Friday, June 24, 2011

Mikes Diner in Castaic

Artist Jeffrey James Mohr has been raving about Mike's Diner for a while now. When he goes dirt biking in the desert, his crew stops by this trucker's paradise when they're on their way back to LA. It's located off of the 5 north of Magic Mountain. You take Lake Hughes Road and it's just a block south of the off ramp. First off, it's often hard to love someplace after hearing how amazing it is for several years. But, in this case, it went totally over expectations. This is a foodies cafe, full of history, local charisma, lived in decor and a really genius in food preparation. I mean, they make three kinds of salsa and fry their own chips. It's amazing. The couple next me, who are regulars said "bring him the green sauce!" I am indebted to them because that was my favorite. The menu is huge with your diner classics like chicken fried steak, burgers, great breakfasts but they have a huge Mexican food menu and amazing seafood. My server, who was awesome and sweet, recommended the Shrimp Fajita's. The Fajita's were perfectly grilled, with peppers, onions and jumbo shrimp. The tortillas were steamed perfectly, not soggy and didn't cool off quickly, they stayed off long enough to devour. I could not resist dessert, seeing b split on the menu.They were out of chocolate so she substituted it with Chocolate Chip Mint which may not sound good but it ended up being amazing. I can't wait to go to this place again. I was told that the 7 Seafood Soup is amazing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Animal on Farifax

Megan DeArmond told me about this place quite a while ago. The name says it all and I finally partook this past weekend. Kaoru Mansour and I released our first CD, Ear Diorama Ear (plug, plug) and we wanted to celebrate so I picked Animal. She had never been either. Parking for $6 is all over the place, no biggie. Walked in the narrow store and the place was already hoping. Reservations are required because they are that popular but absolutely devoid of stuffy attitude. The service was awesome. It's a place for meat lovers and open minds. You know that walking in and they appreciate that. What did we order? That was not easy because they have a lot to choose from. Alaskan Halibut with corn, wild fennel and lobster butter; Potato Agnolott with rabbit sausage, baby broccoli and olive oil; Crispy Rabbitt Legs with meyer lemon, ailoli and green beans, Poutine with oxtail, gravy, and cheddar; and I had a Hercules Double IPA (Kaoru does not drink and had the sparkling water). I text later to jeffe "I'm so full I can't remember my name". It was a perfect way to celebrate the release of our CD and enjoy a meal with a friend. We did walk around the block before we left just to revive our brains but wow, that high lasted 24 hours for me.

King Torta in El Sereno

On the surface, a torta is a simple sandwich-like meal but because there are so many variables, having a "great" torta can be tricky. Artist Clement Hanami and I went to go check out the first show in the newly built Vincent Price Museum at East LA College, which he's in. (plug, plug) On our way back to Downtown LA, he said that the best Torta was at King Torta, 4507 Valley Blvd, LA CA 90032, 323-222-7006. Both being very hungry, we stopped by. He had the carne and I had the al pastor. The bread was perfect, not too soft not too fancy. With fresh ingredients, richly seasoned meat and an initial size that seemed bigger than most, this was a sweet lunch. What throws the whole experience over the top are the Guacamole Fries. I could make a meal with this side alone but you need your veggies. it's not just the delicious-ness of the guac but the fact that the fries are exceptional. Thanks Clement! Another affordable score!

Billys Deli and Cafe in Redondo Beach

Early in the morning last week, I visited Isabella Cookie's in Redondo Beach to do some field recordings. I'm developing a two hour sound loops for the Coolhaus Ice cream Truck for this years Soundwalk in the LBC. After wards, I was hungry for some breakfast and found this OG diner just down the block from Isabella's. Billys Deli and Cafe is located at 5160 West 190th Street, Torrance CA 310-371-0168. Service was awesome and the ambiance was from a bygone era. I ordered the waffle and ham scrambled eggs special. Extremely affordable and old school diner-licious, this meal was awesome. I read this interview with artist William Leavitt while eating which seemed to be the perfect vernacular for this place and the meal. No nonsense waffles and they had choices of syrup. I poured the blueberry.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chimu at Grand Central Market Downtown LA

Apologies to artist Megan DeArmond for not going with her first to Chimu, even though I said I would. Bad friend...BAD friend. I'll have to make it up to her but I am so happy she introduced it to me. WOW! Peruvian CUISINE to the MAX in Downtown LA. It's actually an exterior side cafe at Grand Central Market directly across the street from Angels Flight. I was so enamored with the presentation, quality and yummyness that I went twice in one week. IN 1 WEEK!!!! For instance, the crevice is chunky, fresh and chunky fresh. Good light lunch portion but rich and poly-level tastes bounce up and down from misty ocean sprays to lemony dill like summer splashes. Bring friends and share several dishes. I hope to make it back this week.

