Sunday, December 30, 2007

Upcoming - dineLA Restaurant Week

Guys, the dineLA restaurant week is coming up, so don't miss it! :D I like going to these every year, you can get some pretty good deals!

(FYI, during the dineLA week you can get three-course prix fixe meals at select restaurants for the prices below which usually adds up to a good deal!)

Duration: January 27 - February 1 and February 3 - February 8, 2008
Pricing: $25 or $34 dinners and $15 or $22 lunches at select restaurants; prices are per person and do not include beverages, tax, or gratuity

I'd check out the list of restaurants from opentable.

This year I am planning to hit Asia de Cuba, Grace, and Luna Park :) and maybe Chaya Brasserie too

See you guys there ;)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Who doesn't love a SALE?

OK, you're reading a food blog, so obviously we're talking about food-related sales here.
Some of you may have made it there already, but 2 weekends ago (Dec 14-15th), a food import warehouse (Epicure Imports in Hollywood) held their seasonal public sales event. I couldn't made it on the first day, but I did go on the second day. Hopefully I didn't miss anything significant?

It was a huge warehouse and they carry everything from oil, imported water and sparkling lemonades, to baking goods, raw nuts by the pound, and truffles.

The best part, of course, was the cheese room! Basically a walk-in fridge, they had all kinds of cheeses from all over, and of course, foie gras.
Duck foie gras, goose foie gras, ... 2 oz can, 1 lb bag, you name it, they have it.

I bought a tiny can, and also 2 oz. of whole black truffles. Not sure how to best prepare them at the moment. Any suggestions??
They had Valrhona chocolates on sale for $1.99 per bar so I got a bunch of those. Also a carton of Orangina.

Some of the items were not that much cheaper than normal, and some items were already expired. I heard the wine was heavily discounted but I didn't buy any since I decided to drink only socially :P

All in all though it was definitely a fun event to go to, and some good buys can be had. And it's fun just to see everything they carry.

Epicure Imports
6900 Beck Ave
North Hollywood, CA 91604

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sushi Katsu-Ya Encino- where sushi seems an afterthought

I met up with some friends at the Katsu-ya in Encino a few nights ago. While I've been at the Katsuya in Brentwood, I haven't been to the other ones so this Encino trip is a first. It is a decidedly different atmosphere than the Brentwood robata bar (although they are both loud).

We ordered some standard sushi dishes, along with their specials of the day. All in all, I thought the sushi was ... so so. Maybe because we were not sitting at the sushi bar? The yellowtail and salmon nigiri sushi were okay, but nothing special. The special dishes however (the cooked and marinated sashimi plates) were amazing and very unique/creative.

The first of those was the seared foie gras with scallops (the scallops are hidden underneath the foie gras). This was a very good dish. Not the best foie gras ever, but interesting and definitely flavorful.

Next was the scallops and kiwi with yuzu vinaigrette. Who would've thought of putting scallops and kiwi together? I guess they did :) and the size even fit perfectly too. The kiwi goes very well with the freshness of the scallop sashimi, and the yuzu adds an excellent touch.Then there was the garlic albacore with black truffles. They come and shave the black truffles tableside. Garlic albacore was standard, good marinated albacore. The black truffles were aromatic and a really great addition.

Also, not pictured (camera was giving me trouble at that point) was the baked eggplant. This eggplant dish was really really good! It had a unique flavour that we all went ga-ga for. The baked eggplant was stuffed with albacore and other various yumminess.

We also had the lobster dynamite, baked with mushroom. Very good lobster dish. I was not too crazy with the mushrooms, but all in all still quite tasty. We had the green tea tiramisu for dessert. Really liked the taste, and the cream was excellent. The only down side was that in certain parts there were no ladyfingers and just cream, so we couldn't really eat it.

Sushi Katsu-Ya in Encino
16542 Ventura Blvd.
Encino,CA 91436

Katsu-Ya on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 17, 2007

Why I like my own birthday ....

My birthday has become an annual excuse for me to order a whole cake ... for myself (minus a couple slices)!

Last year unfortunately I was back home in Indonesia, but this year I get to have my favorite cake again. And lots of it ...

I ordered the Spring Bouquet from Jin Patisserie in Venice, who always does a really nice job decorating it also. This cake is made with mango and strawberries and cream, with layers of meringue. Some people are shocked that I don't get a chocolate cake for my birthday, but this cake is just that awesome!
I ate half of it myself :">

A picture update. This is the Poire cake that I also like to get.
A layer of light and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with layer of white chocolate mousse, with poached pear flambee.

