Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ludo Bites @ Royal-T Cafe

This post is soooo totally delayed. I've sorta abandoned my blog as I feel like my camera takes subpar pics in those poorly lit restaurants. Fortunately these pics were taken by WonTuan's SLR. Unfortunately, I can't remember the food as well since this meal took place months ago. But I shall try...

I first heard of Ludo Lefevbre from Top Chef Masters. He was portrayed as the extremely Frenchy and arrogant chef, who ate it pretty hard with his poor rendition of a quesadilla filled with, what was it? pig ears?? Anyways, after that I began to hear of this place called Ludo Bites on a lot of food blogs. It's not a traditional restaurant, but rather a gorilla style restaurant that sets up in restaurant spaces that do not usually operate for dinner. It keeps costs low supposedly, which then get passed on to the customer. So I've been reading on the food blogs about how mindblowingly spectacular the food is @ Ludo Bites. From unique innovative creations to simply delicious food, it's really caught my attention. So when I heard it was making its second round, this time @ Royal-T Cafe, I definitely wanted in on the action.

I don't know about passing on the low costs to the customers, because things were still pricey and we felt underfed. Also, I did not feel the food was consistently spectacular. Lotsa hits and misses.

Tuna sashimi, sushi rice ice cream, soy sauce gelee, and smoked ginger --> HIT!

This was one of my favorite dishes. The sushi rice ice cream added great flavor. I wouldn't say it tasted so much like like rice, but it did have a vinegary sweetness. It was so unique. The little hunks of soy sauce gelee were great little surprises interspersed through all the goodness.

Foie gras beignet and saffron dried apricots --> MISS!

I had read good things about this dish from other bloggers. I was hoping for something like a donut with smooth savory filling. Somehow I always hope foie gras will taste like pate, since they kind of come from the same thing, liver. I love the smooth, creamy, saltiness of pate. I hate the organ taste of foie gras. Once in a while, foie gras will be prepared in such in a way that it tastes like delicious fat without that innards taste. Then, and only then, will I like it. As for pate, I'll eat it any day, any way. On to this dish, it tasted like little lobes of liver (literally you could see the lobes after you broke into it) stuffed in a too thin fried doughy exterior. The apricot sauce was too sweet. I can see how it would add something had the dish been good to begin with. In the end, OVERRATED and DISAPPOINTING.

Braised veal, udon, caramelized onions, kombu dashi, enoki mushrooms --> HIT!

This was probably my favorite dish of the night. I'm not quite sure if I know how umami tastes, but I think this dish would definitely be packed with it. The broth was out of this world flavorful. I really to eat the dish all on my own, but alas, I had to share. You can barely see it, but it came with some sesame paste on the side. I don't know how you were supposed to eat it with the dish but every single element was just DELICIOUS. When I told Ludo that this was my favorite dish, he seemed a little bit disappointed because he didn't feel it was particularly special like the tuna sashimi with sushi rice ice cream dish. Oh Ludo, so hard on yourself!

Crispy confit pork belly, thai coconut foam, plantain, burnt eggplant puree --> MISS

This was another disappointment. The pork belly was on the dry overcooked side, the coconut foam added no dimension or flavor, andthe burnt eggplant really tasted too burned.

Duck breast, orange blossom something, peanuts --> HIT

I particularly liked this dish for being a tender succulent piece of duck breast. It was probably more rare than I would have liked, but it was an intresting blend of sweetness from the orange blossoms and something that was similar to peanut butter. I guess we got too lazy to take this dish over to the lightbox for another spectacular photo.

Some other dishes that we did not get pictures for:

Celery root soup with black truffle parmesan --> MISS

Carmelized endive and grapefruit salad with gingerbread --> MISS

Squid with kimchi puree, chorizo oil, and black olive --> HIT

Fourme dambert tourte, red pear, honey balsamic

--> MISS? HIT?
This was a very interesting savory dessert, if a dessert could ever been savory. I guess I'm not sophisticated enough to appreciate cheese as a dessert. I appreciated the flakey crust, the subtle creaminess of the cheese, and subtle sweetness of the very little honey balsamic that was swirled on the plate. I was trying to mop up as much of it as I possible could to make it feel like I was really eating dessert.

