Tag Archives: Downtown L.A.

Orsa & Winston

Orsa & Winston Jonathan Gold Scouting Report
My Orsa & Winston scouting report for Jonathan Gold and the L.A. Times is here. All photos on Flickr. Enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under Eating Out

Mexicali Taco and Co.

Downtown L.A.’s Mexicali Taco is open for lunch and dinner, but I’m a big fan of the lunch deals. For WAY under $10, I get a garlicky vampiro (photos below), taco and drink. The crispy cachetada is a GREAT hangover meal, on it’s own or with a fried egg on top. Trust me, I’ve tested it out!

Jonathan Gold wrote:
But like everybody else who visits Mexicali Taco & Co., I am obsessed with the vampiros, rather larger flour tortillas folded over chorizo, chicken or carne asada, maybe all three, as well as a squirt or two of garlic sauce and what can technically be described as a boatload of gooey, stretchy melted Mexican cheese. (A vampiro is supposedly a creature of Sinaloa, although I’ve seen them in Guadalajara and they are apparently endemic in northern Baja at the moment. I refuse to take sides.) Think of a  CPK-size pizza folded in half, only a million times better. A folded pizza you can have with giant grilled guero chiles — chiles dusted with dried chiles! — if such is your pleasure. Or really, about a pint of that taqueria guacamole.Read more at L.A. Times

Carne Asada Vampiro & Taco at Mexicali Taco & Co.
Carne Asada Vampiro. GET EXTRA GARLIC SAUCE!

Cachetada at Mexicali Taco & Co.
Cachetada: The classic tostada reinvented with choice of meat and melted Mexican cheese, topped with a savory aioli chipotle sauce.

Cachetada topped with an egg at Mexicali Taco & Co.
Cachetada con Huevo. HANGOVER HELPER.

Zuperman at Mexicali Taco & Co.
Dinner is great with a group of friends (and family). My brother Greg’s favorite is the MEATY Zuperman: A gigantic portion of all three meats & cheese sandwiched between two tasty haring tortillas.

Chorizo Nachos at Mexicali Taco & Co.
Chorizo Nachos w special Salsa Raja. Ridiculously GOOD! I shared, but didn’t want to.

Gueros: Cantonese-Baja style peppers at Mexicali Taco & Co.
Gueros: Cantonese-Baja Style Peppers. At $1.50, a MUST ORDER every time.

Mexicali Taco & Co.All about Mexicali Taco & Co (they cater too!).

Follow Mexicali on Twitter

Mexicali on FaceBook

Make sure you wave hello to founders Esdras Ochoa & Javier Fregoso!

Mexicali Taco & Co.
Website
702 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 613-0416
Located one block north of Sunset Blvd/Cesar Chavez Blvd, just north of downtown and west of Chinatown.
Map

3 Comments

Filed under Eating Out

Bäco Mercat

I thought Josef Centeno’s Bäco Mercat (in downtown L.A.) was simply a sandwich and soda shop.

I was SO very wrong…

The original Baco
Of course we begin with the Bäco flatbread sandwich: Pork Belly, Beef Carnitas, Salbitxada (Catalan sauce of tomatoes, almonds and garlic). Peter and I first tried Chef Centeno’s Bäco when he opened the Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo.

Bäco Mercat is the home of the “bäco,” the signature flatbread sandwich that was developed by chef Josef Centeno. The original bäco was the crispy pork belly and beef carnitas with caraway pepper. Since then, the bäco bread has taken center stage and works as a vessel for all things delicious: pork, beef, poultry, seafood and vegetables. (more on the website)

Sugar Snap & Pear Salad
Sugar Snap & Pear Salad w grapefruit, burrata, dill walnut.

Baby Back Ribs
Half Rack Baby Back Ribs w chili vinegar.

Pork Belly Cavatelli
Pork Belly, Soujouk with Ricotta Cavatelli.

Caesar Brussels Salad
Caesar Brussels Salad, Pecorino, Anchovy, Garlic.

The Toron Bäco at Bäco Mercat
Toron, with oxtail hash, pickle, cheddar and “tater” (it’s like a big homemade tater tot)!

Black Rice Risotto at Bäco Mercat
Black Rice Risotto: Squid, Fine Herbs, Creme Fraiche.

