Thursday, July 30, 2009

Baja Media Trip: First Night in Tijuana. Tacos and Cerveza Obscura.

Thursday 6 PM, we all gathered at Union Station to ride the bus down to the first destination of our Baja FAM Media Trip: Tijuana, Mexico! (This trip was sponsored by Tijuana Convention and Visitors Bureau)

In tow were many of my foodblogger friends: Street Gourmet LA (the organizer, aka the don), formerly-teenage Glutster, LA&OC Foodie, Mattatouille, Food GPS, Gastronomer, Deep End Dining, and Eating LA and also some I have not met before including pro-writers Man Bites World (now with LA Weekly's Squid Ink), Table Conversation, and a few other food writers/photographer. There were also some chefs on board - Ramiro from La Casita Mexicana, and chefs and manager of Ciudad and Border Grill, and Brissia, the young owner of Cemitas y Clayudas Pal Cabron.

The mediocre chicken salad sandwich I got from the station was barely enough to tide me over, so naturally the first order of business when we got to Tijuana was DINNER!

First Stop (OF COURSE we're making more than one stop! The night is young):

Tacos El Poblano
7813 Boulevard Diaz Ordaz
Tijuana, Mexico

This place is a bit of a drive from the center of the city, but trust me it's well worth it.
Tacos El Poblano serves carne asada tacos with a mixture of three different cuts of meat: lomo (loin), pulpa (round), and chuleta de res (sirloin) -- thanks to Street Gourmet LA for the information!
There is no doubt about it, this taco blows any LA taco out the water. Any.
I mean, seriously, can I bring these guys back to Los Angeles and open a taco truck?

One taco is not enough, of course, so we got a tostada also, with the same meat.
The tostada is topped with even more meat than the tacos, and the crispy tortilla was so good. Nothing could be more perfect for kicking off our Baja trip and satisfying our hunger. And I do think tacos taste that much better late at night!

We also had a plate of jerky-like pieces of meat.
I never quite found out what this was or which part of the animal it was from, but it was so addicting for everyone.

Next - washing down our tacos and tostadas, with cerveza.

La Vuelta
2004 RevoluciĆ³n, Zona Centro
Tijuana, Mexico

What you need to know about La Vuelta: 24 hours, cerveza (casta and more), and mariachi.

With an amazing mariachi band in the background, the night and our trip is off to a good, lively start.

We each had (at least) two beers, both dark/obscura beers: Casta and Bohemia obscura.

Both beers are pretty good . After much thought I decided I like the Bohemia Obscura better although Deep End Dining preferred the Casta.

Perhaps because there were so many of us, the management served us some chicken taquitos on the house.

The taquitos are good enough, though they don't compare to the El Poblano tacos and tostadas we just had. La Vuelta isn't about the food anyway. It's about the casta, the late night out, and of course, the mariachi.

That's it for the first night. We were back at the hotel just in time to get enough sleep before our early morning start and our food decathlon the next day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Recipe: Steamed Mussels in Curry Broth (CulinaryCollege/Andrew Kirschner/Wilshire)

Los Angeles Magazine teams up with Snyder Diamond to hold Culinary College, a cooking class series featuring established Los Angeles chefs. The second class in the series featured chef Andrew Kirschner from the Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica (event review to come).

In the Snyder Diamond showroom, chef Kirschner shows us how to whip up his well-loved steamed mussels dish.

Steamed Black Mussels in Red Curry Coconut Broth
- Chef Andrew Kirschner. Wilshire Restaurant, Santa Monica, CA.

