Bubbe Chic

Dining at Freedman’s is like eating at your Jewish grandmother’s house, except Bubbe has upped her food game and is throwing a dinner party for Eastside hipsters. The chopped liver is a mousse with figs and hazelnuts.  The latkes are shaped like Belgian waffles. And the to-die-for glazed brisket is cut tableside with an electric knife by a heavily tatted and mustachioed man. 

Freedman’s has a fun bubbe chic vibe with spectacular vintage wallpaper and olde tyme light fixtures.  An impressively stocked bar serves cocktails named “Deli Calling” (Future Gin, Orange Liqueur, Yellow Mustard, Lemon, Cel-Ray and Herbs) and “Full Sour” (Aquavit, Dry Vermouth and Pickle Brine).  To end your meal, the traditional black and white deli cookie has been reimagined with fudge and toasted marshmallow. It will have you kvelling!

Freedman’s is located at 2619 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles (in Silver Lake).

A fish carafe of water on every table
Pastrami Reuben with house-cured pastrami
Matzo Ball Soup
Chicken Liver with Fig and Hazelnut
Potato Latke with Cured Ocean Trout and Creme Fresh
Grilled Gem Salad with Chicken Skin Breadcrumbs and Bottarga
Gnocchi Parisienne with English Peas, Horseradish and Mint
Black and White Cookie with Fudge and Toasted Marshmallow
Guava Cheesecake (inspired by Bubbe’s trip to Hawaii?)
The wallpaper is phenomenal

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Puffs ‘n Stuff

No longer just for Dickensian orphans or misbehaving blonde girls who trespass at the home of bear families, porridge takes center stage at one of LA’s coolest new eateries.

Porridge + Puffs was previously a Silver Lake pop-up but now resides as a full-fledged restaurant in an airy and bright space in Historic Filipinotown. Here, talented chef Minh Phan creates beautiful gourmet bowls of hot rice cereal, utilizing the fresh seasonal ingredients she finds at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market each week.

You can get order your porridge numerous ways including a version adorned with Grilled Black Eyed Pea Miso, KnK Fruit, Ginger, Numbing Spice Braised Pork Sausage, Chayote in Black Bean Sauce and Rose Onion Pickles. I like mine with Sweet Soy-braised Chicken, Turkey and Mushrooms, as well as Crispy Shallots, Celery Pickles, Edible Flowers and a Hibiscus-shiso Pickled Soft Egg. Whichever porridge dish you select, make sure to get an order of hot chewy rice-flour beignets called “Puffs,” for dunking.

I also recommend the crunchy Asian Herb Slaw with Rau Ram, Shiso, Holy Basil, Peanuts and Sesame. Wash it down with a sweet and vinegary Hibiscus-Rose Shrub. And for dessert, the Brown Butter Mochi with Miso Caramel will leave you saying “Please sir, I want some more.”

Porridge + Puffs is located at 2801 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles (in Historic Filipino Town).

Asian Herb Slaw with Rau Ram, Shiso, Holy Basil, Peanuts and Sesame
Poultry and Mushrooms Porridge with Sweet soy Braised Chicken, Turkey, Mushrooms, Crispy Shallots, Celery Pickles, Seasonal Edible Greens/Flowers, Mirepoix Rice Porridge, and Hibiscus-Shiso Pickled Soft Egg
Yakimiso and Sausage Porridge with Brilled Black Eyed Pea Miso with KnK Fruit, Ginger & Aromatics, Numbing Spice Braised POrk Sausage, Chayote in Black Bean Sauce, Rose Onion Pickles, Sprouts and Negi Rice Porridge
Spaetzle with Peanut Sauce, Roasted Mushrooms, Fennel, Pickled Cucumbers and Pickled Trail Mix
Naked Puffs
Brown Butter Mochi
Coffee Cake with Halva
HIbiscus-Rose Shrub
A happy place

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Kiss My Hass: The 7 Best Avocado Toasts in LA

In Los Angeles, the five basic food groups are Fruits, Vegetables, Meats/Eggs, Oat Milk, and Avocado Toast. And the last one is by far the most important. We love our avocado toast in LA and consume it religiously following our Sunday morning yoga and pilates classes. It’s a delicious reminder that we live the good life here in Southern California. Below are my current seven favorite avo toasts in town:

7. Sqirl. The Avocado Toast from Sqirl is topped with Hot Pickled Carrots, Garlic Crème Fraîche and House Za’atar. Just like everything else at Sqirl, it’s pretty awesome.

