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Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles’

A couple of weeks ago I initially heard about this promotion with Red Medicine and Lincoln, where you would get a complimentary dinner if you test drove the new Lincoln MKZ. Personally, I hate driving and I hate test drives, but I’ve been wanting to go back to Red Medicine for some time now. In fact we were planning on going there in the next week for my boyfriend’s birthday, so with this promotion, it was just perfect timing. I was still hesitant because I thought it would be tedious to complete the test drive, so I put off making my reservation until a few days ago. I luckily managed to snag a cancelled reservation, provided that I could fill a four top. So I called the Vinhja and said he HAD to join and then texted Alex to see if he was interested. We all had that hesitation of “is it worth it” – and the answer now, is yes. It was so worth it. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what an amazing (free) dinner we were in for!

The Lincoln MKZ’s were conveniently parked at the restaurant, and with instructions to arrive at least 15 minutes before the reservation, the pre-meal process was a breeze. Answer a few questions before, go for a drive around the block (Alex drove, we all admired how fancy the car interior was), answer some questions after, and go into the restaurant for dinner. I’m pretty happy with my Ultimate Driving Machine, but if anything this test drive opened my eyes to how nice and fancy the new Lincoln is. It has a build in cooler and there’s something powerful about the engine that the boys were talking about.

I thought the dinner would be simple, three courses maybe. So imagine our surprise when we sat down to an 8 course menu and were informed that it included two drinks. Plus included on the menu were most of my favorite Red Medicine dishes plus a couple I had been wanting to come back and try. Wow.

The boys ordered cocktails of course. The Vinhja started with this red drink.

Alex enjoyed this drink which you had to shake yourself.

I didn’t get pictures of the rest of the cocktails (2 were included per person) because I was too busy eating. But, the boys throughly enjoyed them. Soon our first course arrived:

FAVA RILLETTE – yogurt, meyer lemon

I couldn’t stop eating this. It was so good.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS – shallots, fish sauce

I’m not a fan of vegetables or brussels, but I loved these. They tasted so good.

CRISPY SPRING ROLLS – dungeness crab, lime

I know it’s simple, but I’ve ordered these the last two times I’ve eaten here. Love.

CHICKEN DUMPLINGS – caramelized sugar, confitures

Another one of my go-to dishes at RM. Love these!

YOUNG POTATOES – sake lees, butter

These were perfect.

ALASKAN HALIBUT – grilled over japanese charcoal

Very nice.

IMPERIAL WAGYU BEEF BRISKET – braised for 36 hours with palm sugar & fish sauce

My favorite dish of the night. So tender, this is something I had always wanted to try.

COCONUT BAVAROIS – coffee, peanut

One of my new favorite desserts within the City of Angels. This was amazing.

I feel so lucky to have been able to attend this dinner with my friends. There were a lot of LA food types there that night, and it was nice to run into some friends old and new. Thanks you to Lincoln for hosting this dinner. It was definitely a memorable experience. I’m still on cloud 9. I had been to Red Medicine twice before, but tonight I got to try so many dishes that I will definitely be going back for.

Red Medicine

8400 Wilshire Blvd

Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(323) 651-5500

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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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V and I talk about food a lot. We’ve been friends for what feels like ever, and I think food has kept this friendship going. So since I’m on summer break and he has a weird work schedule, we were lounging around on a lazy Tuesday and figured we should venture out. After the original Freddie Smalls plan fell through, we decided instead to just check out Black Hogg. Then I remembered we had recently been talking about Kevin Eats latest post on something called the Vagrancy Project. We didn’t have a reservation, and it was last minute, but we had read there was an a la cart menu at the bar, so we would go check it out and see if we could get in. Even though I don’t drink, I don’t mind bar seating if it means I get to try a new place.

After confronting some terrible traffic, we made it to 1320 Echo Park Avenue (just one block up the street from the famous blue corn quesadilla lady) and found a place that seemed to be undergoing renovation. After being assured we were at the right place by a mystery man out front (we also saw him when we were leaving but have no idea what his part is in this project) we went up the stairs and into the restaurant. The super nice waiter asked us if we knew about what goes on at the Allston Yacht Club on Monday and Tuesday nights. After telling him we were there for a la cart, and were prepared to sit at the bar, he said that if we didn’t mind, we could sit at a table and still order dishes off the menu.

