Sunday, August 30, 2009

caught between a bottlerock and a hard place

1050 S Flower St.# 167
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 747-1100

price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!

every once in a while, i have a spectacularly crappy friday that requires a lot of indulgent activities to forget. this past friday was one of those days....oh how irked i be!

not allowing myself to wallow in negative energy, i called a friend up and we headed straight for bottlerock to do a little bit of spirit lifting with some liquid spirits. what a great choice it was too because bottlerock is a super cool, hip, delicious place in downtown with various nooks and crannies for an utmost chillaxin' experience. i felt like i was sitting in the middle of bevmo or something, but cooler.

we got there 1/2 hour before the curtain closed on happy hora. good thing too because i ordered a chardonnay and a malbec for a great price per glass to get me those fuzzy fire water feelings. delicious!

we also ordered 2 delicious happy hour eats. the pricing was more than happy. i love shit priced at $5. seriously.

the green curry mussels were OFF THE HOOK. super plump, juicy, and fresh. i jocked that curry sauce like a curry virgin and sopped that sauce up with bread until every drop was gone. magnificent.

we also ordered the antipasto, a selection of cheeses, cured meats, candied walnuts, and olives so that i can nibble as i sipped me wino. lovely.

understanding that this dinner was meant to heal the spirit, we decided to order as much as our stomaches could handle. we started with the chicken ballontine which was a round of roasted chicken breast stuffed with meats, pistachios, and sweetbread. this fancy turduken-esque inspired chicken was accompanied by a mustard seed sauce, vinegared cucumbers and carrots, and a pistachio foam. the entire dish is a "cold" dish and reminded me of a vietnamese meat patty we eat called "zaw (rhymes with jaw)." after a quick conversation with the server, it is clear that most of the dishes are asian inspired even down to the marinated cucumbers and carrots which tastes like the condiments you get in a banh mi. it was tasty!

we then ordered the pork belly risotto which was THE BEST DAMN DISH of the night. the portion is small so don't expect to get full from it if that is all you plan to eat, but the taste is larger than life. in my opinion, it's ideal to have a smaller portion size for this decadent dish or else it is way too much. seriously, how many globs of fat can you eat? the pork belly is uber fatty and the risotto was aldente and creamy. it's topped off with dried shredded pork (that i use to eat as a poor college student) with a side of pig ear terrine. spicy greens topped the dish to cut through the fattiness of the dish. it's like my mom's home cooking gone to culinary school. this dish is a must if you like pork belly. so freakin' good!

yes please! directly into my pie hole!

the roasted half chicken. full entree which was delicious in its own right, but nothing to make deals with the devil for. this dish could have been excluded from our friday gorge fest.

bone marrow with fried capers and sweetened onions. again, you have to like fatty tasting things. the bone marrow tasted like globs of vasaline to me. even if you were to spread that on bread, all you really did was make vasaline bread. i've had them better elsewhere, so this dish could have been skipped as well. the fried capers were excellent though. truly excellent especially since i've never tried them prepped this way.

the whole meal concluded with a cakey chocolate chip cookie sandwich with vanilla ice cream courtesy of milk creamery. probably not neccessary for the overextended bellies of ours, but it was important to me that we ended this particular friday on a sweet note...and it was. thanks bottlerock!

BottleRock on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 27, 2009

no more pining for pioneer chix

Pioneer Chicken
4376 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029
323) 663-2441

price: $
verdict: not worth my time

once in a while, i recall a food memory that connects very closely to my heart and pioneer chicken belongs in one of those greasy heart string categories. when i see this sign (graffiti and all), i think of my pops and how he would take my sis and i for a pioneer chix run when we were but wee lasses. we usually ended up getting a piece of thigh and/or corn on the cobb. was so delicious back delicious.

funny looking fat man riding in a conestoga.

