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

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

West End Roof Top Opens at The London West Hollywood

With our year-round perfect weather, LA can't have too many rooftop bars. Well, there's another one now, West End Roof Top at The London hotel in West Hollywood.
West End Roof Top
The West End is a pretty relaxing place to hang out and offers nice views of the city.
West End Roof Top
The rooftop bar has some frozen blended drinks and easy drinking cocktails. My favorite was the Churchill Goes Tiki (bourbon, pineapple juice, orange juice, orgeat, 1821 Japanese chili lime bitters, $17)
West End Roof Top

Friday, August 9, 2019

LA Food Events in August to Put on Your Radar

So I'm a few days late posting about upcoming August festivals (sorry) but summer is in full swing in LA and there are plenty of upcoming food events you should put on your radar!

August 11
Hitching Post 2 Pop-up at LA Wine
This famous Central Coast spot is popping up for one day only at LA Wine. They're bringing over their red oak-fired grill to LA to serve up at LA Wine's outdoor patio starting at 5pm until sold out.

HPost
Photo courtesy of Hitching Post

August 22-25
Los Angeles Food & Wine
This year's LA Food & Wine Festival has set up 14 different events over 4 days. Some of my favorite picks include the dinner at Magic Castle with Chef Jason Fullilove and Andre Bienvenu (from Joe's Stone Crab) if for no other reason than you get to go to the Magic Castle. Multiple guest chef dinners are scheduled including the Legends dinner with Nancy Silverton and Jeremiah Tower. For those who want to attend one of the walk-around tastings, there's a Burger Throwdown with Alvin Cailan, LA's Faves and Craves with Jet Tila, The Great Steakout with Curtis Stone and Brunch so Hard with Jeremiah Tower.
POG
Ma'am Sir will be serving this Hawaiian POG cocktail for their dinner collaboration with Chef Sheldon Simeon from Lineage (Maui)

August 25-27
Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo
This one is more for the industry folks. The expo's exhibitors include food products and beverages to new technology and everything you can think of that's related to restaurant operations. The expo also takes place at the same time and area as the Coffee Fest and Healthy Food Expo.

The Taste

August 30-September 1, 2019
LA Times’ The Taste
The Taste, put on by LA times, always takes place over Labor Day Weekend and this year is no exception. For three evenings on Friday-Sunday, head to the walk-around tastings complete with chef panels, wine seminars, cooking and mixology demonstrations. The participating chefs change each day from Badmaash, Meals by Genet, Otium to Redbird.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Baja California Food and Themed Cocktails at The Corner Door (Culver City)

This is bit of a late post, but a couple of months ago I revisited The Corner Door in Culver City, which is under the Umbrella Hospitality Group (Melrose Umbrella Company, LONO). I hadn't visited since Beau DuBois moved up north, but The Corner Door is still going strong under the direction of Liam Odien behind the bar and Executive chef David Lespron, who previously worked at various sbe establishments like Katsuya and Michael Mina's now-shuttered XIV.

The food at The Corner Door can be described as a Baja California menu. We started off with some fresh Shigoku oysters from Baja, served with "soft Aztec herbs" and citrus, $4 ea
Corner Door

For the cocktail, they're doing an Astrology themed menu. The menu is designed like an astrology chart with each drink for the twelve signs.
Being the clarified milk punch fan that I am, I started with Age of Aquarius (Real McCoy 3, Appleton rum, almond, aloe vera, clarified, glitter - $15)
The Corner Door
It's got quite the presentation with the blue glitter! On the sweeter side, but again, I like milk punch so ..

Chef Lespron is doing some beautiful tacos with handmade tortillas here. We got the Fish tacos (wild Japanese yellowtail tacos, you can get this fried or grilled - this grilled one was amazing. $13 for two, but ours was plated separately). Is this not the most beautifully plated taco you've seen?
Corner Door
The taco was actually really good, better than what I had expected, from the tortilla to the texture of the yellowtail and the flavors.

