Showing posts with label melrose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label melrose. Show all posts

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Taste on Melrose (West Hollywood, CA)

by guest blogger @btsunoda

When the food and ambiance come together, a restaurant becomes a special place. Taste in West Hollywood is cute, hip, and not a pretentious place. Until recently, the only negative on the place was that it was small.

Taste on Melrose recently expanded their restaurant and added a courtyard and an Atrium. The  Zen-like courtyard was built in the rear of the original building which gives diners an al fresco option. 
Owners John Halter and Morten Kaag transformed a small dress shop into a romantic and stylish addition complete with a full bar and kitchen. The Atrium is attractively decorated and equipped with spot lighting which adds to the ambiance. A skylight offers daytime diners some nice indirect lighting.
IMG_2747
The Atrium was built to serve different purposes. First, they needed more space added to the original restaurant and having the Atrium can address the overflow. With its own full bar and kitchen, It is also ideal for private parties; it even has a separate entrance.


I was recently hosted for dinner after the Atrium was opened. Our dinner started with the kale and persimmon caesar salad.
This salad was extremely colorful and I thought that the addition of persimmon and garlic married the ingredients nicely. Many chefs offer “seasonal” menus and it’s enjoyable for me to see the winter offerings.

Albacore tuna tataki included avocado, cucumbers, scallion, toasted sesame seeds, shallots with a Jalapeno Soy Citronette. This is a nice small bite starter that would pair with a white French (e.g., their Louis Latour, Montagny) or Pinot Gris wine.
The pear bruschetta with gorgonzola, caramelized onions and walnuts appetizer was very simple and I got addicted to it quickly. I went for seconds on this tasty starter.
IMG_2752

One of their signature dishes, the White Truffle Mac and Cheese was served. What I particularly enjoyed about the dish was the inclusion of slivered crimini mushrooms. The buttery taste and the white truffle oil will delight your senses.
IMG_2754

Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Hour at Melrose Umbrella Co Spans the Classic Cocktail Families

Who does't love happy hour? Cheap drinks, sometimes cheap food. But most of the time happy hour menu consists of only a handful of cocktails, which means limited options. Not so much at Melrose Umbrella Co.

Melrose Umbrella Co
I've heard a lot of Melrose Umbrella Co before, for having good cocktails, so I was excited to come in for happy hour. The decor is fun, and the name of the bar is actually related to an old photo of the great great great grandfather of one of the three bartenders who started Melrose Umbrella Co. You'll see vintage umbrellas along with vintage photos of the family around the bar.

OK, back to happy hour. At first glance the happy hour menu looks small, with a punch that serves 4 and 4 sections of cocktails. But the last section actually covers the four classic cocktail families with your choice of garnish and base spirit. Virtually unlimited choices!

First off, they served us a mini cup of the white sangria to start off the night (and "amuse booze"). This is the same sangria that comes as a 4-person punch and it is a crowd pleaser.
Melrose Umbrella Co
Let's start off with some of the happy our choices. There's the Nip Julep made with bourbon, mint, and peach, and only $5! The last section lets you choose between the four cocktail families: smash, fix, daisy, or maid. The "Fix" is your choice of base spirit with citrus, sugar, and your choice of garnish (I did bourbon and grapes). The Smash would be like a mojito with any spirit, and the Maid is made with cucumber, mint, and and citrus. Each is $9.
Melrose Umbrella Co

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.

IMG_6835
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
Cheese
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.
Epoisses

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Smoke, Oil, Salt: A New Spanish Wine Bar on Melrose

A new Spanish wine bar has taken over the old Angeli Caffe spot on Melrose, with a kitchen helmed by Perfecto Rocher (formerly of Lazy Ox Canteen).

We started dinner at Smoke, Oil, Salt with olives amb bitets (olives, toasted almonds, Manchego cheese, $6) - a great starter!

IMG_4782
Followed by a traditional pa amb tomaca il llangonisses (Catalan tomato toast, homemade red and white sausages $6)
IMG_4787
I like the fresh taste of the tomato on Catalan toast, compared to Italian tomato sauce, and the homemade sausages are quite flavorful.