He led us to a table that was right up against the brand new window that had just been put in. It offered great lighting and a great view of the hustle and bustle of Echo Park. As we looked over the menus, V pointed out they had a non alcoholic drink. Since I don’t drink alcohol, it was a pleasant surprise. House made white grapefruit soda. So fantastic.

Here is the drink menu.

V had a summer beer.

We browsed the menu and decided on four dishes. However they were out of the ribeye, so we ended up with three dishes and then dessert.

First dish was the chorizo.

Second dish was the scallops.

Third dish was the merguez. This was so different and full of different flavors. Definitely my favorite dish of the night. I can’t wait to have this again.

For dessert we had the cheesecake, which I really enjoyed.

At the end of our meal, we were glad that we decided to stop in and get a taste for The Vagrancy Project. We will definitely be coming back for the tasting menu very soon! Oh, and by the way, we still ended up going to Black Hogg afterwards, but this meal was definitely the topic of conversation.

The Vagrancy Project

Monday/Tuesday

1320 Echo Park Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90026

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If there’s one thing I’m good at, its food crawling, and Wednesday was no exception. I set out to do some Sandwich Train recon in Hollywood and it was a total success. Everything we ate yesterday, I mean EVERYTHING was amazing. No misses, just hits. I love days like that!

Our first stop on our food crawl was Mendocino Farms on 3rd & Fairfax. The flagship that JUST opened across from The Grove. First of all the space is lovely, and has parking in the back (which it shares with Trader Joes and some others shops). Just make sure you get validation and it shouldn’t be too much.

When you walk in, you place your order with the host, which is actually a very smooth system. Plus when we couldn’t think of a second sandwich to order, Mai asked what was recommended. Without hesitation, the host said the Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi. Done. After the host fills out the sheet with your order, you proceed to the counter where you can sample salads. We tried the potato salad and the penne, and of course both were good.

After ordering we proceeded down the line and saw all of the dutch ovens filled with pork belly, bacon. along with all of the fresh bread on display. The counter is like an open kitchen and you can see everything. It was so heavenly and we totally took our time walking by like tourists. Or little girls in a candy shop.

The space is so airy and the seating is really neat. We snagged the table with the astroturf seats. I’m so bummed I didn’t get a proper photo of it, but its the only one in the whole place. We couldn’t pass up the chance to sit there! Plain tables are for amateurs, and we were about to embark on a crawl!

Soon our order was brought to the table on a tray and it smelled so good before we even unwrapped everything. We had ordered the shrimp po’ boy and the banh mi. One of the sandwiches was square and the other was a roll. We assumed the roll would be the banh mi, and the square would be the po’boy. When we unwrapped them we were in for a treat!

Above is the po’boy, and below is the banh mi!

THIS was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. A pork belly banh mi on ciabatta. It was one of those “omgz omgz omgz omgz” moments bite after bite.

As we ate and chatted, we definitely started off this crawl on the right foot. And then things got better…Mai wanted to run across the street to The Grove to buy a pasta roller and rack. Of course this meant we passed by Short Cake (we are both Nancy Silverton fangirls) but after a quick peek we were on our way to Crate and Barrel and that is when we ran into our boo. No, not my boyfriend and no, not her husband…I mean our boo!

That’s right. AC Slater. He films EXTRA at The Grove and we happened to pass by just at the right time. He was gone when we were on our way back. Probably waiting for us in the car and stuff (in our mind).

Two late 20 something girls + AC Slater = instant fangirl status.

Giggles.

These are things childhood dreams are made of.

His dimples.

That banh mi.

Such an amazing start to the day!

Mendocino Farms

175 S Fairfax

Los Angeles, CA 90036

(Across from The Grove)

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Growing up, I always remember seeing Marcus Samuelsson on television, and although I have been lucky to meet some of my favorite chefs in recent years, never thought I’d get to try his cooking here in SoCal. Yet, that is exactly what happened last Monday night! In honor of his memoir Yes, Chef being released, he has been hosting special Prix Fixe dinners throughout the states. 

