Tag Archives: downtown

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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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

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The NEW Mo-chica!

Mo Chica on 7thRicardo Zarate, one of my favorite chefs (Picca Peru) officially opens his new Mo-chica restaurant in downtown L.A. tomorrow, May 30th. Peter and I were invited to check out the new space and menu at a “friends and family” preview dinner, where we both tried ALPACA (photos below) for the first time!

The official grand opening includes a street artist, ribbon cutting and Peruvian dancers.

Schedule of Events at Mo-chica 5/30/12:

9AM: Local street artist Robert Vargas tags the windows

11AM: Official ribbon cutting with Ricardo, local artists, city officials (open to the public)

11:30a-3:30p Open for Lunch

5:00p Step-and-repeat photos (open to the public)

5:30-10:30p Open for Dinner

6PM: Dancers and musicians begin their night-long performances

Address is 514 W. 7th Street (@ Grand), Los Angeles, CA 90014

My photos from the preview dinner:

Ceviche Mixto
Ceviche Mixto: Halibut, prawns, scallops, squid, red onion, rocoto, leche de tigre, camote. (Zarate is a ceviche master. Our first dish in the new location HAD to be this.)

Choritos a la Chalaca
Choritos a la Chalaca: Grilled chopped mussels, prawns, squid, tomato choclo salsa.

Carapulcra (Pork Belly!)
Carapulcra: Peruvian sun dried potato stew, crispy pork belly, chimichurri.

Estofado de Alpaca
Estofado de Alpaca: Alpaca stew, tagliatelle, aji amarillo sauce, fried organic fertile egg. (I thought for sure the alpaca would be strong and gamey, but it was exactly the opposite! Very light, reminded me of veal.)

Haburgesa at Mo Chica
Hamburgesa: Alpaca & lamb patty, pickled cucumbers, aji amarillo yogurt dressing. (I am NOT a fan of lamb, but I would order this burger again. As of this week, I AM a fan of alpaca!)

Mo Chica on 7th
The new Mo-chica has a full bar.

Cocktails at Mo Chica
Dogfather (front) aka Pisco Sour: Pisco, egg white, fresh lime & lemon juice, cane syrup sugar, angostura bitter. Papa Don’t Peach: Banks Rum, Fresh Peaches infused w Calvados, Peach Bitters, Simple Syrup, fresh lemon juice.

Kabocha Pumpkin Beignets w Chancaca Sauce
Dessert: Kabocha Pumpkin Beignets w Chancaca Sauce (sweet sauce made of raw unrefined sugar crystallized with honey).

The MAN! Chef Ricardo ZarateAbout Mo-chica (via official press release)

Mo-chica is a vibrant, urban restaurant serving Chef Ricardo Zarate’s modern interpretations on traditional Peruvian comfort food.

Originally built in an unassuming food court in downtown Los Angeles, the restaurant’s humble setting proved a stark contrast for the innovative cuisine served. Chef Ricardo Zarate, a good-humored Lima native who trained at some of London’s most celebrated restaurants for 12 years, opened Mo-chica in the summer of 2009 as his first solo endeavor. The restaurant immediately received recognition from both local and national audiences, including Jonathan Gold and the head honchos at Food & Wine. After opening Picca in 2011 and fueled by the unprecedented momentum of the restaurants’ successes, Zarate resurfaced his dream for Mo-chica—one he wasn’t able to fully materialize with the original location due to limited resources. The chef found a larger space downtown on 7th and Grand that could embody his original vision; the open, industrial-esque restaurant features concrete floors, vibrant-hued walls tagged with graffiti (thanks to local artist Kozem), whimsical touches—including Peruvian figurines customized by some of the city’s culinary tastemakers such as Ludo Lefebvre, Nancy Silverton, and Evan Kleiman—and sneakers suspended from the ceiling.

All my photos of Chef Ricardo Zarate on Flickr

Mo-chica on 7thMo-chica website
514 W. 7th Street (@ Grand)
Los Angeles, CA 90014
213. 622.3744

Dining Date: 5/27/12 Friends & Family Dinner (gratis).