Guacamole, exotic fruits, ginger ice cream
--> HIT? MISS?

This was another interesting dessert because of the guacamole. No joke, it was various ice creams with a dollop of guacamole. It tasted more like a dessert than the cheese tart, so maybe thats why I ate more of this than the other dish. Sorry for the lack of picture.

We topped off the night with some time with The Chef. He came to our table to share with us some of his Frenchy charm. Boy oh boy is he HOT stuff. The accent, the tattoes, the hair, the enthusiasm for food and his patrons. He's such a sport allowing us to get a nice picture with him too! DROOOL. Even though his food that night seemed about ~50% HITS, ~50% MISSES, I would still go back to see what more interesting things he creates.

Ludo Bites @ Royal-T Cafe
8910 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA‎
(310) 559-6300‎

Read more »

Monday, December 7, 2009

Las Vegas in SLR Quality!

Courtesy of Running Man, we have Las Vegas in SLR quality AND just 1 day after the trip! So for reasons unclear to me, we decided to fly into Vegas saturday morning. Boy oh boy was it early! We woke up at 5am for a 730am flight. Yeah...ouch. Everyone is pretty tired but we can't check into our room at Planet Hollywood until 3pm. So what does the H.o.P. do to pass the time? Prepare for our next meal. Running Man suggested Pink's Hot Dog. Dumpling Man was not so much a fan, and I was like ehh. I had tried it once many years ago and didn't understand the hype but have been wanting to try it again so I can confirm whether I like it or not. So we just walk around the Miracle Mile Mall shops until Pinks opens. Finally it opens and the cholesterol fest begins!

From what I remember of my last Pink's experience, I didn't want to order anything that had a regular hot dog in it or multiple regular hot dogs. I remember they were dinky, skinny, dry, and unsatisfying. So I opted for the polish sausage variety. This is the Planet Hollywood dog, polish sausage, bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms. The polish sausage is certainly tastey but not the best version of processed meat potpouri. The toppings are all sorta whatevers. Grilled onions and mushrooms were more like steamed onions and mushrooms. Hardly any color or taste.

This was my sister's dog. I don't remember what was in it cuz I never tasted it, but it was just a regular dog so how good could it have been?

What's a hot dog without some greasy accoutrements? The obligatory chili fries. When Running Man first brought it to the table, I was like "It looks like someone took a dump on the fries." After that, everyone just dug in like starving Ethiopians. Honestly, there was something unnatural tasting about the chilli. It had a really gummy texture. Like when it was in your mouth it really stuck to the sides of your mouth and felt really thick and sticky. Not that good, but the fries alone were delicous. Crispy and probably better than McDonald's fries except a tad too salty.

The onion rings were too sweet for my taste.

Now onto some more "refined" food. Five times the price too! Last time we were in Vegas, we went to Michael Mina at Bellagio. This time around we tried to get reservations at L'Atelier De Joel Robuchon, but alas no open spots. So we ended up at Sea Blue by Michael Mina at MGM Grand. It's not as fancy as the other MM restaurant and seafood is supposed to MM's thing so we had high hopes.

Running Man trying to get artistic.

Some buttered flat bread/pita bread. By this time I was pretty hungry so I ate this without much regard for taste and slathered on the following dips.

From left to right: humus, red bell pepper tomato spread?, feta cheese c olive tapanade.

We ordered multiples of the "Raw & Marinated," "Fried & Crusted," and "Grilled" tasting trios.

The "Raw & Marinated" trio was served with some buttered toast and flat bread.

From left to right: tuna tartare, yellowtail crudo, scallop ceviche. I've had better tuna tartare and the ceviche was slightly too sweet and soupy for a ceviche in my opinion. The crudo was DELICIOUS and overall made the dish a winner.

Dumpling Man and I passed on this dish of fried junk. From top and clockwise: lobster corndogs, dungeness crab piquillo peppers, and corn fritters? The crab things were crabby so not so bad, but everything else was just fried junk as I said.

