Thursday, September 16, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
I've been pretty busy this last year, especially these last couple of weeks with my wedding celebrations! We were married in a chapel in Las Vegas, and followed it with a fantastic dinner in a private room at Mario Batali's Enoteca San Marco in the Venetian. A couple shows and many decadent meals later, we returned to Los Angeles for reception #2.
We decided to go with Spanish food for this party, and went with a crowd-pleasing paella from Juan Pomares in San Diego. He is from Alicante, Spain, and specializes in paella. Really, really big ones, apparently. This one easily feed our crowd of 95, with leftovers. This was by far, the best paella I have ever had, and my Spanish in-laws approved. Loaded with chicken, chorizo and pork ribs, it was rich and savory. We had more the next night, along with our empanadas, Spanish meats and cheese, and wedding cake (from Sweet Lady Jane). I have one more bag of paella in the freezer, along with some cake, and I am looking forward to enjoying those final bites.
Sweet Lady Jane
8360 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The other day I recieved an e-mail from a site called Grub Street, with their top 10 list of the best Neopolitan style pizzerias in the area (Antica, Mozza, Ortica...). There was one called The Good Pizza in Westchester that cought my eye. Westchester? Yes. Nestled in a little strip mall right in the middle of a residential neighborhood, The Good Pizza is quite a pleasant surprise. One of the owners, Nando, is from Napoli, pizza capital of the world (not New York!). It is a small store front, primarily set up for take out, but the do have two small tables inside, and a couple out front, where we sat and enjoyed our pizza. All the pizzas are large 18 inchers - we decided to split one. Half pizza bianca, half meat lovers. They don't call it The Good Pizza for nothing. Just thin enough, just thick enough, with really good dough. We had to force ourselves to stop eating pizza when Nando brought out a slice of cheesecake for us to try. Owners Nando and Carlos chatted us up and made us feel very welcome and comfortable. We are so excited we made this discovery - it is almost our pizzeria version of Metro Cafe. Small, unassuming, great food and great company.
The Good Pizza
7929 Emerson Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Sunday, July 12, 2009
In Logroño, Spain, there is a street, Calle Laurel, which is jam packed with tapas bars and people, which we slowly walked through sampling the fare at many bars each night of our stay. Some specialize in particular tapas, and this one specialized in sepia. I normally don't eat it, but I figured I ought to give it a fair try. Tender, not too chewy sepia, covered in a thin, garlicky alioli and a drizzle of parsley oil on bread. With a small glass of white Rioja it was a fantastic starter in a night full of wonderful little bites.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
After several days of driving by Chalet Edelwiess, I finally stopped in. It is a cute (and a bit hokey) Swiss restaurant in Westchester, specializing in Swiss fare like raclette, Schnitzel, fondue, spaetzel, beer, etc. While browsing through the menu I was reminded of Waterfront Cafe in Venice, and rightly so - they share the same owners. Along with the traditional Swiss fare they also serve pizzas from their wood burning pizza oven, but while sitting in the covered patio in between a paper mache Matterhorn and a speaker blaring Swiss accordion music, you might as well skip the pizza and go full speed ahead for a Swiss experience.
I started of with 17oz of Erdinger, and we shared my first raclette ($15.95). Quite good, actually - potatoes, melted cheese, pickles and onions.
Then onto my main course of Rahmschnitzel with Spätzle, (spatzle and pork smothered in a mushroom cream sauce $17.95). Yes, it was filling, and good. You can't beat a bunch of cheese, cream and carbs can you?
Then we shared a "just OK" apple strudel. After the beer, bread, cheese, potatoes, spatzle I was so stuffed by this time, it was really hard to enjoy the strudel.
This place is really cute and funny with the all the corny Swiss nick-nacks and blaring music, but can be a lot of fun. Go after the sun sets, since there are no blinds and most of the tables come with a clear view of the sun. Just be sure to come hungry.
8740 Sepulveda Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
This place is so cool. They serve southern Italian fare, with an exotic, all-Italian wine list, and many so pizzas and pastas it took me forever to decide. Uber-cool decor, including an exaggerated giant chandelier hanging ominously above the bar, and an old Sophia Loren film projected on the wall. We shared fried zucchini blossoms, and I had a pizza with speck, pear, gorgonzola and walnuts ($15.95). Not too expensive, a ton of intersting wine and dishes to choose from, and a cool vibe (and way easy to get a last minute table then Mozza). Now I have more pizza ideas to try at home!
