Showing posts with label downtown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label downtown. Show all posts

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Sakana Sushi Lounge (Downtown LA)

by @discovering_LA

I recently visited Sakana Sushi Lounge in DTLA. It is located on 9th street just east of FIDM. Fortunately, Joe owns a lot of parking lots in downtown LA and I was able to find parking a block away from the restaurant. Sakana Sushi Lounge has a hip and modern decor. Effective use of wood, glass and color make for a classy interior. The dining room seating is a combination of comfortable tables and booths. Decorative steel chain curtains give window seat customers some additional privacy.

We started with deviled eggs.

The eggs were soaked in soy sauce and were topped with a nicely whipped mixture containing the egg yolks. The salmon roe on top gave it a nice presentation and boost of flavor.

The tempura cauliflower is the perfect dish for vegetarians. The cauliflower is coated with tempura batter and lightly fried. It is topped with sriracha aioli. The serving size is quite generous and this could almost make a meal for one.

A nice assortment of nigiri followed: hamachi, toro, uni, hotate, sake and kazunoko.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Pasta and More at Testa in DTLA (Los Angeles, CA)

I've been seeing photos of this one uni pasta dish from a new restaurant in downtown LA called Testa. I saw it on all the LA bloggers' feed that I just had to go try it! After all, I absolutely love uni.
I was invited to dinner at Testa, so of course I jumped on the chance.

We started dinner with some Hamachi crudo, orange conserva, champagne vinaigrette, yuzu kosho, fried shallot
Testa
This was a great start to our meal. The garnish did not overpower the delicate hamachi.

Our next appetizer is a heavier dish, that I had to order because I'm a corn fiend.
Crispy polenta, roasted yellow corn, shallots, garlic, tomatillo poblano, spiced aioli, cotija cheese ($12)
Testa
Bold flavors paired with this crispy polenta dish. A very satisfying and comforting plate and a fun fusion of Mexican street corn /elote with the Italian polenta.

Next is what we came for: Spaghettini, sea urchin, katsuobushi dashi ($23)
Testa

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Astro's Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (Downtown LA)

Doughnuts. We can't get enough of them. The popular DC-based Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is now open in downtown LA. It's been named one of the best donut shops in America, so of course I had to try them! And I tried quite a few of them ..
Astro Doughnuts

Astro's has a selection of three hot cake doughnuts that will be made fresh to order, and you don't want to miss these. I got the Nutella hot cake doughnut (but it was a tough choice between this and maple bacon).
Astro Doughnuts
You have to get one of these made-to-order donuts if you have time to eat in the store! Warm donut with melted Nutella. So good! I'm normally a fan of yeast donuts more than cake donuts, but this was an exceptionally good cake donut.

Made-to-order donuts aside, Astro's doughnuts are made fresh in small batches throughout the day, and their batter is never frozen. Look out for their special seasonal flavors, like this Chocolate Banana Daiquiri filled with banana custard
Astro Doughnuts

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Thai AYCE Brunch Picnic at So Long, Hi! (Downtown LA)

Brunch is all about indulgence, and there are quite a few bottomless mimosa brunches around LA, but what about bottomless food? How about some bottomless Thai food?
So Long Hi
So Long, Hi! in downtown LA started just that with their brunch picnic on Sundays. For those who aren't familiar, So Long, Hi! is the latest restaurant from David Tewasart (Sticky Rice, Side Chick) and Bryan Sharafkhah-Sharp (White Guy Pad Thai).

The picnic is $25 per person and it's an all-you-can-eat family-style affair, where the kitchen sends out food as it is prepared. The picnic menu will range from old favorites to off-the-menu specials. This is also a chance for the kitchen to prepare special dishes they don't normally serve on the menu and play around with their cooking. Either way, there will be more than enough food.

You may not expect it in downtown LA, but So Long Hi has a big sunny patio in the back that's perfect for a picnic.So Long Hi
We sampled some dishes that might be on future picnic menus, like the Thai beef jerky
So Long Hi
There were noodles and roti served with green curry.
So Long Hi

Friday, August 26, 2016

Simbal is the Vietnamese Izakaya You Need to Try (Los Angeles, CA)

Simbal is a bit of a sleeper gem in Little Tokyo, which opened last summer and has since gotten plenty of critic accolades. The space is tucked away in Little Tokyo mall, but it's worth finding the place for Chef Shawn Pham's truly wonderful Southeast Asian food.

