Churros Calientes – Dulce de Leche Please

by Franklin on October 1, 2014

We all know that the best churros are from Disneyland. Something about that long stick of fried dough, rolled in cinnamon and sugar is so satisfying. At Churros Calientes, they take the simple and humble churro and make it even sweeter.

We ordered the churros with a drizzle of dulce de leche on top. The churros were crunchy and soft on the inside. The dulce de leche was deliciously sweet on top, but had a grainy consistency from the sugar. It still was sweet and delicious with the churros. I’m pretty sure I still scraped off the dulce de leche off of the plate. :)

Next time, I want to try the Churro Grande and hot chocolate. The churro grande is a large churro that is stuffed and then drizzled with whatever you want. Yes, it is a stuffed churro. Also, the hot chocolate I hear is very rich and chocolatey. Churros Calientes seems to have churros as the only thing going for them. I think they have sandwiches and other items, but not sure if anyone eats that stuff here. The churros though are quite delicious — crunchy, sweet, and drizzled with whatever your heart desires.

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POT – Hot POT

by Franklin on September 29, 2014

Chef Roy Choi owns the Line Hotel as far as eating goes. With POT, Pot Cafe, and Pot Bar, and now the newly opened Commissary, Roy Choi definitely is taking over the food scene. With the opening of the Line Hotel and POT, there was a lot of buzz. Working in Koreatown, I tend not to eat around there. I have my reasons. Finally though, I was able to eat at POT and see what all the fuss is about. Way late in the game, I know. Better late than never.

Named POT, Chef Roy Choi is definitely referring to marijuana. Though he is referring to POT as being the hot pot restaurant that it is, there are plenty of references to marijuana inside the restaurant. You just have to come in and see. The space was a lot more casual than I thought. It honestly reminded me of the Koreatown PLaza food court in the 90′s. Maybe that’s what Chef Choi had in mind? Nonetheless, it was interesting.

We started things off with a trio of Korean side dishes. The kimchi was a bit sweet for some reason, but the sprouts were fresh tasting — almost refreshing. I really liked the marinated green onions. Again, the metal dish reminded me of Koreatown mall food courts.

Upon my buddy’s request, we ordered the potato pancake. I sure was glad we ordered this dish. The pancake was so crispy on the edges, it was insane. I like dipping it in the soy sauce concoction. It was exactly how my mom would make it. The potato pancake had a great flavor, but the crispy texture put it over the top.

The Beep Beep, Uni Dynamite rice bowl has been circulating around Instragram and Yelp since the dish became popular. Honestly, the pictures make it look like a huge bowl of rice and uni. When it came out, I was kind of bummed out, but thats what internet does to you. The flavor of this dish was quite intense, and so much so that the flavors of the uni was a bit lost. All of the other flavors really took away from the unique taste of the uni. I am an uni enthusiast, and this dish, though flavorful did not do it for me. I did like the crispy rice on the edges and the unique flavors, but a simpler approach might have been better.

Of course at POT, we had to order a hot pot. We opted for the Jamal Wilks, a seafood hot pot mix of silky tofu, shrimp, clams, mussels, kimchi, scallions, pork belly, and eggs. The seafood was fresh and had lots of seafood essence. The broth was intense with flavors, like it had too much flavor. The soup was thick and almost mudded with spices and ingredients. The small, which was $37, was actually pretty huge. I think it would have been big enough for about 4 people. I cannot justify the cost as I could get a nice personal bowl of seafood tofu soup at BCD for less than 10 bucks. I did finally find the little bits of pork belly inside which was delicious. The broth though was over flavored, and it had a nice depth of flavor. Not saying it as a positive or negative, but just as a matter of fact.

POT was an interesting experience. I think seeing it online and on the blogs before I finally experienced it for myself ruined it. I had such huge expectations for this place, and ultimately, my expectations were not met. Maybe my expectations were unrealistically high? I am not sure, but I can’t find myself eating at POT again. The food was average and everything seemed to be over flavored. I know too much flavor seems like a good thing, but it wasn’t in this case.

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The Kroft – Poutine and Porchetta is Done

by Franklin on September 28, 2014

The Anaheim Packing district is a one stope destination for foodies. They have it all. Dare I call it a food court? Far from it, the space offers some amazing food and craft beers. The Kroft is one such establishment that offers amazing hand crafted sandwiches and poutine. I was pleasantly surprised by their delicious food. Orange County doesn’t really have amazing food, but The Packing District is changing all of that.