Serves 4

3lbs -- Black Mussels- Cleaned
1.5 cup - Coconut Milk
2 T -- Thai Red Curry Paste
1 T -- Paprika
2 T -- Lime Juice
2 T -- Lemon Juice
2 T -- Soy Sauce
2 T -- Mirin
1 cup - Dry Sherry Wine
2 T -- Honey
1 T -- Lemongrass, minced
1 T -- Ginger, minced
1 T -- Garlic, minced
1 T -- Kaffir Lime Leaf, minced
1 T -- Coriander, whole
1 t -- Cumin, ground
6 sprigs - Thai basil, chopped
2 T -- Fish sauce

Place all ingredients except mussels into a heavy sauce pot and simmer over low heat for 1/2 hour. Remove from heat, strain, cool and reserve.

Preparing mussels: place mussels in sauce pot with above mixture, cover pot and cook on high flame until mussels are steamed and just opened.
Serve with grilled sourdough bread.

The next Culinary College class will be held on August 19 and feature chef Jason Travi (of Fraiche and Riva). Cost is $50 pp. Please call Estrellita Dacanay at Los Angeles magazine 323-801-0034 to purchase.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Late Night Taco Run in Pasadena: El Taquito

What better way to follow up a movie involving French cuisine than a stop at a taco truck?

Spurred by PK's post about the El Taquito taco truck in Pasadena and the fact that both Kung Food Panda and I both work in Pasadena and haven't been (!!), we stopped by to grab dinner after the Julie & Julia screening at the Arclight.

Street parking at that time of the night on Fair Oaks is aplenty and we easily found a spot next to the Nishikawa Auto Services, where El Taquito parks throughout the night.

We got our tacos and condiments and went home to garnish, food-style and photograph - and eat. I opted for the less-spicy green salsa, of course, cos I'm still in training.

El Taquito has some pretty interesting options (although it lacks Rambo's crispy tripas) including tongue, cheek, chicharron, etc.

What I got:

Cabeza (cheek)

Lengua (tongue)


All the tacos are nicely grilled tortillas generously stuffed with tender and flavorful meats (or offals). The cabeza was especially tender.
At $1.20 apiece (tax included, did you note that Kogi?), El Taquito is perhaps the best, cheapest food you can get in Pasadena past 11 pm anyday.

El Taquito Mexicano Truck
510 S. Fair Oaks Ave (in Nishikawa Auto Services parking lot)
Pasadena, CA
El Taquito Mexicano Truck on Urbanspoon
El Taquito Mexicano Truck in Los Angeles

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Baja Dining Experience: Tijuana/Ensenada Guide

Bill from Street Gourmet LA, we owe you one.
After what (I'm sure) could not be any less than a political battle and head splitting migraine in organizing this media trip, Bill smoothly guided 25 or so food writers, bloggers, restaurant chefs and owners for an epic (no, there's no other word for it) food triathlon in Baja, Mexico: Tijuana, Ensenada, and Valle de Guadalupe.

This was my first trip to Baja and frankly I didn't have any desire to go there before. Boring, dangerous, people tell me. But when an opportunity to join a media trip sponsored by Tijuana Convention and Visitors Bureau, I certainly wasn't about to turn it down.

What is my verdict after 2 days, 3 nights, 17 restaurants, 2 wineries, and a beer festival? Amazing, I tell you. If you haven't been, go already.

I will be reviewing each restaurant fully very soon, but in the meantime, here's the list and a recap.


  • Barbacoa de La Ermita - Hidalgo style lamb barbacoa cooked overnight in a pit. Open on weekends only and there ain't no hangover cure like it.
  • Cien Anos - Like the name suggests, this restaurant features 'old' recipes that they have acquired from friends and families. Various seafood cebiches can be found here.
  • Cheripan -a great Argentinian restaurant with an amazing flank steak and a big martini list, including tamarind martini.
  • L'Abricot -a cute little French bistro (the only one in Tijuana?) with solid food and desserts.
  • La Diferencia - alta cocina
  • La Querencia - one of the most exciting places in Baja with the Baja Med food movement in the forefront.
  • La Vuelta -Fun place with some good beer offerings and a great mariachi band. Open late so get your party on here.
  • Lorca - a great little Spanish place with delicious paella and whole suckling pig.
  • Tacos El Poblano - Their carne asada tacos, made with 3 different meats, blow any carne asada taco in Los Angeles out of the water.
  • Tacos Los Salceados - Arguably the best taqueria in Mexico. Not your ordinary tacos as you can find exciting creation like the new york steak taco with strawberry sauce.
  • Mariscos el Mazateno - Perhaps the best seafood tacos in Tijuana. The smoked marlin taco and the mazatena (camarones enchilado) taco are both a must-try.
  • Villa Saverios Restaurant - Both Italian and Baja Med influence the cuisine of Chef Javier Plascencia at this gorgeous restaurant.

