Wonder-Ama

Mom's GreenEnchiladas
Angels Flight is an LA curiosity located in the heart of downtown. Built in 1901, it is known as “The Shortest Railway in the World,” and for 50¢, takes you up 298 feet to the top of Bunker Hill. A couple blocks away, on 4th Street, is another elevation of sorts. Bar Amá is a new restaurant from Chef Josef Centeno (Bäco Mercat and Lazy Ox Canteen) that serves elevated Tex-Mex fare.

Often described as bastardized Mexican cuisine from this side of the Border, Tex Mex is comfort food that is usually cheap and best enjoyed with a cold cerveza. For Chef Centeno, it’s the food that he grew up with and, at Bar Amá, he refines several Tex Mex classics and puts a new spin on others. There is of course Queso, a gloppy liquid cheese dip that is a Tex Mex staple and delectable Puffy Tacos filled with yummy Carne Guisada. My favorite dishes are an amazing Pork Belly Chicharron with Poblano Cream and Lime, and a decadent dessert of Leche Quemada (Burnt Milk) Pudding with Graham Cracker, Fennel Pollen, Peanut and Almond. Other menu items, such as the Rancho Gordo “Borracho” Beans with Beer, Cilantro and Bacon and the Albondigas with Corn & Sweet Potato Cake, Tomatillo and Baked Egg, sounded better than they tasted.

Not surprisingly, the elevated cuisine at Bar Amá is pricier than the grub at most Tex Mex eateries. However, you’re dining in a nicer than normal space; a very cool industrial chic room with lots of reclaimed wood and southwest tiles. Also worth mentioning is the impressive bar stocked with an extensive array of high end tequillas and mezcals. For extra fun, you can follow your dinner with a ride on Angels Flight and experience a bit of LA history.

Bar Amá is located at 118 W. 4th St., Los Angeles (Downtown). Don’t confuse it with fellow Downtown newbie Alma.

Tex-Mex Queso with Avocado, Sour Cream and Salsa

Tex-Mex Queso with Avocado, Sour Cream and Salsa


English Peas & Black Grapes with Crema, Arbol and Pea Tendril

English Peas & Black Grapes with Crema, Arbol and Pea Tendril


Carne Guisada Puffy Tacos

Carne Guisada Puffy Tacos


Albondigas with Corn & Sweet Potato Cake, Tomatillo and Baked Egg

Albondigas with Corn & Sweet Potato Cake, Tomatillo and Baked Egg


Fideo with Octopus & Kielbasa with Toasted Vermicelli and Pepitas

Fideo with Octopus & Kielbasa with Toasted Vermicelli and Pepitas


Leche Quemada (Burnt Milk) Pudding with Graham Cracker, Fennel Pollen, Peanut and Almond

Leche Quemada (Burnt Milk) Pudding with Graham Cracker, Fennel Pollen, Peanut and Almond


Industrial Chic/Southwest Decor

Industrial Chic/Southwest Decor


Angels Flight

Angels Flight



Bar Amá on Urbanspoon

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Dead Chefs Society

The Residency Umamicatessan
Something very cool and collegiate is going on downtown at UMAMIcatessen. There’s a twelve-seat bar in the back of the restaurant that has been converted into “The Residency.” Here, visiting chefs create intimate and unique themed dinners. The latest is the Dead Chefs pop-up series presented by talented chef Micah Wexler (of the late great Mezze) and his partner Mike Kassar. Each meal is five courses, with optional wine pairing, inspired by the cuisine of a deceased chef. Wexler precedes each course with information about the legendary chef and an explanation of the dish you are about to consume. It’s kind of like that fun seminar that everyone wanted to take when you were in college with the cool visiting professor.

I recently attended one of these dinners; an homage to Maestro Martino di Como, a 15th-Century Italian culinarian who was the Western World’s first celebrity chef. The meal (pictured below) was molto buono and its highlight was a whole roasted suckling pig that Wexler carved table-side. Future Dead Chefs honored will include Julia Child, Jean-Louis Palladin, Sylvia Woods (the Queen of Soul Food) and Chen Kenmin (the father of Chinese Sichuan cooking).