We started off with the original poutine. We opted out of the extravagant short rib poutine because we ordered the sandwich anyways. We wanted to get the original to get the pure essence of the poutine — to eat it as it was intended to, The fries were fresh and good on their own. The gravy though, was something else. It was perfectly salty and hearty. The cheese curds were melted perfectly from the hot gravy. The cilantro on top gave it a nice contrast and helped cut the fat of the fries and gravy. These were quite delicious and possibly the best poutine I had in a while.

The short rib sandwich was beefy and delicious. The meat was perfectly sauced and pulled away nicely. The addition of arugula was key to keep the grease in check. I did feel like it was missing something though. I added some hot sauce in between bites to keep it exciting.

The fried chicken sandwich was exactly how I imagined it to be. The chicken was fresh and meaty. The batter was light and crispy, and gave the sandwich the extra flavor it needed. The best part of this sandwich was the slaw on top. It gave a nice rounded flavor and gave it even more crunch. Fried chicken and cole slaw go so well together.

The best sandwich they have here, and one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in a while was their porchetta sandwich. These fly off the shelves quickly so make sure they have it in stock. The pork was so pure and flavorful, and the onion jam gave it a nice flavor profile. My favorite was the bits and pieces of chopped up skin inside the sandwich. I remember seeing them cut up the pork for the sandwich, and the chef peeled off the skin. Scared that they were going to discard it, I was almost going to request to keep that part. Little did I know that they were planing on chopping up the skin to add on top of the sandwich. This made every bite have that little crisp of fatty skin. Crisis averted.

The Kroft is really a nice spot and a gem inside the Anaheim Packing District. Located on the bottom floor, it’s not on the top floor with the good lighting. The restaurant pumps out some amazing craft sandwiches and their poutine is a must order. The ingredients are simple and of the highest quality. Each sandwich is created carefully and with flavor being the main focus. I really can’t wait to go here again — Poutine and Porchetta sandwich for me.

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Library Bar – Eating While Everyone Drinks

by Franklin on September 26, 2014

The Library bar to me seemed like a hip spot. The high reviews of Yelp and intriguing food items looked hopeful. And it’s a library? Or at least they try to make it look like one. Honestly, the place was small, dark, and the night I went, people were way too drunk. Maybe I was just sober and everyone seemed more drunk. People were just loud and ther were much too many people with glazed over eyes. Good thing I had the food to look forward to.

The burger at a bar has to be their staple. It must be good and their main even as far as food is concerned. The Library Burger was such a disappointment. The patty was dry without a single dribble juice left inside. The bread so stale and dry, it didn’t help with moist factor. Every bite was boring and just unpleasant. I basically cut my losses and just ate the meat with the cheese and veggies.

Before you read on, just note that this bar is a bar first, restaurant second. Maybe restaurant third? The food to me was just not there. The pork belly skewers was a turn for the better. This was not that bad, I mean, it’s pork belly after all. The fatty meat covered in sweet glaze was good, but not addicting. As far as pork belly dishes go, this was just ok. If you must order something, order this. Nothing else will do.

I can’t tell you if the drinks at the Library Bar are good, but from the looks of it, it seems to be doing ok. There’re definitely were more people drinking than eating. We were definitely the odd group out on the bar. I kind of understand it. It’s a cool place to meet friends for drinks or end/start the night. Basic rule of thumb here, and you will be happy here: Food no, drinks yes.

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Scoops Westside – Farewell to Summer

by Franklin on September 23, 2014

Summer is finally departing and we welcome fall. This doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ice cream anymore, right? #icecreamtuesdays may be gone for now, but Los Angeles residents will still flock to ice cream shops. I mean, it is Los Angeles after all. We are going to be eating ice cream whether it is summer of winter. Scoops in Los Angeles near Melrose is always a favorite of mine. The simple decor, cheap prices and amazing ice cream keeps bringing me back for more. Scoops is spreading the love on the westside.


I always get the brown bread. It has little pieces of waffle cone and it has the perfect ice cream texture and flavor. I also had the maple burnt sugar which was soy based. I never thought of making or eating soy based ice cream, but I guess it is good for the lactose intolerant. The burnt sugar was subtle and sweet. These were perfect for the hot summer weather.

