Monday, March 26, 2012

Black Cat on Fairfax

Sunday morning, composer Inouk Demers and I went to go check out the Marclay Clock at LACMA. Inouk had never been but it was my third time. We giggled through most of it. We watched two and a half hours worth. We walked in around 7:10 AM, so after an hour of people waking up scene after scene, there started to be breakfast scenes, mostly coffee prep. I got really hungry an hour and a half into it but we stuck it out for another sixty minutes and off we went. The Clock is a masterpiece and I can't get enough of it. I love the fact that LACMA screens it in all of it's 24 hour glory. Where to go eat? Inouk used to live around there and so he too remembered Manni's, which closed. Inouk's experiences at Manni's was a staff full of rude actors waiting for their big Hollywood break. He did not like going there. The place is now called the Black Cat, 519 S. Fairfax Blvd LA CA and it looks similar to the old Manni's but with fewer baked goods and perhaps a more focused menu. We sat down and were greeted by two woman who were in charge. They were very busy with the packed house but not so busy as to make us feel at home and Inouk looked at me and said, "oh, these guys are way more nicer than the Manni's staff". It's funny how that initial vibe sets the stage for your meal. I ordered the chocolate pancakes. Inouk got the vegan granola. He had breakfast already. We also got the house brew. that coffee was delicious. My pancakes were lush with a semi-sweet chocolate and rich grains. I poured the maple and smothered it in butter. There was a seen in The Clock were the protagonist was eating hot cakes so it inspired me. It rained on our way back to the parking lot while we talked about Xennakis. I was in a hurry to go and pick up my daughter for her game in Alhambra but what an awesome morning I already had.

Marias Kitchen in Downtown LA

We have a new group of cyclist at work now. We hook up for lunch on Fridays and go eat. Last week, one of the cyclists recommended Maria's Kitchen, 615 Flower Street, LA CA off of Wilshire Blvd. I was excited to go to an Italian place I'd never been. When we got there, I was a little worried. The presentation was very mall food court like and it turns out this is actually a local chain. Well, I ordered a Ceasar salad, lentil soup and the Italian Fries. It wasn't so bad. One of the guys gave me a slice of his Magarite Pizza which was decent. The over all flavor is very food court mall but good food court mall. Not sure if I'd ever go back. It wasn't great but not as bad as I initially feared, which sometimes is like coming out ahead. It was a fun bike ride through Downtown LA.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Diner on Main in Alhambra

After two weeks since my daughters high school made a run for the State Finals, she was back on the court with her friends in the Asian League, playing a tournament in Alhambra. She had 2 games Sunday. After the first game, one of the other fathers, Koji, his younger daughter and I went to go get a bite to eat. Honestly, we escaped. it was a cold gym and those benches are very hard. All the other parents, siblings, coaches and the team stayed back to get ready for game 2. I felt a little guilty but oh well. Koji Terada is a foodie. He's slim but the dude loves to eat so I was anxious to see where he was taking us. A block and a half away from Alhambra High is Diner on Main, 201 W Main St. Alhambra CA 91801, 626-281-3488. This place has a nostalgic decor that is inspired by a love for the 50's. Koji ordered the fried rice. Fried rice? We must be in Alhambra. I ordered the Monte Cristo. This is like a donut sandwich. It's two huge french toasts with turkey and ham with a cream sauce. For the record, the server recommended the Club. I should have ordered that but the MC was fun to eat. It's intense, decadent and extremely filling. Because I ate all of it and the fries it came with, I couldn't order the banana split. I must return for the banana split. I must....

OnDal2 on Washington

Several months ago, I was entertaining a guest from Japan and was told by artist Kio Griffith about a place that had incredible hot pot crab, Korean style. We went that night but it was closed. It's been cold again (42 degrees F, cold for LA) so the other night, before a long awaited session with Kaoru Mansour (EDE), we went to go get that spicy hot crab. It was really fabuloso! The bancha was fresh and masterly made. The seafood pancake was really incredible and could have been a meal in itself. It was the crab hot pot that blew us away. I remember at one point. Kaoru and I looked at each other across the table and made a synchronized smiled. Mountains of crab shells to the left and right. The recording session afterwards was definitely inspired by this meal. Nailed it! OnDal2 is located at 4566 W. Washington Blvd, LA CA 90016, 323-933-3228.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Boiling Crab on Wilshire

I once went to a Boiling Crab on the westside but it has since closed and I really enjoyed it that one time. I was very happy to hear from my co-worker Erina Hong, that there was one on Wilshire so off my daughter and I went. Erina did mention that if you get there during dinner time, be prepared to wait and mann was she not kidding. We waited for 90 minutes. We took a little walk across the street, saw a memorial for Robert Kennedy, shopped at Big Five and walked down the street. Luckily, they had a HD TV in the window of the Boiling Crab, so my daughter and I along with sixty + others who were waiting for their table inside, watched the Laker's beat the Celtics. Without that second half, we may have left for another restaurant. Once we were in, the place was crazy energy. We ordered crab and spicy cooked corn. You choose what spices and level of hotness you want with the crab as well as the corn. They shake it in a plastic bag and then you eat it with your hands, from the bag, pouring the content and shells onto the wax paper table cloth. It was delicious. Was it worth 90 minutes? I am not sure. Try to get there before the dinner rush. Mind you, this was Friday night, so we were in the thick of it.

