Over the weekend, my friend Nic treated me to an afternoon at Disneyland, an experience teeming with thrills and adventure — and that was before we even stepped on a single ride, thanks to the exhilarating people-watching. The populations roaming about were thoroughly fascinating, and our new guessing game (“Valley, Inland Empire, or Orange County?”) kept our wits about us. Of course, analyzing the geographical nature of a bad dye job can be exhausting, especially if you’ve been just shaken about like a craps die in the Tower of Terror. And thus we had to indulge in some Disney sustenance.
When it comes to amusement park food, things can get a little hairy (both figuratively and literally, unfortunately). Luckily, we kept the cuisine simple and the quality high. Pics after the jump… Continue reading →
This week on “Watch What Crappens,” Ronnie Karam (TVgasm.com), Matt Whitfield (Yahoo!), and Ben Mandelker (bsideblog.com) talk about Heather DuBrow’s return to acting on “Hot In Cleveland.” But Heather’s not the only actress on “Real Housewives of Orange County.” Enter future thespian Alexis Bellino and her brilliant future in the theatre. The guys talk about her and all the other crazies from the OC as well as the kooky dames of “Married to Medicine.” Then it’s on to “Newlyweds: The First Year,” “Million Dollar Listing: New York” and the RHoNJ special. Plus, lots of gossip (Jill Zarin vs. a kayak, anyone?) and more tangents than you can shake a TJ Maxx decorative stick at. Come on in!
For a few years now, I’ve been hearing about the Hwe Dub Bap at A-Won Japanese Restaurant here in Los Angeles. This Korean dish, which is basically sashimi piled on top of lettuce and other veggies, has been thoroughly documented by the local media, blogs, and various Yelpers over the years. However, I’d never actually tried it before. I certainly had come close — going so far as to actually sitting down at the restaurant with every intention to order the dish. The thing is that A-Won also specializes in albap, a rich rice bowl topped with a beautiful assortment of caviar, and try as I may, I simply am not one who can ever resist a giant bowl of fish roe.
This weekend, however, I finally decided to MAN UP and go for the much-heralded Hwe Dub Bap. I had spent much of Saturday afternoon ambling about Disneyland (as one does), and while there had been a midday corn dog to stave off a wave of violent hunger pangs, the shocking truth is that it simply was not enough to sustain me. By the time dinner at A-Won rolled around, I knew a meager bowl of fish roe simply would not due. Delicious, yes. But enough to counter a ravenous post-Disneyland appetite? Hardly. And thus, the landmark decision by me to eschew my beloved albap for hwe dub bap was made.
This week on Banter with Ben and Lisa, Ben Mandelker (bsideblog.com) talks about his experience going to the live finale taping of American Idol. Observations about Mariah Carey and Colton Dixon ensue. Then Lisa Timmons (wherelisalives.com) spills the tea about her brush with a big time, real deal celebrity. Finally, the two break down the whole Amy’s Baking Company / “Kitchen Nightmares” fiasco. This is definitely one to listen to. For real, yo!
Los Angeles is not a city brimming with Greek food. In fact, I can only think of about six or seven Greek restaurants total — Le Petit Greek in Larchmont Village, The Great Greek in the Valley, Tony’s Taverna in Malibu, Ulysses Voyage at The Farmer’s Market, Petros in Manhattan Beach, and Joseph’s Cafe in Hollywood, which I think is probably closed by now, and I wouldn’t eat there anyway. But I digress.
Supposedly at the top of that Aegean totem pole is Papa Cristo’s, located in the Byzantine-Latino Quarter of Los Angeles. And yes, LA does have a Byzantine-Latino Quarter. It’s basically Koreatown. Anyway, Papa Cristo’s has earned raves from newspapers, magazines, and of course, lowly blogs. I’ve wanted to visit the place for some time, but annoyingly, the restaurant closes at 8 PM, which is highly inconvenient for me.
Nevertheless, the other night I managed to finally make my way into the BLQ an snuck into Papa Cristos with just under 25 minutes left before the doors shut. Did the place live up to the hype? A few grainy pics after the jump…
Sweet potatoes, I’ve been told, are chock full of nutrients. Plus, they taste good (I wasn’t told that — I already knew that). And thus when I saw that Rick Bayless had a recipe for “Sweet potato salad with caramelized onions, watercress, and guajillo chile dressing” in Mexican Everyday, I figured I might as well try it out. And that’s exactly what I did.
