Tag Archives: “menu mining”

Menu Mining: Sage Organic Vegan Bistro

This isn’t my first time to Sage, I must admit I do enjoy it. Great food keeps me coming back. And I do feel compelled to remind you I’m an omnivore that just enjoys great food prepared well, not a vegan with an attitude. (I really could give 2 squirts if its vegan or organic). Those rumblings aside, on to the food.

Sage Organic Vegan is a Bistro in Echo Park on Sunset at Logan. There is ample parking on pay lots off Logan and a short walk to the restaurant.

The ambiance is trendy bistro in a rehabbed 1920’s store front. Ample windows so its bright and cheery inspite of its mostly black and white and shades of gray interior. The staff is what makes this place, greeted warmly when you arrive and the service is attentive and wonderful the whole time. Continue reading Menu Mining: Sage Organic Vegan Bistro

Menu Mining : best damn Almond Croissant in DTLA

Almond Croissant at Les Noces du Figaro

This past weekend I had reason to stop in at Les Noces de Figaro in DTLA. The place is a wonderfully restored bit of Los Angeles history. In its first life it served as a cafeteria, the marble and terrazo floors have been restored with care. Its really quite the sight to behold, the current iteration is a very nice 1930’s style French Bistro.

We were actually going in for a meeting up on the mezzanine level meeting and I wanted a little something to tide me over.  On the recommendation of @Ruth666, former blogger here I grabbed the Almond Croissant.  IT was terrific.  The usual butter layers of paper thin melt in your mouth bread with a big honkin’ wad of marizpan in the middle.  As if that weren’t enough, to drive home the point this was all about the nut…it was encrusted in slivered almonds.  Washed it all down with a cup of “Americano”. My gawd was that good.

Based on that one simple perfectly executed croissant I’ll be back to try a dinner there sometime soon.

Continue reading Menu Mining : best damn Almond Croissant in DTLA

Menu Mining: Doomies Home Cookin’

Doomie's menu, click to embiggen

Let me preface this with I’m not vegan, vegetarian or carnivore. I’m an omnivore and appreciate good food when I find it. I do “meatless monday” for health reasons and have found a lot of really good all veggie places. This one is near the top.

The atmosphere at Doomie’s is a bit divey, you can see the kitchen from the tables and its cluttered, but not dirty. The bathrooms I can’t be as nice about…I wanted to disinfect my shoes after going in there. But this isn’t about the potty but about the food.

I went with an old pal last night who is a practicing vegan and she RAVES about how good the food is…all vegan, except a little bit of real cheese available to those vegetarians who do that stuff. Continue reading Menu Mining: Doomies Home Cookin’

Menu Mining: Gobi Manchurian at Woodland Indian Restaurant, Chatsworth

One of the things I love most about LA is the wide variety of food options available. When picking out an Indian restaurant for lunch in the West Valley, there are a range of choices: Indian buffet, lunch counter in the Sweets and Spices market, or vegetarian South Indian, to name a few. The top choice for the latter of those choices, for me, is always Woodlands Indian restaurant.

Gobi Manchurian at Woodlands Indian restaurant

More than anything else on their menu, the Gobi Manchurian is what keeps me coming back time and time again. Continue reading Menu Mining: Gobi Manchurian at Woodland Indian Restaurant, Chatsworth

Menu Mining: “Chicken” and Pancakes at Green Leaves

Before the first time I ever visited Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, I had a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of eating fried chicken alongside breakfast food. Well, aside from buttermilk biscuits, I suppose, which are a fine addition to any meal, any time of day.

That being said, I tried Roscoe’s, and I was immediately won over by it. So when I joined some friends for a meal at Green Leaves (an establishment that has previously been challenged about being truthful regarding its menu) and discovered that they had “Chicken” and Pancakes on the menu, I had to give it a shot.

The verdict on this menu choice is in: I have ordered nothing else during all of my subsequent visits to Green Leaves, and so it seemed worthy of a Menu Mining post here at Blogging.LA. It purports to be vegan, and even gluten-free, but I make no claims about its value in either of those respects. The “chicken” has a nice crispy breading and tastes simply wonderful, especially when dipped twice the way I was first taught at Roscoe’s: once in the spicy and once in the sweet. Sure this isn’t Louisiana Red Rooster hot sauce, but it does the trick.

If you happen to be in Los Feliz or West Hollywood and looking for something different, don’t hesitate to check out the “chicken” and pancakes. The pancakes are also available in tropical version, if you’re into the fruity stuff.

Menu Mining: Breakfast Burrito at Jack’s Classic Hamburgers stand

Jack's Classic Hamburgers standBreakfast burritos are a wonderful thing, bringing together two very great things – breakfast and burritos – into one conglomerate of awesomeness. But the unfortunate reality is that they cannot always be trusted. (I’m looking at you, Fred 62.)