  • La Guerrerense - an amazing seafood tostada cart that has been there for 30+ years. Their amazing tostada offerings include uni, sea cucumber, bacalao (cod), fish pate, and more. A must stop.
  • La Manzanilla - Benito Molina is one of the most exciting chefs in Baja at the moment, and this is his flagship restaurant.
  • Muelle 3 - A small but amazing seafood restaurant by the pier. Raw oysters, ceviches, and more seafood by the great Benito Molina.
  • Silvestre - This was the ultimate experience. A getaway within a getaway. Outdoor dining with an expansive vineyard view with an outdoor kitchen and grill manned by Benito Molina.
  • Tacos El Fenix - This is THE Baja fish taco, with meat from a small shark.

Valle de Guadalupe Wineries
  • Vina Liceaga - This winery that specializes in Merlot is recently outfitted with a great and spacious tasting room and a picnic area where a seasonal restaurant will be open throughout the summer.
  • Villa del Valle (Bed & Breakfast) - I fell in love with this bed and breakfast. Beautiful view, stylish yet rustic decor, a vegetable garden you can walk through. They also make a lovely unfiltered Sauvignon Blanc and some great food including ostrich meat wrapped in kale.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Last Los Angeles Winery and Wines from Down Under

Seven years in Los Angeles and there are still so many things I did not know about this city. Foodblogging has certainly led me to explore much more than I otherwise would, driving all over scouring all the food has to offer. Yet when a press release came about a wine tasting at San Antonio Winery I was definitely surprised. Los Angeles has a winery?

San Antonio Winery is the last remaining winery in Los Angeles, having survived the depression that shuttered many others by selling sacramental wines.

That's not what we were about to have, of course. San Antonio Winery is now back in full business and is known for their dessert wines -- I had a tour of the winery but this post will come later.

I was invited to cover the wine tasting from Down Under. Yep, Australia and New Zealand, paired with a full lunch featuring (naturally) Australian and New Zealand dishes, held at their lovely large tasting room. While following a powerpoint presentation of different regions of Oz and NZ and the wines we were tasting, we started devouring and drinking.

Shrimp off the Barbie with mango pickle
paired with Kono Sauvignon Blanc 2008
For these special events, San Antonio Winery brings in an outside chef named Chef Claud to prepare the food, and I have to say he does a good job. I wasn't sure what to expect food-wise since I was at a winery in downtown LA but the shrimp was the introduction to a great meal.
The shrimp had that nice slightly-charred-barbecue flavor that goes well with the tartness of the mango.

The paired wine was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. Marlborough is famous for its Sauvignon Blancs and Kono is a good inexpensive representation of this regional specialty.

Pan Seared Barramundi (Green onion basmati rice, tomato fondue)
paired with D'Arenberg "Hermit Crab" Viognier Marsanne 2008
and Ferngrove Semillion-Sauvignon Blanc 2006
We all loved the barramundi. Apparently barramundi is recently aquafarmed and is considered the most sustainable fish on the planet. That's good to know since it was delicioso. Chef Claud did a great job with the fish. Tender and moist and full of flavor, the well-cooked fish also paired nicely with the tomatoes and the fragrant basmati.

With this dish we saw the difference between tasting wine and pairing wine with food. The "Hermit Crab" Viognier was a wonderful wine that was refreshing and crisp, while by itself the Ferngrove Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc paled in comparison. With the food though, I much preferred the latter.