7605 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
Monday, June 29, 2009
This tapas bar/restaurant was by far our favorite in San Sebastian. They offer several contempory style tapas, a great reprive when you think you may have overdosed on traditional pixtos bars. We had Foie gras, duck breast, scallops, sweetbreads, blood sausage...all my faves! And so cheap! Each dish was only a couple of Euros, a steal. Look how big that foie gras is! Every dish was very good, very rich, and beautiful. The only shame is you eat standing up at the bar, and I kept thinking that it would be so nice to sit down, relax and savor every bite. We went there twice on this trip, and if I return to San Sebastian I will go there first.
Calle de 31 de Agosto
San Sebastian Spain
Thursday, June 18, 2009
After driving past this restaurant a million times, I finally checked it out last night with a friend who has eaten there a couple of times and enjoyed it very much. This is why: inexpensive, creative food, intimate neighborhood cafe vibe, and BYOB.
The owner/chef Claudia, calls her food Latin fusion. You will recognize flavors and dishes from various Hispanic countries, all with her twist on them. We started off with a variety of empanadas like spinach, potato and chicken. They were great and prepared the way I like them: fried. We also shared some tostones, fried plantain chips.
Mi Gaditano had coconut crusted fish with spinach mashed potatoes and ate it so fast I didn't have an opportunity to try a bite!
I had the spinach stuffed chicken breast with vegetables, rice and black beans. The chicken was very moist, especially for white meat. I enjoyed everything here, but I found myself sprinkling salt on everything, which I rarely do in a restaurant. The menu boasts their use of little or no salt, but the food needs it to really come alive. The entrees are very reasonably priced under $10, and the portions are good. Bring in your own wine, and it is even a better deal. To finish, we enjoyed her version of natillas, which was altered a bit to resemble a cake than pudding. I was too stuffed to eat much, but the sweet corn and chocolate combo was nice.
I am so excited I finally tried this place, it is so nice having a terrific neighborhood joint to walk to, linger over a good meal, feel welcomed by the staff, and not break the bank.
12406 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90066
Sunday, June 07, 2009
I ventured downtown the other night to check out Wurstkuche, a Father's Office-esque grilled sausage bar. It is in the Arts District of downtown, with a nice view of what I like to call "the backside of downtown." You place your order at the counter, grab your drinks and your number, head down the hall and try to find a seat in the main dining room. Dark, with communal tables, bar and DJ station. They bring out your food pretty quickly, but if you decide to get more food, it is back to the first room and wait in line. The menu is just suasages, choice of a toppings, fries with many dipping sauces, and pleanty of exotic beer on tap. We both opted for the Bockwurst with grilled onlins and sweet peppers, large fries with pesto mayo and blue cheese walnut and bacon dip. We should have just gotten two of the blue cheese, it was so good. Two pints of Pabst Blue Ribbon (I know, not very exotic, but cheap) brought the tab to $22.78. A bargin. I was full but not stuffed. If you are hungry, go ahead and order two sausages. This place is pretty cool, with good food and comfortable atmoshere for lingering and enjoying the night.
800 E 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Right down the street from (one of my) workplace on the Italian-heavy stretch of San Vicente Boulevard in Brentwood is the newly opened Tavern, by Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne of (my fave) Lucques. I strolled down there for lunch, and ordered the Americano sandwich from the lunch counter - cavalo nero, artichokes and burrata, along with a salad and buttermilk dressing. The burrata was so creamy it emulated mayonaisse on the sandwich, but much better!
The breakfast and lunch counter has coffee drinks, baked goods, cold salads and sandwiches, salad dressings, cheese and some pantry items available for take-out or dine-in at the long banquette.
I returned after work with my mom for some appetizers and drinks at the bar. We arrived at 5 PM, and sat near group of four drunk businessmen about 30 minutes away from wearing one of the lampshades on their heads (my mom overheard, "this was the longest lunch I've ever had!"), but thankfully they left soon thereafter and the wine and food provided a very good distraction.
Many items on Tavern's menu come right from the Lucques cookbook, the menu selection seems more American in style than Lucques, and certainly larger, even including a special kid's menu. The bar menu consists of small appetizers, along with burgers and fries. We ordered each a glass of rose, a perfect aperitivo. We shared the brochette of oyster and bacon dipped in batter and deep fried (I dare you to find any fault in that combination), along with fried gougeres and french radishes. Fried/cheese/bacon/wine/bread=good.
The soothing greys and blues, the cozy loveseats and chairs, the always wonderful food by Suzanne Goin, polite, professional service, a perfectly wonderful experience.
11648 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA