Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bahay Kubo Restaurant

Have you ever seen those T-Shirts that are a spin off of the Got Milk campaign? I like the one that says Got Adobo? Adobo is a brown stew with garlic that usually has beef, chicken or pork in it. It's usually cooked so long that the meat just falls off the bone. Over some rice, it is an amazing comfort food made possible by the amazing culture of the Philippines. Got Adobo? Bahay Kubo Restaurant does. Located at 2330 West Temple Street, LA CA 90026, 213-413-4804, they are just minutes west of downtown LA. I was there with my buddy Pauline and her, I and another customer at another table were the only non-Philippinos in the whole lunch crowd. Between the two of us we had beef stews, adobo, pansed (noodles and vegetables) and this out of the world dessert, Halo Halo. Not too sweet but sweet enough, the Halo Halo has vanilla ice cream on top of crushed ice which tops a selection of sweet noodles, jello like shapes, custard tasting bits and sweet beans. It reminded us of a similar drink they have at Vietnamese places but it's not as sweet. This place is someplace I highly recommend. It's like you're over at your friends Auntie's, who likes you, and has invited you to stay for a meal. It feels like that inside.

Caffe Luxxe

I was wandering the Brentwood area this past weekend for a quick lunch and stumbled onto Caffe Luxxe 11975 San Vincente Blvd LA CA 90049 310-394-2222. I believe the coffee was one of the best I've ever had and certainly is the best I've had this year. It was so smooth , I mean velvet smooth and not over roasted like so many popular coffee houses. I ordered a Cafe Mocha and although I'm not much of a coffee drinker, would love to go back soon and try a different cup off the menu. With it, I ordered the walnut and raisin bread and chocolate croissant. The walnut and raisin bread was awesome and came with a side of fig jam. The fig jam was fresh and naturally sweet. If you like coffee, I highly recommend you give this place a try. I'd love to hear what you think.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Los Feliz Cafe

I have been golfing here before and I've passed by the cafe a hundred times but Jeffe and I finally made it there. The Los Feliz Cafe is at 3207 Los Feliz Blvd., LA CA 90039, 323-661-2355. This is classic Los Feliz/ Atwater, in the hut like 50's structure with LA-style wacky interior. The people here are very cool and helpful. Our very attractive server recommended either the Vegetarian Burrito or the Chili Burger. I went burger. I was not too overjoyed with the beef patty with my Chili Burger but the price is really too low to complain. The rest of the burger was awesome, however. Especially the chili. They serve it on the side. There's way too much for just the burger so it becomes a dip for your O rings or fries, which is so cool. Jeffe ordered the bacon burger, which he said was really good too but next time, I'm going to try the burrito, which was our servers favorite item on the menu. We'll be back soon!!! I gotta work on my golfing. Haven't swung a club in two years.

Village Bakery and Cafe in Atwater

Across the street from Indian Sweet and Spice in Atwater is a cafe/bakery I've been eyeing for a while. Artist Jeffrey James Mohr's friend highly recommended it so off we went this week for lunch. Village Bakery and Cafe, 3119 Los Feliz Blvd., LA CA 90039, 323-662-8600 is small but very comfortable place with and indoor/outdoor seating area. The first thing that struck me when inside was the selection of baked goods. That and the bold chalkboard menu kind of made me a deer and headlights. I had a hard time deciding what to order. I settled on the Beet Salad (fresh greens, diced beets, grapefruit and nuts), which was so good, I never once poured the salad dressing. Instead, I used it as a dip for the hot out of the oven side bread. I also ordered the Fennel Soup, which was one of two specials of the day. Delicious, ripe, soothing and chunky, this soup made me full. Jeffe ordered the Turkey Dinner sandwich. During the lunch, he kept repeating, "Oh, this cranberry sauce is soooo good." Although we were completely full by the end of our meal, we couldn't resist ordering a baked good. That also took some time to decide. The Brownies were a special two for $4.50 so, how could we resist. It turned out to be a perfect choice. The ratio of butter to chocolate in these brownies was off the chart. It made the brownie light but decadent. When we got back to work, we opted to take the stairs to the 19th floor. We are getting wiser. Oh two things about this place; 1) the oven is awesome and 2) the service is fantastic, they are very proud and rightly so. They take great care in what they prepare and it shows. OK, three, the women there are breathtaking and gracious. They really melted our hearts. THERE, I said it!

