Sunday, September 23, 2007

Taste at The Wine House

The Wine House on Cotner in west LA has opened a little tasting room (called Taste) in the store, just off of the Italian wine section. They have 4 Enomatics filled with wine available for purchase in the store. You buy a card (at the order counter in the rear of the store, not at the cash register up front), grab a glass, put the card into the machine and press the button for the wine you would like to try. Exactly like at Vinum Populi. I like being able to taste a wine before I purchase it. As a matter of fact, I did not like any of the wines I tried, and was glad I did not waste my money on a whole bottle!

The Wine House
2311 Cotner Ave.
Los Angeles, Ca 90034

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gaby's Express

I checked out the brand new Gaby's Express for lunch the other day in the old Spin location on Washington Blvd just west of Lincoln. My friends and I used to have dinner at Gaby's on Venice Blvd quite a bit. The atmosphere was lively, the food was pretty good, and you could bring in a couple bottles of wine and they usually would only charge us corkage for one. We would feast on middle eastern savory pastires, pita, baba ganoush, hummus, meats, ect. for under $20 a person. Gaby's Express, as you can guess, is a take-out version of the original. I ordered a perfectly good 1/4 rotisserie chicken with a side of steamed vegetables (I know, so healthy. This is what it has come too, after one too may cupcakes). It came with a Zankou-esque mystery garlic sauce. What is in that stuff? It is minced garlic, but held together by what? Gaby's version was good, but, or course, not as good as Zankou. But Zankou does not have a drive through. The rest of their menu had all the usual Mediterranean fare, at reasonable prices. I will go back, for sure.

Gaby's Express
3216 Washington Blvd.
Marina Dal Rey, CA 90292

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Birth of a Blog

Over a year ago I was searching for the website of one of my favorite haunts, The Metro Cafe. I stumbled upon Ellen Bloom's blog on a post she wrote about her experience at The Metro. In one of the photos, I recognized two of my friends at the next table! As a matter of fact, I was there with them, out of the frame. I posted a comment on her blog, and perused the Blogspot site. I quickly realized how easy they make it to create a blog, and Ellen seemed to have so much fun creating hers, so I set up my account. Ellen and I (and a few others) became Blogger-Pen-Pals. Last night I went to an art galley in downtown CC for a showing of an artist I collect, Shag. Guess who I ran into? I should have known Ellen would be there. If there is any cool, modern, tiki, knitting, architectual, wacky, fun event in LA to attend, she is there. Thanks for the inspiration, Ellen.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea just opened their first (and hopefully not their last) west coast store. It is in super-cool Silver Lake, right next to The Cheese Store of Silver Lake and Flea's music school. I got turned on to their coffee a few months ago by a friend who works for the company. The store is great. Spare, open design, outdoor seating, counter seating inside with a beautiful blue and white Nicaraguan tile floor. Small drink menu, just your standard espresso drinks, drip coffee brewed by the cup and no Sugar-Bomb-Blended-Coffee-for-Beginners drinks. I got a macchiato, which was perfect. I hope their will make it out to the west side soon, but in the meantime I will have to "settle" for Caffe Luxxe.

Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea
3922 W Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Joy of Food Blogging - Free Dogs

I was contacted by a rep for Hoffy Extra Lean Beef Franks and was asked to sample some. You want to send me free stuff? OK! They sent me a box of franks, small and large, to sample. These Lean Beef Franks are a new to Hoffy, who has apparently supplied dogs to Pink's. I never cook hot dogs for myself at home, I usually just enjoy them at sporting events. I rounded up a group of friends, who were initially doubtful about lean hotdogs (and, who are usually doubtful about lean anything!). What better way to remove that doubt than to wrap them up in bacon!

We had lean dogs in bacon, regular dogs in bacon, lean plain, and regular ones which came pre-wrapped in bacon (from our favorite cheap-meat-emporium, Top Valu).

We cooked them up on a cast iron grill pan, creating lots of smoke (luckily, the homeowners already disabled the smoke alarm). I was very surprised during the tasting. First of all, wrapping bacon around a hot dog does not add anything to it, flavor-wise.

That was a disapointment (actually, it is probably for the best that one does not aquire a new super-high-in-fat food item to crave). The Hoffy Lean's were pretty good. They were juicy, flavorful, and really didn't taste much different than the regular dogs.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Alibi Room - Now Open

Checked out the brand-spanking-new Alibi Room on Washington Blvd. in Culver City (the part of CC in the middle of Mar Vista). It was very cool - they must have the same designer as Beechwood. Modern, yet warm and comfortable. And the best part is - it is walking distance from my apartment!! They offer a small bar menu, heavy on the fried food: fried zucchini with dill sauce,

the Canadian (Quebec) national dish: Poutine fries with mozzarella cheese curds and gravy (our favorite of the night at $6),

and, my favorite chicken part: buttermilk fried chicken oysters with honey mustard sauce ($7). The oyster is the little nub of dark meat in between the thigh and backbone of the chicken.

All of these dishes were good, just a tad undersalted. My friend got the burger, with just lettuce tomato, American cheese and shallot butter ($9).

She ordered it rare, and it came out medium rare, and she loved it. Just a straight forward, American style burger. No blue cheese or bacon here, just classic flavors. The menu also includes crudite ($4), fried mozzarella ($6), curly fries ($4), and a philly cheese steak ($9), with your choice of cheese whiz or American.

Luckily, my friend opted for American. The thought of eating Cheeze Whiz just makes my stomach turn. I am very excited that we Mar Vistaites finally have a very cool bar to walk to. All the food was served in sleek cardboard containers, making for easy clean up. The bar is trianglular, with a lounge area and a small outdoor smoking patio. Full bar, good wine, interesting beers (Boddington's, Red Stripe, Dead Man, and a couple Japanese beers, and a Czech beer on tap) and friendly service. Can't wait to go back.

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

I stand corrected: The owner of The Brig, Beechwood & The Del did not purchase The Cozy and Culver Carburetor. Bummer. I bet he could make them really cool.

Lunch at Pizzeria Mozza

I was in the Hollywood area today and thought I would try my luck at getting a seat at Pizzeria Mozza for lunch. I arrived right before noon, to be greeted by about 10 other poeple without reservations waiting for the doors to open. It was just like at Father's Office - I used to arrive about 10 minutes before opening (as well as 15 other people), and snag a table as soon as the doors opened, just about the only way to guarantee a seat for the night. The last time I had lunch at Pizzeria Mozza we were only able to get a reservation for the prime lunch time of 2:30. Never again. Just arrive early, and grab a seat at the counter. I read, and re-read, and re-read the menu trying to narrow down my options. I ended up with the goat cheese, leek, scallion, roasted garlic and bacon pizza. I almost ordered the pizza bianco with truffle cheese, but it did not come with a cured pork product, so I choose the other one instead. Of course, it was wonderful. They brush the crust with olive oil, and give it a sprinkling of salt before baking, which gives it a nice, crispy texture, and georgeous color. A nice way to recover for a long holiday weekend!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Word on the Street - The Alibi Room

On Thursday my friend strolled by the newly remodeled Alibi Room on Washington Blvd near Grand View, poked his head in , and asked when they will be open for business. The owner told him they are waiting for one more inspection, and it will either by today, or Tuesday after the holiday. They will also offer some food. Also...another friend told me the same man bought The Cozy and Culver Carburetor on Washington Place.