Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Makeover for East Colorado?

The part of Colorado Blvd east of Lake is considerably boring compared to the Old Town area west of it, but relatively recently a new neighborhood favorite has popped up.

Daisy Mint is a small, cute Thai restaurant that may seem out of place among the neighboring mattress stores, etc. The inside of the restaurant is decorated somewhat eclectically. A dark (but gorgeous) painting of sumo wrestlers, mirrors, and empty picture frames and bird cages - which some thought to be rather creepy, but cute and quaint nonetheless.Compared to its typical Thai restaurant counterparts, Daisy Mint's menu is relatively limited. It only fills up one sheet of paper, front and back, but includes salads, soups, noodles, curries, and a small variety of other dishes. However, they also lean on the healthier side and use better quality ingredients.

Daisy Mint also offers selection of teas - some more uncommon than others. On my first visit I ordered the roasted nuts tea.

I'm not really sure what it is exactly, but it looks and tastes like almond+sesame milk to me ... plus perhaps other types of nuts. It tastes pretty bland, actually.

I've been there twice and on both visits forgot my regular camera :( since I usually just run off there from school while starving. So you'll have to bear with my phone camera instead.

I got the green curry the first time. The taste was not as 'bold' than your typical curry dish, but very comforting. I love the eggplants.

The next time around I ordered the 'Daisy Noodles'. The only thing missing from this dish (for me) is some meat ...
It is glass noddles in red curry sauce served with lettuce (salad lettuce), bean sprouts, and peanuts. It is an interesting combination and I like the slightly spicy curry sauce.

Thought I have yet to find a dish that blows my mind here, I like the quaintness of the place and thought that the food was good and rather creative. I'm sure I will be back many many times (walking tiredly from school)!

Daisy Mint
1218 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA

(626) 792-2999

Daisy Mint on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I haven't been slacking (that much)!

It may seem like I have been lurking for over 2 weeks ... but I really haven't! (not that I was /that/ productive either though)

So go check out my other blog, the Traveling Gourmet Pig
I'll be somewhat regularly updating this with my food adventures in Peru in the next couple of weeks :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Serving Up Kamado and More

I haven't been back to Torafuku in a while, but when I did a few days ago I wondered why. Torafuku serves some good solid food! I guess their dishes are not something you normally crave for ... and I've been into trying new things. But we wanted tofu one night and I wasn't up for spicy soon tofu, so we went back to Torafuku. I'm glad we did!

We started with the seaweed salad. This was a good starter, with some nice texture from the seaweed.

Torafuku serves their own homemade tofu and we've always loved it. It has an amazingly smooth texture.
This time we also got one of my favorite standards: grilled eggplant with miso.
They had the kin me dai (japanese big eye fish) sashimi. I was surprised to see this on the menu, I never thought of Torafuku as a place that would have 'rare' fishes. I've never had this before so I had to get it. They served each slice with a thin slice of lemon.
I thought this was really good and the fish was fresh. I also liked the lemon touch, although I also liked it without it. The fish was slightly chewier than say, salmon or hamachi, but otherwise had similar texture. More like halibut, perhaps?

Torafuku also prides themselves on serving free range chicken and eggs. We got the free range eggs tamagoyaki, which was excellent! It had more color and flavor than normal tamago.
We also got the grilled free range chicken thigh.
It was a very, very juicy chicken! Without all the excess fat too. And served with yuzu, which was a very nice touch.

I got the salmon touban yaki, which is their kamado rice with salmon and an egg - served on a sizzling hot plate. The server will bring it and mix it for you on your table.
Then they top it with seaweed and salmon roe.

For dessert, get the mango kuzu! It is mango mousse served with cream.

It is my favorite dessert there, but then again I am /very/ partial to mangoes.

We also got the custard pudding (flan). I am also partial to flan ;) This was a good one, though I've had better.
I had forgotten how good the food at Torafuku is. I will definitely be back for more pretty soon.

10914 W Pico Blvd

Los Angeles, CA

(310) 470-0014

Torafuku on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Westwood's Ultimate Comfort Food

There are a few places in our lives that we wouldn't dare think about the possibility of them closing or changing owners. They may not necessarily be the best restaurants in the world, but they are those we've grown up with and can't live without. For me, Apple Pan is one of those places.

Apple Pan is an old burger/pie joint on Pico in Westwood, and is manned by grumpy old men - that you love anyway no matter how grumpy they are - and other workers that run around slicing cheese on site, etc. They are open until midnight and as the night gets later, the more crowded it gets. Usually there is a line of people waiting for seats next to the windows.

I must admit I have not been back to Apple Pan for a while, but when I drove by the place one Monday - forgetting that they are closed on Mondays- and seeing the lights off, I panicked. Could it be ... Apple Pan closed down? No! Impossible! Fortunately Kat reminded me that they're just always closed on Mondays. Phew. After that episode I was determined to go back soon. I mean, what if they really are closing down?

So I went back. And got my standard - in fact, I've never ordered anything else there - the Hickoryburger with cheese. The hickoryburger is smoked and served with their own bbq sauce.
All their ingredients are fresh and good quality. People ask what the best burger in LA is, but that's really not quite fair ... I can say this much- this is the best burger under $10 :) (it's $6.50 so not cheap, actually)

Someone got the southern baked ham and cheese sandwich - this is the first time I've seen it since everyone normally orders burgers. But they make their own ham, and just like the cheese, slice it on site.
It is otherwise just standard sandwich with mayo, cheese, ham and lettuce so it tastes pretty bland. But you can still taste the fresh lean ham.

A former neighbor of mine who first took me here described the banana cream pie as "heavenly." Indeed it is a darn good pie! I know a couple people that complained that there's too much banana and not enough cream, but I love this pie nonetheless. I have yet to find a better banana cream pie in LA.
With all the health and diet rage these days, it's getting hard to find someone to drag to Apple Pan, but whenever I can - I would go back, and always with the hope that the grumpy old men behind the counter won't get sick, and that they would never close.

Apple Pan
10801 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064-2105
(310) 475-3585
Apple Pan on Urbanspoon
The Apple Pan in Los Angeles

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Returning to the Old: Campanile

Campanile is a big old restaurant that was very popular next to La Brea Bakery. Even now they seem to be doing good business and I went to try it out for brunch one day.
I was surprised at how big the restaurant is, and I really like the decor inside. The middle section is decorated to make it seem like you are sitting outside on a street in Europe. As you make your way to the bathrooms though you see how old the place is - the carpet on the stairways and the hallways upstairs is not very well-kept.

The service I thought was terrible. We were in a corner and our waiter kept just passing us by - even when we kept raising our hands to ask for more water etc. The busboy would actually come by and give us what we want quickly - but he was very curt :< The poached egg was great. The brisket was also good, tender, but I thought the broth was too salty, which made it a little hard to finish.

Apple Crisp, with oat and brown sugar streusel
This apple crisp was excellent. The sauteed apple was done just right and not too sweet. The oat and brown sugar streusel had a great crunchyness and texture.

All in all I thought the food was good, and the dessert excellent. But with the bad service and how far it is from where I live, I don't think I would come that often ... I do like stopping by at the La Brea Bakery on the way out though, to get my cherry chocolate bread and my cheeses :)

624 S La Brea Av
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Campanile on Urbanspoon

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