My Orsa & Winston scouting report for Jonathan Gold and the L.A. Times is here. All photos on Flickr. Enjoy!
Tag Archives: Downtown L.A.
Orsa & Winston
Filed under Eating Out, L.A. Times, Little Bites
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. GET EXTRA GARLIC SAUCE!
Cachetada: The classic tostada reinvented with choice of meat and melted Mexican cheese, topped with a savory aioli chipotle sauce.
Cachetada con Huevo. HANGOVER HELPER.
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 w special Salsa Raja. Ridiculously GOOD! I shared, but didn’t want to.
Gueros: Cantonese-Baja Style Peppers. At $1.50, a MUST ORDER every time.
All about Mexicali Taco & Co (they cater too!).
Make sure you wave hello to founders Esdras Ochoa & Javier Fregoso!
Mexicali Taco & Co.
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.
Filed under Eating Out
I thought Josef Centeno’s Bäco Mercat (in downtown L.A.) was simply a sandwich and soda shop.
I was SO very wrong…
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 w grapefruit, burrata, dill walnut.
Half Rack Baby Back Ribs w chili vinegar.
Pork Belly, Soujouk with Ricotta Cavatelli.
Caesar Brussels Salad, Pecorino, Anchovy, Garlic.
Toron, with oxtail hash, pickle, cheddar and “tater” (it’s like a big homemade tater tot)!
Black Rice Risotto: Squid, Fine Herbs, Creme Fraiche.
Pulled Confit Goose Leg with blood oranges, arugula and pickled cherries.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Szechuan Peppercorns, Whipped Cream, rice balls.
Bäco Ginger, Orange, Juniper Soda Pop!
Absolutely charming (and casually romantic!) inside and out. Peter and I will be spending many, many evenings downtown this summer!
Please read Jonathan Gold’s Bäco review at L.A. Weekly
408 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Follow @BacoMercat on twitter
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:
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, Yogurt, Celery
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, Brussels Sprouts, Dried Cherry Marmalade, Smoked Scallions, Santa Barbara Chanterelles, Spanish Padron Peppers.
Grass Fed New York Strip, 72-Hour Braised Short Ribs, Hearts of Romaine, Carrots, Forbidden Rice, Currant Relish
Sourdough donut holes, cinnamon suger, nutella, candied walnuts
Sous Wesley Avila, Beautiful eggs from Kelly Johnson’s farm in Long Beach.
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.
The culinary team (from left to right)
Wesley Avila, sous chef
Gary Menes, chef
Joachim Cooder, commis
Brenden Day, commis
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
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
Dining date: 11/12/11
Filed under Eating Out
Because let’s face it… sometimes being bad feels so good…
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.
The 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:
Grilled Cheese w/ Bacon Marmalade
Deep-fried Chickpeas (couldn’t get enough of these suckers!)
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!
I collect old apothecary bottles too (would love these for my collection!)
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>
Los Angeles, CA 91003
Note: This was a preview, media event (no cost). Thanks so much to Bradley Tuck and Megan MacEachern for the invite!
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!
Every 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.
I 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!!
The Bӓco: Grilled flatbread, crispy pork belly, arugula and poblano sauce
Truffled Potato Croquettes. Only $5 on Happy Hour Menu
Patatas Bravas with Smoked Paprika
Sea Bream is brick oven roasted, head on, with herbs, lemon, purple baby scallions, and chimichurri
White Soy Marinated Yellowtail with crushed avocado, crispy hash brown and creme fraiche
Crispy Pig Ears with Horseradish Cream
Whipped Jersey Cow Ricotta with Sea Salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Toasted Peruvian corn, with spices and lime called cancha
Pork Chicharones Skewers with poblano sauce at Lazy Ox Canteen. $5 on the Happy Hour Menu.
Chicken Livers with Whole-Grain Mustard & Pancetta Crisp $7
Charred Octopus with Pickled Shallots, Lima Beans and Smoked Paprika $15
Salt Cod Brandade Fritters with Grated Mojama & Lemon Vinaigrette $8
Braised Beef Paleron (pot roast) w/ cream of wheat, kumquats and red wine $23
Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder with Turnips, Quinoa and Walnut Chile Tarator Sauce $21
Hand-Torn Egg Pasta with Sunny-Side Egg, Brown Butter & Fines Herbs $11
All my Lazy Ox Canteen Photos on Flickr
LAZY OX CANTEEN
241 S. San Pedro St.
Little Tokyo, Downtown L.A. 90012
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
Jonathan Gold discusses Lazy Ox on KCRW’s Good Food
Check out Anne Fishbein’s BEAUTIFUL photos!
Haiti Fundraiser at TiGeorges’ Chicken
Follow the Lazy Ox on Twitter
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.
Peter 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.
Although 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!
Click here to view all my photos from the Street Food Fest
More about Ludo Lefebvre and LudoBites
About Ludo & Mobi Munch by FoodGPS
LudoBites at RoyalT Cafe
Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)
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?
The Donaji, made with Mezcal, Citrus, Pomegranate, Agave Nectar and Chapulin Salt (finely ground crickets!!)
Progression of Stuffed Olives (Such a clever idea! Don’t they look happy?): Orange, Black Bean, Anchovy, Ham, Cheese $12
Tortillas Florales (best I’ve ever tasted) with “Indian Butter” aka Guacamole $7
Chile Pasilla Relleno (so GOOD but I didn’t want to mess up the plate!) $10
(of course I messed up the plate!)
Banana Leaf Braised Pork Shoulder $24 (Loved the crispy potatoes) and Carne Churrasco with Cabrales on top $29 (I would order BOTH again).
No 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.
DineLA Week is Oct 4-9 and 11-16 2009
For more Rivera details including STUNNING food photos, check out KevinEats
Andrew as Fromaggier at Palate
Filed under Eating Out