Gettin’ Sauced

Baby Back Ribs
Everyone knows that the Valley has great sushi bars. A lesser known fact is that the Valley is also the home of many of LA’s best barbecue joints. My favorite is Uncle Andre’s BBQ in Studio City. A true hidden gem and a hole in the wall, Uncle Andre’s serves both amazing Southern style barbecue and soul food.

At first blush, you might not be impressed. The restaurant is a small, poorly decorated hovel in a dull Valley strip mall. You place your order at a window and then wait for a long, long time — typically between 30 and 45 minutes unless you call ahead. But none of this really matters because the food, when it finally arrives, is so damn good.

The barbecue is top notch; generous portions of perfectly cooked meats slathered in a delicious tangy and slightly sweet sauce. My favorite dish is the excellent Angus Boneless Beef Ribs. The Baby Back Pork Ribs and Barbecue Chicken are also great. There are Fried Catfish Nuggets, Hush Puppies, Fried Chicken (with or without waffles) and tasty Chicken Tenders. Make sure to order the Mac ‘n Cheese; it’s one of the best in the city. Other sides include Cornbread, Collard Greens cooked in vinegar, and yummy BBQ Baked Beans. On Fridays, they serve Gumbo until they run out. Get the Banana Pudding for dessert. You can thank me later.

Uncle Andre’s BBQ is located at 11715 Moorpark St. in Studio City.

Mac 'n Cheese

Mac ‘n Cheese


BBQ Chicken and Baked Beans

BBQ Chicken and Baked Beans


Cornbread

Cornbread


Chicken Tenders

Chicken Tenders


Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding


A hole in the wall in a dull Valley strip mall

A hole in the wall in a dull Valley strip mall


Killer BBQ

Killer BBQ



Uncle Andre's BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Chego and the Man

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If I didn’t love ’70s sitcoms so much, I would have titled this piece “Chego’s Choi Champions Chinatown.”  This past weekend, LA’s favorite son and founder of the modern food truck revolution, Roy Choi, moved his super cool temple of reconceived rice bowls known as Chego from the Westside to Chinatown.  Desperately in need of some revitalization, frowzy Chinatown is great when you’re shopping for exotic herbs, bamboo backscratchers or paper parasols. However, the restaurants there leave much to be desired (yes, I’m one of those people who believe you must drive to the San Gabriel Valley if you want good traditional Chinese food), so Chego’s relocation is pretty much a game-changer for the neighborhood.

Chego is not fancy or expensive; you order at a counter. The new Chinatown digs are considerably smaller than the previous Palms location, which was small to begin with. The long communal tables of the old space are replaced with picnic tables outside the restaurant in the courtyard of Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, which enables you to soak up local flavor while dining. The creative Asian fusion comfort cuisine is basically the same as before; i.e. awesome. My favorite dish is the Chubby Pork Belly (pictured above), an incredibly delicious rice bowl with kochujang-lacquered Kurobuta, fried egg, pickled radishes, water spinach, Chinese broccoli, cotija and peanuts. I also love The Beefy T bowl with hot chili fried rice, diced prime rib, braised shoyu garlic paste, fried egg and fried shallots. For dessert, it’s a tough decision between the Sriracha Candy Bar (chocolate crisped rice bottom, caramel, Srirach ganache, spiced candied peanuts and dark chocolate) and the Piña Krackalada (sweet coconut rice with caramelized pineapple and dark chocolate). Get both; your secret indulgence is safe in Chinatown.

Chego is located at 727 N. Broadway, Los Angeles.

Chef, genius and all-around cool guy Roy "Papi" Choi

Chef, genius and all-around cool guy Roy “Papi” Choi


The Beefy T (Hot Chili Fried Rice, Diced Prime Rib, Braised Shoyu Garlic Paste with Fried Egg and Fried Shallots

The Beefy T (Hot Chili Fried Rice, Diced Prime Rib, Braised Shoyu Garlic Paste with Fried Egg and Fried Shallots)


Bottled Sodas and Sangria

Bottled Sodas and Sangria


Pina Krackalada (Sweet Coconut Rice, Caramelized Pineapple and Puffed Rice)

Piña Krackalada (Sweet Coconut Rice, Caramelized Pineapple and Puffed Rice)


Tres Leches (Devil's Food Cake Soaked in Cayenne-Cinnamon-Infused Leches with Tapioca Milk Pudding and Spiced Peanut Brittle)

Tres Leches (Devil’s Food Cake Soaked in Cayenne-Cinnamon-Infused Leches with Tapioca Milk Pudding and Spiced Peanut Brittle)


New Chinatown location

Picnic table seating in the courtyard


Chinatown's Far East Plaza, the new home of Chego

Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, the new home of Chego



Chego on Urbanspoon

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Santa Barbara Road Trip

La Super Rica Taqueria

When the weather is nice, one of my favorite things to do is drive up the coast to Santa Barbara with my family for the day.  Although it’s only ninety minutes away, when I arrive at this beachside paradise of white-washed Moorish architecture and palm trees, my cares slip away and I feel as if I’m on vacation.  There are a few good places to eat in town and one incredible one — a dilapidated white and teal taco stand called La Super-Rica Taqueria.  This little shack was the favorite Mexican restaurant of Julia Child, who lived in Santa Barbara at the end of her life, and it’s my favorite too.

Don’t think twice about getting in the line that usually runs out the door; it is well worth the wait.  When you get to the counter, you have your choice of over twenty Mexian specialties.  The plates are small (and inexpensive) and I usually order three or four things just for myself. Everything is homemade and super fresh.  The corn tortillas are perfection and you can even watch them being made by an abuela behind the counter.  The chorizo is fried, fatty and well seasoned.  The guacamole is pure bliss.

My favorite dish is the No. 16, “Super-Rica Especial,” an awesome mix of marinated and grilled pork and a roasted chile pasilla stuffed with gooey melted cheese.  To drink, I recommend the sweet, cinnamony horchata or the watermelon agua fresca.  You can enjoy your food and drink on the restaurant’s large covered patio, where you can help yourself to spicy pico de gallo with jalapenos and tasty salsas.  Muy fantastico!

La Super-Rica Taqueria is located at 622 N. Milpas St, Santa Barbara.

Tacos de Chuleta (grilled pork steak tacos)

Tacos de Chuleta (grilled pork steak tacos)


Quesadilla con Chorizo

Quesadilla con Chorizo


Chile con Queso (roasted chili pasilla stuffed with cheese)

Chile con Queso (roasted chile pasilla stuffed with cheese)


Tacos de Bistec (grilled steak tacos) with salsa and guacamole

Tacos de Bistec (grilled steak tacos) with salsa and guacamole


Alambre de Filete (grilled tri-tip with bell peppers, onions and bacon)

Alambre de Filete (grilled tri-tip with bell peppers, onions and bacon)


Super Rica Especial (roasted chile pasilla stuffed with cheese, with marinated pork)

Super Rica Especial (roasted chile pasilla stuffed with cheese, with marinated pork)


Pechuga Suiza (grilled chicken breast with melted cheese between two corn tortillas)

Pechuga Suiza (grilled chicken breast with melted cheese between two corn tortillas)


Awesome Fresh Salsas

Awesome fresh pico de gallo and salsas



La Super-Rica Taqueria on Urbanspoon

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Three is a Magic Number

Urban Flower Tart with Watercress Vinaigrette
Brand-spanking new and already the hottest ticket in town, Trois Mec has arrived. Its name means “three guys” in French and it’s the collaboration of three of LA’s most beloved and talented chefs, Ludo Lefebvre of the Ludo Bites pop-ups and the tv show “The Taste,” and Jon Shook & Vinny Dotolo of Animal and Son of a Gun. These three amigos have fashioned a truly magical dining experience. The only problem is that it’s incredibly difficult to get in.

