Not for Bro-ing Down

Ladurée is not a good place to bro-down. It’s not ideal for hanging with the guys, drinking craft beers and discussing snowboarding or Blake Griffin’s dominance on the court. Ladurée is for sipping fragrant and flowery teas that have names like “Josephine,” “Mathilde” and “Marie Antoinette.” It’s for nibbling dainty finger sandwiches on fine china between shopping jaunts at Chanel and Van Cleef. It’s for purchasing delicate Rose Petal and Lavender Macarons in cute little pink boxes.

Located among the luxury shops of Beverly Hills, Lauderée is part fancy bakery counter and part French café/tea room. It’s an import from Paris, where the chain is known for incredibly delicious macarons, as well as incredibly long lines of tourists. The savory food, which unsurprisingly includes several salad options, is pretty good. They also serve high tea so it’s perfect for grandma’s birthday celebration or a post-ballet recital treat. If you really need to bro-down, Mastro’s Steakhouse is only a couple blocks away.

Ladurée is located at 311 N Beverly Dr in Beverly Hills. There is also a location in The Grove.

Delicate Pastries

Pastel Macarons

Pretty Boxes

Petite Lobster Rolls

Cute Mini Burgers

Fragrant and Flowery Tea

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Mid-City

Happy Breakfast to Me


Some people love breakfast. I am not one of those people. In ranking breakfast, lunch and dinner, breakfast comes in a distant third for me. This may be partly because I don’t love eggs or cereal, but mainly it’s due to my preference of getting extra sleep instead of having a sit-down morning meal. But if I am going to be dragged out of bed early on a Saturday or Sunday to meet friends for breakfast, then I’m probably going to insist we dine at Trois Familia.

Trois Familia is the third collaboration (after Trois Mec and Petit Trois) of three of LA’s most talented and inventive chefs: heavily tatted French bad-boy Ludo LeFebvre and the dynamic duo of elevated comfort food, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (of Animal and Son of a Gun). Located in a strip mall in Silver Lake, the restaurant has everything you want in a breakfast or brunch joint and many things you didn’t know you wanted: an eclectic menu of creative French and Mexican specialties, glossy white picnic tables, a display of vintage hula dolls over the counter, and a horde of Eastside hipsters queuing up to secure a table.

There’s icy cups of Horchata, edible asterisks of Maple-chili-glazed Bacon, hot plates of Churro French Toast topped with melty Salt & Straw Ice Cream and mind-blowing Carrot Mole Enchiladas. And to celebrate your success in getting out of bed and procuring such a delicious breakfast, you can end your meal with a yummy slice of Tres Leches Birthday Cake served with a lit candle. Singing and presents are optional.

Trois Familia is located at 3510 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles (in Silver Lake) and is open daily between 9am and 2pm. If you enjoy Consuming LA, please subscribe, like me on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter or Instagram @ConsumingLA at the top right of this page. And please forward to your friends!

A Bacon Asterisk! (Nueske’s Bacon with Maple-chili Glaze)

Carrot Mole Enchiladas with Crème Fraiche and Cilantro

Churro French Toast with Salt & Straw Vanilla Ice Cream and Mexican Chocolate

Crispy Hash Brown Chilaquiles, Sunny Side Up Egg, Cotija and Salsa Macho

Double Decker Potato Tacos, Lime, Crème Fraiche, Carrot, Pico and Jack Cheese

Horchata

A very hipstery brunch place

“French-Mexican Food”

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Filed under Silverlake

Go Fish


Some of my favorite Mexican food in Los Angeles comes from a stall in a hidden food court/marketplace called the Mercado la Paloma in South LA, a few blocks from USC. The stall is Chichen Itza and it serves amazing and unusual specialities from the Yucatán region of Mexico including a mind-blowing Queso Relleno. Now the chef of Chichen Itza, Gilberto Cetina Jr., has opened up a second stall in the Mercado la Paloma which specializes in Yucatán seafood dishes. The new creation is called Holbox and it does not disappoint.

The Ceviche Tostadas at Holbox with local wild-caught Red Rock Fish, Ocotopus and/or Shrimp are not to be missed. I also recommend the sweet and tangy Cocktel de Cameron (Shrimp Cocktail) and the Wood Grilled Fish Tacos. If you like your food spicy, make sure to try Chef Cetina’s housemade salsas. My favorite is the smokey Chili de Arbol Guajillo. Muy delicioso!

Holbox is located in Mercado la Paloma at 3655 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles (in South LA).

Scallop al Carbon (Wood Grilled single diver scallop served in its shell with Chile X’cotic sauce)

Cocktel de Camaron (Shrimp Cocktail)

Quintet of Hot Sauces

Chef Gilberto Cetina Jr. shucking oysters

Mercado la Paloma

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Filed under South Los Angeles

Brooklyn’s Here


Of all the neighborhoods in LA, Downtown remains my favorite in terms of interesting new restaurants and unique food experiences. With Smorgasburg now happening every Sunday in the Arts District, Downtown has gotten even cooler.

A spinoff of Brooklyn’s outdoor foodie market of the same name, Smorgasburg in LA has something for everyone and, for someone like me, it requires a lot of tough decisions. Do I go for a Peruvian Pomegranate-glazed Pork Belly Taco or a giant Korean Shrimp Mandoo Dumpling with Carrot Juice Dough? Should I satisfy my sweet tooth with a Filipino Blue Velvet Butterscotch Ensaymada or a Donut stuffed with speculoos (Belgian cookie butter), glazed with chocolate and topped with sea salt. Usually my answer to these dilemmas is “all of the above,” but with the large amount of excellent vendors each week curated by expert food blogger/podcaster Zach Brooks, choices unfortunately need to be made.

Of course there are some easy calls. The insanely amazing sliced-to-order Pastrami on Rye Sandwich from Ugly Drum is an absolute must-have, as are the BBQ Pork Ribs from Black Sugar Rib Company. Fresh Uni in the Shell from Jolly Oyster is also something not to be missed. Besides all of the food options, Smorgasburg has live music, craft vendors, a beer garden and picnic benches to eat on. It’s all located in an outdoor section of an exciting and newly gentrifying mixed-use warehouse complex called ROW DTLA, which has a few really cool high-end shops already open and and will add many more unique shops, as well as restaurants, in the next several months.

