Some good news coming from Blogdowntown, as they report that “Downtown’s Poet-Broker” Ed Rosenthal has been found alive. He had been missing for nearly a week while hiking in Joshua Tree National Park.
He is reportedly in critical condition, suffering from exposure and injuries.
I try. I really do. Every time I go to Hugo’s in West Hollywood for breakfast, I try and order something other than the addictive Chilaquiles. They have an amazing dish, “Pasta Mama” which I always urge my friends to order so I can have a bite or two…. it’s super delish. Or the Green Tamales with eggs. Or the enticing Eggs Benedict. They are always amazing.
But I always go back. Like a lover you just can’t leave, even though you KNOW they might be bad for you…the whomp of caloric intake is waaay more than you need…. mmm. Chilaquiles. Yummy! Just tastes so good!
The sweet first taste of the soft eggs with the perfect crunch of tortilla’s smothered with chipotle sauce and onions. Slightly crispy, endearingly soft. Like a lover’s caress, hard to resist!
I first went to Hugo’s 27 years ago when I was a production assistant. I was in charge of taking a crew of 20 Rock n’ Roller type guys fresh off the plane from London to breakfast. We hit Hugo’s and from then on the crew refused to go anywhere else. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. We were there. Back then it was a butcher shop/combo deli/ restaurant. They made the most amazing fresh rolls topped with butter right out of the oven. Again, hard to resist.
These days it’s still a family owned restaurant with the son and some his friends running it and the one in the valley. And if you go, don’t miss this dish. It may not look like much, but wait til the first bite! You won’t look back.
Blogger Prom 2010, one of the most exciting, most exclusive parties of the year was held recently at the restaurant with perhaps one of the most beautiful views in Los Angeles, Yamashiro. Too many superlatives for the first sentence, you say? To call this event merely spectacular would be gross understatement.
Did you have a good time at your high school prom? Really? I went to two senior proms (as a sophomore I dated a senior; aww yeeeah.) Now granted, it’s been a few years since those proms, but as I recall both were notable for not being particularly memorable. What I do remember is paying more than was reasonable for a mediocre meal, bad music, and hanging out for hours with a bunch of people I didn’t particularly like. (No offense to my old high school friends who may be reading this. Not you, of course; I’m talking about all those other jerks.)
Blogger Prom is the grown up version of what those other proms aspire to be. No generic rented tuxedos here. This year’s theme was “L.A. Confidential,” so attendees dressed with that style/period in mind. Everyone looked fantastic. Rather than some unremarkable hotel ballroom, this prom was held at a gorgeous Hollywood landmark. Also, no need to sneak booze in (Dad, if you’re reading, I probably didn’t do that in high school,) as adult beverages were provided by Pinky Vodka, Zaya Rum, The Beer Chicks and Eagle Rock Brewery, and The Dalmore scotch.
Not to be out done by the drinks, the food was provided by Yamashiro’s own Chef Brock. Among other dishes, Chef Brock made a smoked sausage taco. He brought in the smoked sausage from a 100+ year old smoke house on his own family farm in eastern Washington. Delicious! There was also a great Wasabi Guacamole that he tells me is not as easy to make as it sounds.
In addition to all of the great food and drink in beautiful surroundings, the guest list was made up entirely of southern California bloggers. It was a chance to see old friends, meet new ones, and finally connect faces to many of the online personas that we were already so familiar with.
This event was a prom, and of course, every prom needs its Prom Queen. Nominations happened online, with the final voting being completed on the evening of the prom. There was stiff competition, but ultimately one stood victorious. Blogger Prom Queen 2010 is none other than 8Asians.com editor and Blogging.LA‘s own, JozJozJoz!
Blogger Prom 2009 was fantastic. Blogger Prom 2010 was even better. I don’t mind telling you, I can’t wait for Blogger Prom 2011. If you weren’t on the guest list this year, you certainly don’t want to miss next year. Start your blog now, and keep your fingers crossed that you make the list. At the very least, start sucking up to your favorite L.A. blogger now, and maybe, just maybe, you can be his +1 for the best party of the year.
