Sometime an Oldie is not a Goodie🍴🍴

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Alot of time has passed since 1989, but it seems as though time has stood still, not moved one iota at Engine No.28 in downtown Los Angeles, California on 644 South Figueroa. Sure the menu looks ok, deviled eggs with bacon, crab cakes, & mac n’ cheese, but none of the visual beauties on paper mean absolutely nothing if it doesn’t taste good.

You know cooking is progressive as any creative person knows, new flavors and new twists on old flavors have a way touching your palate in a new way, but if you never experiment, if you opt to disregard the natural course of life to progress, you will always have food the taste like 1989 and old socks.

If progression was in play at Engine No.28, they would have known that deviled eggs require flavor, not sprinkles sized pieces of bacon depending on only that to take it over the top, where are the fresh herbs, the tarragon, the basil…something.

If escalating in your craft was apart of ones repertoire, they would have thought who puts more filler in crab cakes, than crab. Now just to be fair the crab cakes were not inedible, but it wasn’t delicious, I didn’t pull my fork out of the cake and see a piece of lump meat on the other end; experience in ordering crab cakes has taught me that restaurants typically deep fry crakes when they have something to hide, and it is usualy the lack of meat.

If Engine No.28 chose to be up-to-date then the mac n’ cheese with cheddar, mozzarella, and blue cheese, would take like it had all of those cheeses, I mean where was the sharpness of the cheddar, the slightly pungent taste of the bleu cheese, and the tang from the mozzarella, and worst of all, why was the size of the macaroni the same size the pasta in the kraft box, not plump, but al dente..I mean it is mac n’ cheese for heavens sake who wants al dente mac n’ cheese, but above all who wants to be saddened by not good mac n’ cheese.

Based on the perception of the clientele here, they been with Engine No. 28, since the inception of 1989, they are faithful, it is the place they talk business deals, the place where older couples double date with their friends and catch up, but unfortunately it is not the place where you go to have a great meal.

It is always to go to a restaurant that has longevity and staying power, but at the end the day if you choose to go out to eat, the result should be delicious.

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Blue Covine🍴🍴

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I have always wondered why “Happy Hour” is only a hour, I mean does happiness have time limits, is the gist of it all that the happy hour prices are cheaper than the standard menu prices and it is that monetary factor that pushes us over into the happy zone, I don’t know and I probably should inquire of the person who created this theme.

Nonetheless, Blue Cow kitchen & bar in downtown Los Angeles on 350 South Grand has really got a lock on this happy hour concept, the staff is upbeat, cheerful, and down right pleasant. There is outside seating at this place and on a beautiful LA day the place is packed to the gills with people lingering for an absurd amount of time, but have no fear inside seating is available and it can be just as exciting.

So on this leg of the food journey I ordered from the happy hour menu and chose the pork belly sliders, now if you have been following my blog, you know I am a lover of pork, and so when a restaurant opts to try their hand at it, I elect to have it expeditiously. This slider was a kurobuto pork belly, caramelized with house made pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro cucumber, & a side of pickled japlenos, on a mini hawaiian roll. The pork belly was exactly what pork should be, chocked full of flavor, hint of saltiness, and because it was braised super tender, and the melody of veggies gave it a contrast that was sweet yet tangy, and the best of all a little crunch.

On a Friday it is always fitting to have a slider with fries and if you don’t, it doesn’t seem like you are commemorating the approach of the weekend properly. With that being said I typically only enjoy skinny fries, steak fries just seems to remind me of eating a baked potato with every bite, which can be a total drag after the second fry or so. But I opted to step out of my comfort zone and get the steak fries, simply because the menu offered a twist, a baked then fried fry, which is kinda like being healthy in the beginning, but then saying dang it, if I am going to eat fries then they should be fried..bring on the unhealthy.

First bite of this steak fry was crunchy goodness, lightly seasoned, golden brown, and what I loved the most I didn’t feel overwhelmed with potato..Blue Cow you shot and scored with this one, a swervy twist on an old but constant favorite.