The modern and minimally designed restaurant is small and intimate.  There are only four tables plus eight seats at the bar overlooking the open kitchen.  It’s cloistered away in a Hollywood strip mall behind frosted glass and has no signage other than the illuminated yellow sign of the previous tenant, Rafaello’s Pizza. To dine at Trois Mec, you don’t need a reservation; you need to buy a ticket. These tickets, which are transferable and can even be resold on Craig’s List, go on sale once a week on the restaurant’s website and currently cost around $97 for the prix fixe menu including tax and tip but excluding beer and wine. With such limited seating, competition for the tickets is fierce and I pity the poor Hollywood assistant tasked with procuring them for a demanding boss.

The seasonal menu (which can be vegetarian upon request) consists of five official courses and several additional tastes. My recent dinner there started with a virgin apéritif of chilled Aged Oolong Tea with Lemon Shrub in a sugar-rimmed glass and ended with a White Chocolate and Caramel Tart with Habanero Salt. In between was a parade of gorgeous, inventive and delectable small plates of gastronomic glory. Many dishes, such as the Herb and Flower Tart with Watercress Vinaigrette (pictured above), were similar to the modern French fare of Ludo Bites, while others, like the Boneless Chicken Wings with Mustard and Sesame Seeds, more closely resembled the reconceived comfort food of Animal and Son of a Gun. My favorites were the super light cheesy potato dish of Potato Pulp, Brown Butter, Bonito, Onion Soubise and Salers Cheese and an insanely good Rib Cap with Shallot Broth, Black Walnut and Clover Spelt. I also loved the unique Buckwheat Popcorn with Rice Wine Vinegar. If they sold this at Trader Joe’s, I would eat a bag everyday.

Trois Mec is located at 716 N. Highland, Los Angeles (in Hollywood) and serves dinner Monday through Friday. Tickets can be obtained on their website

Buckwheat Popcorn with Rice Wine Vinegar

Buckwheat Popcorn with Rice Wine Vinegar


English Peas with Miso Marinade and Cured Salmon Roe

English Peas with Miso Marinade and Cured Salmon Roe


Boneless Chicken Wings with Mustard and Sesame Seeds

Boneless Chicken Wings with Mustard and Sesame Seeds


Asparagus, Brioche, Egg Yolk, Yuzu, Green Alder

Asparagus, Brioche, Egg Yolk, Yuzu, Green Alder


Carrot, BBQ, Orange, Yogurt, Avocado, Watercress

Carrot, BBQ, Orange, Yogurt, Avocado, Watercress


Potato Pulp, Brown Butter, Bonito, Onion Soubise, Salers

Potato Pulp, Brown Butter, Bonito, Onion Soubise, Salers


Rib Cap, Shallot Broth, Black Walnut and Clover Spelt

Rib Cap, Shallot Broth, Black Walnut, Clover Spelt


Strawberry, Almond Ice Cream, Rhubarb, Rose Ice, Olive Oil Cake

Strawberry, Almond Ice Cream, Rhubarb, Rose Ice, Olive Oil Cake


Chef Ludo Lefebvre

Chef Ludo Lefebvre


The restaurant only seats 26 people.

The restaurant only seats 26 people.


Don't be misled by the exterior.

Don’t be misled by the exterior.



TROIS MEC on Urbanspoon

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Your Armenian Mama’s Kitchen

Beef Luleh Kabob
Nestled on a residential side street a few blocks from The Americana and Glendale Galleria, Mini Kabob is a little mom and pop shop that serves some of the best Armenian food in the city.  To say it’s a hole in the wall would be an understatement. It has three small tables and you feel as if you’re eating in the kitchen of your grandmother or favorite aunt while she cooks for you.  Ugly upholstered chairs and a dreary oil painting on the wall add to the charm of this hidden gem.

The restaurant is run by “Mama” Alla and “Papa” Hovik, a friendly immigrant couple from Yerevan, Armenia.  Mama does the cooking in the open kitchen and Papa works front of the house.  Everything Mama makes is delicious.  Your meal starts with amazing homemade hummus served with Armenian lavash bread.  There are several choices of kabobs including beef, pork and beef luleh (ground beef), but the best is the chicken.  Expertly seasoned and grilled, topped with onions and parsley, and served with basmati rice, a charred tomato and spicy pepper, and a side of garlic sauce, the juicy chicken shish kabob is pure perfection. You can wash it all down with an Armenian mineral water or a tarragon or pear soda.

Mini Kabob is located at 313 Vine St. in Glendale. It’s cash only.

Hummus and Armenian Lavash Bread

Hummus and Armenian Lavash Bread


Combination Plate with Chicken Shish Kabob, Pork Shish Kabob and Chicken Luleh Kabob

Combination Plate with Chicken Shish Kabob, Pork Shish Kabob and Chicken Luleh Kabob


Garlic Sauce

Garlic Sauce


Vegetable Cake (special order)

Vegetable Cake (special order)


Jermuk Mineral Water

Jermuk Mineral Water


Alla and Hovik

Alla and Hovik


A tiny hole in the wall...with great food.

Walking distance from The Americana and Glendale Galleria


Not fancy

A tiny hole in the wall..with great food



Mini Kabob on Urbanspoon

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Pikey, Me Likey

Pikey Fish and Chips

Call it the “New British Invasion.”  Modern English gastropubs have been regularly opening on this side of the pond for the past couple of years.  My favorite in Los Angeles is The Pikey.  Its dark wood, brass rail and mirror-laden decor reminds me of the pubs I frequented when studying abroad in England during college; the perfect place to down a pint of ale.  But The Pikey is more than just a cool-looking place to drink, and is not, as they say in London, “all fur coat, no knickers.” Their elevated British pub grub is abso-bloody-lutely delicious!

My favorite dish is the Fish and Chips.  The golden battered snapper is crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, and the thrice cooked chips (what we Yanks refer to as “fries”) are gobsmackingly good.  I’m also a fan of the Curried Cauliflower, Mary’s Vinegar Chicken, and the brilliant Crispy Pig’s Ear Salad with Young Kale and Mustard. For dessert, I suggest getting either the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch and Clotted Cream or The Pikey’s “Fool” of the day, a smashing concoction of puréed seasonal fruit, whipped cream and sugar.  Blighty-themed cocktails such as the “Laddie Dill” (vodka, cucumber, dill, lime, salt and pepper) and “The Guvnor” (gin, lemon juice, egg whites and bitters) will have you saying things like “it’s the dog’s bollocks!” and “Bob’s your uncle” in no time.

The Pikey is located at 7617 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles (in Hollywood).

