First Taste: Exclusives at The Oinkster in Hollywood, Open Today

Pork Adobo Burger with garlic aioli & Onion Rings

The long-awaited Hollywood location of Andre Guerrero’s The Oinkster has finally opened. On the east side of Vine, sitting north of Melrose Avenue, the new 3,000-square foot space seats more than 100 people in its open design concept by Design, Bitches and includes two-tops all the way to communal seating – as well as an open air, dog-friendly patio with heat lamps.

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For Pigs: All You Can Eat Weekend Summer Comfort Food

Roy Choi’s Krispy Fried Chicken

AYCE. Or, All You Can Eat, for those not yet acclimated to the now-oft-used acronym. (You late-comers and non-Korean BBQ-grubbers, you.) But we’re not talking Old Country Buffet on this blog, nor the club tunes-pumping Manna, here. We’re talking gourmet all you can eat, now.

Take Roy Choi, for instance. The All You Can Eat Fried Chicken Picnic starts tomorrow on Saturday, July 14th and will go every weekend from 12-3 PM.

For $18 per person you get:

  • Krispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken – legs and thighs sous vide in spices, herbs & chilies dredged in rice flour and a splash of lemon juice
  • Supermarket Sweet Potato Deli Salad – smashed red garnet sweet potatoes, scallions, pickled shallot rings, whole grain mustard vinaigrette
  • Zucchini & Cabbage Cole Slaw – buttermilk, dijon dressing, fresh herbs

If you prefer the Korean beer of choice to wash down your poultry, add $10 for endless Hite.

See you there.

*****

Crawfish FTW

If you’re more of a shellfish and Zydeco band lover, head to The Foundry on Melrose for Crawfish Boil Sundays.

For your aural pleasure, the Mudbug Brass Band will be on-hand for that authentic vibe. And from 5:30 – 8 PM on Sundays, you’ll get crawfish and jambalaya for only $25 per person

Update/Correction:
Also offered are Hurricanes for $10 each and Jack Juleps (Jack Daniels with mint & sugar cubes) for $8. Each week, a different Po’ Boy will be featured (this week: catfish) for $9.

All this, hosted by Chef Eric Greenspan, is of course one of the best ways to spend a summer Sunday on Melrose.

Win-win-win.

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Saturdays & Sundays

12 – 3 PM

No reservations

A-Frame
12565 Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
310.398.7700

Sundays

5:30 – 8 PM

The Foundry on Melrose
7465 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323.651.0915

Delicious Bites and Top-Notch Cocktails in Elegant Sadie, Hollywood

The Lounge at Sadie

I was at Sadie last night with some good girlfriend-bloggers – about a week past its official opening. It was a belated discovery that the cocktails at Sadie, curated by Giovanni Martinez, are pretty tasty. Having known Giovanni is a cocktail sleuth behind the bar thanks to his extensive travels, I was definitely not disappointed by the range and execution of the drink menu.

The Sadie Float

Although the crust on the flatbreads were overcooked and tough, the main entrees were way better than I might expect from a Hollywood Boulevard spot. (I’m truly enjoying each time I’m surprised by my own neighborhood, by the way.) Dave Schmit’s Scottish Salmon, Jidori Chicken (with delicious spätzel) and Spinach Pasta were all enjoyed by my dinner companions and myself.

But on those cocktails. My favorite of the night was the White Monk, made with white pepper & cardamom-infused Dolin Blanc Vermouth, silver tequila, Castilian bitters and Benedictine rinse. I love tequila, but this is the cocktail to erase all those college Jose Cuervo memories that have soured some drinkers towards tequila forever. It’s beautifully fragrant and extra smooth going down.

Black & White

But there’s nothing like a secret cocktail menu to spice up a stint at the supper club. Off Giovanni’s public list is “The Badger,” a unique drink made with reposado tequila, egg white and Miracle Mile bitters. But my favorite off this secret menu was definitely The Sadie Float. It’s made with Campari-flavored soda, Peychaud ice cream and, of course, Campari.

Looking at it, you’d think it was the typical, sweet cocktail made sweeter by the fact that it also has ice cream. Once you taste it, you discover pure Italian genius. It’s fizzy, slightly bitter and yet creamy. And it’s pure heaven. Hint: Don’t get it if you don’t like Campari.

Sadie Courtyard

While you’re there, you have plenty of perspectives to choose from as far as seating as the entire interior is pleasing. Sit in the front foyer bar area, dubbed the Parlour, for some darker hues and modern angles. The middle Lounge provides more of a speakeasy feel while the stone effaced Courtyard in back is probably one of the most beautiful patios I’ve seen in all of Hollywood. (Heat lamps are plentiful, if not in overabundance, back here.)

But you’d be committing a crime if you were to leave Sadie without having dessert. Their Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice Cream Sandwich is out of this world, as is their Black & White, or flourless chocolate cake complete with white chocolate ice cream on the side. The “clutch” dessert, however, at this spot is the Homemade Donuts and Irish Coffee Cream.

