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

Friday, March 23, 2018

Belly Up to Eight Korean BBQ for 8 Flavors of Pork Belly

Eight Korean BBQ focuses on pork belly, and has locations in Buena Park, Koreatown, and Singapore. The main attraction here is the eight flavors of pork belly. If the concept sounds familiar to you, that would be because the Koreatown location was Palsaik which also served eight flavors of pork belly. Palsaik is now rebranded (and with much much better service!) and with new menu items.

We got the Combo A, which comes with the eight flavors of pork belly plus a seafood stew and mozarella kimchi fried rice for $56.99. It was plenty of food for 2 people and probably would feed 3-4 depending on how much you eat.
Eight Korean BBQ
The eight flavors were: hot, miso, curry, herb (mostly rosemary), garlic, black sesame, original, and wine. The black sesame one is a new addition (it replaced the ginseng) and I'm pleasantly surprised how well the sesame flavor worked with pork belly. I think the sesame was my favorite this time around, but the garlic and hot flavors are also great.
Eight kbbq
We also ordered the Flower Pork Belly ($22), because it looked so cool! Although we thought it looked more like a hedgehog than flower, but either way it made for a great photo and more fatty pork belly for us to eat.
Eight kbbq

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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Darren's in Manhattan Beach, CA

Chef/owner Darren Weiss from Darren's Restaurant in Manhattan Beach may be one of the very few hearing-impaired chefs out there, but he never let that stop him. His restaurant is an institution in Manhattan Beach, making a mark since 2007 and has recently reopened after a renovation.

The new menu is divided into snacks, salads, small plates, large plates, and sides. Under snacks you'll find finger foods and breads like these Emmenthal cheese rolls with fleur de sel Tellicherry black, pepper whipped butter ($4)

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Either because Chef Weiss started his career at restaurants in Hawaii or because Darren's is in Manhattan Beach, but there are plenty of seafood dishes on the menu.
Small plates: Crab cake (jumbo lump crab, daikon sprouts, soy dry mustard sauce, sriracha, sweet soy sauce, $22)
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To say this crab cake has a generous amount of lump crab meat is an understatement. This crab cake was pretty much all crab meat and I loved it.

Darren's has a small but interesting beers on draft, featuring breweries like Ninkasi (OR), Ommegang, St. Feuillien, and more.
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Friday, September 19, 2014

Roy Choi's Commissary at The Line Hotel (Koreatown)

First of all, the new Commissary is beautiful. Situated in a green house complete with hanging pots of greenery next to the pool at The Line Hotel in Koreatown, diners can enjoy the LA sunshine all year long. You already kind of feel like you're on vacation when you step in.

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The menu at Commissary can be a tad confusing at first. You get two pieces of paper. One is the picture menu that shows you the price and main ingredients. The little numbers lead you to the second piece, the "cheat sheet" which tells you how it's prepared ("grilled") and what sauces go on that dish ("lemon, green sauce" - for example).

Now, the setting is a green house, and there are a lot of vegetable and produce-focused items, but it's not a vegetarian restaurant. There are a number of vegetable-focused and vegetarian dishes, though.

There's grilled corn with red sauce, chili, garlic, onion
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This is Roy Choi after all, so don't expect bland vegetable dishes. Just like the things he's known for, these are full of spices and flavors.

The original cocktails were created with the help of Matthew Biancaniello, although he won't be behind the bar. Served in deli cups, you'll find cocktails made with seasonal produce and unusual ingredients like pisco, white peach and anise hyssop; or mojito with zebra tomatoes.
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Monday, May 5, 2014

Trying Grimaldi's Pizza in El Segundo

New York's famed Grimaldi's Pizzeria has now gone nationwide, including an LA location in El Segundo. I've never tried the original, but decided to make the easier trek to South Bay!

Grimaldi's offers three types of pizza in three different sizes, calzone, and some salad starters. You pick your own toppings for each pizza.

My favorite was the white pizza with garlic ($10 for a personal size). It was just so deliciously garlicky! We got it topped with tomato slices ($2) and spicy chicken sausage ($4).

White Pizza
If you love garlic as much as I do, this is definitely the one to get.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Piedmontese Beef for Korean BBQ at Star King BBQ

There's a new star of Korean BBQ in Koreatown. Star King BBQ has actually been open for a while, but a recent change of ownership led to the kbbq joint being the only Korean restaurant and one of the few places in Los Angeles offering Piedmontese beef. The new owner Jackie Yoo is the daughter of a meat distributor, so she knows where to get the good stuff.

