Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I have two friends from Cuba, who say that Versailles is not real Cuban food. Oh well, I love it anyway.

My favorite is the ox tail stew, tender and full of gravy sauce. It comes with rice, black beans and plantan.

Versailles is located at 1415 S. La Cienega, LA CA 90035, 310-2890392. The more famous one is on Vence Blvd but it's often too crowded. I was told that another Versailles exists in Manhattan Beach.

Claremont Juice Co

Across the street from Some Crust is the Claremont Juice Co., 124 Yale Avenue, Claremont CA 91711, 909-626-2216.

I discovered this place the same time I was introduced to Some Crust, so that each time I visit one, I have to walk across the street to the other. I ordered this one smoothie the first time and have pretty much ordered that drink consistently during my Claremont visits.

Harvey's Mudd is a smoothie but they list it under "desserttime". It consists of milky, chocolate, peanut butter, and frozen vanilla yogurt.

It must be fatting but I should like to think that it's also healthy.

Some Crust

I had never been to Claremont until the early 90's when I was assigned to work on a mural there. My co-worker, a graduate of one of the Claremont Collages brought me to Some Crust Bakery, 119 Yale, Claremont CA 91711, 909-621-9772. Some Crust is fairly well known and a kind of a must stop by when you're in the neighborhood of the Indian Hill exit off the 10 Freeway.

Everything so good there. I was in the "neighborhood" this weekend on my way back from Joshua Tree. This time, I got the oatmeal raisin scone. I love scones. The crust is crunchy but thin and when you bite into it, the crust gives way and you get this tender cake-like scone. It's not too sweet but on the sweet-side of the sweet scale.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


This afternoon, I had a breakfast burrito hangover. So when we went to Langer's for lunch, 704 South Alvarado St LA CA 90057, 213-483-7171, I ordered soda water and a matzoball soup. I got two healthy matzoballs about 3" in diameter. The soup is a traditional hot chicken soup and the combinations is spectacular. I finished and decided to have an apple pie ala mode. I always ask that the pie be heated

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


My the name, it could be a children's bookstore or shoe store that specializes in wooden clogs but nope, this is a Korean Cafe that specializes in bibimbap and soon tofu and (trumpets roar!) no MSG, which is why I didn't have a buzz afterwards. Hans, 333 S. Alameda St #312 (In the Mitsuwa Mall) LA CA 90013, 213-626-0554, is located not in Koreatown but actually in Little Tokyo.

The folks here are really, really nice and the foods delicious.

Afterwards, we went to the first floor and got ice cream at LA Scoops. I always get rocky road but I have had their banana split which is really good.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Blair's and Zanzabelle

I had just finished running an artist selection panel and was drained, hungry, and needed to just get out of the building. Everyone had already had lunch so I got in my car and started driving. I found myself in Silverlake on Rowena. I parked on a corner where I knew were a lot of places to eat and walked into Blair's, 2903 Rowena Ave LA CA 90039, 323-660-1882. Never heard of it, never been. I ordered a delicous salad. I'm sorry but I didn't have my camera so I've got no image to share with you. I was also so tired, I don't remember what kind of salad I ordered. I remember it had fresh lettuces of various types, roasted nuts and some mandarines.

It was good portion but not overwhelming. I also ordered mineral water. It was not the usual name brands but an Italian mineral water that had a cartoony illustrated label. The service was excellent. They were very attentive and detail oriented. Maybe I looked so drained, they felt sorry for me? One thing I remembered was that the two guys sitting across my table seemed to be discussing strategies for some business project. It sounded like an ad pitch. Only one of the two was actually talking, non-stop for the entire 40 minutes I was there. I felt so sorry for the other guy. I was thinking, what if this guys actually has the best idea but is never given the chance to interject it? How silly would that be? From what I could here, the guy doing all the talking was just putting his spin on the obvious and even cliche items in anyone's business plan. It was like a skit from MAD TV.

I left Blair's and walked across the street. Having ate a delicious meal, I had regained my brain function. Oh yes, now I remember where I am. Zanzabelle's right here!. I walked in and ordered a chocolate capuccino ice cream and a peanut butter-carmel chocolate bar. Life was good.