The "Grilled" trio: Shrimp lettuce cups, lamb kebabs, and teriyaki chicken skewer. This dish was just so so, but I did enjoy the shrimp lettuce cups.

I'm still not quite clear what the direction of Sea Blue is aside from seafood. They had a section of "Morrocan Clay Pots" that are invidual sized dishes that come out covered with this dome triangle shaped lid. Whether they are cooked in it or not or if its just for show, I'm not sure. Either way, I'm still not sure if what was cooked in the morrocan clay pot was really morrocan. For instance we have the "Sea Blue Paella" which actually was more seafood than rice! I had a few bites and it was good, nothing spectacular I don't think.

Alaskan King Crab legs. They were hella salty!!! No lemon served on the side either. They were just cut down the middle but a cracker woulda helped out a lot. This dish gets a C for barely passing.

"Dayboat Scallops" Good but I don't think JLin was that impressed.

This was my dish, "bacon-wrapped chilean sea bass." The fish was perfectly cooked, the bacon added a subtle smokey hint, the broth was delicious flavored, and those little sun dried tomatoes were soooo good! There were chickpeas that tasted undercooked to me. Overall I liked my dish a lot, but maybe it was a bit salty too.

On to dessert! It ain't dinner with me at a fancy restaurant until we get dessert! The obligatory "molten chocolate cake." I've had better, but the peppermint ice cream was a nice touch.

Apple tarte tatin. I almost always pass on apple desserts. I think apples just get mushed up in the cooking process and never taste that good. I have to see what the apple dessert looks like before I'd eat it. Some I know might taste good, others will just taste unforgettable. This was my sister's choice and yes, it was forgettable. Some soggy apples on a nicely flakey puff pastry. The ice cream was so terribley melty that I don't think I got a good sample before it ran all over the plate.

Some flavor of creme brulee served with figs and a palmier. It was good but not special.

Overall, the H.o.P. was not that impressed with Sea Blue, but it was certainly more flavorful than the other Michael Mina restaurant. I doubt I'll be returning here any time soon. Michael Mina, please step up your game!!!!!

Pink's Hot Dogs @ Planet Hollywood
3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109-4331
(702) 785-5555

View Larger Map

Sea Blue @ MGM Grand
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109-4319
(702) 891-3486

View Larger Map

Read more »

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Random Cooking

So I dunno what they hype about shaking beef is. I've tried all these different recipes and it just tastes like beef with oyster sauce and garlic. Nothing too far off from anything my mom has ever made, except she never used filet mignon which I think is what is supposed to be used. But whatever, I ain't gonna fork out the moola for filet mignon when I don't even like it that much anyways. I tried using the recipe of Charles Phan of the Slanted door. It was totally unimpressive and I'm pretty sure I followed it correctly. I'm sure I'm lacking some element of caramelization since my wok isn't very hot. I dunno. At the end of the day I prefer good ole steak cubes with oyster sauce.

Looks pretty doesn't it? Red rice made from stir frying some garlic and tomato paste. Dumpling man was not doing cartwheels over the dish but he ate it up. Put corn with anything and he'll eat it up.

On another night I had a tofu salad. I found a really great sesame Japanese dressing from Murakai market that I can't seem to find anywhere else. It's a good dressing but can taste heavy. I'm pretty sure its on par with a creamy ranch dressing with regards to fat and calories. Sprinkle on some dried bonito flakes and you have an instant salad that goes well with a bowl of curry or something.

I like beef noodle soup, so I tried making a pork version. Tastewise it was not what I was going for, flavor wise, but it looks pretty complete and appetizing doesn't it? Dumpling man liked it. I used fresh noodles, korean brand. I think they're they type they serve with jajang mien at korean chinese restaurants. They cook very fast and when served in a noodle soup like that, can get overcooked and soggy so be careful. I'd love to be better at cooking noodle soups.

Read more »

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Red Corner Asia

So I used to be a big fan of Palms Thai. Between Elvis, the hours, the plentitude of seating, and the delicious food, how could you ask for more?! Plus, a thai friend in med school gave Palms here seal of genuine Thai approval. When someone with 5 syllables in their last name says a Thai restaurant is good, I believe 'em! But recently a friend recommended RCA also known as Red Corner Asia. Keep in mind this friend is white. But hey, I keep an open mind. The reviews on yelp also supported this =).