Many thanks and CONGRATS to Ricardo, Stephane, Jorge, Team Mo-chica, Shawna & all!

Hours
Open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Valet parking available after 7 p.m.
Sun.-Sat. 11:30a-3:30p (lunch)
5:30-11p (dinner)

Follow Chef Ricardo Zarate on Twitter

Follow Mo-Chica on Twitter

Mo-chica on FaceBook

Mo-chica by Jonathan Gold, L.A. Weekly

Read “Ricardo Zarate Wants To Introduce You To Alpaca Meat” by Grub Street L.A.

Artist Robert Vargas

Also by Ricardo Zarate: Picca Restaurant

More about Alpaca Meat

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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

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Rivera

Peter and I need to spend more time in downtown L.A. I can only think of a few eateries that we’ve been to lately: Church & State, Wurstküche and Rivera (which was way back in May), and I just realized that I hadn’t yet posted photos from our wonderful Rivera dinner!

We were joined by Andrew Camp, who was then the fromaggier at Palate Food & Wine. Andrew and I began exchanging emails, after he requested to use some photos I took of him at Palate for his website. Soon after, we were FaceBook pals and happily, pals in real life too.

Our evening at Rivera was excellent, and I personally felt Chef John Sedlar’s sense of joy and fun on each delicious plate. If, like me, you like an adventurous cocktail every once in a while, then you’ll love hanging out in the gorgeous bar as well. Ever had a drink garnished with finely ground crickets?

Rivera, MyLastBite.com
The Donaji, made with Mezcal, Citrus, Pomegranate, Agave Nectar and Chapulin Salt (finely ground crickets!!)

Rivera, MyLastBite.com
Progression of Stuffed Olives (Such a clever idea! Don’t they look happy?): Orange, Black Bean, Anchovy, Ham, Cheese $12

Rivera, MyLastBite.com
Tortillas Florales (best I’ve ever tasted) with “Indian Butter” aka Guacamole $7

Rivera, MyLastBite.com
Chile Pasilla Relleno  (so GOOD but I didn’t want to mess up the plate!) $10

Rivera, MyLastBite.com
(of course I messed up the plate!)

Rivera, MyLastBite.com
Banana Leaf Braised Pork Shoulder $24 (Loved the crispy potatoes) and Carne Churrasco with Cabrales on top $29 (I would order BOTH again).

Rivera, MyLastBite.comNo photograph of dessert: Studio en flan (three differently flavored flans) $8

Dining Date: 5/23/09

If you haven’t been to Rivera yet, you’re in luck! Rivera is participating in DineLA’s Restaurant Week, which begins on October 4th. Special three-course meals at Rivera are $22 for lunch and $34 dinner.

Rivera’s Restaurant Week Menu

DineLA Week is Oct 4-9 and 11-16 2009

L.A. Times Review of Rivera

For more Rivera details including STUNNING food photos, check out KevinEats

Andrew as Fromaggier at Palate

Andrew’s Blog

Church and State

Wurstküche

Palate Food & Wine

More Rivera photos on Flickr “Chefs & Restaurants”

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Church and State (1 & 2)

Chef Walter Manzke’s smile is infectious. Wait, maybe I shouldn’t say “infectious” since we’re in the middle of the H1N1 Flu scare (I refuse to call it the OTHER name because I love my bacon).

Church and State, MyLastBite.comOn my first visit to Church and State, I didn’t get to meet the chef until evening’s end, when I stole a few seconds of his time to tell him how much Peter and I enjoyed the restaurant. During our entire dinner though, from across the room, I was carefully watching him as he expedited orders and finished off each plate in the open kitchen.

Between bites of the luxurious beef short-rib bordelaise and the perfectly baked (and cute) tiny ramekins of escargot, I would look over and see Chef Manzke’s face beaming. It’s almost like I could feel his joy drifting through the kitchen, then up above the beautiful, antiquated string of lights, and finally, smack down onto my plate.

Delicious food always makes me happy, but seeing chef Manzke’s ear-to-ear grin in the kitchen definitely made me more aware of the joy and care he (and his crew) puts into each dish.

