Farmlab [DTLA] – closed

Inspiration

I was given the chance to attend a Public Salon speak at Farmlab, near downtown Los Angeles.

 

Today’s topic
Juliano Brotman
“New Perfect Food is Here:
A way to finally do something about
all that green talk.”

Brotman, passionate as he was, discussed the positive effects of a lifestyle that was not only green, but took it to the next level. As a raw foods expert and restaurateur, he proclaimed a lifestyle that exuded virtues and made vegans seem like smog producers. I learned that those who have diets of all raw foods never have cavities, longer lifespans, and don’t have the lethargic feelings after large meals
It made me rethink my wasteful ways and how I was increasing the rate aging process. I would like to visit his Santa Monica restaurant – Planet Raw – http://www.planetraw.com

Farmlab, funded by private institutions, is a think tank, research facility, and a green movement sustainability center is located across an old cornfield between the 110 and 5 freeways. With a great warehouse space with an adjacent outdoor underpass multi-use area. Farmlabs boosts several large tanks of potable water, a vegetable nursery, and performance stages. Check out the farmlab website for more talks and discussion on their Public Salon days – http://farmlabinfo.blogspot.com

This unique day, I learned much about my body and how raw foods positively affects my body. Farmlab has this great space and I would encourage anyone to support them and try to attend their public salons. It was a nice experience that differs from my usual big city life.

Farmlab
1745 North Spring Street, Unit 4
Los Angeles, CA 90012
323 226 1158 tel
323 226 9430 fax
info@farmlab.com
http://farmlabinfo.blogspot.com

Edison [DTLA]

Radio Room with the best bartenders in the country.
The most fabulous bar and lounge in Downtown Los Angeles.

Tonight at the Edison, in Downtown LA, the Radio Room happens. Tonight’s special is featuring some of the best bartenders in the US.

Joseph Brooke of Edison Director of Spirits
Simon Ford of Pernod Ricard / London & New York
Giuseppe Gonzalez of Dutch Kills & Painkiller / New York
Zane Harris of Rob Roy / Seattle
Don Lee of Momofuku Restaurants / New York

On this night, Edison, as a bar lounge, is taking pre-sale entrance cover charges online for $10. [link]

RADIO ROOM AT THE EDISON
Tuesday evening
March 30, 2010 | 8pm

108 W. 2nd Street #101
Los Angeles, CA 90012
www.edisondowntown.com
213.613.0000


A menu just for tonight.

Check out the single ice cube! It is the best way to drink a drink. This is the Vieux Cerde.

This drink is called the Rite of Spring

The Infante.

The Globo Rojo

Nice spread.

More of the spread.

The Absinthe Fairy! Nice

Mambos [Glendale]

Drawn by the power of Diner’s, Drive in’s, and Dives, we knew we had to check out this local Cuban favorite. Guy Fieri, the host, makes you just want to try anything he mentions on his show.
 
Mambos was a choice out of necessity. We were on our way to the Glendale’s Americana Street Feast. Yet, as we drove past we saw the enormity of the lines and crowds, and I quickly made an executive veto decision. With haste and agile phone skills, Mambos was the plotted with our iPhones.
 
The live band created a festive feel as we jaunted toward Mambo’s door. We hungrily ordered the giant prawns, the double fried plantain shrimp salad, and the roast pork. The double fried plantains were featured on Triple D’s, so I knew one of us had to order it. I couldn’t believe how much shrimp was in the salad. We kept eating more and more shrimp – such a healthy portion. My roast pork was quite juicy quite similar to that of Versailles’s. I love anything Pork, Ham, or Pig related.
 
What turned out to be a disappointment with Street Feast turned into a pleasant one with Mambos
 
What to Order: Roast Pork and the Double Fried Plantains
What not to Order: Drinks were so-so
 
2 Pigs
$$
 
Mambos
1701 Victory Blvd
Glendale, CA 91201
(818) 545-8613

Bottega Louie [DTLA]

The Gem of Downtown Los Angeles – Bottega Louie

Perhaps I should have made a few more visits to Bottega Louie, but with the suggestion of some friends, I knew I had to visit this place. The space occupies a prime 1st floor space on a corner in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. When you walk in you notice why BL is the hottest restaurant in downtown LA. And I won’t say much more about Bottega Louie, except that I do highly recommend a visit for almost any occasion.

