for May, 2010
If you haven’t been, you’ve probably seen it–it’s that place that sits on that island where Main and Spring Street become one. It’s a cozy little restaurant with a big menu that includes most of the Frenchie stuff you’d want: lots of different croissants, crepes, ratatouille, escargot and a few duck dishes.
Josh got the Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche, which was very good. The goat cheese made it light and the crust was nice and flaky, so it didn’t give you that ton-of-bricks feeling that plagues many quiche-eating experiences. And since they make them in-house, it was also really fresh.
Should we discuss this gorgeous thing, first? I think so. It’s a blood orange upside down cake, and it’s just what you need if you’re part of the underserved population that’s not into super-sweet desserts.
The slightly dense texture of the cinnamon biscuit cake doesn’t allow the syrupy goodness to soak all the way through, so the flavors are really distinct—fluffy and wholesome on the bottom and bittersweet on top. And oh, my goodness, the candied orange peels and the way the top gets all crispy and crusty toward the edges really bring it home.
This cake is a good example of the decidedly un-boring menu at the new Four Café in Eagle Rock. It was tough to choose from their offerings of sandwiches, salads and desserts, which go well beyond the predictable, but I went for the Grilled Asparagus Sandwich (shown below), filled with avocado, arugula, sheep milk feta and shaved fennel.
The high points: This is a hearty sandwich made with a nice rustic french bread. It was drizzled with enough olive oil that you could taste it, not swim in it. The cheese was smooth and really flavorful, and I always love the intensity-meets-subtlety quality of an avocado and feta combo.
The low point: The asparagus was a little too salty. It didn’t kill the sandwich because the bread and avocado were able to mellow it out, but there were some slightly unpleasant bites. This could have been helped if the asparagus was cut into smaller pieces, so that you wouldn’t have to deal with a mouthful all at once. Still, I enjoyed it overall.
A line for a restaurant doesn’t really mean much. Go to any Cheesecake Factory in town if you don’t believe me. But in the case of Daikokuya in Downtown LA’s Little Tokyo, the long wait is a legit sign.
Our wait was 45 minutes (it was a Thursday night at 8pm), but well worth it. We had the signature Daikoko Ramen, which comes with very tender strips of black pork belly with a pleasing amount of fat–you can request extra back fat if you’re interested. The broth is nice and opaquely thick, and it should be considering it’s cooked down all night and then mixed with Daikokuya’s own soup base and soy sauce mixture.
I don’t have much of sweet tooth, but this giant pastry always catches my eye when I go to Antigua Bread in Highland Park. It looks like sweet flaky goodness. I never get it because their drool-worthy Huevos Rancheros are always calling my name a little louder, but someday, it’s going to happen, and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it.
I don’t do all my chomping on the eastside. I sometimes venture out—despite the horrors of the 10 freeway—to enjoy the eats on the westside.
My latest journey was to Bite Bar & Bakery in Santa Monica. It’s on Pico Blvd., which is still such a quaint area compared to the hustle and bustle (i.e. zero parking) of more popular SM eat streets. The décor of the space is very succinct with a chalkboard menu, cookbooks and cooking utensils lining the walls. Cute.
Bite’s menu is seasonal and changes daily. When I was there, there were about 8 options, including a pulled-pork sandwich, a zucchini quiche, and a chickpea sandwich on naan (cleverly named a “naan-which”). We ordered the Toasted Crab Sandwich on sourdough with paprika aioli and watercress salad along with the Afterschool Special, a.k.a grilled cheese paired with a cup of cream of asparagus soup.
Both sandwiches were grilled Panini style. The grilled cheese included a tasty cheddar cheese blend, but the bread was a little too greasy for my sensibilities. I blame the oil from the cheese mixing with the oil (or butter) used to grease the Panini press. Still, though a little overwhelming, this sandwich fell on the side of delicious decadence.
Don’t miss out on these beautiful cherries. They’re already pretty sweet. We got ours at that Alhambra Farmer’s Market. You can get your very own at your favorite market.
Buying your produce locally is one of the best things that you can do for the environment and your local farmer. And who wants fruit that’s been sitting on a truck for who knows how long? Or–even worse–ripened with gas? Not me!
Check out a local Certified Farmer’s Market near you this week–check out a list of them here.
Peaches are starting to look good, too…
Señor Fish gets it right. With handful of locations, they’ve carved out a necessary niche in Mexican Food. They offer the standards, but they use fresh produce and high-quality ingredients, so it’s a lot less grubby and a lot more flavorful than the average Mexican restuarant. Don’t get me wrong, I like a saucy/cheesy dish, but at some places, you order an enchilada and you swear they just put a block of jack cheese in the oven and smothered it in salsa roja.
Not so at Señor Fish. Last night was the first time I’ve ever been to their Eagle Rock location, and it might be my favorite. They have lots of outdoor seating, and the crowd was pretty fun.
Well, I for one won’t stand for it because I know the truth about these salty little guys. Please allow me to convert you.
It never even crossed my mind to eat an anchovy until I went to Rome, where a traditional pie includes tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano, and oil. Since I wholeheartedly subscribe to the “When in Rome” philosophy, it didn’t take long for me to try this combo and fall in love.
Once I got home, I started insisting on anchovies every time I went out for pizza—they do it really well at Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock and, of course, at Pizzeria Mozza. Soon, my anchovy fever became so intense that I began to wonder what they could do for our weekly homemade pizza. The answer: a lot!
Here are the goods on my “Don’t-Hold-the-Anchovies Pizza”:
And if you’ve experienced the carnivorous pleasures at the pizzeria or Osteria Mozza, you’re probably not too shocked by the carne caper.
That’s why it’s big news that Batali will be participating in “Meatless Mondays.”
I love the Dodgers, but I can’t say the same about the food at Dodger Stadium. I know it’s a travesty to utter this phrase, but: Dodger Dogs are gross. The texture is rubber and the taste is all salty pork water.
If you must eat a dog while you watch the game, I say brave the line at the grilled stand and get the Super Dodger Dog, which is all-beef and has more of a “real” taste.
But that’s not my top choice.
If there’s one guilty pleasure that I have no power to resist, it’s Camacho’s Nachos. They’re made with cheese sauce, which is almost always a bad sign, but when you add
the (seemingly) fresh guacamole, pico de gallo and a little sour cream, it’s use-a-fork-and-scrape-the-bottom good. The chips are Mexican restaurant quality and not the same as those gritty Tostito-esque ones they serve up with the regular nachos.
You also get your choice of chicken or carne asada. I usually go for neither, since stadium meat is a little scary, but when I feel like throwing caution to the wind and oinking it up, I opt for the carne asada, which is totally decent. I don’t ever go for the beans, though, because they create a too-mushy texture that I’m not into.
Camacho’s Nachos go for about $9. Pricey but somehow worth it. Don’t forget to ask for jalepenos.