Posts Tagged ‘DTLA’

I remember the night I first tried Baco Mercat…and it was love at first bite. I was at the DTLA Artwalk in late 2011, and I knew Baco was coming…but not sure when they would be open. It just so happened that they decided to soft open that night. It was all about being at the right place and the right time. Since then I have been to back to Baco many times with various friends and my man of course. I remember when I first took him to Baco it had only been open a few months and told him that it was one of my favorite places, I was worried that maybe he wouldn’t like it. Turns out I had nothing to worry about, he’s a Baco fan.

The other night, he had to go to DTLA to pick up his new Hedley & Bennett apron (my man is a chef…I don’t think I’ve ever revealed that on this blog before – pretty fitting right?) and decided to have an impromptu date night by taking me to Baco Mercat.

Some time ago, when I last went to Baco I had ordered a bunch of other dishes besides my usual original baco, and was so disappointed. Its been a long time since I’ve been back, but this time I decided to just stick with my usual. The baco is a flatbread sandwich with crispy pork belly and carnitas. It is one of my top five dishes within the City of Angels. I could eat one of these everyday. So good.

Here is what the inside of the original baco looks like. There are some greens and an amazing sauce. The baco has tomato but I don’t care, its THAT good.

I’m not sure why I’ve never blogged about Baco Mercat…I have tons of photos from various meals in my Flickr photostream…but on this particular night we had a new dish that I’m absolutely in love with. I love bone marrow, and I’ve had it at Bestia, Mozza, Father’s Office, in menudo, and many other places. But this preparation was different…on the menu it said “crispy bone marrow” and curiosity got the best of me.

What followed was beyond my wildest dreams. Fried bone marrow served with lentils and grapes. So buttery…so different…so amazing. This trumps shrimp toast from Son of a Gun as my favorite dish in LA right now. Wow. Its not for everyone but if you love marrow and want to try it in a different preparation, head over to Baco Mercat asap. This. Wow.

I love Baco Mercat. I love Bar Ama. I love DTLA.

Baco Mercat

408 S Main St

Los Angeles, CA 90013

(213) 687-8808


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Los Angeles, my beloved City of Angels, and more specifically Spring Street in DTLA has a new coffee bar. One that I fell in love with as soon as I walked in. One that instantly transported me back to Portland.

I love my job, and I love nothing more than teaching the children, but this past week was full of long work days since I was busying organizing and planning future units and getting ready to start a new novel. What really kept me going on those long 14 hour workdays was the fact that as soon as the weekend hit, I would finally be able to make it out to Coffee Bar! I had been following their progress on the Twitterz and was really excited because they would be slanging Water Avenue (my favorite while in PDX) and they would have a variety of other coffees too.

When I got there I was a bit shocked. I didn’t expect it to be so big. How awesome is this? Once inside I loved the layout and the wood bar. This place was GORGEOUS! I felt like I was back in Portland…

In a display case they have a variety of coffees, but only a few are on bar at any given time. They also have different coffee beans for sale…to take home. I came for the Water Avenue, but was told that would be on bar next week.

For round 1,  super awesome Portland Barista Dave made me a latte using Intelligentsia’s Black Cat. Smooth. So smooth. Love it. In my mind I was back in Portland. After all, my barista was from Portland. My logic.

Here is Dave pouring a drink for someone else. One day I’ll be able to capture a pour on camera…but for now I leave that to RE.

I grabbed a seat at the bar and looked around at this great space. It was busy but not annoyingly busy. People were working on laptops (there are plugs), chatting with friends, hanging out. It was really nice. Penny from Dr. Horrible was there. I know her real name is Felicia Day…but to me she is super sweet Penny. Then her co-star from The Guild showed up. Then I saw a guy in the corner that looked just like N8. Complete with the MacBook Pro. People watching is great.

At some point I went out for Round 2. I wanted something from the Slayer, which I just finished blogging about here. Super Awesome Barista Jared Mockli pulled me a shot of Verve from the Slayer machine. We are so lucky to have a Slayer in Southern California. I may have gone fangirl. And if you have no idea what I mean by Slayer…read up on it here.

