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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


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


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


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: Open Sessions with Young the Giant

Islands

Strings

Discovered this band thanks to Kroq’s Local Only section.  After I heard their music and saw that their live show was dirt cheap at the Roxy last year, I went to see them for just 10 bucks!  I consider them to be another great live band and I’m happy to see them selling out shows everywhere.

Youtube Channel + Myspace

– MJ


Gardena: Shin-Sen-Gumi’s Hakata Ramen

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The Skinny: Shin-Sen-Gumi is a brand name associated with a chain of high quality Ramen, Shabu Shabu, Sushi, and Yakitori restaurants in both Japan and the USA.  Hakata is a popular hot spot in Gardena that usually has a long waiting list.  The Ramen shop allows customers to customize their order by letting them use a sushi-like check-list where they can dictate how al dente the noodles will be and the strength of the broth.  You can also get combo meals by adding chicken fried rice, gyoza, and other stuff.  And if you’re still hungry after killing a bowl, you can order more noodles and broth without having to wait

I’m not sure I should even bother reviewing the place because many people have already done so and we all pretty much like the place.  Anyways….

The High: One of two things I enjoy doing while waiting at a Shin-Sen-Gumi spot, in this case Hakata Ramen, is to watch the awkward but endearing promo videos of the staff members acting out skits.  When I’m with friends, I always play the “where’s the cue card the poor employee is reading from?”  Since there’s always a wait, the 2nd thing I enjoy doing is putting a name on the sign-up sheet that doesn’t fit me at all.  One time it was “Tyrone” and the last time it was “Jethro” to represent the redneck that is in me.

As for the Ramen itself, I’m personally a fan of the kind that has a clear broth, but the stuff at Hakata is solid regardless.  If you like that thick porky broth with those melt-in-your-mouth char-siu cuts, you’ll love the stuff at Hakata.  I can’t say that I’m a dedicated fan of the stuff, but I certainly didn’t hate it.  Their chicken fried rice is as tasty as chicken fried rice gets as well.

The Low: My only complaint about Hakata is that their broth is sometimes inconsistent and the style of their noodles are little too thin for my liking.  But other than that, it’s all good.

Would you come back again? Sure, why not!  They serve beer!

More info: www.shinsengumiusa.com | 2015 W Redondo Beach Blvd. Gardena, CA 90247 | Credit Friendly | Expect to spend around 10 bucks per person

– MJ


Music Related: Charlie Sheen by Jin, Dumbfoundead & Traphik

Charlie Sheen by Jin, Dumbfoundead, and Traphik.  Produced by some of TMF247’s friends.  Now, let us all give thanks to Charlie Sheen and his gifts as they are used as sound-bytes and inspirational material.

Check out Jin’s YouTube Channel and site:
www.youtube.com/user/AyoJinTV
www.ayojin.com/
www.twitter.com/ayojin
www.facebook.com/mcjinhk

Check out Dumbfoundead’s YouTube Channel and site:
www.youtube.com/dumbfoundead
www.dumbfoundead.com
www.facebook.com/dumbfoundead

Check out Traphik’s YouTube Channel and site:
www.youtube.com/TimothyDeLaGhetto2
www.TimothyDeLaGhetto.com
twitter.com/traphik

Catch Adventures 2011.
www.catchadventures.com

Producer: Tatsuro Miller for GlobalCityMusic
Director: Kevin Boston


Music Related: Feats In Inches

A band a few of my friends help out with and consider a labor of love.  There’s nothing hipster-ish or pretentious about these musicians, just a whole lot of willingness to work hard in creating good solid melodic songs.  Along with the Steelwells, I hope the kids of Feats In Inches blow up big so they can continue to do what they love.  So support them!

www.facebook.com/featsininches + www.featsininches.bandcamp.com

– MJ


Bristol Farms: Home Cooked Burgers

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The Skinny: Because of my disappointment in that On-The-Bun place, I decided on a whim to go to Bristol Farms Market and buy my own set of burger ingredients for dinner.  I ended up spending about 30 bucks on 3 Lean Ground Chuck Beef Patties, 4 Sesame Buns, a Red Onion, a bag of Baby Purple Potatoes, slices of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, a bottle of Arrogant Bastard, and a $6.60 Goose Livery Terrene.