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit


Crispy Pig's Ear Sald with Young Kale and Mustard

Crispy Pig’s Ear Sald with Young Kale and Mustard


Mary's Vinegar Chicken with Thrice Cooked Chips

Mary’s Vinegar Chicken with Thrice Cooked Chips


Curried Cauliflower

Curried Cauliflower


Brussels Sprouts with Boiled Bacon

Brussels Sprouts with Boiled Bacon


Char-Grilled Beef Burger with Bandaged Cheddar, Tomato, Worcestershire Aioli and Chips

Char-Grilled Beef Burger with Bandaged Cheddar, Tomato, Worcestershire Aioli and Chips


Strawberry and Rhubarb Fool with Meringue

Strawberry and Rhubarb Fool with Meringue


Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch and Clotted Cream

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch and Clotted Cream


Laddie Dill with Svedka Vodka, Crushed Cucumber and Dill, Lime Juice, Salt and Pepper, Rocks

Laddie Dill with Svedka Vodka, Crushed Cucumber and Dill, Lime Juice, Salt and Pepper, Rocks


A little bit of Blighty in Hollywood

A little bit of Blighty in Hollywood



The Pikey on Urbanspoon

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Blogiversary Giveaway

Blogiversary Giveaway
Today is Consuming LA’s two year blogiversary! This blog is truly a labor of love and I’d like to thank all of you who read it regularly. On this momentous occasion, I want to celebrate Oprah-style — by giving away stuff, including $50 gift certificates to some of my favorite restaurants in LA! There are twelve 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). Once you become a subscriber or if you have already been one, you can enter by referring friends to subscribe for the first time. You will receive one entry for each referral and you can enter as many times as you want. The deadline to enter is April 8, 2013. Click here to see the official rules. Here are the prizes:

Shaved Mushroom and Black Truffle Pizza from Stella Rossa Pizza Bar in Santa Monica

Shaved Mushroom and Black Truffle Pizza from Stella Rossa Pizza Bar

$50 Gift Certificate to Stella Rossa Pizza Bar Stella Rossa is an amazing upscale pizza restaurant and wine bar that’s presided over by uber-talent chef Jeff Mahin, who competed on The Taste on ABC recently. Mahin serves the best pizza in the city, including my favorite, an incredible mushroom and truffle pie.

Maple Fried Chicken, Pork Belly, and Bison Chili Tacos from This cool restaurant is Silverlake

Maple Fried Chicken, Pork Belly, and Bison Chili Tacos from Diablo

$50 Gift Certificate to Diablo This cool restaurant, which opened in Silverlake last year, serves my favorite fusion tacos in the city. My favorite is the Maple Fried Chicken Taco with Purple Kale and Red Rooster Vinaigrette. Diablo is also a great place to drink and their signature Micheladas are served with yuzu or tomato popsicles and are incredible.

Gougere Sliders

Gougere Sliders with Fried Oysters, Tarter Sauce, Applewood Smoked Bacon and Arugula from Little Bear

$50 Gift Certificate to Little Bear. I love this fun and hip Downtown gastropub, its updated versions of rustic Belgian cuisine and its awesome selection of craft beers. I named their fried oyster and bacon sliders on Greyere cheese puffs my favorite of all dishes that I blogged about last year.

Peanut Brittle Cookie from M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica

Peanut Brittle Cookie from M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica

$50 Gift Certificate to M Street Kitchen I love peanut butter more than anything and my favorite peanut butter cookies in Los Angeles are baked fresh daily and sold at M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica. Besides having amazing baked goods, M Street Kitchen is a great casual restaurant with Modern American cuisine.

Fritzi Dog on Pretzel Bun from Original Farmer's Market on Fairfax

Fritzi Dog on Pretzel Bun from Fritzi Dog

Five winners will each receive a pair of free hot dogs from Fritzi Dog Fritzi Dog is my favorite hot dog joint in LA and my favorite place in the Original Farmer’s Market on Fairfax. Their dogs are insanely good and I also love their wide selection of gourmet toppings and buns, including soft pretzel buns.

Figueroa Philly Cheese Steak

Lunch or Dinner for two at Figueroa Philly I went to around 30 Philly cheesesteak places in LA last year in search of the best and I picked Figueroa Philly (which is right near USC) as my favorite. I love everything about their cheesesteaks, especially the marinated ribeye and Amoroso rolls imported directly from Philadelphia.

The Hungry Games, a puzzle and quiz book for food lovers

The Hungry Games, a puzzle and quiz book for food lovers

Two winners will receive a copy of “The Hungry Games — Improve Your Chowcabulary,” a newly published puzzle book with great word games and quizzes for food lovers.

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Scottish Tapas for Reform Jews

Bacon Wrapped Matzo Balls
The Gorbals is the ultimate hipster hang.  It’s accessed through the lobby of the creepy Alexandria hotel, which is something right out of a horror film and probably haunted.  Inside the dimly lit restaurant, you’re safe and warm in the glow of a large open kitchen. The decor is minimal and vintage industrial chic.  Bowler hats, handlebar moustaches or mutton chop sideburns would not look out of place here.  On Thursday nights, a Hot Jazz/Americana band known as The California Feetwarmers blows the roof off the house while Lindy Hop dancers show off their mad swing skills. On other nights, you kind of expect someone to ride through the restaurant on one of those industrial revolution era tall bicycles with the gigantic front wheel and tiny back wheel.

The Gorbals is the Hasidic fever dream manifestation of Top Chef season two winner Ilan Hall and his business partner and childhood friend Natan Zion. The food was originally inspired by Hall’s Jewish and Scottish ancestry, a combo that I like to refer to as “Scotch and Rhoda (Morgenstern).” While neither the Jews nor the Scots are known for amazing regional cuisine, Hall’s fusion creations are delectably inventive and surprisingly wonderful.

The restaurant’s signature dish is Bacon-wrapped Matzoh Balls (pictured above), which Hall clearly had in mind when he famously described his mash-up fare as “old Jewish food that has been date-raped by bacon.” Although this irreverent intermix sounds like a joke, it tastes astonishingly good. Hall’s creations are not limited to Jewish and Scottish-themed eats and incorporate ingredients from all over the world like uni butter, feta and macadamia nuts. My favorite dishes are the Vietnamese/Canadian comfort concoction of Bahn Mi Poutine, the insanely amazing Lamb Neck with Creamy Oats and, to balance out the richness, the Israeli-inspired salad of Persian Cucumbers, Avocado, Crispy Garbanzos and Sumac. I love a good salty dessert and The Gorbals’ Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Maldon Salt is incredible. Just like the food, the cocktails are creative and fun, and highly recommended. 

The Gorbals is located at 501 So. Spring St., Los Angeles (Downtown).

Latkes with Smoked Applesauce and Sage

Latkes with Smoked Applesauce and Sage


Persian Cucumbers, Avocado, Crispy Garbanzos and Sumac

Persian Cucumbers, Avocado, Crispy Garbanzos and Sumac


Cornbread Stuffed Quail with Red Wine Balsamic Reduction

Cornbread Stuffed Quail with Red Wine Balsamic Reduction


Bahn Mi Poutine

Bahn Mi Poutine


Lamb Neck with Creamy Oats

Lamb Neck with Creamy Oats


Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Maldon Salt

Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Maldon Salt


Entrance to the The Gorbals inside the creepy Alexandria Hotel

Entrance to the The Gorbals inside the creepy Alexandria Hotel


Inside The Gorbals

Inside you’re safe and warm in the glow of a large open kitchen



The Gorbals on Urbanspoon
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Fez Not Required

Tagine Beverly Hills
When I hear “Moroccan restaurant,” I think of waiters in fezzes and embroidered vests, belly dancers, exotic over-the-top decor and eating with my hands. Tagine in Beverly Hills has none of these things and is all the better for it. Instead of the typical Disney-esque tourist treatment of a Moroccan dining experience, you get the kind of meal that I could see served in the home of a wealthy and cultured family in Tangier or Marrakech.

