Tag Archives: green

Akasha

I thought Akasha Restaurant was a vegan restaurant. Looking back in my 2008 calendar, I actually made several dinner reservations, then postponed going because I thought the meal would consist of only organic veggies.

It’s not that I don’t like my vegetables because I do. It’s just that I simply HATE the idea of going to a place that only serves things like portobello mushroom burgers and quinoa pudding.

To be perfectly frank, I think I got confused because I kept reading that Akasha was a “green” restaurant. Some of the amazing “green facts” listed on their website include:

FOOD
Sources: Farms, ranches and fisheries that are guided by the principles of sustainability, local produce whenever possible.

Standards: Natural and organic ingredients with no artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, trans fats, nitrates, hormones or antibiotics.

BEVERAGE
Water: In-house water purified and bottled with the Natura system.

Spirits, Wine & Beer: Many organic, sustainable and bio-dynamic selections on list.

BUILDING AND DÉCOR
Materials: American Clay, no VOC paint, sustainable insulation recycled ceiling material, reclaimed finishes, recycled glass tile, reclaimed barn wood recycled fiberglass insulation, beeswax finishes, local limestone.

Furniture: Organic leather, hemp fabric, sustainable wood.

Bathrooms: Reclaimed wood stalls, waterless urinals, auto shut off sinks, biodegradable soap, high post-consumer toilet paper / paper towels.

UNIFORMS
Jeans: Levis Eco 100% organic cotton jeans

Shirts & Tee Shirts: 100% organic cotton

PAPER GOODS
To-Go Cutlery: Wheatware™, biodegradable, made from wheat (link to complete list below).

Yes, Akasha Restaurant is “green”, and downright beautiful as well. But Akasha restaurant is NOT, and has never been a vegan restaurant. 

They serve BEEF (hell, yes!): The best short-ribs I’ve ever had, cooked “asian-style” with star anise and ginger.

They also serve lamb: Decadent little Niman Ranch lamb sliders topped with feta and tomato chutney. And fyi… I’m not a big lamb fan, but I would order Akasha’s mini lamb burgers again and again.

The two seafood dishes I tried were fantastic. Perfectly seared albacore and wild pepper scallops with forbidden black rice risotto.

Quinoa? Yep, it’s on the menu, but I didn’t order it on my first visit. Maybe next time, but only if I’m having a big, comforting plate of juicy, pork chops as well!

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Awesome Cocktails: 
“Slumdog Passion” (left), tru lemon organic vodka, passion fruit puree, pineapple juice, blood orange & agave. “The Akasha”, made with crop organic cucumber vodka, pineapple & cucumber juice, martini style.

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
Deep-fried Chickpeas (very similar to Animal!)

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
In photos clockwise from bottom left: La Quercia Prosciutto Pizza (oregonzola, fig, caramelized onions, wild arugula), Asian Style Braised Shortribs (star anise, ginger & pink peppercorns, parsnip-potato puree, baby spinach, scallions), Organic Macaroni and Cheese with toasted bread crumbs, Niman Ranch Lamb Sliders with sheep’s feta, local arugula, tomato chutney . (We were so hungry, I was rushing the camera. I will get BETTER photos on my next visit I promise! ) 

Akasha Restaurant, MyLastBite.com
In photos clockwise from bottom left: Escalavida on a mushroom puree with truffle salt, Togarashi Seared Albacore (bibb lettuce, daikon, carrots, avocado, coconut cashews, spicy sweet chili sauce), House-made Onion Rings (rice flour crusted, smoked paprika dipping sauce), Decadent Chocolate Dessert.

And Finally… Why do my pups love Akasha?

Because she sent home a bag of home-made, delicious doggie biscuits!
Dog Cookies from Akasha! MyLastBite.com
Top left: Harrison (white), Miss Martini (black) and the baby… little (blonde) Maxwell!

Akasha! MyLastBite.comAkasha Restaurant
9543 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 845-1700 

Website (with menu)

OpenTable (free reservations)

Dining Date: 4/19/09 (Dinner with Julian, Wendy and of course, Peter)

Cmplete list of Akasha “Green Facts” here

Akasha on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Eating Out

Sri Siam Café [1 & 2]

Twenty years ago when I lived in San Diego, my ex-husband and I loved eating at Karinya Thai Cuisine. The restaurant was up the street from our home in Pacific Beach, and it was our “go to” dinner place when we entertained visiting family and friends. We usually requested to eat in the “traditional” dining room . This meant we had to remove our shoes before going in, and sit on the floor atop beautiful Thai triangle pillows.

