Friday, May 29, 2009

Barbara's at the Brewery Artist Studios

Barbara's at the Brewery Artist Studios is a really cool place. Currently, there's a photo exhibit of portraits of artists who live at the Brewery. The meatloaf was nostalgic. There's a full bar there. Maybe it would have been funner at night.

Two Boots Pizza

Jeffe told us there was a new pizza place next door to the Echo so we decided to go yesterday for lunch. Two Boots Pizza, 1818 Sunset Blvd, Echo Park CA 213-413-2668, is a chain from NY, so right off the bat the expectation is pretty high. The few times I've had pizza in NY, they have been amazing. I especially like the relationship of the thin crust/bed with the tomato sauce. It doesn't get soggy but it's sort of chewy-like and for some reason, I've never had that sensation in a LA pizza. So we ordered the Mr. Pink, marinated chicken, plum tomatoes, fresh garlic and mozzarella. This was our favorite. This is an excellent pizza. The Cleopatra Jones, sweet Italian sausage, roasted peppers, onions and mozzarella was overcooked. The bread was hard like an osembe. The people are very cool but what I liked about this place the most was the artwork. Very cool paintings ala Wacko. BTW, great record shop next door, Origami Records. It's worth a little visit after the pizza. I picked up a Song Bird by Willie Nelson and a little ep by Melt Banana.

Jim and Rob's Fresh Grill, Ventura CA

In search of breakfast before my daughter's last tournament game in Ventura, we stopped by Jim and Rob's Fresh Grill on Main Street. I ordered the cheese and egg burrito and some tea while my daughter had a hot chocolate and a muffin. This place wasn't extraordinaire but the people were really sweet and welcoming. One thing I did enjoy, the salsa reminded me of Tito Taco's salsa, which I love. My daughter and I were still buzzing from the Laker's/Nuggets game the night before. I loved the fact that we were both sitting there, eating breakfast and reading the local papers about the game we watched the night before. Classic.

Mary's Secret Garden in Ventura CA

After a whole day of my daughter's basketball tournament in Ventura, she crashed in the hotel and I was left on a solo adventure in Downtown Ventura for dinner. Doing this without any research or advance reccomendation is always a krap shoot but I was up for the challenge. At 100 South Fir Street, I stumbled onto a place called Mary's Secret Garden. The moment I walked into this place, I felt very hopeful. Hopeful that my hunger would be satisfied in a very golden way and hopeful because the place had a kind of extra care about it. The food here was excellent and moderately priced. I ordered the soup of the day, a cauliflower mushroom soup with barley and garbanzo beans that was just incredible. The Thai yellow curry was not too spicy and the combo of this delicious yellow sauce and the steaming brown rice was awesome. I ordered the hummus plate as well which I devoured and with my kombucha, this was a really maginificent meal. I walked around the shopping areas afterwards and returned to my hotel room to watch the Lakers beat the Nuggets.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shabu Shabu House

Old flames are fun to remember on a lazy afternoon. I once had this amazing dancer girl friend in the 80's and we used to go to Shabu Shabu House in Little Tokyo, 127 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, LA CA 90012, 213-680-3890. She introduced me to Shabu Shabu here and to this day I haven't had better Shabu Shabu anywhere. Paper thin meat, veggies, tofu and two dips: 1) ponzu and 2) sesame miso. The boiling water heats you up as you gently cook one at a time your food. it's fast, healthy and delicious. I'm always amazed at how filling Shabu Shabu is. Yes, I thought about her this afternoon. Haven't seen her in a long time. Her husband said I wasn't allowed to see her anymore. Oh well, atleast I can still go to Shabu Shabu House.

Bloom Cafe

It's been at least a year (not sure) that I've been driving by this place. It seems to always have a crowd so it made me curious. Kio and I had to hook up to talk about the Soundwalk proposal for this summer so I asked if he was in the mood for healthy food and there we were. Bloom Cafe is located at 5544 Pico Blvd LA CA 90019, 323-934-6900. We ordered the Garlicky Shrimp taco and the Salmon plate. Both were good but not "amazing". After speaking with our animated server, the pizza is the way to go. I'll be back to try the pizza. The ingredients are all organic and they have a lovely sidewalk seating area. What blew Kio and I away was the drink they call the "Cleanser". It's a green drink with lemon and celery. It was extremely delicious.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Happiness is attained on a Friday afternoon by eating a pan of Paella at Spain, 1866 Glendale Blvd, LA CA 90026, 323-667-9045. it's a large portion intended to share, which I did. Once it arrived (allow around 30 minutes) at our table, the color, heat and aroma conjured heartfelt memories of when I was introduced to paella. It was the mid 80's and I was invited to dinner at my girlfriends mothers home who once had her own cooking show on cable. Paella, saffroned rice in a baked pan filled with tomatoes, shrimps, clams, sausages, etc. Spain's version today was chicken paella. The seafood version was $30, a bit much for me on a workday. Also, since it was workday, no Sangria, WHAT??? Anyway, it was delicious in the most all encompassing way. We also had sandwiches which were garlicky and yummy as well as a ham and cheese empanada. This was a much needed feast for an otherwise upsetting morning at work. I'm good!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Honey Pig

After a day of driving the kids around and doing chores, I jumped on Tom and P Knitty's offer for dinner. Although a month ago, they wanted to take me out for my birthday. Honey Pig is at 3400 West 8th Street LA CA 90005 213-380-0256. If you don't read Korean, it's the building with the cute pig logo. Everything is cooked in front of you. You can cook it or as in our case the staff came by to help us along. Korean style pork BBQ, tofu, and vegetables cooking on this hot iron cone like stove. The sounds and smells are festive. The meal is long and sensual. This is not fast food, it's a dialogue filled evening with friends and/or family, of laughter and stories. The staff is very cool and supportive. Once all is cooked and eaten, they bring in chili stirred rice and cook it on the stove, along with the after flavors left on the iron cone. You get to eat this stirred with leafy greens and it's amazing.