While snacking on the Terrene with a butter knife, preheated at 450°, I roasted those little balls of carbs with Light Olive Oil and freshly crushed Kosher Salt and Black Pepper.  I simply cut them into halves, tossed them around in a bowl with some Olive Oil and placed them on a tray with tin foil.   After seasoning them, I let those potatoes roast for about 50 minutes in the oven.

With the burger, I started off by caramelizing the thinly sliced Red Onion on high heat with Balsamic Vinegar and just a little bit of Fish Sauce.  After few taste tests, I put the caramelized onions off to the side to cool off and got a new pan and dropped some butter on it’s heated surface.  With the Burger Patties I was using, I salt and peppered one side only and placed that side on the hot buttered pan and let it cook for about 4-5 minutes.  With the raw side of the patties sticking up from the pan, I seasoned those surfaces the same way before flipping them.    I would only flip the burger patties once and add a slice of Sharp Cheddar on top of each.

While waiting for those patties to finish cooking, I toasted the bread in the oven for just a minute.   I  then got some Miracle Whip Mayo, took a few tablespoons of it, and splashed it with Habanero Tobasco and stirred it around.  When it was time to construct the burger, I put that Mayo mixture and a slice of tomato on the bottom bun to help protect it from all the meat juices that was going to come flowing down.  And to finish it off, I added the burger patties and the caramelized onions on top.

In the end, the burgers came out a bit savory, sweet, spicy, and juicy while the pink centered patty had a nice crust thanks to the butter used to cook it.  My family loved it!  The roasted Purple Baby Potatoes did come out pretty good, just be sure to leave the skin side of the potato wedges down on the surface of the tray.  Otherwise, you’ll get some of the sides steamed rather than crispy.

– MJ


On-The-Bun Burger Hole

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The Skinny: On-The-Bun is a new burger hole in the City of Lomita that flaunts it’s chili toppings and fried jalapenos in a hipster-ish restaurant setting.  The storefront that On-The-Bun took over used to be an old neighborhood favorite grease pit, but I only took notice of  their “grand opening” since it was right next to the hockey store I was visiting and the minimalistic logo.

The High: I ordered the Chili Cheese Burger, fries, and a drink.  The Beef Patty had a nice crust I never really had before on a Burger.  The fries were crisp and tasty.

The Low: Not sure if it was from the cheese, chili, or a heavy hand that seasoned the meat,  but the burger was way too salty.  On sight alone the burger did look yummy, but when I picked up the burger, the bun started to shift and break apart from the rest of the build.  The chili didn’t help the ease of eating the burger either, because after each bite into the store-like bun in a bag, the runny grease just started streaming everywhere.  The burger did have a nice looking pickle, some fresh red onions, lettuce, and tomato, but they barely served as a texture component.  The salt lick effect was just too distracting.

Would you come back again? No, thank you!  In fact, I was so dissapointed in that $7.something burger meal, I went to Bristol Farms Market and spent 30 bucks just so I can make my own burger for dinner and my family.

More info: Yelp It. 2387 Lomita Blvd. Lomita, CA 90717 – Expect to pay about 8 bucks for a burger, side, and drink. – Credit Card Friendly.

– MJ


Las Vegas Hot N Juicy Crawfish

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The Skinny: I was introduced to to Hot N Juicy Crawfish by Adam Richman in an episode of Man vs. Food.  The place is like Boiling Crab, a chain found on the West Coast, but I haven’t been there so I can’t make much of a comparison. It’s pretty much a seafood boil that uses spices found in Cajun and Asian cuisines.  While they do have other items like shrimp, fried catfish, and sausages, the thing to order is the Crawfish.

The High: I never enjoyed Crawfish whenever I tried it since  it was always cold and funky. However, as I got older, the more mature and ballsy my tastes-buds are becoming.  That is why I actually enjoyed the pound of hot musky flavors from the extra spicy Crawfishes we ordered.   The butter enriched sauce they came steamed in certainly helped spread the juices and spices around as I sucked in the brains of each one.  I couldn’t tell if the meat from each sucker was naturally sweet or if it was because of the spiced sauce, but it was definitely tasty.

Since I did come with a group, not only did we order the pound of Crawfish, we also got some Shrimp, corn, fried catfish, and sausages.  Even though I wished the shrimp could have been deveined somehow, everything was a delicious mess.

