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

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

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.
IMG_1600
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
IMG_1604
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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

La Tostaderia: A Cut Above

by guest blogger @iam_robot

There’s more that meets the eyes to this tiny booth inside Grand Central Market than its namesake tostada – imagine everything you like in a seafood and amplify that sea flavor with fresh salsa verde, chipotle cream sauce, or crème fraiche. I saw the menu and I was dancing with joy! Situated strategically near the entrance and across from Belcampo Meat, Fernando Villagomes (of carnitas fame Las Morelianas) and Chef Sandra Felix (formerly Campanile) are serving up modern ceviche, tacos, and tostadas utilizing traditional recipe and fresh seafood from Baja and the Pacific Coast.

Expect to see thick slices of halibut, wild Mexican shrimp or grilled octopus swimming in a sea of yuzu juice, verde, or habanero sauce. Progressive yet refined and traditional in flavors. Other than the bright neon mermaid sign, there’s nothing in this stall that’d suggest this is a ritzy joint. Instead, the vibe here feels like your favorite cafeteria with its black and blue ceramic tiles, chalkboard menus, and 12 counter chairs. Bring a friend and grab a Michelada from Las Morelianas, I think you could have a memorable Mexican feast for under $30. Here are a few of my favorite things from the menu:

Sarandeado Shrimp Tacos: sautéed shrimp, seasonal veggies, salsa verde and chipotle cream sauce

IMG_1005
Generous serving of sautéed shrimp contrasts nicely against the bright salsa verde and sweet caramelized onion. The chipotle cream sauce adds tang and cooling underneath. Definitely one of the more delicious tacos I’ve tried in LA.

Corvina Fish Tacos: corn tortilla, avocado purée, pork cracklings, salsa verde, and pickled red onions.
IMG_0998

Another winner! Fish is skillfully fried to golden brown perfection while the zing of the salsa verde meshed delightfully with inherent sweetness of the avocado puree and red onions. I appreciate the addition of pork cracklings here, it adds saltiness and crunchiness to the party.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Udon and Uni at Marugame Monzo (Downtown LA)

When Marugame Monzo opened in Little Tokyo, I was excited for two things. First, the handmade udon means I don't have to drive to Torrance for good udon! Second, two words: uni udon.

Yep, one of the signature items is the Sea Urchin (Uni) Cream udon ($15.95)

Marugame Monzo
Perfectly chewy udon, creamy sauce, uni. I mean, what's not to like? During my first visit with a couple of friends, we barely tried anything else because we all wanted to order this.

The glass windows of the kitchen let you see the udon making in action.
IMG_7649
Trust me, having freshly made noodles of any kind (soba, pasta, and yes, udon) makes a huge difference!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

ChocoChicken (Los Angeles, CA)

I’ve been curious about ChocoChicken since it opened. Chocolate fried chicken? Yes, it sounds weird, but since it’s hard to just imagine what that would taste like I had to try it myself. They’ve taken over a pretty big space in downtown that used to be Corkbar.
IMG_7883
The chocolate chicken was actually more … “normal” than I had expected. Yes, I could taste a bit of the rich, bitter chocolate flavor, but for the most part it was fried chicken. Fleischman wasn't going for a sweetness by adding chocolate, but more complexity with bittersweet chocolate.
IMG_7878

Monday, October 13, 2014

Architectural Tour of Downtown Los Angeles with LA Conservancy

Did you know that downtown Los Angeles actually has some cool architecture and historic buildings? And did you know that you can take a tour with LA Conservancy to see them?

IMG_0434

I took this tour with a group of bloggers one Sunday morning. We had a very enthusiastic tour guide (who is obviously a Hapa as you can see from his t shirt).
IMG_0440

Before we started walking he explained the two main architectural styles we will see. One is the Beaux Artes style which we could see with the Millennium Biltmore hotel nearby. The beaux artes style buildings feature three horizontal layers and typically pay tribute to the Greco Roman empire through their accents and decorations.
DTLA architecture 
Not the Biltmore, but a typical beaux artes style nonetheless.

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.

IMG_6414

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


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mo-Chica's $27 Tuesday OG Tasting Menu

When Mo-Chica was just a stall at the Mercado La Paloma, Ricardo Zarate would do special tasting menus on Tuesdays. They've no revived the Tuesday tastings at the downtown Mo-Chica. The "OG Tasting Menu" offers 5 courses for just $27! A good deal, right?

