Category Archives: West Hollywood

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2020

This past year was brutal for all of us, and the restaurant industry was hit especially hard. Like many of you, I have tried my best to support the eateries I love by ordering take-out or delivery. Plus I think we all need delicious comfort food now more than ever to make us feel better and provide a sense of normalcy. As in prior years, I have put together a list of my favorite ten dishes I wrote about (mostly via Instagram lately) during the past year. Here’s hoping for a happier and healthier new year!

Ube Creme Caramel (in the center) from Creme Caramel LA.

10. Ube Creme Caramel from Creme Caramel LA. This Filipino-inspired dessert shop specializes in different flavors of crème caramel. All are amazing but the Ube (purple yam) flavor is my favorite.

Bagels from Maury’s

9. Bagels from Maury’s. We are in the midst of a bagel renaissance in L.A. and these are some of the best. They are ideally consumed hot out of the oven with a scallion cream cheese schmear.

Crispy Soft Shell Crab from Rustic Spoon

8. Crispy Soft Shell Crab from Rustic Spoon. Crunchy, salty and crabilicious, this is my favorite dish at my favorite Valley Thai eatery. It’s served on a bed of Papaya Salad with a sugary Plum Sauce on the side.

Cheeseburger Potstickers from Ms Chi Cafe

7. Cheeseburger Potstickers from Ms Chi Cafe. These jumbo fusion dumplings made with Ground Chuck Roast, Diced Onion and Shredded Cheddar Cheese, and served with Tomato-bacon Jam, were a winning dish for Chef Shirley Chung on Top Chef.

Fried Clam Basket from Connie and Ted’s

6. Fried Clam Basket from Connie and Ted’s. Whole Belly Ipswich Clams are hard to find in LA., and the ones fried up at Chef Michael Cimarusti’s New England-themed restaurant are wicked good!

Bee Sting Pizza with Tomato, Soppressata, Chile, Honey and Basil from Roberta’s

5. Bee Sting Pizza from Roberta’s. Brooklyn’s most hipsterish pizza joint has expanded into Culver City, and this spicy, doughy, cheesy and slightly sweet work of culinary art is not to be missed.

Bread Pudding from B Sweet Dessert Bar

4. Bread Pudding from B Sweet Dessert Bar. In addition to her other incredible offerings, talented pastry chef Barb Batiste serves a rotating selection of 50+ hot bread puddings, each with its own accompanying sauce. My favorites are Salted Caramel, Glazed Donut, Banana Chocolate and Pumpkin.

Lobster Risotto from Melisse x Citrin

3. Lobster Risotto from Melisse x Citrin. There is no better place on the Westside to splurge for a special occasion. This fine dining establishment’s fixed price menu of gourmet delights changes every week and, when ordered to go, includes instructions on assembling each course at home. This heavenly Risotto was from their “Lobster, Lobster, Lobster” set menu.

Dulce de Leche Besito Cookies from Porto’s Bakery

2. Dulce de Leche Besito Cookies from Porto’s Bakery. “Besito” means “kiss” in Spanish and I am head-over-heels in love with these Cuban buttery cookies filled with gooey thick caramel and dusted with powdered sugar.

Uni Pizza with Santa Barbara Uni, Uni Cream Butter, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil from The Joint Eatery

Uni Pizza from The Joint Eatery. This gourmet seafood restaurant and market offers a seafood-themed pizza on Sundays. Every version of this pizza I’ve ordered there has been amazing, but the one that they occasionally make with Uni, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil is transcendent. It’s the best thing I consumed in 2020.

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Filed under Burbank, Culver City, Downey, Glendale, North Hollywood, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silverlake, Toluca Lake, Valley Village, West Covina, West Hollywood, West LA

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

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2015

2015
2015 was a year of surprises. Caitlyn Jenner, Rachel Dolezal and the gold and white dress that some people saw as blue and black; things were not always what they appeared to be. The food scene in LA was no exception, as I discovered many unexpected pleasures this year in unlikely places. Here is my annual list of the ten best things I consumed and wrote about in the past year.