Vegetarians can opt for the truita de carxofes (artichoke omelet, Meyer lemon aioli, $11)
IMG_4790


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

All You Need is Steak Frites at L'Assiette

When I first heard about L'Assiette, I wondered if the restaurant will succeed at serving only one thing. Yes, L'Assiette only has one item on the menu: steak frites. When you sit down, the only menu they give you is the wine list. They ask you what temperature you'd like your steak to be and jot it down on the paper table cover.

It isn't just the steak frites, though, but the $25 meal comes with a choice of either salad or an aromatic sorrel soup that I loved.

sorrel soup

Then comes the steak frites: slices of very tender steak, hot fries, with their homemade secret-recipe sauce.
Steak Frites

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

PINGTUNG Eat-In Market: Great Asian Food on Melrose, For Real

When you talk about Chinese food on the westside, West Hollywood, or Hollywood, you're immediately skeptical. Of you might say that "it's pretty good for the westside". Well, PingTung recently opened up on Melrose, serving up dim sum, Chinese rice dishes, beef rolls, and Japanese ramen, and it's good. Not just "it's pretty good for Melrose", but actually good.

Unlike the higher end Bao, PingTung is more casual, with wooden tables and an outdoor night market style seating in the back. There are Asian products displayed on the shelves for purchase. That's the market part. I'm here for the eat-in part.

IMG_5154

The owner (Ping) had hired a Chinese chef to make all the dim sum and a Japanese chef to make all the ramen.
She told us that the chefs had protested initially when she told them to cook with no MSG and less oil, but they finally figured out how to do this while maintaining the taste.

Pingtung Flat Bread Beef Roll ($6.95)
IMG_5160

I thought the flatbread would be some kind of pizza-like thing but it turns out to be these rolls! They're done well, the skin nicely crisped at the edges.

Chicken Shumai ($5.50)
IMG_5169
They also have pork shumai but Ping really wanted me to try the chicken shumai. Have to admit, they're pretty good (that just means the pork would be that much better, right?). They tasted cleaner than SGV dumplings but that's not necessarily bad.

Radish cake with chinese sausage ($4.95)
IMG_5167
My default order when I go to dim sum. I like the browned, thinner version here. More crisp to volume ratio!

Crystal Shrimp Dumplings ($5.50)
IMG_5168
No dim sum without har gow!
When I eat this, the thing I watch out for is the skin. Sometimes the skin is too thick or too hardened. Not so here, I was pleasantly surprised that the skin and, indeed, the whole dumpling was excellent.

(Spicy) Miso Tonkotsu Ramen $7.95
IMG_5161
They don't make the noodles in house but the noodles they use were specifically made for their broths. The company they use had come to taste the broth and figured out the right noodles to use. The tonkotsu is not as fatty as most places but it's still quite good! Healthier while maintaining great flavors, indeed. Ping is also very proud of her chicken ramen, which I will have to try later.

Paiku Pork Chop ($10.95), comes with soup of the day.
IMG_5164
This is the only one that I didn't really like, because the meat was a bit tough. When I was there the soup was a hot and sour soup.

They also have beer and sake (and sake cocktails) as well as a good selection of loose leaf teas. Overall I was very pleasantly surprised by PingTung. Yes, the price point is still higher than San Gabriel Valley (and there's no chicken feet on the menu), but what can you expect with a Melrose rent? Either way it may be the only dim sum (or ramen) place to go to in this area, and it's one I would be happy to recommend to others.

PINGTUNG
7455 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 866-1866
www.pingtungla.com
Pingtung on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vietnamese Brunch Pops Up on Melrose with BEP Kitchen

Every other week starting this Sunday (April 21), you can get an awesome Vietnamese multi-course brunch on Melrose. Connie Tran's BEP Vietnamese Kitchen will be popping up at Franco on Melrose. There's only one seating at 11:30 am where you'll partake in an 8-course brunch, mostly served family style, for $37.

Boiled Peanuts
I attended a media preview last week, starting my morning with some spiced boiled peanuts. I remember as a kid I loved boiled peanuts and would buy them at the zoo (I think they were meant for the elephants). I just love the texture! Here, suck on the shells a bit to get the flavors!