Tagine, which is co-owned by actor Ryan Gosling, is upscale and incredibly romantic; the ultimate date spot if you’re looking to score. It’s intimate, beautifully understated and dimly lit. Parties of two sit side by side.

As for the food, talented chef Abdessamad “Ben” Benameur elevates classic Moroccan dishes and serves cuisine which is highly refined and across-the-board excellent. I highly recommend going with the tasting menu. Whether you do or not, your meal starts with a tray of amuse-bouches which often include cups of asparagus soup, vegetable cigars and spoons of goat cheese with dates. The homemade hummus with freshly baked Berber bread and the tomato and cucumber tartar topped with lemon sorbet and raspberries should not be missed. I also love the bastilla with buttery, crispy phyllo dough atop a mixture of Cornish hen, scrambled eggs, saffron and sugar, as well as the tender and juicy lamb chops marinated in Moroccan seven spices.

The best is saved for last: a life-altering rich chocolate soup with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream, accompanied by sticky and sweet baklava. It’s one of the best chocolate desserts I’ve ever eaten; right up there with the Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity in NYC.

Tagine is located at 132 N. Robertson Blvd. in Beverly Hills.

Amuse Bouche:  Asparagus Soup, Goat Cheese with Dates, and Vegetable Cigars

Amuse-Bouches: Asparagus Soup, Goat Cheese with Dates, and Vegetable Cigars


Bastilla

Bastilla


Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables


Sea Bass Tagine

Sea Bass Tagine


Lamb Chops marinated in the seven spices

Lamb Chops marinated in the seven spices


Chocolate Soup served with Vanilla Ice Cream and Baklava

Chocolate Soup served with Vanilla Ice Cream and Baklava



Tagine on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Beverly Hills

Big Taste in Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo is one of my favorite dining destinations in the city. There are only three official Japantowns in the whole country (the others are in San Francisco and San Jose) and just like the rest of Downtown, our Little Tokyo has seen amazing revitalization over the past few years. There are not only a slew of great Japanese restaurants of every variety, but a veritable smorgasbord of pre- and post-meal activities to entertain and amuse you, including museums and galleries, secluded Japanese gardens, interesting shops, and karaoke.

Of all the restaurants in Little Tokyo, my favorite is Aburiya Toranoko. It was opened only a couple years ago by the same owners as its next door neighbor, Lazy Ox Canteen, and is both a high-end sushi bar and izakaya (i.e. Japanese gastropub). The design of the restaurant is über-hip and modern; very urban with chandeliers and a giant colorful mural on a long brick wall.

If you’re with a large group, you’ll need to get a table, but if you’re dining alone or with only one companion, the beautiful polished wooden sushi bar is the place to be. There you can witness the formidable skills of talented and charming sushi master Seiji Nakano. If you can afford it, go with the omakase and let Chef Nakano be your guide. In terms of izakaya fare, the incredible Uni Goma Tofu (sesame tofu topped with sea urchin) is an absolute must-have. I also highly recommend the Sumiyaki (grills meats and fish on skewers), especially the Miso Black Cod and the Tsukune (chicken meatball). The Jidori Kara-age (fried chicken) is also excellent. For dessert, I love the Green Tea Pudding and the Chocolate Lava Cake.

Aburiya Toranoko is located at 243 So. San Pedro St., Los Angeles (Downtown).

Uni Three Ways (Kumamoto Oysters with Uni and Caviar, Uni Goma Tofu with Jellied Tuna, and Uni and Vegetable Tempura

Uni Three Ways (Kumamoto Oysters with Uni and Caviar, Uni Goma Tofu with Jellied Tuna, and Uni and Vegetable Tempura)


Tuna and Roasted Beets with Housemade Tofu Cheese and topped with Crispy Ginger

Tuna and Roasted Beets with Housemade Tofu Cheese and topped with Crispy Ginger


Jidori Fried Chicken

Jidori Kara-age (Fried Chicken)


Sashimi Carpaccio Plate with Tuna, Halibut, Sweet Shrimp, Giant Clam and Salmon

Sashimi Carpaccio Plate with Tuna, Halibut, Sweet Shrimp, Giant Clam and Salmon


Tofu Dengaku with Miso Sauce and Grilled Vegetables

Tofu Dengaku with Miso Sauce and Grilled Vegetables


Assorted Sumiyaki (Miso Black Cod, Angus Beef, Tsukune, and Zucchini  with Cherry Tomato)

Assorted Sumiyaki (Miso Black Cod, Angus Beef, Tsukune, and Zucchini with Cherry Tomato)


Toro

Toro Sushi


Freshwater Eel Hiroshima Style

Freshwater Eel Sushi Hiroshima Style


Green Tea Pudding

Green Tea Pudding


Mini Chocolate Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

Mini Chocolate Lave Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream


Sushi Master Seiji Nakano

Sushi Master Seiji Nakano



Aburiya Toranoko on Urbanspoon

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It’s a Dog Eat Dog World

Los Angeles Hot Dogs

Like every great American city, Los Angeles has its fair share of wieneries; gastronomic temples dedicated to finely seasoned and cured processed meat cylinders served on long soft buns with a variety of condiments including mustard, relish, sauerkraut, onions, cheese and chili. Pink’s is the most famous in town, but hardly the best. Dodger Dogs are overrated. When I want a truly spectacular red hot — a juicy dog that snaps with every bite and explodes with flavor in my mouth — I head to one of my five favorites listed below.

The Chicagoan from Carney's

Carney’s

#5 Carney’s (8351 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood and 12601 Ventura Blvd, Studio City). This dive restaurant in an old yellow train serves amazing hot dogs, including a spicy “New Yorker,” a traditional “Chicagoan” and a “Red Baron” with spicy mustard and red cabbage. If you like your dogs slathered with messy, meaty chili, there’s simply no better place.

Fab Hot Dogs

Fab Hot Dogs

#4 Fab Hot Dogs (19417 Victory Blvd, Reseda) Well worth the drive to Reseda, Fab Hot Dogs are perfection. You can get grilled pastrami or BBQ baked beans on your dog and their speciality is a crunchy deep-fried “Bald Eagle Ripper” with housemade spicy mustard relish. It’s also well worth the risk to your arteries.

The Slaw Dogs

The Slaw Dogs

#3 The Slaw Dogs (720 N. Lake Ave, Pasadena; 19801 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills; 1355 Huntington Dr, Duarte) Their bacon-wrapped LA Street Dog topped with grilled peppers and onions, garlic mayo and pico de gallo is one of the best things ever. There’s also a Chicharron Dog with pork belly and kimchi and a Thai Dog with peanut curry satay sauce.