Smorgasburg is located in ROW DTLA at 777 S. Alameda St, Los Angeles and happens every Sunday between 10am and 4pm.

Fresh Uni in the Shell from Jolly Oyster

Mandoo Korean Fusion Dumpling from Workaholic

Awesome BBQ from Black Sugar Rib Company

“The Nomad” (Chicken Burger with Truffle Mayo, Frisée & Pickled Shallots) from the NoMad Truck

Serio Smoothie from Verde with avocado, macs, kale, dates and almond milk.

Brothecary Dumpling & Broth

Lobsterdamus and Little Llama Peruvian Tacos

Lychee Butterflypea and Thai Float from Popdup

Bubble Waffle with Chocolate Ice Cream, Marshmallows and Honey Crackers from Yellow Business

Lots of choices of Filipino pastries from Ensaymada Project

My old friend Donut Friend is here.

Something for everyone

Which way to the Beer Garden?

Live music!

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Filed under Downtown

No Bones About It


There has been no food in the past couple years trendier than bone broth. Pitched as a miracle cure for all kinds of ailments and an elixir to make you look and feel younger, both Silverlake hipsters in flannel shirts and Santa Monica health food fanatics in yoga pants are lining up to buy overpriced jars of the stuff. But long before the bone broth craze, Han Bat was selling steaming hot bowls of Sul Lung Tang — Korean Bone Broth — in a divey little hole-in-the-wall in the heart of Koreatown.

The menu at Han Bat could not be simpler. They serve only two kinds of dishes besides the complimentary kimchi and rice: Suyuk (boiled beef) or Oxtail Soup with noodles and either brisket, flank steak, tongue, mixed meats or, for the adventurous, a combo of intestines, tripe and spleen. The soup is milky white as a result of the bones being boiled down for hours and it’s served with containers of green onions and salt so you can season it to your liking. I’m not sure if there are any real health benefits to bone broth, but the Sul Lung Tang at Han Bat is tasty and inexpensive; the perfect comfort food for a rainy day or a cold winter night.

Han Bat Sul Lung Tang is located at 4163 W 5th St, Los Angeles (in Koreatown)

Cabbage Kimchi

Radish Kimchi

Salt and Green Onions to season your soup

Spartan digs

A menu without complicated and confusing options, but with Intestine, Tripe & Spleen!

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Filed under Koreatown

Frogtown Hipster Hang

Salazar
There’s a bike path that my family loves along a revitalized section of the LA River where much of the concrete has been dug up and replaced with tropical plants and populated with exotic birds. It starts at the edge of Griffith Park, runs down the border of Atwater Village and Silver Lake, and continues through a quiet hidden neighborhood called Elysium Valley aka Frogtown, where the path ultimately ends not far from Dodger Stadium and Chinatown. As a result of this beautifully restored section of the River, Frogtown is poised to be the next newly gentrified neighborhood in LA. So I knew it was only a matter of time before some hipstery, happening restaurant would open up nearby. Salazar is that restaurant.

In many ways, Salazar is the quintessential LA restaurant. It’s a much buzzed-about hotspot and hard to get into during prime times. It has an impressive menu of cocktails made with tequila or mezcal. The design of the restaurant is a mix of new and old (the bar and kitchen are in a converted auto body shop), with almost all of the tables located on a sprawling, dimly-lit outdoor patio. The food — Mexican specialities of grilled meats and vegetables — is mostly good, although quite overpriced. All in all, this is a place to go mainly for the atmosphere, and not the food, and to go when the weather is nice, especially after a bike ride through Frogtown.

Salazar is located at 2490 N. Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles (in Frogtown).

Chips

Chips

Carne Asada and Pollo Asada Tacos with Avocado, Salsa Vaquera, Cilantro and Onion

Carne Asada and Pollo Asada Tacos with Avocado, Salsa Vaquera, Cilantro and Onion

Esquites

Esquites

PIckles

Pickled Vegetables

Cocktail de Cameron

Cocktail de Cameron

Pork Chop "Nieman Ranch"

Pork Chop “Nieman Ranch”

Zarandeado

Zarandeado

Garden Plate with Egglpant, Squash and Heirloom Tomatoes

Garden Plate with Egglpant, Squash and Heirloom Tomatoes

Frijoles Puercos with Pinto Beans, Pork Belly and Queso Fresco

Frijoles Puercos with Pinto Beans, Pork Belly and Queso Fresco

Cornbread Cuatro Leches

Cornbread Cuatro Leches

Corn Flan with Popcorn, Candied Pistachios and Whipped Cream

Corn Flan with Popcorn, Candied Pistachios and Whipped Cream

Al Fresco Dining

Al Fresco Dining

Making tortillas

Making tortillas

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Filed under Frogtown

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2016

best of 2016
As we prepare to say so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye to 2016, it’s time to look back at the LA gastronomic highlights of the year. If you haven’t tried all of these things, I’m sure they’ll still be around in 2017 for you to stuff in your pie hole. Here is my annual list of the ten best things I consumed and wrote about during the past year:

"Big Mec" Double Cheeseburger

“Big Mec” Double Cheeseburger from Petit Trois


10. “Big Mec” Double Cheeseburger from Petit Trois. The “Big Mec” is the only burger to make my list this year. It has foie gras in it, so basically they’re not playing fair.

Maguro and Toro

Maguro and Toro from Sasabune in Beverly Hills


9. Sushi from Sasabune in Beverly Hills. Sushi is an expensive habit. If you’re looking to save some money in the new year, don’t even try the insanely good and addictive sushi at Sasabune in Beverly Hills.

Bosam

Bossam from Kobawoo House


8. Bossam from Kobawoo House. If you read this blog regularly, you knew there was going to be some awesome Korean food featured on this list. This is it.