Chef Connie Tran explained to us the philosophy behind a Vietnamese meal. She said there is always a "water" component, which in our meal was the chao sang: rice porridge, lardon crisps, poached egg, sage brown butter

IMG_5173

This one was not served family style but a small individual bowl for everyone. Egg lovers will rejoice over the high egg:porridge ratio here.

After that there will be 1-2 proteins but one of them will always have vegetables. More on that later, though, as she modernizes and expands things a bit with her own take.

Our second course was a beautiful salad of starfruit, fennel, burrata, bibb lettuce with lemon balm dressing
Untitled

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fun Pairings at Colonial Wine Bar (West Hollywood)

Colonial Wine Bar in West Hollywood is a new restaurant and wine bar co-owned by sommelier David Haskell, whose fun wine pairings I have always enjoyed in the past. The full experience here is not from just the individual food from chef de cuisine Ryan Otey (Patina, Tasting Kitchen) and drinks but having them paired for you.

IMG_0966
When we came in for dinner, Haskell brought out three dishes at once with a couple of wine, beer, or sake that would pair well with the three dishes.

The first round included: Deviled eggs, pickled jalapeno, smoked paprika, crispy bacon and greens ($5)
IMG_0915
This was my second visit to Colonial and these deviled eggs are becoming a favorite. I liked the deviled eggs paired with Hitachino White best, which is one of their beers on tap. Colonial is apparently one of about ten places in LA that has this beer on tap.

Burrata, heirloom tomatoes, sherry vinaigrette, balsamic gastrique ($12)
IMG_0918
The burrata was very creamy and the tomatoes sweet and fresh. The first three dishes were also paired with a wine called Kabaj from Slovenia, which is a pinot grigio but with the skin left on and thus unlike other pinot grigio. With this dish, the tomatoes are meant to lighten the Hitachino while with the wine it's meant to invoke sparkling tomato juice.

Friday, February 12, 2010

DineLA 2010: Cube Marketplace & Cafe, Artisan Crafted Lunch

Cube was the place I wanted to hit the most for this year's first Dine LA Restaurant Week, in particular their lunch. The Cube Truffle burger, available only on the lunch dine LA menu plus the fact that the three course meal ran only $22.00 per person led me to take an "extended lunch" with Wandering Chopsticks, since, alas, it was not open for lunch on Sundays.

If you didn't catch it the first time, the place is called Cube Marketplace & Cafe, so of course they sell various gourmet, artisan food products, along with cute kitchen and table wares and $50 bowls.

The Dine LA menu had three choices for both appetizer and entree, but WC and I wanted the same thing and didn't want to risk sharing something we might not want, so we both placed the same orders.

For our appetizer: Shaved brussels sprout salad (satsumas, toasted hazelnuts, pomegranates, pecorino, hazelnut vinaigrette) - regularly $11
They didn't even cut down on the portion. This plate of salad would've satisfied me until dinner time, but I had to trek on. The citrusy combination of the satsumas, pomegranates, and vinaigrette is a bit acidic, though the toasted hazelnuts balanced that off quite nicely and each bite was at once crunchy and refreshing.

Moving on: Cube Truffle Burger (house brioche, blue cheese, caramelized shallots, crispy potatoes w/ chipotle ketchup on the side) - regularly $15. Arugula and tomato slices are provided on the side to build your burger to your liking.
The brioche bun may be smaller in diameter, but it packs in one thick, juicy patty. While indulging in a slurry of meat juices amidst the strong aroma of blue cheese and truffle oil, you may feel the need to reach for a couple of the thin crisp fried potatoes dipped in the chipotle ketchup. And a couple more. In fact, if I didn't have a strong enough will to make them take away my plate I never would've stopped eating those crispy potatoes.

Although all having all this great food had probably used up my good karma for the day, there was more to come. This time WC and I are actually sharing!
Our first choice was the seasonal fruit cobbler duo (cherry, rhubarb) with tahitian vanilla bean ice cream - regularly $8
The top is a thick granola-laden crust that fit my crust/fruit ratio preference just fine. Both were good, but the cherry in particular was amazing.