6. Tartine Bianco. The Avo Toast at new kid on the block, Tartine Bianco, is actually referred to as a “Smørrebrød” and topped with Jalapeño, Cilantro and Pumpkin Seeds. It’s served on Tartine Bakery’s Danish Rye Bread.

5. Gjusta. This is a secret off menu item at Gjusta. I love the simplicity of it; the chunky avocado slices, the course salt and the amazing Gjusta Pumpernickel Bread.

4. Le Pain Quotidien. “Le Pain” (pronounced “Pan”), which is how we refer to this ubiquitous chain, is famous for their Avocado Toast. It’s topped with Citrus Cumin Salt, Chia Seeds, and Olive Oil.

3. The Joint Eatery. Ripe avocado slices are served here on a nice thick toasted slice of Brioche. Since this Valley newcomer specializes in amazing seafood dishes, I suggest getting your Avocado Toast topped with what I believe to be the best crab salad you’ve ever eaten in your life.

2. Bluestone Lane. The very best Avocado Toasts tend to to come from hipster coffee chains and the one at Bluestone Lane is no exception. It’s made with a smashed avocado seasoned with fresh lemon juice, salt & pepper, chili flakes & olive oil, and served atop a slice of toasted multigrain bread.

1. Alfred Coffee. Maybe it’s because I like basic things perfectly executed, but this classic Avo Toast is my favorite in the city. It features Watermelon Radish, Sprouts, Grape Seed Oil, Red Pepper Flakes and Lemon, and it’s served on Pumpernickel from The Larder Bakery. The only disappointing thing is it’s available in only one of Alfred’s many locations, the one in Silverlake.

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Manufacturing Awesomeness

Tartine in San Francisco is the best bakery in the country and for over two long years I have eagerly awaited the opening of Tartine’s first LA venture. It has finally arrived.

The Manufactory is a collaboration between the Tartine folks (James Beard Award winners Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson) and nationally acclaimed Phoenix pizza chef Chris Bianco. It’s a giant industrial chic complex that houses a production bakery, a coffee roastery, a specialty food market, a coffee and ice cream window, a “Market Bar” that features Chris Bianco’s flatbreads, and an amazing restaurant called Tartine Bianco. The whole magilla is housed in ROW DTLA, the uber cool and newly gentrified shopping and restaurant complex in the warehouses of LA’s historic Downtown produce market.

Not surprisingly, the seasonal menu of Tartine Bianco centers around Tartine’s insanely good bread. The Pork (Rillette) and Pickle Toast with Mustard and Radish (pictured above) and the Chicken Liver Toast with Kumquat and Blood Orange are absolute must-haves. So is one or more of the the Smørrebrøds, Danish-style open-face sandwiches on Rye Bread. The Uni Smørrebrød with Kohlrabi, Mustard Seed and Lardo is particularly phenomenal.

If you have room after all those carbs, order the Sweetbreads with Crispy Red Rice, Yam, Fermented Chili Amaranth and Mustard Frill, as well as the Farro & Chickory Salad with Winter Squash and Tahini Yogurt. I also recommend washing your glutinous feast down with one of Tartine Biano’s creative cocktails or a Young Ginger Kombucha with Grapefruit and Star Anise, which is made in The Manufactory’s own basement fermentation room.

The Manufactory and its Tartine Bianco restaurant are located in ROW DTLA at 757 S. Alameda St., Los Angeles (Downtown).

Country Bread and Warm Ricotta with Black Pepper and Olive Oil
Sesame Bread and Eggplant Dip with Fermented Red Pepper
Fermented Vegetables
Uni Smørrebrød with Kohlrabi, Mustard Seed and Lardo
Avocado Smørrebrød with Jalapeño, Cilantro and Pumpkin Seeds
Chicken Liver Toast with Kumquat and Blood Orange
Puntarelle Salad with with Date, Stilton, Olives, Allium and Sherry Vinaigrette
Farro & Chickory Salad with Winter Squash and Tahini Yogurt
Sweetbreads with Crispy Red Rice, Yam, Fermented Chili Amaranth and Mustard Frill
Rotisserie Chicken with Black Garlic Spaetzle, Bok Choy and Chicken Jus
Spiced Date Cake with Brandy Toffee Sauce and Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream
Ginger Tart with Buttermilk, Lemon Marshmallow and Meringue Kisses
Kale and Coriander Seed “Margarita” with Tequila Blanco, Chareau, Cilantro, Mint, Chili Poblano and Ancho Reyes Verde
Young Ginger Kombucha with Grapefruit and Star Anise
Fun, bustling indsutrial chic space in ROW DTLA

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10 Best Fried Chicken Joints in LA

There is no better comfort food than fried chicken. Crispy and unctuous on the outside and hot and juicy on the inside, it makes you forget your troubles with every bite.

