Monday, November 30, 2009

Providence - Culinary Voyage

Finally, I crossed off Providence of my list. After several recommendations and hearing some mixed reviews about Michael Cimarusti's restaurant, we decided to give it a try during Thanksgiving weekend. My first impression, bad bad interior. I expect luxurious decor with cozy ambiance. For a two stars Michelin guide restaurant, and it was plain ugly looking decoration and atmospere.

Lingering on the menu for a good 15 minutes, we decided to go all out on the chef's tasting menu. After 4 hours long of 16 hit and miss courses, I feel like Providence is not just a dinner, it's an impeccable dining experience. The savory courses made by Cimarusti's magical hands were spectacularly genius. Complex ingredients that I never thought of were put together and works well together. Food plating and presentation were flawless and rally my visual senses.

greyhound, mojito, gin and tonic gelee - hit

cured sea trout, gougeres, white soy/ wasabi marshmallow, carrot soup/vadouvan - so-so

hokkaido scallop. nasturtium blossoms, fresh grated wasabi, crispy rice cracker - hit

dungeness crab, mandarin, avocado crepe - hit

santa barbara sea urchin. cauliflower parfait - hit

soft scrambled eggs with italian black truffles. served with toasted brioche - miss

unagi risotto with italian black summer truffles, quail egg - hit

niman ranch pork belly. carrot-orange puree, pickled ramps, mizuna, carrot-ginger butter - miss

wild new zealand john dory. matsutake, rosemary - my favorite!

loin of colorado lamb. cauliflower brussels sprouts - hit, cauliflower never taste that good!

cheese platter 

The service was stellar, no doubt, when you pay so much, you'll expect professional and knowledgeable service. Desserts are exceptionally mind-blowing! Exquisite creativity and combination of ingredients melts in my mouth. Fabulous endings!   

kalamansi gelèe. white chocolate coconut soy milk soup, litchi-shisho sorbet - hit

tangerine. ginger granita, vanilla ice cream, basil - so-so

apples in butterscotch, cashews, north star cherries, miso ice cream - hit

milk chocolate-whiskey panna cotta, bailey's ice cream, coconut ravioto - hit

Providence delivers an extraordinary meals of my life, however how much are you willing to pay for good food? I'm not rushing back to Providence any time soon. $400 (for two) a pop, that's why. But if money were no object, I'll be delighted to eat here on any given day.

5955 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 460-4170

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kogi BBQ - Where You At?

Spicy pork tacos & short ribs tacos. Outburst of spicy and sweet flavors so intense and kick-ass.

Pardon me with dark quality of the photos, the parking lot of The Brig at Abbot Kinney was so dark, giving more exposure was not helping *Oops*. Waiting with less than 10 people in line, I felt so lucky that we don't have to wait any longer for these Korean Mexican midnight snacks in chilly weather. I have to say that these tacos are good but not specTACOlar!!

Short ribs sliders. Buttery toasted buns with sweet juicy beef short ribs and stack of crunchy fresh veggie.

Kimchi quesadilla - cheesy + spicy = explicitly lip-smacking.

To all the Kogi followers and worshipers who waited for two hours, calm down people, it's only tacos. But if they were in your area and line is short, bring some cash and give it a shot! It won't disappoint..

Kogi BBQ Truck
(714) 697-4683

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

♡ Happy Turkey Day ♡

It's that time of the year again when 46 millions of turkey are consumed, commercial flights face their busiest travel week, and massive Black Friday lines are formed in front of your favorite stores. This year, my friends and I celebrated Thanksgiving with huge appetite and the mood of packing some major calories.

Three main chefs + the rest playing sous chefs and we got ourselves a cook fest! Hours of preparation and putting together the perfect thanksgiving meals were paid off. Every single dish was perfectly cooked and seasoned. Butter and heavy cream play significant roles in making the meals memorable and everyone was oblivious of the nutrition fact's existence.