News Cafe

When I was working with the City of El Monte on their Metrolink Station in 1996, we used to have breakfast meetings at the News Cafe, 11357 East Valley Blvd., El Monte CA 91731, 626-443-2603. It's a great place, very friendly service and the food is solid cafe food. I remember the pancakes and sausages being really good.

Yesterday, my co-worker and musician/photographer Peter Watkinson had just finished documenting a new project of ours in El Monte and needed some sugar. It had been ten years since the last time I was at the News Cafe. I ordered a banana split and Peter ordered a apple pie ala mode. We left that place very happy with a great sugar high.

The waitress was very sweet. She even cut fresh pineapples and strawberries for my b-split. How could you not love that? They only had vanilla ice cream, the most popular ice cream in the world.

50th Post: MELT BANANA

First of all, thank you for your support and for viewing this blog. This is my 50th post and I thought I'd celebrate it by writing about one of my all-time favorite bands. Their name is Melt Banana. Since they have a fruit in their name, I felt that they sort of qualify for my food blog.

I first learned about MB through Brandy Maya Healy. Her co-worker at the Cultural Affairs Department, Dee, had a niece in Seattle or Portland who was looking for their music and didn't know where to look, so they called me. (Dee is an artist and Brandy is a talented movement artist and painter) I tracked it down and they got the niece a CD. When I was online looking for them, I downloaded their music and was blown away. You can get their CD's at Sealevel in Echo Park. Their percussive punk rock fused with samples, riveting bass lines, altered-state guitar and otomatapea-like vocals is like flying through space while strapped to the nose of a spaceship, at hyper speed. The banana would surely melt and you will see things that appear to be not of this earth.

MB played the Glass House in Pomona this past Saturday. I went with Poet, Alicia Vogl Saenz. Alicia had never heard of MB. This was my second time seeing them live. They actually played at the Troub friday night but the sound sucks over there and besides, I play B-Ball on Friday nights.

We got to meet the bassist of MB. All the members are from Tokyo and this was their second concert for this multi-state US tour. I think it's there third tour of the US.

MB was on attack mode all night and just a pleasure to watch. Alicia said she believe she and I were the oldest in the entire hall. We stood in front of the pit. There was a beautiful energy in the room and we left the place very excited and satisfied, much like a great dinner.

Alicia said she hadn't experienced anything like that since the first time she saw the Buzzcocks. I was really happy to hear that. I'm sure MB members would be too.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Gill's Cuisine Indian Food

I've been going to Gill's for lunch for about 15 years now. It's a fast , easy and delicious way to have Indian Food for lunch if you are in Downtown LA. They have an all you can eat buffet for about $9.00. It's located in the back lobby hallway of the Stillwell Hotel, 838 S. Grand Avenue LA CA 90017, 213-623-1050.

Today, the Tandoori Chicken was a little over coooked, which I like but some people may not. Of course they have all of the Samosa, Curry and Chutney dishes. All very affordable and delicious. It's a great place for vegetarians.

The eatery is located way in the back hallway on the first floor of the hotel. It's almost like it's hidden which adds to a kind of mystery about the place. I can't explain it but there's something about the place, like a not quite out in the open kind of feeling about the place. The service is good but you never get the feeling you are 100% involved in the place. You're there for the food and once you are done, you must leave kind of an atmosphere. It reminds me of the movie Casablanca.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Royal Cup

We had a meeting in the LBC this afternoon and found this place called Royal Cup, 994 Redondo Avenue, Long Beach CA 90804, 562-987-1027.

The moment we walked in the fairly long hall-like eatery, we were greeted with a friendly "First time here?". The food/open kitchen booth is down the room and up front is the drinks/coffee booth. They're both sort of seperate from each other, although you pay the final bill at the front.

I ordered this colorful Curry Chicken salad and had the potato soup. The salad was a lot of fun to eat, fresh, lots of various flavors and delicious chicken curry. I especially liked the grilled strips of sweet red peppers. The soup was chunky and not too cream-heavy. I also had an esperesso latte that was delicious and gave me a buzz for the next several hours. In fact, as i write this, I am still buzzing.

