clams

I don’t know whether it’s a myth or if it is true, but I ponder if cats actually like fish. You always see cartoons portraying cats with an appetite for goldfish, swimming helplessly in a goldfish bowl atop a small table. I always thought cats hated water. And don’t you see cats in the wild (lions, tigers..) munching on some antelope or zebra? When’s the last time you saw a cheeta hunting for salmon at the nearby river? Never. When I saw that The Hungry Cat specialized in seafood, I was a bit amused. Clever name I thought, but so not realistic! I kid of course, and I ultimately was excited to try this place. The freshest seafood creations made by chef David Lentz who knows his way around the kitchen? Great! Along with his wife Suzanne Goin, they own some of my favorite restaurants in LA. Lucques, AOC, and joining the list, The Hungry Cat.

Located in the courtyard at the Sunset and Vine building. It is kind of hard to find as it isn’t visible from the street. The inside was dark and intimate with a casual atmosphere. The white walls and sharp edges in design gave the interior a futuristic look. The open kitchen was an eye opener for me. It was cool to watch David Lentz and his crew make dish after dish. It was like the Food Network, live.

We started off with some oyster crackers. It was interesting. Not your ordinary bread and butter, but unique in its own way.

I only had raw sea urchin (uni) from sushi restaurants (pre-packaged), so naturally, having sea urchin straight from the body was a neat experience.  Difficult to eat, it was food you really had to dig for. Apart from the pieces of shell and spikes, the flavor was exceptional. The essesnce of the sea was embedded in each morsel of sea urchin. Sprinkling it with some sea salt, and a squeeze of the lemon made everything pop. I am a purest and eating the sea urchin without any other condiments is the way to go.

Their Lobster roll was one of the best I ever had. The lobster was packed on and the pieces were large. Perfectly cooked, it left the meat very tender and had a nice bite to it. The lobster mixed with the mayo and other seasonings were perfectly balanced. The celery gave it a nice crunch. The split rolls were nicely buttered and toasted on the side, leaving it crispy on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside. Though this was a delicious sandwich roll, I wish I could have tried their pub burger. Blue cheese, bacon, avocado, and a fried egg are some of many of the ingredients on the pub burger. I originally wanted to to The Hungry Cat for the pub burger, but felt like seafood that night. Ultimately, I was happy with my decision.

My house-made chorizo and braised clams was excellent. Not a fan of clams because of their rubberiness, I was skeptical about this dish. Mindful of not overcooking the clams, they were left tender and soft. The brother was definitely the star of this dish. Filled with shell beans and black kale, the broth was hearty. Mixed in with their house made chorizo, it was meaty, salty, savory, and full of robust flavor. Though the chorizo took away from the seafood essence of the dish, it fortified the broth to the point where it did not matter. This was all topped off with a grilled bread, quite possibly the best bread I ever had. Grilling the bread gave it a nice crust on it and gave it a complex flavor. Topped with aioli, the bread simply delicious.

The cuisine was nearly flawless. Everything tasted as expected — delicious. The atmosphere was great and the staff was on point. They were attentive and helped us choose the many items on the menu. By the name, The Hungry Cat you would expect some fine seafood, and that is what you get. After my awesome meal, I thanked David Lentz for the great meal, and left with a great seafood experience. I’ll be back to try the pub burger though.

Hungry Cat on Urbanspoon

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I feel bad for those who are allergic to shellfish.  You can’t eat crab? lobster? shrimp? Wait, is shrimp considered a shellfish? I think so.  Anyways, I do feel bad for you, because that stuff is some of the best stuff the ocean has to offer.

I love Boiling Crab — I also love to boil crab.  Maybe that’s because I love crab and because seafood is good stuff!

The vibe you get at Boiling Crab (BC) is a Cajun seaport theme serving up seaside fare.  For some reason, I feel like someone in a pirate outfit would fit in nicely.  It’s very casual, and very messy.  They even let you write on the walls.  The one in Alhambra has every inch covered with writing.  One bad thing about coming to BC is that there is most likely a wait.  I remember one time, my family and I had to wait almost 2 hours! For a restaurant that has so many people wanting to eat there, it has to be good.

The food is exceptional.  What’s on my table?  If I am a little tight with my budget, I usually go for the shrimp and some corn.  Maybe throw in some clams in there with some Cajun fries.  The fried catfish basket is great too.  On days I want to splurge, I splurge.  I order the dozen raw oysters and finish it off with some dungeons crab.  I tried the craw fish (crayfish), and I realize that I am not a fan of it.  It’s pretty much a small lobster that is yields little meat for a lot of work.  I’ll stick to my shrimp.  All of this seafood won’t be what it is without the sauce — the reason why this seafood is so good is because of the sauce.

Sauce is important in your meal.  It is the main flavor element.  At BC, you can choose from Cajun spices, garlic butter, or lemon pepper.  Most people get the “whole sha-bang” — this is a combination of all three sauces.  This place is a fan for those who like spicy food because they can go from really mild, to “XXX” spicy.  You can get this seasoning for your fries as well. I tried the most spicy level, and it is really spicy.

You have to be careful because you may regret eating “all that spicy spice” the next morning.  You will reek of garlic and spices.  Your friends will plug their noses when you talk to them, and vampires will stay away.  You will constantly reminded that you ate at Boiling Crab last night.  Is that a bad thing?  I don’t think so. 🙂

The Beginning

Eating at Boiling Crab is really a great experience.  You wait  for  hours, put on a bib, and make a mess.  You get fresh fish and seafood with amazing flavor.  It is a seafood lovers paradise and is definitely a go to spot when I need my seafood fix.

The End

Boiling Crab on Urbanspoon

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After finishing our movie, we needed to catch the basketball game! Should we just go home and watch it? Yardhouse? Naw. Right across the street, there it was. ChaCha’s. It was happy hour all day and we could not have been happier. The game was on, the sun was shining, but our team was losing. Oh well. The good food cheered us up.

They gave us a huge bowl of chips and salsa.  It was a great starter to our other starters.  The flavors of the salsa, especially the green one had a strong citrus flavor.  It was a huge bowl, and we could not finish it all.

Our Wood Oven Queso Fundido was especially good with the chips.  The melted cheese rolled up in the tortillas they provided were good, especially dipped in the salsa.  I am a lover of cheese — melted cheese is even better.  Each spoonful left a trail of stretchy cheese, which was a good thing.

We also ordered the Manila Clams.  It was sauteed with garlic, chorizo, herbs, white wine, and butter. The combination was amazing, and the clams were very fresh.  On a chip, I would put some queso on top, some chorizo,  and salsa.  That was good in itself, and eating the clams with it just made everything complete.

ChaCha’s offers a lot of great happy hour plates.  For dinner, I always get their chimichurri skirt steak. It is the best thing they offer and one of my favorite beef dishes of all time.  This high end Mexican restaurant has a nice interior and there is always live music playing.  A festive atmosphere and good food is always had at ChaCha’s Tacos & Tequila.

ChaCha's Tacos & Tequila on Urbanspoon

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