Gyoza from Beni Tora

Gyoza from Beni Tora


10. Gyoza from Beni Tora. Beni Tora is not the most popular restaurant in Sawtelle Japantown, but their excellent gyoza, which comes in nine different varieties, is reason alone to dine there.

Peanut Brittle Brownie from Beverly Hills Brownie Company

Peanut Brittle Brownie from Beverly Hills Brownie Company


9. Peanut Brittle Brownie from Beverly Hills Brownie Company. I love peanut butter more than almost anything. So when I met this dark chocolate brownie made with chunky peanut butter and peanut brittle from See’s Candies, it was love at first bite.

Rabbit Baklava with Bing Cherries, White Beans, Pistachios and Carrots from Birch

Rabbit Baklava with Bing Cherries, White Beans, Pistachios and Carrots from Birch


8. Rabbit Baklava with Bing Cherries, White Beans, Pistachios and Carrots from Birch. “Rabbit” and “Baklava” are words that you usually don’t see paired together on a menu. The combo though is surprisingly great, especially when prepared by the talented chef of one of my favorite new restaurants.

Spicy Tuna Poké with Creamy Togarashi Sauce, Hijiki, Avocado and Chile Marinated Oranges from Sweet Fin Poké

Spicy Tuna Poké with Creamy Togarashi Sauce, Hijiki, Avocado and Chile Marinated Oranges from Sweet Fin Poké


7. Spicy Tuna Poké from Sweet Fin Poké. Poké is a food trend that exploded in LA in 2015 and something that I can’t get enough of. My favorite of the new raw fish joints is Sweet Fin in Santa Monica and my favorite thing to order there is creamy Spicy Tuna Poké with avocado and spicy chili marinated oranges.

Patty Melt from Cassell's Hamburgers

Patty Melt from Cassell’s Hamburgers


6. Patty Melt from Cassell’s Hamburgers. This year I went in search of the best burgers in LA. The winner was Cassell’s in K-town. But as much as I love the burgers at Cassell’s, their Patty Melt is even better.

Milk Bread Focaccia from Orsa and Winston

Milk Bread Focaccia from Orsa and Winston


5. Milk Bread Focaccia from Orsa and Winston. I’m a sucker for hot-out-of-the-oven bread and it doesn’t get any better than this fusion of Japanese milk bread and Italian focaccia topped with parsley, parmesan and speck.

Black Sea Bass Sushi with Kelp from Sushi Zo

Black Sea Bass Sushi with Kelp from Sushi Zo


4. Sushi from Sushi Zo. Los Angeles is the sushi capital of the United States and the best of the best here is Sushi Zo. Their omakase is pretty much a religious experience.

Blood Orange "Trifolo" with Semolina Cake and Fruit Compote from Maré

Blood Orange “Trifolo” with Semolina Cake and Fruit Compote from Maré


3. Blood Orange “Trifolo” with Semolina Cake and Fruit Compote from Maré. My favorite dessert of the year came from a clandestine hot spot which was full of surprises. Served in a mason jar, this unusual layered desert is tart and sweet and truly incredible.

Marinated Kurobuta Pork Belly from Hanjip

Marinated Kurobuta Pork Belly from Hanjip


2. Marinated Kurobuta Pork Belly from Hanjip. I’m not sure what “Hanjip” means in English, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Korean for “pork belly to die for.”

Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings from Pok Pok LA

Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings from Pok Pok LA


1. Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings from Pok Pok LA. Earlier this year, I wrote about my food adventures in Portland, Oregon, where my favorite restaurant was a creative Thai eatery called Pok Pok. As luck would have it, Pok Pok just opened an LA location in Chinatown, where they serve their incredible signature chicken wings, which I like to refer to as “meat candy.” It is my favorite thing that I consumed and wrote about this year.

