I can't decide what direction I want this blog to go in. I have friends like Boundforbliss, whose blog is primarily focused on her recent engagement and her wedding plans. There are niche blogs like Eating Valley Blvd., which as the title aptly states, is Sinosoul's eating adventures on, you guessed it, Valley Blvd in San Gabriel Valley. Blogs such as Caroline on Crack and E*star LA covers all things LA. Then there is the verse and prose of The Delicious Life and Infinite Fress, both offering diction that is captive and insightful.
Then there is my blog. I don't have a clue what I want to do with this blog. There are so many directions that it can go (as evidenced above) that I can't really find my focus. And that really shouldn't be a problem because this blog will eventually find its own voice, especially since it is my blabber, or my thoughts, or...well, you get the point. Too bad that process doesn't cut it for me. I'm not good at letting things ride and seeing what develops. Where my friends see spontaneity, I don't. I rarely do or say something without knowing where I want to end up. As one of the finest lyricists of my generation, Nas, articulates in his track Can't Forget About You, my blog's mantra will be his "Never on schedule, but always on time." On time to where though, I'll just have to be patient and see.
My posts will continue to evolve at their own pace. Whether or not there will be more writing is to be seen. Truth be told, I just like pictures. There are enough reviews and words on the internet that I don't need to interject more noise into all that static. And really, what is my opinion worth to you? But pictures, who doesn't love pictures?
With that brain dump out of the way, here is my afternoon at Wurstküche. This place is like my Cheers. When it's not packed to the gills with hipsters and families letting their palates explore rattlesnake, rabbit, and alligator sausages, it is the perfect bar for me to relax at, grab a meal, have a few beers, and enjoy a good conversation.
Having already worked my way through their beer list multiple times, I usually just pick whatever is new and on tap when I'm here. This afternoon, a Duvel Green: lighter than the rest, fermented once, an easy way to start the afternoon.
My current favorite: duck & bacon sausage topped with onions and sweet peppers with a side of belgian fries. It's duck, it's bacon, need I say more?
Wurstküche's seasonal beer. I don't think it is a actually a St. Bernardus Watou, but whatever...had a nuttier flavor and well with the sausage.
Hollywood types and doctors, the usual LA crowd for a 3p on a Thursday.
I tried the ice cream sandwich after watching a guy pick up two from the counter for dessert. The apple cinnamon ice cream was refreshing and it was in Diddy Reese portions, but unfortunately, not Diddy Reese prices.
Where everybody (or at least the bartender) knows your name.
Wurstküche - Purveyor of Exotic Grilled Sausages800 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
One of the perks of working in downtown LA is that I get to eat at Daikokuya all the time. So much so that I've apparently become the mayor of Daikokuya on Four Square. There really isn't much that needs to be said since Daikokuya's been reviewed to death, but I will say that ramen is the perfect prescription for these windy LA days. I also think Daikokuya is better than Ippudo in NYC. So there, that's my opinion on this whole ramen thing.
You get used to staring at this sign while waiting for your name to be called.
This is where the magic happens. Just a tip, you don't want to sit here on a hot day. You'll be getting sweaty with all the heat dissipating from the fryer. No fun.
Gyozas with a generous helping of green onions. Note in the background that I can levitate things while I take pictures (+15 art of levitation skill).
What came first, the chicken or the egg? I don't care, they're both in the oyakodon.
The main reason why we come to Daikokuya: ramen, nuff said.
The garlic explains why my colleagues aren't talking to me right now. I should use more garlic, more often.
And while you're at it, why wouldn't you go to Yogurtland just down the street to grab some dessert, especially since Tokidoki's in the house.
And two random pictures of of Little Tokyo:
Along with 95,000 Angelenos, my friends and I enjoyed a great night with U2 and the Black Eyed Peas at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.
More of the same over on my U2 360 Flickr Set.