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

Friday, June 21, 2019

Alice Eatery at 1 Hotel West Hollywood

The 1 Hotel West Hollywood is now open on Sunset Blvd, a rebrand of the previous Jeremy Hotel, and with it comes new restaurants! Alice Eatery is an all-day restaurant and marketplace concept run by The h.wood Group at the 1 Hotel.

The food and cocktails at Alice Eatery are from Chef Lord Maynard Llera and bar director Justin Campbell from The h.wood Group while the chef de cuisine overseeing the day to day operation is Broken Spanish alum, Geter Atienza.

The menu is French American. Since 1 Hotel is an eco-friendly luxury hotel brand, the restaurants of course also use locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. During my recent visit I tried the Grilled calamari, cucumber, green apple, red bell pepper, green papaya ($17)
Alice Eatery
This was a nice appetizer on the lighter salad - basically a salad with grilled calamari which had a great texture.

On the heavier end of the appetizer is the Beef tartare with smoked egg yolk, violet mustard, tomato ($24)
Alice Eatery

Saturday, June 15, 2019

LQ Foodings Supper Club Still Serve Some of LA's Best French Food

Some of LA's best French food can be had at LQ Foodings, a supper club by Laurent Quenioux who owned Bistro LQ a few years ago in LA. He holds this multi-course supper club dinners at a private home in Highland Park or other locations throughout the city.

I haven't had LQ's food in a while but I regularly get the news about the supper club. I finally decided to go recently, swayed by the possibility of an uni sausage (which didn't happen as the menu changes all the time, but the dinner was still great!) and convinced estarLA to go with me. It's a six course menu for $74 (wine and cheese is extra and a 20% service charge is due at the night of the event), which is pretty good for a tasting menu in LA. We all sat at a large dining table, a communal dining experience filled with food lovers, both new and long-time fans of Laurent.

We went for the spring dinner series and started with a Wild troll salmon sausage, fennel pollen emulsion, English peas, Timut peppercorn meringue, fennel
Bistro LQ
A great, light start to the meal - I loved the texture of the salmon sausage.

Devil's Gulch Ranch rabbit "carnitas rillette" roll, yellow beet, apple vinegar gelee, arthicoke "a la grecque", black trumpet mushrooms
Bistro LQ
Yes, it's rabbit meat that's been braised "carnitas" style!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Woon Kitchen: A Family Affair in Historic Filipinotown

Woon Kitchen recently opened in Historic Filipinotown (a.k.a. HiFi), adding another reason that HiFi is one of LA's latest food hotspots. Woon Kitchen started as a pop-up, building a loyal fan base by showcasing their mother's (Julie Fong, aka. Mama Fong) homestyle Chinese cooking around town. The new HiFi shop is small but cute and has some patio seating. There's a small but affordable menu plus a few specials, as well as beer and wine

To start: each table gets a bowl of peanuts roasted with sea moss (that apparently they get from a special dealer in SGV)
Woon
One of their best known dishes is the beef noodle, which is what they're known for from their pop-up days. It's a stir fried chewy noodles with marinated flank steak, bok choy and shiitake mushrooms ($11).
Woon
The stir fried noodles have a sweeter sauce and the texture of the noodles is nice and chewy, the beef slightly charred. For me, while I didn't eat these flavors exactly as a kid, the taste certainly reminds me of homeocoking.

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, May 22, 2019

Farmhouse Brings Farmer-Owned Restaurant to Beverly Center (Beverly Hills, CA)

There's a lot of farm-to-table restaurants these days, especially in California, but how many have a direct connection to a farm? Farmhouse, located at the Beverly Center, is actually owned by local farmer Nathan Peitso from Kenter Canyon Farms. Just to give you a perspective on the farm, I read that more than 20 years ago chef Alice Waters was getting lettuce from Kenter Canyon Farms (founded by Nathan's mother) for her salads at Chez Panisse, so yeah.

Now Nathan Peitso has opened a true farm-to-table restaurant in Beverly Hills, with Chef Craig Hopson heading the restaurant.