Pulled Confit Goose Leg,  Bäco Mercat
Pulled Confit Goose Leg with blood oranges, arugula and pickled cherries.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Szechuan Peppercorns, Whipped Cream, rice balls.

Pop,  Bäco Mercat
Bäco Ginger, Orange, Juniper Soda Pop!

Bäco Mercat
Absolutely charming (and casually romantic!) inside and out. Peter and I will be spending many, many evenings downtown this summer!

Bäco MercatMore food photos on Flickr

Please read Jonathan Gold’s Bäco review at L.A. Weekly

Bäco Mercat
408 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-8808
website

Follow @BacoMercat on twitter

Bäco Mercat on FaceBook

1 Comment

Filed under Eating Out

Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe

Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe (in downtown L.A.) is a temporary, pop-up restaurant by Chef Gary Menes. Peter and I have been HUGE fans of Gary’s ever since he cooked at Marche’, which was our favorite neighborhood spot before it shuttered last year.

I was actually kind of broken-hearted when the Sherman Oaks restaurant closed. Marche’ was our local jewel, our special night out with friends, our proof that the valley had destination dining too.

Chef Menes’ impressive resume includes (to name a few) working in the kitchens of Patina, Palate Food and Wine, and Thomas Keller’s French Laundry. If you haven’t been lucky enough to taste his food yet, email for a coveted counter seat at Le Comptoir before the pop-up ends. Gary’s not only a super-talented chef, but one of the most genuine and kindest as well.

Our beautiful evening at Le Comptoir:

Beet Amuse at Le Comptoir
Amuse: (Chef Gary Menes said this dish was inspired by Chef Alain Passard) Pressure cooked beets from Kelli Johnson’s urban farm in long beach, lime pudding, homemade cheese with raw milk, little celery.

San Marzano Tomato Veloute at Le Comptoir
San Marzano Tomato Veloute, Yogurt, Celery

Sunny Side Egg at Le Comptoir
Sunny Side-Up Egg, Young Lettuce Herbs, Sorrel Jus. We mixed the ingredients ourselves, starting with melting butter in the sizzling pan. I love playing with my food!

Blue Hubbard Squash at Le Comptoir
Blue Hubbard Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Dried Cherry Marmalade, Smoked Scallions, Santa Barbara Chanterelles, Spanish Padron Peppers.

NY Strip & Short Ribs at Le Comptoir
Grass Fed New York Strip, 72-Hour Braised Short Ribs, Hearts of Romaine, Carrots, Forbidden Rice, Currant Relish

Sourdough Donut Holes at Le Comptoir
Sourdough donut holes, cinnamon suger, nutella, candied walnuts

Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe by Chef Gary Menes
Sous Wesley Avila, Beautiful eggs from Kelly Johnson’s farm in Long Beach.

Chef Gary Menes
Dining at the counter, means the BEST SEATS in the house! I could have sat there all evening watching Chef Menes plating dishes. Note: “Le Comptoir” means the counter.

Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe by Chef Gary Menes
Brenden Day, commis

Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe by Chef Gary Menes
The culinary team (from left to right)
Wesley Avila, sous chef
Gary Menes, chef
Joachim Cooder, commis
Brenden Day, commis

Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe by Chef Gary Menes
Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe

All photos from Le Comptoir

All my photos of Chef Gary Menes’ food!

Jonathan Gold Reviews Le Comptoir

Also on Jonathan Gold’s 99 MUST list!

Le Comptoir at Tiara Cafe
127 East 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Website 
Thu – Sat: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Reserve Here of via email LeComptoirLA@gmail.com

$46 for 5 Courses
$24 for Wine Pairing

Follow Chef Gary Menes on Twitter

Le Comptoir on FaceBook

Dining date: 11/12/11

10 Comments

Filed under Eating Out

Villains Tavern

Because let’s face it… sometimes being bad feels so good…

Villains Tavern Interior

Last week I was invited (by the kind folks at Shiny Object Co.) to check out the new Fall-Winter Specialty Cocktails at Villains Tavern downtown.