With the start of fall, the hot summers at the beach will be missed. The outdoor BBQs, golfing in the hot sun, and of course, #icecreamtuesdays will be missed. Soon though, as the seasons pass, summer will be with us once again.

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Jim Dandy – Fried Chicken and Fritters

by Franklin on September 19, 2014

You have fried chicken, then you have Jim Dandy. I had high hopes for Jim Dandy, and for good reason too. It’s not Church’s or Popeye’s, and it sure is not KFC. Although Church’s and Popeye’s has a special place in my heart, I have no love for KFC. Jim Dandy is on a new level of fried chicken. Is it even mightier than my all time favorite, Pioneer Chicken? It just might have better fried chicken, but it can never touch the nostalgia factor that Pioneer has. Situated just on the verge of South LA, Jim Dandy sits on a corner, all alone. The bullet proof glass where you order from is telling of the neighborhood. A little dangerous? Well that depends on who you are. For me, it was just a little bit of my childhood. All I came here for was the chicken, but it turns out, I got a little more.

The fried chicken is quite tasty. The chicken itself has a pure flavor. The original has less flavor, but all the crunch and chicken essence you need. The spicy though, is not really hot spicy, but just has more spices. This is where all the flavor of a good fried chicken was. The spices were just right, and the chicken wasn’t salty or overly flavored with other ingredients. The batter is light, yet satisfying. At this point, I thought we as a community should replace all KFC restaurants with a Jim Dandy. That would be my service to the community.

I ordered a side fritter with my wing. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. I assumed it would be dry and quite stale tasting. I couldn’t further from the truth. The fritter, covered in powdered sugar was quite possibly the best thing I ate in quite some time. Such a simple thing really, it was more like a donut. Fried in either shortening or animal fat, the fritter was so light delicate. The somewhat warm inside was so fluffy and cake like, but the outside crust was the main attraction. It was so crispy, mixed with the powdered sugar, it was just a perfect bite every time. I might even like these more than the chicken. It is just that good. All fritters will be compared to Jim Dandy from here on out. Take my word. Get the fritters.

When will I ever visit Jim Dandy again? Soon I hope. The chicken and fritters is such an affordable meal and a delicious one at that. I came for the chicken, but I left with a memory of the best fritters I ever had. I’ll be back sooner than later.

Jim Dandy Fried Chicken on Urbanspoon

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Some say that Sweet Rose Creamery has the best ice cream in LA. That may or may not be true, but they definitely have a stronghold in the ice cream game. Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan are husband and wife co-owners of Sweet Rose. They also co-own Rustic Canyon, Milo and Olive, and Huckleberry. That is quite a resume and are some of the best restaurants in Santa Monica. It is no wonder that Sweet Rose Creamery is so popular.

Their ingredients are always fresh and sourced locally. Their organic milk and cream is from Clover Organic Farms, and their eggs from Chino Valley Ranchers. They even get all of their other ingredients from The Santa Monica Farmers Market. All of their ice cream and most of their toppings are made from scratch, in house.

I ordered the usual, of salted caramel. They always ask if I want to top it off with salt as if that is even a question. The saltiness was definitely present, and the caramel flavor was in your face. The burnt sugar flavor was almost smokey and dark — it was reminiscent of a dark roast coffee. Hmm, maybe roasted coffee is one of their ingredients?

Sweet Rose Creamery is a definite favorite of Angelinos. Catch them in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and their original location near Brentwood. They offer an array of house made ice cream flavors and a number of toppings. They even have sundaes, beverages, frozen novelties, and even ice cream pies. I always come here for the ice cream, but will need to try their other treats next time.

Sweet Rose Creamery on Urbanspoon

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Snow Flower Ice – Shaved Snow “Crumble”

by Franklin on September 16, 2014

The green tea snow itself was smooth and delicious, though you can find much better, creamier shaved snow in SGV. I’d even say Fluff Ice is a little better, and Class 302 just being untouchable. The addition of green tea mochi and mango popping balls made this even more flavorful. The mochi was soft and the mango popping balls were bursts of flavor. This was indeed a nice way to beat the heat.

Snow Flower Ice was a nice stop to beat the heat, but I’d say there are much better places to get shaved snow. Shaved snow has to be “dry” but then still remain creamy when you eat it. Snow Flower Ice interestingly was a bit dry and crumbly. I miss ice cream.

