Saturday, January 16, 2021

Plants + Animals in Eagle Rock CA


I've been trying the Keto Diet for a few months now and found this place in Eagle Rock CA. It's called Plants + Animals. Really great crew and the owner is a passionate advocate of the Keto Diet. He's answered any questions I've had about it.

I've been there several times now and have tried their turkey hand pie, the meatless burger, tamarind drink, and purchased a few bags of Keto friendly "chips". I haven't tried the desserts yet but I will. Maybe this week? It feels counter intuitive but why not try it?

They are located at 1743 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041.

Sal's Gumbo Shack, Long Beach CA

Sal's Gumbo Shack, 6148 Long Beach Blvd W, Long Beach, CA 90805, is a place I discovered on my way to a friends house in Long Beach.

Because of the pandemic, you order inside and then you can wait in this outdoor patio area, where I got attacked by mosquitos. So I retreated to my car.

The gumbo was piping hot and delicious. It wasn't super spicy or heavy so I finished it in one sitting.

I would go back if ever in the LBC again. It's quite wonderful but bring bug spray if you can.

Gene's Grinder in Monrovia CA.

Gene's Grinder in Monrovia CA.

A couple months back, I was conducting an oral history of Marvin Inouye who I've come to know through the Pasadena Buddhist Temple, where I've been the artist-in-resident since March of 2019.

Marvin and his family live in La CaƱada, right next to Pasadena but he grew up in Monrovia. Dona Mitoma, his wife, happened to be in Monrovia the morning of this oral history session so she brought back sandwiches.

Gene's Grinder, 800 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016, is a place Marvin grew up with and they have exceptional deli sandwiches. This is a turkey sandwich, which was like two sandwiches. The bread is a fresh roll and all the ingredients are crisp, juicy and robust.

Din Tai Fung take out druing the Pandemic


I believe Din Tai Fung is a chain in China and possibly Taiwan. I remember the first time we were aware of one opening in Los Angeles County was the one near Santa Anita Race track, which I hear has closed? They've really branched out all over the County. I know there's one at the Century City Mall, Glendale...where else are they?

Happy New Year everyone! I haven't posted anything on Cafelala since October. Obviously during the pandemic, I haven't been eating out but i also have been tryin the Keto Diet and cooking at home everyday. I feel lighter and have lost ten pounds. I don't think Cafelala is the place to post the meals I'm making so I've neglected it for several months. I apologize however i am sure there's so much out there for you to peruse. One less blog is certainly a drop in the ocean these days. lol

So during this time, my Daughter and Son-n-law brought over some Din Tai Fung take out, yes Chinese take out, but it certainly lived up to the standards of the few times I got to go to the one near Santa Anita Race Track. There's a dumpling or two that has the hot soup inside and when you bite into it, it's quite magical and if a rainbow could be savory, this would be it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Bake Cheese Tart at Century City Westfields Mall

My Daughter and Son-in-law brought a box of these cheesecakes the other week. Bake Cheese Tart is a chain from Japan, I think Tokyo?

These little cheesecakes are small, they fit in the palm of your hand but a deceptively filling although not super sweet. i ate two, the classic and the Matcha. they were amazing with some hot tea. The crust is very Tokyo to me, light, firm. and buttery.

Located at the Century City Westfields Mall.

Johnny's pastrami on Adams

It was a rare meal with these two LA musical greats at Johnny's Pastrami, 20 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007. Roland Kato and Carl Stone.

Johnny's, this local fav, reopened. I am not sure if it's the same owner but mann has it changed. The menu is similar in form but a little different in spirit; up scale pastrami shack?

Was it good, absolutely. is it more $ ? absolutely. Is it worth it? absolutely.

The questions they consistently ask after you finish your food order is if you would like a cocktail or draft beer. (This is new)

The seating area had quadrupled. They opened up the back and it goes deep. Plenty of social distancing real estate.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The completion of an era: Beverly Soon Tofu in Koreatown


This Pandemic has been an extremely trying time. On the list of horrors are so many of our favorite places closing; cafes, stores, businesses, family shops, etc. How could we expect any of these places to survive under these dire economic hardships?

Case in point, K-Towns beloved Beverly Soon Tofu.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I'd been going to Beverly Soon Tofu when it was actually on Beverly, around 1986-87. My then gf and I loved to explore the culinary regional landscape and someone recommended this place.

I had never had Soon Tofu. I had never heard of Soon Tofu. I ordered spicy. The moment it arrived on the table, I was transported to another world. The sauna-like trance, the heat, the spice, the deep flavor, I may had been silent for 15 or so minutes, devouring, gasping for air, diving back down into that boiling pot, determined to finish, albeit in a state of perspiration and daze. I hadn't yet been told to eat the rice simultaneously to cool the burn. When I finished, it was as if the ceiling pried open and the food gods bathed me in light; I was converted.

In the decades of meals at Beverly Soon Tofu, not once did the quality drop or something was missing or not prepared in the usual manner. This place was completely and utterly consistent.

Maybe it's the loss of something you could count on, is what makes this specific cafe closure uniquely sad.

I would get married, have two kids, a divorce, raise the kids, college, marry one of them off and still this place was still there, a consistent line of Korean magic through time.

Every and any Soon Tofu, I, my Son or Daughter ever ate was measured to Beverly Soon Tofu's. nuff said.

Thank you to Beverly Soon Tofu for an amazing run. We will miss you, deeply.