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Archive for March, 2011

Han But Sul Lang Tang

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The Skinny: Han But is a Sul Lang Tang restaurant in Koreatown I’ve been going to for last tens years.  It’s a hole in the wall that specializes in a Beef Soup that has your choice of Brisket, Flank, Tongue, Intestines, Tripe, Spleen, or all of the above.  With each order of Tang(soup) you get a side of Ggakdugi (pickled Daikon), Napa Kimchi, and a bowl of Rice.  And to help personalize the overall flavor of the soup, you get to add your own helping of Salt, Green Onions, and Red Chili Paste. It’s as good of a hangover cure as Phở.

The Good: The Sul Lang Tang at Hanbut is always good.  It’s tasty, filling, and comforting, especially on a rainy day.  The soup itself leaves collagen on your lips from all the bone marrow sucked out while stewing and any meat you order melts away easily as you chew.  The Ggakdugi is aged just right, so it doesn’t have that offensive pungency you get from raw radishes.  The regular Kimchi isn’t my favorite, but it’s not bad either.  Han But is a no frills kind of place, you get in, eat well, and then get out.

The Bad: Nothing. Wished they served Soju though.

Would you come again? Does Geico commercials ask rhetorical questions?

More Info: Yelp | 4163 W 5th St. Los Angeles, CA 90020 | (213) 383-9499 | Mon-Sun 7 am – 10 pm | Cash Only

Extra: One street South of Han But Sul Lang Tang is a Cigar store that hand rolls their product on location.  The place is called Leon Cigars and their prices range from 3 bucks up to around 7.

I went there for dessert.

MJ

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Zelda’s Corner Deli

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The Skinny: Amongst all the craziness that Venice Beach brings, there lies a little corner deli…literally. Zelda’s is a small, hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop that sells amazing, cheap sandwiches.  Some people even say it’s better than Bay Cities and I can see why.  They use Boar’s Head meats and cheeses and delicious, fresh breads and range from $4-7. The sandwiches are served on either a 6” baguette or two slices of sourdough bread but they toast all their sandwiches so the cheese melts and all the flavors meld together.  They also serve breakfast sandwiches and make their own soups, cookies AND mini-donuts.  If you mention you found them on Yelp, they’ll give you a dozen for free with your order.

The High: The “Mr. Electric” sandwich is their shining star and it didn’t disappoint.  It’s composed of just a few simple ingredients (turkey, crispy prosciutto, avocado, provolone cheese, pickled jalapeno, organic baby greens and sliced tomatoes on a baguette) but all of it combined made for a great sandwich.

My co-workers got the Cuban, Ham and Brie, Ham and Swiss, and the Turkey Melt with Tomato and Crispy Prosciutto and they all enjoyed their sandwiches.

The mini-donuts are DIVINE.  They’re perfect little pillows of airy-goodness sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

The Low: They only have two sandwich presses so ordering more than one sandwich may take awhile.

They’re closed on Wednesdays.

Would you comeback? Hells yesss!! I can’t wait to go back and try their other creations.

More Info: www.zeldascorner.com | 9 Westminster Ave. Venice, CA 90291  | (310) 314-6458  | Mon-Tue, Thu-Sun 9:30 am – 5 pm

– Nom Nom Bobbie


Khai T Nguyen x QUEST CREW x LMFAO PARTY ROCK ANTHEM

Behind the scenes with Khai , LMFAO, and Quest Crew.

“Every day I’m shuffling!” Haha this catchy tune has got everyone at mainstream clubs doin the Melbourne shuffle…which is a dance style that people used to only see at Hardstyle music events or Massive events like Electric Daisy Carnival. LMFAO and the Party Rock Crew have made this their signature style and have kids all over Hollywood Shuffling. Personally I think the dance looks a little silly but our boys from Quest Crew can make anything look good(Hok did the choreography for the new LMFAO music video), and Choreographer/videographer/socialite extraordinaire KHAI T. NGUYEN perfectly captures all the hard work that went into making the music video! Take a LOOK!  Watch the LMFAO’s Music Video here.