Balconi Coffee Company on Olympic off Sawtelle

Artist Kio Griffith told me that Balconi Coffee was re-opening but it took me a while to drop by. It's located off of Sawtelle on Olympic at 11301 West Olympic Blvd #124, West LA, CA 90064, 310-906-0267. Kio is also curating the shows up on the wall. It's been around 2 years since Ray closed his doors off of Santa Monica Blvd. That place had a very loyal clientele, so I'm told that the regulars are back and in full force and always open to welcome new friends. I drove there last Saturday and when I looked through the door, there was bassist David Ritter. I just busted up. How cool, yes, the regulars are back!!!! The siphon coffee was awesome as it always was at the old place. David recommended the Costa Rican blend and it was a perfect re-introduction to Ray's mastery. Welcome back all around!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Electric Lotus on Vermont North of Sunset

For Angelene and Marco's Birthday, we went to Electric Lotus for lunch located at 4656 Franklin LA CA 90027, new entrance off of Vermont. What a wild place. They have all of the regular Indian dishes, Chicken Tika, Lamb Curry, Garlic Naan, etc. but what blew us all away was the vegetarian curry. The interior is like Hollywood set design meets Baliwood. Well, maybe that's not much of a stretch but anyway, it's fun. I think this place is better at night. The energy at lunch is low key but I'm told it's more "electric" at night.

House of Pie in Los Feliz

Franklin and Vermont is home to HOUSE OF PIEs!!! I've been going there since 1979. How about you? The crazy OG quality of the pie is still the same. I love the Peach when in season as well as the Apple Dutch Pie. The food there is pretty good to but it's all about the pie. I love this neighborhood. In High School, I had a lot of band mates who lived around here so we used to stop by and have pie and coffee. Down the block are all those cool shops on Vermont, bookstore, Palermo, Xtra LRG and back in the day the Onyx, Fat Beats, Chattertons. Oh, memories.

Ruben's Taco Truck in Culver City

I was attempting to get to Midnight Ridazz in CC but was a little early and hungry so I rode down Venice in search of a taco truck. Ruben's was parked in front of the Smart and Final. The pollo was awesome and the hot sauce delicious. The culture of a night ride is so perfectly matched for taco trucks. I think I do most of my taco truck eating when bike riding at night. What's perfect is you can over eat a little because you'll just burn it off anyway. Right?

Salt Creek Grill in El Segundo

My friend Z completed her PhD at UCLA and we celebrated with her at the Salt Creek Grill. Located in a huge mall area, it's at 2015 Park Place El Segundo CA 90245. This mall has a great Dick's Sporting Goods. Anyway, I ordered a Cape Cod, as it's called or known to most at cranberry and vodka. You get a buzz and your anti-oxidants all in one glass! The munchies they had were really good. The party of about 30 folks took place outside in this patio area. With a cool pre-summer breeze, we had a great time. This place is a little chain restaurant-vibed but the service was really good and the atmosphere was pretty cool.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Natraliart Jamican Restaurant in Midtown

Natraliart Jamican Restaurant is located at 3426 W. Washington Blvd LA CA 90018. My friend, artist Steve Irvin recommended this place a year ago but I finally was able to go and grab a bite to eat there last week. My friend and I ordered the Jerk Chicken, Acker & Cod and ginger beer. Natraliart is located at 3426 West Washington Blvd, LA CA 90018. I don't know much about Jamaican food. Jerk Chicken I am familiar with but the server said Acker & Cod was the national culinary treasurer. Eat this and you'll be an honorary Jamaican. To me, that's like a dare. So I ordered it and it was delicious but was certainly an acquired taste. i suspect this isn't for everyone. Maybe it's the fishness mixed with those earthy Jamaican herbs. I finished it. The rice is mixed with some spice that is incredible. I could almost just eat the rice for a meal. The ginger beer was awesome. I would highly recommend this drink if you go.