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Eating Out » digest LA

meatball & burrata sandwich

meatball & burrata sandwich

porchetta sandwich

porchetta sandwich

Cart for a Cause is a food truck slash non-profit program benefitting St Vincent Meals on Wheels of Los Angeles. Once a month, the truck comes to Helms Bakery near my work and I can spend $10 to get “get a meal prepared by a top celebrity chef with 100% of proceeds going back to help feed homebound senior citizens.”

This month I got to eat a meatball and burrata sandwich made by Chef Tony DiSalvo and Chris Crary from Viceroy Santa Monica. My buddy had a porchetta sandwich. We meant to do halfsies, but both of our sandwiches were too good to switch up. We could barely stop eating just to take the picture. Can’t wait for next month!

maguro benedict

maguro benedict

Leading up to the Honolulu marathon, I was on a sushi kick. I was also nervous about eating anything too heavy, so for breakfast the day before I had the maguro benedict at The Cream Pot. It is raw tuna over a poached egg, avocado and rice instead of english muffin. I would have never have thought of this, but it was delicious.

We stumbled upon The Cream Pot because the local breakfast place had at least an hour wait. The Cream Pot was like what I imagine an American breakfast joint in Japan would be like… if that makes any sense. In fact, all of Honolulu made me wish I was in Japan. The restaurant had these amazing pictures of all their food that they put on the table so I knew after the race, I had to go back for a more decadent breakfast.

strawberry french toast

strawberry french toast

The strawberry french toast is sorta made like a souffle to make it all light and fluffy. It takes 20 minutes to prepare.

mini strawberry crepe

mini strawberry crepe

A lot of the breakfasts come in a set that comes with a mini crepe for breakfast dessert. I didn’t feel that awkward taking pictures on my food in Honolulu because all the Japanese were there taking pictures of their dishes as well.

I got contacted via Digest LA the other day to come by Taste Restaurant on Melrose. They also have a location in the Palisades. I was so excited. It was my first dinner on the house as a food blogger. I have arrived! What was going to happen? Would we eat a regular meal or get lots of small plates prepared by the chef to showcase their food? The dinner was going to be a welcome treat after a long and exhausting weekend at Startup Weekend LA. I grabbed my buddy Kendra and headed over to Taste for our reservation at 7 PM.

Taste is a small restaurant on Melrose near La Cienega with an outdoor area out front. My first surprise was that we were having dinner with Andrew, who had invited me on behalf of the restaurant.

Pomegranate Basil Sangria

Pomegranate Basil Sangria

Andrew suggested the special cocktail of the month, Pomegranate Basil Sangria. Every month, Taste has a different featured cocktail. I had the Mango Mojito, but Kendra was very happy with the sangria.


Tuna Tartare

Tuna Tartare

For starters, we had Tuna Tartare, Thai Chicken Cups and Fried Calamari. All were pretty good, but surprisingly the fried calamari was the best. I normally find fried calamari greasy and gross, but this was delicious. Unfortunately, fried calamari is not nearly as photogenic as tuna tartare.
Steak Salad

Steak Salad

For dinner, I ordered the Steak Salad. Kendra had the Risotto. The steak in the salad was cooked a perfect tender medium rare. Delicious! Kendra’s risotto was very undercooked, but it is supposed to be one of the best things at Taste so maybe it was a fluke.

Plum Crisp Dessert

Plum Crisp Dessert

And for dessert, plum crisp. I am always a sucker for a good fruit crisp.  As usual, I was the only person who ate any dessert. Is this an LA thing? I hate eating dessert alone. So my first blogger dinner wasn’t exactly what I imagined, but I still got to try out food at a new place, which was the intention of starting this blog in the first place. Here’s to more invitations!

truffle burger, fries, onion ring

truffle burger, fries, onion ring

Umami Burger is one of my two favorite restaurants in Los Angeles so far.

Umami is “a fifth basic taste (along with salty, sweet, sour and bitter) that is commonly associated with Asian foods. It can be helpful in pairing wines with foods. Its legitimacy is still under debate in some scientific circles.”

I don’t know about the definition, but everything at Umami Burger tastes like mushrooms. What can I say? I love mushrooms. We went the other day for work and I took a few pictures.

umami pickle plate

umami pickle plate

the umami burger

the umami burger

the manly burger (+ french man)

the manly burger (+ french man)

tuna melt from The Point

tuna melt from The Point

The other day, I walked from my office to this little spot called The Point. The Point is a tiny breakfast and lunch counter in an office building. It was created by Mark Peel who is a famous chef in LA. He also owns Campanile and Tar Pit, two well known LA restaurants. I was standing waiting for my tuna melt sandwich when I noticed a man turn a table over and start fixing a wobbily leg. He then turned the table right side up and came over to the counter and started talking to me. Like any dedicated Top Chef Master viewer would, I immediately recognized him as Mark Peel from season 1.

