Archive for the 'LA' Category

Cafe Scent

August 28, 2010

A couple months ago, James’s cousin took us to Cafe Scent in Ktown for dessert. This place also doubles as a flower shop, much like the now-closed Flora Kitchen at Rita Flora, which I have fond memories of because once upon a time, many moons ago, James took me there for brunch and I thought it was such a neat concept.

I really loved these hanging lights.

IMG2721

IMG2715

IMG2747

IMG2730

IMG2734

Check out the “honey toast,” which is the reason why his cousin brought us here – it means business! Hollowed out loaf of bread with honey, vanilla ice cream, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, and whipped cream stuffed inside! Insanely decadent, and best shared among a few fellow sweet-toothed friends.

Cafe Scent
3680 Wilshire Blvd. Suite P03
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 383-9440

Advertisements

Umami Santa Monica

August 27, 2010

It’s no secret that James and I are big burger fans, so of course we are no strangers to Umami. Previously, we’d only been to the original La Brea location, and since our last visit, three more popped up all across LA. We were feeling adventurous (actually, we wanted some beers to go with our burgers, and La Brea does not serve any alcohol), so we decided to check out the Santa Monica outpost, which is actually attached to Fred Segal. Santa Monica and Fred Segal? I immediately had visions of crowds, long waits, and awful parking, but shockingly, we encountered none of those things.

IMG6126
James browsing the menu

IMG6147
Sweet potato fries

IMG6152
Cheesy tots

IMG6156
Manly Burger: beer-cheddar cheese, smoked salt onion strings, bacon lardons

IMG6144
Truffle Burger: Italian truffle cheese, truffle glaze

The fries were sprinkled with brown sugar, which made them a little too sweet in my opinion – I prefer my sweet potato fries saltier, like at Father’s Office. I was especially excited to try the tater tots (another item that was not offered at La Brea when we went, not sure if that’s changed since), and was not disappointed – crispy on the outside, and cheesy once you take a bite! The burgers were both good, but the Manly burger was a little too salty, even for bacon cheeseburger lovers like ourselves. The Truffle burger was the winner of the night: so small and deceptively simple, but absolutely packed with that fabulous flavor that only truffles can impart!

Umami Santa Monica
500 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401-2406
(310) 451-1300

Angeli Caffé

July 31, 2010

Last Friday, we headed out to Melrose to take advantage of the BlackboardEats promotion at Angeli Caffé (owned by Evan Kleiman, who also hosts KCRW’s “Good Food“).

IMG5838
Burrata with Fresh Peaches, Farmers Market Tomatoes, tomato vinaigrette

I loved our appetizer – the combination of the tomatoes, peaches, cheese, and basil was so fresh and summery! Definitely looks easy enough to do at home, too.

IMG5849
Ricotta Gnocchetti

IMG5856
Ravioli al Magro: spinach and cheese ravioli topped w/melted butter, herbs and parmesan

The gnocchi (I believe it was beet ricotta – it changes daily) was soft, fluffy, and melt-in-your-mouth! The ravioli was on the bland side – choosing the tomato sauce, rather than the butter parmesan, probably would have added some much-needed flavor.

IMG5857
Angel sighting!

Overall, it was a pretty good meal: the food was solid, and the service was friendly. Honestly, I’m not sure how often we’ll be back because it’s a little out of the way for us to go for “pretty good.” You know how it goes in big cities like LA – too many restaurants, too little time!

Angeli Caffé
7274 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 936-9086

Grilled Cheese night @ Campanile

July 23, 2010

Last night, I finally got to go to Campanile for Grilled Cheese night (held every Thursday night)! Although I’ve been to Mark Peel’s restaurant several times, it was never on a Thursday, and thus one of LA’s most popular and beloved grilled cheese sandwiches has always eluded me. Unfortunately, James couldn’t come, so I’ll have to take him some other time because, like the poutine from last weekend, this grilled cheese menu is just begging for repeat visits to get a taste of all of the offerings!

Appetizers:

IMG5783
Roasted Beet Salad, mizuna, shaved manchego, oregano vinaigrette

IMG5795
Sautéed Trenne, beef bolognese, tuscan kale, shaved parmesan

The appetizers were ordered off the à la carte menu. The salad was light and fresh…and don’t those beets look like tomatoes? They were juicy and delicious. The pasta dish was truly amazing – loved the crispy texture of the trenne (reminiscent of pan-fried mandoo) and the beef bolognese was tender and so flavorful. This has James’s name (and my own, too, for that matter) written all over it!

Entrées:

IMG5798
Classic Grilled Cheese with marinated onion and whole grain mustard

IMG5807
Croque Monsieur: ham, gruyère, wild mushroom, mornay sauce

IMG5802
French fries

After lots of hemming and hawing, I ended up going simple with the classic grilled cheese, bumped up a few (delicious!) notches by the addition of the onions and mustard. I also managed to snap a picture of Justine’s open-faced croque monsieur. Word on the street was that it was great. Gruyère and shrooms are two of my favorite things, so I can definitely see this on my plate next time! The sandwiches also come with communal fries for the table – they brought us two baskets for our party of five. They were salty, crunchy, and altogether heavenly – best eaten immediately after they’re brought out, when piping hot!

