Wednesday, September 25, 2013
When you think about it, “restaurant” is kind of a fancy word.
And when you think about burgers back in the day, a “fancy” burger always meant a restaurant burger.
And then along came Father’s Office. And later a recession. Now gastropubs and chef driven burgers are as commonplace as Starbucks and Chipotle. So when I visited The Park for their bargain buster build-a-burger night (starting at $5 with a side), I never thought I would be in for a bit of a burger throwback. The sandwich was presented open faced with every topping on the side; like what you would expect from a lunch meeting with a junior agent at Kate Mantilini circa 1999 or room service later that day at Chateau Marmont. In this day and age of tricked out burgers, plain old gourmet seems almost pedestrian, but with a baseline of $5 a pop, this is definite bang for your burger buck and the burger concept, which may not scream “chef-driven”, is a subtle reminder that bucking current culinary trends, however delicious and effective they might be, can also mean keeping it real – and that’s what Bang is truly all about.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Irori ~ 4731 Glencoe Ave. ~ Marina Del Rey
A Japanese taco isn’t such a strange sight. Even Nobu’s into tacos. Neither is the tempura fish taco an anomaly, given all that we know about the influence of Japanese fishermen on Baja’s favorite battered export (and the crowd that forms for Ricky’s). Nor is it totally bizarre to catch a tempura fish taco at a sushi restaurant. Frying is precise in preserving the integrity, taste and moisture of its contents, much like a dedicated itamae does by not cooking your food, while still offering all the flavor and textural benefits of an evenly browned skin. And none of these things should surprise us because, above all else, this is Los Angeles, where few tacos go unfused.
Monday, September 2, 2013
At the Friday night opening of The L.A. Times food event, The Taste, Juan’s Restaurante offered armadillo tacos in a red guajillo chile sauce. The Baldwin Park restaurant, known for its pre-Columbian recipes, paired the taco with corn tortillas, prickly pear cactus, and combas, or pre-Hispanic beans. The armadillo meat, which was consumed along with meats from deer, tapirs, iguanas, and monkeys back in the early Americas, reminded us a little of pork, with a slight funk to the flavor and the chefs had the critter’s shell on display.
Monday, August 26, 2013
The question is not “should I go to In-N-Out, the question is, when I do go, what should I order? If you want to maximize the bang for your burger buck, Ali Khan is your man. The latest edition of BfyBB tackles what is perhaps SoCal’s greatest contribution to burgerdom…
Sometimes Capitalism gets it right.
In-N-Out: The burger institution of So Cal, bearer of prodigious accolades by legions of loyal fans, a chain that defies the very term. There are also the naysayers, the detractors, those who call it an overhyped, West Coast cult thang. I was once one of them. Coming from a Midwest stacked burger background that peaked with the chain diner Steak N Shake and dipped into the late night dregs with White Castle, my In N Out visits often ended with a false sense of burger fulfillment. Not as cheap as the sliders from the Castle and outclassed in the patty department by Steak N Shake, I wrote In N Out off as a decent but not special chain burger. Then I learned about the secret menu. And then I dined on a double double in a car halfway to San Francisco, in what would become the single greatest road trip meal I have ever had without stepping out of the vehicle. Gradually, my In N Out enlightenment began; by embracing two basic principles that are essential to this burger experience:
1: you must eat it right away
2: you should order it exactly the way you like by taking full advantage of the secret menu
Principle One is fairly obvious. Like McCauley says in Heat: do not hesitate, not for a second. Take that first bite as soon as possible. Why make burgers to order if the customer is gonna let it sit in a bag? If they ask if you will be eating in the car, respond with a hearty “Hell Yes“. If you are dining in house, stake your claim to that table as soon as you get your change. Some meals move like symphonies, In N Out is not one of them.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Part of the fabric of Los Angeles, equal in some regards but in others even more essential than the mighty taco truck, are our street food vendors. With products ranging from bacon-wrapped hot dogs to grilled chicken to fresh-cut fruit and juices, these hard working entrepreneurs serve a huge number of people every day in the city of Los Angeles. By and large, they do so on the fringes of legality. In fact, it’s illegal even if the vendor has paid the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for official street vending permits and the vendor’s cart is able to pass a sanitation inspection. Subsequently, street vendors are vulnerable to police and inspector harassment, intimidation, and loss of property.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Shot and edited by Fernando Lopez, the video above features Bricia Lopez of the world-famous Guelaguetza Restaurant in Los Angeles. Combined with the recipe below, you’ll learn how to make delicious mole coloradito curry chicken at home. Enjoy it for dinner and then the leftovers will make great tacos the next day… You can get more recipes and jars of authentic mole at ILoveMole.com.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Tonx.org is an L.A. based coffee purveyor that brings carefully sourced and roasted beans to your door every other week. You can try a free trial of their service here. Founder Tony Konecny has been active in the coffee world for some time now and helped ignite LA’s current movement towards better and better quality coffee. We wanted to find out more about Tonx, coffee in LA, and of course his favorite taco spot…
What’s your favorite taco spot?
