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My Valentine Wiener

Peter and I celebrated a different kind of Valentine’s Day this year. Instead of our usual fancy “schmancy” dinner out, we opted for an afternoon trek downtown to Wurstküche, the “Purveyor of Exotic Grilled Sausages”.

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.comThinking there would be no traffic, we hopped on the 101 freeway a little before noon. What should have been a fifteen minute drive to Alameda street, took over an hour in the heavy traffic. I really hoped these exotic meats would be worth the trouble, especially since we skipped breakfast and were by then, really hungry. I wanted my wiener and I wanted it now!

After we parked (conveniently right out front of Wurstküche Restaurant), we walked in and quickly went over the menu. The sausages are broken down into three categories: “Classics”, “Gourmet” and “Exotics”. I ordered the Duck & Bacon with Jalapeno Pepper Sausage and Peter went for the Rattlesnake & Rabbit with Jalapeno Peppers (both from the “Exotics” list).

Along with sausages we also ordered Belgian Fries with Truffle Oil, which came with a dipping sauce. Choices were: Sweet and Sassy BBQ, Blue Cheese Walnut Bacon, Buttermilk Ranch, Thai Peanut, Tzatziki, Chipolte Ketchup, Sundried Tomato Mayo, Chipolte Mayo and Pesto Mayo. We selected the Blue Cheese Walnut Bacon.

As we continued ordering, I looked around and was shocked at how small the restaurant was. There was bar seating in front of the order counter and kitchen, and two small bistro tables outside. I’d heard great things about Wurstküche and wondered “where are all the eaters?”. Was I at the wrong place?

Like most folks, Peter and I rarely drink alcohol during the day (unless we’re on vacation of course), but this being a Valentine’s lunch and all, we decided it was a must. The list of beers (draft and bottled) were a little intimidating because, honestly, we’re not really into beer, so basically we blindly chose one each. Both draft beers, I selected the Chimay White and Peter ordered the Houblan Chouffe which was an Indian Pale.

While sipping our beers and waiting for our food, Peter noticed there were people coming from up the hallway. He asked one of the waiters where it led to and he motioned me to follow him. There we found a dining hall filled with smiling, happy people feasting on glistening sausages. The room was really large… probably 2,000 square feet, with communal tables and another bar along the back. A very relaxing “bier garten” indeed.

Speaking of which, both of our beers were delicious. My Chimay White was crisp and a tiny bit bitter (in a good way). Peter’s beer (the Indian pale, Houblan Chouffe) was amazing. I kept sipping it trying to figure out the flavor I was tasting, and I swear there was a hint of passion fruit.

Between the two sausages we shared, we both really loved the Duck, Bacon with Jalapeno and will definitely order that again and again. Next time we’ll have to try the Alligator & Pork or Green Chillies & Cilantro as well.

Note: The Rattlesnake & Rabbit with Jalapeno Peppers was good, but the Duck, Bacon with Jalapeno was “make your eyes roll back in your head” good.

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Hooray, the food is here!

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Duck and Bacon with Jalapeno Pepper Sausage $7.75

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Rattlesnake and Rabbit with Jalapeno Peppers $7.75

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Belgian Fries $3.50 with Blue Cheese Walnut Bacon Dressing (AWESOME). Truffle Oil +$1.50

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Chimay White $8, Houblan Chouffe $8 (note the communal tables in background)

At Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Two groovy chairs in the back bier hall/dining room. Comfy but too low to eat at, so we moved to one of the communal tables.

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
The almighty sausage case.

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
Order counter and beers on tap (upper left photo)

Wurstküche, MyLastBite.com
mmm… nothing beats the smell of wieners on a grill.

