Monday, January 25, 2010

FuRaiBo on Sawtelle

Saturday evening, I went to Pauline Kamiyama's opening at the 18th Street Art Center. She co-teaches a class in the Public Art Studies at my Alma Mater, Otis Art Institute. The show was made up of the first year students in the Masters program. It was really crowded and their were awesome collaborative and socially political installations. I hooked up with Pauline and her husband Tom Clancy after it was over at FuRaiBo, 2068 Sawtelle Avenue LA CA 90025. FuRaiBo has other locations in Southern California. It's a great place to hook up with friends, have a drink and eat Japanese side dishes that go well with beer or sake. We primarily ordred various skewers of Yakitori. My favorite was the chicken liver. It's modeled after the Japanese "Nomi-yas" or drinking places and is a very fun way to try various dishes with a group of friends.

Manmi Bakery in Koreatown

On many occasions, I've drove past this bakery. It's across the Plaza Market on Western. Manmi Bakery, 869 South Western Avenue, LA CA 90005, 213-389-8844 is in Korea town. I walked in yesterday morning before a drive to Pomona. They only spoke Korean in there but everyone was super nice. I looked all of the freshly baked goods and picked a Croquet and an OJ. The woman at the counter and smiled and signaled to this other one. She wanted me to get another one. It was called the Combo. I ate them in the car. I couldn't believe the Combo. That was incredibly delicious. The outside was a crispy layer that was honey sweet and the insides were flaky and tender. I can still taste it. This is a small place but the goods are delicious, well made and worth taking a trip to K-Town for.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thai Boom in Beverly Hills

Again in the rain, we went looking to meet friends at Thai Boom, 281 South Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Hills, (310) 289-8904. It's sort of hidden between retail stores on Robertson. Half of the friends meeting us there got lost just like we did. Part of it was the rain I suppose but another possible reason is that the South and North addresses are confusing in a two block area around there. Maybe it was mostly because of the rain. The food was good. They had a huge selection. It was great to sit down with everyone and eat a meal. I never had pink soup. Think pink.

El Arco Iris in Highland Park

El Arco Iris in Highland Park is the result of a family business sustained throughout decades and decades of dedication. The grand parents wanted to serve Mexican food indicative of their home town of Queretaro and so the menu has familiar Mexican dishes but with a slight flavor difference. I ordered the Enchilada de Mole. The homemade tortilla was delicious and fresh with shredded chicken and spices inside drenched in delicate mole sauce. It was a pretty good lunch. The servers were super sweet and then it was back into the rain.

The Shack in Playa Del Rey

Went on a bike ride with friends down the Ballona Creek Bike Path Sunday. It was a great morning. We ended up stopping in Playa Del Rey on our way back from Manhattan Beach. We decided to go to The Shack, 185 Culver Blvd, Playa Del Rey CA. This is classic Playa with burgers and salads, beers and music. It was a very festive environment for a Sunday morning. when we got back to Culver City it started to rain. Timing is everything.

Petes Burger

I went to a lecture at the Velaslavasay Panorama over the weekend. I highly recommend it if you haven't been there yet. It's awesome. It was Machiko Kusahara's powerpoint on the Panorama-kan Meiji Japan. Pretty cool stuff. Afterwards, I walked across the street and ate a burger at Pete's Burger, 2400 South Hoover Street, LA CA 90007. There's something about eating a burger late night. The fries were chunky and hot. The burger was very good. I saw they have fried chicken too. Maybe next time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

La Maison de Creme

Also in the Mercado la Paloma cultural complex, La Maison de Creme is a must as well at 3655 South grand Avenue LA CA 90007. They're were three women working there. One was the bakery, one was the pastry chef and the other I believe made the Persian dishes. We were full from lunch but couldn't resist ordering the Tres Leche's cake and a drink. They have soft drinks as well as espresso and Cappuccino's. We were also given a fruit tart sample. The tres leches was moist and smothered with coconut. The frut tart had a cookie like crust and the fruits were delicious.

Mo Chica

Mo Chica, in the Mercado la Paloma, 3655 South Grand Avenue LA CA 90007, is a remarkable and almost out of place restaurant. It's in a complex that is all about the local South Central LA community and spirit of the co-op but what is served could rival a high-end restaurant on the Westside. I ordered the Cervice del dia; Sea Bass, Lomo Saltado (beef fillet, fried potatoes, tomatoes and cilantro) and a Cebada (a barley water with herbs live fresh ginger). I just couldn't believe what I was eating. It was exquisite and filling.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


bld (breakfast lunch dinner) is located at 7450 Beverly Blvd. LA CA 90036. This meal starts with my reconnection with performance artist Anna Homler. She is divine and amazing. I worked with her once 20+ years ago at the Women's Building along with artist Joyce Wexler and art critic the late Joan Hugo. Anna and I just reconnected and are working on our second collaboration now and this was to be our second meeting about our piece. Anna lives blocks away from bld and when we walked in Tuesday evening, the whole place was lit by her charm. It was like that musical/movie Hello Dolly. It was quite late, in fact they were about to close the kitchen. We wanted hot chocolate but ended up ordering a few plates of amazing munchies. I had a tuna dish and a banana cream pie. Anna ordered the apple tartar. bld is in fact like Anna's dining room. She comes her all the time and it's no wonder. This is a treasure of a place. The menu of homemade delights is fantastic. For instance, my banana cream pie was through and through signature. The crust was a chocolaty cookie like crust, the cream freshly whipped and the banana's were perfectly ripe and cut. The whole thing was a work of art.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chado Tea Room, Little Tokyo

In the building of the Japanese American National Museum is the Chado Tea Room, an amazing haven-like cafe that specializes and I mean specializes in the culture of tea. It's the most civilized act I did all week. The address is 369 E 1st Street Los Angeles, CA 90012. They had this really cool attachment to the tea pot so you don't have to secure the lid with your hand when pouring. It's so cool. I had a tea called Margaret's Hope, a British tea. In the tea menu it said it was the "ace of the fall".

Hockey Burger

Hockey Burger, 1717 South Soto, LA CA 90023, 323-264-0444, is evidently a well known burger joint in the East LA area just outside Vernon near the old Sears. I had the Hockey Burger which is a tasty traditional style burger with a sausage in it. It was really good but what really made the lunch was the delicious onion rings. They were super crunchy on the outside and tender in the inside. They also have fresh squeezed oj. My friends had the roast beef and the Hye Pie Pizza which is actually a kind middle eastern burrito which they said was awesome. I've mentioned it to some of my friends and they seem to giggle when they talk about it. It's so eccentric and retro. I'm definitely going back, even though that Hockey Burger stayed with me till morning.

Oshogatsu Happy New Year

Happy New Year!!!! 2009 was a rough one so I hope it gets better for all of us. More good times in 2010.

New years is always filled with the traditional Japanese foods at our home. Most households order the various delicacies and for the most part we did each year too but this year my uncle decided to cook everything. He's a cook and use to own his own place. My Mom made the Chawanmush, a steamed gelatin with various tasty meats and vegetables in it. Everyone's a little bit older, telling the same stories with some added new information, and there was a lot of laughter. May you have amazing meals and great new personal anecdotes this year.