Simbal has been dubbed a "Vietnamese izakaya", so the small plates menu certainly has plenty of dishes that are meant to accompany drinks, like the Yin's wok fried seasoned nuts, anchovies, seaweed ($5)
Simbal
Chef Shawn Pham is doing some fun takes on Vietnamese classics, like he does with the Banh mi salad, with pickled daikon and carrots, Vietnamese sausage, head cheese, cucumber (banh mi, low-carb style?)
Simbal
Chef Pham has worked in some powerhouses such as the shuttered Sona, Craft, and The Bazaar, and Simbal's menu marries his fine dining experience with his four years in Vietnam. You'll see this in dishes like the beef tartare, larb seasoning, served with a puffy sesame bread.
Simbal

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Fritzi DTLA: A Game Changer in the Arts District

One of the newer restaurants I was excited to try was Neal Fraser's new Fritzi in DTLA's arts district. I've been seeing a lot of instagrams of their rotisserie chicken, and most importantly, waffle tots, aka potato waffles.
Fritzi
Yes, waffled tater tots. Get it with cheese, always.

The potato waffles can be ordered as a side, or you can get them with an order of the rotisserie chicken
Fritzi
You can order the rotisserie chicken as 1/4 chicken for $15 or 1/2 chicken for $19, and it comes with your choice of fries, tots, or potato waffles, and a choice of vegetables of the day. You can also order one of their dipping sauces starting from $0.50 and includes options like green harissa, black garlic aioli, Louisiana aioli, or Vermont beer-cheddar (I love the harissa).
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I typically don't order chicken, especially chicken breast, but that's because many times restaurants make them too dry. That won't happen with Fritzi's rotisserie chicken, though, with its perfectly tender and juicy meat.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Thai-Inspired Poke at Okipoki (Downtown LA)

If you hadn't noticed, there's been a lot of poke shops opening in LA last year. I mean A LOT. I love poke and all, but some point you think to yourself, do we really need another poke place? Among all these, it's great when you encounter one that does things a bit differently. Mix it up a little.
Okipoki in downtown LA does just that, in my opinion. Instead of the usual traditional poke bowl (they have that, too), I believe the point of Okipoki is the way they infuse other cuisine's flavors into it. The chef is Thai, so you'll see some Thai influences in some of these poke bowls.

I started lunch with the Nani Moana Shooter (uni, tuna tartare, scallop, roe, creme fraiche, $6) - a great bite filled with my favorite things.

Okipoki

Another appetizer: Shrimpin Ain't Easy (shrimp, masago, nori, togarashi, hawaiian roll, $4.50)
Shrimp Roll

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ramen Champ is Back with New Owner and Revamped Menu

by guest blogger @iam_robot

A few weeks after closing for a much needed “vacay”, Chinatown Far East Plaza’s ramen joint Ramen Champ will reopen with new owner and new menu on October 2nd.
Yoshimasa Kasai, former director of Ramen Yokocho Festival and famed founder of Ramen Iroha, took over the shop from one of Eggslut co-owners, Alvin Cailan, and would bring his vast experience (winning 5 Tokyo Ramen Championships among others) to this already popular noodle shop.
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Alvin Cailan will stay on board as consultant while Kasai will keep the outlook of the shop, which includes a Robot Ramen interior mural by New York artist Mike Houston. IMG_1603
The tiny soup noodle joint started earlier this year as a partnership between Eggslut co-owners Alvin Cailan & Johnny Lee along with Men-Oh-Tokushima Chef Nathan Asamoto. Kasai revamped the entire menu and would start with 3 different bowls of ramen. Tonkotsu Ramen will be the main star with noodles, chashu, mushrooms, green onions and sesame oil; Tonkotsu Tan Tan Men will be the Chinese fusion flavor with noodles, greens and a Sichuan peppercorn paste; and Vegan Ramen will be the healthier options with spinach noodles and broth made with kombu & dried shitake mushrooms.

Last weekend, I had the chance to taste the broth for the Tonkotsu Ramen and a full bowl of the Tan Tan Men.
Tonkotsu Ramen
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I was quite speechless when I tried the Tonkotsu Ramen broth, thought it was the most savory broth. It was rich but it didn’t feel overwhelming or overly salty, just felt right with the medium soft noodles and strong toasty flavor from the sesame oil.

Friday, July 31, 2015

New Cocktails and Old Favorites at The Factory Kitchen (Downtown Los Angeles)

I recently returned to one of my favorite Italian restaurants in LA, The Factory Kitchen in downtown, to try out the new cocktail menu from bartender Andrew Gustafson (you can read me gushing upon my first visit to the restaurant here).

The Factory Kitchen tries to change their cocktail menu seasonally. I was running late so my friend was already having this season's best seller, the Mezcali with Xicaru mezcal, lemon, serrano, muddled tomatoes, and strawberry. It's easy to see why this drink sells so well, since not only has LA been a big spicy cocktail kick lately, this was a well balanced drink that's also not too sweet, with a more complex aspect thanks to the tomatoes.