Pics of this latest culinary adventure after the jump…
Square One Dining has hands-down the best French toast in Los Angeles. Canelé and The Griddle come close, and BluJam has its oh-so-tasty crunchy variety, but Square One still takes the crown with its brioche french toast with bourbon-pecan topping and vanilla whipped cream. This is the stuff dreams are made of, people. It’s also, however, the stuff that love handles are made of too, and we don’t want those.
Luckily, Square One offers up some pretty amazing salads too. Take the Cobb salad, for instance. Square One does a mean Cobb salad. I am aware that one does not often use the word “mean” when describing a salad, let alone a boring Cobb salad, but people, this is truly a MEAN Cobb salad. I’m surprised it didn’t arrive at my table on a motorcycle with a blaring electric guitar signaling its presence. And then the salad can take off its helmet, and we discover that it’s really a hot lady, maybe even Claudia Schiffer, and as she wags her head back and forth in slow-mo, her blonde hair cascades down and our jaws drop. Yeah, that’s pretty much sums up this salad. It’s awesome.
And as a healthy alternative to French toast, it’s an excellent choice. Although, buyer beware: this salad does feature bacon, humbolt fog cheese, and a buttermilk dressing; so it’s not like the pinnacle of low-cal dining… But you will feel much less guilty when you see restaurant regulars / professional beanpoles Adam Levine and Jake Gyllenhaal at the next table over…
Square One Dining
4854 Fountain Ave Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 661-1109 • SQUARE ONE DINING
I’m a little concerned that over five hours have passed since I’ve posted something pertaining to Mexican Everyday, but don’t worry: I’m back with yet another Rick Bayless adventure. This time around I’m tackling “Chipotle Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado, Red-Skin Potatoes, and Romaine.” Basically, it’s salad in a tortilla.
Looking for a bagel in LA? Good luck. The city notoriously misses the mark when it comes to this hallowed specialty. Some say it’s because the water in LA isn’t the same as NY. Others blame general Los Angeles stupidity. I don’t really know where the problem lies, but I can assure you that hope is not lost. I’ve tried most of the top bagel spots: Brooklyn Bagel Bakery, Sammy’s, Noah’s, Western Bagel, The Nosh of Beverly Hills, and more. Some are solid (Western, The Nosh), some are overhyped (Brooklyn), and some are just expensive and wrong (Sammy’s). In the end, there’s only one bagel place that does it right (or as right as an LA bagel can be): Bagel Broker.
I’ve been going to Bagel Broker since the first week I arrived in LA back in 2001. It’s the best. Bar none. These aren’t perfect bagels — they’re slightly small, and sometimes they have a tendency to dry out on the bottom — but overall, it’s the best we’ve got in LA. I can assure you that I’ve had many divine moments of personal happiness biting into one of those doughy rings. My order of choice: sesame bagel with veggie spread (or lox spread if I’m feeling like a baller), toasted, and open faced. You can of course order in classic sandwich form, but I’m telling you: try open faced. There’s a difference…
Oh, one more warning: this bagel place has become increasingly popular over the years. Not only is it common to now see celebs like Seth Rogen and Charlie Hunnam in the mix, but also long lines. Don’t worry: the queue moves quickly, even when it’s out the door on the weekend. Additionally, the parking lot (located just off Orange Grove Ave and Beverly Blvd) is hellacious. It fills up quickly, often with idiot drivers. The good news is that people leave just as quickly as they arrive. Be patient. Or look for street parking. A good bagel is worth it.
7825 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
(323) 931-1258 · bagelbroker.com
My friend Guy recently turned the big 4-0, and in honor of his birthday, we all threw him quite the fête. This involved cocktails and nibbles, two of my favorite things. So what to make? The answer was pretty easy: Ina Garten’s Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas. This dip, which my friend Andrea initially made for me a month prior, won me over within the first half-bite. But like I said, Andrea had made it for me, and she has a way with cooking (she does it GOOD). Would I be able to replicate her success? And would the party-goers enjoy it?