Thursday, October 29, 2009

Las Delicias in Highland Park

Las Delicias in Highland Park is where I had my first Tres Leche cake. Las Delicias is located at 5567 N. Figueroa LA CA 90042. Well, I remember the cake being incredible with a sugar high that lasted several hours. This was about 2001 or 2002. We had an intern who was from El Salvador. He turned me onto this place and introduced me to Tres Leche. Tres Leche or three milks is called that because it's of course baked with milk, then lots of milk in the frosting and then once baked, it's saturated with sweet milk. Unfortunately, the piece of cake we bought this time in my revisit was not great. I think it was in the fridge for a little too long. Regardless, I'm still a fan of this cake.

Park Restaurant in Echo Park

The Park is located at 1400 Sunset Blvd, LA CA 90026, 213-482-9206. This is one of my bosses favorite places so I thought I'd give it a try. I actually attempted to have lunch there several times but it was always closed. It turns out they have kind of complicated business hours; Wednesday through Sunday, 5:30 to 10:00 PM; Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 to 2:30 PM; and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM is Brunch. They are closed on Mondays. Anyway, I would call them before you make the trek.I ordered the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and the Chick Pea and Fennel soup. The soup was outstanding! It was so fresh and hearty, a great homemade taste. The BBQ sandwich was also very good with excellent coleslaw inside. The prices are really-really reasonable too. The portions are not big so I didn't fall asleep later in the office around 3PM. The interior is kinda fun, a simple line drawing of a park. I ended my meal with a delicious Assam tea and a mediocre brownie. Still a very cool place when it's open.

Folliero's in Highland Park

Driving down Figueroa, I kept noticing this brick building so finally we went and it turns out to be a pizza place. It's been there since 1968, WOW!!! Folliero's is located at 5566 North Figueroa Street LA CA 90042, 323-254-0505. The pizza was pretty good but the coolest thing about going to this place for me was that CHICKEN BOY was on the roof. That's right, Chicken Boy!!!! YAY!!! check it out at

Friday, October 23, 2009

Milk and Movies in Pico Rivera

Once my meeting was done, I drove back up Rosemead towards the 60 and came across something nostalgic, a drive through market. Milk and Movies was located on the northeast corner of Rosemead and Beverly Road in Pico Rivera CA. When I lived in Gardena back in the 80's, we had a couple of these. They would come up to your window, take your order and then bring back the goods. If you wanted to get out of your car you could. The person working there told me the back used to be a dairy, an Alta Dena dairy farms and the milk would be fresh. I bought a ice cream bar for my ride home. It sure brought back memories.

Barney's in Pico Rivera

Who's been to Pico Rivera? let's see a show of hands? Wow, what an amazing cultural place. It reminded me of the Coen Brothers. I was there for a meeting but got there really early so I decided to have dinner. I drove up and down Rosemead off the 60 and one place really looked cool. Barney's Coffee Shop is located at 4923 Rosemead Blvd. Pico Rivera CA. The waitress was really cool but when I asked her what's the most popular dish, she talked about five. In the banquet room, the Lyons Club was getting ready for a meeting. At the counter, two veterans were talking about Pearl Harbor. I ordered the liver and onions. It was delicious. Tender onions, flavorful liver strips, mash potato, and veggies. I would love togo back and eat that again.

Mi Querido Pulgarcito No. 1

Alvarado and Wilshire around MacArthur Park is a trip. I think the entire neighborhood is an inverted mega mall. You can find anything over there or at least a pretty good copy of it. I tried getting a fake ID once there. I wanted a Hawaiian Drivers Licence with the name Mac Lovin, like from the movie Super Bad. They wanted $90 for it. That's crazy. Mi Querido Pulgarcito No. 1 is a chain that serves delicious papusas. I ordered the Papusas Revueltas. For $2 it's an amazingly affordable lunch. This place is located at 727 South Alvarado Street, LA ca 90057, 213-252-8558.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lee's Tofu in Monterey Park