I started my tasting with a DT-LAst Word (chamomile infused Slow Hand white whisky, Galliano, Maraschino, lemon, $12)

The Factory Kitchen

As the name hints, this drink is their version of the Last Word. Slow Hand white whiskey is an unaged whiskey from Greenbar Distillery in downtown LA. Andrew infuses it with chamomile tea; as you can see below, the bottle on the left with the yellow-ish liquor is the one infused with chamomile. I tried it by itself also and it had a really nice aroma - I'm partial to tea cocktails so I really liked this one.
The Factory Kitchen

Vinny's Backside (Amaro Meletti, lime juice, ginger beer, rosemary, $12)
The Factory Kitchen
A riff on a mule, but this drink has everything I love: amaro, ginger beer, and rosemary. I can drink this all day.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spring in Provence at Kendall Brasserie (Los Angeles, CA)

by guest blogger @btsunoda

Taking a staycation can be a unique way to try a restaurant that you wouldn’t ordinarily visit. While on a staycation, consider changing your eating habits and wander outside of your hood. Why not take the opportunity to mimic something that you would experience in another country?

Kendall’s Brasserie is the ideal place to have a transportive experience to France without spending the money for travel. As in true brasserie form, the bar is the center of the restaurant; the French antiques that adorned the walls made me forget that I was only miles away from home.

From now until the end of May, Kendall’s Brasserie is featuring “Spring in Provence”. This special event is part of their “Passport to France” series where executive Chef Jean-Pierre Bos takes guests through a virtual culinary tour through France. Recently, I was able to preview some of the items that will be served.

Housemade albacore tuna confit is the centerpiece of their Ni├žoise salad. 
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They add Boston lettuce, haricot vert, tomatoes, potatoes, chopped eggs, ni├žoise olives and toss the ingredients with  a shallot vinaigrette. The fresh albacore confit made me realize how tasty tuna can be. Farmers market quality ingredients allowed the salad to shine.

Tomato tarte tatin consisted of tomato confit, basil and parmesan.
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Most tarte tatin crusts are similar to a pie or a quiche in appearance. Their version was unique because the bottom of the crust was very thin and super crisp. Tomato lovers will enjoy this dish.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ray Garcia Opens BS Taqueria in Downtown LA

It was six years ago that I first had Chef Ray Garcia's braised tongue with tomatillo and breakfast radish, back when he was starting out at FIG. Now, you can have that same amazingly tender tongue on handmade corn tortillas (made with nixtamal) at his newly opened B.S. Taqueria in Downtown LA.

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Also not to be missed is the clams and lardo taco, topped with garlic chips.
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Surf and turf? The lardo adds a wonderful richness but it's the flavor of the clams that shine through. Add to that the crunchy garlic chips.
There are also three great salsas available on the tables, but these tacos were already so flavorful I found I didn't need to add anything extra.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tasting Through Umami Burger's Core Menu

Umami Burger may have a new burger each season like the vegetarian caprese burger last year, but at the heart of it are their core burger menu. To bring back the focus on this core menu, Umami Burger on Broadway in downtown recently invited bloggers for a tasting menu of the core burgers, paired with a variety of drinks (remember, the Broadway location has a full bar since it used to be Umamicatessen). Nine courses, all paired with a beverage.

To start with were the sweet potato fries and onion rings, along with the "secret menu item", cheesy tots. The tots are made with potatoes rolled in parmesan and cheddar, then covered with panko crust.

Umami Burger
The appetizers were paired real sugar Mountain Dew to balance out the salt. The cheesy tots, as you can imagine, were everyone's favorites and were gone in seconds.

Course 2: Truffle Burger (housemade truffle fondue, truffle glaze, truffle salt, truffle aioli)
Umami Burger
So much truffle needs to be paired with a big, robust beer, and Umami chose the Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout. It's been a while since I had Umami Burger and they still had that nicely cooked patty - pink in the middle - and the iconic griddled Portugese-style bun. Yep, still good.

Course 3: Manly Burger (bacon lardons, beer cheddar fondue, smoked salt onion strings, umami ketchup, mustard spread)
Manly Burger

A messy burger, but definitely worth getting your hands dirty! I love the cocktail that this was paired with as well:  Maple Bacon Old Fashioned (bacon-washed Evan Williams, maple syrup, orange bitters, garnished with house-made candied bacon). Because bacon.
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Happy Hour at The Factory Kitchen (Downtown LA)

One of my favorite Italian restaurants, The Factory Kitchen in downtown LA, has started happy hour. The happy hour is on Monday-Thursday from 5-7pm and offers a variety of small plates, classic cocktails, and wines.