Noorook from Baroo

Noorook from Baroo


7. Noorook from Baroo. There are a lot of o’s in the name of this vegetarian dish and also a lot of ingredients, including something called “Job’s Tears,” which I’ve never heard of before but am going to start eating regularly.

Hot Chicken

Hot Chicken from Howlin Ray’s


6. Hot Chicken from Howlin Ray’s. I know what you are saying: enough with the healthy stuff on this list. So, here’s some deep fried awesomeness.

Foie Gras Funnel Cake from Otium

Foie Gras Funnel Cake from Otium


5. Foie Groas Funnel Cake from Otium. This is what carnies eat when they’re trying to act all sophisticated.

Nona Elvira's Lasagne Verde

Nona Elvira’s Lasagne Verde from Angelini Osteria


4. Nona Elvira’s Lasagne Verde from Angelini Osteria. This is the best lasagne ever. No exaggeration. It’s made with beef, veal and chopped chicken livers — each of the three major protein groups.

Garlic Cheese Bread from The Smoke House

Garlic Cheese Bread from The Smoke House


3. Garlic Cheese Bread from the Smokehouse. I updated my best restaurant bread list this year, and guess who came out the winner again. Yes, it’s of a color that doesn’t exist in nature, but don’t let that stop you from experiencing garlicky, cheesy nirvana.

Butter and Salt Doughnut

Butter and Salt Doughnut from Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee


2. Butter and Salt Doughnut from Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee. Is it “donut” or “doughnut”? I don’t know. Does it really matter? Go to Sidecar and prepare to be blown away.

Tempura Uni

Tempura Uni from Tempura Endo


1. Tempura Uni from Tempura Endo. I dare you to find anything better in this town to put in your mouth. It’s my favorite thing that I consumed and wrote about this year.

If you enjoy Consuming LA, please subscribe, like me on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter at the top right of this page. Also you can also follow me on Instagram @ConsumingLA if you like to see lots of pictures that will make you hungry. And please forward to your friends!

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Burbank, Downtown, Hollywood, Koreatown, Mid-City, Santa Monica

La Dolce Vita

Nona Elvira's Lasagna Verde

Things that I love from Italy include the films of Frederico Fellini, the art and architecture of the Renaissance, and a really good lasagna. Truth be told, if I had to pick just one, I would chose the lasagna over the other two.

The best lasagna I’ve consumed in LA is the one they serve at Angelini Osteria. It’s called Lasagna Verde “Omaggio Nonna Elvira” (English translation: Green Lasagne in tribute to Grandma Elvira) and it is spectacular. It is cheesy and meaty with ground beef and veal and chopped chicken livers, and it’s layered with spinach lasagna noodles and gloriously topped with a mound of crunchy fried spinach leaves.

Far from being a one trick pony, Angelini Osteria has many other awesome dishes as well, such as Uni Linguine, Lamb Chops Scottadito with Arugula, and Whole Mediterranean Branzino roasted in Sea Salt. Their bread basket with crispy Cracker Bread is one of my favorites in the city. Service is impeccable and the interior is bright, modern and cozy. Although with tables pushed so close to each other, don’t expect a lot of privacy. On the other hand, it’s perfect for making new friends.

Angelini Osteria is located at 7313 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles (in Mid-City).

Spaetzle Amuse Bouche

Spaetzle Amuse Bouche


Uni Linguini

Uni Linguini


Ahi with Eggplant

Ahi with Eggplant


Italian Chicken

Italian Chicken


Branzino

Branzino


Grilled Lamb Chops allo Scottadito with Arugula Salad

Grilled Lamb Chops allo Scottadito with Arugula Salad


Bread Basket

Bread Basket


One of the best Italian restaurants in LA

One of the best Italian restaurants in LA


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Filed under Mid-City

The Frying Game

Tempura Endo
Every so often a restaurant comes along that completely and utterly blows me away. Tempura Endo in Beverly Hills is such a place. The concept is simple: a twelve seat bar where Japanese master chefs serve omakase meals of the most amazing tempura you have ever consumed. This is not the kind of tempura most Americans are familiar with; it’s much lighter and less oily and utilizes the freshest high-end ingredients like uni, abalone and lobster tail. After being thinly coated with a special batter, the vegetables and seafood are deep fried in the highest rated tempura oil, producing crunchy, juicy morsels that orgasmically explode with flavor in your mouth.

The attention to detail at Tempura Endo is staggering. Each course is a work of art and, throughout your meal, you are severed on a variety of gorgeous ceramic plates and papers. You are given five kinds of salt — truffle, yuzu, sansho pepper, green tea and rice — and instructed which to use for dipping for each tempura item. For dessert, there is homemade yuzu sherbet, mochi wrapped in origami paper, and flower-shaped slices of candied sweet potato that are flambéed in front of you with Hennessy VS Cognac.

Such awesomeness does not come cheap. The least expensive fixed course meal will run you about $200 per person with tax and tip, but not including alcohol, and is worth every penny. Pricier omakase options include sashimi and Wagyu beef. If you want to experience tempura-induced nirvana without the crazy price tag, you can order a la carte after 9pm with a $50 minimum per person.

Tempura Endo is located at 9777 So. Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills.

Trio of appetizers

Trio of appetizers

Endo Special Salad

Endo Special Salad

Five kinds of salt!

Five kinds of salt!

Tempura Corn and Shrimp Toast

Tempura Corn and Shrimp Toast

Tempura Corn

Tempura Corn

Tempura Lobster Tail

Tempura Lobster Tail

Tempura Uni

Tempura Uni

Tempura Snapper and Tempura Snap Pea

Tempura Snapper and Tempura Snap Pea

Tempura Scallop

Tempura Scallop

Sesame Tofu

Tempura Sesame Tofu

Ten-Don

Ten-Don

Sashimi

Sashimi

Yuzu Sherbet and Green Tea Mochi

Yuzu Sherbet and Green Tea Mochi

Flambéing Sweet Potato in Cognac

Flambéing Sweet Potato in Cognac


Flambéed Candied Sweet Potato

Flambéed Candied Sweet Potato

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Filed under Beverly Hills

The Most Annoying Thing Ever

Halal Guys Koreatown
Life is full of countless irritations, but the most annoying thing of all has to be when you’re standing in line and the person in front of you does not move up enough as the line progresses, leaving a huge gap between themselves and the person in front of them. It’s such a big gap that new people approaching the line are unsure where the line ends and mistakenly attempt to join the line at the gap. Such a slow-moving lollygagger should not be allowed to stand in lines, and certainly not the line at the new Halal Guys in Koreatown.

