Tuesday, July 14, 2020

My Latest Snack Addiction: P.O.P. Candy Co Butter Crunch

It's been a while since I've blogged! How is everyone's quarantine going?
With so much time staying at home, I've been snacking more, of course, and I'm here to tell you about one of the sweet snacks that I've been kind of addicted to lately: the butter crunch from P.O.P. Candy Co in Santa Monica.
Pop candy co
So what is butter crunch anyway?
Butter crunch is kind of like a love child between a toffee and brittle.

According to their website, "Butter crunch is typically toffee that’s got crushed nuts on its chocolate coating." The basic ingredients is basically some sort of nuts, butter, and sugar (and maybe syrup or other special ingredients according to the flavor). The texture is quite different than toffee, though. It's crunchy but softer than regular toffee - not as hard to bite into and or as chewy /sticky, which is usually my issue with toffee. No such problem here. It's a crunchy, nutty sweet treat. Once I started I couldn't stop eating it.

The butter crunch from P.O.P. is handmade in small batches.
They have quite a few flavors with different nuts (no peanuts, though, so don't worry about peanut allergies) and it's hard to pick a favorite. The rosemary almond is interesting as the rosemary adds just a little bit of savoriness. The fire pistachio is pretty spicy thanks to the cayenne pepper! If you've never had any, the best thing to do is to get an assortment box like the one pictured above.
Pop candy co

P.O.P. Candy Co butter crunch is sold at various retail stores in Northern and Southern California, including a number of Whole Foods in the LA area, so give them a try, I think you'd like it!
You can also order online, they're doing free shipping for orders over $50.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Black-owned Food Businesses in the San Fernando Valley

This is the time to show our support for the black community in our country, and to fight for racial justice. There are many ways we can do so, including putting our dollars in support of black-owned businesses. Bucketlisters has a useful list of other ways be an ally and fight for racial justice including organizations to donate to, petitions to sign, etc and you can check out that list here.

As a food blogger living in the San Fernando Valley, I decided to put together a working list of black-owned restaurants in the valley. For restaurants beyond (but also including some in) the SFV, Kat Hong (editorial assistant of The Infatuation in L.A.) put together a great list here.

Jaliz
Ugandan food at Jaliz Cuisine


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Indonesian Food That Can Be Shipped to You in the USA

As an Indonesian, I'm lucky to live in Los Angeles where there are enough options to get Indonesian food from. My relatives in other states, not so much.
A fellow Indonesian in Boston recently asked me if I have a blog post about where she can get Indonesian food shipped within the United States, and I thought it would be a handy guide to have! So I've collected information on where you can order various Indonesian food shipped to you nationwide, from martabak to rendang.

(Note: I've tried some of these but not all, so I can't say which one is the best. They are listed in alphabetical order)

Bumbu Dapur
LA-based Bumbu Dapur ships various frozen Indonesian food nationwide, from ayam penyet to siomay to bakso and many different sambals. Check them out here.

Dapur Ampera
Based in Virginia, Dapur Ampera sells Palembang food, so think pempek, otak otak, and bakso. You can check out their Facebook page here. Note: their last post was from December 2019, but they responded to my inquiry and said they can ship pempek, nasi bakar, cilok and bakcang.

Eci’s Bakery
A baker by the name of Eddie Suartana is selling lapis legit, lapis Surabaya, roti gulung and more via his Facebook page and shipping it within the U.S.A. Here's a link to the menu and price list.

Martabak
Martabak manis rom Ina Foodmart

Ina Foodmart
Ina Foodmart if based in Ontario, California and can ship their martabak manis, rendang, and ebi potato chips nationwide. They're working on their website but in the meantime you can contact them on their Instagram page for orders. I tried their martabak and can recommend it.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Food Takeout / Delivery in LA That Gives Back

With so many people's livelihoods on the line during the pandemic and the closure of non-essential businesses, it's great to have our money go further to helping others. I have been trying to get takeout food from local businesses, but it's even better when my purchase also contributes to another cause. Here is the list of where you can get food in LA (takeout, delivery or by shipping) that also helps another cause.

