Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gus's Barbecue

Gus's Barbecue is located at 808 Fair Oaks Avenue, South Pasadena CA 91030 626-799-3251. First of all, I apologize for the half eaten ribs photos. I began eating before I remembered to take photos. We were hungry and we wanted to be on time to the experimental music concert across the street, which by the way included Non credo, Walter Zooi and son, Cat Hair Ensemble and a kick-but piano piece by Motoko Honda. Anyway, Gu's is kind of on the fancy side for a BBQ place but the service is good and the people are very nice. DRE bass player, Peter Watkinson, ordered the chili which was on the tomatoy side and had black beans, very lip smacking. The St. Louis ribs were solid and didn't really require any sauce. The Memphis short ribs were also tender and delicious. The meat just fell off the bones. The feeling of fullness still lingers in me, plus the cold night air really added to the romance of having ribs before a great night of sound. I also included Peter's truck parked near the LA River. It sorta added for me the culture of going to eat ribs for dinner.

Monday, January 26, 2009

El Rincon Criollo

My son and I had some time for lunch this weekend and so we stopped at a place I've been eyeing for years, El Rincon Criollo, 4361 Sepluveda Blvd, Culver City CA 90230 310-397-9295. It's a Cuban place. My son ordered the chicken and rice which he so often orders when we eat at a Cuban restaurant. I ordered the breaded steak which had a amazing garlicy onion sauce. I am definitely going back. It's funky but very heartwarming.

Flame International

Last week was my daughters birthday. She turned 15, mann, where does the time go? We ordered a take out for dinner of her favorite food, Persian food. This time, we tried Flame International, 1442 Westwood Blvd., LA CA 90024, 310-470-3399. We ordered Chelo Kebab Soltani, seasoned beef and Filet Mignon, delicious; Ghormeh Sabzi, sauteed vegetables with dried limes over Basmati rice, yumm; Fesenjon, our favorite boiled pomegranate sauce with chicken; and Ghemeh Bademjan, fried eggplant in a special tomato sauce with yellow peas, onion sauce with beef, oh yeah. It was awesome. I overate and didn't eat anything till the next afternoon.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain

It was a not so cold but drizzly afternoon. I finished my meeting with artist Michael Amescua and started towards the Pasadena Freeway on Fair Oaks and decided to drop by the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain and have a banana split. Why not? My daughter turns 15 today and what a great way to start the festivities. They are located at 1526 Mission Street at Fair Oaks, South Pasadena CA 626-799-1414. One of the fun aspects of ordering the b split is the anticipation of what form it will take, will the person making it have fun, and of course once it arrives, the ohhs and ahhs of those around you. They use Alta Dena Ice Cream which is one of my favorites. Just look at the pictures. I think they speak for themselves. I loved the question from the server before I got up to pay the bill, "You OK?"

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dae Bok Restaurant

Photographer Suji Lee has been encouraging us to go have blowfish for a long time. I'd never had blowfish before. I guess I had an idea that 1) too expensive and 2) potentially poisonous. Well I was wrong on both accounts. We planned last nights dinner to Dae Bok, 2010 West james M. Woods Blvd, LA CA 900006, 213-386-6660, a couple of weeks ago. The build up was fairly steep. The meal came in a soup or broth with crunchy bean sprouts, delicate cubes of tofu, delicious Korean cabbage and of course blow fish. As often is the case, lots of yummy side dishes. Suji was under the impression that eating blow fish in California was illegal. The rest of us thought if this restaurant has been here for over twenty years, how could they advertise blow fish if it's illegal? Anyway, the blow fish was subtle and substantive like shark meat. The broth was also "subtle". The blow fish dipping sauce was a soy sauce base with hot mustard. I have to say that maybe I don't have the educated palette one needs to truly appreciate blow fish. Some of our company said that you have to be Asian to appreciate the taste of the soup. Maybe? Overall, something was lacking in the presentation of the food. I don't know exactly what it was. Once we finished the fish and soup, they brought kim chee and a delicious rice and mixed it in the bowl the soup was in. This "closer" to the meal, a paella ala Korea was magnificent. Ahhh, it all made sense. The design of the meal ended on a full note and taste for me. Having said that, I did have this urge to stop by Tommy burgers and grab a chili burger but we ended up going to Scoops instead for some ice cream/gelato which was awesome. I had a scoop of chocolate rasberry and a scoop of peanut butter oreo.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Food, 10571 Pico Blvd LA CA 90064 (310-441-7770) is off of Overland near Fox Studios or Cheviot Hills Park. My friend David Ritter told me that the owners are all from NY and I guess they modeled it after a place called Food in the 60's. I am not sure if I remember the story clearly but it's something like that. It's clean, comfortable and well designed. The seating is minimal. The counter is filled with salads and baked goods. There's a drink and refridgeration section in the back. The next room across the counter seems to be the kitchen which apparently equals the size of the shop itself. Impressive. The food was excellent. I ordered the cobb deconstructed. I like the art movement reference. I drank a mint herbal tea which came with a strainer that I'd never seen before. The tea was excellent. Lastly, the dessert. There was a variety to choose from but I settled on the blackberry almond cake. The crust and top was cookie like but not too sweet, the inside was moist with that wonderful baked berry sensation. I loved it and plan to be back next week. Did I mention the staff was warm and friendly? You could feel the passion for food in this place.