A popular fast food chain in NYC, The Halal Guys has been recently expanding across the country with its first LA outposts opening in Long Beach and Koreatown. The menu is simple: chicken shawarma, gyro or falafel on rice or wrapped in a pita, and served with The Halal Guys’ famous white sauce or hot sauce. There’s also hummus, tahini, fries, and, for dessert, sweet syrupy triangles of baklava.

Is it good? Yes, but not so good that I recommend standing in the long queues that form outside their doors everyday. The Halal Guys (at least the one in Koreatown) is definitely not long line-worthy.

The Halal Guys is located at 3432 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles (in Koreatown) and 1804 Ximeno Ave in Long Beach.

Hummus

Hummus

Beef and Chicken Shawarma Over Rice

Chicken and Gyro Over Rice

Falafel Balls

Falafel Balls

Famous White Sauce

Famous White Sauce


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Filed under Koreatown, Long Beach

Please Pass the Foie Gras Funnel Cake

Otium Funnel CakeThe Broad is a great new addition to the many world class art museums that we have here in Los Angeles. Built to showcase the collection of local philanthropist Eli Broad, it’s a wonderful place to spend a couple hours examining thought-provoking and stunning works of art by modern masters. Otium, which is adjacent to the Broad,is the museum’s perfect complement — a wonderful place to spend a couple hours consuming interesting, beautiful and incredibly delicious dishes prepared by a master chef.

The restaurant space itself is a work of art; modern yet elegant with a buzzing bar that mixes tasty cocktails like the “Charred Pineapple” with Aleppo Pepper, Bourbon and East India Sherry. In Otium’s giant open kitchen, Timothy Hollingsworth, former Chef de Cuisine at The French Laundry in Napa, and his staff assemble a spectacular array of small plates to share.

The most talked about dish here is the Foie Gras Funnel Cake (pictured above), a high/low amalgamation where a French delicacy meets a deep fried carnival treat and together make sweet, sweet love. Otium’s raw bar creations, including the Hiramasa with Romaine, Korean Chili and Shishito Soy, are also not to be missed. Other favorites of mine include the Spinach Fusilli with Egg, Bacon, Clam and Crème Fraîche and the Duck with Leeks, Apricot, Black Sesame and Cashews.

Otium is located at 222 So. Hope Street, Los Angeles.

Hiramasa with Romaine, Korean Chili and Shishito Soy

Hiramasa with Romaine, Korean Chili and Shishito Soy

Hamachi with Charred Eggplant, Padron Pepper and Pimenton

Hamachi with Charred Eggplant, Padron Pepper and Pimenton

Spinach Bucatini with Egg, Bacon, Clam and Creme Fraiche

Spinach Fusilli with Egg, Bacon, Clam and Crème Fraîche

Duck with Leeks, Apricot, Black Sesame and Cashew

Duck with Leeks, Apricot, Black Sesame and Cashew

Lamb with Pine Nuts, Pole Beans, Tomato and Yogurt

Lamb with Pine Nuts, Pole Beans, Tomato and Yogurt

Vanilla, Apricot and Orange Tart

Vanilla, Apricot and Orange Tart

Delicious cocktails

Delicious cocktails

A big open kitchen

A big open kitchen

A modern and elegant dining room

A modern and elegant dining room

Like The Broad next door, Otium is  a work of art.

Like The Broad next door, Otium is a work of art.

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Filed under Downtown

Bread Winners 2016

Bread Winners
Amazing signature bread served warm to your table soon after you are seated and order.  Is there any greater welcome gift that a restaurant can bestow upon a hungry patron?  Great bread is often the reason for choosing a restaurant (or if you’re watching your carb intake, a reason to avoid a restaurant where you simply can’t control yourself).  Here’s my new list of the top 10 winners in the category of best signature bread in LA:

Garlic Cheese Bread from The Smoke House

Garlic Cheese Bread from The Smokehouse

1. Garlic Cheese Bread at The Smokehouse (442 W. Lakeside Drive, Burbank).  This is hands down the best garlic bread you will ever eat.  It’s salty, cheesy, garlicky awesomeness.  Enjoy it with dinner and martinis at The Smokehouse, the iconic dimly-lit, red boothed throw-back which has sat for the past 70 years across the street from the Warner Bros. lot.

Pizza Bread from Zane's

Foccacia Bread from Zane’s

2.  Foccacia Bread at Zane’s (1150 Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa Beach). A well kept secret of South Bay food lovers, Zane’s is my favorite restaurant in Hermosa Beach. Their herb-crusted focaccia is hot-out-of-the-oven, complimentary, and incredibly delicious. It’s served with a trio of dipping sauces: olive tapenade, hummus, and roasted red peppers.

Biscuits from John O'Groats

Biscuits from John O’Groats

3. Biscuits at John O’Groats in West LA (10516 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles). Hot, buttery, mouth-wateringly good biscuits are a key component of a hearty Southern-style breakfast. John O’Groats makes the best biscuits in town. You could spread on some additional butter and some sugary jam, but they’re also amazing when just eaten plain.

Grilled Pita at The Great Greek

Grilled Pita at The Great Greek

4.  Grilled Pita Bread at The Great Greek (13362 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks).  This is not the free (and good) bread they give you when you arrive at The Great Greek.  You have to actually order the amazing grilled pita bread here and it would be a Greek tragedy to not do so.  The pita is exclusively flown in from Chicago. Eat it with fresh whipped Hummus, tangy Tzatziki, or my favorite — Tarama, Greek caviar dip.