Snow Flower Ice on Urbanspoon

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Tacomiendo – Lengua Everything

by Franklin on September 12, 2014

I visited Tacomiendo because I wanted tacos, plain and simple. The small taco shop had fresh tortillas, a must for legit tacos. I came here on a whim and was quite happy with my find.

The tacos were delicious. The fresh made tortillas made all the difference. The lengua was tender, but just average. If you are a lengua fan, this isn’t necessarily a need to visit place. The sauce bar made it easy to spice up my tacos the way I wanted to — lots of onions and cilantro.

I also tried the lengua quesadilla. We saw them making some on the griddle, and it looked so good. The clean taste of the lengua and the melted cheese was such a great combo. It did need a little bit of hot sauce because of the lack of flavor. The sour cream and guacamole with the quesadilla was great. It was so gooey and cheesy — delicious.

Tacomiendo was just a pit stop. Their tacos weren’t have bad, and the fresh made tortillas might have me coming back for more. Not that the lengua was bad, but I’ll make sure to try some of their other meats.urb Tacomiendo can hang with the rest.

Tacomiendo on Urbanspoon

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2014 LAFW – Live on Grand

by Franklin on September 11, 2014


Just enjoy these photos from the Los Angles Food and Wine Live on Grand, Hosted by Chef Michael Chiarello. I worked hard getting these shots, eating and drinking, and eating. You shall appreciate my “hard” work. The Live on Grand is always their premiere show. They had celebrity chefs from Michael Chiarello, to Chef Lorena Garcia with her crispy anise arepas. Nancy Silverton stunned us with her cured meats and terrine via chi SPACCA.

My favorite and the most delectable thing of the night was from Rose. Rabbit. Lie. They had these crispy mini tacos with Yukon Gold potatoes with California Caviar inside. Joe’s Crab Shack’s Andre Bienvenue cooked Reuben sandwiches on actual irons (for clothes) on top of each other. They even served Frito pie with chili and manchego cream sauce. They even handed out tequila-spiked “Kiss the Cook” lip-shaped candy pops. They were definitely the popular group from the crowd. Mastro’s were plating tender and pretty much perfect lamb lollipops.

The Marimba band was good and all, but Common pretty much killed it on stage. He had the crowd bobbin and singing along. Cali’s got love for the rapper/actor from Chicago. The night ended perfectly, with some drinks and of course, the chi SPACCA booth was still serving their cured meats until the end of the event. The star filled night was a delicious one.

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Asian Night Market hosted by Chef Masaharu Morimoto was a success with plenty to eat and drink. Chef Morimoto’s dumplings were plenty. The peppery and somewhat acidic tartness was delicious on top. The dumplings seemed endless. Team Morimoto was like a well oiled machine. The dumplings just kept coming, as others’ lines just grew and grew. This event definitely had more people. I guess when Morimoto hosts LA Food and Wine, people notice.

Asian tacos were huge in this Asian Night Market. Chef Jet Tila was the first and last thing I ate that night, and for good reason too. His pork belly taco was quite delicious. He is slowly gaining presence on TV and Food Network. Phorage’s fried drunkenness crab and shrimp cakes were quite memorable. When shrimp and crab come together, its always a beautiful thing. Chef Tin Vuong from Little Sister Manhattan Beach did a wonderful charcoal grilled shrimp in a nice sauce.

Definitely, seafood played a large part in the Asian Night Market. From snails, fish, scallops, to octopus, seafood, in the addition to pork is what Asians do well. The night was amazing with a lot of Asian variations and cuisine. It was good to see Asian food lifted up and taken to an extreme level. The food preparation was quite impressive and the dishes the chefs were producing was impeccable.

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The first time I tried Frostbites, it was an explosion of flavor. The combination was so subtlety perfect and the balance of fruit and cream was sublime. Sorbet chill and Italian ice is what Frostbites is all about. I would have liked to try their crepes, but their “frozen delights” was what I came for. In the bitter sweet end of the hot summer, these are perfect for the sticky air and warm nights.

The Pineapple passion fruit and cream was the perfect combo. The pineapple was tart and contrasted nicely with the creamy custard. On the other hand, the peanut butter chocolate was more of a sweet indulgence. Both were great in their own way, but the classic flavors of cream and fruit was too good. I liked Frostbites, and was a great dessert for a hot night. It kept me cool and refreshed with a nice mix of cream and fruitiness. Summer needs more of this!

