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Los Angeles » 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!

Lindy Grundy

Lindy Grundy

I have been excitedly waiting for Lindy & Grundy to open for months. Lindy & Grundy is a new sustainable butcher shop opened in my neighborhood by two butchering ladies. I went in tonight and asked for something easy to make after a hard week.  I got a single pork chop figuring the shop is so close I can come by every day for meat if I want to.

pork chop, chinese broccoli, garden salad

pork chop, chinese broccoli, garden salad

Of course, I didn’t expect to disrespect Lindy & Grundy’s beautiful pork the way I did. I decided to try a breaded chop since I had awesome panko bread crumbs. I put the chop in the pan and ran outside to cut some fresh salad greens (zomg, can you believe that lettuce came from my garden?!) and came back to some burning breadcrumbs. I don’t think I had enough oil in the pan. It ended up okay, but a bit overcooked. If I have learned anything from Top Chef it is that you have to respect your protein. I also steamed some chinese broccoli and served it with a little garlic oil and lemon.

spice rub station

spice rub station

I definitely know where to find more pork chops when I need them. Now, how to cook them?

roasted short ribs, potatoes, brussel sprouts, & salad

roasted short ribs, potatoes, brussel sprouts, & salad

It has been a while since I posted about food. Today I spent some time walking through the Brentwood Farmer’s Market and I picked up a bunch of random ingredients that caught my eye. I  got some grass fed short ribs, brussel sprouts, leeks, beets and two boxes of Thin Mints.

For the short ribs, the guy from the farm place gave me a recipe his wife loves. Of course, I looked at the list and said, “yep, got all of that.” I got home and started to prepare the short rib recipe, which calls for the ribs to be cooked smothered in sliced onion (it is like Waffle House up in here) and realized I didn’t have any onion. Oy vey. So I sliced up leeks and shallots and didn’t so much smother the ribs as gave them some friends to keep them company.

I also cooked a bit of bacon, crumbled it, and cooked sliced brussel sprouts in the bacon fat. I saw a great video yesterday about how to cook bacon the right way. Following the advice, I cooked it over low heat for about 20 minutes and flipped often.

SInce the ribs took 2.5 to 3 hours to cook, I roasted some little potatoes and beets in the hot oven to keep occupied. WIth the beets roasted and short ribs still going, I started making a gigantic salad with my homemade pickled onions, carrots, hearts of palm (me gustan los palmitos) , artichokes, corn, tomatoes. Overall it was nothing amazing, but it is so nice to pull together such a big dinner with a few ingredients and pantry supplies. If only I could remember to keep myself in onions.

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)

roast chicken and veggies

Roast chicken, potatoes, carrots, parsnips and shallots

My favorite holidays have always been the big eating holidays. That usually meant Passover with my parents in Philly and Thanksgiving with my aunt in Boston. Before I moved to Los Angeles, I can’t say I thought too much about the other big holidays like Rosh Hashanah. Now that I live far away from all my family and friends, I decided to try my hand at hosting my own Rosh Hashanah dinner.

Last week, I ran home from work and got a chicken in the oven to roast. I used The Best Recipe’s technique of just brushing some butter, salt and pepper on the chicken before roasting it. I like how simple it is and it tastes delicious. The key seems to be positioning one wing up, then the other, and then raising the heat with the breast facing up. My sister has a different edition of The Best Recipe that has a totally different recipe, but my version is simple, simple. I also roasted some carrots, parsnips, shallots and potatoes.

chicken resting

Chicken resting amid a bit of a mess

I started Digest LA to help get me out and about in a new city, Los Angeles. I never really expected that it would have me learning to cook and inviting new friends over to my house instead. Thanks Anjali, Kendra, Adrian and Rene for spending my first Rosh Hashanah with me. Happy New Year.

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.

eggs for dinnerAfter a long day, I called my mom from the grocery store and asked her to suggest something to make for dinner. She said she ate a burger. No go – I ate at 8 oz Burger Bar last night. By the way, don’t go. The burger is pretty good, but the service is horrible. Then my mom said, “well I like eggs for dinner.”

What a good idea! I have loads of eggs leftover from cooking for brunch and I even have 4 pieces of bacon left from the succotash I made the other night. I grabbed some Dutch Crunch bread, whatever that is, and 3 different types of cookies. Hey, I said it was a long day. I didn’t have regular vinegar so I poached some eggs using champagne vinegar, fried up some bacon and enjoyed a delicious dinner where I didn’t even have to buy anything. Thanks mom!