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Cheviot Hills, Downtown, Hollywood, Koreatown, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, West LA

The Secret Patio

Skirt Steak with Oregano Chimichurri and Sea Urchin Butter
Summertime in LA and the livin’ is easy. Hot new dining spots are jumpin’ and the frequency of al fresco dining is high.

One of the coolest restaurants to open lately is Maré, where walking in is half the fun. You enter through a fast food grilled cheese shop owned by Maré’s chef, Eric Greenspan. Walk to the rear of the shop and continue along a hallway and up a few stairs through what appears to be an employee-only back area with rows of bulk goods, hanging uniforms and cleaning supplies. At last you you will reach a wooden door with a mysterious red symbol of a sailboat on it. On the other side of the door is paradise; a small outdoor waiting area with a foosball table and, beyond that, a beautiful clandestine dining patio where candles flicker and festive strings of lights hang from above.

After you are seated, plates of olives, peppers and kumquats are brought to your butcher paper-covered table, along with lemons and large seeded baguettes to enjoy with a fruit muddled cocktail or glass of wine. The feast has begun. The short menu consists of rustic Mediterranean-ish cuisine served on wooden platters. The best thing, by far, is the savory and sweet Branzino with Fig Pomegranate Sauce; it’s truly exceptional.

Also worth getting are the bowls of mussels, clams or shrimp with your choice of broth including Leek and White Wine, Spicy Sausage Romesco, and Vadouvan Curry and Green Apple. These shellfish dishes are served with bowls of spaghetti, poached eggs and instructions to create a second tasty dish by pouring the leftover broth onto the pasta and cracking the egg on top. The other featured entree, the Skirt Steak with Oregano Chimichurri and Sea Urchin Butter, is OK but sounds better than it tastes. I would avoid the Salt Roasted Potatoes, which were undercooked and had to be sent back at my recent dinner there. For dessert, go for the Blood Orange “Trifolo” with Semolina Cake and a tart Fruit Compote, which comes layered in a glass jar. It’s the best dessert I’ve had so far this summer.

Maré is located at 7465 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles (in Mid-City).

Seeded Baguette, Peppers, Olives, Kumquats and Lemon

Seeded Baguette, Peppers, Olives, Kumquats and Lemon

Crudité of Vegetables with Almond Romesco and House Ranch

Crudité of Vegetables with Almond Romesco and House Ranch

Arugula Salad with Red Onion, Cherry Tomatoes, Dates and Capers

Arugula Salad with Red Onion, Cherry Tomatoes, Dates and Capers

Pastilla of Duck Confit with Apricots, Pistachios and Spinach

Pastilla of Duck Confit with Apricots, Pistachios and Spinach

Mussels in Beef Broth with Sweet Corn, Pickled Onions and Oxtail

Mussels in Beef Broth with Sweet Corn, Pickled Onions and Oxtail

Part 2 of the mussels dish:  pour the broth on top of past and add an egg

Part 2 of the mussels dish: pour the broth on top of pasta and add an egg

Manila Clams in a Leek and White Wine Broth

Manila Clams in a Leek and White Wine Broth

Branzino with Fig Pomegranate Sauce

Branzino with Fig Pomegranate Sauce

Salt Roasted Potatoes with Bold Aioli

Salt Roasted Potatoes with Bold Aioli

Roasted Broccolini with Chili and Garlic Chips

Roasted Broccolini with Chili and Garlic Chips

Chili Chocolate Crepe with Nutella and Coffee Whipped Cream

Chili Chocolate Crepe with Nutella and Coffee Whipped Cream

Blood Orange "Trifolo" with Semolina Cake and Fruit Compote

Blood Orange “Trifolo” with Semolina Cake and Fruit Compote

Enter through Eric Greenspan's Grilled Cheese Shop

Enter through Eric Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese Shop

Continue through the restaurant's supply closet

Continue through the restaurant’s back supply area

The door to the secret patio

The door to the secret patio

Foosball while you wait

Fooseball while you wait

The end of your journey:  a beautiful restaurant patio

The end of your journey: a beautiful clandestine dining patio

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Filed under Fairfax, Mid-City, West Hollywood

