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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


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


Spot Bar & Gastropub

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The Skinny: The Spot is a rather new restaurant found on the outskirts of Koreatown.  The self proclaimed managing foodies aspire to be like The Lazy Ox and  Father’s Office.  Their goal is to give affordable Gastropub food to college students, sports fans, and people that are not in the mood for Ktown.

The Good: The interior was nice, Dogfish was on tap, and the food was free.

The Bad: If Gordon Ramsey from “Kitchen Nightmare” came to this Spot, he’d use words that would be censored on cable TV and follow them up with “disgusting.”  I ordered the Mac & Cheese with Truffle Oil and Dogfish  to wash it down.  A co-worker who was with me at the time, got the Jalepeno Burger with fries and a Stone IPA.  I was going to order the sliders myself, but was warned that they were the frozen kind.  When the Mac & Cheese came out it was in the form of Bow Tie Noodles with loose white liquid as cheese.  I actually have no clue what Truffles are suppose to taste like so if it was in there, I wouldn’t have known.  I give credit to the marketing because the addition of the word “Truffle” certainly fooled me.   The dish wasn’t bad, but it was disappointing since I was expecting Elbow Noodles and a thicker Cheese encrusted with Bread Crumbs.  The Jalapeno Burger my co-worker got, now that’s a different story since I had half of it.  While I might have been saved from getting the sliders that were probably once cryogenized in the freezer section at Wal-Mart’s Superstore, the patty for that burger was like a hockey puck that’s been laying out under a hot sun for too long.  It came packaged nicely and the Fries were good, but I had to keep opinions to myself when a staff member asked me if everything was okay.  Later that evening my co-worker would spend a long cleansing time at his apartment’s bathroom.

When I went to The Spot, I was actually there because one of my co-workers had business with the manager.  She seemed really enthusiastic about the place and had a lot of ideas on how to make The Spot better, but unfortunately, if the food isn’t good, the place will struggle.  I’m sure Gordon Ramsey and Robert Irvine from “Restaurant Impossible”, would take one look at the menu and say,  “there’s just too many items.”  They’d both go into the kitchen and get rid of all the frozen pre-made ingredients and strip that menu down to a few signature dishes and seasonal specials.   Personally, if I ran the place, I’d invest in a good meat grinder instead of a web designer and buy meat from a local butcher like McCall’s Meat and Fish and make fresh burger patties on “The Spot!”  Then I’d build the whole menu around that all American classic.

The Spot has a lot of potential but it should focus first on making quality food instead of trying to cut corners in order to pay for temporary cosmetics.

Would you comeback? Nope, I rather go out of my way to The Lazy Ox and even the original and more crowded Father’s Office.  Of course, I haven’t tried all of their menu items so I can’t say all their stuff is bad.  I do wish The Spot staff  well because I don’t want anyone to fail at something they want to succeed in.

More Info: yelp them | www.myspotla.com

MJ


Animal

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The Skinny: Animal is the place to go if you want hearty, heavy, deliciously tasting comfort food that doesn’t hold back on flavor. The owners are two dudes who are rumored to be stoners which explains it all. You’ll leave feeling full for hours but gluttony is definitely worth it there.  The restaurant is pretty tiny so reservations are highly recommended.  I went there with a group of six girls to celebrate a birthday and we all loved it.

The High:

  1. Baby Kale, Pecorino, Lemon Chili Vinaigrette,Crouton
  2. Bone Marrow, Chimichurri, Caramelized Onions
  3. Lettuce, Beets, Avocado, Pita, Feta, Creamy Sumac
  4. Barbeque Pork Belly Sandwiches, Slaw
  5. Hamachi Tostada, Herbs, Fish Sauce Vinaigrette, Peanut
  6. Poutine, Oxtail Gravy, Cheddar
  7. Balsamic Pork Ribs, Delicata Squash, Arugula, Pecan
  8. Grilled Octopus, Chorizo, Spicy Brown Mustard, Chowchow
  9. Foie Gras, Biscuit, Maple Sausage Gravy
  10. Berries, Vanilla Custard, Lavender Crumble, Opal Basil
  11. Sticky Toffee Pudding, Mascarpone, Orange
  12. Tres Leches, Dulce De Leche
  13. Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar,  S&P Anglaise