Now, Jack’s Classic Hamburgers, just near the place where the 170, 134, and 101 freeways converge, may or may not do many other things well. Frankly, I wouldn’t know. I got turned on to the breakfast burritos here a few years back, and I’ve never seen reason to bother with ordering anything else. I’m not even sure if the breakfast burrito is on the menu (I think it’s not) because I haven’t bothered looking that closely at the menu. Continue reading Menu Mining: Breakfast Burrito at Jack’s Classic Hamburgers stand

Menu Mining: Ghetto Malasadas at Chego

Americans have the doughnut (as we here at Blogging LA know all too well); Hawaiians have malasadas, little fried gems bigger than a doughnut hole but smaller than a doughnut, brought to the island from Portuguese immigrants in the late 19th century.  You can get them in Hawaii proper, as Joz did a few months ago, or you can go up to Natas Pastries in Sherman Oaks.  But for those times you’re not in Hawaii or the SFV, you also can try ‘em out a little closer to home at Chego.  Yeup, the same place where you can get inauthentically authentic Korean rice bowls is the same place you can get utterly inauthentic Portuguese malasadas.  What, surprised?

Now, there are a lot of great things at Chego, many of which deserve their own Menu Mining mention.  In fact, if His Majesty Jonathan Gold were to write a guest Menu Mining post, he might very well pick the Buttered Kimchi Chow.  Me, though, I’m just going to take you straight to the malasadas.  These are on the specials board and may not be on the menu forever, so best if someone points you directly to it while they’re here.

Two dollars plus tax gets you two malasadas plus sugar.  Fried to order, you get them piping hot and crunchy, not warm and crispy. Unlike the malasadas you’ll find in Hawaii, these have no fillings, so you’ll have to be content with just the dough.   On some days, the inside is almost custardy.  It reminds me of a beignet I had in Biloxi, Mississippi, sans powdered sugar.  It also reminds me a little bit of a freshly made churro at Salina’s Churro Truck.  Really, the take home message is: you cannot go wrong with fried dough rolled in sugar.

As I said, the Ghetto Malasadas currently are on this week’s specials menu, so they may or may not be there if you next week.  Womp womp.  Bonus mining tip for the womp’ed:  When/if the malasadas officially retire, try my favorite dessert at Chego, the Rock Yer Road.  You can’t go wrong with fried dough; neither can you with a little chocolate ice cream and marshmallow fluff.

Menu Mining: Chilaquiles at Hugo’s

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.

Menu Mining: Calzone at LaRocco’s Pizzeria

Owner Paul LaRocco. What, you wanted a picture of the food? Fugeddaboudit, I ate it too fast.

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.

Menu Mining: Tuna Tuna Bowl at TOT Little Tokyo

Tuna Tuna!

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.

Here’s their whole lunch menu.

All this for $10.75!

TOT stands for TEISHOKUYA OF TOKYO. They’re open seven days a week, 11:30am to 11pm.

345 E 2nd St
Los Angeles, California 90012
(213) 680-0344

Menu Mining: Potato Balls and Rellenitos at Porto’s

Potato Balls & Rellenitos

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.

Black Beans & Ground Beef Inside

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.

Menu Mining: Musso and Frank’s Semi-Secret Grilled Cheese Sandwich

The Holy Trinity: Grilled Cheese, Stewed ToMAAAHtoes, Old Fashioned Cocktail

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

(323) 467-7788
Open Tue-Thu 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am-2am

Menu Mining: Salt Peanut Chocolate Cake at the Nickel Diner

best. cake. ever.

First let it be known I am really more of a pie person than a cake person. I’ll take a slice of cherry pie or a fruit tart before a piece of cake almost any time, but whenever I find myself downtown and it’s before 11pm (Tu-Sa), I try to stop by the Nickel for the salt peanut chocolate cake. The Nickel, you may know, is notorious for its maple glazed bacon doughnut, and I mean no disrespect to that doughnut or to the awesome red velvet cake or homemade pop tarts or any of the other amazing eat-dessert-first offerings at the Nickel, but my heart belongs to the salt peanut chocolate cake. The love child of Betty Crocker and Elvis, this is the king of LA desserts. First you’ve got the cake itself, a good dense chocolate cake, and then you’ve got the peanut brittle peanuts crushed on top, but what really makes it is the peanut butter/cream filling with crushed up potato chips between the layers. Seriously, if I lived downtown someone would need to perform an intervention. I would become immense, and it would be the Nickel Diner’s fault.

Menu Mining: Little Dom’s Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Sweet Fancy Moses these are exceptional.

I like a nice plain regular pancake as much as the next guy, but this take on the ‘cake is just a tremendous treat.

Soaring high above the regular pancake-o-sphere, Little Dom manages to use the power of Portion Control (and quality ingredients) to make these nearly guilt-free.

Who could fault you for eating three tiny pancakes, loaded with antioxidant-happy blueberries? And just the tiniest ramekin of syrup – why it’s barely a thimbleful! (But it’s plenty, because the ‘cakes themselves are so delicious they hardly require any.) And don’t even look at the butter; why it melts right away!

Don’t wanna know calorie or fat content. Don’t care. But I honestly don’t consider this an unhealthy meal. In fact their whole breakfast menu is pretty mindblowing.

Honorable Mention also goes to the grilled house-made Italian Sausage. Better than the bacon here.

Oh and they’re Just Eight Bucks.


Little Dom’s

2128 Hillhurst Ave.

Los Angeles, CA 90027

323.661.0055 phone

323.661.0066 fax


Breakfast, Lunch all day, 8am – 3pm

Sunday-Thursday 6pm – 11pm

Friday and Saturday 6pm – 12am