The Popovers at Neiman Marcus

Pop over to Neiman Marcus for a popover

5.  Popovers at Neiman Marcus (9700 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills in their Mariposa restaurant; also 6550 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park in their NM Cafe).  Who doesn’t like popovers?  The ones at Neiman’s are consistently perfect. Light, cripsy and flaky on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside.  Served with strawberry butter!

Za'atar Bread from Urban Garden

Za’atar Bread from Urban Garden

6. Za’atar Bread at Urban Garden (7563 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles). This tiny Lebanese restaurant near The Grove is a hidden gem that serves some of the best shawarma in the city. But my favorite thing here is the flat bread which is baked to order on iron domes and topped with olive oil and za’atar spice.

Cracker Bread at Angelini Osteria

Cracker Bread at Angelini Osteria

7. Cracker Bread at Angelini Osteria (7313 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles). I frequent this place, partly because of their famous Lasagne Verde and partly because of their cracker bread sprinkled with olive oil and rosemary. These divine crispy rectangles sit atop a complimentary bread basket, and I always have to ask for more.

Sourdough and Cheese Rolls at The Water Grill

Sourdough and Asiago Cheese Rolls at The Water Grill

8. Sourdough and Asiago Cheese Rolls at The Water Grill (544 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles and 1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica). These rolls are served warm and come in two varieties: one which is plain sourdough and one stuffed with a bit of melted asiago cheese. Both are crave-worthy and the perfect start to a yummy seafood feast.

Laffa Bread from Izhak Hagadol

Laffa Bread from Izhak Hagadol

9. Laffa Bread at Itzik Hagadol (17201 Ventura Blvd, Encino). The giant, puffy laffas at this popular Israeli restaurant are served piping hot and topped with a blend of Middle Eastern herbs, sesame seeds and spices. They’re best enjoyed by tearing off one little piece at a time and using it to pick up bits of babaganoush, red cabbage salad, or one of the other 18 dips and appetizer salads served here.

Rye Bread from Brent's Deli

Rye Bread from Brent’s Deli

10. Rye Bread at Brent’s Deli (19565 Parthenia St, Northridge and 2799 Townsgate Road, Westlake Village). You can tell a good Jewish delicatessen by the quality of the rye bread and pickles they give you when you arrive. Brent’s fresh baked rye has a soft, chewy and caraway seed-filled inside, as well as a crisp, crackly crust on the outside. The rye tells us that Brent’s is the best deli in LA and its bakers are mavens (experts) in bread-making.

If you enjoy Consuming LA, please subscribe, like me on Facebook and/or follow me on Twitter at the top right of this page. Also you can now follow me on Instagram @ConsumingLA. And please forward to your friends!

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Burbank, Canoga Park, Downtown, Encino, Hermosa Beach, Mid-City, Northridge, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Westlake Village

Disneyland’s Secret Restaurant

Club 33
Harder to get into than a Broadway performance of Hamilton and more exclusive than a Pool Circle Box at the Hollywood Bowl, Club 33 has long been on my bucket list. Club 33 is the private dining club hidden in New Orleans Square in Disneyland not far from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It opened around 50 years ago as a secret feature of the theme park accessed by top Disney brass, corporate sponsors and other VIP’s. Today, it remains as difficult as ever to infiltrate, with membership costing a small fortune and a waiting list many years long. Thanks to a friend of a friend of a friend, my dream of dining in this legendary club finally became a reality last month.

There are two parts to Club 33. The first is a dining room serving upscale sesonally-inspired New American cuisine and a wide variety of classic and modern cocktails, beer and wine. Before dining there, I expected the food to be good not great, with the main draws of the restaurant being the exclusivity and the distinction of being the only place in the Disneyland Park that serves alcohol. But my lunch there far exceeded my expectations, and I was very impressed with Club 33’s talented chef Andrew Sutton and many of his dishes including an amazing “Lobster Rockefeller” with Crispy Oysters and Lemon Hollandaise and a perfectly grilled Lamb T-bone with Braised Lamb Ravioli and Green Fennel Puree.

A lot of people don’t know about the second part of Club 33 — a jazz lounge known as Le Salon Nouveau, with an elegant bar and live music. It’s essentially a super cool clandestine oasis in the middle of the park; a refuge for the privileged away from the hoi polloi and bustling crowds. Both the lounge and its wine cellar-like corridor entrance have magical paintings that slowly change before your eyes, including one of a jazz quartet where the trumpeter disappears during his solo and emerges like a Haunted Mansion ghost above the club’s bar. Props from classic Disney films and other collectibles also can be found all around the club, adding to the uniqueness and charm of the venue.

I would love to return to Club 33 one day. Maybe if I wish upon a star, my dream will once again come true.

The table is set.

The table is set.

Cocktails!

Cocktails!

"Lobster Rockefeller" with Cripsy Oysters and Lemon Hollandaise

“Lobster Rockefeller” with Crispy Oysters and Lemon Hollandaise

Artichoke, Goat Cheese Fondue, Tomato Vinaigrette, Spanish Chorizo and Black Garlic

Artichoke, Goat Cheese Fondue, Tomato Vinaigrette, Spanish Chorizo and Black Garlic

Wild Blue Crab Cake with Toy Box Pepper Ragout and Crispy Capers

Wild Blue Crab Cake with Toy Box Pepper Ragout and Crispy Capers

Grilled, Marinated and Roasted Mushrooms with Green Garlic Puree

Grilled, Marinated and Roasted Mushrooms with Green Garlic Puree

"Lafayette" Garden Salad with Shaved Radish, Cucumbers and Vinaigrette Maison

“Lafayette” Garden Salad with Shaved Radish, Cucumbers and Vinaigrette Maison

Spring Leek - Potato Broth with Rhubarb Grilled Chicken, Fava Beans and Asparagus

Spring Leek – Potato Broth with Rhubarb Grilled Chicken, Fava Beans and Asparagus

Smoked Duck Breast Salad with Baby Kale, Frisée, Pecan and Orange Cherry Vinaigrette

