Thursday, October 22, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
My first experience here did not disappoint one bit and I will definitely be making repeat visits whenever the truck rolls through my neighborhood. Find out when they will be cruising in your neck of the woods by following them on Twitter @nomnomtruck or by checking out the weekly schedule on their website.
We showed up for our 2:00 reservation (I guess you would call this a lunch party, then?) and realized that we were the only ones there! Mark Gold greeted us and explained that we were his first 2:00 Sunday reservation. The Sunday Dinners have become very popular, but people tend to come in starting around 4:30, because well that's when dinner is usually served. He told us to pick whatever table we wanted and promised to get the white wine chilling while he poured us a glass of Hey Mambo red, in the mean time.
We ended up being the only patrons in the restaurant during our feast, so Mark sat with us for the majority of the meal. We picked his brain on restaurants he liked in Los Angeles, food trends, and the operations behind his restaurant. All the while, he kept feeding us seconds of dishes that we loved, refilling our wine glasses, and asking for our opinion of the food.
Here’s what our Sunday menu consisted of (all for $35 per person):
Potato Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Shallots
We swallowed down the first bowl so fast, Mark came by with seconds. Embarrassing? Meh, it was so tasty, we didn’t care. The potatoes were sweet, the mushrooms were fresh and meaty, and the shallots were buttery with a slight crisp around the edges. The chefs also mixed in some chopped up chives and parsley and some top quality parmesan cheese.
Steamed Littleneck Clams with Herbs and Shallots Served with Garlic Parmesan Bread
The clams were fresh and delicious, lacking even the faintest must of fishiness. All of the shells had opened beautifully, allowing them to be dressed in slivered garlic and herbs. The broth at the bottom was thick and creamy; it made a perfect companion for the homemade garlic bread. Mark gave us the rundown of the garlic bread: Breadbar baguette, rubbed with garlic, smeared with butter, topped with top quality parmesan and a good helping of parsley. The bread was served warm and was the perfect utensil for soaking up sauces.
Generous pieces of crispy, breaded chicken topped with a light and salty mixture of tomatoes, capers, olives and garlic. It was the perfect dose of comfort food on a lazy afternoon.
Real Spaghetti Bolognese
The meat sauce was a hand ground mix of beef, pork, and veal, and Mark explained that they soaked the mixture in milk to give soften it and give it a noticeable creaminess. The bolognese offered a nice texture and flavor balance to the al dente spaghetti.
Polenta Almond Cake
The cake was served warm with a dollop of tangy crème fraiche that accentuated its flavors. The dessert was laced with lots of lemon zest that gave it a citrus twist and helped to maintain a ridiculous amount of moisture inside. Two beautiful figs were served on the side to compliment the already refreshing dessert.
Finishing our meal with a glass of the Hey Mambo white wine, we discussed how Eva's "Sunday Dinner Party" hit all the right notes for us. Cozy atmosphere, outstanding customer service, high quality food, and a price that will have us coming back as much as possible.
7458 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles 90036
Now, we are some serious pizza people. In New York, we've done the street corner Joe's pizza, walked the Brooklyn bridge to Grimaldi's, tasted the newly famous Neapolitan-style Keste pizza, and shouldered the 2 hour round trip subway ride to Di Fara's (totally worth it - our favorite, by far!). For the Chicago pie, we've only tried Lou Malnati's. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before making it to Pizzeria Uno or Gino's East. BUT at least we have Lou's as a comparison basis.
Hmmm..maybe we should take a step back to explain the difference between NY and Chicago pizza. Just in case you don't get out alot. NY style is a thin crust pizza. The slices are typically gigantic, and the cheese is generally a blend of mozzarella and parmesan. Chicago is deep dish and cuts almost like a pie. The cheese and toppings are on the bottom and middle and the sauce covers the top.
To be fair, and because the 4 of us were starving, we ordered both kinds. We each got a slice of the NY cheese and Bourbon got a sausage/pepper slice in addition. We then ordered the Navy Pier Chicago pie (green peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and mushrooms). Fair warning -- it took about 45 minutes to get the pizza. This is not uncommon. In Chicago, we were warned by our waiter that pies typically take 30-40 minutes to cook. So we satiated ourselves with some house Cab (for the girls) and beer - Deschutes and Green Lakes - for the boys. The drinks are fairly priced: $4-$5 for draft and bottled beer, $6-$8 for craft bottled beer, $5-$9 for the wine. Plus, there's a happy hour Mon-Fri, 3-8pm, with $3 draft beer, $10 pitchers, $4 house wine, and $3 domestic bottles.
Next to hit our table was the NY pizza. We all got our cheese slices, and then we noticed 2 more slices of sausage/pepper for Bourbon. Uh-oh, we actually only ordered one? No no, we were informed, they brought out 2 because the kitchen thought that they were both small slices (mind you, they were each much larger than normal pizza slices). Legit! The NY-style was awesome! Perfect snap in the crust as your fold the pizza in half with light char marks on the bottom and the perfectly balanced combination of the gooey mozzarella with salty parmesan. Next time we're ordering the Central Park pizza, which comes with fresh basil on top.
Fun tidbit -- they've got an old school Ms. Pac Man/Galaga combo up front. There's an ongoing competition that whoever gets the new high score gets a free pizza!
