Showing posts with label grill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grill. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BBQ at The Roof Garden, Peninsula Hotel (Beverly Hills)

What's a more perfect meal than a BBQ on a beautiful rooftop in LA? Roof Garden at The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills is one of the best rooftops in town and they're having a bbq every weekend this summer. The Roof Garden shares the kitchen with The Belvedere and the hotel's Executive Chef James Overbaugh oversees all the dining operations.

The rooftop is not that big, but the circular section with the fireplace is my favorite.

Before starting with the bbq, we had some cocktails and appetizers near the fireplace:
Ahi Tuna Chop Chop with sliced avocado, crisp pineapple and roof garden-picked herbs
Chilled Cucumber Soup with spicy cucumber-melon sorbet, hearts of palm, cilantro and citrus tapioca
Your best bet for cocktail here (if you like a bit of heat) is the Speckled Jalapeno Margarita
Dinner starts with a basket anise bread (yep, anise, and it was good), zucchini, olive, and lavash. 

We shared a variety of their entrees including:
Free range chicken breast, cilantro and mint chimichurri ($24, comes with 2 sides)
I am typically wary of chicken breast since it tends to be dry and overcooked, but at least this night it was prepared well and the bold chimichurri sauce would make any protein taste that much better.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Stone Beer Pairing Dinner at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza and Grill

It was only a few years ago that I started getting into beer, and I'm still not one for IPAs. Still, I know that Stone beers are supposed to be great. Not long ago, Sammy's Woodfired Pizza and Grill in El Segundo sent out a dinner invitation, paired with Stone beers. I figured I would probably enjoy IPAs much better when it's paired with proper food, especially when the promised food included lobster mac and cheese.

Sammy's Woodfired Pizza has many locations in California (and some in Nevada), but the newest El Segundo location is the first one that also has a grill. This makes it the best location, since it has awesome, inexpensive grilled lamb chops! More on that later.

Our dinner started with the Ahi Poki [sic] with Chukka, soy sauce, green onion, sesame oil ($11)

Ahi Poke
It's a pretty nice poke dominated by the flavors of the sesame oil (no complaint). I like the unusually puffy wonton crisp.

Lobster Mac and Cheese with Tillamook® cheddar cheese ($9), made with real lobster chunks, and lobster bisque as a base.
Lobster Mac n Cheese
Real lobster chunks for a hot, cheesy, $9 bowl? Yep, and it's a good sized bowl, too! The added lobster bisque made for a nice flavor base, as well.

Joining us for dinner was Stone's sales rep for the LA region who explained to us the reasoning behind each pairing.
Stone Cali Belgique
The above two dishes were paired with Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, 6.9% ABV. This was a beer made using Stone IPA as a starter and Belgian yeast. It was not too bitter and well balanced. It brings out the spiciness of the poke. For the mac and cheese, the hops and the cheese balance each other nicely and the dry finish cuts the richness. As far as IPAs go, I can easily drink this even without food.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Feng Mao: Mutton, Cumin, Fire.

Feng Mao had been on my to-try list ever since I read about their mutton kebab in cumin galore on FoodGPS and LA Weekly.

Feng Mao is labeled as a Korean-Chinese cuisine, is located in K-town with Korean signage and menu, but the owner Jing Cu Hwa and her husband are actually from China. They hail from Jilin province in Northern China, which borders Korea and explains the heavy Korean influence (technically it also borders Russia, too).

The full name of the restaurant is Feng Mao Mutton Kebab, so obviously we have to get the mutton kebabs.
The meat is covered with spices, including chili powder and cumin. This is a Northern Chinese dish after all, so you can actually find similar lamb kebabs at various Mongolian style hot pot places, like Happy Sheep, but those don't hold a candle to Feng Mao's tender and succulent mutton skewers. For one thing, mutton > lamb!

Just like any other Korean restaurants, they serve pretty typical banchans here, but it also included a typical Chinese one: boiled peanuts!
We love our boiled peanuts.

We also ordered the beef skewers, and while they're also pretty good, the mutton was much better as they were more tender and had a stronger flavor.

An order of quail will get you a whole butterflied quail.
All the skewers are grill-it-yourself on the charcoal grill they provide on each table (though they'll come by and check to see if you're messing up :P).

There's one more thing to note before you eat your grilled skewers. The heap of cumin-dominated spice on that little plate next to each one of you.
Oh, you know what to do ...

Feng Mao also has a list of cooked dishes, though I didn't try any, along with skewers of mutton kidney and bull penis. Yes, that's right. The adventurous might want those. For me that night, though, although I at first wanted to try the other skewers like beef and quail and enjoyed them, I mainly kept thinking: "man, those mutton kebabs were good. I should've just gotten more mutton kebabs."