Vicious Dogs

Vicious Dogs

#2 Vicious Dogs (5231 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood) The most fun and creative hot dogs in LA can be found here. I love the “Hot Chick,” which is bacon-wrapped and topped with mozzarella, chopped chicken tenders, ranch dressing and spicy Buffalo wing sauce. There’s even a hot dog with peanut butter and jelly.

Fritzi Dog

Fritzi Dog

#1 Fritzi Dog (in the Original Farmer’s Market, 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles) Newcomer Fritzi Dog has become my favorite hot dog place in the city. It’s truly gourmet and elevates the hot dog to a whole new level. Their eponymous dog served on a fresh soft pretzel bun (pictured above) is not only insanely delicious, but a work of art. I also love their juicy “Porker” dog served on a sweet and doughy “Parker” bun (they have buttery brioche and gluten-free buns as well). Best of all, you can get a tasting sampler of mini dogs to make your hot dog selection a little easier.

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Filed under North Hollywood, Studio City, Mid-City, Pasadena, West Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Duarte, Reseda

What the Fork?

Little Fork Maple Eggs
I feel as if I’m channeling my inner-Don Draper as I down cocktails and feast on Clams Casino in the Mid-Century Modern digs of Littlefork, a great new restaurant that opened last month in Hollywood. Although its name sounds like a small town in Utah or the moniker bestowed upon some unfortunate child in Indian Guides, “Littlefork” actually refers to the diminutive three-pronged cocktail fork used to eat shellfish. It’s part of the restaurant’s theme; innovative and fun dishes inspired by the Atlantic Northeast, especially Boston and Montreal.

Chef Jason Travi’s menu consists of mostly small plates, with a strong emphasis on seafood. The aforementioned Clams Casino with Cracker Stuffing and Bacon is an absolute must-have, as is the Smoked Meats Poutine with Curds and Gravy. The Portuguese Mussels with Linguica, Beer and Chickpeas is one of the best mussel dishes I have ever eaten. I also recommend the Maple Eggs with Crispy Bacon (pictured above), the Clam Cakes with House Tartar Sauce, and the Apple Cider Braised Brussels Sprouts with Sage and Crispy Chicken Skin.

I’m hoping eventually they’ll be adding some version of fried whole-belly Ipswich clams to the menu, as well as my favorite New England dessert, Indian pudding with molasses and cornmeal. Until that happens, I recommend ending your meal with Littlefork’s Whoopie Pies with Marshmallow Fluff, although I’m pretty sure that’s not something Don Draper would eat. You’ll be channeling your inner-Sally Draper at that point.

Littlefork is located at 1600 Wilcox Ave., Hollywood.

Pickles

Pickled Vegetables (the amuse bouche)


Kettle Corn with Montreal steak spice and maple syrup

Kettle Corn with Montreal Steak Spice and Maple Syrup


Crispy Oyster Sliders with Tartar Sauce and Pickled Hot Pepper

Crispy Oyster Sliders with Tartar Sauce and Pickled Hot Pepper


Smoked Meats Poutine with curds and gravy

Smoked Meats Poutine with Curds and Gravy


Clams Casino with cracker stuffing and bacon

Clams Casino with Cracker Stuffing and Bacon


Portuguese Mussels with linguica, beer and chickpeas

Portuguese Mussels with Linguica, Beer and Chickpeas


Clam Cakes with house tartar sauce

Clam Cakes with House Tartar Sauce


Brisket with three mustards

Brisket with Three Mustards


Apple Cider Braised Brussels Sprouts with sage and crispy chicken skin

Apple Cider Braised Brussels Sprouts with Sage and Crispy Chicken Skin


Whoopie Pies with marshmallow fluff

Whoopie Pies with Marshmallow Fluff


Buttermilk Maple Pie with whipped cream and candied orange zest

Buttermilk Maple Pie with Whipped Cream and Candied Orange Zest


Apple Cider Donuts with apple butter and salted caramel

Apple Cider Donuts with Apple Butter and Salted Caramel


Cocktails

Cocktails


Mid-Century Modern

Mid-Century Modernish



Littlefork on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Hollywood

Birdy Num Num

Chili Crab Toast with Spicy Cucumber and Coriander
As enchanting and rapturous as the kind of Japanese fairytale its name evokes, Hinoki & the Bird opened a few weeks ago in Century City. It’s the baby of chef David Myers (Comme Ça and the late great Sona) and Kuniko Yagi of recent Top Chef fame. Located just down the street from the “Death Star” that houses CAA, Hinoki & the Bird has a style that you would expect of a hip Downtown or Venice restaurant, and not of staid and corporate-y Century City. Hinoki is a Japanese cedar tree and reclaimed wood is used extensively in the clean and modern interior. Seating is either in a beautiful enclosed patio or inside, sandwiched between the frenetic energy of an open kitchen and an impressively stocked bar.

Cocktails, such as the Gordon’s Cup (gin, muddled lime, cucumber, Szechuan pepper and salt) or the Griffith Park Swizzle (bourbon, mint, lime, bitters and absinthe), are a must. The food is Asian-inspired California cuisine. Almost everything I’ve eaten there so far has been excellent. Some of my favorites are the Beef Tartare with Pickled Jalapeno and Parmigiano, the Chili Crab Toast with Spicy Cucumbers and Coriander (pictured above) and the Salt & Pepper Marinated Calamari. Their Kale “Crispy and Raw” with Curried Almonds, Pecorino and Red Wine Vinaigrette is a delicious mix of colors and textures and one of the best kale salads I have ever eaten. I also love the Caramel Braised Pork Belly with Radish and Mustard Greens and the Miso Marinated Skirt Steak.

The desserts are incredible too, especially the Miso Mochi Rice Cream with Butterscotch and Togarashi and the Evo Parfait with Olive Oil Sable, Winter Citrus and Cinnamon Meringue. This is not surprising. After all, great fairytales always have happy endings.

Hinoki & the Bird is located at 10 Century Dr., Los Angeles (in Century City).

Spice Scented Nuts

Spice Scented Nuts


Salt & Pepper Marinated Calamari with Ajwain-Tomato Jam

Salt & Pepper Marinated Calamari with Ajwain-Tomato Jam


Crispy Marinated Chicken with Lemon Aioli

Crispy Marinated Chicken with Lemon Aioli


Beef Tartare with Pickled Jalapeno and Parmigiano

Beef Tartare with Pickled Jalapeno and Parmigiano


Lobster Roll with Green Curry and Thai Basil on a Charcoal-infused Bun

Lobster Roll with Green Curry and Thai Basil on a Charcoal-infused Bun


Caramel Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly with Radish and Mustard Greens

Caramel Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly with Radish and Mustard Greens


Miso Marinated Skirt Steak

Miso Marinated Skirt Steak


Jidori Chicken

Jidori Chicken


Grilled Winter Mushrooms with Sea Salt and Lime

Grilled Winter Mushrooms with Sea Salt and Lime


Evo Parfait with Olive Oil Sable, Winter Citrus and Cinnamon Meringue

Evo Parfait with Olive Oil Sable, Winter Citrus and Cinnamon Meringue


Miso Mochi Rice Cream with Butterscotch and Togarashi

Miso Mochi Rice Cream with Butterscotch and Togarashi


Matcha Donuts & Koji Milk

Matcha Donuts & Koji Milk


Gordon's Cup with Gin, Muddle Lime, Cucumber, Szechuan Pepper and Salt

Gordon’s Cup with Gin, Muddle Lime, Cucumber, Szechuan Pepper and Salt


A very cool space

A very cool space with lots of reclaimed wood and an open kitchen.