Few for All
Few for All delivers handmade pasta, pasta sauces and cookie dough all over Los Angeles (they'll even deliver all the way to Woodland Hills with a minimum of $50 purchase). For each ITEM purchased, they'll also donate a pound of pasta to the LA Food Bank! Order through their instagram here.
Untitled

APL
Adam Perry Lang's APL Restaurant has joined forces with Jimmy Kimmel to launch a meal matching program. For every meal ordered for take-out or pick-up at APL, they will donate that same meal to St. Joseph's Center, a non-profit in Venice that supports the homeless and families in need.

Flavors from Afar
A new social enterprise in Little Ethiopia by The Tiyya Foundation, Flavors from Afar offers food from chefs who were former refugees and asylum seekers. For every meal purchased, they will donate a box of non-perishable food items to a low-income family in need. They're open Wednesday-Sunday and the meals rotate. Until May 17, the featured menu is Somali cuisine!


Vitalist High Frequency Food
Vitalist opened in West Hollywood in the middle of the pandemic, serving healthy plant-based food including juices, soups and salads. It's a good time to give them a try as $2 from every drink sale from now until June 15 goes to the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation Covid 19 fund.
Untitled

Goldbelly
Goldbelly sends iconic food from all over the country to your door. Recently with the pandemic, they have started a city subscription box. With every subscription purchased, Goldbelly will send a box of food to a frontline worker.
Memphis ribs

Golden Marrow
Golden Marrow was a popular new vendor at the 626 Night Market and now they're doing an "at home" bone marrow kit. The best part is that all proceeds are going to the fundraising campaign Code Masks that are aiming to provide N95 masks to hospitals and fire departments in LA.


Lazy Dog Restaurant
Lazy Dog offers friends and family meals at their various locations (starting at $25 and serves 4-5 people). With each family meal purchased, Lazy Dog will donate to a local organization including hospitals.

Tiato
This isn't for the prepared food, but when you buy a bag of groceries of $35 or more from Tiato, they will donate 20% to the Food Bank. Included in the bag: 2 avocados, bushel of bananas, baguette, blueberries, butter, Caesar dressing, cherry tomatoes, 2 lemons, lettuce, oat milk, red onion, house-made aloe hand sanitizer and 2 rolls of toilet paper.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Get Iconic Food from Around the Country with Goldbelly (Plus Give Back to Frontline Workers)

Goldbelly is a service that curates iconic food from restaurants around the country and ship them to you nationwide. I've used the service before to get tamales or send cakes to friends and family, but with the pandemic lockdown, I love the service even more since I can't travel or go out to eat but I miss certain things I can't always get in LA.

You can order things like these BBQ ribs from Charlie Vergos Rendezvous in Memphis shipped overnight to you!
Memphis ribs
My order came with 2 full racks of dry-rubbed ribs, a bottle of sauce and seasoning each and BBQ flavored popcorn! The ribs were so good.
Goldbelly
You can order bagels from New York, lobsters from Maine, crab from Maryland and much more. Also, Goldbelly recently launched a city subscription service that gets your money to go further by supporting frontline workers.

Basically, with a city subscription every month you will get a shipment of food from that city and it costs $79 per month (3 month minimum). For every subscription purchased, Goldbelly will send the same to a frontline worker. They have city subscriptions in Los Angeles, NYC, New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami. You don't have to live in that city to get it. Get a subscription or check out what else Goldbelly has to offer here.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Cocktails and Argentinean Fare at Barcito (Downtown LA)

A while back I visited Barcito in downtown LA for the first time. It's an Argentinean restaurant serving tapas as well as salads and sandwiches. While you can't dine in there right now, they are still open for takeout and delivery.