Our second dessert choice was the pots de creme duo (butterscotch, Valrhona chocolate) - regularly $8
Being a chocolate lover, I liked this dessert even more. The valrhona pot de creme is thick and dark. I loved the bittersweetness, although be warned that it might be darker than you may expect.

The desserts made me want some hot tea and since Cube does serve loose leaf tea, I ordered myself a pot.

Cube's Dine LA lunch was an amazing deal. $11 salad + $15 burger + $8 dessert = $22, you do the Math (I'm just the bioengineer). Sorry I didn't tell you guys sooner ... hopefully they'll do it for the next Restaurant Week too. Even without it, though, Cube is definitely a place you should try.

Cube Marketplace & Cafe
615 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 939-1148
www.cubemarketplace.com
Cube at Divine Pasta Co on Urbanspoon
Cube at Divine Pasta Co in Los Angeles

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunday Supper and an Old Fashioned at Lucques

3 PM Sunday and we decided on Lucques Sunday Supper for dinner. The $45 3-course prix fixe Sunday suppers at Lucques have been constantly popular and booked. Luckily they can still accommodate us at 6:30 PM.

We were initially seated at a small table inside but after requesting a patio table, they kindly moved us outside.
The bread was served with butter, sea salt, and almonds and olives.I quite enjoyed the almonds and olives (they were under the almonds). I've never thought to pair them together but they go well.

I debated whether or not I should drink tonight ... but since they really reccommended this drinks, I got the Lucques Old Fashioned: Maker's Mark with muddled amarena cherry, blood orange and housemade tangerine bitters
A strong drink. A better bourbon would've made this that much better, but Maker's Mark isn't bad ... The muddled cherries and blood oranges made this a tad sweeter than a classic old fashioned.

Our meal started with a salad: blood orange and arugula with parmesan, dates and crushed almonds
A light and refreshing salad. The blood oranges were so good! The dates were also really sweet and delicious - by themselves. I'm not sure about putting them together in this salad though. I ended up eating them separately.

Slow-roasted lamb sirloin with roasted carrots, dandelion, chickpea puree and tapenade
An incredibly tender lamb sirloin and very flavorful already even without the tapenade etc. With the tapenade and chickpea puree this dish is quite heavy but luckily the dandelion leaves help cut the richness. Overall a very well prepared dish!

The other entree option was: Tasmanian salmon with english peas, fingerlings, meyer lemon and chive creme fraiche
This was also good, the salmon was moist and the skin was nicely crisped. The sourness from the meyer lemons balanced the dish quite well.

For dessert: hazelnut brown butter cake with coffee ice cream and bittersweet chocolate sauce
This dessert was simple and good. Nothing mind blowing or special, but good nonetheless. the cake could've been a bit more moist.

A satisfying meal in a relaxing patio with great music (Cat Power!). I don't know why I haven't been back here for years til now. The well-thought out preparation and and the focus on in-season ingredients make the food here more than just 'solid'. While it isn't a meal to Wow you with in-your-face creativity, it's definitely an extremely satisfying, relaxing meal to end your Sunday.

Lucques
8474 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(323) 655-6277
lucques.com
Lucques on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mario's Peruvian: Great Seafood

After my trip to Peru last summer, I fell in love with Peruvian cuisine, but I haven't managed to try many of the Peruvian restaurants in LA. One of the ones I've had my eye on is Mario's but since it's kinda far it's hard to drag someone there. When I finally had the chance to do so, I immediately went. There was a wait and the small restaurant was packed. We waited about 30 minutes - since it was cold I waited inside but felt kind of in the way of all the servers bringing food/dishes in/out.

By the time we got seated, we already knew what we wanted to order.
We wanted something light with seafood, so instead of going with the deep fried stuff, we went with the Siete Mares soup ($13.00)The seafood was fresh, and the broth was very delicious! The name siete mares means "seven seas" so I tried counting the number of seafood types: squid, crab, shrimp, clam, mussels, fish, octopus. This is a relatively light dish - again, I Loved the broth. Do give it a try sometime!

