Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Dynamic Duo


Many newly-formed couples made headlines in 2012: Kim & Kanye, Romney & Ryan, and Honey Boo Boo & TLC to name a few. But, to me, the most noteworthy new pairing of the year was Steak Tartare & Mustard Ice Cream. While raw beef and a scoop of frozen spicy dairy seem the unlikeliest of pairings, once mixed together, they transform into one the most incredible dishes I have ever tasted.

This ingenious coupling is the highlight of the menu at Eat Drink Americano, a cool little gastropub that opened downtown earlier this year. Located in an alley in the hipper-than-hip Downtown Arts District, just outside of Little Tokyo, the restaurant has a very cool industrial chic, steampunk-esque interior. It’s cozy, dark and intimate, with exposed brick walls, a giant graphic mural and a wine bottle chandelier.

The menu is eclectic and some items are much better than others. Besides the Steak Tartare and Mustard Ice Cream, I recommend the Soft Shell Crab Sandwich with wakame seaweed and saffron aioli on an English muffin. Other dishes, such as their “Third Street Salad” and the Classic Ceviche, are nothing to write home about. I love that they have an open kitchen, but they can use more than just two people working in it, as the service can be extremely slow. But if you order correctly, it’s definitely worth the wait.

Eat Drink Americano is located at 923 E. Third Street, Los Angeles (Downtown).

Craft Beer Sampler


Soft Shell Crab Sandwich with wakame seaweed and saffron aioli on an English muffin


Third Street Salad with butter lettuce, corn, black beans, bell pepper, tomato, red onion and a cilantro lime vinaigrette


Classic Ceviche with fresh caught yellowtail, peppers and choclo in a spicy citrus marinade


Exposed brick walls and a wine bottle chandelier



Eat.Drink.Americano on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Downtown

Golden Battered Bliss


The home of my current food obsession is basically a parking lot with a tarp canopy, some cheap plastic tables and folding chairs, a couple deep fryers and a cash register. There’s no sign and the hours are very limited, but when they are open, there is almost always a line of hungry Angelenos, eager to devour a specialty of Ensenada, Mexico. The place is Ricky’s Fish Tacos in Silverlake and the tacos there are insanely good.

The menu consists of only Baja-style fish tacos (made with catfish), shrimp tacos and occasionally lobster tacos, as well as drinks including homemade agua fresca.  For his batter, owner Ricky Piña uses his grandmother’s recipe, which produces the most delicious, golden, crispy coating on the deep fried seafood.  The tacos are served on warm corn tortillas with shredded cabbage and pico de gallo made of fresh tomatos, onions and jalapenos.  To complete these incredible street delicacies, homemade salsas (mild tomatillo, medium tomato/garlic and spicy chipotle) and crema in plastic squeeze bottles are added by the customer to his or her liking. I usually order three and put a different salsa on each.

Ricky’s Fish Tacos is located at 1400 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles (in Silverlake).  Parking can be a bitch. UPDATE: Ricky’s was shut down by the Board of Health no doubt because of improper permitting (not a huge surprise). They plan to relocate soon.

Amazing Fish Tacos!


The shrimp and fish are fried right in front of you.


Spinach-Cucumber Agua Fresca


It’s under a tarp canopy in a parking lot.



Ricky's Fish Tacos (Food Stand) on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Silverlake

Totally Bazaar


Serving creative small plates of culinary genius in an ultra-cool setting, The Bazaar is one of the best and most unique upscale restaurants in the city. Helmed by master chef Jose Andres, the restaurant is situated adjacent to the uber-funky and modern lobby of the SLS Hotel, and consists of two contrasting dining areas: Blanca (white) which is sleek and elegant and Rojo (red) which is dark and intimate, like a lively little restaurant in Spain. There is an open kitchen and the whole restaurant exudes a party-like atmosphere.

I suggest starting your meal with one of The Bazaar’s innovative libations such as the Magic Mojito, which is poured into a glass filled with cotton candy, or the Liquid Nitrogen Caipirinha, which is prepared tableside. An order of Sweet Potato Chips with Yogurt, Tamarind and Star Anise (pictured above) and the Pa’amb Tomaquet (Catalan-style Toasted Bread with Manchego Cheese and Tomato) are perfect complements to your cocktails.

