at Hanjip (Culver City, CA)

There's a hot new Korean BBQ spot in town and it's in Culver City. Hanjip is the new restaurant from restaurateur Stephane Bombet and Chef Chris Oh (from Seoul Sausage).

Hanjip
While Chris Oh is mostly doing traditional Korean BBQ and other Korean dishes, he's elevating the soups and stews using bone marrow stock, perfecting side dishes with unusual ingredients, and using very high quality meats.

Hanjip
Most of the banchans are the traditional ones: kimchi, bean sprouts, fish cakes, and the like. There are pickled perilla leaves to eat with the grilled meat and some super fresh tomatoes, just lightly marinated.
Hanjip
I loved the dried squid probably the best.
Hanjip
You can get dishes a la carte or as a combo at Hanjip, and they use high quality ingredients that you can taste on your first bite of meat. For the pork dishes, you have to try the marinated pork shoulder ($26)
Hanjip

Roasted Cumin Spice Lamb ($22) - with spices similar to what you'll find at Xinjiang restaurants or at Feng Mao.
Hanjip

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Brunch at LA Spice (Culver City)

LA Spice is a catering veteran in Los Angeles, having catered some of the biggest events in town (and outside of town). The owner, LeAnne Schwartz, started missing the daily interaction with customers, though, and decided to open a small cafe in Culver City. LA Spice Cafe is mainly open for lunch and brunch (from 8am-4pm daily).

There's a cornmeal-crusted fried green tomato sandwich with jack cheese, avocado, pickled red onions on a demi baguette ($10.50)

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I added bacon to this to make it a BL-fried-T sandwich! Crisp, fresh green tomatoes encrusted in crispy cornmeal batter, add to that the creamy avocado for a satisfying bite.

The eggs benedict is served on housemade biscuits with oven roasted tomatoes, goat cheese and avocado hollandaise ($12.95)
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The avocado hollandaise is a nice touch and brings the dish together.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Rye-IPA Pot Pie and Infused Ice Spheres at Muddy Leek (Culver City, CA)

I was recently invited to dinner at Muddy Leek in Culver City, just a little ways away from the Helms Bakery area. 

The menu sounds promising and interesting (of course, there are a few dishes with leek in them). Many people would order and enjoy the Chicken fried bacon with tomato jam ($9), though I personally found it to be too much - too rich, especially when shared only between two people.
Chicken fried bacon

Instead, I liked the Cauliflower croquettes with house cauliflower kimchi ($8)
Cauliflower croquette
The "kimchi" isn't spicy or as pungent as your regular Korean kimchi, but a light pickled flavor.

If you haven't gone to Muddy Leek recently, you should know that they have a new bartender on the stick, who hails from Chicago, Sara Kay Godot. She's doing some exciting things including making her own infused ice spheres. I loved the H. S. Thompson ($12), made with spiced rum, Greenbar orange liqueur, lime, ginger, cardamom, and star anise.
cocktail

I liked my entrees better than the appetizers, starting with the Chicken pot pie baked in rye-IPA crust with braising greens and quince puree ($20)
Pot Pie
The filling was quite flavorful and I really liked the texture of the crust.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Deals and Specials!

Forget parties with a high cover charge, a lot of bars and restaurants are throwing deals and specials! Here's where to drink on the cheap for Halloween:

First of all, there's a Boos for Booze bar crawl along Washington Blvd in Culver City. Deets:

Crawl kicks off at A-Frame from 5-7pm
Serving: Furikake Kettle Corn and Heirloom Pickles - $6, The Omen (Rye Whiskey, Yellow Chartreuse, Imbue Petal & Thorn, Lemon) - $6

Crawl moves to Waterloo & City from 7-9pm
Serving: Scotch Egg with Piccalilli - $4, Waterloo Scary PubTail (Mezcal, Blood Orange, Serrano Chilies) - $6

Crawl culminates at The Corner Door, 9pm
Serving: Fried Chicken Sandwich - $7,  Halloween Punch - Ginger & Mary Ann (Bourbon, House Made Spiced Apple Cordial, Lemon, Lime, Ginger, Prosecco) - $6