Desserts:

IMG5812
Chocolate Soufflé Cake, salted caramel ice cream, crème anglaise, toasted pretzel streusel

IMG5817
Mulberries & Plums: persian mulberries, santa rosa plum granita

We were all pretty full, but soldiered on and loosened our belts to try a couple of desserts. I thought the cake was good, but not mind-blowing, and I’ve definitely had better salted caramel ice cream. The second dish was a nice combination of sweet and tart, and a refreshing way to end an excellent meal. I can’t wait to go back, hopefully next time with James in tow!

Campanile
624 South La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 938-1447

LA poutine

July 21, 2010

Last weekend, James and I joined the masses at the theater to watch the #1 movie at the box office: “Inception.” I was on call for work, so we picked a really late show to minimize the risk of having to walk out in the middle.

Since we were on the Westside, we decided to drop in for dinner at Soleil, a restaurant we used to frequent often for brunch when I lived in Westwood. We don’t find ourselves in the area nearly as much anymore, so don’t have many opportunities to stop by for our poutine fix! I was first introduced to this magical dish on a trip to Montréal with my friend, Karen – I mean, fries, cheese, and gravy, what’s not to love? Recently, Soleil unveiled an entire poutine MENU! We stuck with the tried and true, Poutine Christine (fries with cheese curds and cognac peppercorn sauce), for old time’s sake and it was just as good as we remembered.

IMG5670

James has already asked when we can go back to try every single one (you think I’m joking). The entire menu, via TastingTable LA, is posted here. The Poutine Marat (French fries, cheese curds, with sliced filet mignon, mushrooms and a Cognac cream sauce) is calling my name!!

Soleil Westwood
1386 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 9002

P.S. The movie was excellent, and I got to enjoy it in its entirety because luckily, I didn’t get paged!

Kobawoo

June 16, 2010

kobawoo_house

Friday night, James’s cousin treated us to dinner at a restaurant we’d never been to or heard of before, Kobawoo House. We got there around 7:30 and the place was packed, so we didn’t end up getting seated until after 8. We ordered 보쌈 (bo ssam), 해물파전 (haemul pajeon), some 김치찌개 (kimchi jigae), and of course a couple of bottles of OB to wash it all down. All of the food was great (I’m still thinking of that tender, steamed pork!), and it was nice to go to a non-KBBQ place in Ktown to mix things up a bit!

Kobawoo House
698 S Vermont Ave Ste 109
Los Angeles, CA 90005

June gloom

June 15, 2010

IMG2676

IMG2686

IMG2689

— Friday night, on our way to Koreatown to have dinner with James’s cousin.

Monday morning

May 24, 2010

A few weeks ago, Yulie told me that she had the chance to swing by LA on a layover en route to Maryland. Since I haven’t seen her since she moved to Alaska (I think in October?), of course I jumped at the chance to spend a few hours with her.

IMG1965

Her plane arrived bright and early at 7am, so I decided to take her to Joan’s on Third for breakfast. This place has been on my radar for quite a while, but for whatever reason, I’d never been there before today. Unfortunately, they told me I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures inside – so sad, because there were so many things I wanted to shoot! The delicious food, gourmet goods, candies, pastries… Oh well. We split the “bonne femme” omelette (with potatoes, onions, cheese & bacon) and the buttermilk pancakes – wonderful, wonderful, and the coffee was nice and strong. Looking forward to bringing James here sometime soon for brunch.

milk_la

We had a little more time to kill, so I took her to yet another place I’ve always been meaning to try: Milk. You just can’t miss the adorable signage when you’re going down Beverly. We decided on a cookies ‘n cream ice cream sandwich. Of course I’m an immediate fan – it looks like a giant macaron! This may be the earliest I’ve ever eaten ice cream – 10am!

IMG2089

Great minds think alike! I think it’s funny how well we happened to match the decor at Milk.

julia_yulie_milk

We were sitting out on their sidewalk, enjoying our sugar high, and decided to try to take some pictures. We soon came to the conclusion that although girl time is nice, we definitely need at least one more person to tag along to play photographer! The photo on the left was taken with my point-and-shoot and turned out well because over the years, we’ve both become experts at taking “self ca” shots. Then we wanted to try to take some with my SLR, but our arms are just not long enough to take anything other than extreme (and usually unflattering) close-ups. I rigged it up on a cart they had set up outside to collect dirty dishes, and set it to take 5 continuous shots at a time. We tried many more times than I’d like to admit (we got strange stares from many passersby), and none could really be considered a success. This was our first attempt, and I think the results are hilarious and oh-so “us.”

Such a fun way to spend the morning, and I really, really wish these mornings weren’t so few and far between.

Joan’s on Third
8350 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 655-2285

Milk
7290 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 939-6455

Barbrix

May 21, 2010

We had errands to run in Koreatown last night, and decided to take advantage of the fact that we were on the east side by checking out Barbrix, in Silver Lake.

