Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ramen Meets Szechuan at Chin-Ma-Ya

A szechuan inspired ramen-ya right below Orochon and their Special #2? It's not just putting spicy under spicy though as Chin-Ma-Ya has garnered more positive reviews than their higher older brother.

One of those positive reviews came from Choisauce who claimed that the chicken karaage was the best ever, and that even though she hates the original Chinese version of dan dan mien, she loves the tan tan men here. I actually love dan dan mien though (even if I have to drink 5 glasses of water for it), so I was curious about the difference.

That and $1 beer during happy hour was enough to entice me to join her, Go Ramen, and Food GPS there for a quick meal.

Chicken karaage ($3.90) w/ chili-mayo sauce
It was true, these chicken karaage were pretty damn good, especially when fresh and hot. The fried batter was amazing and crunchy while keeping the chicken meat inside tender and juicy. While "the best" for me may go for the Jidori chicken karaage at Bincho or Torihei, the ones here are worth getting every visit.

Tan-Tan Men ($6.90)
Choose between mild, medium, or original and served with ground beef and pork mixture, spinach, hard boiled egg. Needless to say this is completely different than the chinese dan dan mien. The only resemblance is perhaps the ground meat and the fact that it is spicy? When we had it they have the yellow curly noodles which were a-ok but the broth itself was very satisfying. The broth was spicy and full of flavors - it's just the type you would gulp down when your noodles are gone.

I heard that they have now replaced the noodles with the original recipe from Japan, which should make this even better, though I've yet to try it!

Chin-Ma-Ya of Tokyo
123 Astronaut Ellison S Onizuka St. #202
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 625-3400
Chin-Ma-Ya of Tokyo on Urbanspoon
Chin-Ma-Ya of Tokyo in Los Angeles

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Baja Med: A New Culinary Movement in Mexico

Food in Baja is not just about Mexican food. It isn't just about the various Spanish or Argentinean restaurants either. A unique and exciting culinary movement is slowly pervading Tijuana and Ensenada. Baja Med, a mix of Asian, Mediterranean, and Mexican cuisine with Baja ingredients.

And this is where it all started, La Querencia.

And here is the man who started it all: Miguel Angel Guerrero.
(Everyone also agreed that he was pretty good lookin!). He and Bill from Street Gourmet LA explained each dish and the Baja Med cuisine to us.

Though you couldn't see much from outside because of all the cars parked there, the inside is filled with interesting decor including these "flying" birds on the wall.
Our group of 20-something people were all seated outside, though.

It was a hot day in Tijuana and chef Guerrera perked us up with pitchers of Techape, a fermented pineapple drink.
This lightly sweet drink reminded me of the Indonesian fermented drink called legen and it's so perfect on this hot day that I think I drank 3 glasses of this (or more).

Having stuffed ourselves with suckling pig and Argentinean steak at Lorca and Cheripan, the light samplings at La Querencia were a nice change of pace.
We started with a plate of Beet carpaccio with goat cheese - a dish that would seem to be common these days were it not for the raw beets.
I never realized how different beet tastes when raw as opposed to roasted. While roasted beets are sweet, these were crunchy and tart and even tasted pickled to me.

Lengua (tongue) Carpaccio
Tender and flavorful, both thinly sliced tongue meat and the sauces/garnish were nicely done. This was drizzled with sea urchin cream, so how could I not love it?

Squash carpaccio with capers, fried nori, tomatoes, onions, seasoned with 9 chilis.
This fresh vegetable dish had some great flavors. Everyone loved the 9 chili confit and lucky for us this wasn't the last dish to feature it.

Cucumber cup filled with scallops, sturgeon, caviar, 9 chili confit oil, chipotle sauce, crispy chives and spring onions.
The scallops were local scallops and were very fresh and flavorful. The dish was mildly spicy and the cucumber cup served as the perfect palate cleanser. Everything in this dish came together perfectly - loved it. Too bad I was told this was an off-the-menu item!

Cornbread cake, sage sauce, tomato salsa, shrimp
We ended with a heavier dish, luckily it was small. I loved the sage sauce and the tomato and the cornbread was quite flavorful although a bit dry if it wasn't for the sage sauce.

At the end of this meal (the fourth one that day) we were all very pleased with how light the dishes were and excited by the innovation going on here that is pervading the rest of Baja. Who knew?

La Querencia
Escuadrón 201 #3110
Col. Aviación
Ph. (01152) (664) 972-9935 & 972-9940

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Checking out BoHo at 50% Off

Back in May, BoHo had an awesome special: 50% off all food on Tuesdays.
Thanks to Twitter, Choisauce and I managed to set up a last minute dinner date and off to BoHo we go.

Many many foodbloggers told us to get the Oyster Po' Boy sliders so we listened.

Fried Oyster Po'Boy Sliders (gougeres, tartar sauce, applewood bacon, arugula - $9)
Best dish of the night, for sure!! There were four sliders per order, 4 hot and crunchy fried oyster in puffy gougeres. The juicy fried oysters were so addicting! We wanted to get another order but we have so much food coming still ...

Ratatouille (baby summer squashes, eggplant, roasted peppers, tomato - $8)
The ratatouille was not at all like what I thought ratatouille should be like, to say the least.
Rather bland and uh .. "healthy tasting", none of us actually digged this.

Hot oven-roasted beets (goat cheese, lemon-onion confit - $8)
The beets were your standard beet/goat cheese dish

Baked Fennel pizza (applewood bacon, caramelized onion, gruyere - $14)
The fennel pizza was actually pretty good although Choisauce said the one at Church & State was inarguably better.

Beef Short rib Shepherd's Pie (baby carrots, mushroom, red wine, Yukon potato mash, Vermont white cheddar - $16)
Another dish that didn't look anything like what it's supposed to be -- a pie, in this case. Not a bad dish - solid and comforting on a cold night.

Pile o' Ribs (applewood smoked baby back ribs, Belgian fries, bbq sauce - $19)
The ribs themselves were not bad at all, pretty tender. What we were confused about is the sauce in the metal container. It wasn't ketchup for the fries. It wasn't quite your typical BBQ sauce either ...

Besides the awesome oyster sliders, the rest of the dishes were pretty good but not particularly notable. But then the desserts came .... Oh, those desserts!

Summer Peach crisp (almond streusel, vanilla bean ice cream - $8)
I love peach crisps, and this was a really good one, with a great scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to boot.

Brown Butter Blueberry Tart - $8
We all had a hard time choosing which dessert was our favorite ... I believe this one ended up being Choisauce's favorite though.

Chocolate cake bread pudding, vanilla bean ice cream - $8
The heaviest of the dessert, so rich and decadent. That's not necessarily a bad thing, I love this dessert! Among the three, I was having a real hard time deciding too ... maybe the crisp after all?

It's too bad BoHo is no longer offering 50% Tuesdays, but even without that I would go any night for the oyster po boy sliders and the desserts. The rest (so far) I can do without, tho I heard the burger was good.

6372 W. Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 465-8500
BoHo on Urbanspoon
Boho in Los Angeles

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