Not just the Piedmontese, but Star King is possibly also the only place in town serving the tomahawk rib eye of the Piedmontese. This is what put the restaurant on the heat map, and you have to admit, the presentation is rather impressive!

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All the bbq is cooked over charcoal grill, and you'll find plenty of banchans, from the typical to the more unusual.
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Instead of the potato salad, you'll find sweet potato salad along with pancakes.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Breakfast Tour of Downtown LA's Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles is one of the most exciting food destinations lately, with tons of new vendors opening up shop. I was recently invited to a breakfast tour of some of these vendors, new and old. Since it's breakfast, we of course started with G&B Coffee.

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Not only do they have amazing coffee and cappuccino (with almond milk!), you can also get Donut Snob's amazing donuts here.
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Our next stop was Sticky Rice.
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What we had for breakfast was actually a snack that they will have in the afternoons, Kanom Krok. They have a special pan to make these delicious little coconut custard cakes.
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top 6 LA Bites in 2013

It's almost the end of the year and looking back at 2013, I've certainly had many great meals! Here's a look at what I remembered to be the best bites in Los Angeles in the past year. Because the list only covers LA, it doesn't include the absolutely amazing kouign amann at B Patisserie, but you should definitely try that if you're in San Francisco. These also only include the things I tried for the first time in 2013, so while there are many great dishes in LA they may not be on this list. Also, I'm bound to have missed a few things due to my failing memory, so feel free to add what you think is the best bite in the comments!

In no particular order:

1. Uni Caviar Lobster roll at Petrossian
Uni Lobster Roll
Chef Giselle Wellman has devised the ultimate lobster roll, topped with fresh uni and Petrossian caviar on a brioche roll. While the lobster roll and fries aren't cheap, each bite will assure you that it's worth it.


2. Mandilli di seta at The Factory Kitchen
Almond Pesto
I still dream about this silky smooth handkerchief pasta and that subtle almond basil pesto.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

643 North: Polenta Pizza and Craft Cocktails in Chinatown

While Italian restaurants and craft beer and cocktail bars are abound in downtown Los Angeles, 643 North occupies an unusual location: Chinatown. You might be confused driving there through a desolate part of Chinatown, but don't worry, it's there. Plus they have a free parking lot to the left, perks of a cheaper real estate.

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Actually, 643 North isn't really an Italian restaurant although the menu leans a bit in that direction. They also have other items like these Crab sliders (blue crab patties, chipotle remoulade, daikon sprouts, brioche, $13)
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You shouldn't miss their pasta, though, especially the Ossobuco ravioli (braised veal, housemade ravioli, baby heirloom tomatoes, broccolini, Parmesan broth, Parmesan cheese, $17)
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I was expecting a heavy dish, as ossobuco typically is, but this is light and lovely. The al dente ravioli sits in a bright parmesan broth, letting diners experience ossobuco in a different way. This was one of the highlights of my meal.
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I was also pleasantly surprised with the cocktails here, created by Adam Acuff from Far Bar, which is more known for their beers rather than cocktails (643 North also has a good beer list). All cocktails are $12 and include drinks like Smokey the Pear (High West Campfire, St Germain, spiced pear syrup, lemon bitters) which was nicely balanced.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quintessential Los Angeles and LA's Top Late Night Dining

As I had said in my post yesterday, I had been asked by Foodie.com to make "collections" of my top picks in Los Angeles. Here are two more, featuring the top late night dining in the city (not surprisingly there are a few from K-town, thanks to the abundance of 24-hour restaurants there)


I also made a list of the Quintessentially Los Angeles cuisine. I had a harder time with this collection - how do you define what is quintessentially LA cuisine? I know Din Tai Fung has made it to tons of LA's iconic food and Best of LA lists, but I didn't want to include places like that which is a chain that originated from outside of LA. Instead, I'm looking for things that you can only get or started in LA.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My "Collections" of LA's Top 16 Special Occasion Restaurant and Best Restaurant Bars

I was asked by Foodie.com to make 4 "collections" of the top spots in Los Angeles. It's a pretty easy way to make lists, I can just search for a restaurant and click to add to my collections (it's not just for restaurants but you can do the same for recipes on the site as well). Then you write a blurb about why it's in your collection. So far it's quite easy to use although the search results give you restaurants from around the country so for common names you have to sift through a bit.

Well, anyway, here are two collections that I made. One is LA's best restaurants from special occasion dining, from steak to sushi worthy of a splurge and celebration! (note: the widgets unfortunately don't show the full collections. To see the other restaurants you'd have to click "See collection")

Another collection I did is the LA restaurants with the best cocktail bars (yes, there are many other great cocktail bars but I specifically chose the ones in a restaurant for this). I ventured as far as Pasadena (1886 Bar - technically separate but it's connected to the Raymond Restaurant after all) and Seal Beach (320 Main).