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Or, if you'd rather stay put at one place and drink all day/night, Ricardo Zarate's restaurants are giving you open bar deals:
Picca. 9575 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035

9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m:
·         Welcome shot for those dressed in costume
·         $20 open bar to those who enjoyed dinner earlier in the evening
·         $25 open bar to general public
·         Includes: Pisco Halloween Punch, Peruvian beer, and house wines
Tricks: Costume contest, “Thriller” dance competition, and bobbing for apples  
Treats: 20% off New Year’s Eve Dinner, “Spooky Gift Bags,” and a surprise grand prize

Mo-chica. 517 West 7th Street, Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90014
                                                 
11:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
·         Welcome shot for those dressed in costume
·         $25 open bar: Pisco Halloween Punch, Peruvian beer, and house wines
2:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m:  Happy Hour- 20% off entire bill
Tricks: Costume contest, dance competition
Treats: Gift certificates and “Spook Gift Bags”
  
Paiche. 13488 Maxella Avenue, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

            2:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m:   $25 open bar with special-themed cocktails, beer, and house wine
9:00 p.m.-midnight:    666 Menu featuring 6 dishes for $6 each
Tricks: Raffle, Costume contest
Treats: One-hour mixology class with Mixologist Deysi Alvarez, one-hour cooking class with Ricardo Lopez, and more

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Thirsty Crow in Silverlake is also throwing a Dead Celebrity Party starting at 9pm with $5 "blood punch" and a costume contest

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Help Beat Childhood Cancer at LA Loves Alex's Lemonade on Sept 28

Summer isn't over yet and there are still more great food events coming up! One of my favorites is LA Loves Alex's Lemonade (see my recap from the 2011 event) which raises funds to fight childhood cancer and it all started from a little girl called Alex and her lemonade stand ... The LA event last year raised half a million dollars!

This year's event will take place on September 28 and is hosted by Chef Suzanne Goin and business partner Caroline Styne (AOC, Lucques, Tavern), and Chef David Lentz (The Hungry Cat) and brings in LA's superstars like Providence, Bestia, Animal, Trois Mec, Rustic Canyon and more. Mixologists, sommeliers, and wineries will also be there including Eric Alperin from Varnish, Silverlake Wine, Hitching Post and many more.

There will be guest chefs from out of town including Matt Acarrino (SPQR in SF) and Chris Bianco (from Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix!), Michael Tusk (Quince in SF), Jonathan Waxman, Adam Perry Lang, Brian Huston (Publican in Chicago), Giada de Laurentiis and more.

Oh, as a bonus, Neil Patrick Harris is an honorary committee member. He was there in 2011 so you might catch a glimpse of him again.

Here are the details of the event:
When: Saturday, September 28, 2013, 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Where: Culver Studios, Culver City, CA 90232

Tickets are $175 each and can be purchased here, or if you have the funds you can get the $1200 Meet and Greet tickets (includes ticket to chefs dinner on Sept. 27, access to a Top Sponsors reception prior to the event, and early admission including a behind the scenes tour of the event to watch the chefs prepping)
Children 12 and under get in for free with accompanying adults.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Learning Pie Making with Sherry Yard and Evan Kleiman

Evan Kleiman started "Pie a Day" on the KCRW Good Food blog a few years ago by making a pie a day for 100 days. That took off and culminated in an annual Pie Contest where home cooks compete. Sherry Yard is one of the best pastry chefs in LA. She's put in years at Spago but is now set to open her own bakery in Culver City. The two came together to give a pie making class at Culver City's New School of Cooking recently to raise funds for KCRW.

To be precise, they're raising funds for the 5th Annual Good Food Pie Contest, which will take place on Saturday, September 7 from 2-4pm at LACMA. If you want to enter, you can sign up before September 1 on the website, and the fee is $10 per entry! There's also a Kids and Vegan category.

I don't know a thing about making pie, but I can tell you what tips I learnt from the pie class! First off, the set up is pretty nice. A glass of sparkling wine greeted us as we were seated at the tables. There's a full table setting because we're not just watching a cooking demo, but will soon be eating three delicious pies while drinking more wine!