Everything we ordered on the menu was a hit. The Baby Kale is the best Kale Salad I’ve ever had.  The marrow bone was perfectly cooked and full of flavor.  The Lettuce Salad was amazing for just having a few ingredients. The BBQ Pork Belly Sandwiches were filled with juicy chunks of Pork Belly.  The Hamachi Tostada, which was a favorite amongst us all, was spicy and unlike any tostada I’ve ever tasted.  The Balsamic Ribs were sweet and tangy and they went perfectly with the Squash and Arugula.  The Poutine was super rich and tasty. The grilled Octopus was cooked perfectly and the Chorizo was delicious.  The last, but not least, dish that came out was the Foie Gras with Biscuit and Gravy…this…was…yummy!! It was very heavy but we all shared one order and a bite was the perfect amount to start off our dessert tasting.

We ordered every dessert. My favorite was the Tres Leches but they were all delicious.

The Low
: They only serve beer and wine to wash down the food. It would’ve been great if they had specialty drinks to go with the menu.

The bacon chocolate crunch bar was kind of a disappointment.  It was a piece of chocolate with tiny bits of bacon in it. I thought it was going to have more of a bacon influence.

Would you come back? Yes, but with enough friends to spread the fat around.

More Info: www.animalrestaurant.com | 435 N. Fairfax Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036 | (323) 782-9225 | Open Seven Days A Week | Sunday-Thurs 6pm-11pm | Friday & Saturday 6pm-2am

Nom Nom Bobbie


Freds 62

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The Skinny: Freds 62 is one of those joints that you first go to because you’re with your drunk friends….and someone says…HEY let’s go to FREDS!  You probably went clubbing in Hollywood and its one of the closest joints that has good food and has a lot of street parking nearby.  For a few years I was going to friends at night and only at night until I moved out to Los Feliz.  I stopped going at night and then started going during the day, and guess what everything doesn’t always taste better when you’re drunk!  Actually FREDS during the day is WAYYYYYY Better.

The High: I’ve tried a ton of sandwiches and breakfast items at this local favorite and I have to say that I love the burger’s here and the Cali California Omelet…oh yeah the Eggs Benedict is pretty amazing too.  The Burger Medium Rare is perfect and not too messy unless you get avocado like I did( In that case it becomes a slippery mess of green goodness).  The Cali California Omelet has avocado in it also and its just all around awesome…with savory chicken sausage and the sun dried tomatoes are a perfect addition.  If you don’t like goat cheese you can ask for something else.  This place is always busy and it has a great vintage diner decor.  There are also “Patio” aka sidewalk tables that are nice to sit at in case you have a dog, want a smoke, or have a friend that’s about to puke in the gutter.   Fred’s is open pretty much all day and all night so if all the markets exploded in the area….you’d still be able to get some food at anytime as long FREDS stays open.

The Low: Honestly the food during the day is WAY better, and well I guess it is true…making drunk for food for drunk people is probably the way they thing about cooking after 2AM in this place….after all no one is ugly after 2AM and nothing tastes bad either.  The downside to this place is that…IT IS SUPER POPULAR.  Anytime of the day there is a wait….so be prepared to chill out for a bit or jump back in the car for PLAN B if you go during peak times.

Oh Yeah! TRY THE BOSSA NOVA WAFFLE….its Mmm Mmmm GOOoooood

More Info: www.yelp.com | fred62.com | 1850 N Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027 | (323) 667-0062

Echo


Music Related: Etienne De Crecy + The 12s

myspace.com/etiennedecrecy

This guy’s been in the electro game for a minute….and what can i say…I love French Fries…French Bread…and French ELECTRO.  This guy will be playing this FRIDAY (3/25) at CONTROL@AVALON.  Ryan Jaso, another electro head, 
and I talked about this guy at North Hollywood’s now closed Red Room over a couple of beers and we both agreed he’s definitely a rising star in the electronic music scene.  Keep an eye out!