Breakfast was my meal of choice at Bottega Louie. I had the breakfast scramble with spinach & cheese with a side of bacon – your typical California morning meal. Mr. B had a bagel & lox. I felt my eggs and spinach were typical and was nothing to write home about. But the bacon I had was solid and thick-cut, almost too much of a good thing. I didn’t get to try the bagel & lox, unfortunately. I saw a nice offering of juices, pastries, and coffees, for those downtown power breakfast meetings.

I was able to mosey around the large airy restaurant to see the baked goods like cupcakes and muffins. Macaroons are the new “cupcakes” of a couple of years ago. You start to see them in more recipes, dessert combination’s, and menu’s. i would suspect that you’ll see them more and more in the coming months. And Bottega Louie had a smattering array of multi-colored macaroons

What to Order: Any of the breakfasts looked fine. They have a nice baked good section with macaroons.
What not to Order: N/A. . . You could say the jury’s still out since I haven’t tried other things.

Parking situation: For breakfast and lunch, I only saw street parking available. I’m sure at night, they will have valet parking.

Rating
3 pigs, $$

Bottega Louie
700 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(866) 418-9162
www.bottegalouie.com

Their breakfast menu is quite reasonable in price.

Bottega Louie features a large open kitchen.

The Macaroons or Macarons.

Cupcakes Galore!

This space is great for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks.

Bagel & Lox

Capers!

The scramble of the day – spinach and cheese

The succulent bacon.

There was almost too much bacon.

Coffee



Bottega Louie on Urbanspoon
Bottega Louie in Los Angeles

Dino’s Chicken and Burgers [Los Angeles]


Have you guys heard of this place? I sure haven’t, till recent.

Holy crap . . . what a find. Did you know that Dino’s has the most yelp burger reviews in Los Angeles, except for Tommy’s? And Dino’s doesn’t even specialize in burgers.

Most of the customers order the chicken and only chicken. They prepare and cook chickens by the hen house it seems. As you walk up to order, you see a large stack of the bright red sauced marinaded chicken. You can’t help but order anything else. I don’t think I even noticed a burger patty on the grill. The on-the-wall menu, featured a faded breakfast selection. I only knew the price of the chicken plate from the enlarged LA Times article in the window.

With all walks of life happily feasting on the chicken, we were able to find a nice indoor window seat. When you first open up you see the 1/2 chicken on a bed of fries with the sauce – a savory, vinegary and not-too-spicy concoction. When you start in the chicken, the juices and goodness will drip – so make sure you have lots of napkins ready. This roasted chicken, with the skin, is full of flavor, that isn’t too spicy, yet with the the right combination of unexplained sourness from the vinegar. It is just right. Also, the accompanied cole slaw provides the some flavor relief, if needed, from the boldness.

What to Order: Chicken
What not to Order: uh. . . don’t think they offered anything else.

Parking situation: Don’t mind the area, which is between Koreatown and the 10 freeway. They have a small lot. But if you can’t find parking in the lot, look for street parking. Bring quarters for the meters.

Rating
3 pigs, $

Dino’s Chicken and Burgers
2575 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 380-3554

Look the stack of chicken ready to be devoured. . . by me! I doubt they can keep up with demand, unless they continuously roast chicken.

Don’t underestimate the coleslaw.

Such a pretty bird.

The fries soak up the goodness.

Dino's Burgers on Urbanspoon
Dino's Chicken and Burgers in Los Angeles

Perdue’s [Pasadena] – closed


Just one man’s humble opinion about BBQ. Not an expert opinion, just an amateur one.

Maybe I shouldn’t have said “Best” in the title, but it sure tasted like it that day. With the stars aligned, with a full moon, and on my birthday the meat consumed like gods on this day. Everything was clicking like a Zeus had intended we feast on the succulent BBQ. How else could I describe this unspoken food group of BBQ.

This early lunch to celebrate my annual day of birth took us from the usual Asian cuisines in San Gabriel Valley to the Northern Pasadena BBQ joint Perdue’s. With my family, we ordered one of every entree, just to try everything out, including the BBQ Chicken, Sliced Brisket, Baby Back Rib, Fried Catfish, and the Meaty Meaty Beef Rib. With these entrees, we had all the different types of sides. We had all sorts of sides with potato salad, collared greens, mac’n cheese, red beans & rice, cole slaw, sweet potatoes, and fries.