Smoked Duck Breast Salad with Baby Kale, Frisée, Pecan and Orange Cherry Vinaigrette

House-made Gnocci with Asparagus, Morel Mushrooms and Truffle Parmesan Spritz

House-made Gnocci with Asparagus, Morel Mushrooms and Truffle Parmesan Spritz

Chicken Schnitzel with Picnic Potato Salad, Bacon and Buttermilk Dreissing

Chicken Schnitzel with Picnic Potato Salad, Bacon and Buttermilk Dressing

Grilled Lamb T-bone with Braised Lamb Ravioli and Green Fennel Puree

Grilled Lamb T-bone with Braised Lamb Ravioli and Green Fennel Puree

Filet Mignon with Blackberry Braised Beef Short Rib and Grilled Corn

Filet Mignon with Blackberry Braised Beef Short Rib and Grilled Corn

Citrus Celebration:  Tart of Tangerine, Passion Fruit Meringue and Blood Orange Sorbet

Citrus Celebration: Tart of Tangerine, Passion Fruit Meringue and Blood Orange Sorbet

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, Vanilla Chantilly Cream and Pistachio Crème

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, Vanilla Chantilly Cream and Pistachio Crème

Dark Chocolate Coffee Pecan Bundt Cake, Café au Lait Gelato and Espresso

Dark Chocolate Coffee Pecan Bundt Cake, Café au Lait Gelato and Espresso

Finely Selected Cheeses with Apricot Mustardo, Pickled White Peach and Lemon-Poppyseed Madeleine

Finely Selected Cheeses with Apricot Mustardo, Pickled White Peach and Lemon-Poppyseed Madeleine

The Secret Entrance

The Secret Entrance

Up the Grand Staircase

Up the Grand Staircase

Mrs. Disney's harpsichord in the waiting area

Mrs. Disney’s harpsichord in the waiting area

The Dining Room

The Dining Room

Painting of the Mark Twain Riverboat

Painting of the Mark Twain Riverboat

Special merchandise for sale in the lobby

Special merchandise for sale in the lobby

Le Salon Nouveau Jazz Lounge

Le Salon Nouveau Jazz Lounge

Magical Painting

Magical Painting

Another Magical Painting

Another Magical Painting

Menu

Menu

7 Comments

Filed under Outside Los Angeles

Some Like It Hot

Howlin Ray's
There’s a little bit of Nashville going on right now in Chinatown. Howlin Ray’s, which opened this month amid the souvenir shops and Chinese herb merchants in Far East Plaza, has brought Nashville-style Fried Chicken aka “Hot Chicken” to our fair city and it’s spectacular.

Expertly breaded and seasoned, spiced to your tolerance level (I prefer mine lip-burning and perspiration-inducing), and fried to crispy golden perfection, this chicken has people queued up way out the door. I waited in line for over an hour and have no regrets.

The menu is as simple as can be: hot chicken, hot chicken sandwich and, on weekends, hot chicken and waffles with butter and maple syrup. There’s a side dish that changes daily, but there’s always seasoned crinkle cut fries and pickle chips. Daisy Duke and Boss Hogg would no doubt approve.

Howlin Ray’s is located at 727 N. Broadway, Los Angeles (Downtown, in Chinatown).

Hot Chicken

Hot Chicken Wing

Hot Shake Fries

Hot Shake Fries

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and Waffles served with Butter and Maple Syrup

Extra Pickles

Pickle Chips

"The Sandwich" with Boneless Breast, Slaw, Comeback Sauce, Pickles and Butter Bun

“The Sandwich” with Boneless Breast, Slaw, Comeback Sauce, Pickles and Butter Bun

A little bit of Nashville in Chinatown

A little bit of Nashville in Chinatown

4 Comments

Filed under Downtown

Bosam Buddies

Kobawoo
If you live in Los Angeles and you’re not eating in Koreatown on at least a semi-regular basis, you’re doing it wrong. As the home to the largest number of ethnic Koreans outside of the Korean Peninsula, Los Angeles, not surprisingly, has an incredible breadth and variety of Korean food. Most people are at least familiar with Korean Barbecue, but that’s just the tip of the Korean cuisine iceberg.

Bossam, which consists of warm tender slices of seasoned and boiled pork belly wrapped in cold, crisp cabbage leaves or paper-thin slices of radishes, is one of my favorite Korean dishes. The best Bossam in town is at Kobawoo House, where they have you create your custom-built mouth-watering wraps with spicy fermented shrimp paste, jalapeños, and pickled radishes.

There are other tasty offerings at Kobawoo House. Their Haemul Panjun, a giant sizzling Seafood Pancake with Scallops, Shrimp, Oysters, Squid, Clams and Green Onions, is first-rate Korean comfort food, and their Braised Black Cod with Radish in Spicy Sauce is one of the most delicious versions of this dish I’ve ever eaten. Parking can be a hassle and there’s often a wait, but it’s well worth it.

Kobawoo House is located at 698 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles (in Koreatown).

Bosam

Bossam. The best in town.


Braised Cod with Radish in Spicy Sauce

Braised Black Cod with Radish in Spicy Sauce


Kimchi Chigae

Kimchi Chigae


Haemul Pajun (sizzling seafood pancake with scallops, shrimp, oyster, squid, clam and green onion)

Haemul Pajun (sizzling seafood pancake with scallops, shrimp, oyster, squid, clam and green onion)


Dolshot Bibimbab

Dolshot Bibimbab


2 Comments

Filed under Koreatown

The Great Blogiversary Giveaway

Five Year Blogiversary
Consuming LA is celebrating its fifth blogiversary! As a thank you to my readers who have made Consuming LA one of the top food blogs in Los Angeles, I am giving away gift certificates to many of the places that I’ve written about and recommended. There are ten prizes in all.