Villains Tavern CocktailThe four I tasted (lucky me, I had a driver!):

Blackheart (Goslings Dark Rum, Blackheart Spiced Rum, Rum Batter, Hot Water with Heavy Whipping Cream)

Day of the Dead (Mulled Spice Cider, Vodka, Apple Jack and Bitters)

Sleepy Hollow (Gin, Pumpkin, Citrus, Organic Egg Whites, Sugar, Heavy Whipping Cream and Chocolate Chili Bitters)

Edgar Allan Poe (A spin on the eggnog created in 1862 by Jerry Thomas, with Fighting Cock Bourbon, fresh green apple juice, an organic egg, sugar and nutmeg)

Along with the new cocktails, I munched on some terrific bar bites:

Villains Tavern's Grilled Cheese w/ Bacon Marmalade
Grilled Cheese w/ Bacon Marmalade

Villains Tavern's Burger
Demon Burger w/ Bacon

Villains Tavern's Fried Chickpeas
Deep-fried Chickpeas (couldn’t get enough of these suckers!)

Villains Tavern Interior

This was my first visit to Villains Tavern, and I’m already planning a return visit with friends. It’s location is a bit isolated, but I have to admit… that added to the sort of dangerous fun of it all!

More photos:
Villains Tavern Interior

Villains Tavern Interior

VVillains Tavern Interior
I collect old apothecary bottles too (would love these for my collection!)

Villains Tavern Mixologist
Dave Whitton mixing concoctions

All my Villains Tavern photos on flickr

The Dark Carnival at Villains Tavern
Friday Oct 29th & Saturday Oct 30th
7pm to 2am
Live Music, Freak Show, Costume Contest, Carnival Food more info>

Villains Tavern
1356 Palmetto

Los Angeles, CA 91003
(213) 613-0766
Website

Villains Tavern on Twitter

Note: This was a preview, media event (no cost). Thanks so much to Bradley Tuck and Megan MacEachern for the invite!

2 Comments

Filed under Little Bites

Party at the Ox!

Most of the time, when Peter and I go out to dinner, it’s just the two of us at the table. While catching up on the day’s activities, we order cocktails and share a few dishes, trading plates after eating EXACTLY half. I think we’re pretty lucky because after fifteen years together, we still love hanging out, especially when we’re trying a new restaurant. Just look for the couple having the most fun in the room… it’s probably us!

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1Every once in a while we go out with a group of friends, and two of our most recent gatherings have been at the Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo. The first visit was on January 14th after we attended an earthquake fundraiser at TiGeorges Haitian Restaurant on Glendale Blvd. Peter and I, along with our neighbor Nelson, met up with Charles and Robert to find a very successful charity event, but no food (they had just sold out). So after we all made donations, we decided to head downtown and check out the Lazy Ox.

We didn’t have reservations, but hostess Janna (who is gorgeous and super sweet) let us takeover a long, communal table. The giant mirror across the way made it perfect for checking out the entire room.

Our servers were both fantastic. At first “Q” took our orders and helped us decide on a few dishes from the $5 happy hour menu, then Rolando stepped in with recommendations from the regular menu. Having just come from the Haiti charity event, we were all in such great spirits and it showed in what we ordered. Lots of wine, lots of sharing and lots of laughs.

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1I started talking to Rolando about his “day job” at Sage Mountain Farm, and was fascinated to learn that he personally delivers his vegetables to the Lazy Ox. His passion really showed in the way he spoke about the produce, and it also made me slow down and pay more attention to the  food on the plate in front of me. Rolando also works with several other L.A. area restaurants including Locali in Silverlake.

Our second dinner at “the Ox” (as everyone now seems to be calling it), was a couple of weeks after the first. Another group dinner with friends Bob and Andrew, who were entertaining visiting relatives. Another fun night sharing almost unending plates of (albeit daring to some) delicious food.

My favorite bites so far have been the Bӓco (if you go, order this FIRST!), Pig’s Ears, Chicharones Skewers, Braised Beef with Cream of Wheat… oh HECK, just look at the photos below because I’ve fallen for everything on Chef Josef Centeno’s menu!

Peter and I will be back soon, if we can get a reservation that is! Rave reviews (links below) and a recent mention on Jonathan Gold’s “99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die” list will make it a bit more difficult to party at the Ox, but it’s definitely worth the effort!!

