Sunday, June 19, 2011

David LeFevre's M.B. Post in Manhattan Beach

Some of you would love the bacon cheddar biscuit with maple butter, or caramelized pork jowl, or skirt steak with a bold chimichurri sauce. Some would prefer delicately steamed fish, served atop boiled bok choy and  a subtle sauce, or a light appetizer of couscous mixed the tartness of pomegranates and crunchy marcona almonds. Whichever camp you're in, M. B. Post will satisfy.

Start with a choice of three carbs, each paired with its own spread. Our favorite was the bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuit with maple butter ($5), but we also enjoyed both the fleur de sel pretzel with horseradish mustard ($4) and grilled naan flatbread with harissa yogurt ($4).

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
Los Angeles Magazine featured his recipe for the bacon cheddar biscuit here.

The cheese and charcuterie board was also impressive with its slew of condiments, from different types of mustards to honeycomb to fruit preserves and pickled vegetables.
Cheese and Meat Board

Avila's HeirTheir craft cocktails are $12 each and they have interesting variations on popular classic and tiki drinks. I particularly enjoyed the Avila's Heir (margarita with corralejo reposado, serrano, mandarin, yuzu) and Sun Also Rises (Blood and Sand with Compass Box "Oak Cross", rhubarb, blood orange). I had ordered My Landing Strip (aviation with Hendricks, creme de violet, candied orange) but I thought it had too much creme de violet for my taste.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Northern Vietnamese Cuisine at Vien Dong (Garden Grove, CA)

To raise money for the earthquake relief efforts in Japan, Wandering Chopsticks led a North to South Vietnamese tour in Little Saigon. I joined her and her readers who had each donated $50 to specific charities for the first parts of the tour. We started at Vien Dong in Garden Grove for Northern Vietnamese food.

While waiting for WC's other readers to arrive, we ordered some Cha Gio (Vietnamese Spring/Egg Rolls). The cha gio here is made with rice paper, which is both crispy yet maintains some chewiness when fried. This is the traditional wrapper used in Vietnam.


PhotobucketBeing a long and late day, I had to get some Ca Phe Sua Da. They brought it out in a mini coffee press laying on top of a cup of condensed milk. It wasn't until then that I realize just how much condensed milk is in this drink! No wonder it's so tasty...

We shared an order of Banh Tom which are Vietnamese Shrimp and Yam Fritters with a turmeric batter.

Most of the dishes we tried here were new to me, and among my favorites was the Cha Ca Thang Long (Vietnamese Hanoi-Style Turmeric Fish with Dill)
The best part with going to eat Vietnamese food with WC is of course the knowledge you gain from her. She said that dill is mostly not used in Vietnamese food other than in the Northern part, and this dish originated from a restaurant in Hanoi which became so popular that the street is now named after the restaurant (Cha Ca). Apparently non-Northerners consider using dill strange, but I certainly liked it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

BoHo Gastropub: A Little Life in Hollywood and Highland

When BoHo moved to their new location on Hollywood and Highland, they also placed a new chef in charge and revamped their menu. I remembered enjoying the oyster po' boy sliders and their desserts in my visit to the old location, but this new incarnation apparently holds a nice surprise from the current executive chef Wesley Pumphrey (previously a sous chef at the first BoHo and had worked at The Bazaar before that).

I had missed their opening event, but they invited me for a tasting of their menu. The restaurant is tucked behind The Grill and had maintained the same bohemian look as the previous location. After chatting with the general manager, we decided they should just send out what they think are the highlights of the menu.

Our first dish was perhaps my favorite:
Veal sweetbreads, gorgonzola bread pudding, red wine demi-glace ($14)

Sweetbread on Bread Pudding
The gorgonzola bread pudding was moist with a strong cheese flavor, but it was light and airy enough. And one might think that combining two rich items like sweetbread and bread pudding would be overkill, but the sweetness of the demi glace brought the two together perfectly.

Their list of 20-something craft beers on draft ($6-9 per pint) are organized under "light and easy", "bigger and bitter", and "bold and dangerous". Feeling challenged, I started with a Hofbrau Maibock from the third category and then moved to a Unibroue Ephemere (a Belgian wit with apples) from the first.

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