Links: e*starLA Elsewhere in 2015

Catch & Release, Marina del Rey

Apologies for not updating the blog, but here’s a post to push its revival into the New Year. Here I come, 2016! This week, I’ll be posting a round-up of sorts on 2015 and noteworthy dishes at noteworthy restaurants.

In any case, feel free to catch up with a few of my freelance articles, and my comments forthwith, that I wrote for other online publications the latter half of 2015 here. Also, a plug to follow me on other social media channels, which I’ve been updating pretty regularly: Instagram, Twitter, and eventually Snapchat (@estar_la)!

Happy reading. I’ll catch you guys with another 2015 update tomorrow.

Bánh Mì My-Tho
304 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801

Phorage
3300 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Catch & Release
13488 Maxella Ave
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

Langer’s Delicatessen
704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Wexler’s Deli, GCM
317 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Old Country Cafe
2 E Valley Blvd #1e
Alhambra, CA 91801

Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village
250 W Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776

Zankou Chicken
5065 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Favorite Dish: Tiato’s Breakfast Banh Mi at Sunday Brunch

Breakfast Banh Mi

If you’re looking for something to enjoy during Sunday brunch time, look no further than the Catherine An’s daytime cafe, which is now serving up a breakfast riff on the traditional Vietnamese sandwich. It’ll probably have you wondering why you haven’t had one, sooner.

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O Banh Mi: Nondescript, No-Nonsense Silver Lake Banh Mi

Storefront

It was a Saturday afternoon after a morning of Pilates followed by procrastination, and I was in need of a snack. I craved the sort of snack that could double as a quick, reasonably priced lunch. As with most things, however, you risk quality in favor of expediency and price.

And then I read Twitter.

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Weekday Afternoon Food Coma: Red Medicine’s Bánh Mì

Pork Belly Bánh Mì ($12)

As someone who has held a tenure at the same company and building for over 5 years, I’ve seen lunch places come and go from my little perch on Wilshire Blvd. I like to joke that we are in the real “Slums of Beverly Hills” since we, in the stretch closest to the L.A. line, hold a 323 area code instead of the usual 310 everyone west of us is assigned. The most varied of lunch options is a short drive to Miracle Mile because of the food trucks. And yes, I do, thanks to my frustration with the lack of options as well as my resistence to Trimana – the chain deli across the street which unabashedly microwaves their eggs in plain sight of their customers.

Singapore Sling ($10)

I’ve been in that space at the intersection of Gale plenty of times before, with Red Medicine being the 3rd changeover entity I’ve witnessed. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s dark, dingy bar called The Continental was the scene of learning exactly which co-workers I never wanted to go drinking with, ever again. Hokusai, a Japanese spot, offered $7 cash-only, combination bento boxes – the best lunch deal in the vicinity.

Now, Red Medicine is my next-block, one-stop-shop for the best bánh mì Beverly Hills (and the vicinity) ever did see. Their bar beckons me; liquid lunches are as enticing and accessible as ever, thanks to Matt and his house-made juices and sodas. I enjoy his Pimm’s Cup (only in L.A. during January is this acceptable, y’see) and his Singapore Sling. The others, I can’t wait to try. Yes, this is Beverly Hills but the cocktails at Red Medicine are also only $10. Fernet lovers (or nay-sayers, depending on whom you ask): They carry Malört, probably one of the only places this west of Chicago to do so.

The bar at Red Medicine

But back to solid lunch. The main selections are the Bún Chả ($12-$15) and Bánh Mì, both of which I have had – with pork belly – and have been extremely happy with. Let’s not fool ourselves: We’re not in Westminster nor Vietnam, and there’s nowhere in Beverly Hills you’ll get away with eating for less than $10. But if you want those flavors with an avant garde flourish, Red Medicine is your best bet. After all, the sandwich is a full foot long. The quality of the Bánh Mì is also held up in no small part by the Bouchon bread, which I’ve noticed has been tinkered with and increasingly toasted (over 3 sandwiches during 3 different occasions). The cilantro is super fresh as is the deliciously pickled, crunchy carrot. Sliced jalapenos give the sandwich a good kick while the modest helping of mayo adds just a hint of sweetness. If you need some more spice, look no further than the house-made sriracha sauce, plated on the side – a delicious and fresh rendition of the famous Rooster Sauce.

Feel like noodles, or looking for a lighter lunch? The Bún Chả delivers a fresh helping of noodles as well as the same, delicious and also noodle-like carrots. There are more pickled vegetables than in the Bánh Mì to match the light, sweet, vinegar-based and refreshing dressing. It’s a fancy patch of noodles that you can order with wagyu, pork or chicken but there’s no short-changing the flavor.

Controversies aside, I’m glad Red Medicine moved in. Things looked auspicious when I dined their Test Kitchen run at the debut of TK, itself, and I’m happy to see that once all the kinks (kitchen and PR, alike) are ironed out, it looks like Red Medicine may be the restaurant to break the curse of Gale and Wilshire. Bring on lunch!

Lunch: 11 AM – 2 PM

Dinner and Lounge: 6 PM – 2 AM

Red Medicine
8400 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
323.651.5500

Bánh mì On A Truck, Eats On A Dime

The pork is in there

nomnom_menu3Like Pat over at Eating LA, I also tried the Nom Nom Truck. I’m fortunate enough to work not too far from where food trucks get cited park at Miracle Mile at Mid-Wilshire. Fortunately, I found The Noms practicing their business in peace and relatively un-harrassed for the day. I was pleased, too, to find the menu of Vietnamese-inspired sandwiches actually “food truck-like,” price-wise. Cheap eats on the go. Hype, Twitter-infused or not, does not account for atmosphere.

I ate my banh mi at my desk.

I love Lee’s Sandwiches (known to be dirt cheap) as much as pie but let’s be serious – a 6″ Lee’s would cost more than a Wahoo’s fish taco if sold on The Westside and, well - I have yet to hear about a Wahoo’s opening up in Little Saigon. So yes, Nom Nom bánh mì is not at competitive Westminster prices but it is still dirt cheap in comparison to what else is out there on Miracle Mile.

And for the most part, delicious. Unfortunately, they were out of the shrimp spring rolls at the time of my visit – so I’m eager to try those at a later time. But I went for the full deal and got a 12″ bánh mì combo. My extra was a lemongrass chicken taco – very respectable – and after consulting with one of the ladies inside the truck, chose the grilled pork bánh mì. It was good and hit the spot in what would otherwise be just another ordinary “tuna sandwich day” at work. My only complaint would be that the pork cut could have been a bit choicier and moist, but for a 12″ sandwich, side and soda for $7 – there really is little cause to complain. It had the essential ingredients liked daikon, pickled carrots, onions, cilantro and of course pork. If I had known (like EatingLA) you could ask for sliced jalapenos, that would’ve “upped” the sandwich a bit for me – so if you have that spicy-tooth, don’t forget. 😉

I’d recommend checking out the Nom Nom Truck at least once if it’s in your area. They’re not your run-of-the-mill sandwiches.

 

 Nom Nom Truck
@nomnomtruck
(Check the website and Twitter to see when they’ll be in your area)