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Patina Toasts 10th Anniversary With Build-Your-Own Tastings For $10/Dish

On October 10th, Patina Restaurant in downtown LA will be celebrating their tenth anniversary in a big way. On that day only, guests can design their own tasting menu for just $10 per dish. For Patina, that's an amazing deal!

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I was lucky enough to taste a few of the dishes that will be served on October 10th during a lunch preview.

The man behind the food at Patina now is Executive Chef Charles Olalia who was previously Chef de Cuisine, with experience at French Laundry and Guy Savoy. 
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My lunch started with an Amuse bouche duo of Paradise Cove oyster topped with caviar and vichyssoise, and a Scallop and potato chip sandwich
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What a decadent start to a weekday lunch! The scallop "sandwich" was a unique combination.
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Bread service: olive bread
Big Eye Tuna Tower, soya onion, avocado, oven dried tomato, yuzu granite.
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Paired with Albarino from Galicia, Spain. 
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I thought this tuna and avocado combination would be like any other tuna tartar-like dish, but I was wrong. The flavors here were surprising and delightful and the tuna was fresh and almost melted in my mouth. The AlbariƱo was a great wine, crisp, lightly sweet. This was my favorite pairing and wine of the day.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Build Your Own Bento at Chaya Downtown's Cherry Blossom Festival

Now until April 19, Chaya Downtown is celebrating Cherry Blossom Festival with a build-your-own hanami bento. You can choose among ten items ($22 for 3 items or $28 for 4 items) including vegetable tempura served with pink salt, maple leaf duck confit spring rolls, or snapper temari sushi.

Chaya Bento
I would recommend the Coffee BBQ mini pork shank with chipotle miso, or the salmon gravlax with sakura creme fraiche and vegetable pickles (both pictured above).

For $4 more you can also substitute the items with a Koji Marinated Black Cod with bok choy and soy balsamic ginger broth (this and the pork shank were probably my two favorites!)
Cod

You can also substitute for the grilled Black Angus flat iron steak with wasabi butter and haricot vert.
Steak bento

Sakura Bellini
There are also two cherry cocktails for the festival. We all preferred the refreshing Sakura Bellini (cherry sorbet, luxardo, champagne, $12), perfect to wind down after a day of work. They also have a Cherry Manhattan with Tullamore Dew, sweet vermouth and cherries.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Eat.Drink.Americano, Downtown LA Gastropub

Another gastropub has popped up down the street from Wurstkuche. When you want more than sausages and truffle-y fries, head to Eat. Drink. Americano for some cheese, small bites, or flatbreads with your drink.

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The craft beers and wines are all from California (as you can see from the wall decor, they're sticking with local). They also carry a couple of wines on tap. The 2009 Silver Tap Zinfandel from Sonoma County ($7) is a robust one to go with food.


The menu is divided into cured meats and cheeses, bites, and flatbreads. Since the place is new, the menu is still evolving. We focused on the "bites" portion and pretty much got the whole section, starting with the Duck and Pickles ($14)
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Confit of duck, pickled vegetables, and baguettes. Simple and satisfying.

King Crab Canneloni and Cauliflower Foam ($15)
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You can't really see the canneloni under the foam in this picture, but the tube-shaped pasta is filled with lumps of king crab. The cauliflower foam was a good complement and fun to boot (although there was a tad too much of it).

I was looking forward to trying their steak tartar with mustard ice cream that I read about, but they didn't have it the night I went. Oh, well, instead I found their Soft Shell Crab Sandwich ($13)!
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This was my absolute favorite. The crispy soft shell crab is sandwiched between biscuits with a creamy mayo dressing. For me, it's the crunch of the seaweed is what really made it. Get this while they have it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

For the Downtown Beer and Wine Geeks: Buzz Wine Beer Shop

We know plenty of watering holes in Downtown LA, but where do downtowners go to buy beer and wine for their homes? Well, now they should all be going to Buzz, the new wine and beer shop on Spring Street.

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Buzz is not only about the eclectic selection of wine and beer (a fairly large collection of beers at that), they also have a tasting room in the back where you can get flights, taste beers on tap, and attend special tastings.
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I was invited to a tasting party there along with other media, wine distributors, and the wine producers. The tasting showcases some of the more interesting (some rare) wines they have at Buzz, like Eastern European wines from Blue Danube Wines, and La Clarine Farm wines from the Sierra Nevada foothills. Sierra what? It's apparently a region east of Sacramento - a growing wine region that had escaped my radar thus far.
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