Showing posts with label pizza. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pizza. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Nickel Mine, West LA's New Neighborhood Social House

by @btsunoda

The Nickel Mine is a brand new bar located in West LA. I hesitate to call it a bar because it is so much more than that. It’s located on Santa Monica Blvd and there is no sign on the building. I guessed I was in the right place because from the outside, I saw a few big screens with the Dodgers playing. Due to the large picture windows, the interior of The Nickel Mine is full of indirect light. The walls are lined with aged brick. Bar height tables and chairs line the center. Regular height seating is available along the windows. On the west side of the bar, they have comfortable couches and chairs. With the bookshelf along the wall, it mimics the appearance of someone’s reading room. I like the fact that they have games (e.g., Connect 4, Zenga) available throughout the bar. Their menu is quite extensive. It’s broken down into grub, brunch, wine, beer, cocktails, whiskey, scotch, bourbon, tequila, mezcal, gin, and rum. Ten draft beers are available. I was surprised to see the Chicken and Waffles were made with a Belgian waffle on the brunch menu.

The Garlic Knots are served with a spicy marinara sauce on the side.
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Knowing that I was going to try a few different offerings, I promised myself that I would only eat one. Wrong. There was something about these piping hot garlic knots combined with the marinara sauce that made it so addicting to eat.

IMG_1640The Chicken Caesar Salad was topped with large slices of chicken breast, shaved parmesan and crunchy croutons.

What made the salad surprising was the fact that the romaine lettuce was extremely fresh and crisp. An assortment of wings was served next: Buffalo, Teriyaki and Lemon Garlic. Despite my strong inclination to prefer something other than Buffalo wings, I’d have to say it was my favorite among the three.

Coincidentally, it was National Beer Day. To celebrate, I had samplers of some of their draft beers.
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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Max and Leo's Coal-Fired Pizza, Now Open in Fenway (Boston, MA)

Max and Leo's is a highly rated coal-fired pizza join in Newton, and lucky for us they've just opened up shop in the Game On! space in Fenway.

Max & Leo's
This is such a great place to grab a bite and a drink before or after a game at Fenway. I really enjoyed the thin crust! We tried a white pizza with mushroom, sausage, and caramelized onion.
Max & Leo's
Wings are also a good appetizer to share. They're not deep fried and the meat was tender and juicy. The favorite (if you can take the heat) seems to be the Honey Hot Habanero wings ($10.50)
Max & Leo's

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Area Four (Cambridge, MA)

I may have complained a bit about the lack of lunch options at MIT, but actually, if I just go out of campus for a bit, there are some great places - take Area Four, for example, known for their pizza.

The menu at Area Four is short and simple - some appetizers and salads, and then pizza. Area Four's pizza has won many accolades and boasts an older-than-12-year starter, over 30 hours of fermentation, and wood-fired oven. They make a great version of the New England staple, clam and bacon pizza with pecorino, chili pepper, and parsley ($17.50 for a small)

Area Four
I had a very satisfying Little gem salad with tomatoes, blue cheese dressing, and crispy pork belly
Area Four
The crispy pork belly made this salad that much better - it's still healthy right?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fiorella's (Newton, MA)

Fiorella's in Newton has been around for 15 years; the owner was only 23 when they opened. The restaurant used to be half the size and had since expanded to include the bar area. This restaurant has a lot of local following - it's off the beaten path and can be a little hard to find at first, but people keep returning and I went to find out why along with a group of other Boston bloggers.

Fiorella's

Before sitting down for dinner, we mingled over a glass of Blueberry Smash, made with bourbon and blueberry simple syrup.
Fiorella's
Fiorella's
The new bar area
We shared some appetizers to start: Arancini (large crisp risotto ball stuffed with mozzarella cheese, served with their signature marinara sauce, $7)
Fiorella's
A nice dish that also showcases their marinara sauce. It's quite a comforting dish with the melted cheese and the hearty sauce.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Brunch at Terrine (Los Angeles, CA)

When one thinks of brunch in Los Angeles, al fresco or patio dining comes to a lot of minds, especially during the summer months. The fairly new Terrine has a beautiful back patio shaded by a tree canopy.

