Tag Archives: los angeles

It’s all Greek to me.

I got the opportunity to see my friend Tyson perform in California Dreamin’ as Charles Manson, but before making myself afraid of him for the rest of my life, we had to eat. I met up with some friends from Downtown LA at Papa Cristo’s.

Hard to miss this spot. I’m sure you’ve seen it.

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The first thing you notice when you enter is the market and bakery attached to the restaurant. You can get every type of Greek food or ingredient here.

The restaurant is decorated with all sorts of items glorifying and displaying the beauty of Greece.

A man playing a bouzouki sits in the dining area and entertains guests.

Octopodakia – grilled baby octopus. Absolutely loved this!

Slouvaki – marinated lamb skewer.

Gyro – lamb beef blend with spices.

Gyro – lamb beef blend with spices. For whatever reason, when the meat is ordered as a plate and not a sandwich, the meat is so much more tender. We all ended up picking off of this plate.

Late that night when I was asked what I ate for dinner I said, “Greek food.” Immediately my friend responded, “Papa Cristo’s?” When asked whether she had been before my friend responded that she hadn’t. This place seems be well known based off of it’s appearance alone. The signature blue and white signage stands out to all that pass by this place. I would suggest stopping in next time instead of just driving. It’s a great meal with no fuss.

Pizzeria Olio

Our friends moved to the Mid Wilshire area and invited us all out to their new place. Not only was their new home a great place, but the location is great. They can walk just about in any direction and there’s a place to eat. That’s just what we did.

We took a stroll through their neighborhood and ended up at Pizzeria Olio, but there were plenty of choices with Robata Jinya and Burger Kitchen right across the corner. Apologies for the yellowness of the photos. Pretty much all the light on the patio came from a street light on the corner.

They have a lot of custom sodas and even hot chocolate with fire-roasted marshmallows.

Margherita – Crushed tomatoes, fresh local mozzarella, fresh basil and Tuscan olive oil

Prosciutto & Chard – Smoked prosciutto (Speck ham), sautéed Swiss chard and cherry tomatoes topped with shaved Parmesan

Wild Mushrooms & Herbed Ricotta Cheese – Fire roasted mushrooms with herbed ricotta cheese, caramelized onion and French brie

Prosciutto & Fig – One of their specials. The sweetness and soft texture of the figs compliments the saltiness of the ham very nicely.

You won’t find dessert on their menu. They have different flavors of gelato and some other special things.

Pizza dough, caramelized sugar crust, ricotta cheese, and Nutella.

I’ve heard Pizzeria Olio compared to Pizzeria Mozza. Both places make quality wood-fired pizzas with fresh ingredients. I would have to say that I prefer Mozza’s pies more, but Olio is more than a fair compromise, and when you factor in the price and the wait at Mozza, it’s hardly a compromise. I’d be glad to return to Olio. Plus I can walk across the street after for some ramen.

Remember when we got married a year ago?

Getting married was pretty fun. Let me refresh your memory. To celebrate such an awesome event, Michelle and I decided to have dinner at Osteria Mozza.

I’ve only had the Mozza pizza to go. I was excited.

We were celebrating, so cocktails were in order. We both ordered the Gold Rush.

Small bites to start.

Bufala Mozzarella with prosciutto di Parma. The cheese had the texture of rich ice cream.

Burricotta with radicchio, spiced walnuts, honey & fried rosemary. This had a great flavor combination with the radicchio and herbs giving off a slightly bitter flavor, and then you’d hit that cheese and walnut making it sweet and creamy. Bam! (Yeah I said bam.) The only downside to this dish is it’s very hard to eat with and semblance of elegance. The bread is so toasty there’s no way to cut it. You just have to bit right into it and let it fall apart.

Grilled Octopus with potatoes, celery & lemon. Perfectly grilled, with very minimal flavors added to it. I would love to have a full plate of this. I mean a regular person’s plate, not a nice restaurant’s plating plate. I mean, come on! The octopus has eight legs. Surely you can spare some more.