A recap of my visit there: We had to start with some jamon and burrata, of course. They're served with some Bub and Grandma's bread.
Barcito LA

Spanish tortilla (egg, potato, onion, but they made it their own with the addition of arugula and cashew romesco)
Barcito LA

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Freshly Delivers Nutritious Prepared Meals to Your Doors (with $20 off!)

Freshly is not a meal kit, but instead it delivers prepared meals that you can just heat and eat. They're nutritious and tastes much better than frozen meals, but a lot of the dishes freeze well, too!

I used to get Freshly meals once in a while to bring to work for lunch, and I freeze half of them upon arrival so they last longer. It's definitely coming in handy during this shelter-in-place order when you don't want to cook or just want some variety in your meals.
Freshly
The Freshly subscription service works like a meal kit where they have weekly deliveries that you can skip, and a menu of meals you can choose from. Each delivery is six meals and each one is filling enough for one meal. It's not a big meal, but that's probably better ... even my sweatpants are getting tighter during this quarantine!

Meal choices range from gumbo to chicken tikka masala to these turkey meatballs with zoodles. I like that they have comfort foods like chili mac and cheese instead of being too healthy.
Freshly
Freshly normally costs $59.99 per week, which comes out to $10 a meal. That's not cheap but it's not too expensive given the convenience and I do think the quality of the meals in general are pretty good (choose the meals you want, though, to get the most out of it). But with this link, you can get $20 off for each of your first two delivers, bringing it to $39.99 or about $6.50 per meal! Now that price I can get behind. Again, use this link.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Gasolina Cafe Serves Spanish-inflected Brunch in Woodland Hills

One of the local spots close to my place in Woodland Hills is Gasolina Cafe. It's a cute Spanish influenced cafe serving breakfast and lunch (and ever once in a while, a paella party). It's a nice neighborhood brunch place with good coffee - and they're still open for takeout and delivery during the safer-at-home order period. Plus, you can also "order" a meal to be donated to one of the local hospital emergency room staff.
Gasolina
Back to the brunch! One of my favorite savory items there was the Patatas bravas (home fries, chorizo, serrano ham, aioli, brava sauce, sunny side up egg, $15)
Gasolina Cafe
This brunch take of patatas bravas is great, with crispy home fries and plenty of chorizo and ham!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Where to Order Takeout and Delivery in San Fernando Valley

There are a lot of resources out there listing what restaurants are open for takeout and delivery in L.A., but I've noticed the San Fernando Valley listings tend to be lacking. Since that's where I live now, I figured I'd compile a list myself! Of course, this is just a starter list. Feel free to let me know your favorites to be added!

For those of you who live in the SFV, here are the restaurants I've found to be doing takeout and/or delivery, organized by neighborhood:

Friday, March 27, 2020

Winter Tasting Menu at Iki Ramen (Koreatown, LA)

Iki Ramen in Koreatown is one of the best new ramen spots in LA, but it's not just about the ramen. At the end of last year, they started doing a tasting menu which I have to be say is one of the better deals in town. Iki Ramen is still open for take-out during the pandemic shutdown, which I'll talk more about in a bit, but first I want to show you the tasting menu!

The tasting menu had gone through a couple of iterations as they refine what they want to do. The one I had was an 8-course tasting menu for $70.

We started with some Burrata and pickled tomatoes
Iki Ramen Winter Tasting
This dish is on their regular menu, and it's always a great one to order. Loved the refreshing tomatoes with the creamy burrata.

Trio of: salmon wasabi, takoyaki, uni ikura don
Iki Ramen Winter Tasting
I couldn't decide which of the three items I like best from this plate. Obviously I'm partial to uni but their takoyaki is really good too!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Lonzo's is Culver City's Tiny Peruvian Gem

Since we all now have so much time in our hands from not going out, I figured it's time to catch up on all my blog posts. I decided to highlight places and meals you can go to once the pandemic is over, but also I wanted to highlight places that are still doing takeout/ delivery, so you can help support small businesses while the Safer At Home order is underway.

