Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Off to Spain

I am off to Spain to meet up with my favorite Gaditano. I will be in Madrid, then we move on to the south to Cadiz and Granada. I will be back with lots of tapas shots! In the meantime, enjoy this one from the first time I was in Madrid about 5 years ago. Adios.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Let's Be Frank

On the way home from downtown Los Angeles, where we saw this cool, yet mondo bizzaro performance troupe called Strange Fruit Swoon, we stopped for a quick lunch at the Let's Be Frank hotdog truck parked in the Helms Bakery complex, across from Father's Office (Note to Sang Yoon: in our 15 minutes at the hotdog stand, we saw about 15 people walk up to your doors, only to walk away disappointed because FO is closed for lunch. Now that they know the hours of operation, then can return for dinner, only to walk away disappointed again because they will not be able to get a table).

Let's Be Frank sells their own natural, grass feed beef dogs, free of antibiotics, hormones and chemicals. The owner is the former meat forager for Chez Panisse in Berkeley. My mom and I each had their regular dog ($5), mine with grilled onions, and a small bag of Hawaiian style chips. The dog was good, nice and peppery, and meaty tasting. Not as moist as your usual Dodger dog, but very good. The dog is bigger than the bun, which I don't like. I don't enjoy the frank without the bun (and neither does my mom), so we developed a way to have each bite with the bun, by moving the frank with each bite so there is only a slight overhang. Sounds like a lot of effort for something stupid. A guess it is.

The stand is cute, but the condiments were warming up under the direct sun. Other then the truck, you may buy the franks at Owens Market on Pico.

Let's Be Frank

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Starbucks Slush

Walking through the 3rd Street Promenade on Tuesday, I had a sample of Starbucks new fruit smoothie. It was banana-mango-something flavor. It was syrupy and slushie and not very good. It left a funny after taste. They should just stick to coffee. I remember the days when Starbucks was really good (and had only one location on Montana Ave). Now that they own Clover, they should put one in every store and get their quality back up. Oh well.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rush Street

As soon as the staff meeting broke, my friends and I were the first to take seats at the bar at the brand-spanking-new Rush Street in downtown CC (along with faithful Triplecreme readers Jessica and Andrew). They took over the old Westwood One buidling near the movie theater. They have brick walls, exposed beams, and even raised the roof to accommodate an upstairs lounge (complete with stripper pole) and patio. Any downtown CC regular will recognize two of the bartenders formerly of Ford's, and one of the bus boys formerly of Tender Greens and Meltdown. The large French doors open to the front patio, letting light and a nice breeze inside. I don't know if it was Eater LA announcing their opening, or just the regular CC crowd, but by 9 o'clock, the place was packed. After our dinner at the bar, we made our way upstairs to the patio, then left around 10:30, and it was so crowded it might as well have been a nightclub in West Hollywood. Just packed.

The only (minor) flaws of the evening: numerous misspelled dishes on the menu (Monchago, chiken, ravilolis..), undersalted dishes, and no hooks under the bar for your purse. Other than that, it was perfectly comfortable, festive, and we throughly enjoyed ourselves every minute.

I started with a nice Albarino from Portugal ($8), my friend had a Manzaniila sherry ($7), and another friend had the biggest martini I have seen. The bartender estimated it was 7 ounces. Watch out. I like their selection of wines by the glass, especially the reds. They had wines from South Africa, Argentina, Spain...light on the familiar California reds. I like when a restaurant makes you try something new and doesn't just offer the stand-by California merlot or pinot. I enjoyed a very rich and smooth Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($9). They also offer many 750 ml bottles of beer, along with a few on tap.

The entrees include burgers, steak frites, pork flat iron, ravioli, lamb chops...but most of the menu is appetizer/small plates, (think high-end bar food) of which we shared many. Right away my eye went to the roasted marrow bones with braised shortrib and onion marmalade ($11). Roasted marrow is always good, but the crostini they were served with were just dry and hard, and not nicely toasted.

My friend ordered the hummus crisp ($7), a thin flatbread spread with hummus with sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic, olives and herbs. It tasted fine, but I thought the color of the hummus was unappealing.

The truffle asiago fries were nice skinny fries, how I liked them, but hardly had any truffle essence. Also absent, the pesto aioli the menu said they are served with.

The crispy parmesan calamari ($9) were nice, especially when dipped into the accompanying lemon aioli.

I rounded off my grazing with the pot 'o gold mac n' cheese. Doesn't it look like something you may find at the end of a rainbow? Or at least, at the end of your diet? Just a mound of crispy, cheesey, mushy carby-ness.

My friends ordered the burger ($12) and sliders ($8) and we enjoyed them very much.

The food is good, not outstanding, but certainly satisfying. Rush Street is great for meeting up with friends for drinks, food and conversation, and upstairs is perfect for meeting someone new. Imagine going to a place like Houston's or Gordon Beirsh, but better. Contemporary comfort food, lively atmosphere, and pleasant service. You can't go wrong.

Rush Street
9546 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA

PS - At the end of your visit to Rush Street, and you find yourself unable to drive and don't want to wait an hour for a Culver City cab to pick you of the owners told me they can get a heavily discounted room for you at the Culver Hotel across the way.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


When my friend, Heather, was attending grad school in Riverside, Sevilla was one of her favorite haunts. When I would visit her we always dined there, upstairs in the bar, loading up on tapas and wine, while listening to some Flamenco guitar. A fellow Riverside grad was in town, and itching for some of their alioli and sangria, so we went to Sevilla, but opted for the closer locale in Long Beach. They have 3 locations, and I usually prefer to steer clear of chains, but Sevilla is fun and festive, and the food is good enough. Besides, I thought it would be the perfect warm-up to my upcoming trip to the south Spain later this month (ole ole!).

They have a fairly large menu, but we opted for our usual: a few tapas to share. Most of their wines are Spanish, and you may select a flight of any three wines offered by the glass, and they have a couple choices of Sangria, depending how much you want to spend. The table near us, ordered this 3 foot tall tower of sangria with a tap, for easy access. No waiting around for refills! We were a bit more conservative, and stuck with the wine.

Everything we ordered was cheesy and fatty. I am not complaining. We started of with the queso fundido, bread with alioli (which you will wake up with on your breath the next morning...) and olives. We couldn't eat it fast enough.

On to the chicken croquetas, which were good (because they are fried, which 9 times out of 10=good), but I would have preferred ones like I have had in Spain, which consisted of bechamel sauce with little bits of pork, making a nicer, creamy interior. These had rather large shreds of chicken, which were just chewier and different.

On to the fried calamari, with lots of tentacles, Just how I like! Tentacles=more surface area of fried batter!

We also had some shrimp with garlic sauce, but by the end we were absolutely stuffed. They have lots of cheese, and, of course, paella, but it is very easy to make a meal out of a few tapas. Was it is good as the food I have had in Spain? Of course not. But, it is decent enough. They have live music every night (we caught a nice Flamenco guitar duo), and a festive ambiance. Joe Miller's Pixto might be more authentic, but Sevilla has more comfortable vibe meant for lingering all night.

140 Pine Ave
Long Beach, CA 90802