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
The Bӓco: Grilled flatbread, crispy pork belly, arugula and poblano sauce

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
Truffled Potato Croquettes. Only $5 on Happy Hour Menu

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
Patatas Bravas with Smoked Paprika

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
Sea Bream is brick oven roasted, head on, with herbs, lemon, purple baby scallions, and chimichurri

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 1
White Soy Marinated Yellowtail with crushed avocado, crispy hash brown and creme fraiche

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Crispy Pig Ears with Horseradish Cream

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Whipped Jersey Cow Ricotta with Sea Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Toasted Peruvian corn, with spices and lime called cancha

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Pork Chicharones Skewers with poblano sauce at Lazy Ox Canteen. $5 on the Happy Hour Menu.
Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Chicken Livers with Whole-Grain Mustard & Pancetta Crisp $7

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Charred Octopus with Pickled Shallots, Lima Beans and Smoked Paprika $15
Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Salt Cod Brandade Fritters with Grated Mojama & Lemon Vinaigrette $8

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Braised Beef Paleron (pot roast) w/ cream of wheat, kumquats and red wine $23
Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder with Turnips, Quinoa and Walnut Chile Tarator Sauce $21

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Hand-Torn Egg Pasta with Sunny-Side Egg, Brown Butter & Fines Herbs $11

Lazy Ox Canteen visit 2
Sopapillas

All my Lazy Ox Canteen Photos on Flickr

LAZY OX CANTEEN
241 S. San Pedro St.
Little Tokyo, Downtown L.A. 90012
(213) 626-5299
http://www.LazyOxCanteen.com

Dining Dates: 1/14/10 & 2/6/10

99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before you Die by Jonathan Gold

Jonathan Gold’s Review on L.A. Weekly

L.A. Times Review

Jonathan Gold discusses Lazy Ox on KCRW’s Good Food

Check out Anne Fishbein’s BEAUTIFUL photos!

Haiti Fundraiser at TiGeorges’ Chicken

Sage Mountain Farm

Follow the Lazy Ox on Twitter

Lazy Ox Canteen on Urbanspoon

14 Comments

Filed under Eating Out, Hot Chefs

L.A. Street Food (aka Ludo) Fest

Chef Ludo Lefebvre’s fried chicken is simply the best. I first fell in love with it during LudoBites at RoyalT Cafe in December, and was thrilled (like many) that Ludo was bringing it back… in a FOOD TRUCK! This special event was for one day only, at the first ever L.A. Street Food Festival.

L.A. Street Food Fest 2010Peter and I, along with our friend Hanh, showed up almost an hour early and got in line. Happily, we were in direct view of Ludo’s spanking new “Mobi Munch” food truck.

There, we met up with my sister Janet, foodie friends, and lots of other Ludo Lovers. It was an unofficial LUDO FRIED CHICKEN (LFC) munch fest in downtown L.A.!

The event entry fee was only $5, and vendors were selling food at $1 to $5 for each dish. Two pieces of Ludo’s giant deep-fried, rosemary-crusted chicken balls for only five bucks! I was in full “happy dance” mode for the rest of the day.

L.A. Street Food Fest 2010Although the lines for ALL food trucks were long, the Ludo Fried Chicken queue seemed like it went on forever (some people waited HOURS). I’m just so grateful we went early, and was sad to learn that thousands of folks were turned away because of over capacity. Honestly, I DREAM about LFC. It’s THAT good.

After camping at Ludo’s truck for the first hour, I only managed to try two other vendor’s treats. It’s quite obvious that the event was a huge success, but I kept wondering if the entry price was just too low. Maybe next year (hopefully there WILL BE a next year) the entry fee should be increased to $10 or $15 per person? As my sister Janet noted, “it should be about the same price as a movie ticket.”

In any case, I’ll definitely be back… hopefully Ludo (and his chicken) will be there too!

L.A. Street Food Fest 2010

Click here to view all my photos from the Street Food Fest

Jonathan Gold’s Review

More about Ludo Lefebvre and LudoBites

About Ludo & Mobi Munch by FoodGPS

LA Street Food Fest

LudoBites at RoyalT Cafe

Mobi Munch website

Hanh’s website

12 Comments

Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)