Tag Archives: dining

My Giant Kitchen “Tweezer”

After reading Oliver Strand’s New York Times article about chefs using tweezers in the kitchen, I wanted to share photos of a few favorite kitchen tools.

My Large Kitchen "TweezersStrand wrote: “The most recent cross-disciplinary tool in a chef’s batterie de cuisine comes from the operating room: medical tweezers. In some of the country’s most ambitious restaurants, a pair of them allows a chef to put the final, seemingly impossible touches on a dish.”

I love my giant kitchen “tweezer” (Sur la Table calls them “fine tongs”). I use these the most for precise plating, but also for turning meats and vegetables on the stove.

The two smaller tongs (below) are great for grabbing olives (or capers) from small jars, or for a platter of appetizers. Sometimes we even use them as utensils, especially when I’m mixing up some molecular fun fruit “caviar”. Out of the 9 “specialty” kitchen tongs (or tweezers) I own, these three are my favorite.

My Kitchen "Tweezers" (Tongs)
The two 9 inch tongs can be purchased on Amazon. Sur la Table sells the 12 inch “fine tong”.

My Kitchen "Tweezers" (Tongs)
Great little grippers!

Read the full New York Times article here
“When Fingers Would Fumble, Chefs Turn to Tweezers” by Oliver Strand

Progressive Stainless Steel Angled Tong & Olive Tong (9 inches long) 2 for $10 on Amazon

Rösle Fine Tongs (my giant 12 inch “tweezer”) is available at Sur la Table for $27

Mentioned Above:
Making Fruit Caviar



Filed under Little Bites


The Kogi Taco Truck made me miss being in my twenties. Especially over the last couple of months, since I started following their Twitter updates on my cell phone. Late at night I’d be in bed reading a book, and have to stop so I could see the incoming Twitter text: “10PM-2AM@The Brig – Abbot Kinney and Palm in Venice”. I couldn’t stop wondering, “Who ARE these people partying EVERY night of the week, chasing down the Kogi taco truck at 2AM?”

It was sort of depressing, because I wanted to be out there chasing the truck too, but then again, I didn’t want to be OUT THERE chasing the truck (or chasing anything for that matter). The Alibi Room in Culver City actually runs a Kogi kitchen (monday thru saturday), but still, I had no desire to fight rush-hour traffic and wait in a ridiculously long line, just for a TACO. 

I admit it, at 45 years old, I’m definitely more of an OpenTable, “reservations a month in advance” sort of eater these days, but of course, that wasn’t always the case.

Twenty-Something, MyLastBite.com

Shortly after I turned twenty-one, I moved to Pacific Beach in San Diego, then spent the next couple of years partying non-stop with my friends. Our days consisted mostly of working in retail during the day, sunning ourselves on our days off and planning “girls night out” EVERY single night of the week.

Most of us were on pretty tight budgets, but we knew which beach bars served free “happy hour” food (drinks bought by the fellas), and it usually consisted of nachos, taquitos or plates of bacon-topped potato skins. Remember when potato skins were the cool, new appetizers?

Roberto's Taco Shop, MyLastBite.comOur favorite drinking holes back then were places like the Beachcomber or the Pennant, and we never missed a Tuesday $1 Margarita night at Diego’s on Garnet Avenue. Quick trips to Mexico for cheap lobster and margaritas were followed by dancing all night at the local clubs.

These nightly adventures always ended with a trip to Roberto’s Taco Shop in Mission Beach, which was steps from the shore, next to the aging Big Dipper roller coaster. The giant, carne asada burrito was my favorite and I always ordered it with extra guacamole. I can’t recall ever eating there during the day, or going there sober for that matter, but back in the day, Roberto’s Taco Shop was MY Kogi.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.comIf you’re not familiar with Kogi BBQ, then you probably don’t live in the Los Angeles area. The first time I read about Kogi was on an EaterLA/Lesley Balla post back in December (boy, do I miss her on Eater these days). Ever since then, Kogi has been the “it” taco truck in the city, offering the flavor of spicy Korean barbecue, conveniently wrapped in a fresh tortilla. Kogi gained even more followers when they started using Twitter to communicate upcoming locations with their customers. It was a simple (and brilliant) way for Kogi to keep in contact with hungry, usually late-night, eaters.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.comLast Thursday, I just happened to be reading the Kogi website, when I noticed a post titled, “What 20 Bucks Can Buy You”, and was thrilled to learn that it was for a fundraiser in nearby Burbank the same evening. The Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project partnered with Kogi to offer All-You-Can-Eat Kogi tacos for $20, with the proceeds benefiting the Center of Hope Village (for abused children) in the Philippines.

I called Peter and made sure he could make it home early so we could finally try the now-famous Kogi tacos together. Just last week the Kogi truck had been on the Fox lot where he works and he hoped to try it then, but the line was just too long for a my workaholic husband, who doesn’t like to break for lunch anyway.

We arrived at the event 30 minutes early, and after paying our $20 donation (each), we headed for the Kogi truck line, quite pleased to be very close to the front. It was another hour before the truck actually showed up, but there was plenty of entertainment to keep us occupied (photos below), and we didn’t mind because it was all for a good cause.

Peter and I both ordered two Korean Short Ribs and one Spicy Pork. The All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Taco offer, was limited to three at a time, which made sense because when I looked back at the line behind us, there must have been at least 150 hungry people waiting on the street. 

