When it comes to dining in Los Angeles, I more or less stick to a grid that spans from West Hollywood to Downtown (with many stops in Koreatown in between). It’s not often that I head west to Brentwood or Santa Monica, and it’s even rarer that I head off to the South Bay, a region of beach communities including Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo Beaches, among others. That may all be changing very soon though thanks to my first glorious dinner at MB Post, a relatively new restaurant (or “Social House,” as it bills itself) in Manhattan Beach. I’m not saying that I’m going to become a regular on the South Bay dining scene, but I may just need to make regular trips for the bacon cheddar buttermilk biscuits alone.
Garlic peeling can be pretty easy — just crush a clove under a knife and be done with it. However, if you’re peeling a bunch of cloves, after a while, everything starts to get sticky, paper gets everywhere, the process becomes kind of annoying. Imagine my excitement then when OXO sent me a garlic peeler for review. You can see me using it in the video above, but for a (slightly) more comprehensive take and to learn how you can win a FREE garlic peeler from OXO, follow the jump!
Recently, I attempted to peel two butternut squashes with my usually reliable vegetable peeler, but I found that the gourd’s skin was entirely too thick for the tool. I thus procured an Oxo Y-Peeler, much like the ones I’d seen various hosts use on the Food Network. For those who are unclear, a Y-peeler looks something like a disposable razor (or, more specifically, like the letter “y”) and requires you to hold it parallel to whatever vegetable or fruit you’ll be peeling. A swivel peeler on the other hand necessitates a perpendicular angle for peeling.
The real question was if the new Y-peeler could stand up against butternut squash. With the help of Lisa Timmons, I recorded a quick little video demonstrating both peelers. You’ll find the results to be RATHER fascinating. Rather fascinating INDEED.
A few weeks ago I attended a comped media dinner at Le Saint Amour, a charming French bistro in the heart of Culver City. I’d never actually heard of the restaurant before, but that’s also because I tend to focus mainly on the spots that open in Hollywood and east. Culver City is like one giant blind spot to me. I should really change that since there’s been a vibrant dining scene going on there for the past few years. Turns out Le Saint Amour has been around for a little while, and not only was the French cuisine on display totally delicious, it in some ways BLEW MY MIND. Continue reading →
When I went to Germany three and a half years ago with my friends jash and m_ruv, I returned with an undying love for currywurst, a local street food in Berlin that combines sausage and curried ketchup. Some vendors sell it with bratwurst, others with bockwurst, and quite frankly there are many heated arguments (according to Time-Out Berlin) about the proper way to prepare the dish. All I know is that every time I ordered it (which was quite often on our brief four day jaunt), I loved it.
Unfortunately, German restaurants are few and far between here in Los Angeles, and the ones that do exist have pretty meager currywurst offerings. That’s why I was so excited when my friend IndianJones emailed me (and our friend Phamtastic, who is actually German) this morning about the opening of Berlin Currywurst. Located in the heart of the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, Berlin Currywurst looked to be what I’d been waiting for all these years: A CURRYWURST MECCA. It should be no surprise then that I trekked out there on its opening day today for a solo lunch amidst the hipsters and hippies at Sunset Junction.
Angelenos might be shocked to learn this, but there’s a yacht club in Echo Park, the otherwise landlocked Eastside neighborhood that’s known for its gentle mix of hipsters and low-income Latinos. Granted, there are no yachts at the yacht club, and the closest thing to a marina is a puddle of water at the Walgreens across the street, but it is a yacht club nonetheless. Why? Just ’cause.
Specifically, I’m talking of Allston Yacht Club, a funky neighborhood spot located on Echo Park Boulevard. Run by Bostonians (we’ll try not to hold it against them) Charles Kelly and Bill DiDonna, Allston Yacht Club was named after an old inside joke between the guys who once mused that the most ridiculous venture they could ever embark on would be to open a yacht club in the Boston neighborhood of Allston. That’s why when Kelly and DiDonna had the farfetched idea to stake a claim in Los Angeles’s notoriously difficult restaurant scene, they immediately thought of their own fictional Allston Yacht Club. Hence the name was born.