I think it is safe to write that due to this delightful meal, my happiness exceeded pass a hour, well done Blue Cow, well done.

Cheers for Chorizo🍴🍴

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Most often when I think turkey burger, I think a lean, mean, healthy machine, but I also think what a dry and dismal choice. But then I walked into this neighborhood bakery & cafe, called Jeannine’s in Santa Barbara, California where the staff makes you feel so welcomed and part of the family, so much so, everyone who walked in they knew by name kinda like being Norm and walking into Cheers.

On first look, the ambiance was nothing to be memerized with, so I thought this lunch would be lack luster, just something to satisfy my hunger. The menu choices were kinda slim, but they had daily specials which neighborhood restaurants tend to be known for and I guess Thursday was my lucky day, because on the menu was a turkey chorizo burger. I was not immediately drawn to it or anything else on the menu for that matter, so I asked the order taker to make a recommendation. Whenever you ask for a recommendation it is totally a crap shoot, will the person be honest, is there palate sophisticated enough to know what is good and what sucks, but he recommended the burger and I followed his lead, and I was so glad I did.

This chorizo spiced turkey burger with avocado cream, quick pickled sauce, on a brioche bun was an absolute treat. The chorizo gave it a kick, the slaw balanced it out being a little bitter and crunch for texture, the avocado cream was light and with a hint of tang, and the burger was cooked just right, it was juicy and mouthwatering…perfection on a bun.

To achieve this texture and juiciness with a turkey burger is a feat, because people simply don’t order turkey burgers because of taste, they order it, because they have a taste for burger, but they want their desire to be mixed with healthiness and they settle for the dryness, because they understand that this is apart of the healthy hand you are dealt. But here at Jeanine’s, you will be dealt a different hand, one filled with goodness and you will never be so happy you opted for a healthy burger again.

Thanks Jeannine’s, this was a great meal. Looks like I am on a winning streak with my restaurant finds.

No Sauce Required!!

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I have to write, it is not everyday that you find great BBQ outside of the hood, and if you do, it is definitely not a spot you feel compelled to write home about until now.

Compton, LA has officially met up with West Hollywood, it is like that 70’s show the Jefferson’s and Bludso’s Bar & Que has moved on up to the west side, and I am so glad they did.

Sometimes when restaurants add additional locations, somehow they lose their swagger of the original location, but not Bludso’s. The pork ribs are absolutely delicious, not fatty, very meaty, and the dry rub is so delectable, that the two bbq sauces are not required. Oftentimes bbq sauce usually places a shroud over the meat, so to decide if the meat was actually delicious is suspect, but there is no guessing here, this meat is the real deal Hollyfield. The pulled pork came out dry, but dry meaning no sauce, it was tender and mouth watering, and when I added the optional spicy and mild bbq sauce to it, it raised the bar from eye level to high level.

Now I am always a proponent for having your veggies with dinner and so collard greens are the way to go. I don’t know if they added a dash of cayenne pepper, but I know that those greens had a kick; these greens actually reminded me of the days when my Grams cooked holiday dinners, but let’s not stop there, who can have soul food without mac n’ cheese, I can’t, so I didn’t, and I must say, I am so glad I did. It was creamy, generously seasoned and an absolute compliment to the pork ribs, collard greens, and pulled pork.

Now if you are going to go, you better go for the gusto, and order dessert, and the one to pick is the peach cobbler, with vanilla ice cream on top. Now by this time you may have eaten so much, my suggestion is that you share this dessert and it is not because, the portion is so large, but because there is no need to unbutton your pants at the restaurant. These sweet peaches are baked with a biscuit like crust, that makes you shout AMAZEBALLS upon your first bite, and shake your head because you have just found your true love, in of all places a bar.

Bludso’s Bar & Que on 609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA has hit the jackpot, perfect atmosphere, open & airy, the staff is friendly and attentive, the food is quick, and sure street parking is a beast, but valet is available for $6.50, which is cheaper than a parking ticket, and right around the corner from the happening strip of Melrose.

Bludso’s Bar & Que you have made me a happy eater which is hard task to achieve, and I shall see you again!!