 

Drop The Tough Groove Armada” – myspace.com/thetwelves

Brazil’s answer to Daft Punk, The Twelves, are coming to Coachella and you guys should definitely see their set!  Here’s an awesome remix of theirs.

Echo


Gardena: Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori

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The Skinny: The popular and always busy, Shin-Sen-Gumi’s Yakitori is in Gardena.   It’s one of those dining experience where everyone is shouting as you enter, have your first drink of beer, and after you paid your bill.  The place is as Japanese as it gets and it would be my 3rd trip there.  This time I ordered the Pork Belly, Pig Intestines and Knuckles, little sausages, Asparagus wrapped in Bacon and the Tail End, Wing, Heart and Breast of a Chicken.  Since I went with mi Madre, she was craving Duck, so we got that as well.

The High: For some reason, I love the promo videos (watch it here) they have playing at every location and the enduring quality of them.  The music playing let’s me know that I’m in for something good and it kind of makes me feel like I’m slightly buzzed on the strip of Las Vegas.   I bet drinking games can be made with how often the staff members look off to the side to read their lines.

Anyways, my favorite item at Shin-Sen-Gumi is the Pig Intestine.  It comes out crispy like Bacon, slightly fatty on the inside, and sweet because of the Teriyaki sauce used to coat it . Also, the tail end of the Chicken was succulent and the hearts were tenderly tasty.

The Low: The sliced Duck Breast was served cold and it was forgettable.  Mi Madre was slightly disappointed because she wanted the rendered kind of fatty Duck you get at a Chinese restaurant.

The Pork Belly is usually good, but that time, it was thinly cut and it wasn’t as juicy as the other times I had it.

Would I come back again? Yes!  I actually left my lucky hat there and they kept it safe for me.

More Info: Shin-Sen-Gum | 8517 S. Western Avenue. Gardena, CA 90248 | Phone: (310) 715-1588 | NOT CHEAP!

MJ


Oinkster + Black Boar + Pitfire Pizza Company

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The Skinny: In one night, I went to a gastropub in Eagle Rock called The Oinkster and stopped by The Black Boar, a no frills bar.  Then on whim, I ended my evening at The Pitfire Pizza Company that’s located in between Culver City and Venice Beach.

Oinkster is popular hipster-ish restaurant that got spotlighted by Guy Fieri on his show Drives, Dives, and Diners.  The establishment is known for their Pastrami and BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches.

The Black Boar is an Irish style pub I Yelped and went to after eating at the Oinkster.

The Pitfire Pizza Company is a relatively new and trendy place that had a live DJ, wooden decor, Sangrias, and really good Pizza Bread.

The High:

The Oinkster: Since I went here with some friends, I was able to trade one half of my BBQ Pulled Pork for his “Oinkster Pastrami.”  The sandwiches came as a combo with Belgian Fries, a nice dill pickle, and my choice of a hoppy Eagle Rock beer on tap.  The BBQ Pulled Pork is described as being brined in Soy and Honey and then slowly roasted and smoked.  It came packaged with a Red Cabbage Slaw, Caramelized Onions and BBQ Sauce.  While my friend preferred the Pastrami that came pretty much built the same way, except without the BBQ Sauce and with Gruyere Cheese, I liked the Pork more.  It could have been because it was the first thing I ate while it was still hot, so all the flavors just felt that much more comforting.  When I got to the Pastrami, it was cold and falling apart and it didn’t have the same flavor impact as the Pulled Pork did.  It was still good, peppery and full of fatty goodness with the Slaw complimenting everything else.  The Belgian style Fries came with Garlic Aioli, and they were pretty addictive.  I also love the fact they have an outdoor seating area where I can drink beer openly during a nice Spring evening.

