Tuesday, March 30, 2010

bear grylls would not approve

you don't have to be like bear grylls from man vs. wild who can eat a live fish straight out of the river to prove that you enjoy sushi. in fact, isn't it nicer to be able to sit at the sushi bar as you enjoy your choice of the freshest dead fish available? then you can sling down a cup of sake or two or perhaps pop a few edamame pearls in your mouth as you enjoy your sushi eating experience. i definitely don't do sushi bear grylls style, though i do enjoy fresh sushi. i especially love a dark, fresh piece of magenta colored maguro or the creamy ocean taste of my beloved uni. but not everybody enjoys the raw taste of sushi so if you don't, but would love a sushi-esque experience, come here to sushi kai in glendale...you poser :)

the inside of sushi kai is absolutely red and cavernous. modern aluminum backed chairs are the thrones for your eating experience. as i walked in with my eating partner in crime, i noticed that we were the ONLY asians present, other than the wait staff and sushi chefs. interesting.

we originally opted to sit at the sushi bar, but the strong stench of sterile, super cleaning products that had emitted from the restrooms nearby drove me to a quiet table at the other side of the dining area. the thought of gagging as i ate did not sit well with me...go figure.

a quick study of the menu indicated to me that they specialized in creative rolls and fish dishes that don't require you to taste the rawness of fish...in fact, the sashimi/regular sushi choices were actually quite slim. NO WONDER we were the only asians there!

so i let me friend order because he's not too big on the raw sushi taste anyways so the sushi kai menu was right up his alley. we started off with the 911 roll which was a spicy tuna roll topped with slices of avacado. i thought this roll was tasty and the presentation was so dang cute! look at the itty bitty crabs that adorned the dish. now, if you ask me if i can taste the tuna, i would say no.

the hawaiian roll came up next which was spicy tuna, crab, pepper seared tuna in a garlic sesame sauce. again, i thought the roll was tasty, but if you wanted that fresh sushi taste, the overwhelming garlic sauce did a great job of masking it.

the albacore salad. again, the sushi chef laid a heavy hand on the dressing so all you tasted was a citrusy miso-esque dressing. the albacore was also sliced into little chunks which made me feel like i was picking up pieces of cheerios. this dish could have been skipped.

i requested the albacore citrus ceviche which was also a fail. the yuzu citrus marinade was so overpowering that my tastebuds couldn't distinguish whether the meat i had in my mouth came from a fish or a toad. look, great way to serve up bad cuts of fish by masking the quality with the sauces (not to claim that they are, but i'm just sayin'), but surely you don't think you're a bone fide sushi restaurant if MOST of your dishes are seeped in potent sauces or creams that masks the lovely raw fish taste. at this point, i was pretty done with their fish offerings.

my friend wanted to order their hamachi kama (yellowtail collar) but sushi kai had run out of this specialty for the night. instead, they brought us complimentary apology appetizers such as their fire balls which were rolled up, cooked salmon with a panko crust. jenny craig would not approve, nor my tastebuds. great, now i have my muffin top AND my tongue revolting against me.

they also brought out a martini glass sampling of their pop shrimp festival which tasted like a love child conceived by a sexy shrimp and the panda express orange chicken. my penchant for fried sweet things were wooed by this shrimp festival. i likey!

the meal finally ended with the biggest lump of tempura ice cream on the face of the earth. thin slices of sponge cake were wrapped around a big ball of green tea ice cream, then coated with light batter and fried. heavenly it was not. the thick crust just made it harder to get to the ice cream.

this ball of green tea ice cream was better protected than even a bullet proof vest wearing cop! look at the crazy thick tempura shell.

when it was time to bid sushi kai a loud "adios!" my friend left saying he wouldn't mind coming back to try more rolls...i left thinking, omg, i didn't eat any sushi tonight :( since each roll ran between $11-$15, i think for the next time, i will save my duckets and duck into a real sushi restaurant instead. OR, i can go down to the l.a. river and take a bite out of one of those fishes swimming there a la bear grylls style.
Sushi Kai
143 S Maryland Ave
Glendale, CA 91209
(818) 243-7393
price: $$
verdict: it's aight
Sushi Kai on Urbanspoon
Sushi Kai in Los Angeles

Thursday, March 25, 2010

a tofu burn at bcd

i sometimes reject eateries because of bad parking. sometimes, i might even lie to my friends and tell them that i have plans already just so i don't have to meet them somewhere that doesn't have parking. i know, i suck. it also works the other way for me as well. i may go to an eatery that i might have otherwise ignored JUST BECAUSE of their ample parking. bcd tofu house is such a place.