Terrine
Terrine's kitchen is headed by Chef Kris Morningstar (formerly at Ray's and Stark Bar) and he's doing some great things. This was one of the restaurants I had to try on my recent trips back home to LA.

I ordered the Eggs in Purgatory (spicy tomato sauce, fennel pollen, basil, pecorino, crostini, $14)
Terrine
Yes, I have a soft spot for eggs in tomato sauce, but Terrine's version of shakshouka is one of my favorite brunch dishes we tried. The sauce isn't too spicy but rich in flavors. Their bread was also especially good which made the dish even better.

We had to order this: Terrine de foie gras with prunes and fleur de sel - and baguette, of course.
Terrine
The foie gras accompaniments are different between their lunch and dinner service, but both are worth ordering. This terrine was a wonderful version of a classic, smooth and rich. Welcome back to California, foie gras.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Brunch at Michael's Pizzeria (Long Beach, CA)

I've been meaning to try Michael's Pizzeria, but I haven't gone down to South Bay much lately.
I finally made the trek and visited the downtown Long Beach location for weekend brunch, and they had a musician playing guitar outside.

Michael's Pizza
Michael's doesn't just serve pizzas, but they also have a special brunch menu, where you'll find dishes like Cast-iron baked cinnamon rolls with rosemary syrup
Michael's Pizza
The cinnamon rolls are made to order, which means they are piping hot, fresh from the oven! They're mini-sized to make sharing easier and the green color for the rosemary syrup is actually from spinach (so it's healthy, right?). These are definitely great cinnamon rolls.

Cast-iron dishes are a special category at Michael's and include the Caprino e Carciofi (pesto, baby artichokes, potatoes, mozzarella, goat cheese)
Michael's Pizza
I like these baked cast-iron dishes as a fun twist on the typical brunch dishes.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Prova Pizza, West Hollywood's Newest Italian Pies

Pizza lovers in West Hollywood should rejoice with the opening of Prova Pizza, serving up Italian style pies at a reasonable price. Prova is the new restaurant from Vito Iacopelli, who was head chef of Michael's Pizzeria in Long Beach.

Prova Pizza

Now, he's bringing his 100-year old recipes to the wood burning oven in West Hollywood (he also has an oven for his catering trailer, in case you're planning a party soon)
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The signature pie at Prova is the "Vesuvio" (salame di Napoli, fresh ricotta, mozzarella, ground pepper, San Marzano tomato, fresh basil, olive oil, $18)
Prova Pizza

After placing the toppings, a thin layer of dough is placed at the top before baking in the oven again. This makes the top layer puffs up. He then pokes a hole in the middle after taking it out of the oven, letting the hot air escapes through a hole, sort of imitating a smoking volcano.

Iacopelli also brought the most beloved pie from Michael's, dubbed "La Vito" (mortadella, pistachio, oregano, stracciatella, $14)
Prova Pizza
Mortadella sits atop the pie, and stracciatella (shredded burrata) is layered over them, and pistachio crumbs is scattered throughout. The chef, who hails from Puglia, either makes the stracciatella in house or gets it made by a fellow Puglian. I really liked the fresh cheese, which I think makes the whole pie.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hall of Famer Pizza at Santarpio's (East Boston, MA)

Established in 1903 (over 111 years ago!). Inducted to the Boston Hall of Fame. Voted Best of Boston at least 9 times. Who else can claim all of those but Santarpio's Pizza? While East Boston remains relatively undeveloped, this is one of the reasons people travel to Eastie.

The pizza at Santarpio's is not like other styles you've had. You can call it more "rustic" with a thicker crust and the Italian cheese baked on top of the toppings.