The menu changes but when I went the 5 courses started with an Heirloom tomato salad, crispy red quinoa, fresh mozzarella, huacatay pesto

IMG_8177
A fun Peruvian twist on the cliche tomato mozzarella with pesto

The next course is a Ceviche trio:
tuna sashimi, yuzu miso, green shiso, mountain yam
Diver scallop, aji amarillo aioli, wasabi, tobiko
Hamachi, jalapeno ponzu, nori lettuce, garlic crisp
ceviche trio
I'm glad they included a ceviche course in the tasting menu, because what's a visit to Mo Chica without some? Because it was more unusual to find, my favorite here was the scallop. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Pre-Game Beer and Street Food at The Mixing Room at L.A. Live, Starts October 7

The Mixing Room at the JW Marriott at LA Live will outfit their outdoor space with a beer bar, serving a rotating selection of local craft beers and street food before and during athletic games at the Staples Center. You can grab a bite and a brew before heading to the game, or stay and watch the game on their large screen.

IMG_8951
The people from Golden Road Brewery is helping build the bar, so about 75% of the beer lineup will consist of Golden Road beers.
IMG_8950
The bar wasn't ready yet, so we had their canned beers
IMG_8949Each week on game days, they will serve one particular "street food" item paired with a beer (other beers will be available, but each week will feature one particular brewery), launching on October 7 with the Kings game.

Here is the schedule and some preview of what they will be serving:

October 7: Korean Taco (Korean shortrib / asian slaw / garlic red chili sause)
IMG_8956
October 14: Mahi Mahi Ceviche Fresno pepper / cilantro / fresh lime / vegetable chips
IMG_8954

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

CAN CAN Cleanse: A Juice Cleanse With A Soup Twist

Are you into the juice cleanse trend? I've tried a juice cleanse for a day before, and while I liked the taste of the juices and didn't really mind not eating for a day (I don't know if I could do it longer), I did miss having something savory and salty. Well, CAN CAN Cleanse may have solved that problem. The cleanse substitutes a warm soup for one of the juices.

IMG_8785
They sent me a one day cleanse to try, which consisted of eight glass jars of juice, tea, and soup. The juices are delicious, just as good as the other juiceries. The lime and cayenne master cleanse is sweeter and less spicy than the one I've had at Kreation before, this cleanse starts with a lemon lime juice, and instead of either lemon or aloe water, they gave me chamomile mint tea and watermelon juice. Warm chamomile tea would be my preference over water any time.

Of course, there's also almond milk and green juice. You know the juices are fresh because of the separation that naturally occurs.
IMG_8786


soupThe soup I got is the zucchini basil soup. It's healthy and not that creamy, but it still curbed my cravings for savory things during the cleanse. The soup is seasonal and the newest selection is celery root sage soup. The new tea is rosemary nettle, which sounds pretty exciting to try.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Drago Centro's Latest Cocktail Menu and Bartender

IMG_7915

Yes, there has been a lot of changes in the bar management at Dragon Centro, but the man in charge now has actually been there for a while. Jason Eisner came to work at Drago Centro because he was inspired and wanted to work with Jaymee Mandeville. Now he's taken his experience and designed a fun menu for Drago Centro.

He enhanced whiskey sour with apple nectar in the namesake Drago Sour (bourbon, fuji apple nectar, lemon, maple syrup, egg white,  angostura - $10)
IMG_7912

One of my favorites was the Italian Roots ($14) with cognac, ciaciaro amaro, demerara syrup, chocolate bitters, angostura, vanilla bourbon extract, fernet branca whipped cream
IMG_7917
This is Jason's version of an adult root beer. It smells just like root beer and tastes like a less sweet, more complex version of root beer. And that fernet whipped cream? So much awesomeness.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Artisan House (Downtown LA): New Executive Chef, New Menu

Artisan House took over a large corner on Main St, with its market on one side and the restaurant and bar on the other. While I've walked through the market, I haven't heard much about the restaurant until I came in to try it myself.

IMG_2480

Chef Maureen d'Ath (formerly of Cecconi's) recently took over the kitchen in this Mediterranean-slanted restaurant, with dishes like Roasted cauliflowers in turmeric, harissa, and pinenuts ($9)
IMG_2489
More staple Mediterreanean appetizer: Couscous with raisins, currants, almonds, harissa ($10)
IMG_2492
Yes, there are quite a few items with harissa, as expected of a Mediterranean restaurant, but I'm not complaining.

My favorite dish was the Chutney-stuffed, Prosciutto-wrapped quail, parsnip purée, endive, cranberry and walnut chutney ($18)
Quail

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Industriel Urban Farm Cuisine (Downtown LA)

This new restaurant in downtown LA has a rather confusing tagline: "urban farm cuisine"? It doesn't prevent them from being completely packed during Dine LA Restaurant Week though. The tagline is supposed to embody the fact that they're in downtown but uses local farm-fresh ingredients (though many other downtown restaurants do these days, without the tagline).