We each had our favorites among the smattering of choices, of this Texas style BBQ. My parents liked the sweet potatoes and Beef Brisket, the Meaty Meaty ones. Beef bbq – ribs or brisket has never been my favorite. I have always felt beef ribs are tough to compare to the meat-falling-off baby back ribs. Unfortunately, Perdue’s is not different – beef ribs and brisket are the two things I wouldn’t order again or suggest. My younger brothers enjoyed the baby back ribs and the catfish, while I feasted on the Chicken. I also enjoyed the baby back ribs and catfish. I wouldn’t say the baby back ribs are the best I’ve ever had, but it was quite good. I would have preferred if the meat fell off the bone more easily or was more tender. The catfish, usually a Friday specialty was delicious. The Chicken was my favorite of the day, it was tender and juicy. I wish I had more. I think, but I could be wrong, chicken is often overlooked when it comes to BBQ, and it shouldn’t be.

The sides were also quite good. I could easily just have sides for a meal. Perhaps a potential concept is to merge a Korean restaurant method with BBQ cuisine. Have a grill in the middle of the table – for everyone to grill their own meats for BBQ – perhaps just to warm it up rather than cook, since it would take too long. Then have banchan – in the form of the BBQ sides – like mac’n cheese, greens, potato salad (oh wait, Koreans have that already). Anyways.. . I think it would work.

Anyways. . . Perdue’s is an awesome place for BBQ. But I know in this part of city, there’s competition. For me saying they’re the best – those are fightin’ words that I would love to engage. If you have suggestions on what is the best BBQ let me know.

Barbecue & Baseball’s Post

What to Order: Catfish (only on Friday’s), Baby back ribs, Chicken, and all the sides
What not to Order: IMHO beef brisket and beef ribs

Parking situation: Street parking is available and I think they have a lot in the back.

Rating
3 pigs, $$

Perdue’s
456 E Orange Grove Ave
Pasadena, CA 91104
(626) 229-0742
www.perduesbbq.com

A simple menu with clear explanations. Sometimes that’s all you need.

Baked beans with fries and a side of Chicken . . . LOL

Candied yams or sweet potatoes with mac’n cheese on the entree of Beef Brisket.

Fried Catfish! Come to think of it, it really was good.

Collared Greens with potato salad with the meaty meaty beef ribs.

Buttery Texas Toast!

Baby Back Ribs with cole slaw. The cole slaw was really good. Not to heavy with the white sauce/mix and the cabbage was crisp.

Perdue's Barbeque on Urbanspoon
Perdue's Barbeque in Los Angeles

Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada [Los Angeles]



I believe the direction and concept that The Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada (TBFTiE) is great one. Talk about what you serve and specialize in it. You also create conversation as to who has the best Fish Tacos. You could argue that Ricky’s Fish Tacos, Wahoo’s, or Taco’s Baja might have the best Fish Tacos, but TBFTiE makes the claim as “The Best”. Also, the menu items at TBFTiE are simple – you can either get fish tacos or shrimp tacos. Bottom line, claim what you do best and make it simple!

This little restaurant or shack in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles make pretty good fish and shrimp tacos. The deep fried batter, which is made to order and fried in front of you, is light and crisp. As you bite into the taco’s you can taste the shrimp and fish without the batter overpowering it. You can add the different salsas and sauces to increase the spiciness or sourness. On an empty stomach, I could easily power down 3 or 4 or 5 of these little treats.

Nice little place, but as for the claim – I believe it is quite comparable to Taco’s Baja in East Los Angeles – see my post. I still need to try Ricky’s, which I understand is just a cart and is close to the Los Feliz area.

What to Order: Fish Tacos and Shrimp Tacos
What not to Order:

Rating
1 pigs, $

Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada
1650 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 466-5552
http://www.bestfishtacoinensenada.com/

Fish Tacos, Shrimp Tacos, and Drinks and that’s it.

The Salsa and Sauce Bar.

The big bowl of shredded lettuce.

The Shrimp Taco.

The Fish Taco after one bite.

Best Fish Taco in Ensenada on Urbanspoon
Best Fish Taco in Ensenada in Los Angeles

Mendocino Farms [DTLA]

Look for the Cow!

Ever since I had a taste of their sandwiches at the Project by Project Food & Wine event, I haven’t stopped thinking about their sandwiches. I thought they had the best offerings at the Plate by Plate event.

Months later, I finally was able to find a way to get their sandwiches again. It’s tough, since I don’t live and work in Downtown. And the other issue is that they only open at lunchtime on the weekdays, from 11 to 3pm. And to make it worse, they don’t have convenient parking available.