15 years later from my last bite as a pubescent teen, my heartstring throbbed for some pioneer chicken. as i drove down sunset, i decided to drop in and pick some up for me and my pops, reversing the pioneer chicken story for once. lookie daddy i have a job! i can buy you chicken! $2.99 for a two piece chicken combo and a buttermilk biscuit. yeah i spoils him a lot.

i was greeted by two lone corn on the cobbs. it begged to be bought and i did. me = sucka.

in mounting anticipation, i picked up a box of fried chix. but MAN was i disappointed when those greasy wangs touched my lips! i recalled such good flavors!!!! but the greasiness was unforgiveable and the flavor of the supposedly awesome skin was just plain bland. where the hell did my journey down memory lane turn so craptastic?! instead of eating a piece of crispy chicken delight, i tasted a piece of chicken encased in an oily sponge. KFC is so much better. THERE, i said it. my memory of pioneer was officially shattered :(

i also picked up some fried livers and gizzards thinking that it might mean a party in my mouth. no. wrong. abort mission. greasy fried fuckers they were!

a buttermilk biscuit that lacked the softness and buttery-ness that i had fondly recalled. :(

a lackluster corn on the cobb. perhaps waiting way too long under those wire coils did them in. ill.

maybe everything tasted sooooo good because my pops had bought it for us and especially cuz he held our hands when he bought it. maybe next time, i need to bring my pops and ask him to hold my hand again. perhaps.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

put a cork in it

403 W 12th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 746-0050

price: $$$
verdict: it's aight

as i sat across from my foodblogger friend and her handsome cross-eyed companion behind his dark shades of mystery, i couldn't help but think how eharmony-esque this all was. you chat with each other via your food blogs or what not and perhaps eventually, you end up meeting them for drinks or some crap ass snacks at the corkbar in downtown l.a. like we did :) if i was a yelp machine, i would give my foodie comrade and her wandering eyed companion 5 stars for being fun times, but if i focused solely on eating, i would give corkbar a swift kick in the butt! what a suprise disappointment especially after all the raving reviews i have read.

the corkbar is located on the corner of grand and 12th which might be a bustling epicenter of activity after work, or a great happy hour hangout during the weekday, but for a sunday early dinner, it felt as abandoned as roanoke colony in north carolina. as we sat there, i half expected a tumbleweed to roll down grand street and then a sweaty, mustachy sheriff to ride into town. alas, it was just us party of 4 chatting about food, death, and doggies.

i started with a glass of tempranillo wine. we then quickly dove into their mac and cheese which to me was smooth, rich, and creamy but lacked the crustiness that usually drives me batty when it comes to a good mac and cheese dish. instead, this dish looked like bubbling celluite doesn't it?

i ordered their preserved lemon and melon salad which overall tasted ok, though the strong salt bursts from the preserved lemon/kumquat rinds really threw my tastebuds in for a loop. the melons were ripe and sweet which probably would have been put to better use as a summer fruit salad than a salty one burdened by salty rinds...just sayin' though i ain't no cook.

my friend ordered a rib eye steak sandwich which was rather good. roasted peppers with juicy medium done meat.

everything we had there was "acceptable" but certainly did not knock my socks off. since there are way too many good eateries in l.a. to give this corkbar a 2nd try, i guess i'll keep my judgements quick and to the point. NO MAS.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

my happy meal

Yard House
800 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 745-9273

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

i never use to think much about happy hour. to me, it seemed like a sorry gathering of overworked peoples bitching about work while eating $2 tacos at alcapulco's. methinks that sounds lousy. THEN i realized that happy hour meant getting deals on drinks and fried shit so i was sold. heck, i became a convert and happy hour became my gospel. let's all praise to the glory that is fried calamari and apple martinis!

my work requires a lot of alcohol to forget, so i find myself going to happy hour every so often to nurse the battle wounds that comes from a hard day's work or a hard week's work. yeah, these gatherings usually end up to be bitch sessions about work, but the main difference here is that i get to cuss like a sailor and drink till i'm drank. there is something wonderful about relieving stress with alcohol :)

for the past two happy hours, my friends and i ended up at the yard house in downtown. it's located in the nokia center near staples center and has a wide range of appetizers and under $5 martini's and $3 beers. the last time, i got this apple martini which was yummy but weak :(

then came the buffalo wings (standard fare). is it proper to lick thy fingers?

fried calamari. nothing says hola happy hora than fried calamari. this one was especially greasy and looks like it needed a biore blotting tissue.

firecracker wings. spicy wings that are asian inspired with a dusting of civil rights sesame seeds. they were pretty tasty.

and the best part, yard house garlic noodles which are noodles with parmesean cheese and shitake mushroom slices. NOTHING beats crustacean's garlic noodles, but this was a yummy substitute.

yeah, i know yard house is a chain restaurant and there's nothing special about it, but like a seat protector in a public restroom, it serves a purpose which is to give a group of overworked patrons a place to drink and eat and bitch and moan. thank god for happy hours!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

just peachy

Gourmet Cobbler Factory
33 N Catalina Ave
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 795-1005

