Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Maine Event

The Kennedy’s are back in the news! Time for a little taste of Hyannis Port (it was either that this week or my recommendation for Austrian food in LA and I’m still in search of a good place for Schnitzel). So I headed over to the Lobsta Truck and waited in line for over a half hour.  Was it worth it?  Hell yeah! It’s Wicked Awesome!

The concept is simple:  The Lobsta Truck serves succulent Lobster Rolls and Crab Rolls with your choice of butter or seasoned mayo on traditional split top buns.  The lobster and crab are flown in from New England a few times a week, as are the split top buns, so everything tastes really fresh.  The also serve Clam Chowder, which was good not great, fresh squeezed lemonade, Maine Root sodas, packaged Cape Cod Potato Chips and Whoopie Pies.  This is one of the more expensive food trucks in town.  The Lobster Rolls are $12 each and the Crab Rolls are $11 each and they are not huge, so you are probably going to want at least two.  But they are mighty tasty and, as Ahnold says, I’ll be back!

The best way to find The Lobsta Truck is the weekly schedule posted on their website.

The Lobsta Truck

Lobsta Roll with Mayo

Lobsta Roll with Melted Butter and Cup of Clam Chowder

I love the simple menu

Lobsta Truck on Urbanspoon


Filed under Food Trucks

Seafood Splendor

Providence is the most elegant, sophisticated and (along with The Bazaar) most inventive restaurant in Los Angeles. It has won all kinds of awards including two Michelin stars. Unfortunately, the high price tag prevents most of us from eating there regularly. But if you can afford it and need a restaurant to impress an important client or celebrate a special anniversary, or if you simply want to splurge and enjoy one of the best fine-dining meals you’ve ever eaten in LA, this is the place. The decor is elegant but not stuffy; minimal yet comfortable. There is an awesome wine list and the service (led by charming maitre d’ and co-owner Donato Poto) is impeccable. The food is exceptional and exciting. Each dish is a work of art.  Simply put: this is a place where magic happens.

Chef Michael Cimarusti will start your meal out with a bit of complimentary molecular gastronomy; a plate of amuse bouches which on my last visit included a mojito gelee, a screwdriver cocktail gelatin bubble, a gruyere cheese puff, and a shooter of parsnip with port reduction on the bottom. The bread, which they will replenish throughout your meal, is excellent here, especially my favorite, a bacon brioche. The main theme at Providence is seafood and they serve some of the best and most beautiful seafood concoctions you will ever eat. I recommend ordering the tasting menu and putting yourself in Chef Cimarusti’s hands. However, if you instead decide to order specific items, make sure to get the Spot Prawns, which are baked in a block of salt and prepared tableside. I also recommend Bobby’s Block Island Scallops with Buckwheat, Dashi and Cabbage and the Spaghetti all Chitarra with Santa Barbara Sea Urchin and Green Onions. The menu is not strictly limited to seafood. If it’s available, I always order the Foie Gras Ravioli with Aromatics and Parmesan Black Truffle; it’s extraordinary. I highly recommend getting the wine pairing (remember, you’re splurging, so don’t hold back). Finally, make sure to save room for dessert. Adrian Vasquez is one of the top pastry chefs in LA; a true genius with sweets. Some of my recent favorites are his “Simple Apple Tart” with Hazelnuts, Cinnamon Calvados Ice Cream and Green Apple Sorbet and his Pumpkin Polenta with Candied Pecans, Mascarpone and Maple Syrup.  Enjoy!

Providence is located at 5955 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles (on the border between Hollywood and Hancock Park; near Larchmont).

Quartet of cocktail-inspired amuse bouches

Quartet of cocktail-inspired amuse bouches

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Santa Barbara Sea Urchin and Green Onions

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Santa Barbara Sea Urchin and Green Onions

Spot prawns baked in salt and prepared tableside

Spot prawns baked in salt and prepared tableside

Foie Gras Ravioli with aromatics and parmesan black truffle

Foie Gras Ravioli with aromatics and parmesan black truffle

Pumpkin Polenta with candied pecans, mascarpone and maple syrup

Pumpkin Polenta with candied pecans, mascarpone and maple syrup

"Simple Apple Tart" with hazelnuts, cinnamon calvados ice cream and green apple sorbet

“Simple Apple Tart” with hazelnuts, cinnamon calvados ice cream and green apple sorbet

Comfortable and Elegant

Comfortable and Elegant

Providence on Urbanspoon


Filed under Hancock Park, Hollywood, Larchmont, Mid-City

This Little Place Has Balls

Sunny Blue is a cool little place on Main Street in Santa Monica and the first (and probably only) Omusubi store in Southern California. Omusubi (sometimes called Onigiri) are Japanese rice balls with different fillings and an optional seaweed wrapper; kind of a Japanese version of a sandwich. At Sunny Blue, the omusubi are made to order right in front of you and they are warm and delicious! My favorite is the Beef Miso which is made with grilled onions and homemade organic miso sauce; it is really well seasoned and tasty. The Hijiki Shitake with tofu, carrots and green peas in a soy sauce base is another good choice and also great for vegetarians. Other varieties include Tuna Mayo, Spicy Salmon, Spicy Tuna, Chicken Takokami, and Shiso Ume (pickled Japanese plum with shiso leaves). The Omusubi are the perfect size for a snack, but unless you’re on a diet, I would recommend ordering at least two if you’re there for lunch or dinner. There are also optional sides including Edamame, Cucumber Sunomono, Daikon Salad and Japanese Pickles. Sunny Blue offers complimentary Barley Tea, which I’m not really a fan of, but it is free. They are also a yogurt shop and have really light and delicious frozen yogurt in a variety of flavors and and with a great array of toppings including some cool Japanese toppings like Azuki Red Beans, Match Green Tea and Japanese Pocky cookies.

