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