IMG4120

It was nice and quiet while we were there, but I bet this place gets crazy crowded on the weekends. I loved the L-shaped open kitchen in the back – it’s always nice being able to see what goes on behind the scenes.

barbrix1

Burrata, prosciutto, arugula & black olive tapenade // Crispy grilled polenta, alba, oyster & shiitake mushrooms & creamy gorgonzola fonduta // Hamachi crudo, ginger crème fraiche, avocado & paprika oil

Round 1: appetizers. They were all delicious, but if pressed to choose a favorite, it would probably be the burrata dish – the creamy cheese and salty prosciutto were a match made in heaven. At the bottom right, you can see where James decided he’d had enough of my picture-taking and just couldn’t wait any longer. “Are you finished yet?! I’m hungry!!!!!” He’s such a good sport.

barbrix2

Pappardelle with ragu bolognese, pecorino romano // Prime skirt steak “tagliata”, wild arugula, parmegiano-reggiano, balsamico // Pan seared maine sea scallops, dill yogurt sauce

Round 2: Entrées. I was most looking forward to the skirt steak. The waiter asked how we wanted the steak cooked, and James instinctively said “Medium.” I think we should have gone for medium-rare, which, I think, is how they cook it by default (or at least it seems that way from most of the pictures floating around Yelp). Which is not to say that it wasn’t good, but I think it would’ve been better with the meat just a smidgen more tender. I thought the scallops were cooked perfectly, but James wasn’t really a fan because of a couple gritty bites. The pappardelle was just ok, especially when compared to a similar dish that we had at Cube a couple months ago, which really wowed us.

IMG4137

Dulce de leche bread pudding with rum sauce

Round 3: Dessert. We usually skip out on desserts because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but we decided to indulge a little bit. It was a toss-up between getting this bread pudding and the ginger shortcake with berry compote, but in the end, we decided to go all in with this decadent little dish. Really good, but like I said – I don’t like sweets that much, so I could only fit in a couple bites. James did a good job polishing the rest of it off!

All in all, it was a pretty great meal. Of course, when I’d checked out the menu earlier in the day, I was surprised at how reasonable the prices were. This, of course, is before I took into account the tapas-sized portions. All those little dishes definitely add up fast! We rarely go out for dinner during the week though, so it was a nice splurge. They have an extensive wine list, and in addition to their regular menu of wines by the glass, they have a constantly changing list of open bottles on a chalkboard that you can try by the glass as well. The bar area looked really nice too, and if only we lived closer, I could see us coming more regularly and making our way through the menu of dishes (and wines, of course!).

IMG4139

I think this place is only open for dinner, but a sweet patio like that is just begging for a weekend brunch menu, if you ask me!

Barbrix
2442 Hyperion Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 662-2442

I just have to end with this picture I snapped of James while we were walking to our car after dinner. Don’t you like his murse? When we’re out and about, I tease him often by asking him to hold my purse for a second and then darting off so he’s left holding the bag (haha), just like all the little Asian boys he loves making fun of. This time, however, he grabbed it without me even asking, so of course I had to document the special occasion.

IMG4141

Euro Pane

May 12, 2010

Yesterday morning, James and I drove out to Glendale for a doctor’s appointment. It just so happens that the doctor is one of our good friends – isn’t it nice when life works out that way? Right after we parked our car on the street, we heard a loud CRASH and turned around to see a pretty major accident that happened just a few feet behind us. Luckily, it didn’t look like anyone got hurt, but what a way to start out the morning!

Since we were in the area, and I’d taken the day off from work, I suggested that we head over to Pasadena and grab some lunch at Euro Pane.

europane-vi

A quick Yelp search revealed that clearly the most popular item is the egg salad. James does not really believe in a meatless sandwich, so he opted for the roast beef, but they had run out! He settled for meatloaf on sourdough instead, while I got the famed open-faced egg salad on brioche. It took a while for our food to come out (James peered back into the kitchen and wondered if there was only one woman slaving away), but, as they say, good things come to those who wait. The egg salad was light and creamy, and the sundried tomato pesto gave it just the perfect tangy touch. Although I was too preoccupied with my own sandwich, James really liked his meatloaf, which led him to declare that we don’t eat sandwiches often enough.

Full from lunch, we wavered on if we should buy any macarons (which now, to me, sounds ridiculous – always say oui to macarons!). I said that if they had any of the sea salt caramel ones, we should give them a try, otherwise we would pass. There were none in the display case, but when James asked if they had any, the girl went to the back and brought out an entire freshly baked tray! We decided to get two, and added on two raspberry. We didn’t try them until much later that evening after dinner, but as soon as we did, James immediately started regretting that we didn’t buy more! He even dubbed the salted caramel one of the best macarons he’s ever had – pretty high praise considering I’ve dragged him around to Ladurée and Pierre Hermé in Paris, not to mention the countless bakeries and shops in and around LA!

Euro Pane Bakery
950 E Colorado Blvd
Ste 107
Pasadena, CA 91106