IMG_0726
The decor is for the most part stark and minimalistic, but they have this cute installation of this "chandelier" made of honey bear jars over a bathtub!
IMG_0733

The menu was divided into different price levels: $11, $14, and $19 (and a couple of "market price" options). The restaurant's website says they serve Provencal French cuisine, but there were only a few Provencal specialties on the menu (like bouillabaise and barigoule) and many other influences from Italian to Russian.
We started with a Crispy soft poached egg, speck, asparagus, mustard truffle dressing ($14)
IMG_0737

IMG_0746
The crispy poached egg was nice, though I wished the dish had an earthier, bolder flavor component. I also thought this should've been in the $11 section.

Quinoa, roasted mushrooms, pecan, kale, caramelized shallot vinaigrette ($11)
IMG_0740

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fleming's Sunday Prime Rib Dinner, Now $29.95 Until Sept 2

The Sunday Prime Rib dinner at Fleming's Steakhouse is typically $37.95, but this summer they've decided to offer it for only $29.95 until September 2nd. After trying it for myself and seeing how much you get for $29.95, I can say it's a pretty darn good deal! Here's what you get for it: salad, prime rib and a side, and dessert.

First off you get a full sized portion of your choice of salad.
There's THE WEDGE with crisp iceberg lettuce, grape tomatoes, red onions and crumbled blue cheese

IMG_0875

Or if you don't want all that creamy dressing, then get the FLEMING'S SALAD with candied walnuts, dried cranberries, tomatoes, onions and croutons
IMG_0878

The prime rib was rubbed with dry spices and served with three different sauces
Prime Rib
Not only  was the prime rib huge, I honestly thought the prime rib was better than my last visit to Lawry's. Tender, cooked to a perfect medium rare pink, and I had enough leftover for a light lunch the next day.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fun with Americana Nostalgia at Towne (Downtown LA)

It isn't often I walk into a new restaurant with no expectation and come out wowed. That happened recently to me at the new Towne in downtown LA. I didn't know much about it coming into the media tasting other than that they make their own twinkies, but left pretty impressed. Towne is a large elegant restaurant in the WaterMarke Tower in the South Park district of downtown LA. The bar to the left and the pastry case near the entrance is Bottega Louie-esque, without the high ceilings and the loudness (at least so far).

IMG_0469

The warm pretzel bread, complimentary for the table, served with mustard butter made a great first impression.
IMG_0474

We started with some appetizers including the Kanpachi Tacos, avocado, hijiki, aji amarillo, creme fraiche ($12)
IMG_0478
While you can't see if at first glance, the crispy shells were filled with chunks of fresh kanpachi.

The head barman here is Jason Bran, who has designed a cocktail menu ranging from little twists of some classics to some fun, completely out-there cocktails. More on that later, as we first started on the tamer side with Eastern Mule: Russian Standard Vodka, lime, house 5-spice ginger beer ($13).
IMG_0475

The hint of the spices were subtle but unmistakable.

Another nice refreshing classic: Genesis Collins with Beefeater 24 gin, grapefruit, honey, soda, "invisible touch" ($13) - not sure what the invisible touch was..
IMG_0477


Chicken Liver Popcorn, yogurt, zatar ($11)
IMG_0488
If you like chicken liver and pates, you would certainly love these deep fried goodness (one of the other bloggers at the table just could not stop eating them)!
On the other hand, if you don't like the taste of liver, avoid this. Just because they're deep fried doesn't mean they've lost that liver taste!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Soleto: Solid Italian and Housemade Limoncello in Downtown LA

The South Park district in downtown Los Angeles is getting more and more exciting with two new restaurant openings. One of them is Soleto, an upscale Italian restaurant from the IDG Restaurant Group which took over the old Zucca space. Soleto is run by Executive Chef Sascha Lyon who is also in charge of the kitchen at Delphine.

I say it's upscale, but Soleto has a pretty great happy hour (M-F, 3-7pm), especially where the food is concerned. There were quite a few items that were all really cheap and good! The portion sizes are quite good as well. Here are some of the happy hour items we tried:

Shrimp Oreganato ($5)

IMG_0277
This whole pot of shrimp for $5? You can come here for an early dinner during happy hour and have a feast!

This Sauteed Calamari with Anaheim chili and tomatoes is also only $5!
IMG_0289
Much more interesting and better than the typical fried calamari.

I also recommend the Charred Cauliflower, Grana Padano, parsley ($3)
IMG_0286
Grana Padano is a hard Italian cheese, similar in texture to parmesan cheese but milder. You'll see this cheese in many of Soleto's dishes. 

For drinks, there are sangria and "cello spritzer" (one of their housemade limoncellos/orange-cellos with soda) for $3.
OK, so that's happy hour. Now, on to dinner.

You won't really find duplicates from the happy hour menu here. The popular appetizers include Grilled Oyster Mushrooms, grana padano, white truffle lemon vinaigrette ($12)
IMG_0295
These earthy mushrooms were made even better with the sprinkling of grana padano cheese. I can definitely eat these all day.

Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital

TOP