I was pretty excited to be meeting my second Top Chef Master. Just the week before I had eaten dinner at Susan Feniger’s Street and told her I loved her short ribs. I took my little tuna melt to an outside table and thought how funny it is to live in Los Angeles and meet culinary celebrities just like that. But then it hit me… when I am sitting at home watching Top Chef, I really want to be tasting the food on the show. But I am eating these chefs’ food all the time. I have had Marcel’s animal fries, Rick Bayless’s camarones, Susan Feniger’s kalbi and Mark Peel’s tuna. Sometimes it is really good and sometimes it is just okay, just like all the non-celebrity chefs’ restaurants. I still haven’t tried Elan’s bacon-wrapped matzoh ball, but that just sounds silly. On Labor Day, my friend’s chef boyfriend will make us all skewers on the grill again and those I guarantee, will taste amazing.

sky above night club in Hollywood

sky above The Music Box in Hollywood

I went to a real LA party last weekend. Drink:Eat:Play organized a speakeasy party The Music Box in Hollywood. I dressed up in my closest to a twenties approximation and went with some friends. The party was really an expo for different liquor distributors, which isn’t quite as romantic as a speakeasy.

Fred 62 burger

Fred 62 burger

All that milling around and sampling liquors fired up our appetites so we went to Fred 62 for post-speakeasy dinner. We were all dressed up, but I ordered the burger anyway. The burger was a big delicious mess. Who cares about dry cleaning bills anyway?

toast at First & Hope

toast at First & Hope

Me: I went to a restaurant the other night where the theme is Supper Club and the waitstaff uniforms were designed by the costume designer from Mad Men.

My sister: LA is weird.

LA is weird is right. Never go to a restaurant that spends more energy on waitstaff uniforms than on their food. First & Hope in Downtown LA clearly does that. They also spend a lot of time on presentation.

oyster

oyster - the best of the worst

mac and cheese

mac and cheese

tater tots

tater tots - the worst of the worst

I think I should also make a rule not to go to restaurants that feature food from the 50s and 60s. The middle of the 20th century was a terrible time for American cuisine. Just because fashion was awesome then doesn’t mean you should build a restaurant around it.

sausage and mash

bangers and mash

The business travel continues… I spent last week in London for work. I got the chance to meet up with my friend Paul, originally from Atlanta, for some pub food in Notting Hill. I had to try a bit of everything so I had bangers and mash and the pie of the day. Update: I had said sausages and mash, which upset some Brits (really, my sister).

pie and mash

pie and mash

I preferred the pie of the day. It was filled with something red and chicken.

paul and sticky toffee pudding

paul and sticky toffee pudding

We shared some sticky toffee pudding for dessert. I can’t say what it is, but it sure tastes right. I also learned that in London you call all dessert pudding. Oh those crazy brits.

me in monaco

In front of the 11th largest yacht in the world

On my second to last day in France, I got the chance to take a quick trip to Monaco with a friend I made at the Lions festival. We watched some World Cup, checked out the yachts, and walked around the town (country).

Häagen-Dazs

Häagen-Dazs in Monaco

We stopped for one scoop at Häagen-Dazs. I got mango sorbet. As you can see, Häagen-Dazs in Monaco is a bit fancier than the one in the mall.

Vegetable Soup and Club Sandwich

Vegetable Soup and Club Sandwich

Getting sick in another country brings another perspective to your travels. I got a terrible stomach bug, took a nap on the beach and then got really dehydrated. I couldn’t bring myself to eat anything and finally just ended up ordering soup and a club sandwich from room service hoping to eat something. The hotel sent me up soup in a 3 qt cast iron dutch oven. I really couldn’t touch the food… too rich.

Risotto and Parma Chips

Risotto and Parma Chips

The first thing I tried to eat when I was feeling better was risotto with black truffle oil and parma ham chips. There was really nothing like chicken soup and crackers on the menu. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to eat until it came to the table. I was eating with my colleague Marvin, who had been staying up all night working and eating sandwiches, so this was the first real meal for both of us. The two of us sat there exclaiming with every bite. The food was so good.

Duck with Fois Gras

Duck with Fois Gras

It also came with duck, which I couldn’t really stomach.

Ratatouille, Potato Gratin, Spinach Puree

SIdes? Ratatouille, Potato Gratin, Spinach Puree

The sides were perfect!