Karinya Thai, MyLastBite.com

The head chef (an American) had married into the Karinya Thai family. Since we were regulars, the chef always took a few moments to tell us wonderful tales of his trips to the Far East. One of the best was about the first time he visited his wife’s family in a remote village in Thailand. He was shocked at the amount of time it took to shop for groceries each day. The entire family, led by the grandmother, would get up very early and drive for hours to pick up a particular type of chili, then go a couple of hours in the opposite direction to buy some galangal, and finally another hour south to pick up fresh kaffir lime leaves. By the time the shopping was done, they had driven five or six hours to get ingredients for THAT evening’s dinner. I found it fascinating that each ingredient was so special and distinct, that it was worth all that time and trouble.

Jo & Spencer, MyLastBite.comThe first time we invited our buddy Spencer (who was like a second grandfather to me), he laughed when he learned he had to remove his shoes for dinner. And after that first meal at Karinya, anytime we’d make dinner plans with ol’ Spence, he would ask “Are we going to the ‘shoeless place’? …if so, I’ll have to check my socks for holes”.

Two of my favorite dishes at Karinya were the “Gai Rad Prik” (they prepared it with deep-fried chicken covered in a super-spicy chili sauce) and “Shrimp Sarong” (shrimp wrapped with egg noodles, deep-fried and served with a sweet and spicy chili dip).

From my research, it looks like the original owners of Karinya sold the business in 1998. I moved to Studio City in 1994 and halfheartedly tried to find a new Thai restaurant near me (in the San Fernando Valley) to love, but nothing tasted as good or seemed as authentic as Karinya. There were no “foodie” sites on the New World Wide Web way back then, so I had pretty much given up on finding a Thai place I could call my own.

Then on January 1, 2009 I had lunch at Sri Siam Café. Peter (my husband) and I met up with our far-east-food-expert friend Jeffrey, for an incredible, unforgettable New Year’s Day Lunch. Jeffrey is a regular at Sri Siam and has not only eaten at all the best Thai places in Los Angeles but all the best Thai places in Thailand.

The best part about Sri Siam Café (besides the outstanding food) is that I won’t be pining for Karinya any longer. I can finally move on… and luckily for me… my new Thai joint is literally just up the street!

My Favorite Bites at Sri Siam Café:

Fried Fish Cake, MyLastBite.com
Fried Fish Cake : Ground fish and green bean patties, seasoned with curry paste then deep-fried. It’s served with a delicious cucumber relish. $6.95

For me, the fish cakes were just a vehicle for the relish. I ended up just spooning it out and eating it like gazpacho!

Apple Trout, MyLastBite.com
Apple Trout: Fried trout fillet served with green apple salad. $18.95

Green Apple Salad, MyLastBite.com
Green Apple Salad.
Apple Trout Tail, MyLastBite.com
Apple Trout Tail.

O-Lou, MyLastBite.com
O-Lou: Omelet stuffed with shrimp and topped with sprouts. $7.95
O-Lou, MyLastBite.com
O-Lou: Omelet (close up).

Soft Shell Crab, MyLastBite.com
Soft Shell Crab in Green Curry Sauce: Served with asparagus. $18.95

Beef Ball Soup, MyLastBite.com
Beef Ball Noodle Soup: Rice noodle soup with beef ball (meatball), bean sprouts and green onion. $5.00

House Special Menu, MyLastBite.com
Menu: The House Specialties in English

Thai Boba Tea, MyLastBite.com
Thai Boba Tea. The perfect way to cool off a spicy tongue!

Update: 1/8/09  (Visit #2)
This morning my ex-husband Perry called from Santa Monica airport. He and his co-pilot John asked if I wanted to join them for lunch. They fly a private business jet and had a five hour layover, so I grabbed my friend Laur and we met them at Sri Siam!

I wrote (above) that twenty years ago, one of our favorite dishes from our old Thai restaurant in Pacific Beach was “Shrimp Sarong”, and that’s the first thing Perry ordered today. They were exactly the same to me, except Sri Siam calls them “Crispy Shrimps”.

It was sort of a sentimental moment for me. Sitting there with Perry eating a wonderful old favorite and talking about our families. He and his wife Karen have two beautiful kids, and I feel so grateful that we can still be in each others lives, especially when it’s over a plate of delicious food!

Before I left for lunch I sent my husband Peter a text message, to let him know I was meeting Perry at Sri Siam. Peter sent the following message back: “Well, just so you know, I’m really JEALOUS… really jealous that I’m missing the food! Say hi to Perry.“…

I know… lucky me.

My two favorite dishes from lunch today:
Crispy Rice Salad, MyLastBite.com
Crispy Rice Salad Thai sour sausage mixed with crispy rice, roasted peanut, ginger and green onion. I LOVED the spiciness of this dish.

Crispy Shrimps, MyLastBite.com
Crispy Shrimps Shrimp mixed with light soy sauce wrapped with egg noodle.

Sri Siam Cafe, MyLastBite.com

Visit #3 to Sri Siam (with new photos)

Sri Siam Café
12843  Vanowen St.
North Hollywood, CA 91605
818 892-6262

All my Sri Siam Photos on Flickr

Sri Siam Café  Website

Sri Siam Cafe on Urbanspoon

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