The Low: The Crawfish was good, but it needs to be hot to stay that way.  Once the little guys became lukewarm, the muskiness of each shellfish got stronger and less appetizing.  So eat them while they are hot!  Also, at no fault of Hot N Juicy, eating the Crawfish is a lot of work for so little reward.  In our party of 6, I was the only one really killing the suckers and I was still hungry at the end.

Would you come back again? Possibly, since  it doesn’t hurt to support restaurants off the strip because the food certainly didn’t suck at Hot N Juicy.

An unrelated story, on our way back home from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, we drove side by side with the Bang Bus Bro van.  If you don’t know what that is, it’s not the greatest thing in the world but it’s a weird enough experience to share.  Don’t look them up if you don’t want to be offended.

More Info: www.hotandjuicycrawfish.com | 4810 Spring Mountain Rd. Ste C & D. Las Vegas, NV 89102 | Credit Card Friendly but you get a discount if you pay in cash.

– MJ


Music Related: Chloe Chaidez of Kitten

 

Bieber is everywhere.  Bieber Bieber Bieber.

I don’t hate the kid, but force him enough upon adults and one can’t help but be annoyed with him.  It’s okay if he was just a successful child pop-star with connections up the gazoo, but to put him on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CSI Las Vegas, in the NBA All-stars, on the script of the Rock’s return to WWE, and every damn place that isn’t just for tweens; his handlers are asking for it.  There’s no doubt he doesn’t suck at what he does, but that won’t matter when he’s there like news about Charlie Sheen with his cocaine, Britney Spears when she was off her meds, and Lindsey Lohan going to jail….again.  It has become a matter of “I don’t care and yet America thinks I should.”

So what’s an alternative that will flush the Bieber right out?  How about 16 year old Dexter fan and musician, Chloe Chaidez from the LA band Kitten.  Rather than glamoring it up with the socialites in the bling industry and catering to tweens, Chloe and her band-mates have been working the grind by touring with (one of my favorite bands) Young the Giants. Inspired by the likes of Karen O, Bright Eyes and Cat Power to write songs, she has already performed with Bands of Horses and Midlake when she was just 11.

While it does feel silly saying that I listen to a 16 year old in a band called Kitten, her music is anything but childish.  She got vocals that does remind me of Karen O and according to a friend, Meiko.  I haven’t seen any of her live acts, but it’s been noted by music fans at SXSW that she can throw down like a veteran rock-star.  And while the comparison to Bieber shouldn’t be made at all since they are just different, the best part Chloe Chaidez is that we aren’t commercially forced to believe she’s the second coming of Michael Jackson.  Instead, we can just watch her grow as an artist and improve as a performer….and hopefully have a full life that isn’t damaging to the liver.

myspace: check out the Winona Ryder Demo.

MJ


WTF: Baby GaGa Ice Cream

Human udders ice cream, yummmmmmm!   I first heard about it once on KCRW’s radio show Good Food…and was just reminded of it by a co-worker thanks to this video.  Thanks CC!

I want to say that the idea of eating someone’s breast milk in ice cream form is kind of like eating someone else’s boogers….But I guess it’s pretty natural since we’ve all been breast fed at least once in our lifetime.  Even still….no thank you! (NPR)

– MJ


Flores Meat Tacos

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The Skinny: Discovered  Flores Meat Market on Yelp and the one hype that made me want to test the place out was that it was a spot a reviewer didn’t want others to find.  A few other reviewers wrote about how the Carne Asada burrito was tasty and that it couldn’t get more authentic, especially since no one spoke English there.  So I checked it out with my brother lived and his family.

The High: Just on sight alone, going into a meat market and seeing the way they had the food laid out, got me excited.  My brother ordered something I can’t name, but it’s basically a red beef stew with rice and re-fried beans as sides.   That was the only good thing I had.  It was moist and tasty, thanks mostly to the gravy that kept it lubricated throughout the day.