After appetizers I switched up to beer. Saxo, the last bottle in the house.

Orecchiette with sausage & Swiss chard. It felt like something that you could make at home, very unpretentious. With a little bit of spiciness to it and some bread crumbs for texture, this pasta was probably my favorite.

Squid Ink Chitarra Freddi with Dungeness crab, sea urchin & jalapeño. This dish is served cold, much like revenge. (Yeah, I went there too.) I love the way you get heat from the jalapeños on a cold dish. Great combination. What even more incredible is that I think I’m not longer allergic to crab! Remember when I had crab at the Wolvesden? Maybe I just need to stop eating shitty Chinese restaurant crab where it sits in the tank with all its dying compatriots.

 

 

 

 

Ricotta & Egg Raviolo with browned butter. This dish is a favorite among a lot of people, but it’s a little too rich for my tastes with the egg and ricotta. A little more saltiness would be more to my tastes, but who am I to say how they should prepare this dish? Apparently lots of people already love it the way it is.

Agnolotti, burro e salvia. This picture doesn’t capture it well, but these ravioli-like pastas are tiny, and yet they manage to stuff four meats into them. I’d like to get a pot full of these bad boys and snack on them during a Monday night football session.

After being stuffed, we forced ourselves to have some dessert. We asked for small scoops of the gelato and sorbet. This is the strawberry sorbet. This is not small. That waffle cookie is about the size of your palm with fingers spread. It was delicious and refreshing though, a great finish to an excellent meal.

Osteria Mozza lives up to all the fanfare of its name, and it does so with a quiet elegance, something that comes from a place that knows what it is and where it stands. It has no need to shove how good it is down anyone’s throat. It’s just good food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rule #4253 of Sales

I was told never to turn down a product from a customer. They take pride in their manufacturing production process and the end product. I’ve taken home cheesecake, pie, and ice cream even though I’m not a big dessert eater.

This customer, however, makes it far to easy to follow this rule. I also got quite a few tips on how to improve my home brew.

Inside the Wolvesden.

If you haven’t heard of Wolvesmouth yet, get ready to be educated. I had heard about Wolvesmouth through my various food-loving Twitter friends, but I never took much notice of it. For whatever reason, Michelle decided recently that she wanted to go. She signed up for the mailing list and we wished and hoped we could get a chance to experience the meal. Lo and behold, we were two of the twelve lucky people that got to partake in a unique dining experience, courtesy of The Wolf, Craig.

The table that would serve as our battlefield for ten courses of awesome.

Before I get into the delicious dishes that were served, let me point out one thing. The entire meal is prepared in a home kitchen.

The use of the limited space is quite impressive.

The planning, preparation, and precise execution of the timing is incredible. Each course is lined up and brought out with military-like precision.

Why, yes that is a half pig’s head.

Don’t forget the trotters.

Course 1: Potato, Scallop, Chive, & Flower Creme Fraiche. I could probably drink a pitcher of this. It’s creamy but light. The scallop in this dish is incredible too, perfectly seared.

Course 2: Ocean Trout, Braised Leek, and Red Currant. Nice little hint of sour to accompany the fresh sweetness of the fish and leek.

Course 3: King Crab, Pimento Cheese, Sourdough. I found out I was allergic to crab when I was in my early teenage years. I figured it wasn’t life or death, so I ate it. That was a decision I do not regret. The dish was fantastic, and I still haven’t broken out in a rash! Double win!

Course 4: Haricot Verts, Apricot Peach Yogurt, Horseradish Meringue, Smoked Almond Granola.

Course 5: Rabbit, Glazed Carrot, Radish, Celery,  Pie Dough, Raw Peas, Sage. This got everyone talking about single portion, microwavable pot pies for nights alone. For someone like me, who is married I don’t have those nights anymore. It’s pot pie for two!

Course 6: Verjus, Lemon Verbena. This was a refreshing break before we went into the heaviest dish of the night.