The Black Boar: The Black Boar is a pub not too far from The Oinkster.  Inside it the interior and vibe is that of an Irish bar, with dart boards, a Foosball table, old Celtic letterings everywhere, and left over St. Patty’s Day whiskey promos still hanging from the ceilings.  I liked the place and the indie rock music they had playing on the jukebox.  It’s the kind of bar I wish I had near my house so I can be a regular.  However their mixed drinks were watered down, but it’s forgivable because my friend had ordered a girly one in a seemingly no frills kind of bar.  Plus, the dark haired bartender girl with a nose ring was hot!

The Pitfire Pizza Company: I wasn’t really expecting to go here, but my friend decided on a whim to try it out for the first time after we talked about pizzas we had and loved in Los Angeles.  When we got there, the atmosphere reminded me of my design school years with the interior being in a big open area and the kitchen in plain view sight.  While we were waiting in line to order, the DJ was playing Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”  as industrial lights guided us to the cashier lady.  It was cool, the atmosphere made me feel young again.

My friend and I ordered a pitcher of Sangria and two small Pizzas, one with Wild Arugula and the other with Pumpkin Squash.  Both were delicious. The Arugula pizza seemed to have very few ingredients, even with the haystack size greens on top.  The Burrata Cheese, Tomato Sauce, Caramelized Onio, Hazelnut , and Pesto Drizzle that were on it, all worked well together (or at least I thought since I was kind buzzed) on the light and airy Pizza Bread.  The Pumpkin Squash Farmers Market special had the good kind of cheese that actually stretched as you pull away from a bite.  These days, in order for Pizza chains to deliver 5 dollar specials, they opt for the cottage cheese kind that is texturely mushy even when hot.   Pitfire Pizza’s seems to be doing it right, with their fresh hippie like ingredients, that delicious pizza dough formula, and their art student music playing in the background.  Oh…and the Sangria was a bit too fruit punchy, but good enough to make me stumble as I walked out.

The Low:

The Oinkster: None really.

The Black Boar: The only thing that doesn’t really bother me is the watered down mixed drinks.  No biggy though, since all I was drinking was Jameson.

The Pitfire Pizza Company: While the Pumpkin Squash Pizza was tasty, the special ingredient was hardly noticeable.  It was a bit too subtle.  I think maybe if they caramelized the pieces of Squash a bit before cooking the pie in the oven, it would’ve tasted just a little bit better.

Would you come back again? Sure x 3.

More Info: TheOinkster: 2005 Colorado Blvd. Eagle Rock, CA 90041 | Expect to pay about 15 bucks for a Sandwich with a Beer and Fries.  |  The Black Boar: 1630 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90041 | The Jameson cost me 7 bucks per order | The Pitfire Pizza Company: 2018 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90035 | Expect to pay 10 bucks for a Small Pie & 15 for a pitcher of Sangria.


Music Related: The Joy Formidable

Why Ritzy Bryan, what big blue eyes you have.

Why Ritzy, Rhydian, and Bryan…what great energy you Northern Wales People have.

www.thejoyformidable.com + Myspace Music

MJ


Los Angeles Kings + Kike’s Tacos

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The Skinny: After a four game winning streak on the road in a tight race to make it into the NHL playoffs, the LA Kings are back home at the Staple Center.  Everyone was dressed in green because of St. Patty’s day and for 25 bucks, I got to watch the Kings get shut out by a team that lost the previous night.  But hey, at least I was in the box seat area that has it’s own open bar.

Kike’s is a taco spot that’s in a parking lot on 2nd St & Beaudry Ave.  It started off as small street stall with just a fire pit, lawn chairs and tables.  Then years after good fortune and loyal customers, they got enough money saved up to buy a truck.  But accordingly to Spreewell of Ramen + Tacos, there was a fallout between the workers and now there are two different locations not to far from each other.  

The High: I was at the Staple Center and I got to watch the Kings lose while sipping on Jameson, nibbling on Staple Center bar food, and saw some old roller and ice hockey teammates from my High School years.