New Zealand Lamb Chop (Roasted sweet potatoes, stewed eggplant)
paired with D'Arenberg "Laughing Magpie" Shiraz Viognier 2007
and Penley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Another great dish, with a well-cooked and well-seasoned lamb chop. Medium rare all the way through, the way I like it. I didn't think grabbing the bones with my fingers was appropriate for the occasion but I managed to clean it up with my fork and knife.

The second wine was pretty earthy, I didn't like drinking it on its own but it paired well with the lamb.

Australian Cheddar with Sea Biscuit Crackers & Cherries

paired with Ferngrove "Dragon" Shiraz 2005
The pink marbling on the cheese is the result of cranberries. Smooth and mildly sharp, this was one delicious cheese.

The pairing was my favorite wine of the day, the Ferngrove "Dragon" Shiraz.
Fruity and smooth, this was an easily drinkable wine with plenty of flavor.

Lamingtons Cake (Chocolate dipped cake w shredded coconut & Bitter chocolate sauce)
A pound-cake like cake with coconut, dipped in chocolate, and then further dressed in more chocolate sauce. Rich and heavy, but satisfying.

paired with Wyndham Estate "Bin 555" Sparkling Shiraz

This is the second sparkling syrah I've ever had (the first was the Black Chook sparkling syrah) and they are becoming one of my drinks of choice since it is refreshing like champagne or prosecco yet has deeper flavors. It's a nice way to either kick off or end an occasion.

A parting gift from San Antonio Winery - a cap with a clever message.

Next up at San Antonio Winery: "Boutique Beer Tasting and Food Pairing" Aug. 9, "Taste of the Americas" September 20, and "Taste of Italy" October 25. $50 pp.

San Antonio Winery
737 Lamar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031
(323) 223-1401.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

STL: A Cup of Conrete at Ted Drewes

"Get a concrete."

That's what noah of Chowhound told me to do. So I did just that. En route to the airport, I made a quick stop at Ted Drewes for some frozen custard. At first I made my way to the other location but apparently (so I was told) that was not the place to go. The place to go is the Ted Drewes on Chippewa.

Sure enough, everyone and their gangs were there, lining up under the midwestern sun for some cold frozen custard.
Confused with all the choices and toppings and running out of time, I went simple with a Chocolate concrete. We were sharing so I got a large.

Whenever your order is ready, they will flip it over before handing it to you to show you that it doesn't fall. Because it's, you know, concrete.

I, however, just had to take a photo. A photo of it flipped over but not falling. Because that would be so cool. So I got my creamy chocolate concrete.
Got my camera ready, posed for my companion to take a photo, flipped it over .... and FLOP.
Well, half of it did :(

Note to self: 1) Don't wait too long before flipping it over. Even concretes melt. 2) Get a small next time. It'll probably hold up better.

As for the other half, it was all you'd ever want from a frozen custard. Thick, creamy, smooth. Even the weather was perfect for a cold treat. So if you're in St Louis, get a concrete.

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (St. Louis Hills)
6726 Chippewa St
St Louis, MO 63109
(314) 481-2652
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (St. Louis Hills) on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Melisse Anniversary: 10 Years, 10 Dishes

Melisse's 10-year anniversary special features ten classic dishes - favorites of the last ten years. I was very curious what these ten classics are, and how good they are. The ten course meal goes for $150 per person. But that's not all. Corkage is a mere $10/bottle up to two bottles per table, AND each person takes home a $50 gift card.

This was too good to pass up, and the deal only runs through July. Running out of time with my 3 week long Los Alamos stint coming up, I braved two dinners last weekend. The second being, naturally, Melisse (I tried eating lightly at the first).

My first visit to Melisse, 2 years ago, wasn't mind blowing (ordered a la carte) and I didn't return for a while. My second visit with a tasting menu was much a much better, more well-rounded experience. I felt like I finally got to experience the real Melisse.