Craig, working away at the head.

Lord of the Flies!

Course 7: Pork, Green Onion, Bok Choy, Pork Sauce. Steamed Bun on the side. The sauce was very rich, and there was so much texture from the skin of the trotter to the meat from the face.

Course 8: Squab, Pickled Cherry. Mushrooms. This makes me want to cook squab. It’d be fun to feel like a giant with the tiny little birds.

Course 9: Blueberry Sherbet, Black Sesame, Kabosu Curd, Green Tea Cake. I’ll be honest. When I saw this dish I saw broccoli and Velveeta.

Course 10: Strawberry, Pound Cake Ice Cream, Wild Strawberry, Strawberry Pop Rocks. It’s still incredible how amusing Pop Rocks are at my age. Excellent choice.

While I believe the dishes speak for themselves, what makes the dinner so unique is that while you sit down to dinner with a bunch of strangers, part of the experience is getting to talk to them instead of minding your own business and keeping your head down.

Not only do you get to mingle with the other guests, getting up and stretching is encouraged. I highly recommend doing this as the meal is a long process. I hit a wall after the pork. You can even walk over to the kitchen and talk to Craig as he works his magic. Just don’t distract him so much that he burns your meal.

While Wolvesmouth is about food, it’s more about the experience. Getting to share a meal with other people who enjoy food is incredible. It’s relaxing and fun. When was the last time you had a meal set to the soundtrack of Eazy-E’s “Boyz-n-the-Hood” followed by Geto Boys’ “Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta?”

Good food, while serious, can be a lot of fun too.

It’s like Disneyland for Michelle.

It’s no secret that Michelle loves hot sauce. She pours it onto her meals generously. When her eyes are watering and nose is running, she will tell you she feels alive. While strolling through the farmers’ market at The Grove we stumbled across this store.

It’s nothing but hot sauce and hot sauce related products. They sell bottles of hot sauce, jarred peppers, pepper powder, spicy peanuts, and spicy popcorn.

There are signs inside that say no photos, but I’m sneaky like that. Check out this store if you’re at The Grove. The sauces have hilarious names, many involving burning sensitive areas of your body.

Every hot sauce is labeled on a heat scale from 1-10, but there are even a few 10++ items on the shelves. Just to gauge what we were getting ourselves into, we asked the store owner what Tabasco would rank on his scale. He said it would be about a 5. Showing us around, he was telling us the people in China and Taiwan love the 10++ bottles. They can’t get anything like that locally, so whenever he takes a trip he takes a case of the hot stuff to distribute to the locals. It seemed like he had experience with his products, telling us some of the hot sauces were carrot based and others were tomato based, giving them completely different tastes. We decided to stick with a 7 on the heat scale, and Michelle has been happy with that choice especially since I started doing more cooking. I just make sure she at least tastes my food before she smothers it in hot sauce.

Fashion Week LA. Swim Wear.

Michelle and I got invited out to L.A. Fashion Week by some friends. I said I was in not because I was in to this year’s swim wear lineup but because I figured something would be free. I know. I know. It’s a shock that someone so stylish as myself wouldn’t be into fashion. Really this is my idea of fashion.

Yeah, those are my groomsmen and me, rocking the Star Wars hoodies.

I was right. The event had a hosted bar. Chevy was one of the sponsors there too, but it seemed kind of odd that they would have an open bar and ask us to test drive the Chevy Volt. “This hybrid car is crap! It crashed itself, and the cup holder spilled my beer! You owe me a new beer!”

The also had coconut water. That’s Michelle’s favorite!

Christina Milian performed at the event. Who?

Why do they always have the one Asian model with no expression? I call her Dragon Lady.

It’s a bikini. How is this special or new?

Another bikini. Again, what’s so special?

A little something for my female readership. I think I could rock this look. I mean my body looks just like this guy’s except my torso is screwed on upside down.