La Maison de Pain on Pico

Photographer, Elon Schoenholz recommended La Maison de Pain, 5373 W Pico Blvd, LA CA 90019, 323-934-5858, a French Bakery near my house. Well, we were celebrating my son's 20th birthday and he does not like cake or pie so I opted for a French tart. The 12" Mixed Fruit Tart is about 3x the cost of a birthday cake. That's a lot but dare I say it? It was worth it. We also sampled the potato & cheese quiche, all vegetable quiche, chocolate croissant and mini fruit tart. All fabulous and extremely well made. I wish I could afford to eat here once a week but not on my income. The servers appear to be family and are very attentive and sweet. I really loved the baked goods here. It's an exceptional place.

Dewars in Bakersfield

I first learned about Dewars when I ordered a banana split at Mickey's Fountain in Hollywood. They have this amazing whip cream topping that is like a sugary cream foam that hovers over the ice cream like a wave frozen in time. OOOhhhh. So recently, my daughter's team made it to the CA regional playoffs and we had to drive to Porterville CA. Bakersfield is along the way so I made sure I had enough time to find and eat at Dewars, 1120 Eye St Bakresfield CA. The banana split became my dinner. It had that infamous whip cream but the ice cream was very understated. On one hand, it framed the whip cream,bringing it to the forefront but on the other hand, in the end, all you really have is the ice cream and the subtleness of it makes for a strange home stretch. However, Dewar's is a must visit and I was very happy to finally have made it there. Lastly, I do appreciate the server giving me extra crushed almonds. That was awesome.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Beachwood in Long Beach

Another Bike Crew ride, this time we were back on the LA River Bike Path to the LBC. 8 riders this time, nice! By the time we got to the East Village, we started losing our center balance and one by one each place we went to was either closed, had a huge waiting list or just didn't seem appetizing. We found ourselves closer to downtown LBC and bumped into Shea of Open Bookstore who recommended Beachwood at the same time one of our Bike Crew, photographer Elon said "Beachwood". Elon's inlaws coincidentally live across the street to the owners. The first one is in Seal Beach and this is the second store. Amazing beer selection. AMAZING!!! five house brews. I tried their very own Knucklehead Red Ale. I like the term Knucklehead. Artist Johnny Coleman used to refer to kids as knuckleheads. It also reminds me of Carrol O'Connor's character in the 70's sitcom All In The Family. After a 23 mile ride from LA's Little Tokyo, this beer was angelic. I also ordered the Buffalo Sloppy Joe with fries. The food here is excellent and with tons of beers to choose from, it's the perfect place to end a bike ride.

Pescado Mojado near MacArthur Park/Westlake

Pescado Mojado near MacArthur Park/Westlake, 610 S Rampart Bl LA CA 90057. I was hungry and wanted a soup so I just happened to be in the area and thought I should try this place out. It's in a mini mall and this is a chain. When I walked in, this slightly creepy woman dressed up like a 40's era actress, though I'm pretty sure it was a guy, was sitting in the corner and staring at people, including me. I didn't want to make eye contact so I ordered and sat on the opposite side of the place. She wore a lot of make up and the wig was sort of Marilyn Monroe like. She kind of looked like if Warhol and Sedgewick had a kid, this would be her/he. I was in a seen of Factory Girl Part II. I downed my Levante Lazaro (fish and shrimp soup) pretty quickly and lefty briskly. Gotta love it.

Tender Greens in Culver City

I had never been to this place so my daughter and I decided to go. She'd actually had been there and went straight for the roast beef and caesar combo. I was actually not that hungry so I ordered this mushroom tart or pie. It was absolutely delicious with fresh shrooms and a fantastic pie crust. The buttery-ness really filled me up. Tender Greens is all over the place and this one is located at 9523 Culver Blvd Culver City CA 90232

Jersey Mike's In Norco

I was really skeptical. I mean, this is a chain, in a mall, with a Chipotle. By the time I arrived, the team, coaches and parents were already eating their orders. The menu is fairly extensive for a deli. I couldn't resist ordering the Jersey Mike's Famous Philly. I figured, if they went to the trouble of calling it "famous", we might as well chop wood with the biggest axe. I was very surprised. Other than the cheese not being Velveta, the onions and thin cut meat was very similar to the one I had in Philly but what really made it for me was the bread. That crusty on the outside and warm and tender in the inside was very nice. The only thing missing was some PA IPA.

Bambinos Pizza and Italian Food in Riverside

A bunch of us went to Riverside last week to cheer our girls basketball team on. We stopped by an Italian place the head coach recommended via some research he did on online sites. Well, all of us were disappointed with the overall quality of the food. It's so unfortunate too because the service was great. They were playing ESPN on the screen, and the place had a nice cozy feel. In a nut shell, I think this is a pizza place and not a pasta place. My overall impression with the pasta dishes is that someone is copying their mom's or aunts recipe. They visually have it down but something is missing in the sauce, something is missing in the pasta and something was missing in the ravioli. It just falls short about two steps. Banbinos is at 10971 Magnolia Ave Riverside CA 92505.