Showing posts with label los angeles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label los angeles. Show all posts

Thursday, April 5, 2018

LA: Taste of the Eastside, April 29, 2018 + Giveaway!

You know it's spring in LA when it's time for Taste of the Eastside! The food festival is coming back for another run on April 29, 2018 to the Los Angeles River and Gardens. The festival showcases restaurants in the Eastside neighborhoods including Eagle Rock, Silverlake, Highland Park, Los Feliz and beyond.

This year's participating restaurants include Melody, Oki Poki, Malo Restaurant, Daw Yee Myanmar Corner, Cliff's Edge, Momed, Cento Pasta Bar, and more. There will be ice creams from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, Pazzo Gelato, and McConnell's Fine Ice Creams. Drinks will be served by Frogtown Brewery, Green Bar Distillery, Silverlake Wine, Eagle Rock Brewery, and others.

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

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

Friday, November 17, 2017

Cinema Italian Style Kick Off Dinner with Verona's Chef Leandro Luppi

by @discovering_LA

Cinema Italian Style is the Los Angeles showcase for the best Italian movies of the year. In an 11-day marathon full of events, attendees will be immersed in the Italian culture in the way of film, food and culture. The event kicked off with a US premier of the 4k digitally restored version of Blow Up and Red Desert by Michelangelo Antonioni. Part of the activities included a Gala Dinner celebrating the Italian showcase and was held at Mr. C Beverly Hills hotel. Held in the hotel’s Penthouse, we benefitted from having a panoramic view of the city. The place was buzzing as people were excited for what was to come.
 
The people at our table were ecstatic to find out that guest chef Leandro Luppi, a Michelin starred chef from Ristorante Vecchia Malcesine in Verona, was at our table. This was his first trip to the US and he was here to help promote Cinema Italian Style. While he didn’t speak much English, he smiled often and was quite friendly. Two individuals at our table aided in the translation between English and Italian.

The first course was a tuna tartare surrounded by a base of creamy smoked mozzarella and topped with passion fruit. The dish was delicious and had an interesting combination of flavors. The acidity from the passion fruit paired nicely with Mr C’s Prosecco.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bombay Palace (Beverly Hills, CA)

by guest blogger @discovering_LA

I enjoy food that has been prepared with a marinade or with sauces that have complex flavor profiles. That said, Indian food has always been on my radar, but not a frequent dining destination, so I was delighted to try the Bombay Palace in Beverly Hills. A Beverly Hills mainstay, Bombay Palace has been serving Indian food in a more stylish setting than the usual Indian restaurants since 1985.

Complimentary papadum is served to all of their diners. This is a thin, crispy chip that obtains its taste from whole cumin seed. Three dipping sauces (tamarind, mint chutney and spiced carrots), elevates the papadum greatly.

It is also an opportunity to taste the dipping sauces before you apply them to other dishes. Since the mint chutney had a nice kick, I selected a beverage to balance it - a mango lassi.

The vegetable samosa was my starter.

The exterior of the samosa was light and not greasy because it wasn’t deep fried. The filling consisted of diced seasoned potatoes and peas. I topped these with tamarind and mint chutney sauces to give them some added seasoning and flavor.

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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Spending Bastille Day at Taix French Restaurant (Los Angeles, CA)

by guest blogger Bryan Tsunoda (discovering LA)

I look forward to eating out on the holidays of other countries because it is an opportunity to experience something new. For that reason, I enjoy eating out on the French National holiday of Bastille Day.
I was happy to learn that Taix was featuring bouillabaisse as their special that day. Given a choice or proteins, I veer towards seafood and within that food group, I prefer shellfish. Therefore, bouillabaisse satisfies that craving.

Visiting Taix is like taking a trip backwards in time. Driving into their lot, you are warmly greeted by a valet. Entering the restaurant, you walk down a dimly lit hallway. To your right is the bar and straight ahead is the maitre d' station. Inside the dining room are large comfy booths and frosted glass for privacy.