First up is Lonzo's, a small Peruvian eatery in Culver City. Lonzo's started as a little bakery 14 years ago by Jose and Miriam Ramirez, but their nephew Walther Adrianzen also started serving his Peruvian cooking that even won over the late and great Jonathan Gold. The food quality and presentation are rather unexpected given the small size of the eatery, but no wonder it is packed.
Lonzo’s
I was invited for a tasting, so we had smaller portions than a regular order. We started with grilled prawn causa with ground yellow aji pepper and lime juice.
Lonzo's
Wasn't expecting this fancy plating! The butterflied prawn was lightly grilled and served on top of yellow potato causa.

Adrianzen has his own signature dishes here now, not just traditional Peruvian dishes, including the Parmesan scallops (Peruvian diver scallops, aji amarillo butter, yuzu, ponzu, parmesan cheese)
DSC05633
The parmesan scallops are reminiscent of a scallop dynamite with all the cheese and butter baked on top of the scallops.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A List of GoFundMe Fundraisers for Local LA Restaurant/ Bar Workers

Here is another way for you to help hospitality workers in L.A. who've been affected by COVID-19 and all the restaurant/bar closures. Some GoFundMe fundraisers have been established to provide relief for the affected workers. Some were established by the restaurants, some by the managers, some are a group of workers who got together.

Take a look at the list. Perhaps you've enjoyed good service at one of them, perhaps you have a good memory at another. Perhaps you're just feeling generous. Whatever the case, if you can and feel like doing so, here are links where you can contribute. P.S. I tried to find as many as I can but I'm probably missing, so let me know what I'm missing.

Big Bar

Bone Kettle

Death & Co

Gelateria Uli

Gold-Diggers

Guelaguetza

Here and Now

Here's Looking At You

Lock & Key

Lowboy, Bar Flores, Wolf and Crane , Adamae

Ma'am Sir

Melody Lounge

The Mermaid

Off The Menu is also raising funds for a number of their partner restaurants which include quite a number of restaurants from small or large including Lonzo's, Hyunghoon Tendon, etc.

Otium

Seven Grand

The Laugh Factory

There's also a fundraiser for 18 baristas working in DTLA

Monday, March 16, 2020

LA Restaurants that Offer Gift Cards

We all need to do all we can to support local restaurants during this shutdown due to COVID-19 outbreak to make sure they can reopen when this is all over, so I'm compiling a list of LA-area restaurants (SFV and SGV included) that offer gift cards you can purchase directly on their website. I personally think we should buy gift cards from these restaurants, but in the meantime order takeout from the even-smaller restaurants that don't even have the resources to offer gift cards.

Eventually I will order this alphabetically and complete the links to the restaurants, but in the meantime I will just list them. Have other restaurants to add? Let me know!

LOS ANGELES
71 Above
All Day Baby
Angler
AOC
APL
Baco Mercat
Bavel
Bestia
Border Grill
Broken Spanish
Charcoal
Citrin / Melisse

Craft LA (need to email them to purchase: guestrelations@craftedhospitality.com )
DAMA
EMC Seafood
Factor's Famous Deli
Faith and Flower
Forma Restaurant 
Guisados
Here’s Looking At You
Il Cielo
Jitlada
Joy on York
Kali
KazuNori
Langer's Deli (OK, you have to call them because they are old school)
Little Fatty 
Little Sister
Lukshon
Osteria Mamma
Otium
Paper or Plastik Cafe
Papilles Bistro
Patina Group: There is a lot in this group! Check the link for a list.
Perch
Pine & Crane
Shibumi
The Tasting Kitchen
Tavern
Tsubaki (can also be redeemed for Ototo)
Woon Kitchen
Scratch Bar & Kitchen
SOUTH BAY
Simms Restaurants: Fishing with Dynamite, MB Post, Arthur J, Tin Roof Bistro, Simmzy’s

PASADENA
Alexander’s Steakhouse
The Arbour (call to purchase: (626) 396-4925)
Union

Friday, February 28, 2020

GIVEAWAY: Santa Barbara Culinary Experience (March 13-15)

If you've been thinking about heading up to Santa Barbara (or perhaps you live there already), March 13 weekend is the perfect time. The 3-day food festival in Central California, the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience, is coming on March 13-15, and I have a GIVEAWAY for you all!

