Posts Tagged ‘dates’

NYC to Los Angeles: Foodie Reflections

April 28, 2015

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been almost two years from this date that I have touched this blog.  My last entry was right before I enjoyed Camp Blogaway in California and I dreamed about being here since that time. Fast forward and my journey has led me here to the city of Angels as of this past July.

I love blogging and I love writing. I love food. None of that went away when I wasn’t blogging here, but there was always a little sensation, a passing comment or curiosity peaked when I mentioned that I have a blog related to the culinary adventures I had documented here. Those little moments kept the blog alive for me even while I wasn’t faithfully writing.

So with that in mind, after a nearly two year respite of writing here, it only makes sense to me to share you with, dear readers, a journey from nearly 10 years in NYC to one in Los Angeles, a place I had wanted to be and now am, on this greater journey called life.

I was really fortunate to have experienced all the culinary delights I had the chance to explore in New York City – from City Lobster to Bell Book & Candle, Kaia Wine Bar, The London, Social Eatz, Koi, B. Smith’s, Dardanel, and my all time favorite (yes, I’m revealing it!) David Burke Townhouse, to name a few – these are not only the places I remember and have documented, but the moments I truly cherish in looking back on the delicious experiences – culinary and company wise, almost as if they were yesterday.  I remember exactly who I was sitting with and what the experience was like. After all, good food is supposed to take you right back to that moment you experienced it, right?

I don’t have a verdict yet on NYC vs. Los Angeles like you might be wondering as I’m still new-ish to Los Angeles, I can give you some compare and contrasts.  The biggest is certainly the distance. While in NYC you can easily get from delight to delight, Los Angeles is a bit harder in that way as it is very spread out. Both NYC and Los Angeles boast great chefs and great establishments so those are a fair comparison, and there are definitely hidden gems in both cities.

So what are some of my favorite haunts in Los Angeles thus far? Read on…

Greenbelt (36 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA) – Greenbelt serves everything using local farmer’s market produce and the dishes are delicious for it. I’ve now been for brunch, lunch and dinner and can tell you that you can’t choose a wrong item on this menu.  Depending on what meal you’re going for, I recommend the Grilled Avocado benedict with basil hollandaise. Best part? No bread and you get the healthy fats from the avocado with other great seasonal vegetables that’s filling and it’s also gluten-free for those who have any allergies. Lunch?  Go for a shared pizza like the burrata, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, basil and pesto. Simple and yummy. Dinner?  I love tuna so the Grilled Yellowfin Tuna with coconut black rice, shitake mushrooms and thai curry is great. Spicy alert on this one though, so the faint beware.

Grilled Avocado Benedict

Grilled Avocado Benedict

Grilled Yellowfin Tuna

Grilled Yellowfin Tuna

Uncle Bill’s Pancake House (1305 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA) is the ultimate comfort food. I went on a weekday holiday with friends which was great as only on weekday holidays and weekends do they serve the eggs benedict which was delicious.  We also opted to share a side of what they are famous for – pancakes (when in Rome, right?) with coconut and chocolate chips. And for the view alone, the picture says it all.

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict & Coconut Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Uncle Bill's

Uncle Bill’s

Manhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

Others not pictured?

Mediterraneo (73 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA) because of its can’t beat shared apps like the Deviled Eggs with harissa oil, Roasted Dates prosciutto wrapped and stuffed with cambozola blue cheese (my favorite on the menu), Polpette beaf meatballs with San Marzano tomato sauce and parmagiano (really you can’t go wrong with anything here), in addition to the very carefully crafted cocktails, do yourself a favor and check it out. Plus you can walk off dinner as you’ll be right by The Strand for a lazy afternoon or crisp evening beach walk.

Manhattan Beach Post (1142 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA), it’s called a “Social House” for a reason. It’s always busy. And the food and scene is why. I also came on a Sunday for brunch when it’s likely at its peak. But it’s entirely worth the wait starting with some Bacon Cheddar biscuits with maple butter like the tasty ones at Red Lobster (but better) and for shared plates like the French Toast stuffed with house ricotta, bartlett pears and candied almonds and the benedict (yes of course I had to try it, lest you forget the name of my blog).  What else is cool?  The fact that the menu changes seasonally and on the whim of a chef. Can’t hate on that.

Zinc at the Shade Hotel (1221 N. Valley Drive, Manhattan Beach, CA) come for brunch, walk the beach later. Or come during the week and enjoy one of the festive cocktails like the Are You Man Enough? with the Patron Silver Tequila, Veev acai spirit, agave, lime and muddled jalapenos or for a less spicy option the Aviation with gin, lemon juice, maraschino liqeur and creme de violette.