You won’t visit Sadie for the bargain, but like most places in Hollywood, for the atmosphere which thankfully is not a detractor from the food and cocktails, but instead an enhancement. The food has the potential to stand all on its own while the cocktails make Sadie a destination. Forget Les Deux I, II and IX; hopefully Sadie, with its multi-faceted interior and approach, is here to stay.

All food and cocktails were hosted.

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Dinner:

Tue -Wed: 5:30 – 11 PM
Thur – Sat: 5:30 PM – 1 AM

Bar:

Tue – Wed 5:30 – 11 PM
Thur – Sat 5:30 PM – 2 AM

Sadie
1638 N. Las Palmas Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323.467.0200

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Food (Truck) Fight

Courtesy of Artstechnica.com, Marvel, Capcom

Q: What do Marvel & Capcom video games and food trucks all have in common? A: Very little

But there’s no better excuse to celebrate your anticipation for either the new Marvel vs. Capcom 3 video game and/or Chef Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites) and Chef Eric Greenspan’s (The Foundry on Melrose) awesome food than to attend tomorrow’s tailgate launch party at Kim Sing Theatre. It’s from 11 AM – 3 PM so it’s prime time for lunch or linner.

Food and drinks will be served off food trucks for this event and you’ll get to try out the brand new video game on-the-spot. A live DJ will be spinning tunes to help create that unique gaming atmosphere. What’s on the food menu, you ask? Dishes and bites inspired by the video game, itself.

So come out and check out your potentially new gaming addiction while enjoying food from two of the most talented (and yes, famous) chefs in the city. See you there!

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

11 AM – 3 PM

Email: [email protected]

Kim Sing Theatre
722 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Tuscan Fried Chicken at Cube LA

Tuscan Fried Chicken

If “November” and “turkey” have become a little too synonymous for you, you’re lucky to have the option of some good ol’ fried chicken at Cube. It’s available only until Wednesday, November 24 – and if you don’t catch it now, you can expect to see it again in about a year.

Cheese & Salumi

The recipe is of the Tuscan variety and for $23 you get a a half-chicken chock with lemon wedge, Maple Roasted windrose Farm White Acorn Squash and sauteed McGrath Pea Tendrils. This isn’t your usual, butter-filled entree but rather a zesty, juicy bird that packs a punch; red pepper flakes are in the batter. The fluffy breading crumbles beautifully under the weight of your knife (should you feel like sharing) and between your jowls to reveal an extremely tender, semi-boneless masterpiece by Executive Chef Erin Eastland.

While you’re at Cube, don’t forget a custom cheese-salumi plate of your choosing and glass of wine to start. It’s always a delightful experience whenever I’ve dined there; trying the limited edition fried chicken plate was no exception. To finish it off, go seasonal and try their Warm Hachiya Persimmon Pudding or satisfy your chocolate craving with Dark Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake.

All food and wine were hosted.

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Fried chicken available through November 24, 2010

Tue – Sat, 11 AM – 11 PM

Cube
615 N. La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
323.939.1148

Ramen Jinya Is Good For Your Ramen Fix

Tonkatsu Premium Ramen

I’ve had a lot of ramen. Truth be told, those bowls of ramen don’t come from very many places. My inaugural non-Top Ramen bowl was at Shin-sen-gumi in Arcadia, but my favorite is (and the majority of those aforementioned bowls were from) Santouka with their Shio broth being the trump card to my ramen cravings. With those locations being San Gabriel and the Westside – and my new apartment being in Hollywood proper with Torrance and Gardena even further away – I became eager for other options. Ramen Jinya does a great job filling in.

Curry

Another confession: I have a bias against chicken broth ramen. Give me that chashu in all forms – fatty pork slices and fatty pork bone broth. So while Ramen Jinya is like Ramen California (so I have heard, haven’t tried) in offering chicken broth options, I just have a hard time making the leap. So Tonkatsu and Premium (bonito-infused) Tonkatsu ramen it is. With, perhaps, a side of curry. In retrospect, it’s not the most complementary side you can order with ramen, but I can always eat curry. For everyone else, I’d go with the gyoza. They’re bite size, but they’re good and have a proper crisp on the outside and a hot center. (Unfortunately, I was off form on my first visit and don’t have a picture.) As far as price point, you can get a salad, side and ramen combo for $13.50 and a bowl of ramen alone for $8.50.

I’m not sure where my menma (bamboo shoots) were, and the egg was perhaps a little stale, but the broth was solid and less salty on my second visit than my first – a good thing. It could maybe use more body, though I did like the Premium broth better than the regular Tonkotsu. A bonus: You’ll find yourself scooping soup less since the spoons are so big. The noodles, though, are my favorite thing about Ramen Jinya, and house made from what I could tell. They have good bite yet are plump enough to keep you satisfied.

Ramen Jinya is great for this South Bay-averse ramen lover. Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll be adventurous enough to try the chicken. According to a tweet of Mattatouille’s, however, I hear that the newly-opened Robata Jinya on 3rd Street offers their restaurant family’s ramen – and I just so happen to work in Beverly Hills. Even better. Who can argue with accessible, good ramen?