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The pie class was completely sold out, so it was a full house, but most can see what they're doing pretty clearly on the overhead mirror.
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First up is Evan Kleiman making her chicken pot pie (I will post the recipe tomorrow!)
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So Evan uses part butter and part duck fat for her pie dough, genius! She passed it around so we can smell it.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Smashburger Comes to Culver City

Smashburger is the brainchild of Tom Ryan, who has 20 years as a fast food executive under his belt, from Quizno's to McDonald's. Before all that, though, he had a PhD in Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry, and it showed in all his creative new ideas. You'll see his idea for Smashburger in just a bit.

Smashburger creates a special burger for different locations, and the one we have, the L.A. Burger, happens to be my favorite out of the few burgers I tried. The LA Burger combines the ethnic influences we have in this town with crispy wonton, fried egg, cilantro, cucumber, lettuce, tomato and Japanese steakhouse ginger dressing on a black and white sesame seed bun.

LA Burger
It may sound kind of weird, but this was a delicious and interesting combo. The price point is very friendly as well at $5.99 for a regular (you can also go "big" or "double").

So, back to Tom Ryan's idea and the name of Smashburger. The beef patty at Smashburger is literally smashed. They do this to create space so the heat can percolate up more evenly. The patty is then seasoned while searing.
We tasted the patty on its own right of the griddle and you get this really beefy taste.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Planned Parenthood's Cocktail Pairing at The Corner Door

Planned Parenthood is one of the more controversial nonprofit organizations, sadly. Each year, PPLA Food Fare receives their share of anti-abortion protesters in front of their event, even though the majority of PPLA's services (97%) include cancer screenings, STD treatments and testings, and contraceptive services.

PPLA Food Fare is the organization's biggest fundraiser of the year. It started 34 years ago with a simple cooking demo from Julia Child but now draws 1500 attendees to partake in good food and wine from over 100 vendors (see my recap of the 2011 Food Fare). The Food Fare is returning to Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on Thursday March 7th. There are two sessions. The daytime session rungs from 10:30am-2pm ($150) and the evening session, which usually have more restaurants participating than the daytime one, runs from 6:30-9:30pm ($225). You can buy tickets on their website or by calling (213) 284-3200x3700.

There are many great restaurants participating including Angelini Osteria, Drago Centro, the new Hart and The Hunter, Joe's Restaurant, and The Corner Door. Libations will be offered by The Beer Chicks, La Fenetre Winery, and more. To promote the PPLA Food Fare, I was invited to a cocktail paired meal at The Corner Door in Culver City. This new restaurant has become a very popular destination in Culver City, with waits up to an hour for a table at dinner time.

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The chef at The Corner Door is Luke Reyes, who moved from from Massachussetts to work for Ludo Lefebvre. Since then he had been Chef de Cuisine at Gorbals, then Michael Mina, and most recently, Tasting Kitchen.
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Behind the bar program is Beau du Bois. Beau has opened a few bars in the LA area, including MB Post.

The restaurant doesn't want to call itself gastropub because the term has been misused in LA lately. Instead, they emphasize that they offer a "laid back", ingredient driven menu.
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olives and rosemary
Bread is made in house, including the foccacia with olive, red onion, rosemary
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We started our pairing with Lettuces and Avocado, Bayley Hazen blue cheese, watermelon radish, peppercorn.
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The salad has a citrus dressing and was paired with King's Assassin (gin, blanc sweet vermouth, Salers, Cocchi Americano, Cointreau).

The King's Assassin is a play on Negroni with a light, bright, vegetal quality from the Salers, which pairs well with the citrus in the salad. This cocktail is nicely balanced, strong but easy to drink.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

LA Loves Alex's Lemonade Returns Sept 29

There are plenty of food charity events in LA, but LA Loves Alex's Lemonade is still one of the best out there with famous chefs arriving from all over the US to raise funds to fight childhood cancer.