The weekend will be filled with special dinners, workshops and seminars, cocktail crawls, farm tours and much more. There are also a number of events paying ode to Julia Child, given that The Santa Barbara Culinary Experience benefits the The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and Culinary Arts. The events will feature chefs and restaurants from Santa Barbara down to Los Angeles, including Chef Ludo Lefebvre from Trois Mec and Chefs Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken from Border Grill. 
Photo credit: SBCE
Speaking of Border Grill ... I'm giving away 2 pairs of tickets to Border Grill on the Beach, valued at $125 each!
Photo credit: SBCE

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Pulutan, A Filipino Happy Hour at Sari Sari Store (Downtown LA)

"Pulutan" refers to Filipino finger food that is typically eaten while drinking - basically Filipino bar snacks - and the name is perfect for Sari Sari Store's happy hour menu. Yep, Margarita Manzke's Filipino place inside Grand Central Market has a happy hour with $3 San Miguel beers on draft (San Miguel is a popular Filipino beer) and cheap (but delicious) bar snacks!

Here are what you can find on the pulutan menu:
BBQ pork belly skewers ($7)
Sari Sari Pulutan
The pork belly may be our favorite thing on the pulutan menu (it certainly was my mom's favorite). It was nicely caramelized yet so tender.
On the back there you can also see the Adobo Shishito Peppers, available for $5.

Pinoy BBQ ribs ($7)
Sari Sari Pulutan
The ribs are also a great one to order, and pretty generous for $7. The meat just falls off the bone and the BBQ sauce is nice and sweet.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Steak Flight with a View at Castaway in Burbank

I figured for Valentine's weekend, it's good to post about this restaurant with a view, right? Castaway in Burbank has quite the romantic setting, especially around sunset time.
Castaway Burbank
Castaway has been around for years but they had a major remodeling in 2018.

The cocktail menu was more interesting than what I had expected. I started with a Don Pedro Old Fashioned (Ilegal mezcal, spiced bourbon reduction, PX nectar - $15). It was a nice mezcal Old Fashioned, and look at that view!
Castaway Burbank
Castaway has hired Perry Pollaci as executive chef .Chef Pollaci previously worked with the Patina Group and at The Royce at the Langham in Pasadena.

I'm behind on blogging, so some of the menu has changed since the time I went but at the time I had some heirloom tomato and burrata with watermelon, yuzu, white balsamic, black pepper, mache, basil, chia seeds  ($17)
Castaway

Friday, January 24, 2020

Crustacean Beverly Hills, Beyond the Garlic Noodles

Even though I've been in LA for a while and have even had the An family's food at AnQi in Costa Mesa and even the famous garlic crab at the original Thanh Long in San Francisco, I actually have not made it to Crustacean until recently. Sure, I've had the garlic noodles at food festivals, but that's not quite the same.

Luckily, I was recently invited for a tasting menu so I made my way there for the first time. It was the middle of the week but the Beverly Hills restaurant was hopping. It was quite crowded both with dinner guests and people drinking at the bar (after-work drink crowd, I presume). There was a live music performance going on, which takes place on Wednesdays from 4-7pm.

