Wednesday, December 23, 2009

S and W Country Diner in Culver City

Everyone in CC knows this place. It's an awesome breakfast spot next to the Kirk Douglas Theater. The S and W Country Diner is located at 9748 Washington Blvd, Culver City CA 90232, 310-204-5136. I ordered from the "Build a Breakfast" menu. I ordered two eggs, sunny side up, Louisiana Hot Links, grits with butter, sourdough, hot tea and an oj. It was awesome and was a great way to start my day. Everyone there is super cool, helpful and funny. What more could you want in the morning? oh, my interior shot makes the place look empty but that section was in between. After I took that shot, all those seats filled up in a eye wink. Cash only.

Pho So 1 in Gardena

Off the corner of Redondo Beach Blvd and Western, this is a economically priced Pho and noodles spot. It's right on the corner of this mini-mall that has a Marie Calendars. Pho So 1, a chain, is located at 1749 Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena CA 90247, 310-329-7365. I ordered the Pho Tom (shrimp rice noodles soup). The soup was rich and the shrimps tender. I was meeting with my friends Steve Sakamoto, his wife Kumiko who happens to be the cake chef at the Torrance Mitsuwa bakery, and a very cool little dude, Ken Esteban. He was wearing the Lakers one piece I bought him, very cool. The highlight of the meal for me was the "Natural Shake of Avocado". WTF? I just had to order it. You know me. Anyway, mann it was weird but good in a sort of off way. Ken Esteban was wearing a corrective head gear. He looked like the guy from TRON. It was a very cool look. Unfortunately, his last day to wear it was today. Oh well. Now he looks like any other Lakers fan. Ken Esteban you ROCK!!!

Outdoor Grill in Culver City

We bought the 4 to 6 serving BBQ meal and it lasted for three days. Man, that was good and economical. Outdoor Grill is located at 12630 1/2 Washington Place, Culver City, CA. It's at the corner where Washington Place and Washington Blvd. meet again on the west end of that split. Outdoor Grill is an, compact and hard to miss BBQ spot. It's on the corner, sharing the property with a car wash. In fact, if you need to use the restroom, you have to walk to the car wash. The sauce is very sweet. My daughter said it was like Chinese food. I don't have problem with that but I think she did. The coleslaw was delicious. The salad was crispy fresh. The ribs were baby. The chicken was perfect. The "grill" is outside (hence the name) the front door. The seating is inside and up stairs on this open roof balcony. The BBQ was pretty good to so-so but I would go back.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In-n-Out Burger

In-n-Out Burger is a CA institution. Everyone has there In-N-Out story. They're first Double-Double, the meaning of "animal style". etc.. Peter, Jeffe and I went to go see Melt Banana at the Glasshouse in Pomona last night. They were so awesome!!!!! On our way there, we stopped by the original In-N-Out in Baldwin Park. It's immediately off the 10 Freeway at Francisquito. The original building is now closed and boarded up just north of the off ramp but immediately south is the newer store. There's also a In-N-Out gift shop and the place they train workers at this site. Jeffe treated me to a Double-double with cheese, fries and an ice tea. They also have great shakes. These burgers are addictive. By the way, in two of these shots, you see Jeffe's jacket sleeve. He wore that over the top colorful jacket in honor of going to see Melt Banana. It was so hardcore.

Rock'n Fish at LA Live

My friend Dave and I went to go see the Kings play against the Coyotes. It was an awesome game. It went to OT and then that one on one they do if it's still tie after OT. Is it called Sudden Death? My son and I used to play hockey on my brothers old Nientendo circa 1984 so I think that's the extent to any experience with Hockey I have. I really liked it. It was really fun to watch. It's a lot better than watching it on TV. Sometimes I am not sure where the puck is. There was no fight on the ice that night. Before the game at Staple Center, we grabbed a bite at the Rock'n Fish, 800 W. Olympic Blvd, Suite A160, LA CA 90015 213-748-4020. I had a delicious Cobb Salad. Dave also had a salad. We told the server we wanted to make the game which was in an hour so they recommended the salads, which are quick to make. I had my salad with a Guinness on tap. I never realized how well Guinness goes with Cobb Salad. It was awesome. The bread appetizer was delicious. There's nothing like good bread with real whipped butter.