The chefs and restaurants that participate in this event do not skimp, as evidenced by the raw bar with oysters, uni, and crab at last year's event

Michael Cimarusti from Providence was previewing his new casual restaurant, Connie and Ted's, with the best clam chowder I've ever had. I'm still waiting for this place to open so I can have this again!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Discover Fun New Cocktails at City Tavern (Culver City)

City Tavern is probably mostly popular for their craft beer selections, especially on the westside, and the fact that they have beer taps on some of the tables. The last time I went to City Tavern in Culver City I had focused on the beers and food, although the one cocktail I had was promising. Now, under the direction of Jeremy Back, City Tavern is coming out with some exciting cocktails.

Jeremy Back has not only played around with the cocktails, but beers as well. Instead of a slice of orange with your Hefeweizen, they now serve it with an orange popsicle!

Beer and Popsicle
Take turns drinking the beer and eating the popsicle, dip the popsicle into your beer. Whichever way you choose, you'll agree that this is so much better than an orange slice!

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Jeremy Back
There will also be one barrel aged cocktail on draft, which will change periodically.
The one on the menu when I visited was the Missouri Mule (aged 6 weeks): pure Kentucky whiskey, Applejack brandy, Campari, lemon juice, yuzu bitters ($15). We also tried the new barrel aged cocktail, which at the time had only been aged for two days. The new cocktail was made with Ruby Port, limoncello, lemon and lime.
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I'm a big port fan so I look forward to tasting the fully aged version of the port cocktail. Hopefully I haven't missed it!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Culver City Bar Crawl: Oldfield's Liquor Room and Bigfoot West

The 1933 Group is taking over Venice Blvd in Culver City with bars. This portion of Venice seems a strange place for bars, with nothing much around it but dry cleaners and liquor stores, but both Oldfield's Liquor Room and Bigfoot West were packed on a Thursday night.

I was recently invited to a "bar crawl" to visit both Westside bars for the first time. We started the night at Oldfield's, and we started fast and furious. The standalone building looks old and small from the outside, but the interior is spacious and sophisticated. We were greeted by a bowl of the Shrub Punch (Tru organic gin, Clemente Creole shrub, blackberry rosemary shrub, lemon, Perrier). Shrub, a liqueur made with vinegar, is making a big comeback recently and I've seen it appear on many cocktail lists from LA to NY to Chicago see this NYT article back in October). I, for one, am a big fan of shrub and loved this punch, but looking at how many cocktails we had ahead of us, I had to resist getting seconds.

The cocktail menu is divided into their own modern concoctions, and the classics. We started on the first list with the Speed King (English Harbour 5yr rum, walnut liqueur, Cynar, house chocolate stout liqueur)

Photo courtesy of Oldfield's
I liked the hint of chocolate in this otherwise strong drink. I wasn't sure what to expect from the cocktails here but they were surprisingly good.
Next we had the Peerless (Miller's Westbourne gin, apricot liqueur, apricot nectar, Fever Tree ginger beer). This was my favorite, and easy to see why: gin, fruit, and ginger. Aromatic, sweet, and refreshing.

from the Classics menu:
Delicious Sour (circa late 1800's): Laird's Strait Bonded Applejack, peach brandy, fresh lime, egg white
Photo courtesy of Oldfield's
This was a little too sweet for me, but it will certainly have its own fans.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summertime Clambake at Rush Street (Culver City)

This summer, Rush Street in Culver City brings in a bit of New England with a special clambake menu, including a chowder, prime rib, a special summer-y cocktail, and of course the clambake itself.

Clambake

I joined a recent media tasting, and started off our feast with a Roasted Corn and Crab Chowder in bread bowl ($7)
Corn and Crab Chowder
Forget clam chowder, sweet corn and crab in this creamy soup is the way to go. I loved this chowder, wished I didn't have to share!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lunching at Le Saint Amour (Culver City)

Le Saint Amour has been a bloggers' favorite ever since Chef Walter Manzke started consulting for this Culver City bistro. While I have yet been lucky enough to dine while he's in the kitchen, I was recently invited for lunch. It was a nice day so we sat on the patio, overlooking the beautiful city hall.