On Monday, he took over the kitchen at one of my most favorite places in Los Angeles…my beloved Son of a Gun! For $85/person we got a multi course meal and a signed book. The menu wasn’t posted beforehand so it was nice to be surprised.

Helga’s Pea Soup, Mint, Ginger

Fried Misy Point Oysters, Addis Remoulade

Tokyo Salad, Mizuna, Yuzu-Shishito Vinaigrette

Gravalax, Mustard, Pickled Fennel

Cheese

Sweet Corn Salad

Fried Yard Bird, Collard Greens, Rooster Sauce, Pickles

Where has this chicken been my whole life? Now I have to go to Harlem to eat this again. Spoiled for life. Sorry Thomas Keller. This fried chicken was the best I’ve ever had.

Sweet Potato Doughnuts, Fennel Ice Cream

Although the idea of fennel ice cream sounded a bit odd to me, I really liked it. Who am I?

Throughout the dinner, Marcus Samuelsson came by our table twice to see how we were liking everything, and chatted with us briefly. Plus, we were really lucky because he personalized signed our books! One more for my collection! He is cooking a different menu at each of the dinners, as he collaborates with the chefs as to what would be good to serve. In my opinion (and those of my friends) the fried chicken was the standout of this meal. As always rare experiences like these in my beloved City of Angels are a guaranteed good time.

Marcus Samuelsson – Special Dinner at Son of a Gun

Monday, July 9, 2012

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The first time I visited Red Medicine, I was still suffering from the ill effects of being pushed into a light pole in my three week old beautiful car. So even though I’m sure it was a wonderful meal, I don’t remember most of it. However, despite the concussion I was recovering from (and the memory loss), there is one dish that I do remember clearly and that is the foie gras dish with the croissant. Swoon.

So with the impending foie ban looming, the Vinhja and I had been spending most of the last week plotting where we had to eat before the 1st. He decided to go with Animal, and I decided I needed Red Medicine to eat that foie dish one last time. You know, without the concussion this time. I found myself seriously craving that dish, but I couldn’t find anyone willing to go with me. The Vinhja told me to go alone, but I didn’t want to drive all the way over there alone.

After having a coffee break with The Hustler (who is back in town for a month) I went home and took a nap. I had accepted  that I just wouldn’t be making it out to Red Medicine before the ban, no biggie. Just kidding. I was really bummed. Then around 9pm I was awakened by a phone call from a friend saying we should go to Red Medicine. I jumped in the shower, threw on a dress, and was ready to go! As my friend drove, I made an 11pm reservation using the Open Table app (best ever) and we arrived at 11:01pm. Perfect! I told the host that we were there for the foie as he got the menus and was ready to walk us to our table.

So imagine that dagger through my heart when the host told me that they were out of the dish. Facepalm. We debated on leaving since that was our main purpose, but I had been itching to try the banh mi, and since we were already there, I figured I could try some dishes from last time again, now that I am clear headed and no longer concussed. We ended up sitting in the bar area and ordered three dishes as a little snack since we were going to go eat dinner at another place afterwards. First up were the chicken dumplings. I remembered these from last time because of the plating, but I didn’t remember the lettuce wraps or the pickles. Assembling these was great fun.

These are chicken dumplings with caramelized sugar and pork fat. Love. These totally softened the blow of not getting foie tonight. Seriously, so good.

Next was the banh mi that I had been wanting to try and is only available in the bar area. Traditionalists will probably be all snooty when it comes to the Red Med version, but at the end of the day, yeah it was good. The pork belly was the best part. My friend had never eaten banh mi before…looks like we need to pay a visit to Lee’s soon.

The last dish we ordered was the beef tartare, which apparently I had on my prior visit but don’t remember (pesky concussion). The thing is, this dish was so good tonight, that I’m sure I would remember it. Then it occurred to me that the plating might be different now? Regardless…I’ve had many a beef tartare within the City of Angels and this one was one of the best I’ve had lately.

