Monday, December 22, 2008

Market Place Restaurant

Nestled away from the main strips of the Los Angeles Produce District, Market Place Restaurant is located at 213-622-7385. In the mid 90's, Collage Ensemble Inc. had a project through the CRA in this area and we had our final presentation at 5:00 AM at this place. It was bustling with business but this afternoon it was very quiet with the majority of customers from UPS. I guess if you want to catch it in it's prime, you would have to show up when it opens, at 4:00 PM.


Located at 3300 Airport Ave Santa Monica, CA (310) 397-3455, Spitfire Grill is directl across the way from the Santa Monica Airport. I ordered a steak salad and my son ordered the steak fajitas. Not bad, it's kind of what you might expect at an airport. Well, not that bad but it was mediocre. There wasn't anything about the grilled meats that stood out. I guess I may expect too much from a place that puts the word "Grill" in their title.

Shin Peking

Shin Peking is located at 3101 West Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90006, 213-381-3003. This is Chinese Food with a Korean sensibility. It's a little on the pricey side but still very affordable. last night, we had the Mongolian Beef, Fried Rice, Wont Ton Soup, Garlic Beef, Egg Rolls and Chow Mein. It was a very typical American Chinese food dinner. The food, although at times salty, was very good. I think it would be a slightly different experience if we ate it there but my kids feel asleep so I decided to get a take out. Sorry, no pix. i also have to get a shout out to the waiter there, he was very accommodating.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pico Seafood

My son had a game last night. Culver City HS vs Cathedral HS at Rogers Park in Inglewood. I got there early and hungry. I past up a lot of the regular fast food places but on one street corner, I saw the small sign through the night "Pico Seafood". Hmmm, what's this? It had an "A" in the window so I parked and walked in. it was raining and was pretty cold, for LA. 2 piece fish and 2 pieces of shrimp dinner with coleslaw and hush puppies for only $7. You get a choice of fish....catfish? Oh yeah! Fried catfish, shrimp, a roll......

Pico Seafood is located at 630 North La Brea Avenue Inglewood CA just north of Florence.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

La Estrella

Matt and I had been working in East LA for at least four years, passing by the little corner shack and thinking about eating there. The little building about a year ago turned a cobalt blue and looks fresher than years past. We finally made it to La Estrella, First Street just a block west of Soto Avenue, Boyle Heights. We each ordered the fish tacos and they were not only big and chunky but also filled with complex flavors including smokey red hot sauce. The chili buzz took at least an hour to go away. I highly recommend the blue box on the corner. They are related to the Estrella's in Pasadena on Foothill.

Monday, December 15, 2008


ELF, 2135 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026, (213) 484-6829, has been touted as one of the most delicious vegetarian places in the city by many of my friends. I finally got an opportunity to have dinner there. They're only open at night. It's not a very big place, it's actually intimate and cozy. The people there were super cool. We had to wait a little bit for a table, they actually moved people around so they could accommodate our party of 4. There was a table open outside but it didn't have a outdoor heater like the other one. Too cold for dinner, so we got a great table inside. I had this amazing mushroom soup. It was rich, delicious and velvety. I'd have to say that everything there was delicious. My gratin was so yummy, cheesy and succulent. I am definitely going back. My friend P Knitty had been there before and new to bring your own wine. The combo of the wine, the salt, and standing for an hour and a half at the LA Derby Dolls game following our meal left me the next morning in a salt coma. Note to self, drink lots of water after a meal at Elf.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

El Pueblo Viejo

El Pueblo Viejo, 10309 West Washington Blvd, Culver City CA 90230, 310-842-9733 is an old school Mexican restaurant. My friends and I used to go there in the 80's. It's very affordable and always with large servings. We ordered tacos and burritos but they also have mole's, seafood and fried steaks. It's a little weired at first but the people who work there quickly make you feel at home.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Say Cheese

In the heart of Silver Lake or somewhere pretty near it is Say Cheese, 2800 Hyperion Avenue, LA CA 90027, 323-665-0545. Part cheese and culinary shop/ part restaurant, Say Cheese has been around for almost as long as I've been a parent. It maybe a little pricey but always well worth it. Quality and refined flavors is what it's about here. Today I ordered the Mariposa salad; sweet grape tomatoes, juicy greens, a raspberry vinaigrette and slices of pears wrapped in Prosciutto de Parma. Roasted walnuts and bleu cheese sealed the deal. Sweet! I ordered a hot tea for what made for a very relaxing lunch.