The Residency at UMAMIcatessen is located at 852 S. Broadway, Los Angeles (Downtown). The Dead Chef dinners are at 7:15 and 9:00 every Thursday night until August 15th. Each dinner is $60 per person plus $30 for optional wine pairing.

Sgombri con Zucchini e Finocchi (Mackerel and Summer Squash with Wild Fennel Sauce)

Sgombri con Zucchini e Finocchi (Mackerel, Summer Squash with Wild Fennel Sauce)


Zanzarelli con Fava e Zafferano (Bread Soup with Fava Beans and Saffron

Zanzarelli con Fava e Zafferano (Bread Soup with Fava Beans and Saffron)


Pasta with Arugula Pesto

Pasta with Arugula Pesto


Maialino da Latte Arrosto (Roasted Suckling Pig, Garlic, Herbs and Offal Sauce)

Maialino da Latte Arrosto (Roasted Suckling Pig, Garlic, Herbs and Offal Sauce)


Crostata di Madorle (Almond Tarte with Date and Coffee and topped with Creme Fraiche)

Crostata di Madorle (Almond Tarte with Date and Coffee and topped with Creme Fraiche)


Chef Micah Wexler

Chef Micah Wexler educates and feeds you


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Boom Goes the Dynamite

Maryland Blue Crab Cake
If there was a Justice League for LA’s top chefs, David LeFevre would be included as “South Bay Man” or perhaps would just be known as “The Beachcomber.” He would travel on a turbo-charged beach cruiser, his flapping cape adorned with an “MB” shield and his utility belt replete with oyster knife and spatula. His superpower would remain the same: bringing kick ass cuisine to the impoverished palates of bronzed surfer dudes and beautiful volleyball babes in Manhattan Beach.

After opening the South Bay’s first great restaurant, MB Post, a couple years ago, LeFevre has now brought a second excellent eatery to the Beach Cities. Fishing with Dynamite is a tiny but bustling Eastern Seaboard-style oyster bar and seafood house located just a stone’s throw from the Manhattan Beach Pier. It’s a fun place to enjoy a cocktail such as the “Original Gangster” (Boulevardier with White Dog Whiskey, Aperol, Vya Sweet & Grapefruit) or the “Branding Iron” (Beer Flip with Oro Acholado Pisco, Egg, Vanilla, Nutmeg & Witte Bier), while slurping down Mattaki Oysters or indulging in some Peruvian Scallops or Little Neck Clams. The menu also features an array of delicious seafood concoctions such as Black Miso Cod, Maryland Blue Crab Cake (pictured above) and a truly spectacular Spicy Albacore Tuna Tartare. For those concerned with sustainable fishing practices, don’t get bent out of shape over the restaurant’s playful name. There is no actual dynamite fishing with regard to the seafood served by LeFevre; superheroes don’t condone that sort of thing.

Fishing with Dynamite is located at 1148 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach. Reservations are taken for only a couple tables; everything else, including seats at the raw bar and cocktail bar, is for walk-ins.

Oysters on the Half Shell with Horseradish, Lemon, Cocktail Sauce and Ponzu Sauce

Oysters on the Half Shell with Horseradish, Lemon, Cocktail Sauce and Ponzu Sauce


Chef David's Mother's Cape Cod Squash Rolls with Rosemary Butter

Chef David’s Mother’s Cape Cod Squash Rolls with Rosemary Butter


Spicy Albacore Tuna Tartare

Spicy Albacore Tuna Tartare


Beer Battered Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage and Spicy Crema with Lime and Cilantro on Housemade Corn Tortillas

Beer Battered Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage and Spicy Crema with Lime and Cilantro on Housemade Corn Tortillas


Maple Pudding with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Candied Pecans and Rosemary Sandies

Maple Pudding with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Candied Pecans and Rosemary Sandies


A tiny place with a party atmosphere

A tiny place with a party atmosphere


Chef David LeFevre

Chef David LeFevre


A second great restaurant for Manhattan Beach!

A second great restaurant for Manhattan Beach!



Fishing With Dynamite on Urbanspoon

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Do Not Pass Go’s

Kelp Halibut
When I arrived at Go’s Mart for the first time on the advice of a friend, I thought maybe I was being punk’d. Its name sounds more like a gas station convenience store than a highly recommended Japanese restaurant. Its location next to a massage parlor in a non-descript strip mall in the West Valley Hinterlands of Canoga Park further fueled my skepticism. Once inside, I found myself in a tiny space with mostly bare orange walls, two tables and a seven-seat sushi bar. One of the best sushi restaurants in the city? Inconceivable! But after my first few pieces of mind-blowing nigiri, I know that it was true.

Go’s Mart is not for sushi purists. The super fresh, melt-in-your-mouth slices of fish are topped with things like gold leaf, sea salt, truffle oil and caviar. The only menu is a list of exotic specials on a dry erase board, but you can order lots of things that aren’t on the board and it’s probably best to put yourself in Chef Go’s expert hands and get the omakase (chef’s choice).

If you’re a-la-carting it, there are a few must-have items. The Live Scallop Sushi is insanely good, the Kelp Halibut is unbelievably amazing and the Akimo (Monk Fish Liver with Sweet Plum Sausce, Scallion, Sesame Seeds and Goji Berry) is transcendent. One of the best and most interesting dishes is the “Holy Cow,” a seared slice of authentic Japanese Kobe or Wagyu beef served sushi-style on rice with lemon salt and truffle oil. Although he’s clearly ultra-passionate about his sushi, Chef Go is no Sushi Nazi and won’t eject you for ordering a Spicy Tuna Roll.

At the end of my meal, there was no doubt that, despite the low-rent location and decor, Go’s Mart was a high-end sushi establishment and the bill reflected this as well. It was very expensive but worth every penny.

Go’s Mart is located at 22330 Sherman Way in Canoga Park.

Akimo (Monk Fish Liver with Sweet Plum Sauce, Scallion, Sesame Seeds and Goji Berry)

Akimo (Monk Fish Liver with Sweet Plum Sauce, Scallion, Sesame Seeds and Goji Berry)


Kampachi Belly

Kampachi Belly Sushi


Baby Abalone Sushi, Baby Red Snapper Sushi and Japanese Sea Bass Sushi

Baby Abalone Sushi, Baby Red Snapper Sushi and Japanese Sea Bass Sushi


Live Scallop Sushi

Live Scallop Sushi


Holy Cow (Kobe Beef with Lemon Salt and Truffle Oil)

Holy Cow


Snow Crab and Vegetable Hand Roll

Snow Crab and Vegetable Hand Roll


Special Albacore Roll

Special Albacore Roll


Sushi porn?

Sashimi porn. Nice pair…of scallops!


A tiny place with bare orange walls

A tiny place with orange walls


Don't judge a book by its cover.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.



Go's Mart on Urbanspoon

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Badmaash is Badaash

Chicken Tikka Poutine
Q: What do you get when you combine Downtown hipsters, a Warhol-esqe treatment of Mahatma Ghandi, craft beer and Chicken Tikka Poutine? A: Badmaash, which opened last month and appears to be the country’s first Indian Gastropub. Its name is Hindi slang for a rascal or mischief-maker, and this Indian bad boy sports a modern and über-cool look which includes blackboard walls and brightly-colored vintage Bollywood movie posters. Rock music and an eclectic selection of fruity wines, India pale ales and other microbrews create a party-like atmosphere which stimulates the chakras and brims with good karma.

The food is as fun as the decor. The menu offers a mix of Bombay street food, Indian fusion cuisine and traditional Indian favorites. Badmaash’s mash-up fare includes the aforementioned Chicken Tikka Poutine (which is excellent and pictured above), Crispy Tamarind Glazed Pork Belly with Housemade Pickles and Cilantro-Pineapple Yogurt, a Spiced Lamb Burger and Chili-Cheese Naan Bread. There’s even a blasphemously delicious beef dish (which you rarely see in Indian restaurants for religious reasons) called Holy Cow Keema POW! If you want to go old school, you can feast on Butter Chicken, Saag Paneer and Ghost Chili Lamb Vindaloo. To drink, I recommend trying an imported Thums Up soda, a spicy cola with a strong cardamom and cinnamon flavor. Namaste, LA foodies!