With all these negative points, I still had to have their sandwiches. Their menu features 20+ sandwiches with combinations that you won’t find anywhere. Today, we called in our orders with Miss C had the recommended Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi for $9.75 and myself having the The Pork Loin Sandwich for $8.25. Yes, I know these sandwiches are not cheap.

I confess anytime I see the words pork and loin, I am immediately drawn to it. I had to order it, even though the phone order taker didn’t recommend it. The sliced pork didn’t have the visual appeal of what I expected. The bread looked hard and too big for the thinly sliced pork. Yet, I wasn’t all that disappointed, though I wouldn’t recommend this sandwich to anyone nor would I order it again. The apple chutney and roasted potatoes actually made this sandwich better than I thought. The sweetness of the chutney provided balance to the flavors.

I wish I had ordered Miss C’s Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi. The big chunks of juicy pork was delish with the spicy peppers. The bread, a ciabatta, not the typical Vietnamese French roll held the sandwich well. Full of flavor, this sandwich made the Pork Loin pale in comparison.

Anyways. . .I hope Mendocino Farms has a better parking offering. Perhaps they should consider a delivery service in Downtown LA, as well.

What to Order: Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi
What not to Order: maybe not the Pork Loin

Rating
2 pigs, $$

Mendocino Farms
300 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 620-1114
www.mendocinofarms.com/
http://twitter.com/mendocinofarms

When you do decide to come to Mendocino Farms, call in your order. If you are going to pick up sandwiches, then have someone come with you and have them sit in the car – while double parked or in a loading zone, while you run inside to pick up the sandwiches.

The Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi. Great sandwich.

Look at the large pork chunks. Notice the Cibatta bread holding everything together.

The pork loin sandwich.

Notice the roasted potatoes on the bottom.

Mendocino Farms on Urbanspoon

J J’s Sandwich Shop [DTLA]



J J’s Sandwich Shop is the type of place where you could literally walk by or drive by without noticing it. Almost a cliche, the Korean owned sandwich shop, serves up sandwiches, chips, and sodas like almost any other lunch place.

But what I do like, is that they make their sandwiches right. The bread is so good that you don’t even notice it. The right amount of toasted crispness on the outside, with the softness you expect to hold the meats inside. If I noticed the bread – that would mean it was too hard, to couldn’t hold the meats, and was too messy. Miss I and I ordered the PRC combo, which is Pastrami, Roast Beef, and Cheese combo. It’s a nice mix and was their most popular sandwich. I would match this sandwich to any sandwich from Santa Monica’s Bay City Deli, their bread is a big Yuck!

Also, the owners are super nice and they give you sliced oranges after you sandwich.

What to Order: PRC Combo
What not to Order: N/A

Rating
2 pigs, $

J J’s Sandwich Shop
119 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 625-2363

Your typical Sandwich shop.

Nice selection of sandwiches.

The PRC combo – pastrami, roast beef, and cheese.

A solid sandwich!

J J's Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon
J J's Sandwich Shop in Los Angeles

Big Wangs [DTLA]

Big Wangs – what kind of name is that for a sports bar?

Big Wangs, with a funny name for a Sports Bar, is located in the heart of Downtown LA. I visited there with a friend, Mr. J, for a short happy hour and to just check out the place.

The happy hour deals were pretty good along with the appetizer specials. Though I admit we only had a couple of beers and some onion rings, I was more interested in seeing what they did to the old Tranquility Base space. Since they have a prime street spot near a corner, they are bound have good traffic.

I think we counted over 20 flat screens inside and outside the space. Their large outdoor patio with big screens will certainly be the spot for after work happy hours and the upcoming March Madness office pools.

I will try to give them a full review later.

What to Order: Beer Battered Onion Rings
What not to Order:

Parking: Sucks, only 3rd party lots available across the street. Street parking is limited by meters and time.

Rating
1 pigs, $$

Big Wangs
801 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 629-2449
www.bigwangs.com

Very nice outdoor area.

The Beer Battered Onion Rings. The batter is crunchy and flavorful.

They have a deal for 50 wings and 3 pitchers of beer for USD 85.00. I might get sick of the wings. But I also think it is a little pricey.

Looks like a fun place with the big airy ceilings.

Loads of big screens all around.

Big Wangs on Urbanspoon

Seongbukdong [Koreatown]


Korean Comfort Food at its best.

This place is a find. This is probably one of the better Korean meals, I have had in awhile. Seongbukdong is known for having excellent Korean comfort food. Perhaps known for the simplicity of the dishes, they make them very well. These dishes – the Galbi Jjim(braised short ribs), Kimchi Chigae(stewed kimchi), Braised Mackerel(sorry, forgot the Korean name), and Galbi Tang(short rib in soup) are the headliners at Seongbukdong.