Hinoki & the Bird on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Century City

Plate It Again Sam

Plate
I love a good food fest, so I was happy to hear that LA Weekly’s annual food and wine event is back for a fifth year. It will take place on Sunday, March 3rd from 1-5pm, at the Peterson Automotive Museum. Previously called “The Gold Standard” before the departure of LA Weekly’s food critic Jonathan Gold, the yearly event is now known simply as “Plate” and it promises to once again be one of the top LA food events of the year. There will be unlimited tastings from more than 40 of the city’s best and most interesting restaurants and unlimited wine (in addition to beer and spirits) from over 30 top-shelf wineries curated by Downtown LA’s BUZZ Wine Beer Shop.

As far as these kind of events go, this one is relatively inexpensive. Tickets are $75 for General Admission and $95 for VIP Admission, which enables you to enter an hour earlier than the General Admission people and gets you a gift bag. If you’ve never been to one of these fun events before, this is a great one to start with. Some of my favorite restaurants, including Mo-Chica, Jitlada, Chichen Itza, Hungry Cat, Wurstkuche, and Philippe’s will be participating. A portion of the receipts goes to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank so you’re actually doing a good deed by filling your belly with delicious food and drinking lots and lots of wine.

You can buy tickets by going to LA Weekly’s website or by clicking here. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

UPDATE: Plate 2013 was a success! Here are a few highlights:

My hero Roy Choi announces the opening later this year of Chego, his gourmet rice bowl restaurant, in Chinatown

My hero Roy Choi announces the opening later this year of Chego, his gourmet rice bowl restaurant, in Chinatown

Gilberto Cetina from Chichen Itza served up Tacos de Cochinita Pibil

Gilberto Cetina from Chichen Itza served up Tacos de Cochinita Pibil

Ricard Zarate and Stephane Bombet from Mo-Chica and Picca were serving amazing food and talking about their new restaurant Paiche, which will open shortly in the old Mo-Chica space.

Ricard Zarate and Stephane Bombet from Mo-Chica and Picca were serving amazing food and talking about their now restaurant Paiche, which will open shortly in the old Mo-Chica space.

Ricardo Zarate's Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Miso Dressing was my favorite dish of the event.

Ricardo Zarate’s Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Miso Dressing was my favorite dish of the event.

8 Colorful Flavors of Pork from Korean restaurant Palsaik

8 Colorful Flavors of Pork from Korean restaurant Palsaik

Chef Jazz from my favorite Thai restaurant in LA, Jitlada, served up Spicy Chicken Curry.

Chef Jazz from my favorite Thai restaurant in LA, Jitlada, served up Spicy Chicken Curry.

Nguyen Tran from Starry Kitchen served Shrimp Chips with Grill Beef Bites in a homemade costume.

Nguyen Tran from Starry Kitchen served Shrimp Chips with Grill Beef Bites in a homemade costume.

Where's Spritle and Chim Chim?  The event took place in the Peterson Automotive Museum.

Where’s Spritle and Chim Chim? The event took place in the Peterson Automotive Museum.

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In Hot Water

Mizu 212
Lately I have been on a strict low-carb diet, probably the inevitable result of eating all of those scones. It’s one of those diets where you only eat protein and vegetables, so I’ve been frequenting all of the shabu shabu joints in town. For the uninitiated, Japanese-style shabu shabu is basically a plate of thinly sliced raw meat and another plate of raw vegetables and tofu (and udon noodles if you’re one of those hedonists that eats carbs), all of which you cook yourself in your own individual pot of boiling water. My wife has an issue with going to restaurants where you need to cook your own food, but I think it’s incredibly fun.

My favorite shabu shabu restaurant is Mizu 212. The “212” stands for “212 degrees,” the temperature at which water boils. Mizu 212 is exactly what you want in a restaurant serving raw meat; it’s exceedingly clean and modern, and the food is of the highest quality. Most of the seating is at a wraparound bar and it feels like you’re eating in a really cool science lab that plays great music.

There are several choices of premium beef. I usually order the “Vintage Natural Beef” Prime Grade Rib-Eye. It’s excellent, although “vintage” beef sounds funny to me; like they’re peddling old meat. I think the idea is that it’s old-fashioned-style beef, the kind that was raised before the use of hormones or antibiotics. If you’re wiling to pay a premium, you can get Kobe-syle “Wagyu” beef. They also have free-range chicken, high-grade black pork or lamb, and even grass-fed buffalo.

Mizu 212 is one of the few places that also offers seafood shabu shabu, including wild salmon, shrimp, scallops, crab and clams. The vegetables are super fresh and include cabbage, baby bok choy, carrots, asparagus, green onions, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, snow peas, kabocha squash and chrysanthemum leaves. They have delicious homemade ponzu and goma (sesame) sauces for dipping. Upon request, they can also make you a gluten- or sugar-free sauce. You can wash it all down with an artisan tea, premium sake, glass of wine or craft beer.

Mizu 212 is located at 2000 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles (in “Little Osaka” in West LA).

Seafood

Seafood


"Vintage Natural Beef" Prime Grade Rib-Eye

“Vintage Natural Beef” Prime Grade Rib-Eye


Sauces

Sauces

Vegetables, Noodles and Tofu

Vegetables, Noodles and Tofu


Shabulicious!

Shabulicious!



Mizu 212 on Urbanspoon

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Filed under West LA

Griddle Me This

Red Velvet Pancakes
In this era of small plates, carbon footprints and the ubiquitous Prius, it’s refreshing to find a place that shamelessly embraces excess. The Griddle Cafe on Sunset in Hollywood is such a place. It serves breakfast until 4:00 in the afternoon every day and the portions are large, ridiculously large.

The Griddle Cafe is best known for its pancakes, waffles and French toast, which come in dozens of varieties and are stuffed with things like butterscotch, peanut butter, crushed oreos, pumpkin pie filling, brown sugar-baked bananas and Nutella, and topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar or struesel (not to mention the maple syrup they give you to pour over the whole thing). Their signature dish is the “Red Velvet PanCAKE,” which is covered with swirls of cream cheese icing. Just one can feed a small army.

But despite the fun of the Willy Wonka-esqe menu, I’m not really a huge fan of these griddled monstrosities. I find them too sweet and prefer my flapjacks more refined. I usually opt instead for the egg specialties, such as the Tequila Sunrise (corn tortillas topped with refried beans, eggs sunnyside up, jack and cheddar cheeses, tequila spiked ranchero sauce, avocado and sour cream, and served with chicken tequila sausage). These savory dishes are not exactly “refined” either, but they won’t put you in a sugar coma for the rest of the day.

The Griddle Cafe is located at 7916 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood.