Honey baked ham

Sauteed mushrooms

Mac and Cheese

Corn de la crème

Mashed potatoes

Enormous turkey

Cinnamon apple pies

At the end of the night we all feel it was a successful stuffy dinner and a heartwarming affair to remember. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mountain Cafè - Feeling Hangover?

  Ginseng chicken soup with sticky rice

Not me, but I was so sick with flu when my friends brought me to this hole in the wall. This super tiny place only has 5 small tables and limited menu, but comforting enough that I feel better after dinner. The cure? Abalone rice porridge and ginseng chicken soup with sticky rice. Both were so mouthwatering and soothing my throat, will also work for your hangover.

Abalone rice porridge with egg yolk

Best side dishes - shredded hot beef stew. Mix 'em and the pickles with the porridge and you get yourself a superb comfort food.

Don't expect some royal treatment 'cos the lady that run this place reminds me of Seinfeld's soup nazi - flat mean and attitudes. I would care less as long as she keeps on refilling our side dishes, which she did. All in all, come to Mountain Cafe whenever you need hangover chaser or immune system booster, as this homefood will give you the cure.

Mountain Cafè
3064 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 487-7615

Joan's On Third - Gourmet Marketplace

Whoever Joan is, she's a smart cookie - between the ready made food depot, cupcake and desserts, sandwiches, pastries, cheese station, and mini market - everything looks delightful and requires more than one visit to pass my final verdict.

This place is crowded hence parking and seating were obviously crappy. Once we order on any of the cashier's stations, we find ourselves a table. Indoor and outdoor seating are available but patio seems to be the popular one. Don't be surprised if celebrity popped into Joan's, we got our own celeb sighting :D

Apricot glazed ham & brie with mustard caper sauce

 Frutti de Bosco

Being indecisive on their lunch menu, I got myself apricot glazed ham & brie with mustard caper sauce sandwich and frutti de bosco. The sandwich was excellent with high quality and tasty ham, cheese and perfect dressing on soft baguette. But I wasn't so excited with the dessert - it was unexceptional. I heard good things about their cupcakes, but don't have the heart to gain extra calories for their thick icing. Oh well, maybe another day another time....

Joan's On Third
8346 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 655-2285

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nook - Neighborhood Gem

Not only I've taken Nook for granted, but also I underestimated this hidden bistro. I always wanted to try Nook but forget it more often just because it's around my neighborhood. So I finally gave this one a visit and my impression? Nook gave pleasant surprises, consistently from start to finish.

Kurobuta pork belly with tomatillo, black-eyed peas, and shiitake - my nirvana!! Mixed of Chinese crispy pork skin with moist layered fat and Mexican green salsa sauce.

Spicy gulf shrimp with Falls Mill Stone ground grits and linguisa sausage. Blazing tapestry of cheesy grits and tangy flavor. Purrrfect!

Chocolate banana bread pudding - Warmth of melting dark chocolate and slight tartness of the banana bread pudding are phenomenal and not too sweet - I'm obsessed!!

Who would guess that this little neighborhood bistro has big flavor to offer? Lucky me, this gem is around the corner...

Nook Bistro
11628 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 207-5160

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Diddy Riese - Can't Keep My Hands Off The Cookie Jar

I never thought getting squeezed in between Diddy Riese cookies sandwich is better than getting sandwiched with my galfriends on the dance floor in da club. How come the idea so simple taste so good?! Just pick two choice of your favorite cookies and a scoop of Dreyer's ice cream - BAMMM!!

 Build your own ice cream sandwich - Vanilla ice cream in between chocolate with white chocolate chip & white chocolate macadamia nut. sweet tooth fix!

Diddy Riese
926 Broxton Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 208-0448

Friday, November 20, 2009

Baby Blues BBQ - Bad To The Bone

Unfortunately, it's a literal meaning -bad to the bones-....Baby Blues BBQ didn't seem to deliver the hypes people been talking. There are hits and misses about this place, but definitely not worth the comparison to Phil's BBQ in San Diego. First of all, the ribs were not fall off the bone and not meaty. I prepare to eat a cow and all I got was a calf, the ribs was just not as juicy and succulent as I expected to be.