Santarpio's

The housemade sausage and garlic are popular toppings, but I also like the anchovies that come with The Works. If you like spicy, though, you have to try the pickled hot cherry peppers! The peppers that come with The Works are just green peppers, so remember to ask for the HOT peppers. If you don't want those on your pizza, you can get them with the bbq'd meats also.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Chef Shines at Ray's and Stark Bar (Mid City, Los Angeles, CA)

By: guest blogger @btsunoda

It’s been my experience that many museums don’t plan for the food and drink interests of their patrons. While visitors may be wowed by the fine art and sculptures, the food offered doesn’t quite match the experience. I recently visited Ray’s and Stark bar and I’m happy to say that I had a very different experience. Ray’s and Stark Bar is located at the LA County Museum of Art or LACMA.

They opened in 2011 and feature a Mediterranean-inspired menu includes dishes locally obtained ingredients and offerings from their wood-burning oven. They feature seasonal cocktails, a California-centric wine list, and artisan beers and spirits. While the original chef, Kris Morningstar, former sous chef Viet Pham has taken over and keeping the restaurant going strong. DSCF3940
 The restaurant is actually situated outdoors from LACMA, next to the BP Grand Entrance to the museum. It is well protected by the elements, covered to shield diners from direct sunlight and a glass partition to isolate noise from busy Wilshire boulevard. Eames-style chairs gave the interior a retro-styled look.
DSCF3953 Executive chef Viet Pham is a graduate of the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena. His mother helped him to become interested in cooking at an early age. Pham became passionate about the farm to table philosophy when he met Philip Tessier from Bouchon. He has worked at Ray’s and Stark Bar as their sous chef since they opened in 2011 and was promoted to executive chef in the spring of 2014.

Collaboration and teamwork are essential ingredients which make Ray’s and Stark and Bar successful. Viet Pham and “Dragon”, the forager, team up to decide what ultimately gets placed on the menu. Pham credited much of the success of the menu to Dragon because of the knack he has for finding the best fruits and vegetables.

The brainchild of Ray’s and Stark Bar’s water menu is Martin Riese, general manager and certified water sommelier. Flipping through the book, it read much like a wine list, only for water. The water menu included each water’s total dissolved solids, sodium, magnesium and calcium. Because water includes local minerals, it varies greatly, much like wine. Read more about the water menu.

First out of the kitchen was their housemade charcuterie which included duck rillette and truffle chicken liver.
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I liberally spread the duck rillette and the truffle chicken liver over the toasted baguette slices and enjoyed both immensely.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Coppa (Boston, MA)

Among the Boston restaurant that my LA friends recommended to me was Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette's Coppa. Chef Jamie Bissonnette won the James Beard award for Best Chef in the Northeast region this year. I was pretty excited to try this place and it didn't disappoint.

Coppa was smaller and more casual than I had expected; a cozy enoteca in the South End with reasonable prices.

I started with the Sea urchin panino with lonza and mustard seeds

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Even though the uni flavor wasn't that strong here, I loved it nonetheless since it worked nicely with the lonza (cured pork tenderloin, also known as lomo) sandwiched between thin, crunchy bread.

This was followed up by the Beef heart pastrami crostini
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It did not taste as offal-y or gamy as I had expected, but it was tender and flavorful.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Easy Pizza and Flatbread with Stonefire's Naan

If you know me, you know I don't cook much at home, but I may start making pizzas more often now ... ?After all, adding toppings and putting it in the oven is super easy, it was always the crust that's the problem! But thanks to Stonefire flatbreads and naans, I've made a couple of tasty pizzas at home!