While eating in Beverly Hills is not known to be cheap, you should know that Farmhouse has a seasonal Harvest Menu that is three courses for $48 per person. You can choose from 3-4 options from each course. This is quite a nice deal to have in this area!

We ended up ordering a la carte but with a mix of items that were available on the prix fixe menu and not. We started with the Beets and burrata with pomegranate vinaigrette ($16)
Famrhouse LA
This is a classic combination - and isn't the presentation just beautiful? You can tell from the photo how fresh the beets were.

Lightly cured albacore, marinade of vegetables, chili, coriander, citrus
Famrhouse LA
Despite the chili and coriander garnish, the flavors didn't overwhelm the albacore.

Monday, May 20, 2019

A Peruvian-Italian Menu at Los Balcones Hollywood

Los Balcones has been revamping both their locations and each one is different. I recently reviewed the Mestizo cuisine at Los Balcones Studio City and now I checked out the Los Balcones in Hollywood. The Hollywood location has recruited Chef Michelangelo "Miguel" Aliaga to helm the kitchen.

Chef Aliaga hails from northern Peru but he started his cooking career in Florence, Italy. In LA, he's worked at various Italian restaurants including All'Angelo and Cecconi's. Now, at Los Balcones he's able to combine his two roots. Los Balcones' menu still has the classic Peruvian dishes you'd expect to see like lomo saltado and ceviche, but he's also melding Peruvian and Italian cuisines in others.

During my visit I mainly stuck to the Peruvian-Italian dishes so I can try what the chef is getting creative with, except for the beef heart anticucho I got for the appetizer. I just have to get beef heart anticucho when I see it.

Anticucho (grilled beef heart, panca pepper, potatoes, rocoto sauce, $16)
Los Balcones Hollywood
When they do it well like they do here and the beef hearts are tender, you can't go wrong.

Agnolotti de seco (homemade ravioli stuffed with lamb and cilantro sauce, finished with rocoto aioli, $20)
Los Balcones Hollywood
A classic pasta dish but with distinctly Peruvian flavors with the rocoto aioli. This is a great representation of how the two cuisines work together.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Tokyo Hamburg in Koreatown Dishes Out Japanese-style Hamburg Steak

What is hamburg? In Japan, don't confuse hamburg ("hambagu") with hamburger ("hambaga"). Hamburg / hambagu is actually like Salisbury steak. Hamburg steak is a patty of ground beef that originated in the town of Hamburg in Germany, but has become very popular in Japan (after German immigrants brought it there) since the 1950s.

In LA, there's now a place in that specializes in this. Tokyo Hamburg at the edge of Koreatown, as the name suggests, serves Japanese style hamburg. Here, the ground meat comes seared on the outside but still raw inside. It is served with a sizzling stone on the side, and diners are supposed to take small pieces and cook them on the sizzling stone. ($13.99 for the original hamburg)
Tokyo Hamburg

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Milk and Eggs, a New Kind of Grocery Delivery Service

These days, it's hard to find time to go grocery shopping. Thankfully, there are a few grocery delivery services out there. I recently got to test out Milk and Eggs, a service where you can order farm fresh food online and they'll be delivered to the LA and OC area. What's different about Milk and Eggs is that they get their food from the farms, butchers, bakers - basically the foodmakers directly instead of sending someone to buy your food from other grocery stores.
Milk and Eggs
They're delivered in these reusable bags (which they'll pick up on your next order). If you want to save money, they also have curated farm sampler bags.
Milk and Eggs

Monday, April 29, 2019

New Spring Dishes at Veggie Grill

I've never been to Veggie Grill previously. Since I'm not a vegetarian, I don't really seek out vegetarian restaurants, especially a chain. But I recently tried some of their new spring menu items and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.

