Monthly Archives: March 2012

Don’t Mess With Texas

Everyone has a different opinion about American barbeque. Some love the pork-centric Southern-style, while others prefer Kansas City-style which uses a variety of meats glazed with sauce. But if you’re a fan of the dry-rub, beef-heavy Texas style, then I’ve got the place for you, Cowpoke. Smoke City Market in Sherman Oaks has some of the best Texas-style barbeque outside of the Lone Star State and certainly the best I’ve ever had in LA. Everything about Smoke City Market reminds me of barbeque joints I’ve eaten at in Texas. You order at a counter, where the meat is sold by the pound and carved to order. There are no plates; your meat is placed on butcher paper and sides are served in plastic containers. There are no napkins, but rather rolls of paper towels on the wall. All the barbeque is accompanied by slices of white bread.

The brisket at Smoke City Market is incredible and is an absolute must-have. There are two kinds: moist and lean. I’m partial to the moist, but love the lean (pictured above) as well. The brisket is made with an incredibly tasty rub and smoked for over twelve hours. The result is a flavor that’s “big as all hell and half of Texas.” Like any respectable Texas barbeque restaurant, sauces are served on the side. Smoke City Market also has awesome beef ribs, pork ribs, chicken, turkey and sausage, as well as great sides which are all made from scratch. I love the Tomato and Cucumbers salad, which is super fresh, as well as the German Potato Salad. The Longhorn Mac (mac ‘n cheese) is also excellent. Other favorites of mine include the Red Cabbage, Pit Beans and the Chili. For dessert, I recommend the Cobbler and the Banana Pudding.

Smoke City Market is located at 5242 Van Nuys Blvd. in Sherman Oaks. UPDATE: WITH A HEAVY HEART, I MUST REPORT THAT SMOKE CITY MARKET IS NOW CLOSED. THE VALLEY JUST CAN’T CATCH A BREAK.

Tomato & Cucumbers


Moist Brisket


BBQ Chicken


Longhorn Mac


Pit Beans


Red Cabbage


Pecan Pie


Cobbler


A little bit of Texas in Sherman Oaks



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Smoke City Market on Urbanspoon

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Everybody Loves Louie


For the past few years, there has been a restaurant renaissance going on Downtown and it all seemed to start with Bottega Louie. With high vaulted ceilings and marble floors, this perennially packed-to-the-gills eatery is the loudest restaurant in LA, but it is also one of the most fun. It’s the place I picked for the past couple years to have lunch with my family on my birthday. Bottega Louie resides in a cavernous bright space with an open kitchen, bar and dining area flanked on one end by a big wood burning pizza oven, and on the other end by a small gourmet bakery and market which reminds me of NYC’s Dean & DeLuca and sells some of the city’s best French macarons. I don’t recommend Bottega Louie for a quiet or romantic dinner, but if you’re looking for a festive and boisterous atmosphere, this is the place for you.

The menu at Bottega Louie is extensive and features mostly Italian fare with a few French dishes mixed in. While the food is not uniformly amazing, it’s all at least very good. The Portobello Fries are exceptional and an absolute must-have. Other small plates include delicious Tomato Bruschetta, Brussels Sprouts & Pistachios and Clams Casino. Salad options include a delicious Lyonnaise Salad with frisee, watercress, shallots, chives, lardons, a poached egg and a warm red wine vinaigrette. There are many pasta dishes on the menu and my favorite is the Trenné, which is pan sautéed until crispy and topped with braised prime rib eye, Tuscan black kale & shaved grana parmesan (pictured above). Entrees are solid and include Roasted Chicken, Shrimp Scampi and New York Strip Steak. I also recommend ordering one of their Neapolitan pizzas. Save room for dessert, and specifically the Butterscotch Budino. It is one of my favorite desserts in the city and rivals that of Gjelina.

Bottega Louie is located at 700 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles (Downtown).