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 There are many varieties in the Stonefire line, from the original tandoori-baked naan, garlic naan, to a thin crust pizza flatbread (that even comes with a pack of pizza sauce). I just made one with the simple things I liked: mozzarella cheese, sausages, and fresh tomatoes and basil, but if you want to be more creative, there are recipes in the back of the flatbread packages.
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There are directions to heat them up in microwave or oven, but I recommend the oven especially if you're making pizza to get that crispy crust! On my first try I didn't leave it in the oven long enough, but the texture was much better the second time I made it. Evoking Sandra Lee, my semi-homemade pizza made for a great lunch ;-P

Monday, May 5, 2014

Trying Grimaldi's Pizza in El Segundo

New York's famed Grimaldi's Pizzeria has now gone nationwide, including an LA location in El Segundo. I've never tried the original, but decided to make the easier trek to South Bay!

Grimaldi's offers three types of pizza in three different sizes, calzone, and some salad starters. You pick your own toppings for each pizza.

My favorite was the white pizza with garlic ($10 for a personal size). It was just so deliciously garlicky! We got it topped with tomato slices ($2) and spicy chicken sausage ($4).

White Pizza
If you love garlic as much as I do, this is definitely the one to get.

Monday, February 24, 2014

La Brea Bakery Celebrates 25 Years, Reopens Full Service Cafe

Yes, it has been 25 years since Nancy Silverton first opened La Brea Bakery. Amazing! They recently reopened their flagship cafe in a large, beautiful space on La Brea (of course), coinciding with their 25 year anniversary.

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Of course, there will be plenty of bread and pastries to satisfy you, being La Brea Bakery, and all, but the cafe serves more than that.
Pastries
Don't miss the pastries, though, from the French toast rosette (which I highly recommend), almond croissant, to flower shaped macarons.

The cafe is poised to be a great place to grab lunch. serving salads, sandwiches, and pizzas.
I couldn't get enough of the Ham and Cheese Panini with rosemary ham, gruyere, balsamic onions, dijon aioli, sage, country white sourdough ($10.50)
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Saturday, February 8, 2014

PizzaRev Brings DIY Pizzas to Van Nuys

By: guest blogger @iam_robot

If you spend much time in the busy intersection of Van Nuys/ Burbank Blvd, you have probably run out of lunch options. For me, once a week trip to Chipotle or Jersey Sub is probably more than enough & after a while, everything on the menu tastes the same.
Interior2
Tucked in a busy strip mall with mom and pop businesses & other fast food joints, PizzaRev officially opened their Van Nuys location last Friday.

With its hip & modern d├ęcor, PizzaRev is offering artisanal pizza where you get to pick your own ingredients for an all-inclusive $7.99 (there are some premium ingredients that come with an extra charge)!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

643 North: Polenta Pizza and Craft Cocktails in Chinatown

While Italian restaurants and craft beer and cocktail bars are abound in downtown Los Angeles, 643 North occupies an unusual location: Chinatown. You might be confused driving there through a desolate part of Chinatown, but don't worry, it's there. Plus they have a free parking lot to the left, perks of a cheaper real estate.

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Actually, 643 North isn't really an Italian restaurant although the menu leans a bit in that direction. They also have other items like these Crab sliders (blue crab patties, chipotle remoulade, daikon sprouts, brioche, $13)
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You shouldn't miss their pasta, though, especially the Ossobuco ravioli (braised veal, housemade ravioli, baby heirloom tomatoes, broccolini, Parmesan broth, Parmesan cheese, $17)
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I was expecting a heavy dish, as ossobuco typically is, but this is light and lovely. The al dente ravioli sits in a bright parmesan broth, letting diners experience ossobuco in a different way. This was one of the highlights of my meal.
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I was also pleasantly surprised with the cocktails here, created by Adam Acuff from Far Bar, which is more known for their beers rather than cocktails (643 North also has a good beer list). All cocktails are $12 and include drinks like Smokey the Pear (High West Campfire, St Germain, spiced pear syrup, lemon bitters) which was nicely balanced.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Factory Kitchen: A Strong Italian Contender in Downtown LA

I've had many good meals, but every once in a while, one stands out above the rest. This was my experience at The Factory Kitchen, which opened up in downtown LA recently. I didn't know much about it before, so I was quite surprised, but I really should've heard more. The chef, Angelo Auriana, was the executive chef at Valentino for 18 years before moving to Farina in San Francisco. The manager, Matteo Ferdinandi, was a business partner of Celestino Drago. Both of them are the epitome of Italian hospitality.