Other than being the name of one of my favorite Japanese pop bands, Spitz was a new place for me. Highly anticipated by my buddy Angelene, it finally opened it's place in Little Tokyo having come from humble beginnings in Eagle Rock. It also is a great example of how Little Tokyo has dramatically changed in the past decade or so. Cleaner, safer and expanding its ethnic diversity while still keeping it's Japanese community roots. (We're also anticipating that recreation center at some point). Spitz lunch menu centers around the kebab or as they specifically announce, the Doner Kebab. Located at 371 East 2nd Street, LA CA 90012, Spitz is a place where middle eastern flavors meet hip and healthy California food. Focaccia sandwiches, falafels, salads, lambs, feta cheese and side choices of regular or sweet potato fries, it was hard to make a decision. The interior is crazy. It's a barrage of copper and bronze tones with wacky assemblages alluding to the neighboring arts district. I'm going back at some point to try other items on the menu. It's also a fun people watching place. Sorry for the funky mobile phone pix. For better shots, check out their website

Monday, December 1, 2008

C and S Coffee Shop in Joshua Tree

I'm always surprised to hear that someone who lives in LA hasn't been to Joshua Tree. It's only 90 minutes away and is one of our greatest natural treasurers. In the Yucca Valley at 55795 29 Palms, Yucca Valley, CA is a great place to have breakfast. C & S Coffee Shop is an awesome blast from the past along the busiest street in the Joshua Tree area. My friend Midori ordered the biscuits and gravy. Warning: it's a full plate. Kio ordered the french toast and I had the chicken fried steak with home fries. It was awesome! The weather was amazing and we had a great time. It wasn't too crowded, like when we've been their in the spring or summer.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


When the ingredients are unusually fresh, organic, and above average, you can't help but feel elevated after a meal. Shojin, 333 South Alameda Street, #310, LA CA 90013, 213-617-0305 (in the Mitsuwa Market building), is humble, simple and almost comfortable. I mean almost as in not so comfortable like a soft sofa on a summer afternoon but rather a seat in well designed chair that massages points on your body that then make you become alert and awake. The lunch bento was awesome with your choice of a number of organic vegetarian dishes, lush steamed brown rice, a onion carrot soup and sauteed vegetables. The dessert was awesome, a chunky and rich green tea mousse cake with sweet red bean filling. Wow!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mom's Kitchen

What fun to go to a place where you have no idea if it's going to be cool or not, no idea, a crap shoot. Mom's Kitchen, 1220 East 1st Street, LA CA 90033, 323-262-3238, wasn't too shabby. I over did it with the carbs. I ordered a Al Pastor burrito but these locals who were eating at a table were eating fries and it looked so good I ordered some too. Mann, it was too much, I couldn't finish it but I was happy, so happy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Dusty's at 3200 West Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90026, 323-906-1018, is a pretty elegant place to eat. The interior is a mix of old school sophistication and a rock n roll grit. The food was pretty awesome. I had the Sherherazade Salad with baby greens, hummas, eggplant caviar and tabbouleh. Excellent! We sure had a great time and the service was sweeeeeeeeeeettttttttt!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween in cubicle culture

Temptations are by definition rough to deal with and challenging. Mine's is sugar. First, I love sugar and second I really appreciate those who can bake. I also have my all time favorites rooted in an excessive childhood intake of junk food. Halloween and the holiday season is so difficult to stay diligent to my diet. I am a border-line diabetic. So I'm not suppose to eat this stuff. I've practically eliminated alcohol from my diet. But all-time favorites like Reeses Peanut butter cups are hard to pass up. In our office, we have foodies wall to wall and so I OD'd on sugar this weekend and am going through a kind of hangover from chocolate today. A rough Monday, indeed.


