Los Angeles

Ina ve been hearing such good things about Cafe Dulce, and seeing all the yummy looking photos, I had to give it a visit. During my dreaded two day jury duty visit, my 1.5 hour lunches made it a time to urban hike the crap out of downtown. Mindlessly walking, I ended up in Little Tokyo. It was either Spitz (the safe choice, and the choice I should have made), or elsewhere. Of course my curiosity led me to Cafe Dulce.

I ordered the Spicy Korean Cheesesteak. I don’t know why I ordered it. It. Just sounded good and though it would be. The marinated beef, homemade slaw, kimchi, provolone cheese, and their secret hot sauce between a stale roll was my lunch. The beef was thin, tasteless, and there wasn’t much of it. The house made slaw was not crunchy or tasty, and the kimchi somehow worked against the sandwich. I was definitely regretting not going to Spitz as I took each bite.

To cheer myself up, and to try their baked goods, I ordered a bacon donut hole. Honestly, this wasn’t that bad. It was soft, sweet, salty, and gave satisfied my craving of something at least somewhat tasty. I guess I was a better off not ordering lunch here but just getting some donuts and baked goods. Lesson learned.

Café Dulcé on Urbanspoon

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Coolhaus – You had me at Ice Cream

by Franklin on July 8, 2014

Coolhaus has been in the ice cream game for some time, relatively speaking. Started in 2008, people in real estate and design started the business by baking cooking and stuffing them with ice cream. The two bought a beat up postal van, created their signature tilted roof truck, and debut their treats at the 2009 Coachella music festival. Now, they have a store front, and multiple trucks in Los Angeles, New York, and Texas. They are even selling their hand dipped ice cream bars nationwide. It is clear that Coolhaus has gained massive popularity and fan base.

Having tried their sammies back before their store front, I decided to go with a traditional ice cream cup. After sampling a few, I went with the salted caramel. Other alter caramels really just taste like salty caramel or just lack that perfect balance. The savory and sweet balance from this ice cream was so perfect. The caramel wasn’t too sweet or strong, which I liked. The salt came through so gently, yet pronounced. It didn’t overpower the caramel, nor did it hide behind all the flavors. It stood well on its own. I literally finished my cup quite quickly and hesitated to go back for another. I thought to myself, “dang, this is pretty good”. Don’t think that Coolhaus is all about their ice cream cookie sandwiches. Their ice cream alone can hold their own.

I take my ice cream seriously, especially in the summer. This would definitely make the top 10 on my best ice cream in Los Angeles list.

Coolhaus on Urbanspoon

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We went to Gelato Bar after hanging out in the Thousand Oaks of all places. On the way back to LA, we stopped by Gelato Bar in Studio City for some ice cream (I meant gelato). The gelato shop was quaint and very old fashioned looking. The small shop was a little difficult to find. As they were close to closing, the workers there were quite rude and we just knew they wanted to close shop. The crazy thing was, after we went in, there was a flood of people wanting to get their gelato right til’ the last minute.

Their gelato was quite tasty, but not the best. I had a taste of a cream and blood orange mixture that was good. I love the combination of something fruity or tart with a side of a cream base. The “peaches and cream” effect, as I like to call it is very pleasant. I had the dulce de leche and dolce amaro. The sweet caramel flavors with the creamy base notes really rounded everything nicely. Also, the pirouette toppers was a nice touch. If you are in the area, Gelato Bar is a nice stop for good gelato. I’ve had a lot of gelato in my life of blogging, and this unfortunately is just not special enough.

Gelato Bar on Urbanspoon

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Papa Cristo’s – The Gyro is King

by Franklin on June 26, 2014

Papa Cristo’s has been an LA fixture as long as I can remember. The green painting along the Pico/Normandie street walls made it quite distinct in the area. It all started with a market opening in 1948. Owner Sam Chrys wanted to bring Greek goods to Los Angeles, importing everything from Greece. Not only until the 1990′s did Papa Cristo’s develop into a restaurant. The business is still family run and is overlooked by the 3rd generations. The same quality and standards are still met today. Papa Cristo’s is the epitome of Greek food in Los Angeles. If you want legitimate Greek food that tastes good, this is the place.

We started off with the spanakopita. The dough was flakey and delicious — the inside spinach and cheese mix was perfectly balanced. It is a rich filled pastry, and after 2 bites, I was sick of it. Definitely, some hot sauce went a long way with this pocket of dough and filling.

Above all items on the menu, the lamb gyro is a must order. Everything in this wrap is perfect. Even the tomatoes tasted delicious. I literally took a bite of the tomato and thought to myself “wow, this tastes like a tomato”. All the other times I ate a tomato, it tasted like nothing. This is when I knew the ingredients used are all so fresh and of the best kind. The pita was warm and fluffy and soft as a pillow. The best part of course was the gyro meat. It had the right amount of spices and saltiness, and the cooking made it the perfect crispy crust on the outside. All together with the vegetables and the tzatziki made for an outstanding gyro.

The spinach pizza in hind sight was a disappointment. The same filling for the spanakotpita was used for this pizza. Pita bread stood in place of the pizza dough, and the spinach mixture was slathered on. Then it was generously topped with feta and then baked. The pita does not make for good pizza dough, and the spinach mixture was just overwhelmingly rich. The feta did not help with this at all. Again, some jalapenos or hot sauce would have worked wonders on this.

The Galactobaklava was such an interesting concept, and just had to try it. At $1.50, it was well worth it. The baklava filled, phylo dough wrapped, custard filled dessert had an array of flavors and textures. The crispy from the phylo dough, and the custard made a nice contrast. The baklava on the inside was just over the top. This was a perfect ending to a perfect meal. A scoop of ice cream on the side would have been better, I suppose.

Papa Cristo’s remains to be my favorite spot for Greek food. The market place is always fun to browse around and see. I always know the olives and feta are the best of the best. And the gyro is world class. I like how even after all of these years, Papa Cristo’s strives to be the best, and stayed the same over the past 60 years. Papa Cristo’s is The Greek Food in Los Angeles

Papa Cristo's on Urbanspoon

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Oh yeah! I totally forgot I went to Whiz. What did I think of it? All Hype. The small corner shop is barely a restaurant, but a restaurant nonetheless. With a park picnic benches outside, customers are probably just taking things to-go. Honestly, Whiz was just “alright.” I took my friends here excited to just try their cheesesteaks. Most of us (all of us) were pretty much on the same boat about Whiz. “Just whatever.”

Check out the pictures below. We got a regular cheesesteak, jalapeño cheesesteak, along with cheese fries.



Honestly, this spot is overrated. The meat wasn’t all that great, the cheese sauce needed work, and the bread was definitely not Amoroso rolls. The spot is small, and a bit of a hip spot. The food though needs a lot of work. Better than most cheesesteaks, but definitely not the “it” spot. Next stop, Boo’s!

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