Because of the name, I was expecting a small restaurant, but the large dining room is simple but elegant.

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 The bar is headed by Karl Steuck, who was previously at Writer's Room and Hatfield's.
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I tasted another writer's Urban Cowboy (bacanora, cochhi americano, grapefruit, lime, sage honey - $10)
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Bacanora is a rare find in the US, and I love how he used it in this cocktail.
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I ordered the Soon To Be Divorced (tequila, campari, lime, agave, thyme - $10). I've never had tequila and campari together, but this was very drinkable with the lovely thyme aroma. Other than these seasonal drinks, Karl has a short list of classics as well.

For the wines, Francine Diamond Ferdinandi, who's worked at Gramercy Tavern and Spago, has created a small but impressive wine list. We left it to her to choose our wines and so should you.

Be sure to get the Prosciutto, which came in an unexpected form. 24 months Parma prosciutto is served atop a lightly fried sage dough, with some stracciatella in the middle ($18)
Prosciutto

Barberosse Gratinate: oven baked sliced beet casserole with melted Asiago ($10)
Beet casserole
It may sound strange at first, but the beet slices actually make a great vehicle for the melted cheese.
Pancotto (farmer's duck egg, red potato vellutata, sauteed greens, semolina bread crostone - $9)
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Rather than pizza, The Factory Kitchen serves Focaccina calda di recco al formaggio, a thin focaccio crust. We liked both the traditional (with Ligurian olive oil) and Cotto (crescenza, cotto ham, rosemary - $17)
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The focaccina is stuffed with crescenza cheese which was creamy but light. 

Now, the pasta. Handmade pasta is one of my favorite things in the world and there's one pasta dish here that blows the rest away. It is the Mandilli de Seta (handkerchief pasta, Ligurian almond basil pesto, fiore sardo - $19)
Almond Pesto
This... This was outstanding. It's the dish that makes the entire table fall silent. So simple yet from the silky handmade pasta to the beautifully subdued pesto that covers it. This is a dish that you dream about days after eating it. It was heavenly paired with the white wine that Francine had chosen.

Pappardelle (taggia olives speckled pasta, duckling ragu, Italian parsley - $19)
Pasta
This is also a wonderful pappardelle, although it was difficult for me to go to other pasta after the previous one. I usually like pappardelle with meat ragu so I'm going to have to eat this again another time before the mandilli di seta.

Porchetta (rolled pork belly, red onion, carrots, fennel celery - $24)
Porchetta
This porchetta is one of the best I've tried in recent memory. The richness and fattiness doesn't overwhelm, it's tender and flavorful.

Anatra (duck breast, huckleberry, romanesco, broccoli di cicco - $26)
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The duck breast was excellent, but it's the leg confit that everyone fights over!

If you want something lighter, the dentice (pan seared tai snapper) is perfectly prepared.
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I had to try one more drink. The Backyard Boogie (Templeton rye, root, fennel, absinthe mist, orange oil - $10) is perfect for those who prefer stronger, more aromatic cocktails.
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For dessert, you can't miss the cannoli. We saw them make the cannoli shells earlier that night.
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Perhaps it was the orange marmalade on one end, or the pistachio on the other, but this ricotta-filled cannoli was simply the best I've had.
Cannoli


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Chef Angelo Auriana
I hadn't heard much about The Factory Kitchen prior to coming in, so I came in with no expectation and was wowed. I wasn't eating out when Chef Auriana was helming Valentino, so I never knew what it was like, but I'm glad he decided to return to Los Angeles with The Factory Kitchen.

The Factory Kitchen
1300 Factory Place #101
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 996-6000
http://thefactorykitchen.com/
The Factory Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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