The Black Eyed Peas did a good job opening and getting the crowd excited, but you could definitely discern the generational gap between the BEP crowd and the U2 crowd, regardless of how mainstream BEP has become. Does anyone remember their first album "Behind the Front?" I use to spin tracks off of "Behind The Front" in the late 90s and have seen BEP's evolution over the last decade and it's been nothing short of incredible. BEP also tossed in a nice surprise by covering GnR's "Sweet Child O' Mine" featuring none other than Slash. That was pretty epic (Slash, not the cover).
With the stage change complete, U2 came on and covered most of their classics while playing a few tracks off their new album "No Line on the Horizon." The stage production for U2's set was jaw dropping. The accordion style screen that hovered over the center of the stage was visually stunning. I want to figure out how I can install one of those in my house, on a smaller scale of course. CNet actually has a great article detailing all the technology around the tour and this specific performance at the Rose Bowl.
And all that noise about traffic into and out of the Rose Bowl? I left Downtown LA at 6:10p (IN MY CAR), sat down to watch BEP open at 7:15p and was back in downtown eating ramen by 11:30p. It helped to
1. Have a preferred parking pass
2. Know your way around this beautiful city.
In summary, an amazing night. Now, I can cross U2, BEP, and Slash off of my bucket list. I can't wait to get the Blu-Ray.
Update: Now with YouTube Broadcast!
A simple lunch today: oi kimchi and kimbap
and from many kimbap
was left the chosen one.
I'm starting a series called Supermarket Art, where I take regular food from various markets and do all types of things to the pictures and hopefully make them...beautiful? And it can't simply be aesthetically pleasing, the food needs to taste....GOOD.
Our first candidate: Woori Market in Cerritos, CA.
Mixed Roe Rice
The mixed roe rice bowl is really a rich meal, especially with the small piece of uni and unagi resting on top.
The mixed sashimi plate was a combination of god knows what fish. I think it was tuna, salmon, yellowtail, aji, and amberjack (could be completely wrong, feel free to correct for any sashimi-philes out there). This was ok, but I couldn't really expect much for such a big plate of sashimi for $15. It was too...fishy.
If you're so inclined, check it out
13321 Artesia Blvd
Cerritos, CA 90703-1316
"Lobster or BP Oysterette"
"Seriously, is this even worth debating?"
There is no better way to spend a Sunday evening after Cirque du Soleil's Kooza then to be by the beach enjoying a bottle of wine, a few dozen oysters and a hot fudge sundae. That's right, a hot fudge sundae. That's how we roll. A lobster roll?
two dozen oysters raw and ceviche style (mt. simon, bahia falsa, island creek)
hot fudge sundae
Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc
And then there are stall in the wall restaurants in a hole in the wall plaza. That pretty much describes Mo-Chica.
Why did I go to Mo-Chica? Ever since my trip to Gaston Acurio's La Mar in San Francisco, I've been craving Peruvian food. A quick search on the interwebs suggested that Mo-Chica was the most popular of Peruvian restaurants in the LA area. It also helped that Jonathan Gold gave it a once over as well. So when an unexpected window opened up this past Friday, I hopped in the car after work and headed to Mo-Chica.
First off, Mo-Chica is located in the Mercado La Palomar complex. It looks like a community center, and if you're like me, you might drive right by it on your first go around. It's an unassuming location, but inside you'll find Mo-Chica, the original Chichen Itza, and about a dozen different shops.
As soon as I sat down, the chef de cuisine came out and introduced himself. It was a nice touch, hopefully it didn't have anything to do with the fact that:
1. I was the one asian guy in the whole building
2. I was holding a camera.
Anyhow, he introduced me to the dishes of the day:
(My hands were shaking badly due to Urth Caffe Spanish Latte I had a few hours earlier. And thus...the blurry words. Deal with it.)
The rest of the menu was on the giant blackboard along the top of the stall.
Being the petite eater that I am, I decided to go with a light dinner.