Church & State, MyLastBite.comI love everything about this restaurant; the exterior, interior, the decor. It resides in a beautiful, old brick building that used to be the loading dock for the Nabisco Biscuit Company, and the downtown location makes me feel like I’m in New York City, or at least “New York Street” at Universal Studios. I was shocked how nearby it was as well: Door to door (with no traffic), it’s only fifteen minutes from our home in Studio City.

The bistro is casual enough for jeans and charming enough for a little, black dress. But personally, it makes me feel like dressing up in a boho-chic skirt, over-sized hoop earrings and chunky, cork platforms (something I imagine Ali MacGraw wore in the seventies, on fabulous trips to Paris).

The bar sits directly across from the kitchen, and we were seated near the large, front windows on our first two visits, with perfect views of both. There’s an antique absinthe dispenser on the bar counter which reminded me of the vintage absinthe spoons I started collecting back in 2001, when Peter worked on the marketing campaign for “Moulin Rouge!”

I think Toulouse-Lautrec himself would have loved one of the small tables along the cool, brick wall along the back. And just because I want to try a different view of the gorgeous room, that’s where you’ll find me on my next visit. Just look for the platform shoes and over-sized hoop earrings.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
The entrance
Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Escargots de Bourgogne: Snails baked in Garlic and Parsley Butter, $12 (for 6). We will always order these on every visit!

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
They were SO GOOD.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Pied de Cochon: Pig’s feet and cheeks (made into a fritter cake), lentils, frisee aux lardons with a poached egg on top, $9. My FAVORITE dish so far! (Pied de Cochon means “pig’s foot” in French)

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Tarte Flambée: Caramelized onions, Bacon, Gruyère cheese, $11. I love thin pizza crusts, and this was perfection.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Steak Frites: French fries, Sauce Béarnaise. Classic and DELICIOUS, we got the smaller “Petite Assiette” (small plate) size for $15 (full size, $25). Note: All the main dishes or “Plats Principaux” are offered in two sizes.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
The whimsical interior.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Oreille de Cochon: Pig’s Ears with sauce bearnaise, $7. Courtesy of the nice couple sitting next to us. Crispy, Fatty, Goodness! (the pig’s ears, NOT the couple!)

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Our wonderful server/pastry chef Marge (aka Mrs. Manzke!), showing us the dessert offerings for the evening.

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
I forgot what dessert we chose TO SHARE. Instead this incredible plank of sweetness was brought to us by Chef Manzke himself!

Apricot Tart, Pot de Crème au Chocolat, I loved the quenelle next to the chocolate (if I remember correctly, there were tiny delicious bits of toasted hazelnuts underneath), Apple Galette (I think), Croustade aux Fraises: Warm strawberry crips, vanilla ice cream.

I didn’t have the heart to tell the chef that I’m not really “into dessert” (one bite and I’m good). Luckily, Peter is INTO dessert, so even though we were full from dinner, we finished most of it!

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
The bar and Absinthe sign (it’s blurry, you’re not drunk)

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Desserts and Cheeses in front of the open kitchen

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
The kitchen

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Chef Manzke finishing two dishes, ticket orders

Church & State, MyLastBite.com
Top Left: Immersion Circulator (for cooking Sous Vide). Bottom Left: Chatting with chef Manzke. Right: Chef Walter Manzke expediting. I wanted so stand there all night and watch!

With Chef Walter Manzke, MyLastBite.com
All Smiles with chef Manzke.

Our perfect dinner was made even better by a chance meeting with Tasting Table’s Lesley Balla (former Eater LA editor). We’re “friends” on Twitter and Facebook, but it so was nice to say hello in person!

Church and State BistroChurch & State, MyLastBite.com

1850 Industrial St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
(213) 405-1434

Website (with pdf menu)

Reservations on OpenTable

Dining Dates:
4/5/09
5/2/09

Mentioned Above:

Moulin Rouge!

Toulouse-Lautrec

Absinthe (about)

New York Street, Universal Studios

Ali MacGraw

More about Chef Walter Manzke (work history)

Beef Short Rib Bordelaise that we had on our first visit

All my Church and State photos on Flickr

Church & State on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me)