Patience is a Virtue

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Don’t go to Blu Jam Cafe in Los Angeles, California on Melrose on a Sunday when you are hungry, but if you opt to be a die hard and wait over an hour for a table, to slightly curb your hunger pains grab a fruit juice from across the street, and be prepared to add multiple quarters to your metered parking, but after the wait is over, the joy will absolutely begin.

Now if you took my advice and ordered the juice only from across the street, then it will be perfectly fine to order the egg brioche dipped in batter french toast with crunchy corn flakes, topped with strawberries, blueberries, & bananas, with a side of vanilla bean sauce. The concept of french toast rolled in corn flakes seems like a quirky concept, but the realties of this dish is absolutely delectable. What could be more wonderful than bread that is crispy on the outside and smooth and slightly creamy on the inside, with a taste of added sweetness. I promise you the taste of this french toast is as sweet and savory as Lebron James winning game #2, against San Antonio.

Now if vegetarian is the preferable option for all of you non-carnivores the “Old World” dish is just what the vegan community ordered which is scrambles eggs with sautéed onions, fresh mushrooms, chives, mozzarella, served with potatoes & toast, the fluffy eggs and potatoes taste like my daddy made them.

Whenever you go out to eat with a group there is always one person that orders a semi-healthy meal in an effort to make all the other people at the table feel guilty. This is what I call a non-verbal jab that somehow makes everyone feel bad, but never bad enough to reverse their order, and that person always orders a salad, and my jabber ordered a Cobb Salad and usually there is never anything remarkable about a salad, but this salad with grilled chicken was flavor on steroids, all the flavors mixed together absolutely beautifully, and the smokiness of the bacon, was exactly what the pig lover ordered.

I waited an insane amount of the time for this meal, but I can write it was absolutely worth it, this meal is sure to bring you the same level of euphoria as finding out that Monday and Tuesdays are holidays from work from now until retirement.

Simplicity is Profound

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Clearly you do not need fanciness to have an awesome meal, nor do you need herbs sprinkled around the plate to experience deliciousness, and thank God you don’t, because you will not be getting that at “Best Fish Taco Ensenada” in Los Feliz, California.

This bargain basement restaurant is as simplistic as they come, the menu consist of only two items, fried fish or shrimp tacos, and a drink to wash it down, nothing more and nothing less.

Don’t expect to come to this Los Feliz joint looking to eat nachos and salsa while you wait, because there isn’t any. When you walk in, there may quite possibly be a line simply, because the woman taking your order is also providing the cook with the orders, restocking the salsa smorgasbord…yea I wrote it salsa smorgasbord, restocking the drinks and so forth, which forces her to take a little more than a few minutes to take your order, but once she does take your order, it is only a few minutes before it is up in a styrofoam container to-go or a paper boat container if you opt to eat inside or outside.

Once your order is up I must warn you it looks as plain and boring as white paint. It comes with the fish and the tortilla bread and that’s all. If you want cream go to the salsa smorgasbord, if you want salsa you will have plenty to choose from, they range from mild to hot, to mango salsa to pineapple salsa, and salsa with avocado. If feel like you cannot have a taco without shredded cabbage they have you covered, but once again you have to add it yourself. No waitstaff and no questions on, “how was your meal?” “can I get you something?” This is almost purely self serve.

I like to think I too am a basic kinda person so no cream for me just shredded cabbage and two salsas mango and classic, then I went to work..my first bite made my eyes roll back in my head..this simplistic item was truly delicious, it was perfectly seasoned, perfectly fried, and I am sure they have added a little something special to that batter, and the heat from the fried fish makes the tortilla slightly room temperature for perfect consumption.

Who knew something so plain to look at it could be so darn good, kinda like looking at Jay-Z. Yet again my theory is correct..here you have a restaurant that is not focused on being a social spot, but yet you can be social here, but they have opted to focus on the food and it was proven in every bite.

Now only if I can find the best of both worlds great social environment, visually great aesthetic, & good food..a marriage made in heaven.