There’s some fantastic ice cream now on Hillhurst Avenue in Los Feliz and it comes by way of Ohio. It’s Jeni’s Ice Creams first West Coast outpost, and Los Angeles is all the better for it. What I love about Jeni’s is that the flavor combinations are quirky and the ingredients are top-notch, and while they glean ingredient inspiration at every new location they open, there’s still that special Midwest touch to everything they do.
It was a thankfully mild Sunday in Chinatown, and Grand Central Plaza was filled with red tents under which chefs, cooks, brewers, bartenders and vendors doled out Sriracha-themed exclusives to enthusiasts of the celebrated, local Rooster sauce. Whether the food and drink were evocative of or complementary to the red jalapeno chili sauce, there was no shortage of flavor to be found on that block between Broadway and Hill.
It probably goes without saying that, when ordering ice cream, you’ve never had to worry about showing your ID.
That’s about to change, thanks to The Drunken Udder, an artisanal, mom-and-pop shop ice cream company which sells its deliciously boozy product via wholesale and other storefronts. (It doesn’t quite have the liquor license to sell retail on its own.)
Yesterday, I sampled a few flavors including Salted Butter Caramel infused with Bourbon (boozy, salty-sweet deliciousness), Pumpkin Spiced Praline infused with Maple Liqueur (boozy, crunchy fall on a cone), Raspberry-Orange Sorbet infused with Orange Vodka (fresh, tangy booziness) and Bailey’s Jameson Caramel (especially boozy sweet caramel flavor).
Only pork could be worthy motivation to spend a mere 8 hours south of the border. Last night’s trip was my first time crossing that border – and it was well worth it. Bill of Street Gourmet LA guided Jo of My Last Bite, Fiona of Gourmet Pigs (ha ha) and me around that Northern Mexican city and I can vouch that he is an invaluable guide to have.
The flyer said “Pork 5 Ways” and indeed, there were 5 chefs, but there were more than 5 ways in which pig was prepared. My favorite dish was the dessert – and I loved that it being dessert was nary a reason to cop out of the theme. It blew my mind in execution.
The BuÃ±uelos itself was a crunchy, crispy wafer with hints of cinnamon and sat on top of braised, soft pork belly. The pork belly itself wasn’t marinated in anything especially remarkable and was allowed to stand on its own, with the assembly on the plate carrying it through. The sweet agave syrup drizzled over the dish was just the right amount of sweetness to not make it saccharine. It was also infused with bacon, which matched the depth and heft of the dish. But the perfect touch? The ginger and lemon grass ice cream. The refreshing, cold notes of the ice cream brought perfect highlights, really finishing the dessert off nicely with some kick.
This dish was brought to us by Chef Paul Zamudio of Cabo San Lucas, who also prepared delicious pork cheeks sous vide – another one of my favorites for the night. I hope that the border doesn’t continue to separate his cooking from my palate – but I’m sure that Bill will see to it that it doesn’t.
By the way, this post is dedicated to Josh of Food GPS, whose love of pig consumption (and his detailing the best dishes in his Dose of Vitamin P series) has always inspiredÂ this particularÂ Tijuana crew. We were sad to hear of his recent week of disappointing pork dishes, and thought he had somehowÂ “taken one for the team” since our porkÂ dishes in Tijuana were so successful.Â So thanks, Josh.
We’re in the middle of LA Beer Week and that means it’s time for Tai Kim’s beer flavored ice cream to debut. Yes – that means that today, perfected versions ofÂ flavors like Unibroue Quelquechose With Cherry, Guinness Tiramisu, Chimay Premiere With Apricot, Firestone IPA Union Jack With Mocha, Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Ale With Hazelnut and The Bruery Autumn Maple With Molasses will be at Scoops on Heliotrope for all beer and ice cream enthusiasts to enjoy. (Though, I’m told that The Bruery’s Autumn Maple may be too hard to acquire to make this flavor, unfortunately.)
A couple of weeks ago, a few bloggers and I were invited to preview the making of these special flavors. It was so fun to see Tai at his machine, pouring in his special concoctions and, of course, the beer. Curious for more? Be sure to pop on over to Caroline On Crack’s post on this preview for her great videos of the action. My personal favorite was definitely the Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat Ale With Hazelnut. What can I say? The beer flavorings are very subtle – but I I’m a sucker for hazelnut, and it was one of the most potent flavors and the wheaty tangerine was a nice spin on things.
So head on over to Scoops today, and find out one of the sweetest ways to celebrate LA Beer Week. I’m curious myself to see what flavors actually came out of all that experimentation.
Beer flavors debut Monday, October 11, 2010
Mon – Sat, 12 – 10 PM
Sun 2 – 6 PM
712 N. Heliotrope Drive
Los Angeles, California 90029
On Sunday, I joined Josh Lurie of Food GPS and a good showing of food bloggers, writers and fans for a Beverly Blvd walking tour. It was really nice to get a flagship bite from each of four stops as well as glean some history from a couple landmarks on the way, such as CBS Studios and Pan Pacific Park.
We started off at Eva where Mark Gold was reminiscent of his posh tenure with Patina and his subsequent move to his own venture, occupying the old Hatfield’s space. Left to his own devices, he is free to thrive, free to fail – but free, nonetheless – and it certainly looks like it’s the former case for him a mere 10 months later.
Tuesday night is a popular night at Eva, when guests can enjoy his famous buttermilk, duck fatÂ and tabasco battered fried chicken and beer to their heart’s content for just $25. The restaurant as a whole – for lunch or dinner – is a place you can rely on for good bang for the buck, as there are consistently solid dishesÂ that emerge from Gold’s kitchen at reasonable prices. I could eat Eva’s creamed corn – infused with bay leaf and bechamel – and fried chicken for days.
Afterwards, we walked two doors down to BLD, which is owned by Neal Fraser (Grace). Chef Diana Stavaridis runs the kitchen, which prepared steamed, tomato and white wine mussels for the tour group. They were delicious with a surprisingly deepÂ flavor to the lightÂ broth.
On our way to MILK, we passed the formerÂ location of Grace, whichÂ Josh divulged was relocating to the Vibiana Cathedral in Downtown Los Angeles. A location reversal of sorts will occur, asÂ Chef John Sedlar of Rivera in downtown will be expanding and serving up more casual eats under the name R26 in Grace’s former space. It’s slated for fall of this year.
At MILK, we enjoyed an array of ice cream served different waysÂ and inÂ a largeÂ variety of flavors. I was luckyÂ to be first in line (or shall we say, prompt?) and secured a cookie sandwich with oversized, flat green macarons encasing watermelon sorbet with chocolate chipsÂ mixed in, which somewhat resembled watermelon seeds for that delicious and cute factor.