Echo


Lechón by Rod Carbajal

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The Skinny: Went to a Filipino birthday out in Hemet, California.  When I arrived, on the dining table was Lechón which is a whole roasted pig that was cooked over an open fire.  Like a Rotisserie Chicken, the Pig is roasted on all sides for several hours until finish. The process involves basting it while it cooks so the skin crisps up and the color becomes a reddish golden brown.

Rod Carbajal, the Lechón man of mystery, roasted the pig for us and from the comfort of his own home.

The Good: The skin was crispy on one side and fatty on the other, it was pretty much like eating hard meat candy.   I was actually surprised that the crispness of the skin survived 30 minutes in a car as the pig steamed itself up in a closed up box.  I guess that’s a testament to Rod Carbajal’s handiwork.    I’ve had Lechón at least twice beforehand and Rod’s version was the best so far.  He really captured the essence of the pork and maintained the integrity of the skin and fat.

The Bad: The Lechón went from piping hot to cold and then lukewarm throughout the day.  Because of that, the meat became really dry as the dinner progressed.  Despite that, most of the skin was still crispy by the end of day.

Would you eat it again? Sure!  You buying?

More Info: Rod Carbajal is the man that made the Lechón & his house is 30 minutes away from Hemet, which is pretty much in the middle of no where.  Other than that, I have no idea who he is and how anyone can contact him for his services, but I’ll find out sooner or later.

MJ


Booze: St. George Absinthe Verte

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The Skinny: St. George Spirits is a distillery founded in 1982 in San Francisco by Jörg Rupf who studied at UC Berkley after receiving a grant from the German Government.  Their Absinthe is a product that does away with the sugar cube and allows drinkers to sip and enjoy the botanical flavors of the Spirit with just a few ice cubes.  It’s made from Brandy, Star Anise, Mint, Wormwood, Lemon Balm, Hyssop, Meadowsweet, Basil, Fennel, Tarragon And Stinging Nettles.

The Good: It’s strong, very flavorful, and I was warm and fuzzy in the tummy.

The Bad: It’s strong, very flavorful, and my brother is missing an ear.  I’m not a fan of stuff that tastes like Black Licorice.

Would you drink it again? No thank you…Plus the hallucinogenic qualities of the Wormwood is a myth.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  Just kidding…………………..or am I?

More Info: www.stgeorgespirits.com | You can find it at Bevmo for around 80 bucks.

MJ


Gaja Okonomiyaki + Ryo Izakaya

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The Skinny:

Gaja is a Okonomiyaki restaurant that allows you to grill up Japanese style savory pancakes for Lunch or Dinner.  It’s located in the City of Lomita and sits in a tiny plaza next to two popular Udon Noodle shops.   Along with the Okonomiyaki and the vast variety of toppings, like Cheese, Seafood, and mystery Meats, you can also get Italian style Pastas, Soupy Noodles, and Beer.  A good time to go to Gaja is during lunch because they have specials where you get 3 personal size Okonomiyaki with 1 topping each, a side salad, and a drink for just about 15 bucks.

Ryo is a Izakaya not too far from Gaja and serves Japanese style Tapas, Sushi items, Ramen, and Yakitori.  It’s located in the Rolling Hills Shopping Plaza in Torrance and sits right in front of an AMC Movie Theater.  The interior has trendy old style wooden furniture and uses empty alcohole bottles as decorations.

The High:

Gaja was an interesting experience and cooking your own savory pancakes with a few friends is always fun.  We ordered their “Sparking Beer” which either has Blueberries or slices of Grapefruits. Both were good and refreshing.  Since I was in a party of 3, two of us ordered the lunch special to share and topped them with Cheese, Mushrooms, Scallions, Octopus, Teriyaki Chicken, and Shrimp.  I ordered some Takoyaki with a Spicy Sauce.  Of the 6 toppings that were ordered and shared, the Cheese was the best one, that is after we finally mastered the grill and made some decent well-done pancakes.    The way the Cheese crisped up on top of the stove was pretty awesome.   It was also fun seeing all the shaved Bonito flakes come alive as you place them on top of each cooked Pancakes.  The Takoyaki balls were decent and the spicy sauce needed more spice.