After the game, some of us went to Kike’s Taco Truck and from there I ordered the Buche.   Of all the ones I had before, Kike’s version was actually the cleanest tasting one so far.  Texturally, it was perfect, like tender calamari.   And because of a mix up order, the sweet girl working by herself in the truck, gave me an extra one for free.  So for only 4 bucks, I technically only paid for 3 tacos and a can of Fanta Pineapple. Ramen+Tacos guy Spreewell and a cousin of mine who were both there, ordered the Pastor and Carne Asada.   They were both happy with their selections as they talked about stories that will only stay out of Vegas for that moment in time.

The Low: The Kings lost and while I have stopped following them since the addition of purple in their jersey colors, the new owner, and players being 10 years younger than me….it was still a bummer.  Also, the cooks at Staple Center must be getting lazier and their waiters walking on cruise control.  We ordered Chicken Wings, but they came out lukewarm. The whole Organic White Carrots that came with them still had that unclean outer layer on.  Along with those wings was a “where’s the Pulled Pork?”….Quesadilla.  No bueno!

As for the Buche Taco, while texturally it was good, it was kind of bland.  The Salsa Verde didn’t really add much to it either, it was just cold.

Would you come back again?
Yes, just because the Buche was lacking in seasoning doesn’t mean their other stuff are too.  They also have sweet breads (throat glands), something I’ve grown to like after trying them at King Taco.

More Info: 621 S Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90005 | Cash Only | 1 dollar Tacos | They also serve Danger Dogs if you are in the mood.

MJ


Little Tokyo: Orochon

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The Skinny: Orochon, the Ramen place that television host Adam Richman of “Man v. Food” visited and placed on the Travel Channel so viewers can see him drip away like the Wicked Witch of the West.  The restaurant is known for a challenge that gives patrons 30 minutes to eat a spicy cesspool of molten hot broth full of Egg Noodles and more Jalapeno slices than a bowl of cheerios.  The payoff, if someone finishes it, is a free t-shirt and a Polaroid picture of them placed next to Adam on their Bulletin Board of Fame.  While I did try to take on the challenge and failed in front of Nom Nom Bobbie a year ago, I only went there today to eat lunch with Echo and Jazzy.  Since every food blogger and their 2nd cousin on Yelp has already reviewed Orochon, I might as well too.

Orochon offers 3 styles of broth to choose from, Miso (which is a thicker kind), Soy, and Salt base. You get to choose levels of spiciness, 7 being free of it, 1 being face melting hot, and  “Special 2” being the reason why you died on the toilet. Each order of Ramen automatically comes with slices of Pork, Green Bell Peppers, and Green Onions.  You can also add extras like a Boiled Egg, Bean Sprouts, Char Siu Pork, Butter, Garlic, and more.  While Ramen is their thing, you can get side dishes like sauteed Bamboo Shoots and Gyoza and then pair it with cold Japanese beer on tap.

The High: I do enjoy Orochon’s version of Ramen since I am a fan of clear based broths.  I like how they use Green Bell Peppers to influence the scent and taste of the overall broth.  It is simply tasty stuff and their noodles are decent.  Jazzy ordered the Miso base version with a Boiled Egg, Bean Sprouts, and Hyper level 2 spiciness.  I could tell he liked it because even after we paid the bill, he kept on sipping on the leftover soup.  Echo got the Salt based Ramen at level 4 and even though his face was melting off from the heat, he was still enjoying the tastiness of it all.  I got the Soy based broth with Char Siu Pork and Bamboo Shoots at the same heat level as Echo’s.   Like I mentioned before, the stuff is just tasty and the fragrance from the Green Peppers really adds something different to their Ramen in comparison to other styles that prefer that thick broth.  Also, that extra Char Siu Pork I ordered melted between my chopsticks…..not sure if that’s a good thing, but it tasted great!

With our orders of Ramen, Jazzy also got some Gyoza and while I didn’t have one, I do remember a few times that I did and they were delicious.