Tacos Leo truck on Venice at LaBrea is a favorite. Guisado’s in Echo Park of course.
What is the biggest misconception about coffee?
Can I only pick one? Seriously, there are so many legacy misconceptions and new ones appearing every day.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
It is the last month of Summer. Your Los Angeles Dodgers have set a franchise record 15 game win streak on the road. You shall revel their return, in person, to Chavez Ravine this Friday. There will be beers. There will be pre/post game burgers. Considering a draft lager is running you $10 a pop, you are in dire need for some Bang for your Burger Buck. It is high time you met Patra Burgers on Sunset.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
The Jolly Oyster Kitchen serves Thursday through Sunday, 12:00 to 7:00 P.M., at San Buenaventura State Beach Park.
Despite the South Coast’s surfeit of shoreline, ocean-adjacent dining hardly has any sea-legs in Southern California. Private playgrounds clog the cliff-sides of the Pacific Coast Highway, which comes dotted with the occasional high-priced or low-quality surf-and-turf chain, their high rents leaving little space for organic expressions of the Pacific palate, nor the sterling sea life sourced from the Santa Barbara Channel and surrounding depths.
Visitors and locals alike will be stumped to find signature seafood recipes akin to Maine’s lobster rolls or Maryland’s crab houses that truly reflect our relationship with Southern California’s native shores. Our favorite fried fish tacos were ferried in from points south; our cioppino arrived from the north. The Central Coast’s prized urchins and spot prawns are considerably more likely to be shipped to Japan or relished in an Encino strip mall sushi spot than in the region’s seaside restaurants. And even though places like the Redondo Pier’s Quality Seafood makes crustaceans, whole fish, and molluscs approachable, eating by the beach in L.A. typically means someone is going to Gladstone’s or Neptune’s Nets, more famous for their ocean vistas than their seafood selections.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
The great Boris Karloff was born in England, found fame as Frankenstein’s monster (and also played Frankenstein, thank you, readers, for the correction) in Hollywood, and finished his career in Mexico (awesome example at the end of this post). Somewhere along the way he developed a strong affinity for Mexican food, as the article above, found on BadassDigest, explains, along with telling its readers that guac is an “avocado-based sauce”. His recipe for guacamole has an English twist, with a dash of sherry thrown in along with more common ingredients:
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
“Back in the day, when I was a teenager, before I had status, and before I had a pager . . . ”
It’s 1996. A Tribe called Quest is blaring out the car window. I just wrapped up an Apple Pan run soon to be followed by a screening of Rumble in the Bronx and some mall loitering at the Westside Pavilion. $11 lighter after leaving Apple Pan, I only wish knew then what I know now: Marty’s on Pico is West LA’s answer for Bang for your Burger Buck.