Archive for August, 2010

Munch LA Canceled

August 26, 2010

Munch L.A. couldn’t get it together and canceled their event.


Breakfast at Four Cafe Review

August 23, 2010

Square One has long been the reigning champion of breakfast in LA. Since they opened, they’ve consistently served the freshest fruit, perfectly cooked eggs and and french toast that bordered on dessert rather than breakfast. The chocolate chip cookie I had there back in 2007 still is the bar by which I measure all cookies.

Four Cafe, the indie darling of Eagle Rock, quietly has built a reputation based on their commitment to fresh ingredients, big flavor and brilliant desserts. They just started breakfast and soon will too crowded for me to enjoy it again. It’s a great alternative to Square One.

The thing that best sums up breakfast at Four Cafe is their inclusion of marcona almonds in their fruit bowl. It’s comfort food with a slightly decadent spin.

The house made sodas and ades are another example of going the extra distance to make a special experience at Four Cafe. You can taste the freshness in their peach gingerade (peach, ginger, agave, sparkling water) and strawberry limeade (strawberries, lime, agave, sparkling water).

The ricotta pancakes $7 were seriously good. While Square One’s french toast is more dessert than breafkast, Four’s pancakes were sweet without being too sweet. They were melt-in-yout-mouth soft and the only problem was I wanted three more orders of them.

The fried egg sandwich with house made aioli, cheddar, arugula and house made veggie bacon $6 was my favorite. It’s rare to find veggie bacon made on the premise, but it pays off.

There was nothing veggie about the bacon biscuit. This intense, smokey version of the typical biscuit was full of bacon, not dissimilar from Boule/Comme Ça’s bacon bread.

The tofu scramble was very light and even a little sweet.

The gruyere and spinach quiche was decadent with a crust that proves a strong background working with pastries.

The cinnamon roll was perfect- far superior to the bastardized version that Cinnabon has plauged America with over the last fifteen years.

The lavender cookie wasn’t overpowering with floral frangance. I’m not a huge lavender fan in general so take that for what it’s worth.

A cobbler from Michelle’s mom’s recipe rounded out the gluttonous feast. No fancy twists here, just good old fashioned dessert the way mom used to make it.

I should add that they also serve Jones Coffee and Bulgarini Gelato. For a new restaurant they certainly aren’t holding anything back menu-wise. Other shops around LA have been asking for their goods, so stay tuned for the spread of Four Cafe citywide.

I’m not gonna stop going to Square One, but I’m glad to add a much needed alternative to my breakfast options.

Get it While the Getting is Good Girl

August 20, 2010

If I lived on the east side I’d eat better. I don’t mean I’d eat healthier, I mean better. Like dim sum, pho and tamales. I’d probably eat fewer vegetables. Maybe it’s better for my health that I live where I do. It’s not just authentic ethnic food that I’m geographically devoid of, but it’s flavorful Americanized versions of said food. 9021Pho isn’t cutting it. Neither are Absolutely Phobulous or Street. I haven’t tried Paddy Rice so maybe there’s still hope…

I like Good Girl Dinette. I would eat at Green Zone and Viet Noodle more often if I lived closer to them.

Good Girl Dinette is a bright, comfortable restaurant serving clean, Americanized Vietnamese food. The spring rolls are simple and fresh.

House made orange soda is always a draw. Not as sweet as it’s canned counterpart, and twice as refreshing.

The vegetarian noodle bowl with tofu, rice noodles, red leaf lettuce, pickled daikon/carrots, bean sprouts, basil, and toasted peanuts/shallots is a satisfying, crisp dish.

The banh mi are pretty big and packed with flavor. They may not be the most authentic but they certainly aren’t watered down.

There’s a neo-Vietnamese food marathon on the agenda, so stay tuned for Paddy Rice, Red Medicine and more…

Fab’s Ripper, Shake and Tots

August 20, 2010

Finally tried Fab Hot Dogs last weekend.

The Bald Eagle is a ripper topped with Fab’s mustard relish. A ripper is a “crunchy, charred & juicy deep fried wiener.” While the dog exploded, the relish flavor didn’t. The bun was very soft, the dog was both crispy and juicy, but overall I was underwhelmed. I will be back to try a different dog next time.