Sunny Blue is located at 2728 Main Street in Santa Monica.

Many choices including a few Vegan options

The perfect combination of spices

A variety of side dishes

Chocolate frozen yogurt with corn flakes for dessert!

It's a cute place, but not a lot of seating

Sunny Blue on Urbanspoon

1 Comment

Filed under Santa Monica

Cemitas are Muy Buenas

I first heard about Cemitas from a foodie friend in New York. They’re a yummy kind of Mexican sandwich which originated in the city of Puebla and have recently gained some popularity in the U.S. They are distinguished from Mexican tortas by the fluffy sesame-seeded egg roll and typically include a combination of fresh avocado, Mexican white cheese, onions and red salsa, in addition to a meat filling. The most popular meat filling is Beef Milanesa, a piece of beef that has been pounded thin, breaded and then fried to a golden crisp. My favorite cemitas joint in town is Cemitas y Clayudas Pal Cabron (which I simply refer to as Pal Cabron) in Koreatown. Pal Cabron serves many delicious varities of cemitas including Beef Milanesa, seasoned lamb, chorizo, ham, black mole with shredded chicken breast, spicy shredded pork loin and a vegetarian cemita. The bread used by Pal Cabron, as well as the vegetables in their cemitas, are very fresh and the cheese they use, a Oaxacan string cheese, is unbelievably good.

As you can tell from the full name of the restaurant, they also specialize here in clayudas (or tlayudas), crispy flat breads which are a very popular street food in Oaxaca. Pal Cabron makes their Clayudas with tortillas imported from Oaxaca and covers them with a pork and black bean paste, Oaxacan cheese and other toppings of your choice before baking them into a hot crispy treat; they’re essentially Oaxacan pizzas. The Clayudas are good and if you’re hungry I recommend getting one as an appetizer, but the real star of the show here is the cemita. Pal Cabron is next door to a Oaxacan juice bar where you can buy a fresh mango or pineapple blossom juice to wash down your cemita and clayuda. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cemitas y Clayudas Pal Cabron is located at 3337 1/2 W 8th St, Los Angeles (in Koreatown).


Clayuda (flatbread) with chorizo

Here's where you order...

...and here's where you eat.

Pal Cabron on Urbanspoon

Leave a Comment

Filed under Koreatown

The Korean Spicy Crab Soup Place That You Probably Don’t Know About and Will Absolutely Love

I don’t think a lot of non-Koreans know about Ondal 2, which is one of my favorite restaurants in LA. Dining there is a very special and unique experience involving incredibly delicious food. There are many things on the menu, but let’s not waste our time here. When you go to Ondal 2, you have to order the Spicy Crab Soup plus optional “Korean Pasta” course and optional rice course. I would recommend ordering the soup medium spicy (or even medium/mild) unless you have a super high tolerance for spicy food.

After you order, put on your apron (yes, that’s right — apron!) and let the fun begin. Since this is a Korean restaurant, the first thing they bring you is Banchan (small plates of assorted appetizers), which are excellent here and much more unusual than the typical appetizers you get in most Korean restaurants in LA. These appetizers include scallion pancake, spicy chili-coated raw crab legs, whole grilled mackerel pike, sugared seaweed, egg custard and, of course, kimchee. Soon after you’ve gotten started with the Banchan, they bring over a large pot of the Spicy Crab Soup, which will continue cooking on the burner in the middle of your table. This soup is incredibly flavorful and the yummy crab broth is chock full of crab pieces (in the shell), vegetables and exotic sea squirts. During this part of the meal, in addition to the soup, the waiter will serve you crab shells stuffed with crab meat and rice, which he prepares tableside for each person in your party.

After you’ve eaten your full of crab soup, a woman will come over to your table to begin the “Korean Pasta” portion of your meal. She adds some water to the remaining soup and then hand rips pieces of dough and tosses them into the soup to cook. After the pieces of dough have firmed up and soaked up the delicious crab soup, you pull them out with a ladle or chopsticks and enjoy a truly excellent dish of “Korean Pasta.” For the next course, they empty out all of the remaining soup and cook a really tasty fried rice dish in the pot with a special sauce, kimchee, onions and other vegetables. Make sure to keep the rice in the pot long enough to form a crispy bottom, which is my favorite part. In addition to preparing the rice, they bring you a small bowl of cold “pickle juice” and the idea is to alternate every spoon of the hot rice dish with a spoon of cold pickle juice. The flavors and temperatures complement each other beautifully; it is genius! For the finale, they bring everyone at the table an icy bowl of sweet rice water, a light and traditional Korean dessert. When the meal is over, you will be very full, but I bet you will be back because this is a truly awesome place!

Ondal 2 is located at 4566 W Washington Blvd in Los Angeles.

Assorted Korean appetizers

Making pasta, Korean-style

Korean Pasta cooked in the Spicy Crab Soup

Yummy hot rice dish served with cold "pickle juice"

Ondal 2 on Urbanspoon


Filed under Mid-City