The hits:

Memphis Ribs - better than the baby back ribs. Still, we could use more meat rather than fat.

The porno sauce XXX hot!

Not your average dry gin, it's their top notch vinegar


Where should I start? The corn bread isn't worth mentioning, the baby back ribs is dry and lacking of meat, the only good thing was the side: pulled pork and beans.

Beef brisket - Although well seasoned, this is a bowl full of chewy meat, no good!

Even though this BBQ pit was well reviewed on Yelp as well as Food Network as the best BBQ in LA, I'll say just drive to San Diego and get the real deal.

I feel ya, poor bastards...

Baby Blues BBQ
444 Lincoln Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 396-7675

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blu Jam Cafè - Sweet Escapade

 Blu Toast

Being a sweet tooth, brunch is all about the pancake, crepe, and french toast. Finding the perfect french toast is never easy, but clearly Brioche Blu Toast is super scrumptious. French toast with blackberry jam, cream cheese in between two slices of battered brioche slices, and complimented with fresh strawberry, blueberry, bananas, powdery sugar on top, and maple syrup on the side. The cream cheese part might sound so over the top, but everything combined is a sweet escapade.

 Hangover Burrito

On a savory note, we ordered Hangover Burrito - Eggs scrambled with beef chorizo, jalapeños, smoked chipotle, black beans, cheddar and cilantro, inside a large grilled flour tortilla, served with potatoes and side of sour cream. This thing is the best breakfast burrito ever! Spicy and zesty at the same time.

One of the thing that always draws me back to Blu Jam is the service and the atmosphere. The owner always hangs around to make sure all is satisfactory.  Despite this place is located in Melrose, there's nothing Hollywood about this place - simply modest and cozy...

Blu Jam Cafè
7371 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 951-9191

Monday, November 16, 2009

Crustacean - Oh Crab!

Roasted Cracked Dungeness Crab

When you think about taking your girl for a first romantic dinner date in this upper class Vietnamese restaurant, you couldn't be more wrong, brotha! Well the Beverly Hills part is right, but who will get some romancing after cracking crab leg with bare hands and wolfing down oily garlic noodle? At least after two minty gum or rinsing your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash, you will... 

Crustacean might fool you with high-end decor, Koi aquarium underfoot, and live jazz/classic tune. But when I think about Vietnamese food I prepare to be unglamorous, Phò anyone? Oh well, let's toss all the negativity aside 'cos nevertheless, I worship their garlic noodles and roasted crab, they're FANTABULOUS!

 Garlic Noodles

To make me look less barbaric while eating them combo, I chow down some garlic noodle first and midway swift my gear to cracking and licking crabs. Because holding a crab leg on my left hand and forking some garlic noodles on my right at the same time might be the last thing that my boyfriend would like to see...

9646 Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 205-8990

Sunday, November 15, 2009

California Roll Factory - Low Key

One of my favorite sushi joint in West area, mainly because this tiny place has endless list of fusion sushi rolls with creative names and creations. Nope, it's not authentic Japanese rolls, more like Americanized style where cream cheese and tempura batter dominated the menu. But I'm not gonna refuse to good taste, gigantic portions, and decent price. Other pluses: very near to my habitat and the 99¢ DVD rental is next door to this baby.

Usual lowdown:

Vizzy // baked crab, baked salmon, smelt egg, eel sauce

Bang Bang // spicy tuna, smelt egg, baked scallop

Harvey // deep fried salmon, albacore, tuna, secret sauce

Tokyo Nacho Chip // albacore, tempura crumb, crispy seaweed

Sushi snobs might look down on you, but when the end of the month is near and deprived, we'll salute you CRF!

California Roll Factory
11629 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 996-2366