On Saturday, Kio and I needed to meet about our art proposal for the Glendale Arizona Jazz and Blues festival. He recommended a Japanese style breakfast coffee house in Santa Monica. Amandine is located at 12225 Wilshire Blvd, LA CA 90025, 310-979-3211. It's a very "lovely" place with a fantastic bakery, delicious coffee and unique assortments for both breakfast and lunch. We ordered Kio's favorite, Croque Madame, a sandwich topped with a egg easy over. It was delicious with the ham and a french style sauce. I ordered a fruit bowl with ripe sweet berries and melons as well as the french toast. Who doesn't love french toast? To top it off, because I had to order something from the bakery, a melon-pan. This is something I use to buy my kids all the time. It's a dome shaped small bread, not unlike pan dulce, with a sweet light taste. There was this Japanese animation my kids use to watch called An-pan Man, a cute and always victorious bread-head hero whose little sister was Melon-panda. On top of it all, we sat comfortably outside under big umbrellas while the rain lightly surrounded us. A classic.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Nickels is on Main Street between 4th and 3rd Streets in Downtown LA. A converted cafe from bygone years, this cafe is now a thriving foodies dream in the vibrant Gallery Row area. My salad was very tasty and fresh. The vinaigrette and oil was light but full of flavor. They had a fun assortment of sodas. I ordered the Nickel burger; cheddar cheese, l,t, red onion and 1,000 island. The bun, although wonderful was too much and at times over powered the patty, which was smoked flavored. The desserts are amazing, made fresh each morning. We shared a Pop Rock cupcake and a homemade Ding Dong. It's a keeper, you betcha!!!

Tenno Sushi

Kind of a goofy name to me, Tenno Sushi (I believe that would be "Emperor's Sushi") 207 South Central Avenue, LA CA 90012, 213-625-0602 is located in LA's Little Tokyo. The name would be like President's Steak but goofier. However, artist Jeff Mohr and I were pleasantly surprised. The fish just melted in our mouths. In fact, he went back the next day. Gotta drop it like it's hot! Sorry for the horrible phone image.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tom's Tacos

You learn something everyday. Well, we were in Anaheim in between to basketball games for a tournament my daughter and son were in. The talk was that the best tacos were just around the corner so we took every one's order and headed out. The place, turns out, was once associated with Tito's tacos and sure enough the menu looked similar and they charged extra for the cheese just like Tito's. Tom's tacos is located at 3024 West Ball Road, Anaheim CA, 714-952-1600. The taco's were a little different but delicious/nostalgic. They didn't use any trans fat, maybe that's why they tasted different from Tito's? The salsa was the same. One of the mom's said when she was pregnant with her son, she would buy the salsa in quarts and drink it like a cocktail. Awesome!

El Taco

El Taco, 615 South Euclid, Anaheim CA 92802, was like seeing an old friend. First, the sign caught my eye, I couldn't believe it. Is that you? You haven't changed a bit! It brought back so many memories. There used to be an El Taco on the corner of Western and Venice my family used to buy tacos from all of the time. It was our Tito's tacos. This was before their was any Del Taco or Taco Bell and certainly before you could buy the pre made crunchy tortilla shells in the markets. So how was this old friend? Well, much like bumping into an old friend these days, they are no longer into trans fats and MSG. The taco's tasted healthy. Of course, my taste buds have changed too but it certainly wasn't that greasy taco I remember. Still, it sure was great to bump into an old friend but not a place I plan on frequenting anytime soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Phu Huong

My friend was very reluctant but he managed to muster up the courage to go with me to the Vietnamese catering truck on Spring and Alpine in Chinatown. I'd seen it before but we always had a predetermined destination. Not today! it was so exciting to me. The people were cool and the assortment of food and desserts was colorful and fun. I got the "regular" Vietnamese sandwich and I ordered a "chicken" Vietnamese sandwich for my boss. We both loved our sandwich. The fresh french roll, fresh vegetables and spicy chili. Unfortunately, my friend didn't like his. Oh well, you can't win them all. I also ordered spicy roasted peanuts and spring rolls. I want to go again soon. It's a great experience.

El Atacor

There ain't nothin like a hot juicy burrito to start your Saturday. I stopped by El Atacor, 1625 East Cesar Chavez Avenue, LA CA 90033, 323-221-817. Burritos can be great driving food and I had to make the trek to Ontario Saturday. I ordered it, got back to the car and it smelled so good and I was so hungry, I ate it then and there. The salsa and shredded pollo was heavenly. It was one of the best burritos i ate this year. Awesome!!!

Tofu Villa

We'd past by Tofu Villa, 2130 Sawtelle Blvd, Ste 112A, Los Angeles, CA 90025,(310) 477-8987, several times and finally stop by this weekend for lunch. Hmmmm. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great. No two Soon Tofu places are alike, so I try to keep an open mind. The best part were the small dishes of tasty pickled vegetables and the complimentary dessert at the end, a tart soft frozen yogurt. I had ordered a seafood Soon Tofu. It was nice and hot, spicy but a little too salty for me and the broth didn't have the heartiness I have often found in Soon Tofu. The broth was a little watery. Oh well, you gotta try before you pass it by. (I guess?)