Our tasting menu for two started with these tuna cigars, with quite the eye catching presentation. A cigar box was presented to us and smoke wafted out upon opening.
Crustacean
The tuna cigars were made of feuille de brick, tuna, avocado silk, Vidalia onion, and tobiko caviar.
Crustacean

The smoky presentation continued on with the cocktail I ordered, the Hightea Penicillin. The Penicillin traditionally consisted of scotch, ginger, honey, and lemon juice and here it's topped off with black tea and lavender cloud.
Crustacean

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Ktown's Caffe Concerto Gets New Chef and Tasting Menu

Caffe Concerto in Koreatown has been around for a while, serving Italian food with Korean inflections (you can read my previous review here of their pasta including a kimchi carbonara).
They recently hired a new head chef, Terry Kim, and have added a tasting menu component (the rest of the a la carte menu remains the same).
Concerto Tasting
After the amuse bouche we started off with some beautifully plated Tuna tartar and Granny Smith apples
Concerto Tasting
This was a good rendition of a classic, with the sweet apples juxtaposing the fatty tuna nicely.

The tuna was followed by a Tomato salad, persimon dressing, cherry tomatoes, tomato sorbet, parsley oil, olive crumbs
Concerto Tasting

Monday, January 6, 2020

Bar Avalon Brings Cozy Wine Bar and Dinner Spot to Echo Park

Echo Park got a new wine bar back in October with Bar Avalon, which came by way of Revelator Coffee. This intimate spot offers interesting wines and a small but solid dinner menu.

The wines here are listed by order of latitude and the list offers both old world and new world wines. The sommelier is always on hand to tell you about their more interesting offerings like Unti Segromigno from Dry Creek Valley.

The menu is divided into four sections including small plates, little bites like deviled eggs, and bigger entrees. We tried the Plancha Blue prawns, n'duja, preserved lemons ($14). Can never go wrong with blue prawns!
Bar Avalon

Pork Rillette ($14) from the "tasty bits" section
Bar Avalon

Friday, January 3, 2020

Taco Omakase at Bee Taqueria (West Adams, Los Angeles)

West Adams seems to be the upcoming food hot spot, and Bee Taqueria is certainly adding to that reputation. Bee Taqueria is opened by chef Alex Carrasco, who has worked at places like Scratch Bar, Osteria Mozza, etc. It's not a fine dining place, but rather a colorful tin shack with outdoor seating only.
Bee Taqueria
That doesn't mean the food is low-brow. While Bee Taqueria has a casual a la carte taco menu, Carrasco also offers a taco omakase by reservation only, and it's one worth trying. There's a table of four in the corner that's set aside for the omakase.

We started with taco placero (market taco). For this one Carrasco uses a white heirloom corn tortilla and tops it with roasted pork belly, tomatillo salsa, and herbs including papalo and chives.
Bee Taqueria

Next: squid ink tortilla topped with quesillo, huitlacoche, black truffles, bottarga, and tomato.
Bee Taqueria
A great combination for someone (like me) who loves the black fungi like huitlacoche and truffles!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A Konnyaku Tasting at INN ANN (Japan House LA)

INN ANN was the Japanese restaurant run by Japan House at Hollywood and Highland with acclaimed sushi chef Mori Onodera. INN ANN closed on December 31 to be reconfigured into a culinary incubator of sorts, so that reminded me to catch up on my posts ... A while back (because I'm so behind) I attended a special lunch featuring konjac or konnyaku.

Konnyaku is a chewy "cake" made from konjac yam. It has a texture like gelatin and has made a name in the Western world for being a zero-calorie food. The lunch gathered three chefs from the LA area to showcase the different ways konnyaku can be prepared.

We started with a Konjac and mushroom shabu shabu from INN ANN's chef Mori Onodera.
Konjac at Japan House
We started with the shabu shabu to showcase the konnyaku in its pure form.
Konjac at Japan House
Next up: "Spring tidal pool" with uni and coastal herbs from Joseph Geiskopf (he was at Triniti at the time) with konnyaku and vegetables.
Konjac at Japan House
This was a beautiful bowl, both in appearance and taste. The broth was flavorful yet clean.

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