But the Galbi Jjim is what will keep you begging for more. Large enough for two people, the beef is braised so long that the meat literally falls off the bone effortlessly. The sauce is not too thick nor to condensed in flavor which makes it go well with steamed white rice. They also off a soft of fried rice with bean sprouts, kinda like a Bibim-bap, but we didn’t order that. The beef cut with scissors in larger than bite size chucks was quickly gobbled up by our party of 5. As I scanned the dining room, with less than 9 tables, I saw almost everyone had the familiar over-sized white bowl of goodness.

It seems Seongbukdong attracts both young and older Koreans with comfort food, just as do Americans like mac’n cheese and fried chicken. in my humble opinion, the Galbi Tang – the short rib in soup was the 2nd best dish on our table. With the same meat, this hearty soup with glass noodles, was served in its milky white broth. You can tell it has been cooking for a long time since the bone marrow is starting to breakdown to give this milky white color.

The braised mackerel and the kimchi chigae were also exceptional as well. Not all too spicy, yet with the right amount of kick, these two dishes, along with the other two, was enough for the 5 of us. The mackerel with the large fish chunks and the kimchi chigae, though had similar flavoring with the broiled kimchi, which was my only issue.

What to Order: Galbi Jjim(braised short ribs), Kimchi Chigae(stewed kimchi), Braised Mackerel(sorry, forgot the Korean name), and Galbi Tang(short rib in soup)
What not to Order: Personally, I don’t think I would order the Braised Mackerel again.

Parking situation: Small lot with $2 charge. I’d look for street parking. And make sure you get there early, this small place fills up fast.

Rating
3 pigs, $$

Seongbukdong
3303 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 738-8977

Galbi Tang, the short rib soup. Very good. Though I might have it with a little kimchi.

Galbi Jjim, braised beef short ribs. As I think about this, my mouth waters . . .

The braised mackerel.

Kimchi chigae

Ban chan. The steamed egg as good.

Unfortunately, this is not a place to go without a local guide (a Korean)

With the 4 dishes and no alcohol, our bill was $15 per person in a group of 5.

After dinner we stopped over at Pink Berry, which is right across the street.

I am not a big fan of pink berry or any of these yogurt places.

They said the captain crunch toppings are pretty good.

Seongbukdong on Urbanspoon
Seongbukdong in Los Angeles

El Mercado [East LA]


Mexican Coke! This Coke is different from regular Coke because they use real sugar.

This past weekend, I finally found time to go to El Mercado in East LA. Translated as the Market, this place is 3 floors of swap meet, food court, market, and restaurant all rolled into one.

You can find all sorts of boots, trinkets, toys, jewelry, and snacks on the first floor. On the 2nd floor, a couple of smaller restaurants make up the food court. There’s also a butcher, a bakery, and market on the 2nd floor. Then on the top, there’s a large restaurant, called Mariachi, with 2 bands on either side. I don’t normally like malls, but this place is more festive with people and different things to see.

We selected a restaurant on the 2nd floor called La Nueva Fuente. But it was a challenge to order, since we didn’t speak Spanish. But we finally were able to order the Mole Plabano, the Chile Verde, Tlacollo, and some sort of Ceviche. The Chile Verde was quite spicy, almost too Spicy for Miss E. The Ceviche was excellent. I don’t think I have ever had a better Ceviche. My order of the Mole Plabano was not so good. But I will keep ordering Mole, which is my new favorite Mexican dish.

Anyways. . . aside from dining at El Mercado, there’s lots of interesting things to see. The bakery was one of the more popular places. People were lining up to get sweet baked items. The butcher counter had all sorts of meats including chorizo, pork, and beefs.

What to Order: Chile Verde, Mexican Coke
What not to Order: Mole Plabano

Parking situation: Crazy! Be Patient for parking in their parking lot.

Rating
2 pigs, $

El Mercado
3425 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90063
(323) 768-3295

The Bakery on the 2nd floor.

Yummy bread!

The market on the 2nd floor

The Mole Plabano

The green mild salsa

The Ceviche. This was so good.

This side dish has black beans inside this deep fried tortilla.

The Chile Verde.

The menu of the restaurant we ate at.

Almost like a food court. They had a great seafood menu.

Seafood selection.

From the butcher. Look at the sausage and chorizo.

Very festive environment.

Mercado Mexico Market on Urbanspoon