Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Morel Mushrooms at Curtis Stone's Maude (Beverly Hills)

When Maude opened, I asked the same question I ask about other celebrity chefs: "But can Curtis Stone cook?" I went the first time for the artichoke month and the answer was a resounding "Yes, Curtis Stone can cook, after all". Before leaving for Boston, I went back for the morel menu.

If you're not familiar with their concept: Maude serves only a prix fixe menu, which changes every month. Each month's menu is built around a particular ingredient: artichoke, rhubarb, morel mushroom, pea, and so on. The prices vary, since morel is obviously more expensive than peas.

For starters, Popcorn, Australian winter truffle, and shaved morels


I loved the next course: Risotto, citrus butter, chicken-stuffed morel
I wish I had a bigger bowl of this risotto, but I knew there are many more to come. The light zest of the citrus butter made each bite of the rich risotto feel fresh and new.

Rock Kanpachi crudo with pickled morels, avocado mousse, herbs, passion fruit snow
I was wondering how they would pair something as earthy as morel with a delicate kanpachi and passion fruit, but pickling it is ingenious decision.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Brunch at Boston Chops

After moving to Boston, I miss my food loving blogger friends, so I joined the blogger group Boston Brunchers for brunch at Boston Chops last week.

Boston Chops is a steakhouse in the SoWa area, but they're also known for their brunch dishes such as french toast and fried chicken. We couldn't resist starting brunch with some Island Creek oysters ($29/dozen)
I'm really loving this particular type of oyster and since they're from nearby Duxbury, MA, they're always so fresh and sweet in this town!

The restaurant sent out some Pecan Sticky Buns ($7)
Sticky Buns
I like that they've made it bite size and easy to share, no more trying to messily split sticky buns.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Caviar at Happy Hour? Only at Petrossian (West Hollywood, CA)

There are plenty of happy hours in Los Angeles, but where would you find caviar on the happy hour menu? Well, at Petrossian - the renowned caviar purveyor - of course you would. For happy hour drinks you can get either the caviar cocktail or vodka at a discounted price, or $6 wines.

Let's talk about the food! Last year I put Petrossian's lobster roll as one of the best bites I had that year. The lobster roll was topped with sea urchin and caviar!

For happy hour, you can get a mini version:
Mini Lobster Roll, topped with Sea Urchin, Caviar, Fennel, Daikon, Chives, Parsley, Brioche Roll, Lemongrass & Garlic Aioli, French Fries ($15)

Caviar Lobster Roll
I went for a media preview so they had cut up the mini lobster roll into smaller pieces for us to taste. It's just as good as I remembered and made me want to come back in for a full size!

Other offerings include Tarte Aux Pommes de Terre (Potato Tart, Crème Fraiche, 20g Transmontanus Caviar - $24)
The crispy potato tarts remind me of latkes - but topped with caviar makes it that much better, of course.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Qui (Austin)

For my first trip to Austin, I had two must-visits on my list: Franklin BBQ and Qui. Qui is the upscale dining concept from Top Chef champion Paul Qui. Austin is pretty big on having outdoor dining areas, so at Qui you can choose between the warm, dim dining room or the bright patio.


There was an amuse bouche of a nori (seaweed) chip with Vermont cheddar foam

The cocktails here are worth ordering. I tried the Manila Envelope made with Batavia arrack, benedictine, lime, coconut, orange, and hops ($10)
I veered towards ordering his interpretation of Filipino dishes, since those would be the ones I can't find anywhere else.

Austin, Texas

Eden East
Franklin BBQ

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Brick & Mortar (Cambridge, MA)

Finding a good bar within walking distance from work is always a welcome thing. Enter Brick and Mortar, an upstairs "speakeasy" next to Central Kitchen. The small space gets pretty busy even on weeknights.
Brick and mortar
The beer menu is pretty small since the focus is on cocktails. For a hot summer night, try tall drinks like the Red Duster Swizzle (Beefeater dry gin, Madeira, Campari, falernum, lime, and bitters). There are also classics like the ginger-y Mamie Taylor. Cocktails run about $12 and up. Brick and mortar
For me personally, though, I wish they had a bigger menu for me to try out on multiple visits!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tipple and Brine Brings Excitement to The Valley (Sherman Oaks)

I never would've expected going to a restaurant in the Valley and running into so many friends. What kind of restaurant is drawing such a crowd to the valley? It's the new Tipple and Brine in Sherman Oaks.

Tipple & Brine
Appropriate to the name of the restaurant, one of the most talked about item at Tipple and Brine is the oyster luge.
Oyster Luge
You can order one of the recommended scotches to go with your oyster, like the Bowmore. Sip the oyster brine, then pour some scotch into the shell and gulp it down with the oyster!

Another popular item is the Sea urchin toast, avocado mousse, radish, scallion ($14)
Uni Toast

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Walking Tour of Santa Monica: The Misfit, Del Frisco's Grille, and The Lobster

by guest blogger Bryan Tsunoda @btsunoda

I’ve participated on walking food tours in cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis and recently had an opportunity to do a local walking tour in downtown Santa Monica. One recent evening, I had an opportunity to visit The Misfit Restaurant and Bar, Del Frisco’s Grille and The Lobster.