I ordered the lomo saltado ($11.25) since I've been craving it for a while! Lomo saltado is beef sauteed with onions, tomatoes, and french fries.
The meat was a little tough, but the flavors were excellent. I love the fries also and kept eating them with the fragrant rice! Next time I might try out the seafood version, saltado mariscos, so I can avoid having my beef overcooked and yet still get to taste the delicious flavor of saltado.

For good measure we ordered dessert: Crema volteada/flan ($3.00)
This is a pretty heavy duty flan! Rich and dense - a bit too dense for my taste although it's still tasty. Eat in moderation :P

Overall I loved Mario's. The food was excellent although I would stick with the seafood as the meat can be tough and overcooked ... The line can be long during dinner time, so go early or just prepare to wait! (It's worth it!!)

Mario's Peruvian & Seafood
5786 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323)466-4181

Mario's Peruvian Seafood on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 30, 2009

DineLA 09: The Foundry on Melrose, Dinner

This past Sunday I decided to take advantage of the dineLA deal and try out The Foundry on Melrose for the first time. The Foundry has a nice covered and heated outdoor seating (although the heater was blasting, making it a tad too warm).

Apparently, though, The Foundry has a prix-fixe menu on Sundays for $39 for 3-courses or $49 for 4-courses. This made us feel a bit ripped off by the whole dineLA deal - didn't feel like such a deal after all. The 3-course menu was almost the same as the dineLA's $44 menu except for the options of Pork Belly as appetizer (available in the 4-course) and the bread pudding for dessert.

Hmm. The pork belly and bread pudding do sound appetizing though. In the end we decided to get a couple of dineLA menu and a couple of Sunday 3-course menu and share.

They started us off with some bread amuse bouche with tomato sauce and parmesan.
The bread is pretty dense, making it quite a heavy amuse bouche.

As for the appetizer, I managed to taste the:
Option #1 (not in any order): Calamari "a la Plancha" - Olive Tapenade, Grapefruit, Piquillo Peppers
This roasted calamary was done quite well. Was not overcooked and had a nice texture to it. Light and crisp, and the combination with grapefruit makes this dish quite refreshing.

On the other end of the spectrum is Option #2: Crispy Pork Belly - Grapes, Almonds, Eggplant
This might be the best dish of the night (I guess it's worth the extra $5-$10 on top of the Sunday menu to get this?). Crispy and tender without beeing too fat-laden. Really liked the combination with the grapes as the sweet/sour notes help cut the fattiness of the belleh.

As for the entree, I went with the Entree Option #1: Hangar Steak - Crispy Fingerlings, Mushrooms, Anchovy Butter
Steak was cooked medium rare - it was still a bit tough because it is hangar steak. It goes well with the mushroom, but it was also served with some sort of mushroom puree that most of my friends didn't like (it gives them a weird aftertaste).

Entree Option #2: Crispy Skin Salmon - Crushed Potato, Orange, Fennel
The was a nice dish. The salmon was not overcooked and was pretty juicy - skin was nice and crispy. The fennel was good by itself and in combination with the fish.

Entree option #3: Chorizo Crusted Jidori Chicken - Mashed Plantain, Avocado Citrus Salad
I didn't get to taste this, but my friends seem to enjoy it and one said that it was the best of the entrees.

Dessert #1: Spiced Doughnuts - Pineapple Saffron Sauce, Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce
Thought this was okay. They were good, but nothing special. They are a bit on the dense side ( I prefer Grace's donuts).

Dessert Option #2: Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding - Rum Raisin Ice Cream
Definitely the best option for dessert. The bread pudding is warm, rich and moist.

Option #3 was the creme brulee which apparently was not really a creme brulee after all. Did not get to try this, though.

I thought the meal was pretty solid, although the service was quite a bit slow (the desserts took quite some time to be served). Also, with their existing Sunday prix-fixe menus, I'm not convinced dineLA is a good deal for people to try out this restaurant.

THE FOUNDRY ON MELROSE
7465 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, 90046
323.651.0915
thefoundryonmelrose.com

The Foundry On Melrose on Urbanspoon

Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital

TOP