Like the restaurant’s interior, the extensive menu at The Bazaar is bifurcated into two distinct sections. Half of your choices are expertly prepared traditional Spanish tapas, and the other half are “modern tapas” which include whimsical dishes, molecular gastronomy and other avant-garde offerings. I recommend ordering with a sense of adventure and getting a mix of dishes from both sides of the menu. On the traditional side, my favorite things are the Jamon Bechemel or Codfish Fritters and the Rossejat (Paella-style Pasta with Shrimp). On the modern side, the “Philly Cheesesteak” made with “air bread,” cheddar and Wagyu beef (or the vegetarian version with mushrooms called the “Hilly Cheesesteak”) is an absolute must-have. I also love the Tortilla de Patatas “New Way,” a deconstructed version of the typical Spanish dish made with potato foam, egg and caramelized onions, as well as the “Not Your Everyday Caprese,” a salad of cherry tomatoes and liquid mozzarella balls which dissolve in your mouth.

For dessert, you are moved (literally) to the Patisserie, which is situated in the rear of the hotel lobby and features a candy/pastry bar that looks like it’s right out of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” As with the savory part of your meal, the idea here is to order and experience an assortment of small bites, which includes tarts, cookies, bonbons and pates de fruits, as well as a few plated desserts. After dinner, it’s fun to explore the lobby’s unusual gift shop with museum-like displays of idiosyncratic art objects.

The Bazaar is located in the SLS Hotel at 465 S. La Cienega, Los Angeles (Mid-City near Beverly Hills and West Hollywood).

Jamon Bechemel Fritters


Catalan-style Toasted Bread, Manchego Cheese and Tomato


American Sturgeon Caviar Cone


Tortilla de Patatas “New Way” with Potato Foam, Egg 63 and Caramelized Onions


“Not Your Everyday Caprese” with Cherry Tomatoes and Liquid Mozzarella


Local Persimmon and Seaweed Salad with Olive Oil Yogurt and Sesame


Smoked Yellowtail and Crispy Rice with Yogurt, Grapes, Capers and Radish


Ceviche and Avocado Roll with Jicama, Micro Cilantro and Coconut


Sea Urchin with Avocado on Steamed Buns


Ottoman Carrot Fritters with Apricots and Pistachio Sauce


Rossejat (Paella-style Pasta with Shrimp)


Seared Squid with Artichokes and Chicken Escabeche


Seared Scallops with Romesco Sauce


Codfish Fritters with Honey Aioli


Baby Japanese Peaches with Di Stefano Burrata, Hazelnuts and Arugula


“Philly Cheesesteaks” with Air Bread, Cheddar and Wagyu Beef


Cava Sangria, which was prepared tableside


Apples “Carlota” — Bread Pudding with Saffron Sauce


Hot Chocolate Mousse with Pear Sorbet and Salty Hazelnut Praline


Bonbons, Mini-Tablettes and Pates de Fruits


Patisserie



The Bazaar By José Andrés on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Mid-City, West Hollywood

10 Best Sub Sandwich Shops in LA


Subs, Grinders, Hoagies, Po-Boys, Heroes, Submarines. Whatever you call them, they’re a central part of the national diet, especially for lunch. A long roll filled with deli meats and/or cheese along with toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes or peppers, and condiments such as mustard and olive oil sounds like a simple thing to make, but discerning eaters know that not all deli sandwiches are created equal.

When I started this blog, I declared the Godmother at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery the best sandwich in LA. While I still believe this is true today, for other varieties such as a Caprese or Pastrami sub, I prefer All About the Bread on Melrose Ave., which was clearly inspired by Bay Cities but has shorter lines. Both places have unbelievably amazing, crispy and chewy artisan bread which is baked fresh every 20 or 30 minutes, use Boar’s Head meats and fashion extraordinary combos of bread, meat and cheese using the freshest and tastiest ingredients. While these two places are my clear favorites, there are several others in this city worth visiting. After an extensive amount of carb-loading research, here are my top ten favorite sub sandwich joints in LA:

All About the Bread

#1 (tie) All About the Bread (7111 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles near West Hollywood) The name pretty much says it all. I’ve loved every sandwich I’ve had here, but my favorite is the Buratta with Sundried Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, Homemade Pesto, Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers. It’s one of the best things ever.