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

i don't need much of an excuse to treat myself to something sweet. boo boo on my finger? ice cream will fix that! getting the sniffles? chocolate will do the trick! going into work on a saturday morning? a razor to slit my wrist should make it better!...i mean, gourmet cobbler factory will make things feel right again! yup, that's what happened this saturday...i wanted a, i NEEDED a taste of peachy cobblerness to dull the pain of having to go into work on a saturday morning. bah humbug says i, bah humbug!

pasadena can be fun but i typically avoid it like a child with lice because it feels like an annoying mall spread across several blocks. parking also blows cheap whores as well. luckily, gourmet cobbler factory is located away from the typical crappy pasadena driving, congestion, and parking and sits quietly on a quiet side street. actually, if you don't look for it, you might miss it because the storefront is rather humble looking dontcha think?

neato african dolls to dress up the store inside. no faces though...creepy.

single serving peach, apple, and mixed berry cobblers for sale! buy me one please?! buy me one before they run out because based on their "we-make-just-enough-to-sell-and-no-waste-up-in-here," it sounds like they sometimes do run out.

an "in your face" menu lists the price of procurring some yumminess for your tumminess. i had thoughts of buying an 8 x 10 peach cobbler for a housewarming i was attending tonight, but it turns out that orders larger than a single serving must be placed an hour and half before pickup. i didn't have the time to wait and putz around pasadena so i ordered a peach cobbler and a sweet potato tartlet instead for moi.

delicious peach cobbler! thin crust and intensely sweet peaches in an almost bittersweet syrupy sauce. a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream added to this warm peach cobbler will diffuse the sweet intensity and can turn any frown upside down!

check out the cinnamon specks on this translucent piece of peachy love. lovely flavor and it will taste just as good the day after.

sweet potato tartlet. this misleading picture might make you think of a huge flying saucer, but in actuality, can comfortably sit in a petite asian girl's palm.

yummy, light flavor. subtle sweetness that reminds me of turkeys and giving thanks.

so gourmet cobbler factory, i THANK YOU for being around so i can buy myself a bit of sweetness when the day had started so bitterly. yum and i'll see ya soon ya hear!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

still broken, not fixed

The Fix Burger
2520 Hyperion Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 661-8494

price: $$
verdict: not worth my time

when i want an ice cream fix, i go to scoops. when i want a french fry fix, i go to mcdonald's *blushes and hides red face in shame* when i want a cocaine fix, i go to theo on la brea....KIDDING. and when i want a burger fix, i usually go to in and out....except for today. today, i went to the fix burger in silverlake. i had thought, wouldn't it be much more appropriate for me to get my fix fixed at the fix? yeah right?! yeah! my belly quivered in anticipation of eating a hipster burger (the jiggling was NOT a pretty sight...TRUST me).

parking around there just plain blows, but if you eat crazy early dinner hours like i do, then parking usually ain't an issue. my friend found residential parking for us and once we sauntered into the fix, we were ready to go belly go!

i liked this wall. neat!

i ordered the 1/2 pounder "the fix burger" thinking that if you are named after the burger joint, you must be goot. i topped that sucker off with provolone cheese to make it even better. my friend ordered the buffalo burger with jack cheese. while we waited, we partook in some pickle slices which for a hungry belly, tasted utterly divine. if i hadn't felt so ashamed about stuffing face with this "complimentary pickle" amongst the waiting hipsters, i might have eaten a few more...but i didn't want them to think that i was just recently discharged from a refugee camp and haven't eaten in days, though i was damnit and that's ok!

with murderous anticipation, the burger finally came out. oh, how glorious art thou with thy fluffy buns and juicy beef (bowchickabowwow. you did not know i spoke middle english porn talk now did you?). i opened my jaws of death and clamped my pearly yellows on this fix burger.


dude this burger sucks! your meat patty is DRY. you are so DRY you need LUBE. you need so much lube that you be GLISTENING. every bite was a cry for water, a cry for argentina, a cry for all the dead cows that died in vain. the only moisture that this burger got was a lone tear drop that fell from my left eye which then plumped up a tiny corner of the dried up patty. i was unimpressed. in fact, i was depressed because i had to eat a dry burger and i so wished that it tasted as good as it looked.

