Faith and Flower

Faith and Flower restaurant opens tonight (3/31/14) in downtown L.A. It’s beautiful, quite plush but not too pricey for such a grand space.

Faith & Flower main dining room before openingTwo of my favorite dishes were the Eggs Benedict Pizza topped with Smoked Bacon, Spinach, Hollandaise Sauce and also the Oxtail Agnolotti with Bone Marrow Butter, Tangerine Salsa and Beef Tendon Chicharrones.

I still can’t stop thinking about the English Milk Punch Cocktail. It’s made with a milk clarification, which takes three days to make. Ingredients include Appleton & Bacardi 8 Rums, Bulleit Bourbon, Batavia Arrack, Pernod Absinthe, Pineapple and Sencha Tea. 

Read all about the opening here at L.A. Times.

I’ve posted lots of photos from last night’s preview dinner here. Enjoy!

Faith and Flower website

Follow Faith and Flower on twitter

Faith and Flower on FB

Huge CONGRATS to my friend (and co-owner) Stephane Bombet. You’ve done it again Stephane!

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All-Star Chef Classic 2014

AllStarChefClassicGrillChillSavor Last weekend Peter and I attended the first-ever All-Star Chef Classic in downtown Los Angeles. It was such a spectacular event for chef fans like us, and even though we only made it to two out of four events (having just returned from Scotland), we both had a super, delicious weekend.

Highlights included meeting out-of-town chefs Paul Qui, Wylie Dufresne and Graham Elliot, and watching L.A. legend Josiah Citrin cooking in the enormous restaurant stadium. Tuna with Sesame Tofu

There were (obviously) so many delicious bites, including Jennifer Jasinski’Cardamom Brined Pork BellyLudo Lefebvre’s Beef and Charred Broccoli, Paul Qui’s Cabbage with Crispy Chicken Skin, and Kuniko Yagi’Tuna with Sesame TofuMany more tasty photos here.

Huge CONGRATULATIONS to the event co-founders, Krissy Lefebvre and Lucy Lean!

We are SO looking forward to making it to ALL the events next year!

All-Star Chef Classic website

All my photos from “Grill and Chill” and “Savor The Season”  

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Australia Someday

A FREE TRIP to Australia?

Now, this is something I want to share with friends and family ASAP. Friends and family in the United States that is, as this Tourism Australia Contest is just for lucky Americans.

Visiting the Great Ocean Road, Australia“I’ll get to Australia Someday and see the Great Ocean Road!”… It’s something I used to say often, along with, “I’ll get to Singapore someday” (to eat chicken rice at a gritty Hawker Center), or “Leningrad someday” (to practice the Russian I’ve been learning for 30 years).

Travel is the thing I save up for most in life (yes, even more than dining out). The cost of traveling abroad is the thing I measure all pending purchases against. If I’m pining for a new pair of $250 boots I think, “that’s a quarter of a ticket to Tokyo.”

Virgin Australia L.A. to Melbourne (via Sydney)My “Australia Someday” came last September, when Tourism Australia invited me to a Melbourne Food and Wine Festival preview

A highlight of my Oz visit came even before I arrived, when Australian Chef Luke Mangan (the airline executive chef) had me upgraded on my Virgin Australia flight from Los Angeles. 

Experiencing Australia, eating (and drinking) Australia was an absolute dream come true. Photos of my trip (with many more to come) are posted here on Flickr.

How can you visit Australia this year? Here’s the scoop (via Tourism Australia):

Virgin Australia, Delta Air Lines and Tourism Australia have teamed up to encourage Americans to visit Australia now.

Head on over to AustraliaSomeday.com and take a visual journey through videos and pictures related to each of the 52 experiences. These act as clues that hint to where in Australia the experience is enjoyed.

Place a “pin” on the map of Australia at the location and – if you get it right – be entered to win that “Someday” trip. You can enter each of the weeklong experiences for 52 different chances to win an Australian holiday.

KOALA!Each trip comes complete with a week’s hotel, roundtrip airfare for two and the featured Australian experience.

Note: The “Australia Someday” competition ends April 21, 2014 so get going!

Tourism Australia

Virgin Australia

Australia Someday

Delta Airlines

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Irv’s Burgers (New Location)

Irv's Burgers (new location) by Jo Stougaard
Check out the juicy burgers (and filling breakfasts) at Irv’s Burgers (new location) in West Hollywood. My latest Jonathan Gold Scouting Report at the L.A. Times.