Ok, ok, you’re asking where are all the places not at the beach?  Don’t worry, my friends, I have you covered!

Check out:

Taste on Melrose (8454 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA) – their tagline is “eat, drink, indulge” and that my friends, you can do. I came with some friends who also happen to be awesome work colleagues and we shared the calamari and Pommes Frites with garlic aioli and remoulade. They have great dishes all around whether you’re going healthier with a grilled natural salmon, or more indulgent like the Rigatoni Bolognese I tried.  Fun fact: Grilled cheese night is every Tuesday and you can add their housemade Pommes Frites for only $5. Yep.

Sugarfish by Sushi Nozawa (Multiple locations, I went to 4722 1/4 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA) – You can’t explain this sushi, you just have to try it for yourself. It’s served warm and melt in your mouth worthy. I know what you’re thinking. After I was in NYC for so long, can it get any better?  But this truly is an experience.  If you’re really hungry, go for the Nozawa Trust Me. It’s worth it. It includes organic edamame, tuna sashimi, albacore, salmon and yellowtail sushi, halibut sushi, Toro hand roll, Blue Crab hand roll and the daily special.

041 Bacaro (9552 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA) Chef Conrad came from NYC so that’s almost enough to be said there, but there is true Italian love in this food. Try the roasted brussel sprouts or french fries with truffle oil to start (or both if you’re sharing) and the entrees speak for themselves though I enjoyed the risotto with mixed wild mushrooms. It’s like a slice of Little Italy NYC. Go.

And of course there are more to come.  Have a must try place for me to check out?  Feel free to comment here whether you’re an Angeleno or just know some great spots here in the City of Angels.

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David Burke Kitchen

March 20, 2011

After enjoying one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten at David Burke Townhouse, I had to check out David’s newest venture, David Burke Kitchen in SoHo at the James Hotel – 23 Grand Street. (Added bonus: It’s two blocks from my office so no excuses).

When we arrived, we were greeted by familiar faces and the vibe was warm which carries throughout Townhouse as well – the staff really enjoys working here.  The ambiance is a bit different than Townhouse as it’s very “SoHo.”  According to the site, the design done by James Beard Award-winner Thomas Schlesser (also of DBGB fame), offers the “industrial simplicity of an airy loft with the rustic warmth of a country barn.”  You can see the inspiration throughout the restaurant with the exposed wood beams and the wood tables (no tablecloths).

David Burke Kitchen

The kitchen in David Burke Kitchen

Being familiar with the menu at Townhouse, it was interesting to see how David weaved in his whimsical, innovative, kid-like touches and similar fare here, but also changed it up to give diners the more rustic cooking experience, which includes a carving station at the center of the restaurant where I’m told there are specialties including a whole carved chicken and a 42 oz. Porterhouse steak available.

Carving station

We started off with a couple of my familiar favorites including the Wedge with candied pecans, tomato viniagrette, dried fruit and blue cheese (a variation on the Wedge at Townhouse with russian dressing), the Pretzel Crab Cake (still to die for) with notes of tomato orange, green peppercorn and white beer, and a couple new choices including the Camembert Ravioli with lobster sausage and almond milk and some maple bacon dates stuffed with peanut butter from the chef (amazing!). One of the appetizers I’ll have to try next time are the Ants on a Log which I’m told is a popular choice – bone marrow, snails, parsley and garlic.

Wedge

Pretzel Crab Cake

Camembert Ravioli

Maple bacon dates with peanut butter

For dinner, I enjoyed the Friday evening special, the wild striped bass. Interestingly, each bass is specially prepared in a clear bag with a business card from the restaurant with the number of the fish that evening, denoting how many fish have been served to date. Mine was lucky number 016.  (Fun fact: David starting doing this with his swordfish preparation and has so far prepared 8,000 to date and counting). The protein changes each week and based on the feedback they’ll choose to either keep it going, try a new variation or introduce something new, so it’s likely you’ll never have the same dish twice.

Wild Striped Bass #016

Wild Striped Bass

For dessert, I couldn’t resist ordering David’s signature, the Cheesecake Lollipop Tree, which included a sampling of chocolate and strawberry cheesecake lollipops finished off with raspberries and passion fruit whipped cream. (While the passion fruit whipped cream was good, I still vote the bubble gum whipped cream served with the Lollipops at Townhouse is the best).  The staff also brought us the “Sweet Treats” which included mini donuts you can squeeze caramel, chocolate or raspberry sauce into and mini ice cream sandwiches. 

Cheesecake Lollipop Tree

Sweet Treats

David outdid himself again!

David Burke, me and Anthony