However, all fried chicken is not created equal. In our sprawling metropolis, there are several blue-ribbon eateries producing truly exceptional finger-lickin’-goodness that stands out from the rest. After conducting years of extensive research on the topic, here are my top 10 favorites:

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

#1 (tie) Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (1262 Crenshaw Blvd in Mid-City Los Angeles, 509 S Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, and 2580 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach). Gus’s, a small chain originating in Tennesee, serves Memphis-style spicy fried chicken which is perfect in every way. Served atop a slice of white bread, these insanely amazing drumsticks, wings, thighs and breasts are accompanied by traditional Southern sides such as mac n cheese, greens and baked beans.

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar

#1 (tie) Plan Check Kitchen + Bar (1800 Sawtelle Blvd in West LA, 351 N Fairfax Ave in Mid-City LA, 1401 Ocean Ave #104 in Santa Monica, and 1111 Wilshire Blvd in the Westlake district adjacent to Downtown). While Gus’s fried chicken is a traditional Southern type, the other top winner on my list, the Smokey Fried Chicken at Plan Check, is the opposite. It’s an elevated gourmet version of the dish marinated in buttermilk brine, fried in beef tallow and severed with Smoked Milk Gravy, Yam Preserves and Spicy Pickled Okra. It’s my favorite dish on the menu and real show-stopper.

Howlin’ Ray’s

#3 Howlin’ Ray’s (727 N Broadway #128, Los Angeles in Chinatown/Downtown). Located amid the souvenir shops and Chinese herb merchants in the Far East Plaza in Chinatown, Howlin’ Rays serves Nashville-style Hot Chicken. This place is so popular — and so incredibly good — that the wait in line can often take two hours or more. I don’t love waiting in lines, but this place is definitely worth it.

OB Bear

#4 OB Bear (3002 W 7th St, Los Angeles in Koreatown). This tavern in K-town serves the most awesome Korean fried chicken. Enjoy it with pickled radish, cabbage salad, a seafood leek pancake and a couple of nice cold Korean beers.

Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken

#5 Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken (9537 Culver Blvd, Culver City). This Culver City mainstay serves expertly cooked and super yummy Southern-style fried chicken made with high-end ingredients. I order mine with biscuits, honey, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Dave’s Hot Chicken

#5 Dave’s Hot Chicken (970 N Western Ave, Los Angeles in East Hollywood). Spice is the name of the game at Dave’s and if you love your chicken eye-tearing, lip-burning, brow-sweating spicy, then this is the place for you. But even if you wimp out and order your bird mild, you will be impressed with the deliciously seasoned Nashville-style chicken.

Golden Bird

#7 Golden Bird (8300 S Western Ave in Inglewood, 2847 Crenshaw Blvd in West Adams, and 13501 S Avalon Blvd in Gardena). This Southern fried chicken chain in South LA is a sentimental favorite of many Angelenos and has been serving delicious fried chicken and soul food sides and desserts (including Sweet Potato Pie and 7-Up Cake!) since 1953. The mouth-watering batter here reminds me of my personal childhood favorite, Pioneer Chicken.


#8 Pikunico (767 S Alameda St Suite 122, Los Angeles in Downtown). Newly opened in the uber-hot Row DTLA complex, Pikunico serves excellent gourmet Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) which is free range, gluten-free and made with locally sources ingredients. It’s served with house-made assorted pickles, three gourmet sauces (Daikon Ponzu Oroshi, Lemon Aioli, and Parsley Sesame Sauce) and your choice of Ginger Onigiri or Fingerling Fries.

Dinah’s Family Restaurant

#9 Dinah’s Family Restaurant (6521 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles in Westchester). This old school diner is an LA institution famous for their fried chicken (as well as their giant German pancakes). It’s perfect for a meal of fried chicken and waffles or as your first stop after landing at nearby LAX.

Anzu Japanese Gourmet

#10 Anzu Japanese Gourmet (11270 La Grange Ave in West LA) Even if you are a frequent visitor to the Japanese restaurants and shops on Sawtelle, you may not be aware of Anzu. Located just off of the main drag, it’s simply a tiny window with very limited seating outside where you can purchase some of the best Japanese fried chicken in the city.

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Filed under Burbank, Chinatown, Culver City, Downtown, East Hollywood, Gardena, Inglewood, Koreatown, Long Beach, Mid-City, Santa Monica, West Adams, West LA, Westchester, Westlake