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.
Pics after the jump…
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?
Results after the jump…
Recently my friend Lindsey brought some sensational whipped garlic dips to a BBQ, which I promptly became obsessed with. While I may have suffered from extreme garlic breath for the following 72 hours, it was worth it for each bite of tangy, garlicky goodness. Apparently Lindsey found these dips at one of Los Angeles’s many farmers’ markets, and for a moment I contemplated tracking down the vendor in person and purchasing my own supply of the vampire-offending stuff. However, as is often the case, I couldn’t help but wonder if I, Ben Mandelker, could recreate the dips in the comfort of my own kitchen.
After some quick Googling on the topic of whipped garlic, I came to discover that this concoction was most likely toum, a Lebanese garlic sauce that has been met with nothing but raves from home cooks across the interwebs. The process looked simple enough, and soon I had selected a recipe that I would hopefully adopt as my own.
Pics and results after the jump…
A few weeks ago I headed up to San Francisco where I saw a bunch of my friends, including blog regulars Meeshie, Malibu Judie, and even IndianJones. The weekend was full of all sorts of high adventure including waterfalls, ice cream, and trail mix. Okay, so not much adventure. But neat photos!
After the jump, check out some pics from the trip, as well as a few, brief restaurant notes…
It’s been all of about thirty-five seconds since I posted an Adventures in Domesticity based off of Rick Bayless’s Mexican Everyday, and that just seems shocking. And so I am back with yet another recipe to tackle. This time it’s “Red Chile Enchiladas with Chicken and Melted Cheese.”
I selected this dish mainly because a) I had chicken in my freezer, b) it’s big and can stretch over several meals, and c) despite its appearance, it’s not all that unhealthy. Besides, with Cinco De Mayo right around the corner, why not whip up a batch of enchiladas? It’s only prudent.
After the jump, check out my handiwork (as well as a few choice photos of my dirty stovetop)… Continue reading
I’ve decided to start a new little section of the blog called “Restaurants Are Fun” (name subject to change) to document some of the random spots I go to with my friends (and sometimes enemies, but that is VERY rare). I wouldn’t say these are full on reviews per se, but they’re kind of a simple “I ate this, and it was good” or a “I ate that, and it was bad” kind of thing. Whatever. This is a blog, not the New York Times. Just let me DO WHAT I WANT.
Anyway, today I want to focus on two Asian restaurants I went to last month: Takara, the new ramen shop in Hollywood, and Sun Ha Jang, a Korean spot specializing in duck. Pics and thoughts after the jump…