Jimmys Super Lunch

At 1450 Flower Street, Glendale CA (818-549-0531) is Jimmy's Super Lunch. It's in the heart of all the fabrication shops and Disney's Imaginering Studios. Jimmy's is awesome!. It's a family run joint with limited outdoor seating. The sign above the counter window reads avocado lover's. That's pretty cool. This time, I kept it simple with a ham and avocado sandwich but next time, I'm getting the hamburger.

Dana made me a pecan pie

I know this blog is about places to eat but occasionally I encourage cooking at home. Case in point, one of my best of best friends, painter Dana Liston called me over the Holidays and asked me what my favorite pie was. That's easy, pecan and this Sunday, she asked that I pick my pecan pie up. This is a tradition for Dana. She picks a couple of her friends and bakes them their favorite cake or pie for the New Year. This pie was amazing! I've had two slices myself so far, gave each of my family members one and my band mates in D.R.E. one at the last rehearsal. There's nothing quite like a pecan pie and a cup of tea. I can't tell you how many memories it brings. NOTE: Check out the "heart" and the "A" at oppositie ends of the crust. Now, that's custom!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Kogi Taco Truck

The Korean Taco Truck roams around LA and it's created a buzz these past few weeks. They Twitter their locations. Check it all out at http://kogibbq.com/ Here's their popularity documented last night at the Downtown LA Gallery Row Artwalk which happens the 2nd Thursday of each month.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Little Saigon

On my way to my sons game #5 off the 22, I saw the Little Saigon Sign, which I had seen before on the 405. I'd never been so since I was early, I thought I'd go check it out. I really didn't know where to stop so I found a large shopping center and got out. There was a light dirzzle which made it feel like I was in another country or another world. I wondered if I blended in our stuck out like a sore thumb?. It was quite colorful, amazing and the smells where of a scene unfamiliar. I need someone to reccomend a place to eat next time. I've heard from many that the food is amazing.

Taqueria Acapulco

I've not spent much time in Garden Grove before. I got there a little early. My sons game wasn't starting for another hour so I found this funky Mexican food place, Taqueria Acapulco, 2709 Westminster Avenue, Santa Ana CA 92706, 714-554-8447. No one spoke English there, which normally may be a bit frustrating but this time, a wonderful smile made it all fine. I don't know her name but she was very kind to me as I ordered my Carne Asada tacos. They were delicious and I would love to go back someday. Apparently, seafood is what they are more into. As I waited for my order, I noticed that the entire interior had a beach side mural with cartoony images of seafood. My favorite were the happy shrimp.

Casa Bianca

It was New Years Eve, we (Department of Real Estate) played our set at Vlagrant and were super hungry. Casa Bianca was opened so we ran in before they could close. it was 10 PM and they admitted they wanted to close early. They were so cool to invite us in and encourage us to eat. We ordered the Hawaiian Pizza, the Casa Bianca regular and one with Canadian Bacon and eggplant. The latter was the big hit. Wine, beer and I had root beer, we shared a huge anti-pasto and had a really great time. We finished our meal in time to get back to Vlagrant and watch Nels Cline jam the hell out of his guitar. It was a terribly chilly night but Eagle Rock indeed rocked. Casa Bianca has been hailed by many of my friends as the best pizza in LA. Even Mr. Gold says so. Maybe...maybe. 1650 Colorado Blvd LA CA 90041, 323-256-2617

Lu Din Gee AKA Duck House

Kio was totally in charge. He ordered the duck while driving, hours before we made it back to LA from Joshua Tree. He and Midori kept going on about this amazing roasted duck. Lu Din Gee is located at 1039 East Valley Blvd, B102, San Gabriel CA 91776, 626-288-0588. The place is not big but very well designed. The service is excellent. OK, the duck. I am not a big fan of duck. It's too gamy for me, too oily. Well, this was absolutely delicious. Rich, yes, but so surprising with its multi-layered tastes and textures. It's served with succulent meat and crispy skin. You place it in these tortilla looking round sheets of rice (i think they're made of rice? they're white like rice?) and add finely cut cucumbers and oyster paste. Wow! it's like a taco but from the other side of the ocean.

Hoagies and Wings

My son and I tried out Hoagies and Wings, 11172 Washington Blvd. Culver City CA 90232, 310-839-0776. They had big screens and we were able to catch the last of the fourth and the overtime of the Eagles/Chargers Game. WOW, what a great game. My son ordered the chicken hoagie and hot wings combo. I ordered the beef hoagie. My hoagie had a little too much mayo but it hit the spot and was the perfect meal for NFL viewing.

TenRens Tea

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! It's the year of the ox so I've been working on a music piece entitled "Funk 2009 Ox Tail Stew." Also, my favorite Ugly Doll is OX. ANYWAY, what an exciting energy it was last Saturday night in San Gabriel on Valley. So freezing cold and crispy. After an evening of delicious Chinese Food, a massage and great friends, a few of us decided to extend the evening and have some tea. I was picturing a Starbucks but alas, I underestimated my company (sorry about that guys). Where Kio, Midori and Misato took me was Tenren's Tea House, 154 West Valley Blvd. San Gabriel CA 91776. I ordered a ginger tea because it was cold and I wanted to warm my body before the drive home. My English and the waiters English were of two different worlds and he brought me back a ginger and green ice tea blend. I was feeling zen (especially after the days visit to Joshua Tree and the massage) so I accepted the liquid dessert. Wow, it was just a step away from the opium den. The sugar rush was intense!!!. Whenever I get these sugar highs, my vison becomes more clear. Is this bad? Lastly, at the end of our tea session, I had an astute conversation with a two year old in a very cool down vest. Thit lil dude was totally cool.