Sometimes – a lot of the times, actually – I don’t prefer pho. It took me a little while to come out and just admit this, because the follow-up is always, “But you’re Vietnamese!” Accusations aside, this is a relatively recent confession: a few months ago, I suggested to my mom that we get pho for dinner. Her exact words were: “AUGH not pho, I don’t like pho that much.” All of a sudden, the CFL light bulb turned on (slowly), and I realized, I too, can freely admit that I don’t like pho as much as everyone presumes I should. Don’t get me wrong – the piping hot soup definitely hits the spot at certain times: late nights, or as breakfast on a cold or hungover morning. But, as a general rule, you’re more likely to find me slurping up a big bowl of bun thit nuong rather than a big bowl of pho.
Golden Deli, in the heart of San Gabriel Valley, is supposed to be the best Vietnamese place this side of Orange County, and it really is really good (I haven’t tried enough of the Vietnamese joints in the SGV to make a judgment call – yet). A page or two of the menu is dedicated to pho; if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, skip a few subheadings down to Bun – Rice Vermicelli. Right there, you’ll find number 34, Bun Thit Nuong: charbroiled pork atop cold rice noodles (vermicelli), which itself sits on a bed of crispy lettuce, carrots, and other veggies. It seems like such a simple dish, but it nonetheless is hard to get exactly right: the pork can’t be too fatty, the noodles can’t be too thick, and the bowl can’t be too overwhelmed by the greens. Golden Deli’s version avoids all these dealbreakers. And it’s only $4.75(!!!).
On some days, I get the dish with egg rolls – number 35, Bun Thit Nuong & Cha Gio (only two quarters more than the bowl without the cha gio). The egg rolls come paired and are pre-cut into bite-sized pieces for you. The egg rolls aren’t nearly as good as my mom’s, but they are still delicious. (The difference between a Vietnamese egg roll and a Chinese one, by the by, is that where Chinese egg rolls are stuffed mostly with cabbage and other veggies and are rolled in a thick, wheat-based wrapper, the Vietnamese version minces meat and veggies more finely and rolls the mixture in a thinner and decidedly more delicate rice paper wrapper. I think a Vietnamese egg roll beats a Chinese one any day of the week. You think I’m biased, but I’m really not.). The bowl comes with a side of fish sauce – nuoc cham – which you are to pour, liberally, onto your pork and noodles.
For those looking to look beyond pho, this is a great starter: there’s nothing inherently unfamiliar in here, and it is distinctly Vietnamese. C’mon, you can do it. You can thank me later.
Golden Deli 815 W. Las Tunas Drive San Gabriel Valley Sunday: 9am – 9:30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9:30am – 9:00pm (note that they are closed on Wednesdays!!) Friday: 9:30am – 10:00pm Saturday: 9:00am – 10:00pm
The L.A. Kings’ hockey season is just getting started; the L.A. Dodgers’ baseball season is mercifully drawing to a close. The L.A. Derby Dolls‘ roller derby season is in high gear, though, and this Saturday night you can see the most exciting sport in Los Angeles as the Fight Crew battle the Sirens in a race toward the 2010 Championship (in December.) Keep reading to find out how you can win your free tickets.
Banked track roller derby is an aggressive, fast-paced, full-contact sport. These women may look nice all dolled up in skates and fishnets, but do not be fooled. They are fierce competitors who give everything they’ve got on the track in order to achieve victory.
If you’ve already been to the Doll Factory, then you know. If you haven’t, you just have to experience it for yourself. Surrounded by the roar of a sold out crowd, you’ll watch a high-speed chase on the track that will leave you breathless. Before the game and at half time, you’ll enjoy various food vendors including Hot Dog On A Stick and Garage Pizza, ice cold beer from Alex’s Bar, and a vendor village packed with jewelery, t-shirts, skate gear, and all sorts of other stuff. There’s even a live band at half-time (Eternal Youth.)
