THINGS I ATE: A Chef’s Tasting at Philippe Chow

IMG_3844.jpg

On a quiet stretch of Wilshire Boulevard, just around the corner from Los Angeles’ famed Restaurant Row, sits Philippe Chow — an upscale Chinese eatery that caters to the rich and famous or anyone aspiring to such things. Naturally, I was rather intrigued when I was invited to a media-comped chef’s tasting, and so I called up my friend Kambra and after trekking through some of the worst LA traffic I’ve endured all year, we made it to the restaurant (albeit, 45 minutes late).

After the jump, pics of our meal.

Continue reading

Share on TumblrEmail This Post Share

THINGS I ATE: Tortas at Torta Company

IMG_3485.jpg

I think it’s safe to say that the difference between a good sandwich and a dreamy sandwich usually comes down to the bread. True, the stuff between the slices matters too, but it’s the bread that’s the real game-changer. That’s one of the reasons why Chef Jimmy Shaw’s Torta Company in Downtown LA serves up such tasty food. As the name suggests, this eatery (located within the swanky FIGat7th complex) focuses on Mexican tortas and their signature telera bread — something I admittedly have very little to no experience with.

Well, that all changed when I was invited to enjoy a media-comped meal at the Torta Company with Chef Shaw himself. Shaw’s other restaurant, Lotería Grill, has been a favorite of mine for several years now; so naturally I leapt at the opportunity to try his new venture.

After the jump, pics from Torta Company and a few nuggets of wisdom from Chef Shaw.

Continue reading

Share on TumblrEmail This Post Share

THINGS I ATE: Brunch Foods at Sonny’s Hideaway

IMG_2570.jpg

Brunch. It’s more than just a portmanteau. It’s a way of life. And in Los Angeles, I’m always on the lookout for new brunch options. There simply are not enough in this town, and any time a decent place pops up, it’s only a matter of time before it’s saddled with a 45 minute wait.

Nevertheless, when I was invited to a media-comped brunch at Sonny’s Hideaway this past week, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to go. Perhaps I’d have a new destination to add to my ever expanding brunch list.

Did the restaurant deliver the goods? Pics and commentary after the jump…

Continue reading

Share on TumblrEmail This Post Share

THINGS I ATE: Steak Frites at L’Assiette

IMG_1963.JPG

A few weeks ago, Los Angeles endured a brutal heat wave with temperatures reaching 100 degrees or more. It was the sort of weather that left me listless and sweating; although, to be fair, most temperatures leave me listless and sweating. When the heat goes up, most people gravitate towards light fare — salads, cold soups, shellfish — but as luck would have it, I had a media-comped meal scheduled at L’Assiette Steak Frites, a new restaurant on Melrose Avenue that serves one thing and one thing only: steak frites. Hence, the name. I can’t say a heavy meal of meat and potatoes was exactly what I was in the mood for during that steamy period of Los Angeles weather, but I am a proud soldier of the blogosphere. I will brave the difficulties of this job for you, the dear reader, even if it means I must eat cold weather food IN WARM WEATHER.

You’re welcome, people. Please, no applause. Stay in your seats. An ovation is not necessary! Continue reading

Share on TumblrEmail This Post Share

THINGS I ATE: Pretty Much Everything at The Corner Door

IMG_8876 copy.JPG

It’s Autumn in Los Angeles. Well, actually, it’s Autumn everywhere. Except the Southern Hemisphere. It’s Spring down there. I think. The point is that we — as a global community — are in a different season than we were, say, two months ago, and to celebrate the leaves changing color from green to slightly less green, The Corner Door in Culver City, CA has trotted out some autumnal cocktails. What better reason to head all the way down to this nifty gastropub for a media-comped meal, replete with cinnamon smoke and beignets.

Photos after the jump…

Continue reading

Share on TumblrEmail This Post Share

THINGS I ATE: Korean Grub at Kobawoo House

kobawoo-01.jpg

Kobawoo House in Koreatown is hardly a discovery. The place has been packing in eager diners for years and years, with hungry patrons lining up to taste the restaurant’s famed pork belly bossam (not to mention the expert seafood pancake also found on the menu). What exactly is bossam? It’s basically meat that gets rolled up in pickled radish or cabbage. That’s the simplistic, white-man’s version at least. Don’t worry — I have pictures.

Continue reading

Share on TumblrEmail This Post Share

THINGS I ATE: Garlic Fun, Courtesy of Delancey and Jon’s

IMG_7051.jpg

Garlic. It’s the best. Who doesn’t love garlic, aside from vampires and other similarly closed-minded ghouls? I’ve recently been on a minor garlic quest to master the fine art of toum, a Lebanese garlic sauce formed from garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. One of my attempts (documented here) involved raw egg, which sent my mixture into aioli territory, which was delicious but not really what I was looking for.