After Gaja, I went to Ryo Izakaya with a party of 4.  We shared Ramen with Pork, Yakitori items, a whole grilled Quail, Takoyaki, fried Squid Legs, Shrimp in Chili Sauce, Lamp Chops, Unagi, Asparagus in something-something sauce, and stewed Tendon in a spicy broth.  Of all the items that stood out, the stewed Tendon was my favorite.  It was gelatinous, tasty, and left a lovely sticky film on my lips.  The Ramen that one of us ordered had the thick porky broth and it was as good as those specialty places that only focuses on making really good Ramen.  The grilled items we ordered were the Chicken Hearts, Breast, Wings, Liver, Cartilage, a whole Quail and Lamb Chops.  The Chicken Hearts were pretty beefy in flavor while the Quail and Lamb Chops were both juicy, charred, and seasoned just right.

The Low:

I have no real lows about Gaja, it’s a fun place to eat at and once you master the grill, eating rare Okonomiyakis and half cooked seafood won’t be a problem.  You don’t even have to cook the stuff yourself, you can ask the waiter to have the in-house cook make it for you in the back kitchen.  Actually, one complaint I do have is that the Octopus came out raw and after grilling it with the pancake mix, it was super rubbery.  I think they should have precooked or prepped seafood items like that before hand so it’ll be easier to cook later.

At Ryo Izakaya, the tapped Kirin Beer during happy hour seemed to be really watered down.  It also came in a pitcher that has a pint size indent from the bottom for regular water to freeze up and keep the beer cold.  That’s just BS.  I didn’t really like the Chicken Cartliage, but only because it just isn’t for me.  Other than that, no real complaints about the environment or food.  The female waitresses were all friendly and the cook came out once in a while to see if the customers were cared for.

Would you come back?

Gaja: Only if I’m with a group of people. They have a menu that has as many combo items as a karaoke book has songs.

Ryo: Yes!  It’s a fun place to drink and eat among friends.

More Info: www.gajamoc.com | 2383 Lomita Blvd. Ste 102 Lomita, CA 90717 | (310) 534-0153 | Ryo-zan Paku | 2589 Pacific Coast Hwy. Torrance, CA 90505, Torrance | (310) 530-8720

MJ


Sue’s Kitchen

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The Skinny: Sue’s Kitchen is a tiny hole in the wall Taiwanese restaurant found in the South Bay and I’ve been driving right pass it for the last 20 years.  From what I read on Yelp, the place is known for it’s Beef Noodle Soup and the workers not speaking a lick of English.  The place also serves other Taiwanese and Northern Chinese dishes….stuff I’m not familiar enough with to explain.

The Good: The Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup with Tendon I ordered was simply delicious.  I’ve only had it at least 4 times in my lifetime, but I never really took a liking to it or found it to be a special treat.   But for some reason, that day at Sue’s Kitchen, it just all made sense.  The Beef Noodle Broth seemed tastier than usual with the Star Anise and other spices being more pronounced.  There was a nice heat to everything and both the beef and tendon melted away easily in my mouth.  The long noodles weren’t as thick as I had hoped, but they did have a nice bite to them.  It could have been that I was just in the mood  for hot Soupy Noodles on a cold rainy day, but as of now I can understand how people can be as obsessed with Beef Noodle Soup as others are with Pho.

Along with that Beef Noodle Soup, I did get a side dish of cold Pig Ears.  I’m not sure why I got it, but I just felt like eating something odd.  The thin slices of Pork Skin and Cartilage tasted neutral on their own with subtle reminders that I was nibbling on a Pigs Ear.   If it weren’t for the Chili Oil that added another layer of flavor, I don’t think I would have continued eating it.  It wasn’t bad and I kind of liked it the more I ate it.

On top of the food being good, the people working at Sue’s Kitchen were nice and they did understand English, they just couldn’t speak it well.

The Bad: Nothing really.

Would you come back? Yes!  I have other stuff to try!

More Info: Yelp | 23918 Crenshaw Blvd. Torrance, CA 90505 | (310) 539-1992 | They do accept credit now! Yelp needs to update that bit of info. | Beef Noodle Soup only cost around 6 bucks.

MJ