You can’t do much to screw up a milk shake in my opinion. Fab’s shake was great, especially considering the 90+ degree weather in the valley.

The tater tots were fantastic. Whatever heart attack oil they use to fry them in is the right kind. They’re garlicky too, which is an added bonus for tots.

I definitely will be back.

A 1,500 Restaurant Food Marathon

August 19, 2010

I don’t usually post about deals but Groupon and GrubHub are actually useful. So:

Groupon saves you money when you eat at restaurants. And you certainly do that a lot. $14+ million saved so far.

GrubHub is the easiest restaurant delivery site in LA. They have 1,500+ menus from which you can simply order online, compare menu prices, view delivery hours and read consumer reviews.

Tomorrow’s 50% off Deal:

Sign up for Groupon LA for free if you aren’t a user already

– Friday morning (8/20/10) go to Groupon LA and buy a $10 Groupon to get $20 credit on GrubHub (applies to new GrubHub customers only)

– The deal will only be offered if 750 people commit to purchasing the Groupon, and then it will be available to everyone in LA

-Then use your Groupon to go to GrubHub to order Sedthee Thai’s LA Street Food Fest-winning Pork Spareribs. Or choose from the other 1,500 restaurants.

It’s quick and painless, unlike traffic on the freeway. Order in and enjoy.

Plate by Plate 2010 Review

August 16, 2010

The Chocolate of Meats took my ticket to Plate by Plate this year. I was disappointed to miss it as it looked as fun as last year:

Check out his full post here.

While plates were stacking in LA, I was busy eating my way to Santa Barbara and back. If you need me, you’ll find me exercising for the rest of the month.

Wolvesmouth is the Future of LA Dining?

August 13, 2010

Craig Thornton (wolvesmouth) is a technically ferocious chef, as adept at combining flavors as he is at executing visually explosive plates. Serving food from his own kitchen in the Hollywood hills to a limited number of lucky diners, Craig creates a dining experience that renders most of LA’s restaurants obsolete. Yes, this hyperbole filled description may be a bit much, but I don’t care. I loved last night’s dinner- the food (listed below in detail), the house (built for entertaining), the music (Ride the Lightning-era Metallica), the company…

All photos by DJ Jewelz.

First course: corn. zucchini. cotija. poblano. white onion.

Very well-balanced. On the lighter side. When a meal starts this strong you know you’re in good hands.

Second course: beet. saba. feta. rhubarb roll up. rhubarb campari puree. wild greens. beet meringue.

As crazy as it sounds. The meringue melted and the roll up stretched. Very playful and light.

Third course: “fuck bp”: uni “polenta”. squid. uni. oyster. fluke. mussel. clam. squid ink dashi “sludge”. parsley oil. clam mussel juice reduction.

Insane. Seafood as flavorful as BP is careless. The uni “polenta” actually was made with rice.

Fourth course: tomato. chorizo piquillo goat cheese torta. tomato water. sherry gastrique. chive oil.

The torta left us wanting more. The tomato water was very sweet and subtle in the face of the rich torta.

Fifth course: “wandering the forest”: braised rabbit. juniper. doug fir brandy. onion. doug fir gelee. glazed carrot. brioche black truffle soil. chive. chanterelle. bluefoot. hen of the woods.

The most cohesive dish of the night, despite the large number of ingredients. Earthy goodness.

Sixth course: monkfish. chicken skin. chicken tail. leek. onion. fennel chew. fennel pollen. sourdough. hazelnut.

One of the few misses in my book.

Seventh course: milk braised pork shoulder. maple french toast. blis maple. coffee sorghum poached prunes. coffee sorghum sauce. glazed rutabaga. dehydrated milk flakes.

Every meat dish should be served on french toast.

Eighth course: compressed plum pluot. elderflower. frozen gooseberry.

Palate cleansing.

Ninth course: lamb. eggplant sheep yogurt puree. radish. compressed cucumber. purslane.

Very well cooked lamb this late in the meal. The puree had an enjoyable sweetness.