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Pork Love at Cliff’s Edge

Peter and I finally got to Cliff’s Edge (in Silver Lake) to try Chef Vartan Abgaryan‘s cooking last week. We first met Vartan at a local food event, and got to know him better when he volunteered with L.A. Bites Hunger.

Walking into Cliff’s Edge, we were instantly smitten with the romantic, hidden restaurant and still cannot stop talking about the fantastic meal.

In between the poached oysters topped with crispy squid ink  and the salty/sweet caramel custard was, what is now, my very favorite pork dish in Los Angeles.

Suckling Pig dish at Cliff's Edge
Wow. Just WOW! Vartan’s Suckling Pig with Crepinette (pork ball wrapped in caul fat), Pork Loin (right), Pork Belly and savoy cabbage, sweet potato, saison, pork jus.

Suckling Pig at Cliff's Edge
Pork Belly Close-up! Peter called this “Pork Cake”.

Suckling Pig at Cliff's Edge
Pork Loin Close-up!

There were gorgeous vegetables and barbecued octopus too, but I just can’t stop thinking about all the pork love.

My friend Josh Lurie aka @FoodGPS wrote a great piece about the dish here.

All my Cliff’s Edge photos

Cliff’s Edge
3626 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 666-6116
website

Follow Vartan Abgaryan on twitter

Follow Cliff’s Edge on twitter

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SXSW Austin Eats

Last year I was invited by Samsung to check out the food scene during South By Southwest (SXSW),  the yearly film, music and interactive conference in Austin, Texas.

There were so many incredible bites, including the BEST BRISKET I have ever tasted (photos below), and a pop-up food trailer park called SouthBites that made it easy to find some tasty surprises too. SouthBites will be up and running again at this year’s 2014 SXSW beginning March 7. Check out the details here. 

Franklin BBQ, Austin
If you haven’t been before, Franklin BBQ should be your first stop. Order the brisket.

I asked for the FATTY parts of the brisket. Franklin BBQ, Austin
Brisket… Glorious Brisket. I asked for the fatty part and it was life-changing!

Franklin BBQ, Austin
There will be a line at Franklin BBQ. It’s worth it. I arrived three hours before opening and was still about tenth in line. Thankfully someone across the street was renting chairs. About an hour before opening someone came around with beer for sale. Yes, beer for breakfast!

The MAN, Aaron Franklin.
The MAN, Arron Franklin.

Tipsy Texan Sandwich at Franklin BBQ, Austin
Tipsy Texan Sandwich with chopped beef, sausage, slaw, onions, pickles.

Brisket & Sausage at Franklin BBQ, Austin
The sausage is good too… but it really is ALL ABOUT THE BRISKET.

Franklin BBQ, Austin
“Sold Out”. I saw a few tears when the sign was posted. So full from my meat fest, I walked to the end of the line and gave my extra brisket to the last man standing. He smiled.

Do plan your schedule accordingly as Franklin BBQ is open Tuesday–Sunday and CLOSED on Mondays. Hours: 11am–sold out (just open for lunch). Watch Bourdain eat at Franklin hereMore Franklin BBQ photos.

Ramen Tatsu-ya (Austin, Texas)
Ramen Tatsu-ya is Austin’s first authentic Japanese ramen shop opened by chefs/DJs, Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto. Get there EARLY as well as there are usually lines out the door. Lunch Hours are Tues-Fri, 11am-2pm (Sat+Sun, 12pm-3pm), Dinner Hours are Tues-Sun, 5pm-10pm.

How good is it? Bon Appetit named them one of their Top 50 Restaurants! “A strip mall may not be the first place you might think to look for one of the country’s best new restaurants, but you’ll be glad you did when you stumble upon this Japanese gem. The dining room’s bright red chairs and red-accented lamps set a fun, energetic vibe, but it’s the steaming bowls of ramen with hunks of pork belly that cause fans to line up outside the door.”

#1 Tonkotsu Original at Ramen Tatsu-ya
Ramen Tatsu-ya’s #1 Tonkotsu Original: Creamy pork noodle soup with chashu, ajitama egg, wood ear mushroom and scallions. More Ramen Tatsu-ya photos

Barley Swine, Austin
Hankering for a more higher end (yet still casual) meal? Then head to Bryce Gilmore’s Barley Swine.

Crispy Trotter, Grilled Pig Face (Barley Swine)
I dined solo at the bar and started with the Crispy Trotter, Grilled Pig Face, Loin, Beans, Sauerkraut.