Portobello Fries


Lyonnaise Salad with frisee, watercress, shallots, chives, lardons, poached egg and warm red vinaigrette


Tomato Bruschetta


Sausage Pizza with mozzarella, grana parmesan, tomato sauce, oregano & fennel sausage


Cheeseless Veggie Pizza (special order by my wife; she loved it)


Butterscotch Budino


The loudest restaurant in LA


Macarons!


Bottega Louie on Urbanspoon

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Jewish Deli Meets Pork Paradise


If UMAMIcatessen was the punchline of a joke, it would begin “A rabbi, a donut-maker and a pig walk into a bar.” Grand in scope and extremely ambitious, this highly anticipated deli adaptation of the uber-successful Umami Burger chain opened Downtown over the weekend and one cannot help but be impressed. Although you order at your table from a single menu, UMAMIcatessen is essentially four restaurants in one (plus a coffee bar and a cocktail bar), each with separate counters around the perimeter of its large industrial-chic dining room. These sub-restaurants are:

The Cure, whose name is no doubt a reference to the alleged medicinal qualities of its matzo ball soup. It features Kosher-style deli sandwiches such as pastrami on rye and turkey on challah. Other noshes include bagels with smoked fish, potato knishes and chopped liver.

Umami Burger, which features the restaurant chain’s awesome signature hamburgers. I almost always go for the amazing Truffle Burger made with housemade truffle cheese and truffle glace, or the equally excellent spicy Hatch Burger made with four types of green chiles and housemade American cheese. However, UMAMIcatessen has some burgers that you can’t always get at the other Umami Burger locations. These include the yummy Shrimp Burger with Yuzu-Kosho and burgers which are on the “Secret Menu” such as the delicious Spicy Bird, a turkey burger with hatch chilies, crispy onion strings, beer cheddar cheese and a spicy diablo sauce.

P!GG, which is a tribute to pork all around the world from San Francisco celebrity chef Chris Constantino, the Overlord of Offal. It features high-end prosciutto and other charcuterie, as well as lard fried snacks such as Crispy Pig Ears with parsley and lemon, Pork Corn (popcorn) with juniper and rosemary and tasty P!GG Style Fries with pickled peppers, ham puree and “brainaise,” a scrumptious sauce made with mayonnaise and pig brains! I also highly recommend the Little Gems Salad with pork cracklins and an incredible nduja vinagrette, made with Constantino’s famous spreadable pork sausage.

& a Donut, which serves six different varieties of gourmet donuts fried to order, including an amazing soaked Tres Leches Donut with cajeta and ceylon cinnamon and the sinfully delicious “FG&J,” a playful spin on a jelly donut, made with foie gras mousse, forest berry jam and crushed peanuts. They also have homemade soft serve ice cream and sorbet.

With so many great things going on, UMAMIcatessen is an incredibly fun experience; one that I will no doubt repeat often. It’s located at 852 Broadway, Los Angeles (Downtown).

If you enjoy Consuming LA, please subscribe, like me on Facebook and/or follow me on twitter at the top right of this page. And please forward to your friends!

Mini Potato Knishes

Mini Potato Knishes


Little Gem Salad with little gem lettuce, cracklins & nduja vinagrette

Little Gem Salad with little gem lettuce, cracklins & nduja vinagrette


Shrimp Burger with Yuzu-Kosho

Shrimp Burger with Yuzu-Kosho


Spicy Bird Burger with turkey patty, crispy onion straws, hatch chilis, beer cheddar cheese and diablo sauce

Spicy Bird Burger with turkey patty, crispy onion straws, hatch chilis, beer cheddar cheese and diablo sauce


PIGG Style Fries with pickled peppers, ham puree & "brainaise" sauce

PIGG Style Fries with pickled peppers, ham puree & “brainaise” sauce


FG&J Donut with foie gras mousse, forest berry jam and peanuts

FG&J Donut with foie gras mousse, forest berry jam and peanuts


Tres Leches Donut fried and soaked to order with cajeta and ceylon cinnamon

Tres Leches Donut fried and soaked to order with cajeta and ceylon cinnamon



UMAMIcatessen (soft opening on 03 Mar 2012) on Urbanspoon

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