i took a bite out of my friend's burger too to make sure it wasn't just an unfortunate glich on me and that a great burger does exist in this hipster hole....but it was dry as well. alas, this refugee did not get her burger fix fixed at the fix. i did however, nurse a good cup of creamy oreo shake but it was not enough to fix this deficit. i vowed, no i swore, that i WILL NEVER show my mug here again. TAKE THAT you dried up whore and HERE is a tube of lube!

grrrrowl. dry burgers make me angry!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

taking a bite out of ludo

Ludo Bites @ The Breadbar
8718 W 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 205-0124

price: $$$
verdict: omg, i love it!

when i took a bite out of ludo lefebvre at ludo bites this past saturday, i found him a tad stringy without much meat on his bones. the hairs on his arms tickled my throat as it went down towards my digestive tract, but this french talking entree was a bit saucy so i liked him a lot. hi ludo! sign my left booby!

oh boy was i excited to try ludo bites! i've seen ludo on top chef masters and expected a tempermental frenchie, but he was a rather gracious host. i also expected a menu full of delicious bites because sook of yutjangsah sells him like crack and it was pretty crack-like. what an adventure for my belly! my three friends and i couldn't stop eating and wished some of the bites were more like ludo shovels-of-food. perhaps ludo needs to consider this "shovel" option for his heifer-like patrons.

the happy belly journey started with bread and a lavender honey butter. um, delicious. the butter lacked the soapy taste that one usually gets from lavender inspired foods. i can probably smear this on YOU sexy and happily lick it off. it was goot.

we started our first real bites with the hawaiian tuna, with white chocolate, and thai jalapenos ($15 + $5 so our fourth friend can get a bite too). WOW. what a wonderfully soft piece of tuna that was and the chocolate slivers on top provided a wonderful sweet contrast to the pungent sesame oil.

the green beans salad, with peach, young coconut, apple, horseradish and lemongrass ($9). FREAKIN' WOW. one of my favorite dishes of the night. i LOVE the taste of "greeness" in the green beans because this dish celebrated what mother nature has to offer without molesting its birth right. the horseradish dallop on top was subtle and the sweetness from the peach and apple slices gave a sweet contrast to the savoriness of the dressing.

lobster tart with vadouvan butter ($14). lovely lobster meat in a puff pastry shell. i'm quite sure this dish alone was responsible for popping a button off my shirt.

boudin noir ($10) which is creamy blood pudding with a side of potato puree. i thought the dish was very subtle in taste because you did not taste the tinniness that usually comes from animal blood. i know my blood alright, being asian and part vampire. i cannot tell this was a blood pudding at all but my other three friends were not wild about it. it was aight.

roadkill. where's the body?

grilled duck breast with a leeks salad, ginger, capers, and truffle slivers ($22). HOLY SHIT. there is something undeniably righteous about duck fat and this duck sure had some junk in its trunk. although i am sad that it's dead and on my plate, its life was well honored by ludo. i loved the tartness from the sauce as well and this dish was easily the superstar of the night.

beef short ribs with smoked eggplant and goat cheese ($18). wonderfully cooked short ribs that fell apart when you forked it. though the goat cheese side was meant to only be the bridesmaid at this ceremonious occasion on my dish, it clearly was my favorite part. there was a nice creaminess to the cheese with slivers of raw cauliflower on top to add textural contrast. i could have eaten that forever.

creamy oxtail polenta with cantal cheese and black truffle ($14). my second favorite dish of the night. it's reminiscent of a savory, cheesy cream of wheat with a lovely hidden suprise of oxtail meat at the bottom. although this bowl alone may clog your arteries, how lovely would it be to have a bowlful on a cold winter day. lovely.

then we wrapped dinner up with two desserts. creme fraiche panna cotta with a caramel sauce and caviar ($15). suprisingly tasty since i don't normally enjoy caviar. i think the dark caramel with its almost burnt-like taste masked the otherwise fishiness of the caviar. it is an awfully small dessert but it packed a punch. a taste was all i really needed.

and last but not least, the peach in curry and mascarpone foam ($10). this dish was suprisingly good even though you can clearly taste the curry in it. the only sweet aspect is the ripe peach slices so in many ways, it was a savory dish masquerading as a dessert. everybody at the table enjoyed this as well.

lovely. a curry mascarpone lava erupting from the peach slice.

this belly journey hosted by ludo was indeed delicious and full of suprises for my tongue. thanks ludo for your delicious bites and although you will bid farewell to the breadbar at the end of august, i'm pretty confident you will pop up somewhere soon. i will be on the lookout for you and your french looking roosters.
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