Here is a preview of Saturday night’s bout:
What: L.A. Derby Dolls Fight Crew vs. Sirens When: Saturday, 2 October 2010. Doors open 6:00pm, bout starts 8:00pm. Where: The Doll Factory, 1910 West Temple Street, Los Angeles. Why: Most exciting sport in L.A. You won’t find more fun anywhere (with your pants on.) How: Get tickets online now! The L.A. Derby Dolls sell out every bout.
Now for the prizes:
I’ve got a pair of tickets for Saturday’s bout plus a Derby Dolls t-shirt for one lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me who your favorite Fight Crew or Sirens skater or Enforcers ref is. (You’ll find the team rosters at the links above; Enforcers below.) Contest ends Thursday, 30 September, at 9:00am pdt. Keep an eye on your inbox Thursday, as the winner will need to reply to my email asap.
Good luck to all. Don’t want to chance winning? Don’t let the bout sell out without you. Get your tickets online now.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I may be a bit biased toward the sport of women’s banked track roller derby, and the L.A. Derby Dolls specifically. I am a member of the Enforcers (referee team.) In truth, I’d have been happy to tell you how awesome it is, long before I ever became a ref.)
The Bringing Back Broadway initiative has announced plans to celebrate the 100-year anniversaries of the three oldest remaining theatres in the Historic Theatre District of Downtown Los Angeles. 100-year-old buildings. IN LOS ANGELES.
The Broadway Centennial Summer is envisioned as a month-long festival of films, art, theatre and tours to honor the oldest surviving theatre district in Los Angeles, and one of the largest intact historic theatre districts in the entire United States. The two oldest theatres on Broadway, the Arcade Theatre (originally the Pantages) and its next door neighbor, the Cameo Theatre, turn 100 years old this fall, having opened on Sept. 26, 1910 and Oct. 10, 1910, respectively. To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the theatres opening, property owners of the Arcade and Cameo Theatres say they are planning façade improvements to bring back the original historic character of the theatres. The Palace Theatre opened on June 26, 1911.
Activities will include the 25th Annual Los Angeles Conservancy Last Remaining Seats screenings in Broadway theatres, special screenings of early films, tours and discussions, historical retrospectives and other arts and cultural activities.
While it remains to be seen exactly what “façade improvements” are in the works for the theaters, I thought you might like to see what the Cameo Theatre originally looked like, when it opened as Clune’s Broadway Theatre in 1910. Wouldn’t you love to see that sign restored?
A city celebrating it’s history. Don’t look now. But, maybe we’re finally growing a conscience.
What’s the first thing a born and bred (downstate) New Yorker looks for when arriving in any other city? Are you frikkin’ kidding me? A pizza place, of course. This happens even if, like me, you haven’t lived in the Big Apple for over two decades. Therefore, it was a real treat when, early this year, fellow blogging.la-er Julia introduced us to her former college roommate’s dad, who happens to be Little Italy-born and Brooklyn-raised Paul LaRocco, owner of LaRocco’s Pizzeria in Culver City.
As we discovered during our blogging.la “research outing,” the pizza at LaRocco’s is the real deal, and I highly recommend it. However, don’t be a stugats. Take a tip from this born and bred New Yorker, and try Paul’s calzone. How good is it? Fugeddaboudit! Whether or not you’re a calzone expert, you’ll be floored (and quite literally so, if you finish the whole thing).
If you don’t know much about calzone, here’s the layman’s version: it’s a large pocket of dough, filled with mozzarella (sometimes ricotta) and possibly other ingredients of your choice (I like to add tomatoes), and served with red sauce (known as “gravy” back in Paul’s old neighborhood), which you can pour over the top like I do, or use for dipping. Marron! Think of it as a pizza turned inside out. However, there are a few differences between calzone and pizza. First, the thick dough generally does not get charred the way thinner New York style pizza crust does. Second, although the cheese inside is melted and deliciously gooey, it does not bubble or get browned the way the cheese on top of a pizza often does. And third, the sauce comes fresh from the pot (at least it does at LaRocco’s), rather than being baked on top of the dough.
