Showing posts with label dtla. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dtla. Show all posts

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Tasting Hakkaisan Sake at Faith and Flower

A while back I went to a dinner at Faith and Flower hosted by Hakkaisan sake to try their lineup. Hakkaisan is a brewery in Niigata Prefecture, at the bottom of Mount Hakkaisan, a sacred mountain with a name that means "eight peaked mountain".
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We started with the Hakkaisan "AWA" sparkling sake. Awa means "bubbles" in Japanese, and the sparkling sake here is produced using secondary fermentation in the bottle, similar to the traditional champagne method. It's a very clean tasting sparkling sake, with just a touch of sweetness.
Hakkaisan at Faith and Flower

For the Awa, they paired with a silken tofu mousse, fresh wasabi and miyoga ginger, bonito dashi
Hakkaisan at Faith and Flower
We loved the texture of this tofu mousse.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Delicious Little Tokyo Showcases the Neighborhood on July 19-20

This coming weekend on July 19-20, Go Little Tokyo will be showcasing the food and drink offerings (and beyond) of the neighborhood with Delicious Little Tokyo. There will be a variety of special workshops, demos, and tastings at different Little Tokyo businesses over the two days. Some of the events include:

A takoyaki making demo with Takoyaki Tanota, taking place on the Japanese Village Food Stage and is free to attend.
Delicious Little Tokyo

Friday, July 5, 2019

Cocktails and Izakaya Fare at HATCH Yakitori + Bar (Downtown LA)

I recently visited HATCH Yakitori + Bar, which is located inside the new retail and restaurant space in downtown LA, The Bloc. In addition to checking out this restaurant for the first time, it was also my first time visiting The Bloc, which is a pretty cool open-air plaza with more restaurants coming. The Bloc has pretty cheap parking up to 3 hours with validation, which is really nice for downtown! For 3 hours parking is $4 with validation. The parking alone would entice me to go back to HATCH, but let's get on with the food.

HATCH obviously serves yakitori, but they also have other izakaya style food and a seasonal specials menu. They had a seared wagyu nigiri special which I just had to get.
Hatch Yakitori
They seared it tableside and it was so good, our favorite of the night, for sure.
Hatch Yakitori
Among the other specials that was another luxurious item: Alaskan king crab legs!
Hatch Yakitori

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

LA's Cochon 555 Moves to Downtown on June 2, 2019

If you're unfamiliar with Cochon 555, this event is an annual staple in multiple cities around the country. Cochon 555 is a food event and competition meant to highlight heritage pigs. In each city, 5 chefs partner up with 5 pig farmers and prepare some nose-to-tail pork dishes. The winner from each city is crowned Prince of Porc and will move on to compete in the big finale. What that means for us is an afternoon filled with pork (and booze). For this year, the Los Angeles event will take place on Sunday, June 2 at City Market Social House.

This year's participating chefs include Kat Hu and Justin Yi (Hock+Hoof) with Marin Sun Farms, David Johns (Mason) with Rancho Llano Seco, Jason Mattick and Ivan Marquez (Broken Spanish) with Marin Sun Farm, Ben Diaz (Nixo Lounge) with Peads and Barnetts. Brian Redzikowski from Kettner Exchange who made this (adorable!) pork bun (Pic Mac Bao) last year will also be returning to compete, this time partnering with Cook Pigs Ranch.
Cochon555 2018
There'll be a lot of more food than from the competing chefs, though. There'll be a tartare bar, cheese bar, oyster bar, and even a veggie bar. Some of my favorite bites last year besides than the Pic Mac Bao is this lechon kawali from Maynard Llera (H.wood Group)
Cochon555 2018

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Spread the Love: A Dinner Series Featuring and Supporting New Immigrants in LA

On Valentine's Day I attended a special dinner at Spread Mediterranean Kitchen in downtown LA. It was the first of their "Spread the Love" dinner series which benefits Miry's List, a non-profit which helps new refugee families settle into their new lives in the LA area.

Miry's List curates an Amazon wish list, so anyone can easily go and purchase an item to help a new refugee family. Not only do the proceeds from the dinner series go to support Miry's List, but the dinner series also partner a chef with one of the refugee family cooks to prepare the dinner together.

The first dinner I attended had Evan Kleiman cooking along Abeer Aljrafi from Syria. It was a five-course dinner, served family style (what better way to spread the love, right?)

We started with some delicious trio of Syrian dips (hummus, baba ghanoush, mutabal)
Miry’s List dinner
We knew more food were coming but we couldn't stop eating the dip until all the pita chips were gone.
Next up: Carrot falafel (tehina, mango amba, fresh herbs)
Miry’s List dinner

Monday, December 10, 2018

Los Angeles Coffee Festival Recap

Last month I recently attended the first Los Angeles Coffee Festival in downtown LA. The festival combines coffee, tea, cocktails, coffee wares, and art. There were coffee and cappuccino samples from various companies like Bluestone Lane Coffee, Verve, Klatch, Intelligentsia, Counter Culture, and more.
LA Coffee Festival
In addition to coffee, I tried a couple of chai brands and tea. There was also a session for making espresso martinis with Grey Goose vodka and Mr. Black coffee liqueur.
LA Coffee Festival

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Holbox: LA's Best Yucatan-style Mexican Seafood

Holbox is not that new anymore in LA, but just in case some of you are still not familiar with it, I'm letting you know that it's the place to get the best Yucatan-style seafood in LA. Holbox is a stall inside Mercado La Paloma in Downtown LA (which also houses Chichen Itza). Despite the casual environment, Holbox puts out the highest quality seafood at reasonable prices.

Among the many great things to try there is the pulpo (octopus) taco. The Spanish octopus is braised then fried and served on a handmade corn tortilla and squid ink sofrito ($12)
Holbox LA
The texture of the octopus is perfect and the flavors are spot on. Definitely order this.

Kumiai oysters from Guerrero Negro Lago in Baja California.
Holbox LA

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.

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

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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.
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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.

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 Niçoise salad. 
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They add Boston lettuce, haricot vert, tomatoes, potatoes, chopped eggs, niçoise 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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