I don’t need much of a reason to drop in at Short Order at The Original Farmer’s Market. The cocktails are always tasty and boozy, Christian Page’s food is simply delicious whether you love burgers or not and Short Cake’s desserts and the Single Origin coffee are just icing on the cake. What’s more, the open air atmosphere is always a welcome vibe for a casual day or night out. The best part is that it doesn’t close between lunch and dinner, so if you’re game for a bite or drink during odd hours of the day, you can count on Short Order to be there.
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.
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
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.
I’m a big fan of neighborhood bars – and a bar with a good vibe and beer selection is indeed a rare scene to find. Lo and behold, the people behind Bar Covell have occupied the adjacent space to Rambutan Thai and set up shop, offering 5 taps and over 50 bottles of brews.
Set at the scene of Silver Lake and Sunset boulevards, it’s a hop and a skip from Silverlake Lounge and Spaceland The Satellite – only two of the hottest places to see live music, making it a convenient place to come for a pre- or post-show beer…or five.
The list offers great Californias brews like Alesmith Speedway Stout, Anderson Valley Oatmeal Stout and Russian River Valley Damnation – but if you choose to go European, they have plenty of that, too, with pours costing between $5-9 each. At the time of my visit, Lagunitas IPA, Urthel Hop-It, Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, TAPS Barleywine and Allagash Black were all on tap. (Yum – especially the Urthel. A surprisingly well-balanced, hoppy blonde.)
They’ve also got a shuffleboard-air hockey-bowling type machine (don’t ask me, I never played it) if you feel like a game-of-something with your mates. Or just enjoy the perfectly-lit space and gaze at the upside-down canoe hanging from the ceiling. The ambiance is made in large part by the vintage neon signs hanging along the walls – a contribution by Joe Keeper, keeping the goods in the Silver Lake family.
Since opening a couple weeks ago, Beer Bar has also invoked their small menu of fried chicken and sides, prepared in the fryers of Rambutan, and only costing you $9 for a serving with two sides and $4 for fries. I’m jonesin’ to try the fried okra. Arrived after 10 PM on a weekday or 11 PM on a weekend (that is, after the kitchen’s closed)? Look no further than Hipster Pho, which neighbors Beer Bar and is actually an unmarked (thus the hipster) Thai place called Pho Cafe. Beer Bar generously lends its space to carry-in food, and even had the wares for me to eat my bowl of beef broth and rice noodles right at the bar. Ask the beer dude behind the counter to pairÂ your foodÂ (pho or chicken – either way)Â with a beer of his choosing, and you’re set.
Beer Bar at Rambutan Thai
2835 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Pop-ups are an oft-occurring phenomenon these days, but just because the concept is novel doesn’t mean the execution always is. My experience with pop-ups range from dinners with emphasis left on the setting and ambiance, to the exclusivity the secrecy of the event brings. Truth be told, I’ve rarely tasted food that matched up to my steadily decreasing expectations.
Yes, it’s a hard deck to deal. Diners can and should expect hiccups to occur in kitchens unfamiliar to the chef – par for the pop-up course, that is. And that’s when things like pacing or even the overall length of the meal can go awry – like that one dinner party I was at from 7 PM to 12:30 AM. When you sign up for a pop-up dinner, don’t schedule anything afterwards unless your dining hours are extra early.
And that was the rule I broke at the debut of Magnum, Chef Joseph Mahon and Sommelier David Haskell’s pop-up session at Neil Kwon’s Biergarten in the unlikely Koreatown. Well, I was fulfilling an airport pick-up favor (beggars can’t be choosers), and even after my 7 courses of deliciousnessÂ my guest’sÂ wait was more thanÂ bearable. Impressive.
The carrot pudding with orange granita and shaved peanuts was a beautiful amuse. It even packed a little punch – thanks to an unbeknownst-to-me ingredient – and effectively made me eager for more. I found myself devouring the following coconut soup, with mussels, tapioca, cilantro pistou and lime – and even some of Aaron’s (thanks to his Kosher-like diet). But I couldn’tÂ appreciate the soup as much as I did without Haskell having paired it with a surprisingly acidic-for-a-junmai-daiginjo (made with 50% polished rice) -Â Wakatake “Onikoroshi”. It cut the spice in the soup so well yet was smooth enough to make it all go down like silk. Delicious.