When I was taking a pix of my food, the chef yelled out, "he's gonna steal our recipe!". The whole staff laughed as did I but it showed my that he was in control of the place and had pride and I love that.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Asahiya Ramen

Have you ever seen Itami Juzo's film, Tampopo? it's one of my all time favorite films. If you like my blog and you haven't seen it yet, I am so happy for you. You have a chance to see it for the first time. I would love to relive my personal discovery of that film. I still watch it once in a while at home. It makes me laugh and makes me hungry, my two favorite things.

Asahiya Ramen, 2027 Sawtelle Bl West Los Angeles, CA 90025, 310 479 2231, is a good place to go after seeing this movie. I especially like their tofu salad. My son likes the ramen there. An average bowl is around $5 to $7 dollars. My favorite is the mabo ramen (minced meat in a Chinese spicy sauce). It'll cure any nasal congestion you may have and heat up your body on those winter evenings. The pickled cucumber they serve before you get the ramen is one of my kids favorites.

Los Tacos

When Steve and Sari first moved into that incredible round house, he treated me to tacos. he said he found a place that is really good and he felt i would like it. So, till this day, when I pass by it, I think of his funny round house.

Los Tacos has two location. the one I'm writing about is in Pasadena at 1 W California Blvd, Pasadena CA 91106 626-795-9291.

All the tacos are delicious. This weekend, after being on a panel for Side Street Productions, I ordered a chicken, al pastor and fish. They were all delicious but the fish taco is exceptional. In a jucy sauce, the lemon cooked fish is tender and spicy.

Friday, May 11, 2007


I was a vegetarian for two years. That was a very long time ago. A series of events lead me to it. It was a physical reaction to things I observed and not so much for philosophical reasons. Anyway, after two years of that, I got hungry for meat again and the first thing I ate was Tommy's burger. I had missed eating those chili burgers that I grew up with. The original location is at 2575 West Beverly Blvd, 213-389-9060. It's on the corner of Beverly and Rampart near Belmont High School. I bring friends from out of town there all the time. Now, they have Tommy's all over the place.

My Aunt had to bring food for a potluck at her office today. She left early in the morning and got boxes of the burgers. She gave me three and I ate two of them for lunch today. They are delicious. The fresh onions and tomato are cut thick. The chili is delicious.

I saw them carry out the bucket of chili once from the kitchen to the corner stand. It took two guys to carry it out. I won't go into details but it wasn't a sight for the faint at heart.

Delilah Bakery

Morning meetings. Gotta love um'. Robert Villagomez, an architect I worked with needed to hand off some tile stock to me so he invited me to meet him at a place near his home in Echo Park. Robert knows about this blog, so I think he figured I'd write about it.

Delilah Bakery is at 1665 Echo Park Ave, LA CA 90026,213-975-9400, www.delilahbakery.com. It's a soothingly painted wood building at a corner in a more residential heavy area on Echo Park Avenue, north of Sunset Blvd.

I was late and Robert was already there finishing up his coffee. I asked what was the most popular pastry and the folks at the bakery told me there Red Velvet Cupcake.

This is no ordinary cupcake. It's got a delicate and creamy white frosting with nuts and the cake is absolutely velvety. I can't wait to go back and try the other items.

Thanks Robert!

One interesting note. Even though they have a place to eat outside, they package everything to go. The cupcake came in a tiny brown box. I kept the box. i have no idea what to do with it. Maybe I'll make a little Joseph Cornell piece.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Normandie Bakery

Here's another place Hiromi Sato and Rick Alpers turned me onto. Normandie Bakery, which once upon a time was on Normandie, is now located at 5277 West Jefferson LA CA 90016, 323-939-5528. Equipped with a sidewalk-level seating area, this place is a pleasant surprise in what is mostly residential/industrial. I love the morning pasrties, breads and cookies there. it makes the traffic tolerable. Their cakes are good too but the item they evidently are known for as a company is the patte'. I've never had it but it seems like it's exceptional.

Hiromi and Rick where at a fairly fancy event in Bel Air a number of years ago and feel in love with the french-style pastries. It turned out to be catered by Normandie bakery and there you have it!