On Bastille Day, the male employees wore red felt berets. My server, however, was female and she wore a ribbon with the French national colors around her neck.

The Tour de France was taking place in France and Taix featured specials each race day. Even the highlighted wines were from areas near each stop on the tour. Also taking place through Friday is Dine LA and Taix is one of the participating restaurants.

When you sit down in one of their plush booths, you receive fresh sourdough bread and crudité. I ordered Claudia’s beet salad from the Dine LA menu and the special that day, bouillabaisse.
The beet salad was nicely plated. I like that the ingredients were chilled, the butter lettuce was crisp, the oranges were juicy, and the garlic vinaigrette complemented the beet salad.

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

Monday, May 1, 2017

2nd Annual Masters of Taste Takes Over Pasadena's Rose Bowl on May 7

Summer is the season is food festivals. Up next on the calendar: Masters of Taste will be back for its second annual event on May 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Guests will get to stroll the Rose Bowl's 50-yard line while sampling bites and cocktails from 45 of LA's top restaurants and bars.
Masters of Taste
This year's restaurant lineup includes Miro, The Raymond 1886, Nerano, Alexander's Steakhouse, Hamasaku, Little Beast, Kato, and Redbird.
Masters of Taste
There will be plenty to drink including cocktails, beers, and wines. Participating bars include Bar Mattachine, Birds and Bees, and 1886. You can find beers and spirits from Indie Brewing Company, Kikori Whiskey, Mezcal El Silencio, as well as various wineries.
Masters of Taste
They didn't forget about desserts. You can cool down with ice creams from Choctal and Magpies Softserve, or much on treats from Street Churros, Spirnkles, and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

General admission tickets are $105 per person which provides festival admission at 4pm and unlimited food and beverage tastings. VIP admission tickets are $185 per person and include early admission at 3pm, access to VIP lounges and seating, and special access to limited release tastings. 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit Union Station Homeless Services. The organization works to identify causes that led to each individual or family’s homeless and provide the resources they need to end their cycle of homelessness. Purchase tickets here and get 15% off with code GPIGS.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Brunch at Firefly's Romantic Patio (Studio City, Los Angeles, CA)

by Bryan Tsunoda (discovering-la.com)

Firefly has consistently been on the list of Top Romantic Restaurants in LA. I guess I haven’t romanced my wife enough lately because we haven’t been there. I recently attended a media tasting to sample their Sunday brunch offerings.

Customers enter into what appears to be a library lounge setting with couches and a classic bar from the past. Walking past the bar, you enter the bright patio which appears to be outdoors, but is protected from the elements by a translucent covering. 
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Along the wall are Moroccan-style cabanas that can close for privacy.
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Food Network and Cutthroat Kitchen star, chef Perry Pollaci, took over the kitchen last November. He’s a C.I.A. alum and has used his talents in New York City, Paris and Madrid restaurants. More recently he’s worked at Church and State and Kendall’s Brasserie, and has transformed The Royce into a cutting edge wood-fired steakhouse. He also volunteers his time at Slideluck LA which is dedicated to building and strengthening community through food and art. 

If you are the type that enjoys a continental breakfast, you’ll appreciate the variety of fresh baked pastries. Despite how good everything looked, I only tried a couple of them. The raspberry tart was fruit filled, flakey and quite tasty. A few of us were impressed by the sticky bun because it had a crisp exterior and wasn’t overly sweet.
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I sampled both the lobster and veggie scrambles. The eggs had a nice buttery taste and were extremely light and fluffy. 
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Naturally I veered towards the lobster scramble because they were made with truffle butter, tarragon, and topped with caviar. I would definitely order that again.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker (West Hollywood, CA)

by guest blogger @btsunoda of Discovering LA

The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker takes it name from the famous nursery rhyme (the Butcher, The Baker, and the Candlestick Maker in the nursery rhyme Rub-a-dub-dub). They cleverly substitute candlestick maker with cappuccino maker and it works quite well for their concept. They opened a few weeks ago and I recently paid them a visit.
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BBCM is located in the iconic Sunset West Plaza. This is a popular destination visited by the locals due to the chic shops and outdoor cafes. People in the know take advantage of the free parking available behind each business.