I really loved Coffee Bar. I didn’t want to leave. I honestly felt this whole Portland vibe. Nothing pretentious about this place at all. Not only is this spot beautiful, but everyone working was so nice and polite. Plus, they are going to be slanging beans that other places don’t. Water Avenue? Hello! What a great addition to Downtown LA! I love it! I can’t wait to go back with the SCV Crew!
Coffee Bar
600 S. Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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If you want to read about our SCV Sandwich Train trip, it probably makes more sense in order. Here are the links! I seriously can’t wait for the next one! Let’s do this!


Leaving on the Metrolink, Sandwich Train Part I


Langers Deli, Sandwich Train Part II


Scoops Ice Cream Shop, Sandwich Train Part III


Orange 20 Bikes, Fixies, Sandwich Train Part IV


Bottega Louie Fail, Sandwich Train Part V


Phillipes French Dip, SCV Sandwich Train Part VI


Final Thoughts, SCV Sandwich Train Part VII

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After leaving the bike shop, we got back on the Metro and headed to DTLA. Two minutes later (that’s seriously how long it felt like) we went up the escalator and there we were. Away from fixies and one block from Bottega Louie. Seriously, the Metro doesn’t get enough respect!

I like Bottega Louie, but I’m the first to admit the service isn’t too great. That’s why my usual strategy is to go there for a pastry and sit in the cafe area. The couple of times I’ve been seated in the actual dining area have resulted in FAIL service.

So there we were at Bottega Louie, which is an amazing building. Right away we browsed the pastries and everyone seemed to like what they saw.

The original plan was to get a pastry, coffee, chill and sit at the cafe for a bit. Here is a public service announcement. The pastries at Bottega Louie are AMAZING! Really top notch. And if you ever need a gift for someone they box their pastries in really cute boxes and even add ribbon. So if you ever are stuck as to what to get someone, definitely consider BL. I’ve surprised many people with pastries from here and they are always happy. You’re welcome.

After seeing the open kitchen and the pizza oven in the back, a couple of us were lured into the main dining area. Figuring there would be at least an hour wait, I reluctantly went to see how long it would take to score a table for 11.

So imagine my surprise when only a mere minutes later, there we were, seated at a nice round table in the middle of the restaurant…

After ordering a couple of pizzas, salads, and a sandwich or two frustration soon started to set in…seriously…

After getting only half the drinks ordered, including this Intelli cap, served in the award winning Intelli cup (total win)…we were feeling a bit restless.

Then our pizza came out! Only one of the pizzas came out and nothing else despite ordering everything at the same time! After finishing the one pizza (we shared because nothing else was at the table) and waiting around for about 20 more minutes, we decided to pull a Hsiawen and peace out. After requesting the bill and realizing we were being charged for things that were never brought to the table, Scott took charge and got it all settled. I have to say that our pizza was great! It really was! I will totally be going back for this pizza despite the service fail…

I ended up going back to Bottega Louie the next day because despite the FAIL? I really like their pastries…however on this day, we had one more stop to make, so off we went!

Stay tuned…

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Haven’t done a post like this in a while. The previous ones consisted of Nathaniel Ayers, a lifeguard stand in Malibu, and I forget what else. I think I have found the perfect image to bring it back…the only dilemna is I can’t decide which picture I like the best! So I’m breaking my own unwritten rule by posting three. 



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Although the thought of doing a post about Starbucks (yeah, I like their Vivanno, Strawberries and Cream, and lemon bread, I’m not ashamed) never once crossed my mind, on Halloween night, I visited a location that was really…different.

Another reason Starbucks would probably never be featured on this blog? Um…how about their super strict anti-photo policy? I think it was Linda Woods that mentioned an incident where she once was stopped from taking a photo of a child in her party, inside of a Starbucks. Huh?

So despite all of the above, this Starbucks location is unlike any other I have seen. I mean, even the two corner Starbucks diagonally across from eachother in Vancouver have nothing on this! This location was bright and just had a different vibe going. It is really hard to explain, but I slyly took some pictures, and no one seemed to care. Of course, after I took the pictures, I notice the surveillance camera on the wall right next to me. D’oh! At any rate, you will notice all of the photos were taken from the same corner…

First of all, there is a long community table at the center of the shop. Although I’m not a fan of community tables, it completely made sense in this setting.

Also, I noticed they have stools at the bar so you can sit and watch your drink being made. I’ve never seen this at ANY Starbucks before! This guy sure looked comfortable sitting there!