The Low: Everything else was dried out.  I ordered Tacos with Buche for myself, but they were salty and it felt like I was eating overcooked pieces of squid that’s been laying around for a few days.  I also tried the Carnitas and Pastor and both were tough to swallow.  The Carnitas especially was hard to chew thanks to the lack of moisture.   The place was also pretty stingy about their condiments, like bags of chopped onions, sour cream, and salsa.   Even though we got over 30 dollars worth of food, they only gave us one of each and if my brother had not been there with his fluent Spanish, we’d probably have to pay for the plastic forks as well.  Also, their Chicharones was tougher than a tree bark laid out on top of the hottest salt flats.   It won’t go to waste though, it’ll be chopped up and used for soups and salads later.

I was really disappointed with Flores, especially since I really wanted to eat tacos that day.  There was actually an El Gallito truck in the same parking lot, I should have just went there…even though Flores Meats and El Gallito are somehow connected.

Would you come back again? No….even though I might have came at the wrong the time. I went there for dinner, so maybe it would have been better if I came during lunch hour when the meats haven’t been laid out all day long.

More Info: Yelp | 1200 W Anaheim St. Wilmington, CA 90744N | Credit Card Friendly

– MJ


Music Related: “Colours” – Grouplove

It’s been proven, that Hipsters kill taco trucks…..but not all Hipsters are taco truck killers.  Hopefully these guys support local taco trucks found in front of local small “mom & pop” venues.

www.grouplovemusic.com


Music Related: Mr. Little Jeans (aka Monica Birkenes)

Has some Karen O vibe going on in that song.   Monica Birkenes is a Norwegian born songwriter who is now residing in Los Angeles.   When talking about music, she says ” “Personally, I don’t think there’s a standard for what a classic song should have, cause there’s a huge variety out there. But I think Michael Jackson was right when he said melody is king. Melody and a nice tone to the voice…and some good chord progressions!”

Her other song, “Rescue Me,” can be heard in the latest Honda CR-V 2011 commercial.

More info at ChinaShop and on her Myspace page.  I’ll be waiting for news about her live shows in the meantime.


VTM#6: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Sukiyabashi Jiro.

Sushi Yasuda in Manhattan

by David Gelb

 

 


El Gallito y Sinaloa #3 Tacos

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The Skinny: El Gallito is a taco truck that can be found almost anywhere in Los Angeles.  The one I went to was on Pacific Coast Highway in Lomita and on Washington Blvd near Culver City.  Taco Sinaloa #3 is a sit-down restaurant in Torrance which I found on Yelp.  Reviewers recommended the Pastor, so I got that along with their Buche (pig stomache), which is my favorite meat of choice.  So I got the Buche at El Gallito’s, along with their Carnitas and the little more expensive Tripas.

The High: El Gallito’s Buche and Tripas were great, both texturally and in flavor.  The Tripas were chewy and the amount of Buche was plentiful.  I just wish the Tripas were a bit crispy around the edges.

The Low: El Gallito’s Carnitas wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. The pork was a bit dry and lacked flavor, even with the chopped onions and red salsa I put on top.  I would have used the green salsa they provided, but it was frozen….so I couldn’t.  

Taco Sinaloa #3’s version of the Buche taco started off well because some of the pieces were crispy and it was packed with flavor.  The second bite I took felt like I was chomping down onto a soft salt lick doohickey.  I could literally feel my brain fluids be sucked out by all the sodium that was in that taco.

The Pastor that people raved about on Yelp was a complete disappointment.  I ordered two of them but only managed to finish one.  My biggest problem with it was that it just tasted like bland pieces of pork puffs that got re-hydrated by the amount of oil used to cook it.  I was expecting chucks of pork that were sliced off a gyro looking hunk of mystery meats….but got mushy blobs instead.

Would you come back again? Yes to El Gallito and no to Taco Sinaloa #3. I just hope I went to Taco Sinaloa on a bad day because their Buche could have been my favorite

More Info: El Gallito – www.tacoselgallito.com // Taco Sinaloa #3Yelp

MJ


Music Related: “All Of This” by The Naked And Famous

New music video from an Indie band from New Zealand that won the APRA Silver Scroll Award….maybe last year?  The Naked and Famous is lead by front woman Lisa Xayalith…and they’ll be back in LA to peform at the Echoplex on April 9th.  Yay for me!

“Young Blood” is still my favorite song by them.

– MJ


Salakot – Sizzle & Grill Restaurant

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The Skinny: Salakot is a Filipino restaurant found in the heart of Los Angeles’s own Historic Filipinotown.  The place serves popular Filipino dishes like Adobo, Sinigang, Lumpia, and Pancit.  They even have a 2nd floor dedicated to those who love to eat and party with a karaoke machine.