I had to order the Duck Confit Salad ($14) since duck confit and cherries sounded too good to pass up. Don't order this expecting a light lunch though. The duck confit salad at Petrossian comes with shredded duck confit integrated into the salad, but here the "salad" comes with an entire crispy duck leg along with arugula, cherries and hazelnut vinaigrette on the side.

Duck Confit Salad
They rotate around the fruit in this duck confit salad, and the PR rep accompanying me said previously they only used dried cherries. When I had it, the salad has both dried and fresh cherries, which I loved and balanced the bitterness of the arugula. The duck confit itself was well cooked: crisped skin and juicy, gamey flesh. The salad counters the richness nicely.

I only had a bite, but did enjoy the Croque Madame ($13) made with French ham, gruyere, bechamel, fried egg
Croque Madame

One of Le Saint Amour's co-owners/chef, Bruno, makes his own charcuterie: rillettes, pate, and terrines. We shared a plate of Pork Rillette, Venison Galantine with Pistachios, Country Pate, Persille in gelatin.
Terrine
The pork rillette is definitely my favorite, with its melt-in-your-mouth richness, but I also enjoyed the novelty of the venison with pistachios.
They serve a nice bread made by Bread Lounge, a bread artisan in downtown LA.
Bread

Because I needed a pick-me-up, for dessert I ordered the Cafe LiĆ©geois, made with vanilla ice cream, espresso, chantilly cream, chocolate ($8)
Cafe Liegois
Like an affogato on steroids? The cream and chocolate made this a rich and heavy dessert. Nothing wrong with chocolate and ice cream, but in terms of an afternoon pick-me-up, food coma wins over the caffeine here.

I still need to come for dinner when Walter Manzke is manning the kitchen (I hear it's on Friday nights), as I've heard it would be one mind-blowing experience, but if my lunch was any indication, Le Saint Amour is still a solid dining destination even when he's out.

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Le Saint Amour
9725 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 842-8155
www.lesaintamour.com
Le Saint Amour on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: this meal was hosted.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MoKo (Culver City, CA)

When Gyenari wasn't going in the direction they envisioned, the owners decided to shutter the restaurants and re-open as MoKo (Modern Korean), which takes the food in a whole new direction.

Duck and Foie Gras Dumplings
Pan fried duck and foie gras dumplings w/ sour cherry sauce ($12)

IMG_1296I was pleasantly surprised by the cocktails here. My favorite was the Thai Basil Cooler ($11): Thai basil, Damrak gin, St. Germain, lemon, and agave. The thai basil gave it a stronger aroma than your usual basil and blends well with the herbal notes of the gin. (PS. they have $5 drinks during "social hour" from 5-7 pm every day).

I also liked the MoKo Punch ($18 carafe, $40 bowl): soju, vodka, persimmon cinnamon tea, watermelon, pineapple. Perfect for a big party.
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Yes, they charge for "banchan" here ($7.50 for 3) but they're not your regular banchan. If you want your money's worth then skip the kimchi and radish, instead go with the Chiogga beets (sauteed with jujubes and apple smoked bacon), asparagus namul (barley, pea shoots, and crisped garlic), asian pear and kholrabi salad, lotus roots braised in honey, or purple eggplant namul (gochujang, green onions, and sesame).
Banchan
True, I wouldn't pay $2.50 for a bowl of kimchi, but $2.50 for a bowl of beets, asparagus, or lotus root is pretty cheap if you ask me. I know you've all paid your share of $8-12 beet salads.

While MoKo is not cheap, it wouldn't be fair to compare them to Koreatown places, as they do not serve traditional Korean food. As is the case with many restaurants, some dishes are better value than others. People keep complaining about the $9 for 3 shrimp dumplings here, but seems like I was the only one complaining about the $12 for 3 chicken wontons at Lukshon. In both places, the answer is simple: order wisely. Here are some of the dishes I enjoyed:
Raw scallops, crispy leeks, red chili jang ($11)
Scallop Crudo
From the series of crudo we tried, the scallop was perhaps my favorite (the hamachi was also very good). I loved the chewy texture and the red chili jang, while not that spicy, was flavorful.

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