Fleur de Lys in Monterey Park

Mike the Poet and Emi Motokawa turned me onto this amazing bakery, Fleur de Lys, 440 South Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park CA 626-282-404. Apparently, it was founded by someone from France with Armenian roots. It sits on a little corner island on Atlantic with supple landscaping, an outdoor and indoor seating area, and an architectural vernacular that clearly is in tuned to the heart of the baked treasurers inside. I ordered the Monkey Bread (Cinnamon roll) and a Ham and Cheese croissant. They have great coffee and teas but I chose the homemade lemonade which was refreshing and spectacular. The Ham and Cheese was yummy but the Monkey Bread blew me away. The intoxicating degree of cinnamon to butter was so decadent, I felt guilty eating it on my way to a meeting. I also picked up some Madelaine's for my colleagues which they told me later were delicious.

Duck House (Peking Duck) in Monterey Park

I was treated to a fantastic dinner at Duck House (Peking Duck) 501 S. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, CA 91754, (626) 284-3227 for my B-Day by my peeps, artist/ musicians; Kio Griffith and Kaori, Peter Watkinson, Suji Lee, Mike the Poet, Emi Motokawa, Eka (future artist), and David Ritter. This restaurant was once located in San Gabriel but they relocated to this location in MP and this was most of our first time at the new location. Kio was in charge of the menu and we had ten dishes of mouthwatering Chinese cuisine including Peking Duck, Chinese Crab, Steamed Yam and Duck and one that surprised us all, Eel and Rice.The Eel and rice was amazing. The grilled Eel was sauteed in a teriyaki like sauce and laid on a rice that reminded me of the Japanese Sekigohan, which is always eaten during New Years. I suspect it was originally Chinese and reintroduced in this combination but I'm not certain of that. We were all completely stuffed at the end of the meal and I took home all the left overs which my kids ate the next day for dinner. Thanks guys! BTW, when you, call in the Peking Duck an hour before you arrive. it takes a while to make and they require you pre-order it for your dinner there. The key to the amazing dish is that they prepare the meat and the skin separately. The golden and crispy skin and the tender juicy meat is then brought out and you put them in "tortilla" like skins, dab a little sauce, and pop them in your mouth, much like scene in "Tampopo" (Juzo Itami), where the grandpa like thief is impersonating a college professor and is trying to extort a businessman at the Chinese restaurant. Before he is hauled away by the detective, he asks if he could have one more bite of the Mushu Pork. The detective grants him his wish because he knows that it'll be his finally meal outside prison walls and the scene ends with his mouth, chewing in sheer bliss.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mickey's Fountain on Hollywood Blvd

Artist Megan DeArmond and I had some stuff to do at the Metro Hollywood Highland Station. We finished fairly early and were hungry so I suggested we go across the street on Hollywood Blvd and get a banana split. Mickey's Fountain is attached to Disney's El Capitan Theater and is very Disney. If you aren't into Disney culture, this may not be the place for you but if you're alright with that, they have a very awesome B Split waiting for you. The ice cream is specially from a Bakersfield ice cream shop. I especially like the marshmallow topping, which is lain on top of the ice cream scoops like a fluffy comforter. It conforms to the ice cream and they put a generous heap of whip cream and cherries. For some reason, this time, they only had chocolate and vanilla ice cream no strawberry ice cream and had only one syrup topping. Budget cuts? The nut sprinkles were very good. Oh well, it was good but not the usual tsunami of B Split I was used to at the Mickey Fountain. I'll wait till the economy bounces back and try it again.

Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant in Buena Park

My daughter had a 8AM game on Sunday in Santa Ana, brutal!. They lost but it was a good game. On our way back to LA we decided to stop for breakfast and I remembered Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant in Buena Park serves breakfast. They are located at 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park CA 90602, 714-220-5055, on the grounds of Knotts Berry Farm (amusement park). You'll find the restaurant right at the mouth of the main parking entrance where there are tons of little retail stores, all in the fashion of the ole west. This place is well known for their fried chicken and at night, it's often a long line of families waiting to get seated but at 9:00 AM ish on a Sunday, those families are walking towards the amusement park entrance and not for fried chicken, except me and my hardcore peeps. I ordered the friend chicken and eggs plate while my daughter ordered an omelet. The friend chicken was so hot, fresh, and yummy, drowning in white gravy, with that steam coming up, I mean mann, that's the way to start a Sunday! The only draw back is the food coma. I had to stop on our way back to LA for a ten minute nap and when we got home we took another nap. It's worth it though.

Cassels Burgers on 6th near Vermont

Cassel's has been in LA for decades. Located at 3266 West 6th Street LA CA 90020 (2 blocks west of Vermont) The signage is vintage but the burgers haven't changed at all. Large patties and lots of choices. I always choose the rye bread. Jeffe chose the bun. The condiments galore are yours to insert or spread and they are known for their mash potatoes which has a bit of horseradish in it. The onion rings are some of the best in town. Golden, slightly crunchy and delicious. Beat the lunch rush and get there around 11:45 and you're sure to get a seat.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Maya's Tacos on Alvarado Street

Anyone who drives Alvarado where it meets Glendale Blvd knows that it jams there and during rush hour, it's crazy gridlock. When you make it to this intersection, there's a earthy-red building on the corner with bright white type, "MAYA'S". The parking in the area is tricky because of this five street intersection. There's a little parking lot in back of the building but if you don't mind walking a little, there's residential parking a block away. So I walked in and at first wasn't sure. The interior is a head scratcher. Part convenient store and part cafe. It's got a big menu of your typical Mexican food but buried toward the bottom of this blinding menu is the prize, Yucatan food. Panuchos; on top of a homemade tortilla is beans, chicken, lettuce, tomato, onion and fresh cut avocado. Hurraches; chicken or beef in a fried homemade tortilla, beef, beans, avocado, tomato and lettuce. The tortillas are almost fluffy. The sauces are totally different from Mexican food giving this food a new taste to the mouth. I was so surprised and excited to discover this food.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lighthouse Deli and Cafe in San Pedro

I went to go see artist Sojung Kwon's solo exhibit at Angels Gate Art Center in San Pedro (Mike Watt Territory). I'm not in Pedro often and jumped at the chance to have lunch with the artist at a local eatery, The Lighthouse Deli and Cafe, which is located at 508 west 39th Street, San Pedro CA 90731. This place has an awesome community feel to it. The servers are funny and welcoming. Sojung ordered a salad and the Mahi mahi dish. I ordered what was called the potato cake. It's not a potato pancake per se. It is like grilled mashed potatoes. I liked it (of course). The hot chocolate was awesome by the way. We sat outside because Sojung's puppy was not allowed in the cafe. Pedro is often windy and the hot chocolate kept us warm.

Juniors on Westwood Blvd

I finished one of two classes for the UCLA Oral History Program Saturday and was hungry. Drained from the session, I was driving down Westwood Blvd, and there were a lot of choices. You know when you're really hungry and you can't make up your mind? I was at that point, so by the time I made it down to Pico, that "JUNIORS" sign really caught my eye. Juniors is located at 2379 Westwood Blvd. LA CA 90064. When I walked in, I was taken with the first glance of the clientele. It seemed to me predominately older Jewish customers. I got that feeling, oh, I may be the only Asian in the room. I got that feeling that maybe I wasn't supposed to be there but everyone was so nice and the servers were very friendly that that feeling quickly dissolved. I have to say, much like the other "diners" in town, this place is not inexpensive. I ordered a "Grammy", which can come either pastrami or corned beef (chose pastrami), with a chocolate milkshake. The meal came out to around $20. I have to say, it was well worth it. The chocolate shake was one of the best I ever had. In fact, I was telling my friends about it last night. Frosty glass cup, chocolate ice cream whipped to a chilled consistency, fresh whipped cream, it was awesome. The pastrami was amazing. They bake their own rye bread! Can you believe it? The pastrami was excellent, tender, rich and not too salty but just salty enough to make you bite into the pickle. They put fresh home style coleslaw and a Russian dressing that is just perfect. I was pleasantly surprised with Juniors.