Tag Archives: restaurants

Josef Centeno Crawl

4th & Main Downtown L.A.Peter and I both love chef Josef Centeno‘s cooking. With four restaurants in downtown L.A., we often have a hard time deciding which one to eat at. There’s Baco Mercat (home of the bäco) and Bar Ama (with the best queso in town). High-end Orsa & Winston is currently offering a fantastic Yakitori-Ya menu (through March 2). Josef’s newest eatery, Ledlow, recently won a rave Jonathan Gold review. All the restaurants are within walking distance of each other at 4th and Main, and all are simply fantastic.

After twenty years together, it’s not easy to surprise my husband of 18 years. But for his birthday last month, with the help of Josef and his fiancee (my friend) Betty Hallock, we did just that. I joked to Betty that I wished I could take Peter to all of Josef’s restaurants for his birthday and she said they had actually been thinking of organizing a restaurant crawl.

I was thrilled when Josef offered to select the evening’s menu, which included two dishes and a drink at each location. To make things easier, since it was four different kitchens and staff, I paid for the evening ahead of time and left a tip at each (45 minute) stop. Many thanks to Betty and Josef for helping me surprise Peter!

Photos from our December 2014 “Centeno Crawl” below:

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
STOP 1: Bäco Mercat
Peter was shocked and so thrilled to find the first “Happy Birthday, Peter” menu waiting at our first stop, which was Baco Mercat.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
The Moxie Cocktail at Baco Mercat: Bourbon, cynar, lime juice, agave, mole bitters.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Caesar Brussels Sprouts with Pecorino, Anchovy, Garlic at Baco Mercat.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Hamachi Crudo, Avocado, Hash Brown, Abkhazian Chile Spice at Baco Mercat.

STOP 2: Orsa & Winston

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
The menu waiting at Orsa & Winston.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Breakfast In A Shell with Coddled Egg, Pancetta, maple syrup at Orsa and Winston.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Satsuki Rice with Parmesan Cream, Geoduck and Uni at Orsa & Winston.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Clos du Tue Boeuf Chenin Blanc at Orsa & Winston.

STOP 3: Bar Ama

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Peter’s birthday menu at Bar Ama (stop 3).

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
The Nacho Cocktail (tequila blanco, chile-lime shrub, campari, citrus, honey) at Bar Ama.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Slow Roasted Beef Belly with Pomegranate, Cotija and Tomatillo at Bar Ama.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
“Mom’s Green Enchiladas” with Tomatillo & Chicken at Bar Ama.

STOP 4: Ledlow

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Final stop for birthday cake & soufflé at Ledlow.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Grand Marnier Soufflé at Ledlow.

Peter's Birthday Crawl 2014
Pastry chef Margeaux Aragon made a birthday cake too! Chocolate Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting at Ledlow.

December 2015 Selfie
20 Years Together (we met in Nov 1994). Happiness Selfie (Dec 2014).

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Mac-O-Licious (Scouting Report)

It’s TRUE… there’s a Mac and Cheese restaurant in the San Fernando Valley!

mac-O-licious Scouting Report

Read my scouting report in the L.A. Times

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Filed under Eating Out, L.A. Times

Tipple & Brine

My latest Jonathan Gold scouting report is up on L.A. Times! Tipple & Brine is a terrific new spot in Sherman Oaks. Read my report (with photos) here.
My Tipple & Brine scouting report for Jonathan Gold, L.A. Times (5/1/14)

All my Tipple & Brine photos here.

Links to my other scouting reports here.

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Filed under Eating Out, L.A. Times, Little Bites

Pork Love at Cliff’s Edge

Peter and I finally got to Cliff’s Edge (in Silver Lake) to try Chef Vartan Abgaryan‘s cooking last week. We first met Vartan at a local food event, and got to know him better when he volunteered with L.A. Bites Hunger.

Walking into Cliff’s Edge, we were instantly smitten with the romantic, hidden restaurant and still cannot stop talking about the fantastic meal.

In between the poached oysters topped with crispy squid ink  and the salty/sweet caramel custard was, what is now, my very favorite pork dish in Los Angeles.

Suckling Pig dish at Cliff's Edge
Wow. Just WOW! Vartan’s Suckling Pig with Crepinette (pork ball wrapped in caul fat), Pork Loin (right), Pork Belly and savoy cabbage, sweet potato, saison, pork jus.

Suckling Pig at Cliff's Edge
Pork Belly Close-up! Peter called this “Pork Cake”.

Suckling Pig at Cliff's Edge
Pork Loin Close-up!

There were gorgeous vegetables and barbecued octopus too, but I just can’t stop thinking about all the pork love.

My friend Josh Lurie aka @FoodGPS wrote a great piece about the dish here.

All my Cliff’s Edge photos

Cliff’s Edge
3626 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 666-6116

Follow Vartan Abgaryan on twitter

Follow Cliff’s Edge on twitter


Filed under Eating Out, Hot Chefs

L.A. Chefs Volunteering at L.A. Food Bank!

Read all about it over at L.A. Bites Hunger!

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MyLastBite on Instagram & Pinterest

MyLastBite on Instagram & Pinterest

Recent trips to Thailand, England and Scotland have kept me busy editing thousands of (mostly food) photos. Hopefully I’ll be back to regular blogging at the beginning of the year, but until then I’m still posting daily on Instagram and Pinterest.

Thanks so much for your ongoing support! Cheers, Jo

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Bäco Mercat

I thought Josef Centeno’s Bäco Mercat (in downtown L.A.) was simply a sandwich and soda shop.

I was SO very wrong…

The original Baco
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
Sugar Snap & Pear Salad w grapefruit, burrata, dill walnut.

Baby Back Ribs
Half Rack Baby Back Ribs w chili vinegar.

Pork Belly Cavatelli
Pork Belly, Soujouk with Ricotta Cavatelli.

Caesar Brussels Salad
Caesar Brussels Salad, Pecorino, Anchovy, Garlic.

The Toron Bäco at Bäco Mercat
Toron, with oxtail hash, pickle, cheddar and “tater” (it’s like a big homemade tater tot)!

Black Rice Risotto at Bäco Mercat
Black Rice Risotto: Squid, Fine Herbs, Creme Fraiche.

Pulled Confit Goose Leg,  Bäco Mercat
Pulled Confit Goose Leg with blood oranges, arugula and pickled cherries.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Szechuan Peppercorns, Whipped Cream, rice balls.

Pop,  Bäco Mercat
Bäco Ginger, Orange, Juniper Soda Pop!

Bäco Mercat
Absolutely charming (and casually romantic!) inside and out. Peter and I will be spending many, many evenings downtown this summer!

Bäco MercatMore food photos on Flickr

Please read Jonathan Gold’s Bäco review at L.A. Weekly

Bäco Mercat
408 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 687-8808

Follow @BacoMercat on twitter

Bäco Mercat on FaceBook

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