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Sun – Thur 11 AM – 10 PM
Fri – Sat 11 AM – Midnight

Ramen Jinya
11239 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City,CA 91604
818.980.3977

An Elegantly Delicious Lunch at Hatfield’s

Lobster Club Sandwich ($18)

It isn’t every night that I can venture out and spend hard-earned dough at the latest and greatest Los Angeles dining spots, lest my wallet cause my “To Eat” queue to become back-logged. Let’s admit it – all of us are a little commitment-phobic. The way of the game, as is also in my Manhattan playbook, is to take advantage of a good lunch menu when I see one. Hatfield’s would certainly fall under this column. And what’s more, I’m even more enticed to do dinner on the revisit.

Buttermilk & Tarragon Steamed Chicken Breast ($22)

On first entry, naturally-lit open spaces are further softened by the pastel and natural wooden hues of the walls and furniture. It’s an inviting and pleasant space well-acclimated to the middle of the day and I could deduce it undergoes an easy transformation to provide a romantic feel come sundown.

Most importantly, however, the food is top-notch. The Lobster Club, which comes framed between two slices of perfectly buttery brioche, is titillating and flat-out unbelievably indulgent. On the side were beautifully battered and fried curry onion rings, probably the best onion rings I’ve ever had – topping all the others in both texture and flavor. The Buttermilk & Tarragon Steamed Chicken Breast was also extremely tasty, with its steamed preparation keeping the white meat tender and even juicy while it and the potato smash are ironically yet appropriately sauced with gravy.

Crispy Confit Chicken Leg

If you prefer a course-built lunch, there are two prix fixe menu options, with the Studio Prix Fixe choice providing a more-than affordable $19. It starts off with a self-declared “Piping Hot” Butternut Squash Soup. They weren’t kidding – and it was a thankful reminder that this is exactly how delicious soup should be served. I craved more, while knowing that my Crispy Confit Chicken Leg was coming to alleviate my dark meat fix – and it didn’t disappoint. It’s imperative to note here that already I had tasted two chicken dishes at the same restaurant that didn’t disappoint but what’s even more, actually impressed. Since then, the main course has changed to Pork Loin and I’d just as easily lunch at Hatfield’s again to try that.

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Chicken Showdown: Ludo Lefebvre vs. Eric Greenspan at The Foundry

Ludo Chicken (paired w/spicy-sweet sauce), Greenspan Chicken (paired w/honey), Goat Cheese & Tarragon Waffle

It was a special night at The Foundry on Melrose, and the occasion would be my long-delayed first visit to the restaurant. After all, this is where a lot of the LA comfort food scene originated – Chef Eric Greenspan (2008 Grilled Cheese Invitational winner and once-Iron Chef contestant) plans to open a grilled cheese-only restaurant. Of course.

Whiskey Trollope

Apparently, Ludo Lefebvre and wife Krissy were in the neighborhood only last Friday and decided to drop by The Foundry to say Hi to their friend. Chef Eric wasn’t there – to which Ludo said (tweeted), “I should take over the kitchen!” One thing led to another and lo and behold, Ludo didn’t exactly “take over” the kitchen so much as he agreed to drop in on The Foundry’s regularly-scheduled Bluesy Tuesday and showcase his chicken next to Chef Greenspan’s. Akasha Richmond was gracious enough to supply fryers for the special event – because we are all family here.

The news was announced (albeit with an incorrect date on the flyer) and a flurry reservations were made for the special Tuesday night. For $6 per plate, diners could enjoy a piece of Ludo’s rosemary chicken and a piece of Greenspan’s bone-in buttermilk chicken. Maya of ShopEatSleep and I were happy to fill a 6 PM 2-top reservation – the very beginning of the night – because we could only imagine how crazy and possibly backed-up the rest of the night would be. Case in point: LA Street Food Fest and the cluster around the Ludo truck.

Grilled Cheese With Talaggio Cheese, Raisin Bread, Apricot-caper Puree and Short Rib

Maya and I started out with an absolutely delicious Whiskey Trollope each – with ginger and pineapple – at a very reasonable $8. On top of that, the pineapple was a subtle finish and the drink overall wasn’t too sweet. Solid. The chorizo veloute with cornichon gelato on Jonathan Gold’s 99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die brought me back to the bliss of Ludobites 2.0 (can’t let the leftovers from The Gold Standard – an event I missed – go to waste, now can we?).

Since we were on Greenspan’s turf, we couldn’t pass up the grilled cheese ($9) as a lead-in to the chicken. So we did exactly that – with telaggio cheese comprising the center of a raisin-breaded sammich, encased between layers of apricot-caper puree and short rib (extra $3). While the grilled sandwiches were delicious, we were so relieved we weren’t full – yet. A fried green tomato would accompany our fried bird and alleviate our consciences a tad in the area of poor nutritional indulgences while keeping with the Southern theme. Vegetable or fruit? I say it’s still up for debate – but the dish itself is a good punch in the mouth, complete with fresh tomato and arugula.

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