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The 2014 Los Angeles Food and Wine started off with Ultimate Bites of L.A., hosted by chef Graham Elliot. The celebrity chef laden event was a great start for the food filled weekend. Somewhat being a fan of Master Chef, it was exciting to see Graham Elliot in the flesh.

The most special item on the list was B Too’s Bart Vandaele’s foie gras parfait in a pull away tin can. The presentation was excellent and the taste was new and exciting. The best of the night was chef Ori Menashe’s dish of burrata and octopus. Water Grill’s Chef Damon Gordon plated Wild Salmon Crudo with Figs and was one of the memorable bites of the night. Even Rose.Rabbit.Lie from Las Vegas surprised us with their foie gras macaron. Chef Carlos Enriquez from the Patina Restaurant Group booth was going crazy with the nitrogen “gun.” The night had lots of wine, and a lot of the chefs used molecular components in their dish.

Later on in the night, chef Ray Garcia and Fabio Vibiani battled chef Ben Ford and Graham Elliot in a taco challenge. Garcia and Vibiani were victorious and won $20,000 for the LA Food Bank. I guess even though Graham Elliot lost, the cook-off was for a good cause. Overall, the opening event was a success and set a trend for the whole Los Angeles Food and Wine weekend.

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The Original Pantry Cafe – Breakfast, Done

by Franklin on September 3, 2014

I’ll make this short and simple. I will try to do this blog post a little differently — It will all be pictures less the words. The Original Pantry has been feeding Los Angeles for a long time now. Joining the likes of Downtown eateries Philippe and Cole’s, they are a landmark. The food is plenty and delicious and the diner is always busy. It is cash only. Enjoy the pictures.

Country Potatoes and Eggs.

Cheese Omelet and Potatoes

Pancakes

Plate of Bacon

I came here on the morning of my birthday. My breakfast literally kept me full until dinner time. I started the day right. Heck, I started the year right. Maybe I’ll make this a birthday tradition.

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N’ice Cream – Abbot Kinney’s Ice Cream, Gelato, Sorbet Shop

September 2, 2014

Nice Cream is actually a gelato and sorbet shop, not ice cream. I don’t know about you, but everything from ice cream, gelato, sorbet, soft serve, and froyo is ice cream to me. Yes, I like to generalize like that. Nice Cream opened its doors in 2008, and are dedicated to freshness and having all [...]

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Samosa House and Bharat Bazaar – Indian Vegetarian Cuisine

August 29, 2014

There are times when your body needs a refresh. I had all the intentions of living up to my carnivorous nature, but sometimes, one just needs to give the delicious meat a rest. That is where Samosa House and Bharat Bazaar comes in. I ordered the combo plate. The pakora curry had yogurt cream with [...]

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Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream – 2 Buck Chuck

August 26, 2014

Something about mochi ice cream is so satisfying. That soft dough-like mochi on the outside, and the cold flavorful ice cream on the inside just hits the spot. Its cold, chewy, and delicious. The best part is, you don’t need a spoon — you eat it with your hands and there is no mess. Little [...]

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Public School 612 – Downtown’s School Themed Gastropub

August 20, 2014

Themed restaurants are cheesy. Public School is literally a school themed restaurant/gastropub. They have composition notebook lookalike menu and a clipboard with the beer menu. Other than that, the restaurant decor is pretty much like any other. What I don’t get is why the theme? I guess it’s a good thing that the “school” theme [...]

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Playa Provisions – More than Just an Ice Cream Cone

August 19, 2014

Playa Provisions definitely has an identity crisis. The restaurant is separated into 4 different sections — Dockside, Grain, Small Batch, and King Beach. Dockside is a high end dining space for seafood. Grain is a back room whiskey bar. Small Bach is their ice cream shop. King Beach is their casual breakfast and lunch spot. [...]

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Rutt’s Hawaiian Cafe – The French Toast Melts My Heart

August 17, 2014

While this blog post goes live, I’ll probably be in Hawaii for work. I know work and Hawaii don’t really go hand in hand, but trust me, I’ll be working. It will be my first time in Hawaii, so Hawaiian food to me would be the same here or there. I would assume an authentic [...]

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