The first stop was The Misfit Restaurant and Bar. It resides in the uber cool Clock Tower on the 200 block of Santa Monica Boulevard. It was built in the 1920’s in the Art Déco style and is the third tallest building in Santa Monica. 
 The Misfit Restaurant and Bar has a number of specialty cocktails. We were first introduced to “Good Night Emily”: Fords Gin, grapefruit, mint and Peychaud’s bitters. If you like grapefruit, it’s the perfect cocktail for a warm summer day.
A colorful kale salad was brought out.
It was comprised of shredded kale, quinoa, sunflower seeds, red grapes, preserved lemon and manchego parmesan with a champagne vinaigrette. The red grapes brought color to the dish and I particularly enjoyed the combination of sunflower seeds with the tasty champagne vinaigrette. This is a great salad to enjoy for lunch.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

August Food Events in Los Angeles Not To Miss!

Saturday, August 2
Plate by Plate
This is Project by Project's Annual Tasting which benefits the Pacific Asian Counseling Services. This year's 50 participating vendors including hot new restaurants Republique, Faith and Flower, Superba Food and Bread, and many more great restaurants like b.o.s., Bistro LQ, etc (check out the full list).
Tickets are $150 for general admission and $250 for VIP, which can be purchased here.
Time: 6:30pm (VIP), 7:30pm (GA)
The Vibiana
6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Thursday, August 7
Lukshon's Sang Yoon hosts the third annual LUCKYRICE Feast, this time overtaking a club in Hollywood. Participants include LA's Chef Jet Tila, Starry Kitchen, Lukshon (of course), Hamasaku, and more, along with Portland's famed Nong's Khao Man Gai. To keep you hydrated, bartenders from Pour Vous, Harlowe, Hinoki and the Bird, La Descarga, and more will be on hand, pairing each dish with a Bombay Sapphire East cocktail. Check out the full menu here.
Tickets are $150 for VIP early admission and $88 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased here.
Time: 7pm (VIP), 8pm(GA)-10pm
6021 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Saturday, August 9
LA Scotch Club Peatin' Meetin' VI

This year marks LA Scotch Club's 6th annual celebration of peated whiskies. Along with over 100 whiskies, there will also be craft peated beers from local breweries and cocktails from LA's mixologists. Big Slim's Hickory Creek BBQ will be smoking meats over wood and peat. That's not all, there will also be a cigar lounge and Irish rock and folk live music.

Tickets are $100 pp and can be purchased here. Event starts at 5pm.
Brookside Golf Club
1133 Rosemont Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103

Sunday, August 17
Food GPS Fried Chicken Festival
Angelenos love fried chicken so much that we are having the third annual fried chicken festival. This festival gathers some of the city's best chefs, though, including Kris Morningstar, Jason Travi of Superba, and Brian Dunsmoor, along with those known for their fried chicken like Jesse Furman of Free Range LA. Beers and cocktails will also be on hand to wash down all the chicken.

Tickets are $65 for general admission and $90 for VIP which includes one hour early admission and guaranteed seating. Tickets can be purchased here.
Event starts at 3pm (VIP early admission), 4pm general admission
Chinatown,  943 N. Broadway Los Angeles, CA, 90012

Thursday-Sunday, August 21-24
LA Food and Wine
The fourth annual LA Food and Wine Festival returns with over 20 events spanning 4 days. Attendees can take their pick from special lunches with celebrity chefs to the big grand tasting events. Among the events offered are Caviar and Champagne, lunch at Scarpetta with Scott Conant and Graham Elliott, lunch at Republique with Walter Manzke and Michael Tusk, the two grand tastings, Asian Night Market, and cooking demo by Iron Chef Morimoto.
Times and ticket prices vary by event. See the LAFW website for more information.

Sunday, August 24
LA Weekly Pancake Breakfast
The annual Pancake Breakfast features breakfast and brunch items from some of LA's top restaurants. With brunch comes mimosas, Bloody Marys, juices, and coffee.
Tickets are $30 if purchased before July 20. Tickets are available here.
Time: 11am-2pm
Park Plaza Hotel
607 S Park View St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Friday-Sunday, August 29-31
The Taste
Los Angeles Times' The Taste has always taken place over Labor Day weekend, and this year is no exception. Unlike the LAFW, there are five events over three days at The Taste, including this year's Sunday Brunch which is co-hosted by Chef Thomas Keller.
Ticket prices range between $100-150, or $299 for a weekend pass. Purchase tickets here.
Paramount Picture Studios

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ostra (Boston)

One of Boston's top restaurant groups is the Columbus Hospitality Group, which runs a number of high end restaurants in town helmed by Executive Chef Jamie Mammano. Their latest is Ostra, a seafood-oriented Mediterranean restaurant in Back Bay.