After the fashion show, we raced out of that place to head to Mario’s Peruvian & Seafood. We had been thinking about this place the moment we passed it on the way to the event. Michelle and I were promised the best pollo saltado ever.

We made it there in time. We ended up being the last ones in the restaurant.

I ordered an Inca Kola, probably the first soda I’ve had in half a year. It looks like Mountain Dew, but it tastes like bubble gum. I wonder if the ancient Incans actually drank anything that tasted like this.

Our friends were not kidding. The Saltado de Pollo here was good. I’ve eaten this dish at a lot of different places, but they’re generally way over salted. Mario’s manages to get it right. Top it off with some of their house green sauce and you’ve got yourself a big, delicious meal that should give you leftovers. Make sure to get some of the green sauce to go with your leftovers. It is that good. The consensus on the green sauce is that it contains crack, and based on the fact that I am willing to spend a week sleeping on the bare floor of a dirty house with no electricity as long as I get this sauce, I think I agree.

So if you’re in town next year, come for the fashion. Stay for the pollo saltado. Totally worth it.

Brunch at BLD

First, let me start by saying whoever designed this logo should be shot. How are you supposed to know what it says? Old? Bid? LOLOL?

Fortunately their food is much better than the people they hire for graphic design and branding. Once again I’ll have to let the photos speak for themselves, because it’s been near a month since I was at BLD, and I can’t remember what was ordered or even which dish was mine.

The food here is good. That much I do remember, but Michelle and I decided that we really don’t appreciate brunch very much. While it offers a great food photo opportunity, it’s generally expensive and very rich in taste. I like my meals toned down a little bit. Perhaps we just need to just do brunch less frequently so we can enjoy it to its fullest potential.

8 oz. Burger Bar

If it wasn’t for these daily coupon websites, Michelle and I would be poor. Even worse, we would have to probably eat our own cooking. Our last trip took us to 8 oz. Burger Bar.

They have more than just burgers. They have wings. These are not good wings.

Yeah, we ate them anyway.

Garlic fries. These were good. Crisp on the outside. Plenty of garlic.

It’s hard to see the patty, but this is the Three Little Pigs burger. It’s delicious, but I prefer Umami Burger’s Triple Pork Burger.

The 8 oz. burger. I wish I’d done a little thinking and realized that this is half a pound. That’s a good sized burger, and because it was delicious I forced myself to eat the whole thing.

I need to stop blogging about food two weeks after I eat it. I can’t remember much about the food, except whether I liked it or not. I guess I’ll have to take another trip back here, because I do remember liking it, but I cannot tell you why. Next time I promise the writeup will be better.

Mozza2Go

We picked up a Blackboard Eats coupon for 30% off Mozza2Go for up to $100. As soon as our friends found out we had one, they insisted we should get together (with them) and make a night of it.

This makes me want to learn to cook Italian food, or just food in general.

When you take food to go, you have to get gelato to go as well. There’s no good way to set up a good shot of this when people can barely stop consuming it. Thanks Shivani for hand modeling.

We maxed out the $100 limit to use every bit of discount to ensure maximum enjoyment.

It wasn’t all a one-sided party. Our friends opened some wine for us.

The cabbage was a tad bitter for my tastes, but this salad is still delicious.

This is what we call an orgy of flavor. Pardon the yellowness of the images. The lighting in this room is encased in yellow glass to give it a candlelight feel.

Here are some of the slices under white light.

Now that you’ve seen the pizzas, let me tell you how they taste. Awesome. That really should be a sufficient description for these pizzas. I know the word gets tossed around a lot, especially by me. The word’s meant to mean awe inspiring, which may sound ridiculous to some, but I feel it’s appropriate.

This crust on this pizza is thin. Yet it manages to be crisp on the outside and light on the inside. I’m not sure how they do it, but the pizzas are made just perfectly so the olive oil transports the flavors around evenly into every bite without making the pizza an oily mess. My favorites were the goat cheese and the mushroom pizzas.

If anyone wants to go back here to try some more stuff, let me know.