My co-worker, Z told me that one of the traditional Hanukkah foods is jelly donuts. In fact, all of the donut shops take orders for jelly and custard donuts around this time. Today, Noam brought some in to work and we indulged. Sure enough, he did not place an early order and so only half of the dozen were jelly and custard donuts. They had run out. The others were chocolate and sprinkles. I suspect kosher foods may not have much to do with donuts but the latter don't quite cut the mustard. Pretty cool custom. Just to be respectful, I had two fried pieces of sweet heaven. Apparently it has to do with the sacredness of oils and I believe there's a story about the oil so anything fried in oil is part of the Holiday. Z told me when she lived in Israel, during the Holidays, lots of street vendors would be selling jelly donuts. That's right! Just outside your door, a cart, where they fry the donut in front of you and fill it with jelly. You get to eat the hot treat right there. Pretty awesome. Also, they have several nights of gift giving. Pretty good for the economy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Edison in Downtown LA

This was my second time at the the Edison in Downtown LA, located at 108 West 2nd Street #101, L.A. 90012, 213-613-0000. There's a dress code. The first time I went, about three years ago, they had a kind of burlesque dance group and the place was crazy packed. I had made reservation online and so i believe that's why they let me and my friend in immediately when I arrived. I have heard that they often are packed and/or choosy about who they let in and so people are often waiting in line behind the velvet rope. This time, however, we went right after work and so it was happy hour but way before the party crowd so we got in quick and got a nice table to sit at. I had a Bass on tap which was delicious. The staff is really fantastic. I had asked about the light beer called Edison but decided on the Bass. The server brought me a sample of the Edison with my Bass. How cool was that. I ordered the fish and chips which I really enjoyed. White fish with a light fried batter and sliced potato discs like chips, DELICIOUS! I also shared the Elvis for dessert, a peanut butter and banana sandwich with caramel dip. My goodness, it's enough to curl your lip! I loved it! The cavernous room was the power generator room back in the day so they did this amazing interior design playing off the equipment and various industrial sections. It's really a cool experience.

Dino's Chicken and Burgers on Pico

Dino's Chicken and Burgers is located at 2575 W. Pico Blvd, LA CA 90006, just west of Vermont. I have two friends that recommended this place to me. One mentioned it ten years ago. I finally went this weekend. The chicken is based with a delicious chile and vinegar base. The chicken is cooked over a grill with lemons and spice and then they place two sides of chicken on a large bed of french fries. By the time you start eating, the chile based sauce drenches itself on the fries and there you have the legend. I was first impressed with the vibe. From the outside, it looks like any other burger place but once you stand in line, you realize there are a lot of regulars here and so the conversations they are having with each other and the staff is really lively. It's really cool. I ordered three chicken plates. When we got home and opened all the containers, two of them were chicken plates but one was a chili and fries order. So be careful when you order the take out. Check it! I can't say it was the best chicken I ever had. the sauce was great and the french fries were delicious but the chicken was dry. Oh well, I am really glad i got to go and experience the culture though.

Spudnuts on the Westside

I had some time to kill in between picking up the kids and an oil change so I went to Spudnuts for some tea and donuts. This one is located at 11285 Venice Blvd, LA CA 310-397-1218. It's immediately west of the 405 freeway. I saw something about potato flour donuts on the Food Channel so I've been wanting to go to this place for a while. It's a chain but you don't see too many of these places. The donut is definitely different. It's a better tasting donut. I don't eat too many donuts anymore but I am looking forward to going to this place again. It looks like they're trying really hard to stay in business by selling sandwiches, instant ramen, lots of various drinks, smoothies and ice cream.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Western Smokehouse on the Westside

My kids go to Culver City High School. We live in K-Town. They play sports. Often, like most parents who have kids who play high school sports, I pick them up late at night after a game or practice. It's a time when it's too late to cook by the time we get home, logistically. Although not economical, it's so much easier to go "take out" on our way home. On the days I ask what would they like to eat, the answers are "Chipotle", "Panda Express", "Carls JR.", etc. No, it's cool. My brother and I were into the junk food regime when we were kids too. The routes back to K-Town passes by some great places to eat. On the nights I don't ask or they answer, "anything is fine", I am off to some of my favorites like Western Smokehouse, 10640 Woodbine Street, LA CA 90034 (on Overland at Rose)310-837-3544. A Fathers gotta take advantage of these small perks. They keep some complicated hours, so call. I sense they cater most of the time. The ribs, sausages and pulled pork are delicious. The sauce is just right, not sweet, not tangy, not spicy but a combo of the three in a kind of old school smoked out kicked back sense. Cash Only. Save room for desserts. It's all homemade; peach cobbler, red velvet cupcakes. This time when I went for the take out, I saw this funny thing happen. The place is "CO-ZEE". There was this guy who looked like he loved his ribs and sort of looked like Santa Claus on holiday with that ZZ-Top chin bush. He finished his meal. I was watching a college football game on their tube and watched all this out of the corner of my eye. The waitress, who's Asian, asked if he enjoyed the meal. Sounds like he's a regular. He said, "Yes, but I was surprised, when you asked if I wanted pancakes, I thought you were going to bring out the Korean pancakes not actual pancakes." Mann, that was funny. I'm sure she never said anything about Korean (Pa-Jeon?) pancakes. Why would they be serving them in a Texas BBQ place?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blue Dahlia Cafe in the Arts District