The Low: Orochon isn’t the best Ramen in the world, but that’s as low as it goes.  People will either love it, hate it, or think it’s whatever.

Would you come back again? Yes and I have.

More Info: 123 S Onizuka St. Los Angeles, CA 90012 | If you pay by card, be sure to order more than 20 bucks.  All 3 Ramen without any extras are under 7 bucks.

MJ


DTLA: Wood Spoon

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The Skinny: Half-asleep on Main St. in Downtown Los Angeles, the restaurant takes its laisse-faire attitude seriously. There’s no sign for the restaurant, just a big wood spoon. Seats? Couches. Napkins? Flower-patterned squares of fabric. Music? Acid jazz or euro-trash beats. Come early or in a small party, the atmosphere is comfortable because the space is cozy. Order a collection of ethnic side dishes (kibe, Portuguese croquettes, coxinha fries, plantains) if you’re feeling adventurous, but its all comfort food under the guise of Brazilian cuisine.

The High: The chicken pot pie stands alone: a classic, hearty dish. Flakey crust that breaks into dark meat with buttery notes that would make Paula Dean proud. Vegetarians or those on a healthy tip should try the beet salad. This dish heaps cubes of fresh beets, a generous portion of avocado, kicks it together with a light lemon salt.

The Low: Vegetable soup was a viscous orange liquid of boiled yams. It’ll take a hard-core sweet potato lover to enjoy its sickly sweetness and the harsh kick of cilantro. On certain days, service can be very very “casual”.

The Snobbery: A fellow fein (caffeine) addict told me about Wood Spoon’s Brazillian coffee. “It’s delicious and thick and sticks to your bones!” The coffee was indeed thick and robust, but comes already sweetened and creamed (that’s what she said). Most Brazilian coffee roasts are sweeter, fruiter, and have lighter-nuances, but there’s no way to fully appreciate it here. All I could notice was the brew wasn’t burnt. Washes down quick and a great way to conclude a meal, but fellow snobs may gulp it down and turn up their nose.

Would you come back again?
Yes, for days when you want no-nonsense comfort food in your mouth, with a possibility for more. This ain’t a one trick pony or a one-night stand venue. I’d hit it again.

More Info: Wood Spoon. 107 W 9th Street, Los Angeles, California 90015. Mon-Thu 11am-9pm; Sat 9am-9pm

Seechou


Lomita: Jang Mo Jip to Go!

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The Skinny: Jang Mo Jip, which means Mother In Law House, is a small  Korean restaurant in the City of Lomita that serves Kalbi Tang (short rib soup), Soon Doobu (tofu stew), Soondae (blood sausages), grilled meats and other hot pot stews.  I ordered their Sul Lang Tang with beef and tripe to go.

The High: For 8 bucks you get everything you see in the pictures.  That’s what great about soupy Korean food, it’s one of the easier kinds to contain and order to go.

The Low: The thing I love about Sul Lang Tang is the collagen and fat you get on your lips thanks to the long hours of ox tail bones being stewed and the marrow that gets pulled out.   The Sul Lang Tang at Jang Mo Jip did have some of that effect but not even as close as Han But, my favorite Sul Lang Tang place in Koreatown.  Their take on it was pretty bland, even with the use of the salt provided.  I actually emptied the whole serving  into half a bowl of what is seen in the soup container, but it didn’t make a difference.  And even though there was no real taste to the tripe,  it did have that tripey “back in mouth” action going on.  It wasn’t unpleasant, but it wasn’t good either.  The sliced beef that were also in it were tasteless and dry in texture despite being bathed in hot broth.

As for the Ban Chan, the Mu (Daikon Radish) Kimchi they gave needed more time pickling because it was offensively raw in pungency.  The other Ban Chan selections were good though.

Would I come back again? Probably not, but if I am there again, I’ll probably try the Kalbi Tang instead.

More Info: yelp | 1824 Lomita Blvd. Lomita, CA 90717 | (310) 530-6017 | 8 bucks for Sul Lung Tang that comes with Ban Chan and rice…is a good deal!