Here’s how to enter to win: If you do not already subscribe to Consuming LA, you can enter simply by subscribing (which is free). If you are already a subscriber, you can enter by simply emailing me at Howard@ConsumingLA.com. Once you become a subscriber or if you have already been one, you can enter additional times by referring new subscribers. You will receive one entry for each referral and you can enter as many times as you want. The deadline to enter is April 20, 2016. Click here to see the official rules. Here are the prizes:

Marinated Kurobuta Pork Belly

Marinated Kurobuta Pork Belly

$100 Gift Certificate from Hanjip. Favorite dishes include Kimchi Fried Rice Sauteed in Brown Butter, Bone Marrow Corn Cheese with Shaved Parmesan and Bonito Flakes, and Marinated Kurobuta Pork Belly.

Skirt Steak with Oregano Chimichurri and Sea Urchin Butter

Skirt Steak with Oregano Chimichurri and Sea Urchin Butter

$100 Gift Certificate from Maré Favorite dishes include Branzino with Fig Pomegranate Sauce, Skirt Steak with Oregano Chimichurri and Sea Urchin Butter, and Blood Orange “Trifolo” with Semolina Cake and Fruit Compote.

Albacore Poké with Mango on Jasmine Rice

Albacore Poké with Mango on Jasmine Rice

$100 Gift Certificate from Sweetfin Poké Favorite Dishes include Spicy Tuna Poké on Kelp Noodles, Mango Albacore Poké on Jasmine Rice, and Sriracha Tuna on Citrus-Kale Salad.

Cheese Burger from Cassell's Hamburgers with House Ground Prime Beef Patty and Cheddar Cheese on a Parker House Bun.

Cheeseburger from Cassell’s Hamburgers with House Ground Prime Beef Patty and Cheddar Cheese on a Parker House Bun.

$50 Gift Certificate from Cassell’s Hamburgers This is my favorite burger joint in the city! Favorite dishes include the Cheese Burger, the Patty Melt and the Dulce de Leche Pie.

Frozen Popcorn

The best popcorn ever!

$50 Gift Certificate to California Mad Poppers Favorite items: “South of the Border” Cheese Popcorn with Jalapeños and Cheddar, “Bacon on the Brain” Caramel Corn with Maple and Bacon, and “Elvis” Caramel Corn with Peanut Butter, Banana and Bacon.

Maple Bacon Doughnut

Maple Bacon Doughnut

$50 Gift Certificate from Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee This is my favorite donut shop in LA! Favorite donuts include the Butter & Salt Doughnut, the Huckleberry Doughnut, and the Breakfast Doughnut with sliced country ham and a poached egg inside.

Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce

$50 Gift Certificate from The Independence Favorite dishes include Ricotta Gnudi with Asparagus, Bacon and Parmesan Cheese, Angus Burger with French Onions, Gruyere and Herb Aioli on an Onion Bun, and Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce.

Aussie Pie Tiger Stack

Aussie Pie Tiger Stack

Lunch or Dinner for Two at Aussie Pie Kitchen Favorite Dishes include Ground Beef and Shiraz Pie, Chicken and Tarragon Pie, and any pie served “Tiger Style,” which means it’s served on a pile of Garlic Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes and topped with a scoop of bacon-laced Mushy Minty Peas and a ladleful of Creamy Thyme Gravy.

Crab Hand Roll

Blue Crab Hand Roll

Lunch or Dinner for Two at KazuNori Favorite dishes include Blue Crab Hand Roll, Bay Scallop Hand Roll, Toro Hand Roll and Lobster Hand Roll.

Figueroa Philly

Figueroa Philly

Lunch or Dinner for Two at Figueroa Philly This is my favorite cheesesteak place in Los Angeles. Favorite dishes: Cheesesteaks and Hot Pastrami Sandwiches.

Good luck!

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Filed under Culver City, Downtown, Hollywood, Inglewood, Koreatown, Mid-City, Santa Monica, West Hills, West Hollywood

Small is the New Big

French Onion Soup
It’s a simple law of nature that small versions of everyday things are cute. Babies, puppies, Mini Coopers; all are friggin’ adorable. We should also add Petit Trois, a diminutive version of a French Bistro, to this list.

Petit Trois is the younger sister and strip mall nextdoor neighbor of Trois Mec. Both restaurants are tiny and are helmed by heavily tatted, reality tv-starring, bad-boy chef Ludo Lefebvre. But unlike Troi Mec, which serves creative and cutting-edge cuisine, the food at Petit Trois is more traditionally French, with offerings such as French Onion Soup, Confit-fried Chicken Leg with Brioche Butter and Frisée Salad, Croque Monsieur/Madame, and Escargots. All are excellent. The one non-traditional item on the menu is the “Big Mec,” an awesome gourmet cheeseburger with caramelized onions, garlic aioli and a red wine bordelaise sauce made with foie gras.

There are no tables at Petit Trois. All seating is either at a bar facing an open kitchen or at a counter facing the back wall. So it’s not the kind of place you want to go with a big group, but it’s perfect if you’re dining alone or with a single companion. I also recommended going at an off hour to avoid a wait; they don’t take reservations.

Petit Trois is located at 718 Highland Ave., Los Angeles (in Hollywood).

Baguette and Butter

Baguette and Butter

Confit-fried Chicken Leg with brioche butter and frisée salad

Confit-fried Chicken Leg with Brioche Butter and Frisée Salad

"Big Mec" Double Cheeseburger

“Big Mec” Double Cheeseburger

Frites

Frites

Napoleon with Tahitian Vanilla Cream

Napoleon with Tahitian Vanilla Cream

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

It's in a tiny space.

It’s in a tiny space.

Some of the most authentic and delicious French food in LA

Some of the most authentic and delicious French food in LA

2 Comments

Filed under Hollywood

A Perfect 10

San Bousek
Although its name sounds more like a hotel room number than a restaurant serving some of the best Lebanese delicacies this side of Beirut, 10e is the upscale Lebanese-Armenian eatery that LA has been waiting for. It’s surprisingly not located in either of the Armenian meccas of Glendale or East Hollywood, but rather in the heart of Downtown LA in a space that feels like a Middle Eastern palace with ornate vaulted ceilings. The lighting is dim and there is live music every night; perfect for a romantic dinner with your sweetheart or a clandestine assignation with a mysterious stranger — take your pick.