This afternoon, artist Jeff Mohr and I finally went to this Soon Tofu place he's been wanting to introduce me to for a while. Lee's Tofu is located at 2008 South Atlantic Blvd Monterey Park CA 91754 323-869-4920. It's a modest restaurant in a mini mall that has a Boston Market, Starbucks and Baskin Robbins, to name a few. Hmmm, I wasn't sure but it turned out to have a kick-butt Soon Tofu. We both ordered the dumpling soon tofu which was awesome. I got the medium spicy and Jeff got the spicy. The sides were tasty and the BBQ pork was good. I would definitely go back again and apparently it's a place some of our co-workers have been going to since they were kids. It has a local flavor. I thought it was funny how in the menu, there's no mention of soon tofu, they called it something else so people who aren't Korean could understand what it was. That was very Monterey Park to me for some reason. Wouldn't happen in K-Town. K-TOWN!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

La Fuente Restaurant #1

Sometimes, a place is great not just because of the food and service but more importantly, memories. In the early 90's, I was a very young man put in charge of the public art work for what is now the Metro Gold Line to Pasadena. What a crazy, nutty decision to put me in that position. My boss then, Jessica Cusick is an amazing albeit nutty arts leader and put me in charge she did and we all had a great and inspirational run. The four to five years I worked on that project afforded me to meet an amazing and diverse group of community leaders including the then Education Director of the Southwest Museum, Barbara Arvi. Barbara loved the local La Fuente Restaurant #1, 5530 Monte Vista Street, LA CA 90042, 323-258-6109 (just north of the Highland Park Station) and every chance we had, we would have a "MEETING" there. We would eat our lunch and talk about family, friends, NAtive American culture and of course we'ld squeeze something about work in. Today, for one reason or another, I wanted to visit that place having not been there for at least twelve years. It was exactly the way I remembered it. Very friendly service, small and cozy, with the decor of a time long past, this place is really ole skool Mexican American Highland Park. Well, it is a chain but there's something about this place that is still Mom and Pop, local and community loved. Back then, I used to always order the Chicken Mole but today I tried the special, a grilled shrimp and fish plate. With sides, a salad, corn tortillas and a Jamaica, I was in heaven and a little nostalgic. The fish and shrimp were filled with tasty herbs and butter. The salsa was spicy with all those little seeds flaming your taste buds. It was awesome and I missed Barbara.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oinkster in Eagle Rock

The Oinkster in Eagle Rock is located at 2005 Colorado Blvd Eagle Rock, CA 90041 (323) 255-6465. I've been meaning to go to this place for about three years now. It's a triangular type building with a patio seating area in front. They had a special today, the Ruben. My goodness. The meat was so tender, it was falling apart and the rye bread was excellent. It never lost it's shape, even with all that meat juice and sauerkraut. The red juice tea was called King Crimson. That's extra points for a prog rock reference. What I enjoyed as much as the Ruben were the fries. That was some of the best fries I've had in a while. So golden, crunchy on the outside and tender in the inside. Very well done.


Bacaro is located at 2308 S Union Ave Los Angeles, CA 90007 (213) 748-7205. The wine and beer selection is very good and the tapas style servings of food is very impressive. The Bacaro Burger was excellent and the $1 extra for the fried egg is well worth it. I went with DRE bassist and friend, Peter Watkinson. we were on our way to go see the Chris Janney sound installation at USC, just down the block. We had a Roasted Beet Salad that was good but the beets weren't roasted. That was a kind of a curve ball. The highlight for me was the sausage pizza. Man, that was small but tasty. Not too far away from the USC campus and a short drive from Staple Center, this place is very cozy and a step above a local bar.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Masis in Jewelry District

Noam Maitless is a curious dude. We work together at Metro and he's become the industrial design go to guy. Familiar with the Business section of Downtown and in this case, the Jewelry District, he introduced me to a place, I am not so sure I will ever be able to find on my own. Masis is located on the second floor at 411 W. 7th Street, LA CA 90014, 213-623-8302. Armenian/ Mediterranean food for lunch. DELICIOUS!!! We both ordered the Beef Shawerma with Tahini. The side of rice, potatoes and salad with cucumbers was FAB! Everyone there was really cool to us and we even got treated to coconut macaroons. I highly recommend this place, especially if you find yourself in the neighborhood. What a find. Thanks Noam!

Ronnies in Culver City

Ronnie's is located at 12740 Culver Blvd, LA CA 90066, 310-578-9399. This past Sunday for breakfast, I rode my bike to Ronnie's. Equipped with two large screens, one showing the Raiders VS Giants and the other the Cowboys VS Chiefs, it was festive and energized inside. One thing for sure, the Raiders stink! Also, when the heck are we going to get a team in LA? The lamps were transformed into ghosts for the Halloween season and the place was packed with locals. I ordered the avocado and bacon omelette with a side of home fries, an English muffin and an OJ. This is a solid breakfast/lunch place. The servers are super friendly, making everyone feel like family or a welcomed out of towner. You leave stuffed, happy and ready for the rest of the weekend!