The tacos were terrific (LOVED the spicy pork), and we were content with the three that we tried. Of course if we didn’t have to get back in line and wait again, we would have definitely made it a furious pig-out session, but mostly it felt good to make the donation (Peter later told me he slipped them another $20), and to FINALLY get a taste of the Kogi phenomenon!

Afterwards we headed home, took our pups for their evening walk, and then I fell asleep next to my husband reading my favorite, new book. And guess what? I was tickled pink, NOT to be in my twenties again.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
Peter saving our spot in the Kogi line

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
DJ Derek Basco entertaining the kids (and us grown-ups too!)

Wrestling at GAPP Event, MyLastBite.com
Waiting for the wrestling event

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
The Kogi Taco Truck arrives!

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
Peter almost up to order… and check out the line behind him.

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
The Kogi Truck menu

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
Korean Short Ribs and Spicy Pork!

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event, MyLastBite.com
GAPP founder (Gina Alexander Philanthropy Project) Gina Alexander, with Kogi owners Caroline Shin-Manguera and Mark Manguera.

Upcoming All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Taco dates: 

Thurs, June 25
Thurs, July 30
Thurs, August 27
You must rsvp for your name to be placed on the list.
Email/RSVP or Get more info by contacting

More Kogi photos on Flickr

Mentioned Above:

Kogi Website

Gina Alexander Website

Center of Hope Village in Philippines

Kogi on Twitter

About Twitter

The Alibi Room

All-You-Can-Eat Kogi Event Info

Eater L.A. – Lesley Balla on Kogi

Lesley Balla currently writes for Tasting Table


Eater LA

My current, favorite book (that I’m reading again)

With Peter

Our Pups

Roberto’s Taco Photo Courtesy of David C.

The Pennant Bar

The Beachcomber

Dining Date: 4/30/09

Kogi Korean BBQ on Urbanspoon


Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Food Stories (written by me), Food Trucks

Sign up for “Tasting Table”!


To Los Angeles area food lovers…
Sign up for “Tasting Table LA” (former editor of Eater LA, Lesley Balla, is the new editor) via
this link or by clicking above.

“Tasting Table is a free daily email that delivers the best of L.A. food culture to adventurous eaters everywhere. Each weekday, we send our subscribers one delicious idea about dining, wine, cocktails, cooking or restaurant personalities”.

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Filed under Little Bites

Gordon Ramsay at the London


It’s Not About Gordon Ramsay

Anticipating our dinner at Gordon Ramsay at the London, I hopped online and began researching what I should order. I browsed through all the usual food blogs and sites including Chow (raves about the Pork Belly), Yelp and Eater…. and then I read Virbila’s review on LATimes. She mentioned one of her favorite dishes was the braised “Pig’s Head”. DONE. I knew what I was ordering. Pig’s Head and Pork Belly. My fellow diners (husband Peter, FoodWhore Baub and Andrew) could pick out the rest.

Peter and I arrived early to have a drink and bite at the bar. We ordered a couple of vodka tonics and one order of an asparagus/avocado sushi roll. It was delicious. A quick FYI here… we had another order of the avo roll to share with our friends at dinner, and it was a much smaller version of the bar order.

As we sat down at our table, we noticed a familiar face walking towards us. Jared Heber is a former high school pal of FoodWhore Baub, and is a sommelier that previously worked at Osteria Mozza. Currently Jared is the wine director at ‘Gordon Ramsay at the London’. When he saw us he laughed and said “YOU FOUR AGAIN?”. We so enjoyed his service at Osteria and we were thrilled to see him again. He really made the night extra special by taking us on a private tour of the massive kitchen. It was a fantastic rush. Of course we didn’t expect to see Gordon Ramsay there expediting our dinner order, but I was personally hoping for a glimpse of Christina, the recent Hell’s Kitchen winner. I didn’t see her around, but I have to say it was pretty darn cool to stand with Jared and watch head chef Andy Cook yelling out orders a few feet in front of us.

As we got back to our table I thought… “this place isn’t about Gordon Ramsay really”. Of course we went there because of his celebrity, but I certainly didn’t “feel” his presence in the dining room, kitchen or even the food. He wasn’t missed at all.

I absolutely loved the look and vibe of the restaurant. It’s sexy. You feel sexy sitting there. It sounds silly to say that now, but it’s true… I was sitting there eating my Pig’s Head and Pork Belly feeling SEXY.

What we ordered:
Pig's Head and English Peas
Pig’s Head with English Peas. Delicious and I would order again and again.

Pork Belly, Scottish Langoustine & Celeriac
Pork Belly with Roasted Scottish Langoustine, Celeriac & Apple. We had one as an entree… then I ordered another for desert!
Monkfish & Thyme Consommé
Monkfish wrapped with Crispy Chicken Skin, served in a Lemon Thyme Consomme’. Delicious and I would order again.

Asparagus Risotto
Wild Asparagus Risotto with Chive Flowers. This was our table’s favorite dish.

Asparagus & Avocado Roll. The bar version was larger than the restaurant version but both were delicious.

Simple bread and creamy butter topped with crunchy fleur de sel. Loved the “bullet” presentation.

Jo & Bob with Jared Heber in the Kitchen
Touring the massive Gordon Ramsay kitchen with Jared. Standing next to the wall of walk-in fridges.

Gordon Ramsay at the London
The London West Hollywood
1020 N San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 358-7788

Dining Date: 07/12/08

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Filed under Eating Out