Category Archives: food

Alibi Room: because your first time in a bar should be with your Mormon aunt and uncle.

It makes sense that if you are 21 and have never been inside a bar before, your first time would be with your Mormon aunt and uncle.

My niece is not a party girl, or a Mormon. She is a pastry chef. A foodie of sorts. So when she came to visit us we took her out for good food. At a bar. I knew what I was doing.IMG_2545

This particular bar’s kitchen is the only stationary location (of which I am aware) to find the fare of the famed Kogi BBQ food truck. Same food, but with seating.IMG_1010I have extolled their kimchi quesadilla before but today i must praise the chilaquiles.

Mole, scrambled eggs, and chicken.  Heaven on a fried tortilla.IMG_2499

I must say that ordering the Korean BBQ tacos, quesadilla and the  chilaquiles at the same time and trying to eat it yourself is way too much, it is oh so tasty and still surprisingly affordable. If you don’t count the costs of overeating.

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Bottega Louie

They serve food at Bottega Louie. I have seen it, but I cannot speak of it first hand. But fear not, millions of other people can, and have.IMG_2462Yelp has declared Bottega Louie as their most photographed restaurant ever. My Instagram feed believes that statement.
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While I saw sandwiches, the kind with bread and meaty things, I opted for the kind with sugar almond and chocolate. Upon reflection I have no regrets.
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No, that isn’t true. Given the budget and time I had for the day, I do not regret my decision but on a grander scale I definitely regret my budget and time constraints. I need to go back and eat more. And I need to eat everything. Then I need to go eat more of everything.
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High ceilings, high expectations, high brow; this place is all of those things and it lives up to what you would both hope and demand. I regularly doubt Los Angeles’s place in the pantheon of world cities. It has not completely (or at all) won me over to the idea that it belongs in the company of New York or Paris, but Bottega Louie is LA’s best argument yet.
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Who Left This Guy in Charge?

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Occasionally I am the one who decides some of the things that happen on campus.palmsandarts

And on those occasions… I bring in a food truck.IMG_7623

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Langer’s: just order #19

Los Angeles isn’t know for delis,but those in LA know about Langer’s.IMG_0135

As far as decor and location go it is just a regular diner, big menu, self seating. What sets Langer’s apart is thick cut pastrami and good bread. Never forget the bread. Norah Ephron called the #19 the best pastrami in the world.IMG_0121

The place has been around since 1947, been written up by everyone who writes about LA, and been on every food tour television show there is. It’s just Langer’s.IMG_0195

Norm Langer is still there hanging around chatting it up with everyone. It’s his place and he doesn’t mind mixing it up with the Hollywood types and the nobody’s alike. He mixed it up with us, and if you were wondering, we are the Hollywood types.IMG_0132

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Republique:when nerds on PBS are cooler than you

I am not Stephon from Saturday Night Live. I do not know the cool place in town that has everything. In fact I’m so much the un-Stephon that I am now taking my advice on spots to frequent from PBS.

Turns out nerds on PBS give great advice.image2If you need some sort of cool factor third party verification in order to form opinions than take some solace in the fact that GQ listed Republique as one of the best places in LA to eat, and then they went on to say LA is one of the best food cities in America.

Looks like the nerds and the cool kids will be sitting at the same lunch tableimage4You order your food at the front counter then go have a seat in your choice of high ceiling, naturally lit dining rooms. For a Saturday morning brunch at 9am we waited in line for about 40 minutes. There was no wait for a place to sit down and once we were inside it felt busy but in no way crowded.image5We grabbed a creme brulee filled pastry to tide the kids over till the food showed up. Then, the lightest, thickest, French toast I’ve ever dealt with, a breakfast sandwich, and a waffle with every California stereotype stacked on top.image3

Sometimes stereotypes turn out fantastic… when it comes to food.image7Did I mention they make their own ginger ale? And hazelnut hot chocolate. And their own bread. And on and on and at the end of it all the point is that sometimes tv and glossy magazines give good advice, and then in this case, when it comes to Republique, they give the best advice.image1

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Something Interesting to Drink: no alcohol

It is no secret that I do not drink alcohol. Never have. This personal life choice, which shouldn’t be such a big deal, has a surprising impact on my life. No, it hasn’t help me avoid a series of bad choices as I make those quite well while sober, but other things like making me the rugby team’s all time designated driver, countless corporate happy hours where you answer the same silly questions over and over and over (because drunk people think this is interesting and charming) but the biggest effect this teetotaling has had on me, is limiting my options regarding interesting beverages.appleclosegraff

For a period of time some friends and I took matters into our own hands, and we got quite good at it if I may say so, but it was not sustainable. I need other options.

For Christmas I want something interesting to drink.

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Before I dive into a list, let me point out a site for soda reviews that is unparalleled in breadth and quality: Five star soda. They are good. You can trust them.

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Now the list:

Blenheim Ginger ale is always number one for me. It is a bit too hard to find but its burn your face off spiciness is worth the effort. Solid number two is Absinthe soda (made by Saiteaux). Tastes like liquid black licorice and I LOVE it. Then as you move down the soda spectrum just keep in mind super sweet is not my thing, but spicy or tart usually works. Blood orange, lime, clove, birch, anise, lemon, ginger, raspberry, etc. etc. If in LA, go to Galco’s.

Drinking chocolate, dark and spicy. You know, Mexican style with chili and cinnamon. The darker, spicier, and thicker the better.greatfruitmate

I love yerba mate. I drink it mostly unsweetened, preferably through a bombilla from a gourd and in a group, but solo from my matermo is just fine. I like the taste but even more I like the equipment and the process. My default setting with most foods or beverages is to go too fast. Mate makes me slow down a bit. This is a good thing.

Don’t go to Whole Foods or some place similar and pay $25 for a 2lb bag. Find a latin market and buy a 5lb bag of Rosamante, CBSe, or Taragui for $10. Or, pretty much any mate anything from gauchogourmet.com

Just steer clear of a six pack of Diet Coke.

 

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La Michoacana: Culinary benefits of being bilingual; which I am not

Politicians can argue all they want about who needs to speak what language where, all I know, is that I need to learn Spanish. I recently found myself in a palace of frozen treats, all of which looked delicious, and I had no idea what most of them were as I am bound by my American monolingual shortcomings and couldn’t read the menu. I have a tongue that is linguistically one note but spread with adventurous buds.IMG_6658

While in Riverside I just typed “ice-cream” into my map app, and it gave me Cold Stone, Wendy’s, and La Michoacana. I yelped the one I had never heard of and thanks to a five star review I hit “navigate”. There was no such navigate button once I arrived and my senses were overloaded with new sights and new words.IMG_6672

Some things I could read, like chile, queso, and pepino. All of these were written above tubs of ice cream. Chile, cheese, and cucumber flavored ice cream? Cheese ice cream is surprisingly good. Cucumber ice cream is fantastic.IMG_6675

Standing over a counter transfixed by new ideas with what little words I could figure, I saw the family next to me receive a take out tray piled high with… I have no idea what it was. The worker drizzled something over the top of it, handed the woman a fork, and with a smile, said woman went and sat down. Experiencing an unusual moment of bashfulness, I could not muster the courage to ask either the family or the employee, what that pile of whatever it was, was. Instead I pointed into the case and asked, “is that a mango chili popsicle?” The worker said it was and I said “por favor,” handing her my MasterCard.IMG_6669

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