Badmaash is located at 108 W 2nd St, Los Angeles (Downtown).

Indian Pickles and Preserves (Housemade Pickles with House Mango Chutney and Tomato Chutney)

Indian Pickles and Preserves (Housemade Pickles with House Mango Chutney and Tomato Chutney)


Holy Cow Keema POW!

Holy Cow Keema POW!


Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken


Two Thums Up!

Two Thums Up!


Super cool digs

Super cool digs


Love the upstairs too!

Love the upstairs too!



Badmaashla on Urbanspoon

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Alma Lovin’

Smoked Salmon with Housemade English Muffins
Alma started as an acclaimed pop-up restaurant in Venice, but laid down roots last year next to a taxi dance hall downtown on South Broadway. It has a cool minimalistic and modern interior with an open kitchen where a talented young chef named Ari Taymor hones his craft. Taymor’s modern American cuisine is the food equivalent of a Terrence Malick film or an opera by Phillip Glass; in other words, it’s not for everyone. But for foodies and other bon vivants (myself included), dinner at Alma can be a very special experience.

The menu, which is printed in lower case letters on pages of a yellow legal pad, changes daily and features small plates composed of seasonal, market-driven ingredients, many of which are sourced from an exclusive arrangement with a garden/micro-farm in Venice. The flavors are complex and nuanced. The combinations are, for the most part, interesting and inspired. As you would expect, there are foams and droplets of sauce.

My favorite dish is the Chicken Liver Toast & Date Jam, a perfect amalgam of sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy. I’m also a big fan of Alma’s Seaweed & Tofu Beignets with Yuzu Kosho and Lime, as well as their unusual “onion salad” of Spring Alliums, Kumquats, Goat’s Milk, Turnips and Coffee Granola. For dessert, I recommend the Warm Rye Bread Pudding with Red Fruits, Almond Brittle and Frozen Yogurt. You can enjoy it all with an organic wine, craft beer or homemade soda.

Alma is located at 952 S. Broadway, Los Angeles (Downtown). UPDATE: ALMA IS NOW CLOSED. VERY SAD.