Tenth course: wisconsin cheddar potato puree. bacon. scallion.

A dish so flavorful it could be spread on cardboard and still taste amazing. It was the eight minute guitar solo of the meal.

Eleventh course: anana melon. lemon verbena ice.

Its placement after the potato puree was the equivalent of a slow ballad after the shredding guitar solo. For balance.

Twelfth course: compressed peach. warm. cold. brown butter fleur de sel shortbread. creme fraiche fleur de sel ice cream. peach juice. hazelnut oil powder.

I was so full by this point I may have missed some of the subtleties in this dish.

The craziest part about the meal was that you could choose three of the courses and combine them to make an amazing meal. To have all twleve was an exercise in gluttonous decadence. And I can’t wait to do it again.

Animal’s Theme Song

August 11, 2010

As Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook ready their next restaurant venture, I thought it was an appropriate time to write a theme song for their flagship, Animal.

My Shimoda suggested a parody of the song Animal by Miike Snow.
Here’s the original song for reference.

There was a time when my world was filled with veggies, boring veggies.
Then I stopped eating, now I’m holding on to the hunger, rumbling, hunger.

On Fairfax I see the sight of some pork that I knew before, long long, long ago.
Foie gras, pigs ears, oxtail and sweet breads, the richest dishes all topped with egg.

Pork filled plates piled high for my tastes, when I eat the meat at Animal.
So what if they smoke some weed if they need, it’s a treat, to eat at Animal.

Moco Loco and poutine, bone marrow which is yummy, f#@king, yummy.
Crab and bacon slabs, pork belly, filling tummies, growing, tummies.

In my thighs I see the size of the fatness begin to grow, added belly rolls.
Should I pass the gravy fries up? Not a chance, give me confited duck.

Beef filled plates piled high for my tastes, when I eat the meat at Animal.
So what if they smoke some weed if they need to make meat, I eat at Animal.

Earl’s Gourmet Grub’s Fish Fryday

August 10, 2010

In college in Wisconsin we frequented Friday night fish fries. Nothing could prep a night of drinking like beer-battered fish, french fries & coleslaw.

Earl’s Gourmet Grub is throwing a fish fry this Friday (8/13). They’ll have handmade desserts and Angel City Brewing’s beer to accompany the crispy catch of the day. Their neighbors, the Venice Grind will be open for business as well, serving up that great Stumptown Coffee and espresso.

RSVP by Wednesday, August 11th to: eat (at) earlsgourmetgrub (dot) com

6pm to 9pm. $12.95 per person, kids under ten half price.

Proceeds will benefit the Mar Vista Master Gardeners.

12226 Venice Boulevard, Mar Vista, CA 90066. 310-313-1717

Savor Los Angeles Sweets Review

August 5, 2010

Last Friday night was a charming evening full of sushi and sweets. After dinner at Hirozen we went on a dessert marathon. The DJ was as good as the weather. The venue-size-to-crowd ratio was a very well balanced proportion. The event celebrated good design alongside good food.

The Popcakes were one of my favorite bites of the night.

Although there’s something slightly manufactured about their flavoring.

Presentation-wise, they deliver.

Continuing to maintain the beautiful presentation, Gotta Have S’more cupcakes lived up to their name.

Plaisir was already out of puffs by the time we got there. Hirozen’s ama ebi was worth it though.

I might be unfair, but after years of macaron consumption I’d like a quadruple stack or double stuff or something new and exciting…

Frosted Cupcakery was doing for cupcakes what XT needs to do for their macarons; a simple but unique twist on a popular dessert. Their Hi Tops (cupcakes sandwiches) were the best thing of the night.

Again, good design by Nice Cream.

The Crosby didn’t blow me away with their chocolate cake with coconut frosting and goji berries. They do get a bonus for trying something new (goji needs a super sweet compliment to balance).

The rest of The Crosby’s menu looks interesting.

The night was a lot of fun. I hope there are more food events at Miau Haus, as it’s a great space for small one stop food marathons.

Max Wanger may have taken some of these pictures but he has plenty so I’m calling them my own…