Monday, March 29, 2010

Skaf's in Glendale

Hadn't seen Rick and Hiromi in months so we made plans to finally go to this Lebanese place they mentioned to me over a year ago. Skaf's is truly a family place. The Skaf family cook and manage the modest sized restaurant. It's on a corner at 367 N. Chevy Chase, Glendale CA 91206, 818-551-5540 (corner of C Chase and Verdugo) and there's parking in the back. Between the three of us, we ordered enough food for six people. It was an amazing lunch. On our table was Baba Ghannous (a roasted eggplant dip), beef shish kabab, garlic butter, pita bread, tabbouli salad (chopped parsley, tomatoes, burghol, onions, lemon juice, mint and olive oil), fattoush salad (mixed greens and pieces of toasted pita), chicken kabab, rice and for dessert, ashta (fresh cream with sliced banana's, strawberries, dripped with honey, rose water and crushed pistachios). Oh my goodness, I was so full I could barely walk to my car afterwards.

Senor G's in Playa Del Rey

I eyed this place on my last bike ride through Playa Del Rey but finally went for breakfast this past weekend. Senor G's is located at 343 Culver Blvd, Playa Del Rey CA, 310-822-7733. I wasn't sure, but it seems like a family owned and run place. They had a full Mexican food menu but I went with the standard, Huevos Rancheros. The tortillas came warmed and in that plastic container my friend Allessandra's Nana used to bring from the kitchen. The salsa was killer and I appreciated the warm chips. The huevos rancheros was delicious and filling. Everything was fresh and homemade tasting. For instance, you know when the rice is tender and airy-like that, they just made it. It was so good, I finished everything. Downed it with a Yerba Matte hot tea. SWEEEEET!

Hot Cakes

I finally walked in. Hot Cakes is near B & B hardware off of Washington (the one that used to advertise during Laker Games). Hot Cakes is located at 4119 Centinela Ave, LA CA 90066. I guess the name sort of made me feel uncomfortable (don't judge me). I ordered the Peanut butter cupcake and the lemon square. The lemon square was delicious. Not too sweet and very-very lemony. The bottom was a thick cookie-like bottom crust. Outstanding! The peanut butter cupcake was good but there wasn't enough peanut butter sensation. I want my peanut butter to be over the top. I mean, I'm a crunchy type of person. It was very good, though, especially the chocolate cake base. Evidently their red velvet cup cake is their most popular but I just couldn't pass up the peanut butter.

Jazz Kitchen at Downtown Disney

I spent 14 hours at Disneyland Friday. It was rough. I'm still a little burnt from it. A highlight for me at the "happiest" place on earth was lunch. The Jazz Kitchen is located in the section called Downtown Disney. Yeah, it's tourist to the MAX but this place had some good food. I ordered the fried catfish plate. It came with a salad; creamy vinaigrette dressing, mix greens and tiny little candied pecans. The catfish was fresh and tender. The fried shell was not greasy but rather crisp, spicy and hot. I mean, the fish oozed of juice. To wash it down, Dixie's Blackened Voodo Lager (hey the happiest place on earth just got a little happier).

Sam Woos in Monterey Park

Drove to Monterey Park last week to hook up with Mike The Poet, Emi and their 8 month baby. Babies are cute but their daughter is amazing. A very happy baby, indeed. It was great to finally see her. Eating at home seemed easier than eating out with the baby so we got a take out from Sam Woos, 634 W Garvey Ave Monterey Park, CA 91754, Mike and Emi's favorite. Mike wouldn't let me pay (dudes become very Asian) but we negotiated that I would by beers so he drove us to the local liquor store. IT'S BACK!!!!! Ladies and gentlemen, Dixie Beer is back! So I got a 6-pack and it was delicious with the Sam Woo Chinese food. Dixie has been absent from the local shelves since Katrina. I heard all about it on NPR. The plant hasn't been rebuilt yet but they started to work with other breweries to make Dixie beer and there it was! The flat noodles were excellent, the sweet chicken was fab and stir fried vegetables crisp and fresh. Emi's family owned a restaurant for many years so they are picky about what they eat. Good people to know when ordering food and the Dixie beer really was icing on the cake.