I actually discovered  Salakot when I went to go see the indie folk-rock band The Steelwells, a great live act with 2.5 kick ass drummers, at the Bootleg Theater. The restaurant itself is about a block away from the venue and I took a mental note of it because one of my co-workers was looking for a Filipino one.  It turns out, he had already discovered the place on Yelp, so we went there for lunch along with a few other colleagues.

The High: Of the 5 things we ordered and shared, the Spicy Sisig and Chicken Adobo were the best.  The Adobe was unapologetic about the strong Filipino flavors and ingredients it had in it. The chicken was cooked on the bone and tender enough to use a spoon and fork to peel the flesh right off.  The smell of vinegar was strong, but it hardly bothered me in terms of flavor.  It did however repel one of my co-workers who couldn’t even hold the dish due to the sour pungency.  I don’t really have a gauge on what is a really good adobe, and although it was complex, the chicken Adobe tasted fine to me.

The Sisig was what I was anticipating but it wasn’t what I was expected.  The first time I saw the dish was on TV during the travel show No Reservations.  The host Anthony Bourdain went to the Philippines and had the popular Sisig at a late night pub.  It was suppose to be made out of crispy gelatinous pig ears and snout mixed with fat and pieces of actual meat and potatoes.  I was hoping to get that but instead received salty vinegary steak-ish pork bits with green peppers and onions.  It wasn’t bad, but if I didn’t have rice to eat it with, I’d have a hard time enjoying it.  It was tasty though, maybe a little bit too tasty.

The Low: We also ordered shrimp fried rice, Pancit, and Lumpia.  The fried rice, with just 5 pieces of shrimp, was whatever.  I only appreciated it because it helped mellow out the saltiness of the Sisig.  The Lumpia was filled with a rather bland pork filling that only picked up flavors once you dipped it into a sweet chili dipping sauce.  I’m sure it would taste even better during a drunken state of mind.

With Pancit, I’ve always found it a bit bland whenever I eat it.  Salakot’s version of it didn’t make me think otherwise either.  At first, all it’s flavors were found at the bottom of the plate because we didn’t mix the noodles and condiments together well enough.  However, when we did mix it properly, it still didn’t make a difference.  The Panci was just an one note dish of blandness with only a few hints of citrus to break up the monotony of it all.

Would you come back again? Yes! Even though some of the dishes were more misses than hits, the Crispy Pata looks really good.

More Info: Yelp it!

MJ


Boxes by The Steelwells

I think The Steelwells should have named themselves Beards Papa since they all have full on facial hair, well except for the Korean keyboardist who has a peach fuzz pornstache thing going on.  It’s also so they can get sponsored by Beards Papa, the Japanese cream puffs store, and make it rain pastries on the crowd!

Anyways, even though the Rolling Stones magazine did put the ever so annoying Justin Bieber on their cover and asked him douchie questions about rape and abortion, it would be nice to see these  talented bearded kids on it instead.  So rate them with 5 stars at the Rolling Stones website. Link


The Kalbi Burger

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The Skinny: A popular burger hub that’s been voted as one of the top 10 places in Los Angeles by the Huffington Post. Their signature dish is the Korean influenced Kalbi burger.

The High: The Kalbi Burger itself lives up to the hype.  It’s juicy, messy, delicious, and everything The Counter is not. (:-X)  The greens in it had the same vinaigrette at those $19.99 all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ places.  The flame broiled short rib and ground chuck patty was flavorful thanks to the Kalbi aioli; even though it tasted more like Bulgogi.  The toasted bread stayed together well despite my sloppy way of eating it.  It also served as a piece of sponge to soak up all the delicious juices that tried to escape.  The fries were crispy and tasty thanks to them being fried twice.

The Low: I remember the first time I went to Kalbi Burger I made the mistake of getting the Saigon.  I was expecting it to taste like a Bahn Mi….but it didn’t.  The pickled veggies needed more pickling.

Would you come back again? Yes! I got to try the Seoul Dog.

More Info: www.kalbiburger.com – $9.95 for a combo meal that has the Kalbi Burger, Fries, and a drink. $7.95 for just the burger.

MJ

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