Monday, May 7, 2007


In LA, you drive around a lot, so there's an art to seeing things out of the corner of your eye. That's what happened to me yesterday. I was near the Los Alamitos Horse Racing Track on my way to my sons basketball game. I noticed a very retro-looking cafe that had "Chicken Pot Pies" written on the front. I love chicken pot pies. When we were really little, my brother and I used to heat up the frozen style chicken pot pies and eat them for snacks. It was a great TV snack.

Pasty's is located at 3641 Katela Avenue, Los Alamitos CA 90720, 562-431-9747. Actually, it's not a cafe. There's nowhere to sit. I guess you can eat it standing up or just take home with you. I ate mines in my car.

The chicken and meat pot pies at Pasty are types you hand hold, like a pocket sandwhich. The outside crust is substantial and has a great bready/ pie crust taste. The chicken and potato insides are delicous and filling.


There are now five locations with the addition of their Long Beach eatery. The one I go to is right near my house at 5006 West Pico Blvd LA CA 90019, 323-934-4405. Several people have told me the original is the one in Hollywood on Gower. It's a great place too but kind of small and dark.

There are various items on the menu named after famous? or not so famous local folk. i.e. Lord Harvey, Jeanne Jones, E-Z Eds. I have no idea who these folks are.

Their sweet potato pie is delicious. I always order the chicken and waffles. It's their staple and with a lemonade, it makes for a very fine meal.

I hardly every use the second cup of syrup they give you, love the melted butter and I know some folks pour the syrup onto the chicken too. That's pretty hardcore. However, I need the hot sauce. I like to pour a lot of it on my fried chicken. The chicken is fried to perfection. it is perhpas one of the finest fried chickens in town. The people are so nice. You're always greeted with a friendliness that I always appreciate.

When I was the director of the Simply Songwriting Music festival at St. Elmo Village, I always had them cater our selection panels. It made for very happy panelists.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

El Treno

I was going to have a salad but El Treno at 5351 Santa Fe Avenue, LA CA 90058, 323-585-7205, has such a great pasta menu. It's impossible for me to pass up ravioli.

Jeff had the Chicken Parmisan. I also ordered a delicious salad with Mozerrella.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Orignal Texas BBQ King

I meet so many folks who say they have passed by this place but have never eaten here. Why not? BBQ King is located at 867 West Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90012, 213-437-0885, www.texasbbqking.com


A great place for lunch, take home dinner or for a Dodger pre-game picnic.

I love to watch them smoke the meat. They must have five smokers going at one time. How cool is that? I like the Babyback ribs myself but the pork and beef ribs are juicy too. They also have this burger that's amazing. It's huge. Texas style.

El Rinconcito Del Mar

Artist and Lighting Designer, Jose Lopez was telling me about this place in East LA that has amazing fish tacos and cerviche. El Rinconcito Del Mar, 2908 East First Street LA CA 90033, 323-269-8723, is across the way from Evergreen Cemetary, a historical LA gem and Konko Church, where my grandmother went on Sundays. The fish taco was really delicous, tender and filling. The cerviche was amazing. It comes garnished with beets. I love beets. Do you like beets? The seafood in the cerviche was so tender and fresh. You splash lemon on it and it's a real culinary pleasure. Thanks Jose!

Cafe Tropical

Guava creamcheese pastry. Doesn't that sound good? It's in a flaky croussaint like pastry. Usually it's hot out of the oven because they are so popular, they constantly have fresh baked ones. Cafe Tropical, 2900 West Sunset Blvd, LA CA 90026, 323-661-8391, has been serving these amazing treat for a long time. It's a Silverlake classic.

I recently was there and ate a slice with a espresso latte.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


"Where's a good place for sushi?"

I get that all the time. I don't know, sushi's rough. I used to get it for free at my Dad's restaurant and in japan, our family owns a fish market so it's hard to pay these silly prices and sometimes, not so fresh fish.

I do enjoy going to Yatsuhashi, 111 South San Pedro Street, LA CA 90012, 213-625-1722, for lunch. I have fond memories of hanging out with the Pasadena Line folks and it used to have a piano bar downstairs and I jammed on a couple of dates with the pianist.

The lunch menu is pretty good and the fish is fresh. it's the place I reccomend in Little Tokyo.