Monday, April 30, 2012
I was at Noel Korten and Sheila Schoonhoven's for dinner a while ago and was introduced to a fellow foodie. He was a retired violinist of the LA Philharmonic. Forgive me but I did not write his name down. He said one of his favorite seafood places was in San Gabriel. Newport Seafood is located at 518 W. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel CA 91726, 626-289-5998. My daughters basketball game at Alhambra HS, which they won with confidence, ended at 11:00 AM so by the time we left the school it was lunch time and I wanted to take advantage of our proximity to Newport Seafood so off we went and bypassed the snacks the team moms had waiting for the players. Sorry about that. We got there about 15 min before it opened at 11AM and their was already a line. (NICE!) We were seated immediately, once the doors opened and decided to share an order of the seafood and fried noodles as well as a
Friday, April 27, 2012
What a funny place to have a coffee shop but guess what, it was packed when I went this afternoon. There's a great vibe there and the staff were super nice. Yesterday, I was at Balconi and Ray served this jubilant coffee called "Burundi Kayanza Gatare Lot II", roasted by Handsome Coffee Roasters. This coffee was fruit-packed with wacky dancing hues and had a number of levels or voyages. It was a party of a coffee and woke up more sections of my taste buds than I am used to coffee waking up. So, of course, today, I just had to go to Handsome Coffee Roasters, 582 Mateo St., LA CA 90013, 213-621-4194. The exterior is like an old school cafe with open windows and an outdoor seating area. The lettering is retro but reductive. Inside is a warm but not dark interior design of glass, copper, concrete, gray tile and cool details. I especially like these Prohibition looking lamps they have, kind of industrial but institutional. They also have the amazing roasting machine which you can find out more about on their website. I ordered a cup of their "Rutsiro" roast. Not unlike the Gatare, this coffee had a fruity glow with a deep roast dive. I kept smelling this amazing richness of colors. Unfortunately, I also ordered a chocolate chip cookie from Atwater-based Proof, which was fantastic but too much with the coffee. I realized this quickly so I put the coffee down, finished the cookie, drank water to extinguish most of the cookie's aftershock and then continued drinking the coffee. But, I'll tell you, that was a decadent pairing and I am probably going to pay for it tonight. Most of all, what a wonderful place. It's definitely my fav on this side of town. Yay to new favs!!!!
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
For lunch, it was a solo trip using the red Line to Pershing and a walk down 4th Street. I had been meaning to enter Urban Noodles on my blog but it just kept being postponed. Urban Noodles is partly co-owned by the Tai Sisters. Once evident when you get your first appetizer is that the noodles are made from scratch. That's fairly rare in LA. Today, I ordered the Steamed Pork Dumplings and the Singapore Rice Noodles. I also ordered an Arnold Palmer. I need to go back soon after work. They have some really unique beers I'd like to try and also Yebisu, my favorite Japanese beer. The steamed pork dumplings have a thick but soft dumpling shell that's translucent. It comes with a chili sauce and soy sauce that seems to have some fish oil in it. It was delicious and although there are only 3, it's a perfect number for an appetizer. The Singapore Rice Noodles are filled with homemade rice noodles, BBQ pork, a generous portion of shrimp, vegetables, egg and curry sauce. I love the glass noodles that are angel thin and have a almost crispy surface but a tender and tasty body. Mixed with the curry sauce, it's really wonderful. Unfortunately, Ada said today that they will be moving to the Figueroa area of Downtown and will be closing this shop the end of this month. Looking forward to the new locations.
Monday, April 16, 2012
I got an email marketing the 626 Asian Night Market in Pasadena, (Union and Oakland on April 14, 2012). I've seen little posters around and even heard it announced on the radio. The funny thing about marketing, especially if it's the first event, is even when it's done well, you don't know how many people are going to show up so you try your best, trying to create a buzz. Once in a while, the buzz grows into a very large hum and once in a blue moon, that hum turns into a hurricane. That's what this was, a hurricane. You see it coming only when it's too late, really. On one hand, yes, poorly conceived and planned but on the other hand, a highly successful marketing campaign. It was one side-street block worth of tents selling stuff you would see at a mini-mall in San Gabriel and a parking lot, half the length of that block with one long row of tents with food. I can't tell you what kind of food they were selling. It might of been amazing or it might not have been. I have no idea because to get there was impossible without committing to an hour of walking shoulder to shoulder very-very-very slowly. In fact, while I was there, a woman fell and hit her head somehow. She had this welt that looked like a softball was under the skin of her forehead, stitching and all. The ambulance staff with their gurney, took a long time to get from the road to where she was because they had to navigate through the incredible ocean of people all thinking the same thing, "how do i get out of here". I'm posting this partly to warn you if they try to do this again. OK, part of me wants to give them a 2nd chance. There's always room for improvement, etc. but clearly, these folks had no idea what they were doing. I don't even think they even understand what an "Asian Market" means; incredible international cultures and environments. Instead, you're better off going to Chinatown, San Gabriel, Little Saigon, Philippine Town, Thai Town, Little Tokyo, Sawtelle/Olympic or the various neighborhoods in Koreatown. Collectively, we have this already. It was obviously overly ambitious of the events organizers and utopic of us the patrons to think they could create something close to what's taken over a century for LA to create.
I was on a project with photographer Bill Short last week. We arranged lunch. I arranged to meet in Culver City and together we would find a restaurant we hadn't been to yet. We chose EK Valley Restaurant, 6121 Washington Blvd, Culver City CA 90232, 310-838-6839. BINGO!!!! This is a find and very affordable. I ordered the mole enchilada and Bill got the taquitos. Homemade and awesome. The refried beans reminded me of my friends Tia's beans. This is a memory from 1981, so you know those were awesome refried beans.
Cucina Rustica, 888 Wilshire Blvd LA CA 90017, 213-988-8880, has the funniest exterior wall. The west facing wall has several rows, in a scattered design, of planters. It's a very Home Depot aesthetic, although trying really hard to be Spanish Revival. I had to try this place although I couldn't find anyone who had been there before. I think this was an omen. I ordered the Penne Marsala (with chicken), a tiramisu and coffee. The server, a cute and very young girl, seemed very confident and sassy. She couldn't recommended any of the dishes when asked, what's popular? Omen #2. The dishes visually looked great but they lacked depth, flavor and richness. I tried to find redemption by ordering the tiramisu, which the server said was her favorite. She also said they made it there. It was dry. I went with co-workers and we were all dismissive of what we ordered. "So-so, it was so-so."