Jin Patisserie
1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA

Jin Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mango Addict

My new favorite dessert (especially in this price range):
Soy Custard with Tapioca and Mango
from the Phoenix Food Boutique (also available at the restaurants).

A really refreshing dessert, and the mangoes they use are (most of the time) very sweet! Like Pinkberry's mangoes USED to be ...
And the tofu hua (soy custard) is very silky smooth. The sweet creaminess combined with the slightly tart mangoes are just perfect.

The best part is that some locations are open until 1 am!

Phoenix has multiple Food Boutique and Restaurant locations.
Find one at:

Phoenix Food Boutique on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pasadena Brunch Journey part 1

Like I've said before, I really miss the West LA brunch places since moving to Pasadena (great places like Hugo's), so I have been exploring Pasadena and surrounding area for good brunches (not champagne all-you-can-eat brunch buffets, which may be good too sometimes). Before I reviewed a great place in Eagle Rock, Auntie Em's. The place I'm reviewing now is a cute little place on Walnut, just north of old town Pasadena.

Normally Marston's location may look just like a small cute house, but in the afternoons, you can see a crowd of people waiting for a table to enjoy brunch. Serving upgraded classic breakfast dishes such as French Toast coated with corn flakes, Eggs Benedicts in the morning, and various salads and sandwiches in the afternoon in a very cozy and quiet (except for some noise from the traffic) atmosphere, Marston's is my go-to place for brunch in Pas proper.
Pictured in this post is the Cordierra salad that I had last time. Sesame-crusted chicken on a bed of greens with avocado, tomatoes, etc. With "San Pasqual dressing" (whatever it is, it's tasty). Served with very good corn bread.

PS. They also have possibly the best pancakes in Pasadena.

Marston's Restaurant
151 East Walnut St.
Pasadena, CA 91103
(626) 796-2459

Marston's on Urbanspoon
Marston's in Los Angeles

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Long Live Breakfast Salad

Hugo's in WeHo was my favorite brunch place when I was still living in LA proper - or at least, they have my favorite brunch dish.
Since moving to Pasadena, I went on a Hugo's hiatus - especially since they were renovating and since the Pinkberry on my way there is being stingy with their fruits!

I recently went back though, for the first time after the renovation. I was surprised when I walked in. The decor now is much 'cleaner' and minimal compared to before. I preferred the cozier, homier feel of the old Hugo's though. Sigh ... why is everything in LA changing to this wide space, minimal decor look? The kitchen is now closed off though, reducing the noise from plates clanking greatly. That's one good thing from the renovation.

The place was not as busy as I remembered it- before I would have to wait 10-15 minutes for a table during lunch hour on a Saturday. Today we got a table immediately. It wasn't empty, but there was no line out the door like there used to be. Maybe the new decor? Maybe because they were closed for a while, a lot of people have not made it back?

At any rate, the food there is same as always - great tasting and healthy.
Hugo's serves you piping hot whole wheat ciabatta bread that is great with or without butter. (One time they served it cold, but we sent it back and got the piping hot bread).

Before, the Tofu Scramble used to be my favorite dish. Organic tofu scramble with sweet potato, green onion, tomato, spinach, garlic and mushrooms with ginger-soy sauce. The tofu is firm, and the ginger-soy sauce is really good! (There's no egg in here, even though it says 'scramble'). The spinach and tofu with the sauce is just a great combo. My only pet peeve about this dish is that there's too much sweet potato for my taste, but I know some people who looove sweet potato and didn't think there was enough ...

A great dish, and like I said, it used to be my favorite and I'd get it every week. Until one day I became adventurous and ordered the Breakfast Salad! Ever since then, this is my favorite!

Mixed greens topped with: turmeric rice scrambled with egg whites, almonds, spinach, wild mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Ahh ... the ultimate salad for me. I would have never imagined making a salad like this, and were it not for Hugo's I would have totally missed out. Maybe it is partly the Asian taste of the dish that makes me like it so much? Did I mention they're organic? Totally guilt-free :P

We didn't get desserts this time around, but the desserts at Hugo's tend to be very decadent (like bread puddings, pineapple upside down cakes, etc). Sinful? But they're organic? That's a notch down on the sin level, right? Right?

Also, I should mention they have a great selection of loose leaf tea.

8401 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 654-3993

Hugo's on Urbanspoon

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