It turns out that toum is not as simple as it would appear, and while normally that’s exactly the sort of challenge I embrace, I have to admit that I’ve thrown in the towel. Why? Well, I was recently at Jon’s grocery store in Los Feliz, and I came upon a no-frills container of “authentic garlic sauce” that claimed it was “great for dipping.” I’m not master chef, but it looked a hell of a lot like toum (spoiler alert: it pretty much was toum). Anyway, I indulged a whopping $2.50 on this sauce, and I can proudly state that my desire to make toum from scratch has fully dissipated.

Continue reading

Share on TumblrEmail This Post Share

THINGS I ATE: Soft-Shell Crabs at Father’s Office

fathersoffice-1.jpg
Crappy photo courtesy of my iPhone. Sorry.

I love soft-shell crabs. How much? Well, on a recent visit to Father’s Office in Culver City, I skipped the restaurant’s famous burger in favor of a soft-shell crab special that was running that night. Let me emphasize something: I never skip the restaurant’s famous burger. Sure, Father’s Office has a full menu beyond its Father’s Office Burger, but in the ten or so years I’ve been going to Father’s Office, I have never, ever strayed from the burger. Leave it to my love for soft-shell crabs to mix things up.

You see, soft-shell crabs are highly seasonal, and there really aren’t too many spots in LA that serve them. Naturally, when I discovered that my little crabby friends were on the menu, I knew I had to pounce. I might not get another opportunity!

This of course leads to a significant question: was it worth eschewing the prized burger for a humble soft-shell crab?

Continue reading

Share on TumblrEmail This Post Share

THINGS I ATE: Meat Cakes at Beijing Pie House

IMG_6916.JPG

For about a year and a half, I’ve been wanting to try Beijing Pie House — a Chinese eatery in the heart of Monterey Park, CA. The restaurant boasts dumplings the shape of overgrown hockey pucks that squirt searingly hot liquid at the most benign of pokes, and as we all know, benign poking is truly my forte. Nevertheless, while it took me many months to finally visit BPH (as I’ve decided to call it), I finally gathered up a group of friends, including Sly and Abe, and headed East for a dumpling-tastic adventure.

Our group entered the restaurant tentatively — not because we feared what was inside but more because it was so deathly silent we momentarily assumed we had wandered into a library or perhaps funeral home. Not only was there no music, but the diners all spoke in hushed tones, almost as if the bright fluorescent lighting had beaten them into submission. I suppose I naturally assumed the restaurant would be loud and convivial as patrons burned their tongues and lips and chins with scalding hot dumpling liquid. But no. If people were in pain, they bore the brunt of it in steely silence.

Continue reading

Share on TumblrEmail This Post Share

THINGS I ATE: Dinner at Stella Barra in Hollywood

IMG_6746.JPG

After a recent viewing of Star Trek: Into Darkness, my friend jash and I felt the need to wildly decompress from two hours of explosions, Spock bangs, and futuristic 9/11 imagery. And so we too stepped into darkness by taking in dinner at the dimly lit Stella Barra on Sunset Boulevard. Attached to the ArcLight and cousin to Stella Rosa in Santa Monica, the new restaurant has a reputation for awesome pizza and killer cookies. Naturally, this was right up my (Kirstie) alley. That was a bonus Star Trek reference, in case you were wondering.

jash and I kept the order simple. He ordered a glass of wine and a spinach and kale salad with pecorino ramona, Medjool dates, shaved radishes, and mustard vinaigrette. I too wanted to be healthy, but resistance was futile. I wound up requesting a fennel bianco pizza, which featured fennel, burrata, rosemary, torn basil, and olive oil. The friendly waiter then informed us that the policy of the restaurant is that when something is ready, it’s ready, and the food will arrive as such. It seemed like a strange approach, but I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal — that is, until jash’s salad arrived five minutes later (sans wine), and we had to wait an additional fifteen or twenty for my pizza. Yes, we were warned of the policy, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

As for that salad, it was very tasty, but teeny tiny. We’re talking side-salad size. At $10, it veers into “overpriced” territory. More appropriately priced was my pizza ($15), which was strong flavor-wise, but was so soggy and oily in the middle that the slices were near impossible to hold. Still, structural issues aside, I enjoyed the burrata and fennel, and found I was able to crisp up the slices a bit more the next day when I flung the leftovers in a skillet and heated them up for five minutes.

Eventually, the waiter discovered that he had neglected to bring jash’s wine, and to apologize, he gave us a free chocolate chip Rice Krispie treat cookie that may as well have descended directly from heaven. This cookie was far and away the best part of dinner, and I would truly consider going back to Stella Barra for the cookie alone.

Share on TumblrEmail This Post Share