So despite that sadness about missing out on Red Medicine’s foie dish, which along with Bouchon’s terrine, is a tie for the best foie I’ve had, tonight was a good night. I can’t wait to go back to Red Medicine and order half the menu again with a clear head this time. If tonight’s snacks are any indication, then I’m in for a real treat!

Red Medicine

8400 Wilshire Blvd.

Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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In the 90s, when that whole East Coast/West Coast rap stuff was going on, I was in my early teens, and yeah, I listened to it all. Was I too young to know what exactly they were rapping about? Maybe…but living in Southern California it kind of became part of Cali culture. West Coast 4 Life…but Puff Daddy (as he was known back then) and Biggie had some good songs out. And when Tupac and Biggie died it was huge news to us young teenagers at the time.

I don’t know how I first heard of Diddy Dirty Money, but it was a while ago, just before I went on winter vacation to Canada. It proved to be the soundtrack to that trip and kept me company during those flights, train rides, etc. As I crossed the border back to the USA, “I’m Coming Home” was my jam. I loved the smooth sounds, and I’m a fan of pretty much all the songs off of Last Train to Paris. So when I heard they were going to be at Club Nokia, I knew I had to make it out, so I got a PIT ticket and put it in my calendar. It just so happened that I found out Ricky Martin was going to be in concert that same night at Nokia Theater, so at the last minute, I decided to hit up both shows. Not caring much to see the opening act, the timing of both shows synched up perfectly.

The plaza at LA Live was full of street team members advertising Diddy and Ciroc. It was pretty neat! I left Ricky Martin around 10:30ish, walked down to Club Nokia, and was in and ready by 10:45. There was a DJ on stage spinning some nice hits…

I was a little intimidated by the PIT because everyone was so much taller, but luckily I was able to get a good starting spot on the right side. As the night went on, I ended up closer and closer to the stage, and by the nights end I was only like three people from the very front. I had a great spot at this show. Sometimes being short helps in these situations.

The show started right at 11pm and of course everyone went crazy! I think they were all tired of waiting around for hours, but I didn’t have that problem. I was amazed at how well the timing of both shows had worked out. So perfect. They started off the show with songs off of Last Train to Paris and I sang along…because I know all the words. Holla. I loved the Lakers love at the show too!

At some point during the show. Diddy asked if there were any Prince fans in the house and said they liked to do things a bit different for us here in Los Angeles. The girls joined him back on stage and they did a sweet cover of Prince’s “Something in the Water (does not compute). You can see video of that HERE. I loved it! At some point they also covered Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” and I think we all collectively melted. So smooth.

I also loved that this wasn’t JUST Diddy Dirty Money songs. Diddy did a lot of his rap hits that I remember from over the years. It was like my youth. It was also a nice tribute to Biggie. I loved the huge monitors on stage, especially the one in the middle that kept moving and turning. I have been to countless shows at Club Nokia, but this concert easily had the nicest set up on stage I’ve ever seen here. Video HERE.

At some point, Diddy’s son Christopher came on stage and they danced together which you can see HERE. It was a very sweet moment! His son looked so happy to be there. More melt.

As it neared 12:30, the concert started to wind down, but they hadn’t done my jam yet! Then I heard the opening notes to “I’m Coming Home” and then…I heard Skylar Gray’s voice doing the intro…except it wasn’t recorded vocals like they had done for some other songs, it was actually her! How cool is that!?!?!

You might not know Skylar Grey by name, but you’ve definitely heard her voice. She is the one that sings on Dre’s comeback single “I Need a Doctor” and she has done guest vocals for many artists.

Although the show had many highlights, this was a great ending to the show. It was like hearing the song the way it was intended. Completely live. I loved it! My jam! You can see it HERE.

They did one final brief outro song before calling it a night which you can see HERE, but this was easily one of the better shows I’ve seen recently.

As the show ended and people made their way to the exit, Biggie’s “Going Back to Cali” started playing. Such a perfect ending to a perfect show. My fourteen year old self would have smiled…because my 27 year old self totally did. This show was way better than I could have ever imagined. This may have been my first rap concert, and it certainly wont be my last…you can see more videos HERE.

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