Wurstküche
800 E 3rd St,
Downtown Los Angeles
213.687.4444

Dining Date: 2/14/09

Website

We had our Valentines McFlurry! MyLastBite.comOn our way home the freeway was clogged (again) and pretty much a parking lot, so instead of trying to fight it we took the side streets. Driving along, every time we spotted a McDonalds, Peter and I started laughing because of the most recent episode of “30 Rock”. If you haven’t seen the “Valentines” episode then this won’t make sense to you, but we just had to stop and get a McFlurry! I hadn’t had a McFlurry in years… actually I’m not sure if I’ve ever had one. I definitely remember Dairy Queen Blizzards when I was younger, but this may have been my first McFlurry. I had the Oreo flavor and Peter had Snickers. It was definitely a sweet ending to our kooky, fun Valentine’s Day. Thanks Tina Fey!

Mentioned Above:

30 Rock

McDonalds

DQ


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Kiwami

Katsuya Uechi’s new restaurant is called Kiwami. It’s just a few blocks away from Katsuya (our usual sushi joint on “sushi row”), and it’s also owned by Katsuya Uechi.

For our first visit to Kiwami, my husband Peter and I sat at a table so I could capture photos easier. Well, at least easier than sitting at the intimate sushi bar helmed by Chef Uechi himself! Our charming server, Hugh, explained that Kiwami is more “upscale” then Katsuya restaurant, and this was definitely reflected in the ambiance and decor. I’ve worn flip-flops and shorts to Katsuya, but that would be way too casual for a meal at Kiwami.

We ordered mostly from the “Today’s Specials” menu and loved every bite. Kiwami translated, means “doing something extremely” or “the best degree in Japanese”, and Chef Uechi definitely delivers the kiwami to this soon-to-be super hot sushi spot!

Sayuri Unfiltered Sake at Kiwami, MyLastBite.com
Sayuri, our favorite unfiltered sake.

Kiwami's Blue Fin Tuna, MyLastBite.com
Blue Fin Tuna, flown in from Spain $16

Kiwami's Skip Jack Poki, MyLastBite.com
Skip Jack Poke $9

Kiwami's Yellowtail Jalapeno, MyLastBite.com
Jalapeno Yellowtail $16

Kiwami's Yellowtail Jalapeno, MyLastBite.com

Kiwami's Unagi Shirayaki, MyLastBite.com
Unagi Shirayaki (first steamed, then baked) $10

Kiwami's Trout, MyLastBite.com
Tasmanian Trout in foil, $15

Kiwami's Tempura, MyLastBite.com
Mixed Tempura $16

Kiwami's Baked Roll, MyLastBite.com
Spicy Tuna with Baked Crab Roll $12

Born in Okinawa (like me!), Japan, Chef Katsuya Uechi began his career as a chef at the Harbor View Hotel in Okinawa. He moved to Los Angeles over 20 years ago and opened the Studio City Sushi Katsu-Ya in 1997.

Kiwami
11920 Ventura Boulevard,
Studio City, CA  91604
818-763-3910

Dining date: 1/31/09

website

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Artisan Cheese Gallery

Artisan Gallery’s Cheese Tasting at Mistral Restaurant…

My Favorite Bite? La Tur Cheese.
A high butterfat, creamy cheese made from pasteurized goat’s, sheep’s AND cow’s milk. (Tallegio is always a favorite, but this was my first taste of La Tur.)

Artisan Cheese Tasting
Cheeses in above photo, starting from the top:
Pata Caba (Goat’s Milk from Spain), paired with Temprinillo
Cabrales (Cow’s Milk from Spain), paired with Temprinillo
La Tur (Goat, Sheep & Cow’s milk from Italy), paired with Prosecco
Taleggio (Cow’s milk from Italy), paired with Prosecco
Couer Gouramand-Marrons (Goat’s Milk & chestnut paste), Paired with Sancerre
Ossau Iraty (Sheep’s Milk from French Pyrenees)

http://ArtisanCheeseGallery.com

The Artisan Cheese Gallery
12023 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
Phone: 818-505-0207
Owner & Fromagier (aka cheesemonger!) Melody Dosch
E-mail: melody@artisancheesegallery.com

Mistral Restaurant (where the cheese tasting was held)
13422 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 981-6650

Dining Date: 6.22.08

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