Last week, I was invited to try the cocktails at AYC as part of a media-comped visit, and of course I jumped at the opportunity. I’d never heard of AYC, but I was immediately intrigued. I mean, how could I resist going anywhere in Echo Park that called itself a yacht club? I was just praying that the servers would have little skipper hats (they didn’t). In fact, if you’re looking for a nautical themed establishment, you’ll have to go elsewhere (ie. HMS Bounty in Koreatown). Turns out the Allston Yacht Club is a modern-looking space (no wooden captain wheels on the wall, sadly) that feels like it was once someone’s small home in another life. It’s not huge, but it certainly can fit many people. And when it fills up (as it did last Tuesday), it can be near impossible to hear anything over the din. AYC ranked as one of the very loudest restaurants I’d been to in LA, a problem made all the more difficult by my drinking companion, Sly, who is a self-professed low-talker. Then again, who needs to talk when you can just drink?
Stop the presses! Esteemed beverage purveyor Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has forged ahead into the world of home brewing systems and the result is the CBTL line of single-serve beverage machines, which just hit the market in the past month. The sleek and stylish coffee (and tea) makers come in three varieties: the Contata ($129.95), the Kaldi ($149.95), and the Nautilus ($199.95), which unsurprisingly resembles the crustacean of its namesake (although, for some strange reason, it makes me think of Alien). I was lucky enough to receive a free CBTL Kaldi for review, and after ten days with the machine, I have grown warmly attached to it. With its bright red hues and curvy, shiny surfaces, the Kaldi appears to be one part Mac and one part Jessica Rabbit. But here’s the real question: does the Kaldi offer more than just an aesthetically pleasing addition to the kitchen?
As some of you know, the wonderful people at CSN Stores have been sending me gift cards to use on their sites in exchange for me reviewing the products I order. This has proven to be an exciting partnership as over the past few months I’ve procured an ice cream maker, a slow cooker, a Bundt pan, a mandolin, a muffin tin, and most helpful of all, a citrus juicer. On the less fancy side but certainly no less useful comes my latest kitchen addition: a salad spinner!
Truth is that I already had a salad spinner, a lovely plastic contraption that my mom had given me back when I first moved to LA. However, the spinner was not in great shape. First of all, it had a major design flaw in that the basin in which the basket sat had holes in the bottom. This was probably meant to serve as some sort of drainage system, but all it meant was that you had to inconveniently spin your greens over the sink. Plus, with the holes, you couldn’t convert the outer bowl into a serving bowl, which was kind of annoying. And then, of course, there was the fact that my old roommate used to use the basket as a makeshift colander (it was during our clueless fresh-out-of-college bachelor days when we were too dumb to buy an actual colander. Fear not though: I have since purchased a lovely specimen featuring holes shaped like pineapples. Makes me feel like I’m in the tropics).
On top of all this, I was getting intensely jealous of the Food Network personalities and their nifty “pump-it” spinners. It seemed so easy and fun, as opposed to my arduous turn-the-dial gettup, which was always problematic because inevitably the basket would reach a velocity entirely too fast for the handle, causing the entire contraption to shake with tumult as if it were perhaps about to launch into space.
Needless to say, over the past nine years, my salad spinner had been through a lot. It was time to upgrade. Pics of Salad Spinner 2.0 after the jump…
The good people at Vons supermarket reached out to me recently, and in an effort to promote their online shopping delivery service, they offered me two free gift cards to try the site out. How could I resist free groceries? I happily signed up and promised to review the experience.
Not too long ago, I made a bold proclamation. I labeled the glazed buttermilk donut at Tasty Donuts the BEST DONUT IN LOS ANGELES. I was met with resistance from many, especially those who suggested that I may have upset the entire food blogging community by not kowtowing to what is widely accepted as the home of the best donuts in LA, Donut Man. Here’s the thing though: I’ve never been to Donut Man, and I’m not sure I want to drive 34.5 miles to try it (and by the way, the Glendora location is truly testing the geographic limits of claiming to be the best donuts in Los Angeles).
Nevertheless, all my raving about the glazed buttermilk donuts piqued the curiosity of my friend Jenny, whose tasty site Dessert Darling is devoted almost exclusively to — you guessed it — desserts. She immediately expressed interest in trying the much hyped donut, and soon we agreed on a joint tasting session. After a few false starts (it’s amazing how tricky it is to coordinate a simple donut date in LA), we finally met up. Jenny could test the donut for herself, and I could defend its honor, should I need to.