Friday, October 9, 2009

e3rd in Downtown LA

Today, I had the honor of being featured in a live lunch time online interview with new music composer, Drew Lesso which can be viewed at

It took place at e3rd, 734 East 3rd Street, LA CA 90013, 213-680-3003. Of course, I took advantage of this opportunity and documented the food we were served in the course of the interview for Cafelala. We were served a sliced avocado with a seafood center. It swam in a teriyaki type sauce and was really delicious and rich. The combination of tastes were bold. The scallop was deep fried and had this delicate tempura after taste. The beef was sauteed in a Korean sauce that was both spicy and slightly smokey. The food at e3rd is really well thought out and solidly designed.

My interview with Drew, who I had just meet this week, took the form of a Fluxus-like performance. I had a great time and Drew is simply amazing. His history and dedication to sound composition is inspiring. He's a pioneer in computer music and is part of the Stockhausen legacy. Drew's impressive and I can't believe I got to do that.

Soot Bull Jeep Koreatown

It was a lunch we had all looked forward to in varying degrees. There I was with artists Miles Kape and Jeff Mohr. Miles is also the pizza chef at Rivas in Santa Monica, a pizza highly ranked as one of the best in the City. Soot Bull Jeep is perhaps the cornerstone for Korean BBQ in Koreatown. Unfortunately, my last visit was over ten years ago but that was a memorable dinner. On that night, still crystal clear in my mind, I was invited by friends who's friend was on his final night in LA, having been studying and teaching at the Zen Center. The next day, he would be on his way to Japan to begin his rightful place as the head of his families Buddhist temple. This was his last meal of meat. It was a magnificent culinary experience and I was honored to be a part of it, along with a handful of his friends. But, this week, I was there with Miles and Jeff and we were hungry. We ordered the Rib Eye and Marinated Pork. They were both beyond delicious and quite complimentary to each other. I thought it was funny how the servers kept coming to our table and cooking the food for us. You're suppose to cook the food yourself. There's an art to it which none of us had and evidentally it was obvious to them. Anyway, we left that afternoon with smiles and a little dazed sheen in our eyes. The rest of the day, we giggled and kept smelling our clothes to remind us of that charcoal heaven. You see, they use real or natural charcoal. In Japanese, they call it sumi and it makes all the difference in the world; in this world and the other we paid a visit to at Soot Bull Jeep.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tokyo Lobby SGV

Tokyo Lobby is located at 927-K East Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel CA 91776, 626-287-9972 (a mini-mall with an Albertson's). This place was highly recommended by guys in our rail maintenance division who all love food and cook and BBQ constantly. I thought a bunch of us were going today but when it was time to go, no one could or wanted to go. I was not deterred! Off I zoomed to the San Gabriel Valley. Once in SGV, I think I passed buy this place twice before realizing it was in this mini-mall. (????) Ok, there it is! I walked through a faded facade of a Japanese restaurant and into a time zone. Is this really the place? I was seated in this colorful time capsule filled with red vinyl seats, wall decor from Japan circa 1960's and 70's. I sat down and was brought a pot of tea, glass of ice water and a small dish of pickled cabbage. Why does this seem so familiar? It took a while and then it clicked. Oh, this place reminds me of my Mom and Dad's restaurant they sold in the mid 1980's. Oh, yeah, I used to wash these dishes in the back. Oh yeah, I used to sweep this floor. Just then, the bus boy passed by pushing a stainless steel push cart with empty dishes just swept up from tables across the room. Wow, I used to push that cart. I ate my meal, the #4 beef teriyaki and tempura lunch, respectful of taste buds from decades ago. I was in and out in 30 minutes. I don't like spending too much time in the past. As I paid my bill, one of the artworks on the wall waved at me. A large wood plate with a embossed/painted image of a lobster. Hmmm... I thought we threw that away when we closed our store? Nope, I guess you can't throw somethings away. By the way, when they brought the miso soup and rice. I did something I haven't done in decades, I put the rice in the soup and ate it. For a minute, I was ten years old again. Wow.