Among the food offerings was the roasted bone marrow with foraged mushrooms and herb salad for $11. There's certainly nothing to complain about when you have bone marrow for happy hour!

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The cocktails are only $8 each and includes choices like a well executed Boulevardier. This cocktail, invented in 1927, combines bourbon, campari, and sweet vermouth.
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The Factory Kitchen has an excellent sommelier in their Director of Wine, Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi, so don't skip over the wine offerings. Lambrusco is still a pretty rare find, but they have one (Cleto Chiarli) for $7 a glass.
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Monday, February 23, 2015

The Art of Charcuterie Class at Cafe Pinot

Ever wonder how to make prosciutto? Or what exactly a rillette is? Wonder no more, because Patina's Cafe Pinot in downtown Los Angeles is holding a monthly charcuterie class with their chef, Joe Vasiloff. Every month's class is different and I attended the one in February where we made duck breast prosciutto and duck rillette.

Making charcuterie means curing meat. And curing means you need curing salt. Vasiloff uses this salt recipe full of herbs that he learned from Chef Thomas Keller when he worked at Bouchon in Las Vegas and Beverly Hills.

Art of Charcuterie
Duck legs are cured in the salt for hours then confit-ed for the duck rillette. This is a hands-on class where you'd have to trim duck fat and learn how to wrap meats for hanging.
Art of Charcuterie

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sushi Rolls at KazuNori (Downtown LA)

I'm already a fan of Sugarfish since it gives you access to good, affordable sushi. Even there, the hand rolls have a special place of their own since Nozawa uses a special seaweed that's really crispy - they always tell you to eat it immediately since the seaweed gets soggy fast. Now, the same company opened up KazuNori in downtown LA, specializing just in these hand rolls.

Just like Sugarfish, the menu is more or less set - you can get a set of 3, 4, or 5 hand rolls. Hand rolls are even cheaper, and the set of 5 hand rolls are only $17.50! I thought I'd be hungry after, so I ordered an extra one, but honestly I was quite full ...

KazuNori

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Omakase at Q Sushi (Downtown Los Angeles)

One of the latest high end sushi restaurants to open in Los Angeles is Q Sushi in downtown. It's a quiet dining experience: he interior is stark, but certainly well thought out and elegant. The man behind the operation is Chef Hiroyuki Naruke who ran a small sushi bar in Tokyo but moved to Los Angeles after the tsunami in 2011.

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When you arrive, the only menu you'll be given is the drink menu of wines and sake. Your dinner will be the chef's choice omakase.
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Q has been called the most traditional, "real edomae" sushi in LA, which focuses on the flavors of the fish rather than the rice or condiments (says the J Gold). I suppose it's true that LA has had a fascination with sushi rice since the days of the Sushi Nazi.

Waiting for my perpetually late LA friend, my sushi chef (not Naruke) entertains me by showing me their wasabi from Shizuoka. Just like the restaurant, chef Naruke is a quiet man and he oversees everything even when he's not making the sushi.
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Finally my friend arrives and our meal starts with a light, bright sashimi of Fluke
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 Followed by a fattier Baja California Swordfish with caramelized onion dressing and soy sauce
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The touch of the dressing and sauces here are delicate, not a drizzle more that might overpower the fish.

Next: Japanese red snapper in homemade black sesame paste, garnished with gold flake
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The first time I've had sashimi with black sesame, and I certainly enjoyed the unusual combination.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Chef Heralds Summer at Cafe Pinot (Downtown LA)

Downtown's Cafe Pinot has announced Joe Vasiloff as their new head chef. Chef Vasiloff has worked with the Patina Group since 2011, most recently opening the Wine Bar at the Hollywood Bowl. Before that, he's also worked at Bouchon and Animal.

I recently went to a lunch tasting, sampling some of his menu offerings.
Soup du Jour: Chilled heirloom tomato soup, bluefin crab salad, old bay and cheddar crackers

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Burrata salad, mixed stone fruits, honeycomb, mint, smoked sea salt, mache, marcona almonds, candied lime
Burrata salad
There are quite a lot going on in this burrata salad! I particularly loved the addition of the honeycomb, and the almonds provided a nice texture contrast. I think I might start putting honeycomb on my salads ...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Build Your Own Burger at Nick + Stef's

Nick + Stef's in downtown LA has started a Craft Your Own Burger experience, available daily after 5pm at the bar and patio areas only.

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You can choose your own 8 oz patty, toppings, cheese, and sauces, but being a Patina Group restaurant, there are some wild card options like bone marrow and mac n cheese! I, of course, had to make one with bone marrow. You can see the options below:
BYO Burger Menu


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