The intent behind The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker is one of community. Breakfast was central to their strategy and so they created a bakery as the foundation. Not wanting to be breakfast-only, they designed their menu to incorporate their seasonal farm to table cuisine for lunch and dinner.

The appearance is one of a classy European cafe. 
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The use of marble is extensive; the counter top for the bar is a large block of marble and even the plates are made of marble. The outside is landscaped with beautiful 100 year-old olive trees and there are quite a few tables available for al fresco dining.

The kitchen is led by the duo of Executive Chefs Ren Nisenbaum (formerly of Jaleo, Washington, D.C. and Morimoto and Jean Georges in NYC) and Craig Hopson (formerly of Le Cirque, Picholine and Beautique in NYC) and features seasonal local farm-fresh ingredients.

Consistent with their European bakery foundation, they use the French galette for some of their dishes. I tried two of their galetes: the Beef Short Rib with cherries, arugula and boursin was tasty. The use of cherries blended extremely well with the beef short ribs.  IMG_2855
I especially enjoyed the Galette of Bacalhau. The flavors of mushrooms, jalapeños and a sunny side up egg worked extremely well with the salted dried cod.
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Other highlights from my visit:
Chestnut Pappardelle - The rich taste of duck and mushrooms permeated the pasta noodles and transformed the pasta to a nice savory taste.
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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Erven Gives Los Angeles Its Best New Vegan Restaurant

I've always enjoyed Chef Nick Erven's cooking from his previous restaurant, the now-shuttered Saint Martha. I wasn't expecting him to open a vegan restaurant in Santa Monica, but I looked forward to it just the same, especially after hearing all the glowing reviews!

Erven is divided into two parts: the Marketplace side which serves sandwiches, cookies, juices, and such. Then there's the dining room which is open for a casual lunch, but the highlight is of course, the dinner service (although the vegan sandwiches are also great).

We started with a bowl complimentary fried chickpeas - the amuse bouche seems to rotate based on the other reviews.
Erven
The savory portion of the dinner menu is divided into "Snackables", "Shareables", and "Principles".
We tried a couple of the snacks including the Black garlic chickpea fritters with yuzu and Aleppo pepper ($5)
Erven
The chickpea fritter is a good way to start and gives you an idea of Chef Erven's cooking.

Purple sweet potato rice roll with avocado and Korean chili ($5)
Erven
Vegan kimbap, anyone?

From the Shareables section: Tiny Beets with avocado mousse, curry-almond streusel, and cilantro ($12)
Erven
The beets weren't really "tiny" but regardless this was a wonderful and interesting take on beets, with the crispiness of the streusel, combined with avocado mousse.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Vegan Donuts Worth Trekking To at Donut Farm

I'm sure you know that I'm not vegan. Not even close! So when I say Donut Farm's vegan donuts are good, I'm actually saying they are good even compared to normal, non-vegan donuts.

Donut Farm, also known as Pepples Donut Farm, started in Northern California, but has since opened a location in Los Angeles. Silverlake, to be exact. The Silverlake shop is small, but there are seats so you can enjoy your donuts with some coffee while admiring the fun bunny mural from street artist Bunnie Reiss!
Donut Farm
Donut Farm's donuts are not only vegan, they are also 100% organic. They have both raised and cake donuts with a variety of interesting flavors and fillings - and did I mention, they were delicious??