The Godmother from Bay Cities

#1 (tie). Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery (1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica) The insanely good bread is the secret to their huge success. My favorite sub is The Godmother (Genoa Salami, Mortadella, Capicolla, Ham, Prosciutto and Provolone) with “The Works.” I challenge you to find a better sandwich.

Dan’s Super Subs

#3 Dan’s Super Subs (22446 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills) It’s one of the only restaurants that I love in the West Valley. Their delicious bread has sesame seeds and is steamed for each order. Subs are completed with Dan’s signature chopped tomatoes and pickle spears. Not open on Sundays.

The Jose Andres aka “The Spanish Godfather” at Ink Sack

#4 Ink Sack (8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles in West Hollywood) Celebrity Chef Michael Voltaggio’s sandwich shop serves creative versions of classic subs. My favorite is The Jose Andres aka “The Spanish Godfather,” which is named after Voltaggio’s mentor and former boss at The Bazaar. It’s made with Serrano Ham, Chorizo and Manchego Cheese.

Storefront

#5 Storefront (4624 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles in Los Feliz) This Eastside hipster sandwich shop is the new kid on the block and was opened only a few weeks ago by the chefs of Salt’s Cure. I am already impressed with “The Mousa” (pictured above), their Italian deli meat sub which includes picked cayenne peppers.

The No. 3 from Larchmont Village Wine Spirits & Cheese

#6 Larchmont Village Wine Spirits & Cheese (223 N Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles in Mid-City) This gourmet wine and cheese shop has some of the city’s best Italian sandwiches, which are served on either a crusty baguette or soft ciabatta. They all come with a nice little side of olives and cornichons.

Mike’s Deli

#7 Mike’s Deli 4859 W Slauson Ave, Los Angeles in South LA) There are very few tables and it’s generic and fast food-esque in appearance, but this simple deli makes simply great subs with top-notch ingredients including Boar’s Head meats and cheeses. A second location opened recently in Little Tokyo.

The Spicy Italian Sub from Mario’s

#8 Mario’s Italian Deli & Market (740 E Broadway in Glendale) A Glendale institution, Mario’s is an old-school Italian market with all sorts of imported goodies and a very popular deli. They cut their sub rolls in thirds lengthwise, so that there is a “mezzanine” layer of bread in your sandwich between two layers of filling.

Busy Bee Market

#9 Busy Bee Market (2413 S Walker Ave, San Pedro) If you’re in the South Bay, it’s the place to go. This unassuming deli counter in a small and rundown-looking neighborhood market turns out excellent subs on super-soft bread. But be warned: it’s cash only, take-out only, and they’re closed on Sundays.

“The Sandwich” from Roma Italian Deli & Grocery

#10 Roma Italian Deli & Grocery (918 N. Lake Ave, Pasadena) Enter this little Italian market, go to the counter on your right and ask diminutive elderly Rosario to make you “The Sandwich.” Watch as he prepares it with fresh meats and cheese and no toppings or condiments other than olive oil. Consume and enjoy.

UPDATE: I’m sad to report that Storefront has closed. If you enjoy Consuming LA, subscribe for free at the top right of this page and you’ll get an email once a week when I post. And please forward this to your friends, repost on facebook and retweet!

All About the Bread on Urbanspoon
Busy Bee on Urbanspoon
Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese on Urbanspoon
Roma Italian Deli & Grocery on Urbanspoon
Mario's Italian Deli & Market on Urbanspoon
Dan's Super Subs on Urbanspoon
Mike's Deli on Urbanspoon
Mike's Deli #2 on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Fairfax, Glendale, Inglewood, Ladera Heights, Larchmont, Los Feliz, Mid-City, Pasadena, San Pedro, Santa Monica, South Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Woodland Hills