We started with some spring pea guacamole. This spring I've been all about the peas - they've just been so good. This pea guacamole - served with plantain chips - was no exception. It was fresh and sweet thanks to the in-season peas.
Veggie Grill
There's also the Spring Farm Salad with pea tendrils, baby kale, rosemary "chikin", campari tomatoes, dates, watermelon radish, croutons, feta "cheese", sunflower seeds, and avocado dressing
Veggie Grill

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Killer Shrimp, a Marina Del Rey Favorite for Over 30 Years

Even though Marina Del Rey hasn't really been LA's foodie destination, there's one place that's been consistently busy since they opened 30 years ago. The restaurant shut down for a bit, but thankfully reopened. Killer Shrimp got their popularity from their namesake dish (more on that later) and has expanded into a spacious space with a harbor view in MDR.

So, the killer shrimp. The original signature dish is a bowl of shrimp in spicy cajun-style broth and served with a French bread. Now, you can choose shrimp, crab, lobster, or all of the above. I tried the one with shrimp, crab, and lobster for $38.
Killer Shrimp
The shrimp and dipping the bread into the spicy tomato-based broth is definitely the best part, though!

They now have a full menu beyond the killer shrimp dishes now. We tried the scallop "sashimi" appetizer (it was seared, so not technically a sashimi)
Killer Shrimp

Friday, March 15, 2019

Masters of Taste Returns to Pasadena's Rose Bowl to Help End Homelessness

This year's Masters of Taste will return for their 4th annual festival on Sunday, April 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The event started to benefit Union Station Homeless Services has really grown in the past years.

I recently attended a preview event featuring some of the culinary, beverage and dessert masters from the upcoming event. All of the food and drinks we had that night were from restaurants or brands that will be serving at the event.
The bartenders at Raymond 1886 created this cocktail for the welcome reception: Kami of Dawn (Ki No Bi dry gin, lemon juice, yuzu syrup, passion fruit, green chartreuse, coedo marihana
Masters of Taste preview
Because of the rain, we got to enjoy our preview dinner inside the Rose Bowl's visitor locker room. It was pretty cool!
Masters of Taste preview

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Totoyama: Sushi and Ramen in the Heart of Hollywood

Let's face it, Hollywood Blvd is not typically what comes to mind when thinking of a place to eat, unless I happen to be catching a show at the Pantages or drinking nearby. But recently I was invited to check out Totoyama Sushi and Ramen, a casual Japanese spot in the same complex as Greenleaf and Pressed Juicery. There's no Hollywood glitz at Totoyama, but the space is nice and comfortable, and the food was surprisingly good and prices were affordable!

Totoyama usually offers an omakase with 10 pieces of nigiri and miso soup and edamame for $48, but they also had a sampler of Japanese fish. I got the Japanese fish sampler combo for $58 which included 4 different 2pcs nigiri and one piece of uni.
Totoyama
I thought it was quite a good deal 9 pieces which included uni! Each sushi was dressed individually. I believe I opted for the aji (mackerel), kanpachi, sea bream, and since they were out of one item I had the salmon.

My friend got the spicy miso ramen ($13) which had a rich and flavorful broth, and pretty spicy. Too spicy for me, but she quite enjoyed it.
Totoyama

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

Saturday, November 24, 2018

An LAX Layover at Hyatt Regency LAX and Unity LA

On my last trip to Maui I had about a 4-hour layover at LAX, and I figured it would be the perfect chance to check out the Hyatt Regency LAX and their restaurant, Unity LA. Hyatt Regency LAX runs a complimentary shuttle to/from the airport and hotel (it's also the shuttle that services QuikPark, which is right next door).

There are separate parts to Unity LA. The main restaurant is only open for dinner (and breakfast buffet), but the bar area is open all day and serves a full food menu, although different than the main restaurant menu. The Unity LA menu showcases the different cultures and neighborhoods of Los Angeles. One of the main cultures, of course, is Mexican.

We started with some tortilla soup, because it's been a while since I've had one.
Unity LA
Their quesadilla ($14) comes with a salsa that the manager said was made with a secret family recipe handed down by one of the cook's abuelita, so of course I had to try it! We loved this smoky chile de arbol and tomatillo salsa.
Unity LA

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