I’m a fan of calzone, and I haven’t had one in the Los Angeles area that comes anywhere near the calzone at LaRocco’s. So when you go, bring a friend or three, or a gaggle of bloggers, and sample not just Paul’s excellent pizza, but also his exquisite calzone. Ask for plenty of sauce, which, I believe, is made from his grandmother’s recipe. And if you spot Paul there, ask him to come sit down and explain all about his dough, his cheese, his sauce, and those intangible elements which elevate his calzone above the rest. Because he’ll do it.
Here are two more tips: (1) call ahead to order your LaRocco’s calzone, since it can take about 20 minutes to bake. Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know? (2) anyone from New York, no matter what their ethnic background, is automatically Italian. And Jewish.
I gave up most* fast food about ten years ago after reading “Fast Food Nation.” I loved my Mickey D’s french fries and quarter pounders, but it only took a very short time to adjust and I don’t miss them at all.
How could I when there is Versailles garlic chicken so nearby! I started calling it my new fast food as ordering and pick up are a snap. They have so much ready to go all day that it takes no more than five minutes from ordering to walking out the door. But unlike a bag of fries sitting in your passenger seat, you can’t start digging in until you get home. And it is torture to smell that garlicky garlicky chicken as you drive.
I started going to Versailles’ Venice Blvd. location in the early 90’s when I started working at Sony. Culver City was a backwater then (hard to believe these days) and so the options for a close lunch spot off the lot were Versailles, Bamboo and the Sagebrush Cantina. The chicken or pork lunch specials at Versailles were cheap (probably about $5.99 back then) and speedy. And I’ll be honest and say I’ve never, in all these years, tried anything other than the chicken and pork lunch specials. Ever. It’s crazy, I know. There is a two page menu and I’ve heard tell of delicious ox tail platters and squid ink rice but I’ve never strayed.
When I was single, the lunch was basically two meals in one. I mean look at all that food! You’d eat your incredibly satisfying meal at lunch, then take the rest home for either lunch the next day or dinner the next night. What a bargain. Today’s lunch special is $8.99 on week days only. I ordered this on Sunday and it was $12.99. However, for the $13 you get a half a chicken, rice, beans, plantains and grilled onions. The lunch special is usually just a quarter chicken, but still plenty of food for two meals.
And there is something in that garlic sauce. My husband swears he just doesn’t like it–too salty, too garlicky. And yet…I’ll come home, salivating at the thought of my leftover chicken for dinner and when I get to the fridge, it’s gone. GONE. I was planning three meals out of the above box of food this week. But I’ll only get two as the hubs asked politely if he could have some after all…it’s that good.
Versailles is in five locations around the southland. Check out all the details here.
*I still eat at In-N-Out occasionally as well as Poquito Mas…
So how does chillwave sound around now, LA? Not bad right? Well I’ve got good news for you. I have an extra pair of tickets to see chillwave darlings, Neon Indian this Friday at the Music Box.
For the uninitiated, know that Rolling Stone named Neon Indian one of the seven best new bands of 2010, and Pitchfork called Psychic Chasm “one of the year’s  most replayable albums.” Neon Indian is the brainchild of Alan Palomo who composes all of the music and is racking up quite a resume for a 21-year-old (see Ghosthustler or VEGA). Neon Indian will be joined by Prefuse 73 and Miniature Tigers on this tour.
Along with most others branded with the label, Palomo himself questions whether there’s even really such a thing as chillwave. Me, I can’t imagine a better way to beat the heatwave than going to this Friday’s show, imaginary genre or not. Wanna go? Tell me how much in the comments below, and one person will be drawn randomly by the end of the day Wednesday. Don’t forget to supply an email address when you comment so I know how to get in touch with you.
Okay I’ll come clean: this post was promised to feature the incomparable Pig Candy at LOU (on Vine just above Melrose).