I started with the special ceviche, which was made of scallop, striped bass, sweet potato, and roasted Peruvian corn. The scallop and striped bass tasted fresh, but the whole time through this dish I kept thinking about the pH of the dish and how the sweet potato and corn was acting as the base and it was balancing out the acidity of the lime juice. It also reminded me that I sucked at chemistry in high school. But I digress, we're concerned with eating, not chemistry.
Dish number 2 promptly followed the completion of dish number 1. The causa del dia was crab. Peruvian food is ANYTHING but bland. The rich crab filling was balanced by the mild potato with all of it complemented by the aji sauce.
Midway through the causa, I got a small plate of roasted Peruvian corn. Was this the predecessor to the corn nuts we know? Four kernels in (ok, maybe 10), I realized that these roasted corn nuts would be GREAT with a beer, until I read the sign on the wall: Alcohol is not served here. Argh.
All thoughts of beer quickly disappeared when the lomo saltado arrived.
So much for that "light meal" that I planned to have. Needless to say, the bread and rice went mostly untouched. Gotta start keeping track of the carbs at some point right?
Really, can you go wrong with fries, stir fried beef, roman tomatoes, and red onions? Jenga those fries at your own risk.
Thoroughly stuffed, I thought it would be appropriate to just complete the package and order dessert:
All in all, quite an amazing meal at an incredibly affordable price in the most random of places. Mo-Chica is definitely the place to visit for an exceptional Peruvian meal.
Note: Mo-Chica hosts regular tasting dinners and the next one is on October 29, 2009 from 6p-9p. Reservations are required, so if you are interested, call 213-747-2141 to reserve your spot.
Clearly, this won't be a food-only blog. You'll live. And if you can't, well, there about a million other blogs you can go check out.
I had a chance to stop by The Wende Museum this past Sunday before Kooza and checked out The Wall Project.
The Wall Project is on display at The Wende Museum through November 9, 2009.
Lunch today took me to Pizzeria Ortica, David Myer's first Orange County outpost.
I don't know how I feel about the way the restaurant is designed, especially when the restaurant gets crowded and you need to traverse from one end of the restaurant to the other.
This is your Rorschach test. Tell me what you see.
I decided to be healthy and start with the verdure al forno con burrata, or in English, burrata with grilled veggies. About midway through this course, I decided that the dish needed at least two more mounds of burrata in order to fulfill my cheese quota.
The waiter called the insalata alla bagna cauda their "ceasar salad." I call it a lonely looking salad, like it could use a few anchovy slices or some grilled chicken.
Ravioli di burrata e ricotta al pomodoro. This looked tasty, but I never got to try it. I was too busy sweating over my own dish.
Pappardelle al sugo d’agnello. Pappardelle is my current pasta crush. I fall in love with pasta the way I do with gadgets: an intense relationship early on that fizzles out, falls out of favor and is relegated to the gadget drawer, never to be touched again. While this dish looked simple, the lamb ragu and sheep's milk ricotta was rich and give this dish a full, fulfilling flavor. (I just made my mouth water thinking about this.)
I shall call you: overkill. Officially: Budino di Cioccolato (chocolate creme layered with caramel).
My dessert: affogato.
Pizzera Ortica - unassuming, fulfilling, scrumptious.
I don't know what else to say aside from the fact that La Mar is beautiful. Situated on Pier 1 1/2, La Mar occupies a premium address along the San Francisco Bay next to the Ferry Building. With its natural lighting and beautiful vibrant colors, you feel like you've been transported from the SF Bay to a warm island destination along the beach. The menu is pretty much the same experience: vibrant, color displays that capture your attention and leave a lasting impression on your palate.
You can't go to a Peruvian restaurant and not try the ceviche right? The ceviche tasting includes the mixto, chifa, nikei, and clasico.
The tiraditos tres ajies is a modern take on the traditional ceviche. The difference is between the two is the way the fish is sliced, which is more in line with the Japanese sashimi cut.
The lomo saltado is a traditional Peruvian stir fry dish with beef tenderloin, fries, and rice. This reminded me of Animal's poutine dish. Yum.
I didn't mind at all the excursion to Peru while I was in SF.