And now with these ten courses ... the full-on Melisse experience.

Amuse bouche #1
tomato with goat cheese, pistachio
My previous visits to Melisse have started out with similar amuse bouche but with grapes. As it was peak season for tomatoes, the substitution was only fitting.

Amuse bouche #2
cucumber mousse, tomato gazpacho

Egg caviar
lemon creme fraiche, American caviar
Naturally a 10-course meal consisting of what's considered to be Melisse "classics" would include the egg caviar. Here American sturgeon caviar is used. Get all the layers in one bite - half-boiled egg, creme fraiche, and caviar. It's a delectable combination.

Tuna tartare
Pickled cucumber, avocado mousseline, Yuzu vinaigrette
A very refined dish. The avocado mousseline was amazingly smooth. Tuna tartar with avocado just did not excite me at first but this one was above and beyond others. It brought me back from all the excitement of "adventurous" dishes to perfection of a classic dish.

Mandarin Tomato Soup
Tomato tartare and sorbet
The juxtaposition of the warm tomato soup with the cold sorbet was quite interesting (though I think it sent my mouth into mild heat/cold shocks :P ). What was intriguing to us was how the sorbet does not melt during the time we were eating.

Seared Rougie Foie Gras
Black Mission Figs, Pain d'epice, Banyuls Reduction
Perhaps because it was preluded by such refined and wonderful dishes, in a rare but I guess not impossible occasion, I found the seared foie gras the weakest dish of the night. While the pain d'epice was great, I found the foie gras itself a bit 'stringy' and not particularly flavorful.

Lobster Bolognese
Fresh Cappelini, Truffle Froth
Even though Melisse is known as a French restaurant, their food is not purely French and Italian influences can be found in dishes like this one or the gnocchi that I had on a previous visit.
With that said, the lobster bolognese was my favorite dish of the night. The thin pasta strands were so delicate, and do I need to tell you my love affair with truffle?

Dover Sole "Goujonettes"
Sweet white corn, Chanterelle mushrooms, toasted almonds, Scallions
Moist fish with crispy skin and delicate sauce. Though I'm not sure about the transition from the boldly flavored bolognese to this delicate dish where the boldest flavor comes from the Chanterelles- the dish in itself was excellent.

Cote de Boeuf Roti
Potato Leek Torte, Summer Pole Beans, Wild Mushrooms, Herb Jus
Of course the heaviest dish had to come last when I was most full ... the two bites that I did have was excellent though. The beef was juicy and flavorful, pretty tender and actually a bit "gamey". I loved the creamy potato leek torte with crispy crust. Though we couldn't finish it I can tell you I had a most delicious lunch the next day that everyone envied.

ReBlochon Tart
Honey Pepper Gastrique
Because of the word "tart" I expected a dessert dish similar to a cheesecake, but instead this was a nice creative twist on the cheese course. Apparently ReBlochon is best between May and September - perfect timing. Instead of a cheese board with condiments, here you have the rich creamy and smooth ReBlochon cheese with pastry crust, and your sweet/spicy gastrique.

Vanilla Yogurt
Strawberry Sorbet
So simple but done so well. A wonderfully tart and refreshing first dessert works very well as a palate cleanser. And yes we cleaned the plate.

Chocolate Souffle
Banana Mousse
I love chocolate souffle. And I love Melisse's chocolate souffle. Airy and fluffy souffle, the way it should be, filled with rich chocolate ganache. Heavenly.

After this meal I couldn't help but think my first mediocre visit to Melisse was an off-meal. The quality of the dishes put out tonight were excellent, service was spot on - they deserve their 2 Michelin stars even if Michelin won't bother coming back to LA next year. This ten course meal is a worthy experience - and hey we came home with $100 gift card and a most excellent leftover for lunch! Two weeks left, so don't miss out.