first off, bcd is suppose to be open 24 hours but dinner time is when it's the most crowded. masses of people awaiting their feed was a great opportunity for me to people watch. i saw some interesting outfits as well as witnessed the awkward exchange that got these two couples stuck at the same table even though they didn't want to....i believe the couple on the right was on their first date, too....

so after staring at them for a few minutes like a pervert, i finally concentrated on the banchan and noticed a whole fried fish. it was a bit soft and clearly sat around far too long which made it less than pleasant in my mouth. everything else in the banchan was standard fare.

a quick look at the menu got me the regular tofu/galbi combo. even though i ordered a "mild" tofu soup, it was still damn spicy! man! heat in, heat out. i also thought it was rather salty and not tasty enough to warrant the sodium overload or the senseless burn.

the other half of my tofu combo, the galbi, was just as meh. i found the meat rather tough and felt like charlie gnawing on his rawhide bone. but i guess people come here for the tofu and not their tough meat.

a quick visit to the restroom lead to the discovery of this mouth rinse dispenser, another oddity at this restaurant with ample parking. i did not see any cups though and i'm not sure if i would even trust it.

the meal quickly ended and i left with a belly full of spicy tofu and chewy meat. although i found a spot for my car, bcd tofu house food did not hit the spot for me. next time, i guess the better plan is to hunt for good food and not for good parking.

BCD Tofu House
3575 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 382-6677

price: $$
verdict: it's aight
BCD Tofu House on Urbanspoon
BCD Tofu House in Los Angeles

Sunday, March 21, 2010

ob beer at ob bear

fried chicken use to mean pioneer chicken with it's greasy hard casing, or the original fried chicken at kfc with it's crispy crust. then you find some money in your pockets so you go to roscoe's for some fried chicken and waffles. but boys and girls, when you talk about well executed fried chicken that elevates this poor dead bird into a delicacy, then we have ob bear fried chicken. word.

not too long ago, i found myself hankering for some fried chicken and beer, which i am apt to hanker for once in a while since i do house a rather fat, hairy, balls scratching mini me inside this roaming belly of mine. when that happens, i try to cross off the craving and a "must try" eatery at the same time. booyah!

enter ob bear, a pub eating, beer slinging kind of joint. the establishment was a bit intimidating at first because i was reminded once again that i'm not korean. say whut?! but i like kimchi so much.....

but the server noticed the perplexed look on my face and brought out the english version of the menu which was highly decorated with pooh bears. i appreciated the attempt to bring signs of familiarity back into my eating experience cuz pooh is soooooo american. or perhaps it's THE bear of ob bear. i dunno.

first up was their crispy fried chicken. my first bite generated an image of savory phyllo dough masquerading as chicken skin. i kid you not when i say that this is the lightest, airiest, crispiest chicken skin i've ever had. the chicken itself was moist and flavorful and easily pulled away from the bone. if you come here thinking you'll be getting the same old fried chicken, you may be pleasantly suprised. sweetened cubed radishes were given as a side as well as shredded cabbage with thousand island-esque dressing. this is like the best beer food ever!

we were also given a complimentary leeks pancake with soy sauce for dipping. the crust was formed just right and the sweetness of the leeks contrasted nicely with the salty dipping sauce.

we also ordered the spicy squid. the noodles came as a separate order but everything gets mixed in to create a fantastically spicy dish.

in this hot red mess are chunks of squid, zucchini slices, rice cake, onions, and green onions. it's rather spicy but well worth it. my beer drinking, fried chicken eating meal felt complete with this red noodly burn.

i dug this place A LOT. i can imagine endless nibblings throughout the night as you throw down a few bottles of ob beers. great chicken and spicy squid dish and although pricier than the typical korean restaurant, it is pretty fab. i will be back again.
O B Bear
3002 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
(213) 480-4910
price: $$
verdict: omg, i love it!
O B Bear on Urbanspoon
O B Bear in Los Angeles

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

yuchun cuz why not?

i am currently interviewing folks to be my token korean friend. yeah, i know, that sounds kinda wrong, but seriously, i need to delve into korean eats that goes further than nak won or hodori on vermont if you know what i'm sayin'. now, this token korean friend must love to eat and whether s/he totes louis vuitton accessories is a plus, but not neccessary. and yes, you have to speak korean.

yesterday, i went to dinner with a potential candidate. she took me to yuchun restaurant off of olympic. i've been here once before when she took a few of us for dinner and had yuchun's mool naeng myun (cold noodles) which is what this place is known for. i recalled it was yummy, but this time, we didn't order them again because i had a cold and didn't feel like eating something cold, ya dig?

