for September, 2012
By all rights, Garvanza’s should be wildly popular, but its tucked-away location keeps it undercover. The neighborhood restaurant focuses on pan-Latin flavors with an emphasis on high quality local ingredients. The produce is fresh and seasonal, and the service is super friendly. A lot of people, including me, are rooting for it.
The bulk of Garvanza’s menu is burritos and tacos, including tender barbacoa with pickled onions, pork shoulder slow cooked in garlic and peppercorns, and flaky mango-salsa-topped fish tacos. Plates, comprised of those same meat choices and some of the most flavorful rice and beans in a 10 mile radius, are also served.
The one must of the appetizers is the Garbanzo Bean Salad, a simple mix of fried garbanzos, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. The cool veggies and a drenching of lime juice really brighten up this highly addictive dish. The chips and salsa are also notable for the same reason—the chips are thick and greasy, making them the perfect match for the tangy salsa their served with.
Old timey Eastside Food Bites readers might remember my report from the 2nd Annual LA Beer Float Showdown at Verdugo bar a couple of years back. Well, it’s on again! The 4th annual event will take place at Golden Road Brewery on September 29. This year, LA chefs will team up with local breweries to be crowned the master supreme beer float champions…or something like that.
We even have a dog in the fight—hometown favorites and reigning champs, Andre Guerrero and Jan Purdy (The Oinkster and Maximiliano) join Eagle Rock Brewery again. Their winning entry last year involved pig candy and bourbon ice cream.
Here’s the flyer. Get more info and tickets over at Food GPS.
If there’s one restaurant I’ve been urged to write about lately, it’s Masacasa. This gem of a Japanese cafe in Eagle Rock is hidden in a little strip mall, but its low profile hasn’t kept it from fast becoming a neighborhood favorite. That’s because the menu at Masacasa is simple and well-edited, the prices are affordable and the flavors are spot on.
There are plenty of little bites to be had at Masacasa. They offer a selection of onigiri (filled rice balls), sushi rolls and sozai (side dishes). We opted to begin with kabocha, sizable chunks simmered pumpkin served cold and dotted with sesame seeds. The Japanese lunch staple made for a sweet, savory and refreshing start. Although, I did regret not adding plum onigiri to the mix.
I feel like a jerk showing you something you can’t have, but I’m also no good at keeping delicious things to myself. This pie was available for order at Good Girl Dinette for Labor Day…only. There were three flavors available: peach, apple and plum. I chose the O’Henry Peach.
If you’ve ever had a curry pot pie from Good Girl Dinette, then you know that owner Diep Tran is a crust-making maestro. This fruit pie crust was flaky and buttery with that perfect punch of sourdough. The ends were crispy while the lattice and bottom were tender, but not too delicate—it stood up to the peaches.
As I type, I am basking in the afterglow of burgers and brats from McCall’s Meat and Seafood Company in Los Feliz. The small, “chef-driven” butcher shop has ruined me for all grocery store meat. All I added to their Fresh Ground Burger Blend was a little salt and pepper before forming the patties and throwing them on our new-to-us Weber grill (thanks, Craigslist). Some beautiful little burgers was the result. As for their house-made sausages—they were some of the best I’ve ever had, with a snappy casing and a loose (as opposed to creepily fused) filling that dripped with smokey, balanced flavor.
Ruined, I tell you! Ruined! But, on the bright side, I now have a favorite butcher, and that makes me feel cool.
McCall’s Meat and Fish Company
2117 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles, 90027