1104 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 395-0881

Melisse in Los Angeles

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Eastside of Food Events: East LA Meets Napa

One Friday evening, Union Station is transformed into a food and wine mecca. In its fourth year, East L.A. Meets Napa event, hosted by Altamed, gathered more than 1000 people on July 10 to taste the food of more than 40 Latino restaurants around town and the wines (and tequila) by Latino wineries or winemakers throughout the state.

Some of the notable participating wineries include Sequoia Grove, J. Lohr, Cobblestone Vineyards, El Centauro del Norte, and many many more.

With plenty of food to sample, I did not manage to try everything. The restaurants everyone seemed to enjoy but I missed included Cook's Tortas, Birrieria Chalio, and Moles La Tia, but here are some of the highlights for me:

Chicken tamale with black mole from Guelaguetza.
Mole from Guelaguetza - a staple of LA. There's a reason they are popular. Here they serve up delicious chicken tamales with their sweet mole and fragrant rice.

Florales Tortillas with shrimp salsa from Rivera
One of Rivera's signatures - housemade nixtamal tortillas that are crispy and gorgeous to look at at the same time.

Chiles en Nogada from La Casita Mexicana
This was better in the larger version you get at the actual restaurant due to the ratio, but still enjoyable with the sweet walnut sauce.

Castillas de Puerco en Chile Negro from Teresita
Very tender and flavorful. This was a find I would not have known were it not for this event! It's really for these lesser-known places that these food events are so great for - an exposure to over 1000 people.

There were some unique desserts to be found also, including this handmade 3-D jello from Attila the Flan.
(That just looks so cool!)

Chocolate dipped jalapenos from D's Delights
I did actually try a bite - spicy! Not for me, not for me. But fun nonetheless.

I unfortunately had to run out of there after an hour to make it to my Andrew Bird concert, but in that one hour I had a lot of great food, great wines, and met many of my foodie friends including Mattatouille, LA&OC Foodie, Food She Thought, Wandering Chopsticks, FoodGPS, and Choisauce.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Upcoming Events! (or, What I'll Miss While in New Mexico)

--UPDATED 7/14/09--

I'm not sure why but I signed up to be in Los Alamos and Santa Fe for about 3 weeks. Before that there is the much anticipated Baja trip(!!). Oui, oui, there will many delicious Southwestern food waiting for me! But alas, I will be away from LA for all that time and apparently I will be missing many many exciting and delicious events.

So don't be like me. Mark your calendars and go!

July 16-19. Kyushu & Okinawa Fair. Tonkotsu ramen from Tatsuno-ya, "Pie Fresh Custard Pudding on Choux" of "Kikuya" in Oita, “Nagasaki Sara Udon” of “Yamachan”. Torrance, Costa Mesa, and San Diego Mitsuwa stores. Check website for full schedule of each store.

July 22. Blogger Prom! Prom, liquor vendors, raffles, goodie bags ... *sob*

Sunday, July 26. L.A. Beer Float Showdown! On this day, Golden State will gang up with Scoops to battle Bottle Rock LA who's teaming up with Milk on the first ever L.A. Beer float showdown. You'll get to judge two beer floats from each contestant. Tickets are $23 if you RSVP to by July 25 or $28 at the door. Proceeds benefit 826LA, a non-profit writing and tutoring program for kids 6-18. 3:30 PM. Blue Palms Brewhouse, 6124 Hollywood Blvd.

Sunday, July 26. Dessert Decadence. Gelato, cupcakes, chocolates, and more! As the name suggests, this event puts desserts on the spotlight. $40 pp. 5-8 PM. Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, 1755 N Highland Ave.

Saturday, Aug 8. Festival of Indonesia. In celebration of the 64th Indonesian Independence Day, a festival will be held at the Indonesian Consulate featuring traditional music and dance, arts and crafts, and - of course - Indonesian food (why else would I blog about it?). The traditional music includes local genre of dangdut, which I could only file under the category "campy" (i.e. it's so lame it's awesome). 10AM-10 PM. Indonesian Consulate, 3457 Wilshire Blvd.

Sunday, Aug 9. Boutique Beer Tasting & Food Pairing. The last remaining winery in Los Angeles will be holding a boutique beer tasting sampling at least 9 beers and half a dozen wines including Great White, Old Rasputin, West Coast IPA (Green Flash) and more, paired with tamales, gourmet sausages, Santa Maria BBQ tri-tip, taco bar, and pies for dessert. 2-5 PM. $50 pp. San Antonio Winery, 737 Lamar St.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sushi on Sunset (Press Tasting)

Sushi on Sunset brought a new chef (Tetsuro Ahn) on board just last month and a few of us "media" people were invited to check out his new creations. Since it's on Sunset, I of course expected fusion food, but I was curious to see what they do here.

Sushi on Sunset is a small restaurant with a rather unassuming black on white sign, but the decor inside is a modern, classy wooden look.

Their cocktail list is pretty short and not particularly exciting, so after trying one, I then opted for one of their green tea selection, the Madame Butterfly (green tea with white peaches and something -- sunflowers, IIRC?)
I loved this tea. The scent of the white peaches was very apparent and very pleasant and calming. I wish I can get some of the leaves to take home.

tossed in sweet soy and sesame sauce
A nice touch to the usual edamame, adding layers of sweet and savory.

served with white & red onion, celery, bell pepper, carrot, garlic chips & gobo chips in an oyster ginger shoyu dressing
This was our first real taste of Sushi on Sunset, and we were very pleasantly surprised. The fish was pretty good quality, and you can tell even among the sauces and garnish.

with chili caramel glaze & peppers
Another pleasant surprise. These were all deep fried white meat chicken, and as you may have noticed I am not a big fan of white meat as they tend to be dry and bland. The firecracker chicken had a pretty impressive moistness to it. The sauce was sweet and slightly spicy. The dish had a pretty nice kick to it and easily enjoyed.

MATSURI (Chef Tetsu's signature dish ). As some of you may know, matsuri means festival and this dish is rightfully called so. From the left:
1. Blue crab, Avocado & eel in oyster shell
2. Salmon,Crab & Shrimp with shiso leaf in a Radish Wrap
3. Spicy Toro with Wonton Chips
4. Tuna, Shrimp, Octopus, Seaweed & green onion with Nuta Sauce

Nice renditions of crab/eel dynamite, tuna tataki, etc. All four items were quite enjoyable, with quality ingredients. The spicy toro with wonton was perhaps my favorite here.

with lime pepper sauce
The meat was very tender - to be expected from kobe beef (though there are some restaurants who managed to screw up even that) ... The beef was a little stringy but the tenderness and the nice flavors make up for it.

topped with an oyster ginger sauce
A step up from most rolls with real crab.

deep fried roll (spicy albacore inside) with fresh vegetables on top in a ginger dressing
All fusion sushi places will have some sort of crunchy roll. Sushi on Sunset has a pretty good one with a nicely done spicy albacore inside.

with nutella dipping sauce
Think chinese donuts, but crispy like churros due to the shape.

caramelized apples stuffed in a filo dough cup with five spice caramel sauce topped with green tea ice cream
Delicious apples, and nice crispy filo dough for the crust! I'm not sure about the pairing with green tea ice cream, but the apple pie itself was quite good.

our lava cake with vanilla ice cream
Pretty rich dark chocolate lava cake - pretty satisfying.

Chef Ahn has some pretty creative take on these dishes, and uses good quality ingredients. Fusion and sushi rolls have lately been regarded as "food for those who can't take real sushi", but when you encounter a place like Sushi on Sunset that holds its food quality to a high standards, you're reminded it is really a separate category with its own art form that still deserves some attention.

Sushi on Sunset
8264 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(310) 613-2773
Sushi on Sunset on Urbanspoon

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