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2014

The Best of 2014
2014 was a rough year. Escalated conflict in the Middle East, missing jetliners, and an Ebola outbreak; the hits just kept on coming. So it’s not surprising that my annual list this year of the ten best things I consumed and wrote about in the past year include mostly comfort foods. Let’s hope for greener pastures in 2015. In the meantime, here are some things to help you feel a little better:

Aussie Pie Tiger Stack
10. Tiger Stack with Chicken and Tarragon Pie from Aussie Pie Kitchen. Foodwise, there are few things in this world more comforting than meat pies. Stack a chicken tarragon one on a mound of garlic mashed potatoes and top it with bacon-laced mushy minty peas and a ladleful of thyme gravy, and let the emotional healing begin!

Fresh Peach Stuffed Donut from The Donut Man
9. Fresh Peach Stuffed Donut from The Donut Man. This year I went in search of the best donut shops in LA. The research, as you can imagine, was gruelling. The winner was The Donut Man, a shack located on historic Route 66 in Glendora, whose specialty is an amazing seasonal donut stuffed with either fresh strawberries or peaches.

Mother Moo Creamery
8. Classic Butterscotch Ice Cream with Butterscotch Sauce from Mother Moo Creamery. This year I also set out to find the best artisan ice cream shops in LA. My top pick was Mother Moo Creamery in Sierra Madre. After sampling all of their flavors (my dedication to this blog knows no bounds!), my favorite was an insanely good Butterscotch Ice Cream, which was made even better when topped with a rich housemade butterscotch topping.

Brioche Toast, Cranberry Bourbon Jam and Nut Butter
7. Brioche Toast, Cranberry Bourbon Jam and Nut Butter from Sqirl. Things that are simple but perfectly executed can often be magical. Case in point: the brioche toast with housemade jam and nut butter at hipster breakfast haven Sqirl is pure perfection.

Pancotto
6. Pancotto from The Factory Kitchen. Everything I’ve eaten at The Factory Kitchen has been so good, it’s hard to single out just one dish for this list. But if I had to pick one it would be this unusual homage to a peasant bread soup with duck egg, red potato vellutata, sauteed greeens, semolina bread crostone and speck.

BBQ Spot Prawns
5. BBQ Spot Prawns from Pot. LA superstar chef Roy Choi’s restaurants in the new Line Hotel in K-town are probably the hippest and most happening eateries in the city right now. My favorite dish there: these crispy BBQ Spot Prawns which I got to pick out myself before they were grilled and served on a bed of sizzling onions.

Uni Pasta
4. Uni Pasta from EMC Seafood. Creamy uni pasta is one of those go-to dishes that I always order when I see it on a menu. The version at EMC Seafood is one of the best I’ve ever had.

Peanut Butter Ganache, Roasted Grape Ice Cream, Griddled Pound Cake and Chocolate Feuilletine
3. Peanut Butter Ganache, Roasted Grape Ice Cream, Griddled Pound Cake and Chocolate Feuilletine from Saint Martha. If you read this blog regularly, you know how obsessed I am with peanut butter. Saint Martha, one of my favorite new restaurants, has one of the best peanut butter desserts ever.

Salt and Vinegar Popcorn
2. Salt and Vinegar Popcorn from The Church Key. This specially seasoned popcorn is so addictive, it should be regulated by the Federal government.

Kazu Nori
1. Crab Hand Roll from KazuNori. I am completely obsessed with this hand roll. I refer to it as “The Precious.” It is my favorite thing that I consumed and wrote about this year.

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Filed under Downtown, Glendora, Koreatown, Santa Monica, Sierra Madre, West Hollywood