Unfortunately my schedule just didn’t permit me to get in there and order any in time to fit the time slot, so I’m giving you another awesome dish that I order like a mental patient: The Tuna Tuna Bowl at TOT in Little Tokyo.
“Tuna and Tuna” refers to the generous number of slices of delicious seared ahi which surround a lovely lump of spicy tuna in the center. All this atop more than enough romaine lettuce, with a neat kind of teryaki mayo dressing. Comes with miso soup and a pre-salad salad.
Don’t worry. When I first heard the name, I thought it was gross too.
Slippery Shrimp. Just let the sound of it trickle through your ears. It only sounds like a seafood dish at best. At worst it sounds like slang for a sexually transmitted infection, something the government might have made film strips about, to keep our boys overseas from getting too friendly with the Vichy prostitutes. At your most absolute generous, you might assume slippery shrimp is something to eat, and even then it’s only something for the truly adventurous: Legs and eyestalks and feelers all sliding around each other in a desperate struggle to escape an oily fate.
You’d be wrong, of course; Slippery shrimp is comfort food at its most basic. To wit:
Yes, you’re looking at a plate of deep-fried shrimp in a sweet-and-sour garlic sauce. It’s unbelievable. And when you go to Yang Chow in Chinatown, there’s quite literally a plate of it on every table. That’s what you do when you go to Yang Chow. You order one plate of slippery shrimp, and one plate of something else TBD. And there’s always a minor tussle over that last piece of shrimp.
There’s really no reliable way to describe slippery shrimp; it’s never exactly the same dish twice. It’s sweet but sometimes very spicy, sometimes only mildly. It’s crunchy, but sometimes much more garlicky than others. Sometimes it’s ridiculously hot, and you have to lay individual pieces of it on your plate, not touching each other, so they cool as quickly as possible and you can shove it into your mouth with such vampiric enthusiasm that you risk biting off the tips of your chopsticks.
Yang Chow has a menu full of winners. The string beans with minced pork is unreal. The moo shoo pork is unmatched. Even the broccoli with mushrooms, whose name is also its entire list of ingredients, is wonderful to behold. But going to Yang Chow and not getting the slippery shrimp would be like going to Disneyland and not riding Space Mountain, or visiting a public restroom and not availing yourself of the handicapped stall: An exercise in pointlessness.
A final note to the curious: There are three Yang Chow restaurants; one in Chinatown, one in Pasadena, and one in Canoga Park. I’ve only been to the one in Chinatown, so your slipperiness may vary if you live in the Valley or the northeast. If you’ve been to one of those, let me know how it is.
I was first introduced to Porto’s Bakery & Café through co-workers who occasionally brought pastries from the Glendale storefront to work. They were different and delicious, unlike any other sweets I’d had before. It wasn’t until the second location opened in Burbank in January of 2006 that I actually went into a Porto’s and discovered what a wide and varied menu they offer. In addition to the popular tres leches cake, cheese rolls, and guava strudel, you can indulge in a number of sandwiches and salads.
While I’m quite fond of the steak torta, I usually gravitate toward the café’s “house specialties,” especially the potato balls and rellenitos. The potato ball, or papa rellena, is mashed potato filled with seasoned ground beef that is lightly breaded and fried. The meat reminds me of sloppy joe meat. It’s comfort food you can hold in your hand. They are so good that I didn’t mind eating them when it was over 100 degrees.
The rellenito pairs nicely with the savory potato ball. It is sweet plantain filled with black beans and coated in sugar. The flavors work so well together. While not technically a “meal,” you can make one out of these. They are dense and filling and oh so scrumptious. Also, a potato ball or rellenito will set you back only 90 cents. A true bargain.
The family-run Cuban bakery and café currently has two locations, one at 315 North Brand Blvd. in Glendale and the other at 3614 W. Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank. A third location in Downey is slated to open sometime this year. The establishments are quite popular, especially on weekends, so be prepared to stand in line while waiting to place your order. The staff at the Burbank location are fast and very friendly and the food is worth the wait.