MJ


Irvine: Fukada

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The Skinny: Fukada is a very popular, local, Japanese spot in BFE Irvine. They’re known for their healthy and fresh ingredients and greatly-priced combos.  You can pair a hot/cold udon or soba noodle with a variety of different donburi bowls with brown/white rice, i.e. Oyako don, spicy tuna don (the most popular), curry don, etc. If you’re not in the mood for noodles, you can also get a seafood salad with a donburi bowl or sushi roll.  Unlike other places, they are VERY generous with the amount of sashimi they give for the price.  The salad comes with tuna, salmon and albacore but they’ll even let you substitute for one kind of fish without an extra charge. They also serve a plethora of izakaya items which are fairly priced and very delicious. Overall, the prices are great, the food is even better and the décor is peaceful and soothing to the eyes.

The High: One word…combos! For people who love variety but don’t want to order the whole menu and look like a piggy (like me), this is the perfect place.  They give you just the right amount of food so you can finish both items in the combo, if you’re super hungry, or take one to-go for later.  The seafood salad is definitely worth trying here.  If you like sashimi salad, this place will definitely not disappoint.  They give you huge chunks of tuna, salmon and albacore tuna on a bed of organic spring mix salad and topped with a pepper onion dressing. Their donburi bowls are also very tasty and you can get it with brown rice for no extra charge!!  The first time I went, I tried the oyako don which is chicken pieces folded into an omelette and placed over brown or white rice.  I loved it.  The spicy tuna don is the the most popular bowl and they give you a good amount of tuna without all that mayo. The noodles that come with the combo are simple but still delicious. I’ve tried their hot udon and thought it was very tasty as well.  Their fried squid legs are crispy and not covered in batter.  Everything tastes fresh and you feel healthy even if you stuffed your face.

The Low: The only thing that was disappointing was the shrimp roll that comes with the combo.  It’s tempura shrimp and asparagus wrapped in too much rice and not enough flavor and fillings.

Would I come back again? Hell yeah!! I’ve been here twice in the past month and I can’t wait to go back.

More Info: www.fukada2go.com 8683 Irvine Ctr Dr. Irvine, CA 92618 | (949)341-0111  | They also have Fukada2Go if you don’t want to wait.  Fukada2Go also offers brown rice for their rolls which they don’t do at the restaurant.

– Nom Nom Bobbie


Music Related: DEADMAU5 at AVALON

This video is from last Friday in Hollywood at even called CONTROL@AVALON.  My buddy Ryan Jaso run’s the night with Mr White and they do a great job bringing through some seriously sick special guests….DEADMAU5 popped up from under a bedsheet ghost costume to rock some tunes during Tommy Lee and DJ Aero’s set.  Pretty amazing being that he’s playing this weekend for 100 bucks a ticket at the new Belasco nightclub in Downtown LA. Hmmm Ghosts make’s me think of PacMan….makes me hungry….wakka wakka.

Echo


Giuliano’s Delicatessen & Bakery

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The Skinny: Ever Since I was a little kid and first moved to Torrance I’ve become increasingly attached to this Amazing Italian Deli.  The delicatessen has tons of Italian meats, cheeses, pastas, sauces, etc.  And they serve some of the most legit sandwiches in Southern California.  Giuliano’s has it it all; whether you’re looking to get lunch or buy some ingredients for an amazing Italian home cooked dinner…

The High: Since 6 years old I’ve been obsessed with their Torpedo Sandwich.  It’s an amazingly perfect balance of Italian Salamis and Meats with Cheese, Lettuce, Pepperoncinis, and Fresh Baked bread…YUMMM,  The meat is cut perfect and melts in your mouth as it mixes with the cheese and Italian dressing(that you need to add) as you take each bite.  It’s comfort food…it’s gourmet comfort food I guess, because this definitely ain’t some plain ‘ol Bologna sandwich. I Feel Strongly that the key to this sandwich is in the Bread….and yes the bread is amazing and can be purchased in store and even delivered if you have a business that needs amazing breads.