Another one of my favorites had to be the cured salmon, with the fat of the fish cut by the spicy kimchee broth in which it stood. The really refreshing notes were brought by the sprouts and cucumber, and the softness of the daikon matching the tender salmon really well. Haskell paired this dish ingeniously with Alesmith’s Nautical Brown Nut Ale. Yes! Beer! The dark ale really grounded this course out by offsetting the spice, fish and veggies.
There’s no question that David Haskell really knows how to pair his food. But as far as expertly-prepared food in and of itself on Joseph Mahon’s part, the table’s (and my) favorite dish was hands-down the duck confit. It had a richness and texture that was just perfect to the taste and touch of the fork. But that doesn’t mean that the pairing was any less inspired. The 2008 Pithon-Paille from Bourgueil, France, made with Cabernet Franc grapes, was amazing in that it tasted rather flat by itself – but when sipped with the duck confit, it was the perfect wine to cut the richness of the duck. And that whole picture makes for a beautiful pairing.
When I joined Aaron (SavoryHunter) and the Starry Kitchen duo (Nguyen and Thi) for a reservation this special night, I had an inkling that the Who’s WhoÂ in LA foodÂ would be there – but not nearly to the capacity and fervorÂ that came about. Nguyen fulfilled Haskell’s request and wore his banana suit during dinner, and endless tables of bloggers were seated throughout the dining room, near and far. It was a successful and festive pop-up night, with many leaving while wondering where Mahon and Haskell will go next. So stay tuned…!!
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.
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; tryingÂ the limited edition fried chicken plate was no exception. To finish it off, go seasonal andÂ try their Warm Hachiya Persimmon Pudding or satisfy your chocolate craving with Dark Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake.
All food and wine were hosted.
Urbanite Angelenos, rejoice. Especially if you have that little patch of soil in that planter outside your door or are even fortunate enough to live in a building or a house with a dedicated garden. It’s time to get out that green thumb (or grow one) and attend one or both of Cube LA‘s garden classes downtown.
The next installment is on Saturday, August 14th, 2010. Get ready for your fall vegetable garden – and remember to invite me to your October dinner party so I can test the fruits (vegetables) of your labor. And if you fix me a cocktail with a garnish from your herb garden, that counts, too.
Further incentive to attend will be provided byÂ Chef Ludo Lefebvre andÂ The Ludo Bites Fried Chicken Truck and Coolhaus with their delicious ice cream sandwiches. You didn’t think they’d let you go hungry, did you?
The Fall Vegetable Garden
10:30 AMÂ – 12 PM
$35 per person
This class will introduce strategies for year-round food production for Southern California gardeners. Cool season gardens can provide a bounty of fresh produce. August is a great time for planning fall gardens and to start planting seeds for broccoli, cauliflower, root vegetables and a variety of delicious leafy greens.
This class will cover the basics of planting seeds and seedlings, choosing appropriate varieties to plant, understanding day length and temperature and how they affect the growth of your fall garden.
Using Garden Herbs
1:30 – 3 PM
$40 per person
This class will offer fresh ideas for ways to use herbs from your garden. We will make use of common garden herbs such as rosemary, sage, lemon verbena, mint, etc. and use them to make flavored salts, herbal vinegar, butter, tea and several bath and beauty products. Participants will get to sample a variety of herbal products and get to take home an item that they make in class. Recipes will be provided.
Oh, balls. I say such with adulation, not lamentation – since I was lucky enough to squeeze into Sam and Zach‘s reservation for a special Monday night. Ludo Lefebvre’s latest one-off collaboration took place at Akasha Restaurant in Culver City earlier this week – and the foodies were out in full force. This time,Â itÂ wasn’t so much a showdown as it was an opportunity for LudoBites fanatics to get a taste of his famed chicken -Â juicy, fried goodnessÂ to which reservations were fully booked 12 hours (or less)Â after the reservation line went live.