Green Peas in Culver City

I was in Culver City to pick up my kids from their sports practice over the weekend and was an hour early. I was hungry and decided to check out this place I'd been eyeing for a while. It's next door to this place where you train to get your butt rock hard. The posters are really funny. Anyway, next door to the steel buns place is Green Peas, 4437 Sepulveda, Culver City CA 90230, 310-397-9815, which I thought was going to be a vegetarian place but their huge menu does have meat plates. I ordered the Steak Quesadilla (red peppers, cilantro, cheese, tender steak, tomato, onions in toasty wheat tortilla). There was small side salad that was really delicious. I also purchased a Kombucha, which always makes me feel like I'm doing something good to my digestive system as opposed to tequila which often feels like I'm not. The meal was perfect, not heavy but filling and very tasty. Everything was fresh, folks were cool and the interior is sort of cozy, in a college student kind of vibe.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Inaka on La Brea

I played with a bunch of sound artists Saturday for SASSAS's recreation of Cornelius Cardew's Scratch Music. We loaded in at Noon, had a 90 minute rehearsal, took a short break and then performed the work. We didn't have a big audience but I heard we made it into the LA Weekly. Man, we were so tired afterwards and brain dead. After loading my equipment back into my car, I found myself with composer's Steve Roden and Glenn Bach. We decided to go get a bite to eat. I suggested Inaka at 131 La Brea Avenue, LA CA between Beverly and 3rd Street. We drove in Glenn's Volvo tank. I'd not been there in 10 years. This place has been around since the 70's I believe. It's a little pricey but the foods vintage macrobiotic and awesome. I had the Inaka Bowl and a side of natto and tofu. Glenn did not like the natto so Steve and I ate it. The Inaka Bowl was filled with steamed vegetables on a bed brown rice. It's simple, healthy and freshly delicious. The most interesting part of the meal was the tea. I got a hot mugi cha, barley tea, that was so soothing and heavenly. Steve got another tea which turned out to have a soy sauce base with pickled plum. It was funny and painful watching him try hard to drink it. He was a trooper through the first 1/4 of the cup but he just couldn't do it. I took a taste and it reminded me of the tea I had to cook and drink after going to the Chinese Herb Doctor in Chinatown. I remember it stunk up the whole house but it did work. I still have that pot you have to buy to cook the tea. I just can't throw it away. Steve ordered the soba noodles which came with two huge brown rice mochi's. Good stuff but make sure you allocate at least 2 hours for dinner. The service is at a mushrooms pace and rightly so. (Slow down...)

Tak's Coffee Shop in Crenshaw Square

You know I usually have lunch but today I didn't need lunch. Guess why? Because I went to Tak's Coffee Shop for breakfast. Once upon a time, there was a bowling alley at Crenshaw Square called Holiday Bowl. In the bowling alley was a cafe famous for it's ramen, seimen, fried rice, just to name a few things. When the LA riots erupted in the early 90's, the bowling alley went up in flames. Many missed that place including the food at the cafe. The couple who had run it decided years later to open their own place in the same mall when things settled down. Since then, the old clientele and new folk have been discovering or re-discovering all this authentic comfort food at Tak's, 3870 Crenshaw Blvd LA CA 90008. I had the Portuguese sausage and eggs. It was delicious but it filled me up for the rest of the day. They even have chili and rice, chashu pork sandwich and something called Tak's Delight Sandwich which consists of roast beef and American cheese. You know I'm going back. ADDITION; I have been back a number of times and I have to say that the Loco-Moco is probably my favorite.