The Low: The Torpedo Sandwich is amazing.  It’s the only thing I order here and I’ve tried other stuff there which is also really good, but there is nothing quite like a good torpedo.  I’d say the worst thing about this place is that it’s in Torrance and I live in LA now….and have yet to find an Italian Deli that can match the Zen like balance of this Sandwich…So I can only satisfy this craving when I visit friends and family out there.

Would I go to again? I’ve been going here since I was 6….nuff said.

More info:
Torrance
 3849 Torrance Blvd. 
Torrance, CA 90503
 | (310) 540 – 2500
Redondo Beach
 1700 N Aviation Blvd
. Redondo Beach, CA 90746 | 
(310) 376 – 0416
Gardena
 1138 W Gardena Blvd. 
Gardena, CA 90247
 | (310) 323 – 6990

Echo


Dino’s Chicken with French Fries

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The Skinny: Echo, a friend known as Jazzy, and I went to Dino’s for lunch.  Actually, at first we wanted to go to Pollo a La Brasa on 8th and Western, but for some reason it was closed.   So we all headed to Dino’s Chicken and Burgers for our very first time. The flame broiling poultry pit is best known for their signature dish, which is the charred and vinegary chicken that comes in halves.  At the time we went, there were no wall menus to order from, but we knew what to get.  If you get the chicken, which we all did, you get it in a styrofoam box with some coleslaw and a bed of french fries.

The High: The flame broiled Chicken was pretty tasty and it did have a distinct flavor.  As we ate we all speculated what they marinaded the chicken in.  Echo mentioned Tandoori because we saw a bunch of uncooked ones covered in something thick, vibrant, and very red.  Personally, I can’t remember the last time I had something Tandoori so I couldn’t make the flavor connection, but I do remember looking at photos of India where you see mounds of colorful spices used for Masala.  The pants-staining red used to marinade the chicken reminded me of that. The Chicken was also pretty sour, which we all assumed came from vinegar and not citrus juices.  There was also a nice heat to it and seeing how there were red pepper flakes all over the place, I guessed they used the chili oil you find next to the Sriracha at Pho places.  The char on the outer part of the chicken was good and the moist inside was welcoming, but my favorite thing about the meal were the fries.  The way they soaked up all the extra sauce and meat juices was pretty addicting.  It was like eating soft pillows of salt and vinegar potato chips that was drizzled with charred chicken bits.

The Low: Dino’s Chicken is a solid meal, can’t really complain too much about it.  Although, I do have to admit that it was a bit too sour and I think it would’ve tasted better if I was drunk.

Would I go to again? Not really, it’s too out of the way and if I had other choices, I’d go there.  However, if I was drunk, those sauce sucking fries would be worth the drive by a designated driver.

More info: yelp | 2575 W Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90006 | Credit Card Friendly | About 8 bucks for the Chicken and large drink

MJ


Music Related: Gravity by Nico Vega

Nico Vega is a Los Angeles rock band that formed in 2005 but I just recently discovered them the other day.  I know I heard their one song “Gravity” on the radio a few times, but I never got the chance to hear who the artist was behind it.  It would usually come on when I’m driving and the song is halfway done, which sucks because I wanted to like the song even more.

Years later,  after browsing a music blog that’s dedicated to Women in Rock, I came across Nico Vega.  Being the noob that I am, I thought Nico Vega was the lead singer, but it represents all three members.  I have no clue what the name means but I now have “Gravity” on repeat and the more I watch Aja Volkman bounce around and fiercely address the crowd with her diverse set of vocals, the more of a crush I have on her.

Along with a Yeah Yeah Yeahs Concert being on my bucket list, I’m going to have to add a Nico Vega show on it too.

www.nicovega.com | youtube | interview

MJ


Music Related: “Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies

Just to wash the hippie burrito out my system….I need to listen to some Bassnectar in Dubstep definition.  I love the pixies…ever since Fight Club I’ve always associated this song with catastrophic destruction.

Echo