N.Y. + C
11th and Wilshire
NY-Style Pizza: $3-$4 by the slice, $20-$26 for pizza
Chicago-Style Pizza: $20-$26 for pizza
-Bourbon and Bleu
Sunday, October 11, 2009
The Mozza dynasty arrived to Los Angeles about 3 years ago, and it is quite the feat that you still need to call weeks in advance to get weekend reservations. In case you have been living outside the United States for the past 3 years, here is a quick rundown of the Mozzas.
Here's the rundown: We ordered two items from the specials of the day: Burrata pizza with roasted tomatoes and Sicilian oregano and the Heirloom tomato and avocado panino. After paying for the bill ($28, which is a great deal considering the quality of food you're getting). We only made it a few feet out the door before we agreed to sit at an adjacent bench and dig in. Hey, we were hungry and it smelled great.
Diving in to the pizza while it was hot, we were immediately delighted at our decision. We both agreed that we've never been a fan of hot burrata until now. In our experience, burrata has been best cold either in salads or even served cold over hot pasta. This pizza changed our mind. It was so simple. The dough was rolled out in just the right way to get that thin crust with slight bubbles. With a light tomato sauce and then some roasted tomatoes -- we suspect they roasted the tomatoes slightly before even adding them on the pizza. And then, oh and then, a beautiful ring of burrata resting as a white crown amongst the red creation. Finishing it off with an aromatic dose of Sicilian oregano, the work of art was complete.
When we moved on to the heirloom tomato panino. The sandwich so good that we sat in silence eating, only pausing to look at each other and simply nod. There was a layer of thick slices of Paradise Island heirloom tomatoes, which had been salted and were sweet and juicy, topped by thin slices of the creamiest avocado, surrounded by fresh greens and then drizzled in a salty, light aioli that spoke of herbs (we tasted chervil and French parsley). All of this wrapped in some fresh and chewy ciabatta bread. It was the perfect meal on the go before we headed up to the Hollywood Bowl for a concert under the stars.
Head on over to Mozza 2 Go, as soon as you can. If you're impatient like us, simply buy your food and eat it outside on the bench. Or, if you want to be all practical and rational about it (sheesh) bring it back home or take it for picnic.
Monday, October 5, 2009
We headed over to Honda Ya Izakaya in Little Tokyo with Bourbon's roommate Viren and our friends Chris and Natalie. We were promised a tasty meal at low prices, and we were not let down. All in all, we ordered 16 dishes (don't judge--they were small), 2 pitchers of beer, a 2 large bottles of sake. And it was a tiny bit over $30 per person. This is what we like to call affordable group dining.
Here's my definite recommendations:
Numero 1: The Miso Black Cod
What's that you say? You've already ordered that at every fancy-shmancy Asian restaurant? Have you ever ordered it for $5.95 and died a little bit inside over the quality of the fish and the taste of the miso? I think not. This taste and size of the piece of fish is comparable to those "Hollywood-style" Asian restaurants, which charge $25 for this dish.
Must Get Number 2: The Ramen
The restaurant had different flavoring and meat options, but we ultimately went with the miso-flavored broth with ramen and pork. AH-mazing. The ramen was buttery and creamy. The broth had tons of depth from the miso. And there was enough pieces of pork to go around 5 bowls of soup (and seconds). Chris and Natalie even said that this ramen was better than plenty of the ramen houses around the area.
Please Order Number 3: Agadashi Mochi
You think you know what mochi is, right? That rice ball with ice cream inside in the freezer aisle at Trader Joes (mmmm the mango is sooo good)? BUT that's actually incorrect. That is mochi ice cream. Mochi is actually referring to the rice portion that surrounds the ice cream. And, to scare you even more, in traditional Japanese cuisine, mochi is a savory dish, not a sweet one. This dish was made up of 2 giant mochi (large clumps of the rice matter -- it's good, I swear) in a savory miso broth. The mochi was the perfect consistency of chewiness, and it played off very well with the deep, meaty broth.
I Really Loved This Dish Number 4: Nasu Miso (eggplant in miso)
Bourbon and I were quite fond of this dish. Some of the others at our table were only "meh" about it, but they also explained they weren't lovers of eggplant. Do be warned, though: this dish comes out piping hot. oh boy. Large chunks of eggplant sit in a thick, miso sauce (it kinda tasted like terriyaki in this case). It was delicious and a nice break to all the fish, chicken, and meat we were having. Definitely a great dish to order, if you're going the vegetarian route, or not.
Not our favorites...maybe you should skip?
1. Agadashi Tofu - Sister dish of the mochi above.The mochi just went better with the dish and the sauce.
2. Tuna Yamakake -This was the only dish of the evening that we truly disliked. The menu claimed for the dish to be tuna with fresh, shaved yams. But we were served tuna in white goop. It was slimy and not appetizing. And caused a lot of inappropriate-for-the-table word usage, such as "moist" and "mucous," that almost turned us away from the table. But we held strong.
This place is great for groups that are interested in trying lots of different dishes and flavors. Oh, and they also have one of those rooms where you can dine on the ground on low tables and pillows! But service is spotty, so if you see a waiter, grab their attention. It may be a while before the next walks by!
Honda Ya Izakaya
333 S Alamaeda St (Downtown - Little Tokyo)
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Hours: Tues-Sun 5:30 PM - 1AM