being that she is a slim korean gal and i'm trying to slim down myself (a.k.a. mission impossible), we only ordered two dishes. i know, what a travesty! we started off with the kimchi dumplings which were plump and superb. they were hot pockets of meaty love with shredded veggies to keep you regular. the first bite immediately warmed up my soul.

oh yes please. three for you and three for me. wheeeee!

i also requested the dduk bok kki which is spicy korean rice cakes. i love, love, love the chewiness of rice cakes and the sweet burn you get from the gochujang was the perfect way to do it. the big hard boiled egg sitting in the middle of this red mess was also flippin' fantastic.

as with most korean meals, the end is near when you have a plate smeared with gochujang, and smeared it was! overall, i thought yuchun's food was solid and the entire meal costed us $20, tip included.

AND was it important to have a korean speaking friend with me for this meal? YES, cuz we almost didn't get our banchan but with her sharp korean eyes, i got my kimchi baby. so friend, thanks for your company! don't be suprised (or annoyed) when i call upon you for some more belly aching eating tasks! woot! come on, you know you likey :0

Yuchun Restaurant
3185 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 382-3815

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!
Yu Chun Chic Naeng Myun on Urbanspoon
Yuchun Restaurant in Los Angeles

Monday, March 15, 2010

madame chocolat satiates my sweet tooth

i really love chocolates. that's practically my answer to everything. having a bad day? here, eat some chocolates. having pms? here, eat some chocolates. going into cardiac arrest and feeling like hell? here, eat some chocolates. if alcohol is the answer to some people's prayers, then chocolates would be mine, i kid you not.

so imagine my excitement when i was invited to madame chocolat in beverly hills for chocolate week. woot! you mean i get to eat chocolate...and a lot of it....and even more on top of that....if.i.want?


so off i went with my little sis in tow ready to taste some chocolates. after scoring parking right down the street, this little pretty chocolate shop met my eyes. wow! so dang cute. the interior was brightly lit with tons of easter decorations, both edible and otherwise.

the chocolate easter bunnies were pretty ginormous. i had fun photographing them......

until this one gave me the stink eye so i backed off. scary right?

oh cute! chinese pig! wouldn't mind taking a bite out of those ears.....

whut?! it's ok to eat dogs in america?!

and of course, tons, and tons of artisanal chocolates, hand dipped and hand crafted by hasty torres, the madame behind this boutique of chocolates. what a cutie! here she is, holding a chocolate fish which reminds her of her husband jacques torres who lives on a boat during most of his leisure time. awwwww, cute...both seem to be pretty good catches if you ask me.

oh yea baby, this is where the magic happens. talk about resisting the chocolate devil in me! the temptation to dunk my hands in each of those chocolate vats and then licking the streaming chocolate coursing down my hands proved to be pretty tough....

so i turned my attention to these chocolates instead because these i can eat legally AND without making a mess.

my favorite was the "ooh la la!" which has passion fruit ganache in your choice of either milk or dark chocolate. the only thing that stopped me from inhaling them by the fistful was the pinch i felt from my belt as it tightened. DELICIOUS.

the truffle was also rather tasty. the sharp contrast of the cocoa powder dusting made me feel like i licked a sweet, dusty cowboy. i don't know what made me think of that.

the mendiant was a bit hard for my granny teeth.

the inverted cafe chocolate which has expresso infused chocolate ganache. i liked the jolt.

the mademoiselle had a very strong raspberry presence. i believe you fulfill your daily intake of fruits and veggies from taking just one bite.

the citron has a white chocolate ganache blended with lime juice. i'm not normally a fan of white chocolate, but this little bite was rather refreshing. i dug this a lot as well.

the jus d' orange which tasted like an orange creamsicle. again, a fruity chocolate if you so desire. i thought it was tasty, too.

the monsieur which had jonnie walker blue label infused dark chocolate ganache. i thought it was rather mild.

and last but not least, this cute little ladybug called je t'aime which had a very light hint of peanut butter ganache. if you like the full bodied taste of robust roasted peanuts, this probably won't do it for you. if you have peanut allergies, then the light hint of peanut butter might not kill you, but don't believe me ok, i'm not a doctor.

as hasty explained, she was classically trained in french culinary techniques so you won't find bacon, curry, or peppercorn chocolates and the likes here, but you will find a solid variety of delicious chocolate sweets to satisfy that unsatiable sweet tooth you have. so as i walked away with a belly full of belgian chocolates, i thought how nice it would be to stroll around beverly hills with a sugar daddy in tow and drop by madame chocolat for some sweets after a day of luxury shopping. ahhhh tis the life that's not mine.....
Madame Chocolat
212 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90209
price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!
Madame Chocolat on Urbanspoon
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