Showing posts with label fried pickles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fried pickles. Show all posts

Sunday, February 2, 2014

New Head Bartender Ben Scott, American Single Malts at Messhall Kitchen

Ben Scott used to bartend part time before going corporate, but he soon hated the corporate life and returned behind the bar. He's been working at Messhall Kitchen since they opened. Now that Erik Lund has moved on to Republique, Ben heads the bar program at Messhall Kitchen.

Ben Scott
Ben has a thing for American single malts and he's built quite the collection at Messhall. Japanese whiskies are huge right now but they're hard to get, so he thinks American single malts will be the next big thing. Having tasted a lot of them, Ben says that California single malts tend be chocolatey, and I found this was certainly the case with Ouroboros from Lost Spirits.
Compared to the Montana or Texas whiskies, St. George's (also from California) was the mildest. He's also got his hands of some Exclusive Malts bottle. A 30 year old scotch? Don't mind if I do.
Other than the single malts, don't miss the cocktails as Ben has made some interesting additions! The Paris, Texas is a riff on a Champs Elysees made with Balcones Rumble, chartreuse, lemon ($12)
What is Balcones Rumble?
It's a liquor made with honey, turbinado sugar, and dates. Balcones wanted to make a peaty whisky but peat was too expensive to make an affordable bottle. Well, what is there plenty of in Texas? Texas shrub!
Not only did that give it the smokiness they wanted, now they have something that is exclusively Texan.

For a surprise, try Vinny the Chin. The recipe of 2 oz Cynar, 1 oz rye, and a half spoon Amaro Nonino sounds like it would be a bitter drink, but Ben had learnt a trick. He stirs a lemon peel in the drink and the oil from the lemon brings it out from a tight drink to one that is sweet, while still tasting of celery, without using any sweetener.

I got a little taste of the Rich Man's Old Fashioned (125th anniversary Four Roses bourbon, sugar, bitters - $30).

If you need a little something to soak up the alcohol, you can't go wrong with the Pig & Pickles (crispy pork belly and house pickles, remoulade, $8) which is certainly one of the best fried pickles I've tried (granted I haven't tried that many).

Don't miss their barrel aged cocktails, as well. I recommend Death Benefits ($15), made with Kilchoman scotch, gin, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, bitters, and lemon (aged over "many moons")

I ended on a creamy note with the Tiger Milk (aged cachaca, ginger, coconut cream, whole egg, kaffir lime, $12)
Tastes like a vacation
You can come to Messhall Kitchen for many reasons, like $15 burger and bourbon (or beer) on Mondays or $1 oysters on Tuesdays or all night happy hour on Throwback Thursdays, but next time, also stay to try the great cocktails and the impressive collection of single malts!

4500 Los Feliz Blvd
 Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 660-6377

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pork Belly's (Venice, CA)

A couple doors down from a juice bar on Abbot Kinney is Pork Belly's, specializing in sandwiches made with meats smoked in-house by their competition BBQ pitmaster, Eric Solton.
There's no seating inside this small store, but you can eat on the wooden counter on the wall of graffiti and they're working on some outdoor seating.

Their signature sandwich is The Belly Up: Smoked BBQ Pork Belly topped with homemade coleslaw on a brioche roll ($8.95)
Generous amount of thick pork belly slices encased between brioche buns. It's decadent, for sure, but the slaw does a surprisingly nice job balancing the fattiness so that it's not too heavy on your palate.

If you're still afraid the pork belly will be too fatty for you, try The Chop: Brisket smoked for over 12 hours in their in-house smoker then chopped. Topped with homemade BBQ sauce and Cole Slaw on a brioche roll ($8.95)
This is easier to eat than the pork belly. With the shredded brisket you don't need to tear off a chunk of meat with each bite. The sauce is nice, slightly tangy. Again, the slaw balanced out the sweet BBQ sauce nicely so you can keep eating.
Oh, every sandwich also comes with a mini chocolate chip cookie, so watch out for it when you open the wrapper! The cookies are freshly baked and chewy.

Smoky Balls: Pork & Beef meatballs smoked then thinly sliced. Served with homemade tomato sauce, peppers and onions on a grinder roll, topped with melted cheese ($8.95).
The meatball had a very interesting texture, closer to meatloaf than the usual meatball. It's not as flavorful as the first two sandwiches but it had a subtle smokiness.

They also serve something which they claim are "like chili cheese fries but better". They're tater tots topped with either brisket (called Chop Tots) or chorizo (called Slop Tots) and melted cheese ($4.99)
Better than fries indeed! I only tried the slap tots but will need to try the one with brisket next.

You can still take your vegetarian friends here, where they can try the veggie sloppy joe or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Another side to get is the Fried pickles served with sriracha aioli ($3.95)

I think this is my first time having fried pickles but I really liked them, especially with that sriracha aioli.

There's no beer or wine here, but I have to admit I did enjoy the freestyle Coke machine with over 100 choices of soft drinks or lemonade. So. many. choices.

Pork Belly's offers something different in the Venice area and a quick, satisfying to-go lunch stop. To make it extra quick, you can also place your order online for pick up.
On Mondays and Thursdays they have ribs after 1:30 pm but unfortunately I was there too early to try it.

It's not just a lunch stop but they're also open late at night on the weekends (until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays) and the food would be so good on those drunken nights and prevent hangovers!

Pork Belly's Sandwich Shop
1146 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90291
(424) 777-8875
Pork Belly's Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon
Disclosure: this meal was hosted 

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