Akasha has not one but two deep fryers -Â andÂ Ludo’s chicken certainly benefitted from the tools. We wereÂ each provisioned three rosemary chicken balls, this time furnished with a lemon aioli (as opposed to the sweet chili sauce provided at The Foundry). Rounding out each order were two side dishes – coleslaw, collard greens, sweet potato friesÂ or smashed potatoes. There wasÂ a more lucrative $18 price point to match the chicken’s popularity (at The Foundry, theÂ two pieces of chicken were just $6 – without sides). The sidesÂ at Akasha were delicious, but of course we couldn’t forget Akasha’s own specialty, their perfectly-breaded-and-fried onion rings. Not too greasy or bready, the rings – with their side of ketchup and garlic aioli – actually had me wishing more came per side order.
Focus now! The chicken! As per usual, the chicken was perfect – a tad darker in mere color than I remember – but I was glad that there was an extra helping of breadding on my plate. It was seasoned with rosemary which was contrasted well by the citrus tang of lemon aioli; the juicy texture enabled each round nugget to fall at my fork. Before I was finished, I heard on my left, “If you leave that on your plate, you’ll never hear the end of it.” Yes, it was recent NYC ex-pat Zach of Midtown Lunch, the fan of all things greasy and succulent. He spoke too soon, as I savored each bite – including the extra skin – and washed it down with Syrah. Each intonation from the jazz trio that played nearby was lost on me as I concentrated on my palate. Thankfully, the movement the music provided to the already-cool, bustling and somewhat industrial-yet-well-lit (great for usÂ food photographers)Â atmosphere of Akasha was not.
We finished off with dessert. It was perfectly tangy and sweet – I would come back to Akasha for this pie alone. The crust was perfectly buttery – and Ludo and I joked that we could replace the crumbs on top of the pie with chicken breadding! And as always, the Ludo event had food bloggers and others in the scene crawling out of the woodwork – with out-of-town visitors andÂ @thejgold himselfÂ to boot. Foursquare check-ins (“with 19 other people”) were at an all-time high. Krissy and Ludo made their warm, welcoming rounds. It’s always a party – and I’m lucky to be a wallflower. Did I mention Ludo ran the LA Marathon the day before?! How is that for star power?
If you don’t have your LudoBites 4.0 reservation, be sure to stay tuned for the wait list queue – which begins March 28.
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.
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.
Maya and I started out with an absolutely deliciousÂ Whiskey Trollope eachÂ – 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 wereÂ 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 tadÂ 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.
Tired of chasing the food truck of the moment all over town? Wish you could sample things from multiple trucks for a smorgasbord? Does your favorite food truck never come by your work, no more?
Never fear, because a couple of native Angelenos (yes, they exist) have brought the entire Los Angeles food truck movement together in one place, at one time and on one date. All you have to do is make this Saturday your point day to try all things truck at The L.A. Street Food Fest in Downtown Los Angeles. Putting some holiday touches on the festival will be UniqueLA, who will make the gathering of food trucks also a last-minute V-day gift destination at their pop-up Valentine’s Day Marketplace. The event will cost you $5 to get in (sorry, VIP tickets all sold out), and featured food vendors have specially priced their menus to range from $1 – $5 for each item. Admission includes one free drink ticket as well as eligibility to win cool giveaways.
Thirsty for more? Beer and cocktails will be available at two cash bars – with proceeds from donated beverages being donated to the LA Regional Food Bank. Take a picture in the photo booth and watch a Capoeira demo.
And while you’re there, don’t miss the food truck you won’t see on the street (for now); Chef Ludo Lefebvre will be serving his fried chicken made famous during his LudoBites runs. I hear the “pop-up truck” has quite the design, and we already know that his chicken is quite the food. Also premiering are the Dim Sum Truck (@dimsumtruck) and The Fry Girl Inc (@thefrygirlinc) for VIPs.
Got a bike? LA Street Food Fest will be hosting a free bicycle valet for all attendees. They also encourage riding the Metro – the 7th & Figueroa stop will be where you want to get off. I’ll see you there!
Edit: Further reading (follow-up)
Saturday, February 13, 2010
11 AM – 5 PM
Age 10 and under free with paying adult
No dogs allowed
Free bike valet: enter on Bixel
Metro stop: 7th & Figueroa
LA Center Studios
500 South Beaudry Street
(Beaudry & 6th)
Los Angeles, CA 90017