The food is impressive. The puffy and hot-out-of-the-oven Lebanese bread is mouth-wateringly excellent, especially when paired with the Hummus or Labne Yogurt Dip. I recommend starting your meal with some Mante (Armenian Beef Dumplings with Garlic Yogurt Sauce and Sumac), San Bousek (deep fried Puff Pastries stuffed with Ground Beef and Pine Nuts; pictured above) or Beef Fried Kibbeh (made with Bulgar and Onions).

You’ll probably want some veggies after all of that fried goodness, so I would order a Fattoush Salad with Purslane, Romaine, Cucumber, Tomato, Radish, Mint, Pita Chips, Sumac, Lemon and Olive Oil. From there, I suggest getting an order of the perfectly seasoned and grilled Lamb Chops with Za’atar, Roasted Pepper Sauce and Parsley Sauce. Dessert of course is Baklava covered in sweet syrup; the perfect ending to your Middle Eastern feast.

10e is located at 811 W 7th Street in Downtown Los Angeles.

Yogurt Dip

Yogurt Dip

Puffy Lebanese Bread

Puffy Lebanese Bread

Kibbeh Nayyeh (Steak Tartar with Bulgur, Onion Parsley and Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Kibbeh Nayyeh (Steak Tartar with Bulgur, Onion Parsley and Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Beef Fried Kibbeh with Ground Beef, Bulgur, Onion, Pine Nuts and Greek Yogurt

Beef Fried Kibbeh with Ground Beef, Bulgur, Onion, Pine Nuts and Greek Yogurt

Vegetarian Flatbread with Eggplant, Basi, Cherry Tomato, Roasted Pepper, Kalamata Olives, Kashkaval Cheese, Mushroom and Avocado

Vegetarian Flatbread with Eggplant, Basi, Cherry Tomato, Roasted Pepper, Kalamata Olives, Kashkaval Cheese, Mushroom and Avocado

Fattoush Salad

Fattoush Salad

Chicken Lule Kebab with Grilled Pita, Red Onion, Parsley and Sumac Garlic Toum; served with Salad and Rice

Chicken Lule Kebab with Grilled Pita, Red Onion, Parsley and Sumac Garlic Toum; served with Salad and Rice

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops with Za’atar, Roasted Pepper Sauce and Parsley Sauce

Feels very Middle Eastern inside

Feels like a Middle Eastern palace with ornate vaulted ceilings

In the heart of Downtown

In the heart of Downtown

1 Comment

Filed under Downtown

Kinder, Gentler Sushi

Sashimi

Sasabune was one of my first great sushi loves. Originally located in a small house on Sawtelle, Sasabune served the freshest and tastiest raw fish west of the 405. Its warm-rice sushi was similar to the sushi served in the Valley by legendary “Sushi Nazi” Kazunori Nozawa (who trained Sasabune’s chef) and, like Sushi Nozawa, they wouldn’t make California Rolls or Spicy Tuna. But I’ve never witnessed customers getting kicked out of Sasabune like they did at Sushi Nozawa for not following the rules. It was the kinder, gentler Nozawa.

Sasabune eventually moved to a cavernous space in Brentwood and then to smaller digs down the street, but seemed to lose a little of its magic with each of those moves. But with an additional location in Beverly Hills presided over by sushi master Ei Hiroyoshi, Sasabune bounced back to the top. The Beverly Hills branch serves insanely good sushi and one of the best omakase meals in the city.

Sushi Sasabune is located at 9162 W Olympic Blvd in Beverly Hills and 11917 Wilshire Blvd in Brentwood. A third LA location just opened in Glendale at 101 N Brand Blvd.

Cucumber and Seaweed Salad

Cucumber and Seaweed Salad

Maguro and Toro

Maguro and Toro Sushi

Mussel with Japanese Mayo

Mussel with Japanese Mayo

Oyster

Oyster

Mussel with Garlic Butter and Seaweed

Mussel with Garlic Butter and Seaweed

Ikura (Salmon Roe) and Uni (Sea Urchin) Sushi

Ikura (Salmon Roe) and Uni (Sea Urchin) Sushi

Fried Shrimp

Fried Shrimp

Butterfish

Butterfish Sushi

Lychee Sorbet

Lychee Sorbet

Head Sushi Genius Ei Hiroyoshi

Sushi Master Ei Hiroyoshi

2 Comments

Filed under Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Glendale, West LA

Best. Doughnuts. Ever.

Ham and Egg Doughnut
This is going to be the best year ever. I can just feel it. Goals will be met, miracles will happen, and dreams will come true. But if none of that turns out to be the case, there’s always doughnuts.

A couple years ago, I ranked the best doughnut shops in LA. If that list was written today, there would be a new #1 pick. Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee opened right before the holidays with doughnuts so incredibly good, I can legitimately say that this place is a complete and total game-changer. Utilizing the finest ingredients and a secret other-wordly recipe, the talented artisans at Sidecar craft their mouth-watering creations with amazing flavor and a perfect texture which is crisp on the outside and supermoist on the inside.

The menu consists of permanent offerings, as well as several seasonal monthly specials. My favorite off the list of regulars is the simple yet perfect Butter & Salt Doughnut, but the Huckleberry one is not far behind. If you’re looking for something more nutritious, there’s a doughnut offered in the morning that is filled with sliced country ham and a poached egg, and topped with fresh basil (pictured above). It’s the breakfast of champions.

Happy New Year, food lovers!

Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee is located at 631 Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica.

Maple Bacon Doughnut

Maple Bacon Doughnut


Butter and Salt Doughnut

Butter & Salt Doughnut


Huckleberry Doughnut

Huckleberry Doughnut


Gingerbread Doughnut

Gingerbread Doughnut


Madagascar Vanilla Twist

Madagascar Vanilla Twist


Apple Fritter

Apple Fritter


My new favorite doughnut shop in LA!

My new favorite doughnut shop in LA!


9 Comments

Filed under Santa Monica