I was walking from the newly opened Little Tokyo/ Arts District station yesterday and walked towards Blue Dahlia Cafe which is located in the Arts District at 738 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013. I'd never been there before but was at E 3rd next door not too long ago. Although it was lunch time, there were no customers there. It was a little odd so I proceeded with caution. The small front room has a cozy den like feel with a wine bar at the end. Through a narrow hall, I walked towards the back where there's a really nice outdoor eating space with trees and comfortable table sets. I ordered the hamburger which is an Angus ground encompassing short rib. The bun was an excellent egg type. The greens were super fresh. The grilled onions delicious and the chipotle sauce was perfect. I am curious why the place was so empty. Not a single other customer while I was there. I really appreciated the quite/ contemplative environment though.Just what the doctor ordered.

Suehiro in Little Tokyo

Suehiro is located in Little Tokyo at 337 East 1st Street, LA, CA 90012, 213-626-9132. Suehiro has been around for quite sometime and is staple to the late night Little Tokyo crowd. It's not open till really-really late but longer than most. it's bustling for lunch and dinner and they have all of the Japanese dishes synonymous with old school JA cuisine including sukiyaki, curry rice, chicken or beef teriyaki and udon. I ordered the coffee jello or "cohee jelli". It's a jello like consistency but with the aroma and taste of a cup of jo. When I sit in Suehiro, for some reason, I always remember Atomic Cafe that used to be a block east across JANM. It looks nothing like Atomic Cafe, no punk posters on the ceiling or Atomic Nancy to watch manage the crowd but there's a vibe that doesn't exist at any other place in Little Tokyo.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Papa Cristos on Pico

Today I went to Papa Cristos on Pico with my friend Photographer William Short. I was pretty sure it was on this blog but I was wrong. It's a good thing I took pix. Papa Cristos is located at 2771 West Pico Blvd, LA CA 90006, 323-737-2970 on the northeast corner of Normandie and Pico. It's Greek to the max with a full menu of traditional Mediterranean cuisine, an indoor and outdoor dining area, full market and a bakery. It's hard not to pick up some Baklava for the office on your way out. Today, I ordered the Spicy Beef plate and Bill ordered the Wine Soaked Sausage Plate. So delicious and fresh. I highly recommend this place. Every Thursday evening, they have the family style dinner with music and great fun.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pho Show in Culver City

Pho Show is located in Culver City at 4349 Sepulveda next door to the Big 5 Sporting Goods. It's been open for a while but my son and I finally made it there this weekend. The Pho is available in 2 sizes; small and large. I've never seen that at a noodle place before. it's a good idea. We ordered the Pho Show Pho; rice noodles, rare steak, brisket tendon, tripe, beef balls. On the side of table is an assortment of chili's including local fav, Spiracha (made in Rosemead). We shared an order of spring rolls which were on the hefty side and delicious. My son and I agreed that although a good Pho, not the best we ever tasted. There are quite a few other items on the menu including Chinese dishes like Mongolian Beef and Kung Pao Chicken. They also have Bun and vermicelli noodles. It's definitely worth a second look, maybe next weekend.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Go Veggie in Marina Del Rey/Venice

Go Veggie is located at 5462 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA, (310) 577-0167, next door to the Marina Farms Market. Go Vegie has some great hot meals like Lentil Salads and Tofu sandwiches. Yesterday, I ordered the Chicken Adobo Pita Sandwhich and the Kaboocha and White Bean Soup. Very filling and tasty food, rich with garlic and spices. Everything is really fresh and ready to order. In the past, I've ordered the smoothies which are made well and can give you a great jump start. Also, it's next door to Marina Farms which is one of my favorite places to shop for vegetables and fruits.


Famima, aka Family Mart in Japan, is a chain of convenient stores throughout LA that sell in addition to your normal foods and stuff, Japanese snacks, drinks and meals (bento's). Well, recently, I've gotten hooked on the Cashu Bao (Steamed Chinese Pork Buns). They aren't as good as the one's in Chinatown but for a quick fix, it's great. The one I go to is on National and Venice Blvd on the Westside.