Wholy Moley Pancakes with Blueberries

Wholy Moley Pancakes with Blueberries

Tequila Sunrise (corn tortillas topped with refried beans, eggs sunnyside up, jack and cheddar cheese and covered with tequila spiked ranchero sauce and served with chicken tequila sausage

Tequila Sunrise (corn tortillas topped with refried beans, eggs sunnyside up, jack and cheddar cheeses, tequila spiked ranchero sauce, avocado and sour cream, and served with chicken tequila sausage)


A fun place for breakfast

A fun place for breakfast



The Griddle Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Bu-dee-licious

Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno
Nobu is a high-end sushi restaurant chain intent on world domination. It has 26 locations around the globe including Cape Town, Hong Kong, Milan and Moscow, and will open its first Nobu Hotel in Las Vegas in the next few weeks, with additional hotels to come in London, Riyadh and Bahrain. In LA, we have two locations; one in West Hollywood, which has the feel of a posh Vegas restaurant, and one in Malibu, which recently moved to fancier, beachfront digs and reminds me of a luxurious resort on a tropical island. Both locations have beautifully designed interiors, impeccable service and exorbitant prices.

The Nobu empire is helmed by Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa, a master of modern Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine, who blends traditional Japanese dishes with South American ingredients to spectacular effect. One of my favorite such dishes is Taradito (fluke or other sashimi with Peruvian rocoto sauce, lemon yuzu dressing and soy salt). I also love the Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno (pictured above), Black Cod with Miso and Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce. But while I’m a big fan of Nobu’s innovative fusion dishes, I’m less enamored of Nobu’s traditional sushi and can think of at least a dozen sushi bars in LA that serve better fish. Nobu does, however, have great desserts, such as the PB&J Satandagi with Warm Peanut Butter, Chocolate Satandagi, Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Plum Wine Gelee.

I don’t go to Nobu that often, mainly because my fusion-style sushi restaurant of choice is Katsu-ya, which is more casual and has many similar but more reasonably priced dishes. But for a special occasion when you don’t mind splurging and want to consume your sashimi concoctions in an oppulent setting, Nobu really can’t be beat. Nobu is located at 22706 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu and 903 North La Cienega, Los Angeles (in West Hollywood).

Taradito

Taradito


Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Artichoke

Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Artichoke


Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce

Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy Sauce


Nobu Style Tacos with Wagyu Beef

Nobu Style Tacos with Wagyu Beef


Soft Shell Crab Roll, Uni Sushi and Crab Hand Rolls

Soft Shell Crab Roll, Uni Sushi and Crab Hand Rolls


PB&J Satandagi with Warm Peanut Butter, Chocolate Satandagi, Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Plum Wine Gelee

PB&J Satandagi with Warm Peanut Butter, Chocolate Satandagi, Peanut Butter Ice Cream and Plum Wine Gelee


Warm Pistachio Souffle with Amaretto and Hazelnut Gelato and Pine Nut Opaline

Warm Pistachio Souffle with Amaretto and Hazelnut Gelato and Pine Nut Opaline


The new Malibu location looks like a luxury resort.

The new Malibu location looks like a luxury resort.


Beautiful ocean view from the patio in Malibu

Beautiful ocean view from the patio in Malibu




Nobu Malibu on Urbanspoon
Nobu on Urbanspoon

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Filed under West Hollywood, Malibu

An American in Parish


Eastside hipsters who live Downtown and in Silverlake are different from Westside hipsters in Venice, and not just in terms of hat styles and facial hair. So when I heard that Casey Lane, venerated chef of The Tasting Kitchen on Abbot Kinney, was opening The Parish downtown, I wasn’t sure if Lane’s new venture would be able to replicate the success of his Venice eatery. So far, things look promising.

Like The Tasting Kitchen, The Parish has an uber-cool bar with an array of tasty cocktails, and is a destination for many solely to imbibe. And just as The Tasting Kitchen epitomizes the casual elegance of the Westside, The Parish has nailed the urban, retro-cool and slightly dangerous vibe of Downtown. I would describe its decor as “vintage hipster chic” and speakeasy-esque.

The cuisine at The Parish is elevated British gastropub fare. On the whole it’s very good, but not yet of the level of The Tasting Kitchen. My favorite dish is the Meat Pie with Sausage, Cheddar and Mashed Potatoes. It’s served in a delicious pot-shaped crust. I also love the Sauteed Corn with Basil, Chili, Chickpeas, Dill Aioli & Pecorino, as well as the Porchetta for Two with Cider Braised Cabbage & Salt Roasted Potatoes. But several of the other things I’ve had there are just OK and the desserts are disappointing. Nevertheless, for a fun evening, I recommend checking this place out. Don’t forget your fedora.

The Parish is located at 840 S. Spring St., 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!

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs


Almonds

Almonds


Pot of Pickles

Pot of Pickles


Marinated Figs with Basil, Arugula & Parmesan

Marinated Figs with Basil, Arugula & Parmesan


Grilled Shrimp with Moorish Carrots, Fried Chickpeas, Cured Black Olives & Mint Yogurt

Grilled Shrimp with Moorish Carrots, Fried Chickpeas, Cured Black Olives & Mint Yogurt


Poached Egg with Leeks, Lentils, Mustard Vinaigrette and Parmesan Breadcrumbs

Poached Egg with Leeks, Lentils, Mustard Vinaigrette and Parmesan Breadcrumbs


Grilled Branzino with Marinated Eggplant, Pea Tendrils and Olives

Grilled Branzino with Marinated Eggplant, Pea Tendrils and Olives


Porchetta for Two with Cider Braised Cabbage & Salt Roasted Potatoes

Porchetta for Two with Cider Braised Cabbage & Salt Roasted Potatoes


The Bishop's Roast (Whole Roasted Rotisserie Chicken with Chorizo, Farro and Currant Vinaigrette), served with a Growler of Black Market Contraband

The Bishop’s Roast (Whole Roasted Rotisserie Chicken with Chorizo, Farro and Currant Vinaigrette), served with a Growler of Black Market Contraband


Sauteed Corn with Basil, Chili, Chickpeas, Dill Aioli & Pecorino

Sauteed Corn with Basil, Chili, Chickpeas, Dill Aioli & Pecorino


Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding


Olive Oil and Rosemary Cake

Olive Oil and Rosemary Cake


Cocktails

Cool Cocktails


A dark, speakeasy vibe.

A dark, speakeasy vibe.



The Parish on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Downtown

Farewell to Fine Dining


Nothing lasts forever and restaurants are certainly no exception. The first major restaurant casualty of the year is The Royce at The Langham Hotel in Pasadena, which will close its doors on January 26th. The sad thing about this shuttering is that The Royce is one of only four restaurants in the city that I would consider true fine dining establishments. The other three are Providence, Melisse and Saam at the Bazaar. While The Royce is my least favorite of this group, it has a lot of things going for it: a beautiful dining room in an elegant and romantic hotel, an amazing wine list (with a world-class sommelier and two wine rooms, one for red and one for white), and, most importantly, a tasting menu featuring truly excellent New American cuisine. It is currently helmed by talented French chef David Feau, and Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio of Ink was the chef in a previous incarnation of the restaurant a few years ago.

While Pasadena is beautiful and certainly a very wealthy area, I was always surprised that The Royce, with its cutting-edge cuisine, could sustain enough business in such an old-school part of town. Also, with traffic in this city, most Angelenos do not like to drive too far for dinner and Pasadena is a major schlep from many of the other affluent parts of LA, especially the Westside. Below are photos from my last meal at The Royce. If you want to dine there before it closes on January 26th, I suggest you make a reservation as soon as possible. The Royce at The Langham is located at 1401 South Oak Knoll Avenue, Pasadena.

