Thursday, August 28, 2014

San Tung

People RAVE about San Tung.  "Best wings ever!" "Crack wings" "Hour long wait for the best meal of my life" blah blah blah.  You know this is just a set up for disappointment right?  I've had some mighty tasty wings in my life, Crisp in Chicago and Pok Pok in Portland.  The latter, being my favorite of the two places.  But Running Man and Triple F looooove San Tung and they are some heavy hitting foodies.  They catered the Twin Tornadoes one year birthday party with food from San Tung.  So the wings weren't piping fresh when I tried them, but I believe the flavor was still there and I was unimpressed.  Korean Chinese food is usually a cuisine I have difficulty appreciating.  It comes off as bad Chinese food, almost Americanized in its overly saccharine sweetness.  I'm sure its not meant to come off this way, I'm just not accustomed to its taste.

Dry Black Bean Sauce Noodles
This is actually one of the few dishes at Korean Chinese restaurants that I really like...when its done well.  Here it was just ok.  You'd imagine that a sauce so black and thick would be loaded with flavor, buuuut its really not, at least not this one.  The noodles could have been chewier, more al dente.  I really like the version at Dragon in LA.
Dry Sauteed String Beans
The beans were not good that night.  Save for that, it would have been your standard fare.


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Atelier Crenn

It seems like with every visit to SF, I go big and then I go home.  I know some heavy hitting foodies in SF, so eating well is always a big part of my visits.  The Pouter is always my go to girl for any of the big meals in SF.  We were inspired to hit up Atelier Crenn after seeing Chef Crenn on Top Chef.  She seemed so hip, so cool, so SF!  SF has quite the fine dining food scene going on.  The restaurants can range from traditional institutions like Gary Denko, to more modern and contemporary places pushing the boundaries of food and science.  Atelier Crenn definitely falls into the latter category.  The ambience was clean, minimalist, modern.  On the weekend, you can only do the tasting menu.  So I was shocked to see a couple there with their 7-8ish year old daughter!  I really wonder what she was eating.  Did she partake in the fancy ass tasting menu?  Did they make a special menu with molecular gastronomy chicken nuggets??  I'm sort of on the fence about bringing children to such fancy places like this.  I guess I'll leave it at that.  On to the food!

Kir Breton coco butter, cassis liquor, apple cider
I love these little liquer amuse bouches.  They usually have some interesting texture and then burst in your mouth.  The spheres were delicately thin but with some crunch and sweetness.  Then the apple cider provided some tang and refreshment.  Such a fun way to start.

Uni custard caviar, smoked potato gel, licorice
Uni seems to be making a splash on every menu these days.  It was an oceanic delight tempered by a smooth creaminess.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Dia de Campo

The South Bay is an upcoming foodie area.  It seems like there's always something new and cool opening up.  I really liked Little Sister so I was excited to hear that the chef/owner was opening up a Mexican/seafood themed joint just down the coast in Hermosa Beach.  Who other than Smooth Obturator and Triple T, who call the South Bay their home, would accompany me to this very hip and happening spot?  I totally loved the ambiance.  It was both relaxed/laid back given its beachside location, but then also vibrant, hip, and happening.  

Oysters
I was a little bummed these were cooked instead of chilled.  I'm not sure why cooked oysters just never taste right.
Hamachi Uni green papaya, mango, ponzu, baby cilantro, smoked pasilla
I don't think it's fair to list uni as a main ingredient here.  There was only 1 little lobe of uni!  Other than that, the dish was fine but nothing spectacular.  The fresh passionfruit was a nice touch.


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Monday, July 28, 2014

Gusto

It's been a while since the Bears joined forces to eat our way through LA.  Many things have changed since our days as "overworked and underpaid" drones.  Some of us are now "appropriately paid," while others, sadly, are still "underpaid" (Luau Bear who I'm going to rename Digs-Thru-Poop Bear and Panda Bear).  But the "underpaid" ones got smart and married their sugar mammas (Farm Bear and Little Bear who will be renamed Fancy Nails Bear).  And some things never change.  Buff Bear is still buff as ever, so obviously his name isn't changing.  One thing is true for all of us though, we are busier than ever, so coordinating all of our schedules to even get together for dinner isn't always easy.  Heck, I don't even live close to the majority of these guys, but I will trek anywhere for good friends and good food.  While Gusto wasn't our first choice, we were pretty happy with Fancy Nails Bear's choice in the end.  Gusto is a simple neighborhood Italian joint in the heart of Beverly Hills/WeHo.  It wasn't crowded at all for a Friday night, which is probably not a good sign, but it was nice to not have to shout over the din of a bustling Friday night crowd.

The guys took a backseat while Farm Bear and I took the reigns with the menu.  I love Farm Bear because she just wanted to order everything on the menu and said yes to everything I suggested.  Her verve for food and dining makes she and I kindred spirits!

Asparagi grilled asparagus, sunny side egg, fontina fonduta
It was so simple, yet so delicious.  I wish I could get my grilled veggies to taste like this.   What is the secret?!  Charcoal grill?  There was a healthy balance of salt, tang, sharp, creamy, and luscious.  Lovely. 
Lacinato shaved black kale
Kale might be the new beet or Brussels sprout today, making its appearance on practically every menu these days.  Some may find it too tough to eat raw, but when it is done right, my TMJ prone jaw is not exacerbated.  I found this to be bright and well balanced with varying textures and flavors.

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