Los Montes in Norco CA

Ever been to Norco? I used to work out there, back in the late 80's. It's way east of LA. You can smell the ranch out there. There's a section out there off of Hammer and 6th they call horse town USA. It's really an amazing place. People are riding horses on the streets, hay is sold everywhere and you can smell it in the air. I found myself there this weekend for a basketball tournament my daughter was in. We had an hour before we needed to be at the gym and I was hungry. We found a market next to this huge store that sold horse riding gear including saddles and cowboy boots. The market next door was called Los Montes and inside this market is a small Mexican cafe. On the menu is the Cowboy Burrito which is huge and has a Chile Poblano stuffed with cheese and beans, drenched in more cheese. I couldn't finish it. I also had a lite dinner later that evening.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chili Johns in Burbank

Established in 1900? Are you kidding me? This is the oldest cafe in the Valley. Chili John's of California is located at 2018 W. Burbank Blvd, Burbank CA 91506, 8818-846-3611. I finally made it last week. Actually fellow foodie Scott McConnell told me about years ago but it took a meeting in Sun Valley to in the vicinity around lunchtime. The exterior is cool, authentic and aged. The interior is small and comfortable with a horseshoe counter with red vinyl seats. In the center is the selection of chili's with hot dogs and pasta's. They'll make any combo you want and any degree of spiciness you want. I had the Sloppy John's with spicy chili. It cleared my sinuses which is great because it's allergy season. Maybe this what people used before Clariten. I had my chili drenched Sloppy John with spaghetti. It was sooooo good and spicy to the bone. I was still hungry when I finished it (I get extra headroom when I get excited). I ordered the chili hot dog. The wiener is not your store bought variety, this is from a local butcher who makes out of some choice pork stuff and it is DEElicious. My friend Angelene ordered a chili too and we shared a cream pie. The pies are made fresh there. The slice we ate just made 10 minutes earlier and was not only still warm but fantastically fresh to the taste.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cake Monkey at Silvery Lake Wine

I was on a quest to find Green Flash Beer, Westcoast IPA. From their home page to their local distributor to Silver Lake Wine. I found it in a meer six minutes. So off I was for am lunch time quest to Silver Lake. Why you ask? On the eve of our 11th Ear Meal webcast, Torsten Mueller and Ronit Kirchman (mostly Torsten) requested this rare beer. You see, i always ask the artists, what is their drink of choice?

At this wonderful wine shop, Silver Lake Wine, 2395 Glendale Blvd, Silver Lake CA, I was treated well and even picked up a bottle of a red Rhone (forgive me, I forgot what I bought)along with six of the Green Flash Beer bottles.

Long story long, I noticed these curious dessert looking like gems on the counter. All in tin foil and reminiscent of what Hostess Ding Dongs used to be. I do miss the tin foil but not necessarily the Ding Dongs. Well, Cake Monkey apparently were equally as nostalgic and they've come out with hot rodded versions of the junk food classic.

I got the Marshmallow Cakewhich with Peanutbutter, but of course. they also had them with various jellies. It was delicious. The chocolate, superior to anything Hostess has ever put out, was immersed in its cake-like, more sponge cake-like, body. So it has that give when you bite into it. The marshmallow is perfect and it's a little messy, un-like the Hostess version but that means it's better, right? They are located in LA but here's their website;

Friday, March 12, 2010

Beach Pizza in Playa del Rey

I went to go see my son play volleyball yesterday at St. Bernard High School yesterday. I wanted a snack and found Beach Pizza at 8115 West Manchester Avenue (Playa del Rey) LA CA, 310-827-2000.I asked if they sell by the slice and they said nope but they have what they call the individual pie. It's about 8" or so. They said the most popular pizza was "The Hang Ten" which consists of their special sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausages, meatballs, red peppers, mushrooms, green peppers, black olives. Meatballs was listed twice, not sure what's that about? The pizza was cool and everyone looked like a surfer. On the hi def screen, they were watching Dodge Ball. I felt like I was in a different zone. The pizza was great. I definitely would go back.