Hen Egg, Popcorn, Fermented Goats Milk (Barley Swine)
Soft Hen Egg, Popcorn, Fermented Goats Milk, Celery, Dill. No wonder GQ included Barley Swine on their 2012 Top 10 Restaurant list. More Barley Swine photos.

Veracruz in Austin, Texas
Veracruz All Natural is a food trailer located at 1704 E Cesar Chavez.

Migas with eggs, tortilla chips, avocado, cheese.
HANGOVER HEAVEN. Migas with eggs, tortilla chips, avocado, cheese at Veracruz.

Breakfast Migas at Veracruz in Austin, Texas
Two please. (Travel Maxie watching over my breakfast of champions). More Veracruz photos.

East Side King
Unfortunately I didn’t get to eat at Qui last year (I don’t think it was open yet!) but the awesome SouthBites food truck lot was curated by chef Paul Qui.

East Side King (a rare moment with NO LINES)
Fortunately I got to try Paul Qui’s food via his food truck, East Side King, at SouthBites.

Kara-age Kimchee Yakisoba
East Side King’s Kara-age Kimchee Yakisoba egg noodle, fried chicken kara-age, cabbage, cilantro, sesame, spicy mayo.

ESK Pork Belly Slider
ESK Pork Belly Slider: Pork Belly, Pickles, Cilantro on a Sweet Roll by East Side King.

Deep Fried WAGYU Weiner w Bacon Relish
I don’t see Foreign & Domestic on the #SouthBites food truck list this year, but their Deep Fried WAGYU Weiner w Bacon Relish was killer.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Waffle w Ancho Chile Honey
Scheduled to be at #SouthBites again is the comfort-food-on-wheels Waffle Bus. Definitely go for the Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Waffle w Ancho Chile Honey.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Also returning to SouthBites is Ohio’s Jeni’s Ice Cream. My favorite was their Salted Caramel Ice Cream.

Bushmill's Irish Honey Ice Cream at Coolhaus Austin
Follow CoolHaus Austin on twitter for SXSW locations. Their Bushmill’s Irish Honey Ice Cream is to DIE for.

Hey Cupcake! SXSW 2013
Hey Cupcake gets my vote for the CUTEST FOOD TRUCK ever!

Michael Jackson Chocolate Cupcake w Cream Cheese
Michael Jackson Chocolate Cupcake w Cream Cheese by Hey Cupcake.

Many thanks to Samsung for this fun and delicious experience! All my photos were taken on a Galaxy Note II.

All my Austin food photos

Franklin BBQ website

Ramen Tatsu-ya website

Barley Swine website

Veracruz on FaceBook

East Side King website

Waffle Bus website

Jeni’s Ice Cream website

Cool Haus Austin website

Hey Cupcake website

About SouthBites

SXSW SouthBites Food Trailer Park by Austin 360

Note: SouthBites is located at 604 Driskill St – Southeast corner of Cesar Chavez & Red River and is open to all SXSW Registrants & the general public.

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AUSTRALIA – Jo Bites Oz, Part 3

Jet lag. I’d like to say I don’t suffer from it, and as an experienced traveller I could simply shake it off and reset my body clock when I arrive in a different time zone. But it seems like the older I get (I’m 50 this year), the harder it is to recover from lack of sleep.

In the past I’ve tried melatonin and prescription sleeping pills, even dozing off for hours on a long, international flight, but I’m still exhausted upon arrival. The last thing I want to do is waste time catching up on sleep when I’m in a new city (or country).

When I’m fighting jet lag, a good attitude helps. Plus I always get a rush of adrenaline when I begin a new adventure. And coffee… lots and lots of extraordinary coffee.

Australia Part 3: Melbourne Coffee and Café Culture Tour
Not many cities take their coffee as seriously as Melbourne does.  Since the first espresso machines landed in the 50’s, the city’s reverence for the coffee bean has continued to prosper.  The third wave coffee movement has taken hold, with a number of cafes serving cold press, siphon, filter and clover methods, with locally roasted beans.  Today, it is difficult to turn a corner in the city centre without enjoying the aroma of fresh brews. (Tourism Australia)

 

Along the Yarra River, Melbourne
Our Melbourne Coffee and Cafe tour was organized by Walk Melbourne, with our group meeting near our hotel on the Yarra River. We spent almost three hours walking around, tasting coffee, eating lunch and also exploring Melbourne’s lane ways with Hidden Secret Tours.