Spring Alliums, Kumquat, Goat Milk, Turnip, Coffee Granola

Spring Alliums, Kumquat, Goat Milk, Turnip, Coffee Granola


Uni Toast, Burrata and Caviar

Uni Toast, Burrata and Caviar


Seaweed & Tofu Beignet, Yuzu Kosho and Lime

Seaweed & Tofu Beignet, Yuzu Kosho and Lime


Dungeness Crab, Summer Squash, Almond Milk, Quinoa and Basil

Dungeness Crab, Summer Squash, Almond Milk, Quinoa and Basil


Seared Yellowtail Jack, Celery and Lentils

Seared Yellowtail Jack, Celery and Lentils


Chicken Liver Toast and Date Jam

Chicken Liver Toast and Date Jam


Grilled Scallops, Smoked Pork, Corn, Miso and Apricot

Grilled Scallops, Smoked Pork, Corn, Miso and Apricot


New York Steak, Morel, Snails, Asparagus and Smoked Garlic  Bearnaise

New York Steak, Morel, Snails, Asparagus and Smoked Garlic Bearnaise


Jidori Chicken, Carrot, Lemongrass and Basil

Jidori Chicken, Carrot, Lemongrass and Basil


Charred Eggplant with Trumpet Mushrooms, Broccoli, Bulgur and Pine Nuts

Charred Eggplant with Trumpet Mushrooms, Broccoli, Bulgur and Pine Nuts


Sweetbreads, Mole, Beet and Cherry

Sweetbreads, Mole, Beet and Cherry


Buttermilk Cake, Apricot and Brown Butter Ice Cream

Buttermilk Cake, Apricot and Brown Butter Ice Cream


Chocolate, Popcorn and Sorrel

Chocolate, Popcorn and Sorrel


Warm Rye Bread Pudding with Red Fruits, Almond Brittle and Frozen Yogurt

Warm Rye Bread Pudding with Red Fruits, Almond Brittle and Frozen Yogurt


Modern, cutting-edge French cuisine next door to a taxi dance hall

Modern, cutting-edge cuisine next door to a taxi dance hall



Alma on Urbanspoon

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A Torrid Affair

Stella Barra Pizzeria
A couple years ago I told you about a torrid affair I was having with a mushroom and truffle pizza. We started off pretty hot and heavy. Unfortunately, though, because I live in the Valley and she resides in Santa Monica, the interminable 405 construction and ensuing traffic have wreaked havoc on our relationship. But don’t be sad. Things are about to improve because the pizza and I can now hook up in Hollywood.

Stella Barra Pizzeria is the new sister restaurant of my favorite upscale pizza joint in the city, Stella Rossa Pizza Bar in Santa Monica (which has now been renamed Stella Barra as well). Located on Sunset in Hollywood, Stella Barra serves the same amazing pizzas as the Santa Monica restaurant, but in a much larger and even cooler space. It’s the perfect spot to dine when going to the Arclight, Pantages or Palladium, or to kick back at the bar with a glass of wine after a vinyl foraging session at Amoeba Records (life in LA can be so exhausting!).

Both restaurants are helmed by a young genius chef named Jeff Mahin. You may know Jeff as a finalist earlier this year on the reality tv show/cooking competition The Taste, but I’m far more impressed with the fact that he trained at my all-time favorite restaurant in the world, The Fat Duck in England. Jeff spent years perfecting the perfect pizza crust and tops his creations with the most mouth-wateringly delicious ingredients such as Calabrian chilies, smoked paprika oil, housemade sausage and sunny-side up farm eggs.

Besides Jeff’s signature pizzas, Stella Barra has many great Italian starters and salads. I love the Fresh Local Burrata with Roasted Tomato Jam, House-made Bread, Sea Salt and Arugula, the Organic Meatballs (pictured above) with Tomatoes, Lardo, Basil and Oregano, and the Spinach & Purple Kale Salad with Pecorino Romano, Medjool Dates, Shaved Radishes and Mustard Vinaigrette. If serving LA’s best pizza was not enough, Stella Barra also sells big, freshly baked M Street Bakery cookies, which are possibly the best cookies in the whole city. I’m especially partial to the sweet and salty Bacon & Chocolate Chip one.

Stella Barra Pizzeria is located at 6372 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles (in Hollywood).

Fresh Local Burrata with Roasted Tomato Jam, House-made Bread, Sea Salt and Arugula

Fresh Local Burrata with Roasted Tomato Jam, House-made Bread, Sea Salt and Arugula


Spinach & Purple Kale Salad with Pecorino Romano, Medjool Dates, Shaved Radishes and Mustard Vinaigrette

Spinach & Purple Kale Salad with Pecorino Romano, Medjool Dates, Shaved Radishes and Mustard Vinaigrette


Shaved Mushroom Pizza with Gruyere, Melted Onions, Black Truffle, Torn Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme

Shaved Mushroom Pizza with Gruyere, Melted Onions, Black Truffle, Torn Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme


Prosciutto & Farm Egg Pizza with Mozzarella, Gruyere, Pecorino, Chili Flakes, Black Pepper and Sunny-side Up Egg

Prosciutto & Farm Egg Pizza with Mozzarella, Gruyere, Pecorino, Chili Flakes, Black Pepper and Sunny-side Up Egg


Bacon and Chocolate Chip Cookie

Bacon and Chocolate Chip Cookie


Talented Chef Jeff Mahin

Talented Chef Jeff Mahin


Cool Digs

Cool Digs


Amazing Cookies

Cookies and Wine



Stella Barra on Urbanspoon

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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

Facebook
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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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.

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!
Fab Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon
Carney's on Urbanspoon
Carney's on Urbanspoon
Vicious Dogs on Urbanspoon
The Slaw Dogs on Urbanspoon

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

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. UPDATE: GOOD THINGS DON’T LAST FOREVER. LITTLEFORK IS CLOSED.

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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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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