Considering the restaurant's name, I obviously had to order some oysters. The fun part about moving to Boston is trying all the East Coast oysters we rarely get in LA. I've tried and loved Cotuit in LA, but this was my first time having Duxbury oysters.
There was a special appetizer of hamachi beautifully wrapped in avocado

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Panini Lunch at CiBOTECA (Santa Monica)

I'm always looking for places near Toyota Santa Monica to kill time whenever I take my car in (since that Toyota location has no wi-fi). During my last service, I walked over to Broadway to the new-ish CiBOTECA, a cafe and marketplace that serves paninis, cold deli items, and desserts.


I tried two different paninis, starting from the Cotoletta (Veal Milanese, dijon mustard, shaved parmesan, mizuna, $9)

Crispy veal cutlet between crunchy toasted seed bread!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tee's on the Green: A Hidden Gem in Tujunga

by guest blogger Brian Lee @iam_robot

Some of LA’s tastiest burgers come from the most random, tiny, oblivious places strewn all around town from South Bay to San Gabriel Valley to East LA to North Hollywood. For me, I always have higher appreciation of food served from push carts on street corners or alleyway storefronts rather than bright vibrant storefronts marred by eccentric tourists on Hollywood Blvd.image
First off, I just wanted to say how excited I am to find this hidden gem, Tee's on the Green, in Tujunga.
I gave full credit to owner Tiffany Casper - not only for inviting me but also for flexing her muscles to craft the perfect burger that made haute burger joints seem amateur by comparison. I mean, if you’re like me and spend lots of time around the 210 Foothill Freeway/ La Tuna Canyon Park either for hiking or just to pass the highway, you’d understand my untethered delight in finding this place. 

During my visit here, I had the chance to devour their Hot Mama Burger with a side of zucchini fries/ onion rings.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Zinque Cafe and Wine Bar in West Hollywood

The old Nishimura space across the street from Pacific Design Center was always closed off by a tall wooden gate. Now it has turned into Zinque Cafe and Wine Bar and the gate gave way to a charming outdoor dining area, complete with a fireplace.

The food menu is small, but we tried some good things here, starting with the Cheese Plate ($16) which included comte, blue cheese, and epoisses
Though you don't get to choose the cheeses, they're all good and come with fun accompaniments. Now, the server might tell you the one at the end is brie, but I was told Zinque is one of the few places in town that serves Epoisses. Instead of brie, we had a slice of the wonderfully stinky epoisses, even better with the honeycomb.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Anniversary Afternoon Tea at The Langham Boston

Once a year, The Langham hotels celebrate their anniversary by serving afternoon tea service for the original price that the first Langham hotel in London charged. Back in 1865, afternoon tea was 1 shilling and 6 pence. That means, dear readers, that on June 10 you can get the $38 afternoon tea at The Langham in Boston for only $0.15!

I was lucky enough to go to the Pasadena Langham in 2011, but now it's gotten so popular you can only get reservations for the special priced-tea by lottery only. Knowing I would already be in Boston, I entered the lottery for the Boston Langham, and what do you know, I got it!

My friends and new roommate and I took a long lunch that Tuesday and headed to the hotel lobby. Gift bags in the pretty Langham pink color were on the table .. ooh, but more on that at the end.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Freshology: Delivering Healthy Meals

We've seen a surge of meal delivery services recently, from vegan to raw to special dietary ones. One of the big players is Freshology. Freshology delivers a day's worth of prepared meals that are healthy, low calorie, and well made. They'll drop off the cooler in front of your door really early in the morning, so you'll have your breakfast ready.

The menu changes daily, of course, but here's what I had:
Breakfast was oatmeal with almonds, a bit of milk, and fresh grapes and berries.
The oatmeal was light instead of dense, and I really enjoyed it with the grapes. I normally eat pastries or something rather unhealthy for breakfast, and I have to admit I felt rather energized after finishing this.

For lunch, a shrimp salad sandwich with a side of watermelon salad (not pictured)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Healthy Food that Surprises at Stamp Proper Foods in Los Feliz

If you're looking for healthier food that isn't boring, try Stamp Proper Foods that's recently opened in Los Feliz. Owner and Chef Catherine Baker was a model for 20 years before opening Stamp Proper with partner David Beckwith. Said partner is actually also Catherine's fiance, who apparently had lost a lot of weight since they started dating and loved the food so much he thinks she should open a restaurant.

Sure, as with healthy restaurants, there are lentils, gluten free baked goods, smoothies/juices, and all that. But what I like about Stamp Proper Foods is Catherine's twists on all of these.

For breakfast, I really enjoyed the Moroccan Lentils and Eggs (lentils, sauteed spinach, poached eggs, date chutney, toasted almonds, currants, and grilled lemon - $14)
It's the little things she added that impressed, like the crunch from the toasted almonds, and the sweetness of the chutney and currants.

Sandwich options included Bison meatloaf sandwich, with sharp cheddar, spicy ketchup on sourdough ($14, choice of house-made slaw or mixed greens)
As you can see, this isn't a vegetarian restaurant, but they opt for the leaner meats.

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