Alice Nivens Cafe, Melbourne, Australia
First stop, Alice Nivens Cafe located on Flinders street. Owner Janet Wong named the café after Tim Burton’s white rabbit, Nivens, and brings her love of baking, liquids and fantasy alive in this small inviting space.

Alice Nivens Cafe, Melbourne, Australia
Peeking into Alice Nivens.

Alice Nivens cafe, Melbourne
Pastries at Alice Nivens.

Alice Nivens cafe, Melbourne
Janet Wong, the charming owner of Alice Nivens Cafe.

Alice Nivens cafe, Melbourne
Alice Nivens Cafe.

Alice Nivens Cafe, Melbourne, Australia
Alice Nivens Cafe.

Alice Nivens cafe, Melbourne
Wall art at Alice Nivens.

Alice Nivens cafe, Melbourne
I tried Los Planes (El Savador) coffee at Alice Nivens Cafe. It tasted floral with hints of sweet candied citrus, pomegranate and cocoa.

Alice Nivens Cafe, Melbourne, Australia
Alice Nivens Cafe.

Walk Melbourne Tour
Dukes Coffee Roasters on Flinders Lane. Dukes features a dedicated filter bar and is made largely using reclaimed and recycled construction materials. A percentage of annual sales from the coffee house is pledged to environmental causes.

Walk Melbourne Tour
Dukes is very serious about coffee. I felt like I was in a coffee test lab!

Walk Melbourne Tour
Brother Buba Budan (on Little Bourke Street)  is named after the world’s first coffee smuggler. BBB uses some of the best coffee in Australia, roasted by Melbourne’s own famous coffee smuggler, Mark Dundon.

Brother Baba Budan in Melbourne, Australia
At Brother Buba Budan I tried Finca La Soledad (Guatamala) with notes of nectarine, toffee and mandarin.

Walk Melbourne Tour
After several cups of coffee, my new pal (fellow writer Nyree McFarlane) and I grabbed a quick Dinkum pie to soak up all the glorious caffeine.

Dinkum Pies is located in one of Melbourne’s magical hidden laneways, Block Place (off the Block Arcade.) For over forty years, they’ve been making traditional meat pies, pasties and other Australian goodies.

Walk Melbourne Tour
Steak Curry & Rice Pie.

Walk Melbourne Tour
More touring, then brunch at Silo by Joost, Melbourne’s first ‘zero-waste’ café.

Walk Melbourne Tour
Near the kitchen of Silo by Joost.

Walk Melbourne Tour
Spring Vegetables, Hens Egg, Olive Brine, Buttermilk at Joost.

Walk Melbourne Tour
Jerusalem Artichoke, Cumin and Yogurt Soup at Joost.

Walk Melbourne Tour
More walking in beautiful Melbourne.

SheBeen in Melbourne, Australia
We past Shebeen cafe after eating brunch. I would’ve loved have gone back but I just didn’t have the time. From the website: We donate 100% of our profits, and your choice at the bar determines where they end up. Here’s how it works… Every beer, wine, cider and margarita sale sends funds back to that drink’s country of origin. We’ve made sure your money ends up in the right pockets by scouring the globe to find some of the smartest organisations tackling poverty in the developing world.

Walk Melbourne Tour
Beautiful old tram. Melbourne’s first electric tram began operation on 14 October 1889 between Box Hill and Doncaster. The service was abandoned less than seven years later and it took until October 1906 for another electric service to begin. (Yarra Trams)

Walk Melbourne Tour
Touring lanes and arcades.

Hosier Lane, Melbourne
Melbourne street art. Hosier Lane is the iconic street art laneway in between Flinders St and Collins St.

Hosier Lane, Melbourne
Ganesh on Hosier Lane.

Bar Americano 20 Presgrave Pl, Melbourne, VIC
Bar Americano, “situated in a laneway, off another laneway” in Melbourne. My favorite photo of the day.

Many thanks to  Tourism AustraliaTourism VictoriaMelbourne Food and Wine.
Melbourne Part TWO here.
Melbourne Part ONE here.

Walk Melbourne
www.walkmelbourne.com.au

Hidden Secret Tours
www.hiddensecretstours.com

Alice Nivens
www.alicenivenscafe.com

Dukes
www.dukescoffee.com.au

Brother Buba Budan
On FaceBook

Dinkum Pies
On FaceBook

Silo by Joost
www.byjoost.com/silo/

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