Did I mention the lighting? It was bright and cheery! None of that dimmed Starbucks lighting where you can see the dust on the shelves. Come on! I can’t be the only one that has noticed the dust at most Starbucks. Especially around the clearance shelves…seriously.

Anyway, had the cups not said Starbucks, if the VIA signs were gone, and if the employees were not wearing green aprons, I would never think this was a Starbucks at first glance. If you ever find yourself at Staples Center, Nokia Theater, or LA Live, stop by this location and check it out for yourself!

And in case you were wondering what my drink of choice was…Strawberries and Cream FTW!

Starbucks at LA Live

800 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90015

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You can’t go around stalking a roasting pig with just anyone, so I’m grateful that Ryan joined in this adventure with me. In fact, had he not mentioned there would be a pig roasting, I wouldn’t have known. Apparently, Ilan Hall himself had tweeted about it earlier.

The Gorbals, DTLA Artwalk by you.

Top Chef winner Ilan Hall has been trying to get The Gorbals up and running for sometime now, however due to a boiler issue, the restaurant has since been closed. And that is why, the fact that he would be roasting a pig tonight was such a big deal. It was like a one time only thing, amiright?

The Gorbals, DTLA Artwalk by you.

The actual restaurant is located within a building in DTLA. You have to actually walk into the building and look for it. The location is very nice, I must say. Even though the restaurant is closed for business, the doors were open and there were a couple of people inside just sitting or going in and out. So, we went inside. It was somewhat dark and gloomy, which just added to the mood of the place. I don’t know what the lighting will be like once the place is up and running, however.

Ryan inside of The Gorbals by you.

At first we just stood there and looked around, but then we started talking to Brian (who turned out to be a member of Pleasure Palate too) and got more comfortable. So comfortable in fact, that we actually ended up sitting at the bar to watch Ilan cook and prepare the pig he would eventually cut up and serve.

Ryan at The Gorbals - DTLA Artwalk October Edition by you.

Yes, Ilan himself was in the kitchen preparing a second pig and as much as I wanted to take pictures of him, I was too embarrassed. Then Ryan said I should just take them and so…I took a few.

The GORBALS - Roasting Pig - Illan Hall DTLA Artwalk October Edition by you.

Which turned out blurry! Ugh! But you get the gist of it, right? Trust me, it was a really cool experience!

Top Chef Ilan Hall - Inside of The Gorbals, DTLA Artwalk by you.

We left and came back twice in the span of the night because the pig was not ready. I was getting worried because it was a school night, and I had to get up early the next day. I even thought about leaving at some point, but figured I had waited this long…might as well wait it out. And so, I did.

The Gorbals Ilan Hall Roasting Pig - DTLA Artwalk October Edition by you.

This was the pig that was roasting outside. This is not the pig that we ended up eating. Instead, after about two hours of waiting, Ilan himself brought out the pig he had been preparing in the kitchen. When he brought the pig outside, a crowd had suddenly appeared eager to try it.

The Gorbals Ilan Hall Roasting Pig - DTLA Artwalk October Edition by you.

Ilan himself cut the pig and added some macaroni and cheese to the plate. The total cost of the plate pictured below? Only $7! I feel that the portion was good for the price.

$7 Pork + Mac n'Cheese Plate at The Gorbals (Ilan Hall), DTLA Artwalk by you.

Now came the dilemma of where to eat! So we ended up going back inside the restaurant where Brian was seated with a friend. There is a long table in the dining area that could almost pass as a community table. However, tonight, there were only four of us sitting there. It was a nice setting.

DTLA Artwalk October Edition by you.

Here is a sideview (closeup) of the pork that was served to me:

Pig at The Gorbals, DTLA by you.

And here is Ryan about to take the first bite…

Ryan eating Pig from The Gorbals at the DTLA Artwalk by you.

We all had varied opinions on what we thought about the meal. Brian thought the mac and cheese was too grainy, where as I thought it was too sweet, while Ryan liked it. Our opinions on the pork itself were even more varied! I felt it was dry, Ryan says it was “under-seasoned, tasted like pig, but really mild otherwise”. Regardless of what we thought, it was still a nice experience overall.

The Gorbals

501 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013-2310
(213) 488-3408


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