Feng Mao
3901 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 935-1099
Feng Mao on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Secret Beef Place

Totoraku. "The Secret Beef" restaurant. For so long I can only imagine this ultimate yakiniku experience, but thanks to the people I met through food blogging, last year I finally got my way in. Since then I've been to Totoraku twice, though have yet to blog about it, with it being "secret" and all. Then people pointed out that it's on Yelp and Urbanspoon so it's not much of a secret (though you still can't just go on your own), so I shouldn't feel bad about blogging it ...

We got our way in through a professor of KevinEats and our group of 12, organized by Will of Fooddigger eagerly gathered one Friday night. With wine, of course, as the place is corkage fee-free. The chef owner of Totoraku is a huge wine connoisseur and patrons are expected to share the wine they bring with him during the meal -- and make sure it's a good wine.

With that introduction and also the fact that some of us were big wine people anyway, no one wanted to be the only one not bringing the wine, for our group of twelve, we ended up with 12 bottles of wine and 1 bottle of daiginjo sake.
Oh don't worry, we finished everything by the end of the night. Though it did result in one of us having a little "accident" in my living room (should I say who? :P )

First came a plate of selected appetizers: Cantaloupe and Prosciutto, Asparagus and Walnuts, Lobster Salad, King Crab Gelée, Sockeye Salmon, Quail Egg with Caviar, Japanese Persimmon Salad, Momotaro Tomato and Ricotta Cheese, Steamed Abalone.

All of the appetizers were excellent, but my favorite was the lobster salad.

Meat-wise we worked our way up starting from the raw beef. First up were the beef tataki and beef throat sashimi.
The beef throat sashimi was one of the most memorable dishes I had there. It had a great texture - rather on the chewy side. We were told it took one and a half cows to make that little bowl you see up there.

Beef tartar with pine nuts and pear.
On my second visit, I took PepsiMonster along, and he claimed that this was the best steak tartar he's ever had. The fresh, quality beef, along with the other components of the dish work together perfectly.

On our first visit, we also had the fortune of sharing some Culatello that was brought back from Italy by our very own Potential Gold, who spent quite some time learning the cuisine there.

After the tartar, our yakiniku fun began.

#1. Tongue.
This was one of the most tender cuts of tongues we've had, and as the night goes on this becomes a general trend with the other cuts of meat - more tender than usual, full of flavor. Just amazing.

We grilled all the meat on one of these table-top charcoal grills.

With the meat, we were also served some marinated Momotaro tomatoes.
Oh, it was only the best tomatoes I've ever had in my life. The same was true on my second visit. These tomatoes are ridiculously sweet and juicy. It's rather funny that I go to a secret beef place and the tomatoes are what I remember the most.

#2. Filet mignon with onions, mushrooms, peppers
As with sushi, we move from the leaner cuts of meat towards the fattier one here.

#3. Inside rib eye

#4. Outside rib eye (Rib Eye Cap)
I thought I took photos of everything, but I guess not? Anyway ... I love rib eye cap and the one at Totoraku takes the crown. Tender, flavorful, with just the right amount of fat.

The meat came with a bowl of vegetables and a nice spicy miso dipping paste - most of us filled ourselves up just with carrot sticks dipped in this miso paste.

#5. Short rib.
The short rib here is unmarinated, unlike what you find at most Korean bbq places, because really, if you have a high quality of meat such as you most certainly do at Totoraku, you don't need to marinate short ribs!

#6. The finale was marinated skirt steak.
I actually adore skirt steaks because it is one of the most flavorful cuts of meat, but I know most people don't like it much because it tends to be a tougher cut. At Totoraku this was not at all a problem - the skirt steak here was so tender, yet retains the flavorfulness.

The savory part of the meal ends with a bowl of Kuppa Soup
This is a slightly spicy soup with rice, egg, and vegetables. A nice way to end the meal and settle our stomachs down a bit.

No meal is complete without dessert though, or at least a palate cleanser. We had a selection of ice cream and sorbet: pistachio ice cream, lychee sorbet, blueberry sorbet, coffee ice cream, and white chocolate/raspberry ice cream
Even the ice cream and sorbet are excellent. Everyone had their own favorites here, but since I'm a big fan of blueberry, naturally that was my favorite. The coffee ice cream was also ridiculously good though ...

Totoraku pawns other yakiniku/bbq places in town hands down, but at a heftier price of $180 per person at the end of tax and tips. Not cheap enough for most of us to go regularly, but if you can get in and can fork the dough, this is an experience worth trying at least once.

Address and phone number? Well, it's kind of a secret. You at least have to work for it.
Totoraku Teriyaki House Pico on Urbanspoon
Totoraku in Los Angeles

For a more detailed review of the same meal, check out Kevin's post.

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