Trio of Amuse Bouches:  White Strawberry Espuma with Tatragon Spinach, Shaved White Strawberry & Bacon, Cherry Tomoato with Caramel, Salt & Pepper, and Butter Lettuce Cups, Tofu, Yuzu Ponzu, Garlic Chives

Trio of Amuse Bouches: White Strawberry Espuma with Tatragon Spinach, Shaved White Strawberry & Bacon, Cherry Tomoato with Caramel, Salt & Pepper, and Butter Lettuce Cups, Tofu, Yuzu Ponzu, Garlic Chives


"Yagara Fish \ Anise" -- Japanese imported Flute Fish, Heirloom Fennel, Black Rice Pickled Froth and Cucumber Flower

“Yagara Fish \ Anise” — Japanese imported Flute Fish, Heirloom Fennel, Black Rice Pickled Froth and Cucumber Flower


"White Asparagus \ Apricot" -- Chilled Asparagus Soup, Pickled Apricot, Arugula

“White Asparagus \ Apricot” — Chilled Asparagus Soup, Pickled Apricot, Arugula


"Ratatouille \ Tomato" -- Dehydrated Vegetable Ratatouille, Japanese Tomato, Lemon Basil, Squash Broth

“Ratatouille \ Tomato” — Dehydrated Vegetable Ratatouille, Japanese Tomato, Lemon Basil, Squash Broth


"Foie Gras \ Tarragon" --  Dry-Aged Beef "Bouillon," Foui Gras Fondue, Tarragon Printed Pasta, Crimini Mushroom

“Foie Gras \ Tarragon” — Dry-Aged Beef “Bouillon,” Foui Gras Fondue, Tarragon Printed Pasta, Crimini Mushroom


"Cepes / Chamomile" -- Porcini Filled Agnolotti, Curly Mustard Greens, Chamomile Jus

“Cepes / Chamomile” — Porcini Filled Agnolotti, Curly Mustard Greens, Chamomile Jus


"Halibut / French Leeks" -- "MR" Seared Halibut Filet, Ajo Dungeness Crab, Charred French Leeks

“Halibut / French Leeks” — “MR” Seared Halibut Filet, Ajo Dungeness Crab, Charred French Leeks


"Guinea Egg / Zucchini Blossom" -- Poached Guinea Hen Egg, Zucchini Blossom, English Pea Puree

“Guinea Egg / Zucchini Blossom” — Poached Guinea Hen Egg, Zucchini Blossom, English Pea Puree


"Wagyu / Mulberry" -- Wagyu Rib Eye Cut Double Seared, Swiss Chard Chorizo "Noodles," Bone Marrow Tempura, Mulberry Sauce

“Wagyu / Mulberry” — Wagyu Rib Eye Cut Double Seared, Swiss Chard Chorizo “Noodles,” Bone Marrow Tempura, Mulberry Sauce


"Fromage Frais / Herbes" -- Raw Cow's Milk Fresh Cheese "De Faiselle," Garlic Herbs, Sourdough Toast

“Fromage Frais / Herbes” — Raw Cow’s Milk Fresh Cheese “De Faiselle,” Garlic Herbs, Sourdough Toast


"Cherries / Sorrel" -- Sorrel Sorbet and Marinated Black Cherries, Mint - Vanilla

“Cherries / Sorrel” — Sorrel Sorbet and Marinated Black Cherries, Mint – Vanilla


"Fraises des Bois / Ginkgo Nut" -- Fraises des Bois "Salad," Frozen Yogurt, Caramelized Ginkgo Nut

“Fraises des Bois / Ginkgo Nut” — Fraises des Bois “Salad,” Frozen Yogurt, Caramelized Ginkgo Nut


"Chocolate / Cafe" -- Cocoa Minute Cake, Cajeta-Caramel, Warm Chocolate Curd, Cafe Glace

“Chocolate / Cafe” — Cocoa Minute Cake, Cajeta-Caramel, Warm Chocolate Curd, Cafe Glace


Milk Chocolate with Ground Espresso Beans, Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt, and White Chocolate with Espelete Pepper

Milk Chocolate with Ground Espresso Beans, Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt, and White Chocolate with Espelete Pepper


A beautiful, elegant room

A beautiful, elegant room


The Royce on Urbanspoon

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500 Days of Scones

Scones
Last year I rejected the hackneyed New Year’s resolution to eat healthier and instead I boldly declared my resolution to eat more pie. That was so 2012. As we begin 2013, I feel we are entering a new era, an era of both frightening uncertainty and cautious optimism (and I’m not just talking about the Lakers). Accordingly, my resolution this year is to eat more scones!

There is something very warming and comforting about a scone, especially when accompanied by a hot drink on a cold day. First introduced to the world by the the Scots in the early 1500’s, the scone is more popular today than ever. There are two basic kinds of scones: the “cream tea scone” and the “drop scone” (aka “griddle scone”). The cream tea scone is light and fluffy and served with clotted cream and jam during a traditional English afternoon tea. I prefer drop scones (aka griddle scones) which resemble biscuits and are crispy and slightly browned on the outside, delicate and flaky on the inside.

My favorite scones in LA come from Rockenwagner Bakery/3 Square Cafe and Bakery, helmed by Austrian-bred master chef and baker Hans Rockenwagner. Rockenwagner’s scones are insanely good and his varieties include Triberry, Ginger, 5-Grain, Chocolate Chip, Blueberry, Bacon & Cheddar and my favorite, White Chocolate Raspberry. I’m also crazy about the Republic of Pies’ Bacon Scone, which is surprisingly sweet rather than savory. Another unique scone is Short Cake’s Campfire Scone, which tastes just like a S’more and is topped with toasted marshmallow. Below is my list of the top eight scones in the city. Happy New Year!

Raspberry White Chocolate Scone

Raspberry White Chocolate Scone from Rockenwagner Bakery/3 Square Bakery and Cafe in Santa Monica, Mar Vista and Venice


Chocolate Pear Scone from Clementine in Westwood

Chocolate Pear Scone from Clementine in Westwood


Bacon Scone from Republic of Pies in North Hollywood

Bacon Scone from Republic of Pies in North Hollywood


Maple Oatmeal Scone from Sweet Butter Kitchen in Sherman Oaks

Maple Oatmeal Scone from Sweet Butter Kitchen in Sherman Oaks


Blueberry and Jam Scone from Bricks and Scone (403 N. Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles)

Blueberry and Jam Scone from Bricks and Scones in Larchmont


Campfire Scone from Short Cake in The Farmer's Market

Campfire Scone from Short Cake in The Farmer’s Market


Ginger Apricot Scone from Susina Bakery & Cafe (7122 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles)

Ginger Apricot Scone from Susina Bakery & Cafe in Mid-City


Oatmeal Brown Butter Scone from Sycamore Kitchen in Mid-City

Oatmeal Brown Butter Scone from Sycamore Kitchen in Mid-City

3 Square Café + Bakery on Urbanspoon
Susina Bakery on Urbanspoon
Röckenwagner Bakery on Urbanspoon
Sweet Butter Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Santa Monica, Mar Vista, North Hollywood, Mid-City, Sherman Oaks, Larchmont, Fairfax, Venice, Westwood