I think even the most adamant, will-not-go-east-of-the-405 Westsider knows, deep in his/her heart, that the Eastside is not really Silver Lake and Echo Park. Because to actually think that is to be far more provincial than the sprawl of Los Angeles permits: this is a very big city that, yes, goes way, way further east than Echo Park Avenue (and Downtown, for that matter). To get to East Los Angeles, you have to cross a bridge. And that bridge is not named Franklin.
The Cesar Chavez Avenue Viaduct is one of the oldest bridges in the city, and if you’re headed to Boyle Heights from the west via Sunset/Cesar Chavez – which is where we’re going on this edition of Menu Mining – you’ll cross this bridge when you get to it. After the bridge, you’ll pass a King Taco. Then you’ll also pass Breed Street, one of the many birthplaces of this city’s street food. Antojitos Carmen grew up as a vendor on Breed Street, making and selling antojitos (street snacks by way of Mexico; if you prefer, think of these as small plates a la tapas). When she saved enough money, Carmen moved out of her home on Breed Street, but, like any good daughter, she didn’t move too far away: no, Antojitos Carmen, formerly warming fresh tortillas on a little hot grill on Breed Street, has a small but more than serviceable storefront a few blocks away on Cesar Chavez. Her parents must be so proud.
There are two menus at Antojitos Carmen: one in English, the other in Spanish. I can’t read Spanish very well, so I’m forced to settle for the English side. In either language, there is a whole lot of awesome/asombroso choices on this menu – sopas, tortas, huaraches, etc. I was very tempted to write about their pambazo – two giant hunks of torta bread soaked in enchilada sauce and stuffed with your choice of meat, sour cream, and cheese – but the deep fried quesadilla has a special place in my heart. It so totally was not what I was expecting when I ordered it, but so exactly was what I wanted that I get it every time I go, even if I’m not even particularly in the mood for something fried.
When you order the quesadilla, you’re asked whether you want it pan fried or deep fried. Deep fried is the correct answer, and it’s not because you want to re-live any particular LA County Fair experience. No, it’s the correct answer because it’s the best one. I usually get it stuffed to the brim with cheese and squash blossoms (if your server seems confused when you say “squash blossoms,” try “flowers” instead – I learned this after a pretty funny I Love Lucy moment a few months ago) (the servers here are one of the nicest, most patient people you’ll ever meet). The quesadilla comes out, bigger than you’d expect for only $2.99, piping hot and lightly deep fried, if there was ever such a thing. It’s almost like an empanada, but it’s not, because it’s a deep fried quesadilla. Lettuce, cheese, and a few slices of tomato top it off.
Because this is a house of antojitos, you can split the quesadilla with a friend and have room for at least one other plate to snack on – a pambazo perhaps?
Antojitos Carmen (they have quite possibly the best About Us page ever – see here)
2510 Cesar E. Chavez Ave.
Mon-Thu 8:30am – 10:00pm
Fri-Sun 8:3am – 12:00am
Certainly this is far from my first post about the legendary Musso and Frank Grill, and it’s no secret that by this time I’ve likely eaten my weight in the Thursday night special: Chicken Pot Pie.
But what if you’re hungry, near Musso’s, and it’s just not Thursday?
Allow me to suggest the (hiding in plain sight) Grilled Cheese Sandwich. It’s right there on the menu, in the Sandwiches section, but if you’re not looking for it you might just miss it.
There are a couple of key elements to replicating the pictured result: the first is you need to have SERGIO as your waiter, and the second is you need to know that if Sergio likes you – and for the love of god be nice to him or I will personally have you killed – that you can ever so sweetly ask him to ADD things to the Grilled Cheese.
Things like bacon. And tomato. Or even (if you’re one Very Special Lady) a fried eggiweg.
Think you can’t afford to eat at Musso’s any more? While steaks and those delightful lamb chops (best in LA) may have slipped beyond your grasp, this little beauty is only about nine bucks. Oh yeah. The cat’s out of the bag now.
Remember that meager price tag when your bill comes – tip generously.
6667 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90028
Open Tue-Thu 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am-2am