One of my favorites was the Philz Coffee glazed donut. Donut Farm also serves coffee (hot and cold brew) so you can double the caffeine.
Donut Farm

Saturday, December 3, 2016

21 Square Bar + Kitchen (Torrance, CA)

by @bstunoda

21 Square, named because the city is approximately 21 square miles, is the latest addition to the Torrance food and beverage landscape. It is located inside the Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach. A lot of attention was placed on creating a cool coastal vibe. I liked the uniqueness of the interior decor - the walls featured the city of Torrance in a creative way. The venue extended outdoors with a beautiful fire pit and adjacent seating.

The “21st Mule” is their version of the ever popular cocktail with Tito’s® vodka, ginger beer and fresh squeezed lime. I enjoyed both the presentation and the taste of “El Dude”. This is their house-made creation of Fugu Horchata vodka and Kahlua.
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In addition to the their cocktails, they feature wine and ten beers on tap. They’ve partnered with Absolution Brewing to create their own exclusive brew and that’s only available at 21 Square. It is a smooth ale and probably a great beginner’s entry into craft beer. In fact they make their delicious fish & chips using this very brew!
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The LYB (Loosen Your Belt) is a shareable dish consisting of tater tots, capicola, mortadella, salami, sausage, cheddar, mozzarella, chopped scallions and topped with a poached egg. It’s is the perfect item to share with a draft beer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Lola's Mexican Cuisine (Long Beach, CA)

by @btsunoda

Two friends of mine both suggested that I try Lola’s Mexican Cuisine in Long Beach. Since I highly respect the opinions of both, I was happy when I was invited to this restaurant.
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Lola’s Mexican Cuisine is family owned and operated. They acquire organic local meats, sustainable seafood and local produce to prepare quality fresh food. “Modern Mexican Cuisine” is probably the best way to describe their cooking. The interior has a nice mix of different seating: booths, communal tables, and seating by the bar. Bold colors and eclectic Mexican folk art almost make it seem like you are inside of a restaurant in downtown Guadalajara.

Their Mexican Street Corn is an upscale version of elote.
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Fresh heirloom corn is removed from the cob, toasted and mixed with crumbled cotija cheese. Garlic aioli is drizzled on the top and chile powder is then applied. It is served in a small cast iron pan and was bubbling when it arrived at my table. Gone was the worry of biting into a corn on the cob only to see corn flying after you bite into it!

While I’ve had many variations of tacos, the “El Trio” taco combo sounded like something I would enjoy.
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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fig and Olive (West Hollywood, CA)

by @btsunoda
IMG_1527 West Hollywood is one of LA’s hotspots for new cutting edge restaurants. As a result, I’ve been traveling to the area on a more frequent basis. This time it was to experience Fig and Olive on Melrose Place. Fig and Olive’s menu is largely influenced by its founder, Laurent Halasz, who grew up learning Provençal cuisine. They are probably best known for using exceptional olive oils.

Fig and Olive selected 22 of the finest olive oils and use them as a foundation for all of their their dishes. For them, gourmet olive oil is a central ingredient and it displaces their need for butter.

The interior of Fig and Olive is impressive. They have a huge split-level space with double-high ceilings. Instead of showing off their wine collection, they have an impressive wall display of their olive oils. Other dining areas within the restaurant are available such as their semi-private indoor patio with olive trees and rosemary plants.

Complimentary fresh rosemary focaccia bread was served with three distinctly different virgin olive oils: two were from Spain (Manzanillo and Picual); the other was a Fig Koroneiki from Greece. Of the three, my wife and I both favored the Greek olive oil. The Picual was very earthy and I was extremely surprised at the differences in taste between the three olive oils.

We began with the three crostini starter.
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The first was a prosciutto with ricotta, olives, chopped walnuts and topped with a fig. Burrata with a cherry-sized heirloom tomato and pesto was the second one we selected. Of course, I selected the octopus with hummus which was dusted with paprika. All three crostinis were tasty, but I was surprised at how well the octopus paired with the hummus.

A number of dishes were calling my name and I ended up selecting Paella del Mar.
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