So I love Thai salads. I just love their fishy, sweet, sour, spicy dressing. I'm becoming a fan of Thai papaya salad. Vietnamese eat green/raw papaya as a savory salad too. Pictured below is their Papaya Salad with Dried Shrimp (Som Tum Thai) minus the dried shrimp cuz Dumpling Man does not like dried shrimp. It's delicious! But pretty spicy!

Then there were some fried shrimp balls. Just fried. Shrimpy. Nothing special.

The pad see ew is delicious. Can't find a bad pad see ew in Thai Town. Not too sweet or fishey.

This is either yellow chicken curry or duck curry. I can't remember. Either way, I'd say the curries here are slightly weak. They're a little more bland. The duck is very fatty but its most delicious.

I forget what this next one was called, but it's basically stir-fried glass noodles, eggs, veggies, and shrimp. Good stuff but I'd doubt I'd order it again, wasn't really that special. Definitely good if you like glass noodles.

Their Pad Thai is surprisingly not very red or orange like most pad thais i've eaten. It still had that sweet/sour/tangy taste which I enjoy. I'm not the biggest fan of a hunk of egg in my pad thai, but its solid nonetheless.

This is one of my favorite dishes at Thai restaurants. Unfortunately at the more Americanized Thai places, the ones I get takeout from on the Westside don't have this vegetable. I grew up eating it at home. It's some sort of spinach but I guess it's called "morning glory." Vietnamese just stir-fry with a bit of garlic and season with fish sauce. Thai ppl do the same, but tons more garlic, fish sauce, and I think bean paste cuz theres hunks of what looks like fermented beans in there. All of it makes a very punched up version of a vegetable dish I liked growing up.

I love red corner asia. Definitely my go to place for Thai food in Thai town. Too bad its so darn farn. Altho from the bev center it probably takes 20 min on a weekday. So not horrible, but mentally it seems further. Anyways, you should go check it out. Give me a call cuz I'd like to go too =)

Red Corner Asia
5267 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 466-6722

View Larger Map

Read more »

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hide Sushi

I've been on a blogging hiatus as of late. I've had some technical difficulties with my camera. I've just been feeling like the pics are subpar and so haven't been as motivated to post pics. I'm in the market for a better camera, but darn these things can get expensive if you're looking for a good one. Anyways, on to the food as usual...

So I went Hide Sushi a long time ago when I was in college. At that time, I don't think I really appreciated real sushi. I was new to the raw fish deal so I think I liked rolls better. But nowadays I can definitely call myself a fan of real sushi, minus the uni, sweet shrimp, etc. That I have yet to develop a real appreciation for. Until re-discovering Hide I didn't have a good go-to sushi place that was affordable. My go-to sushi place was Crazy Fish for rolls, but when I had a hankering for the real deal I just went without. After some yelping I found Hide again and decided to give it a go.

They do offer hot dishes in addition to sushi and some rolls.

As you can see, the sushi is priced quite affordably.

Standard miso soup, nothing too special.

Some salted cabbage stuff, again not that special. These things come when you order a dinner set and not just sushi.

Mmmm, now for the good stuff! From left to right: spicy tuna roll, yellowtail roll, salmon, and eel. All so delicious. Just getting hungry thinking about it. The yellowtail roll is particularly impressive. Just tastes fresh and very subtley flavorful with the scallions. The salmon is pretty good, but Dumpling Man is not that impressed. The eel is perfectly sweet and delicately crisp in all the right places.

This is Dumpling Man's favorite: albacore. They do it particularly well here for some reason. And you get to pour ur own ponzu sauce.

I'm not that big a fan of the hot food here. The chicken teriyaki was sorta dry, the beef was better but neither that impressive. Good dishes to fill up your stomache so you don't go broke on the sushi.

Overall I am a big fan of Hide becuz the sushi is so fresh and the price is very very RIGHT. Most people I've talked to agree that Hide is good for its location, price and quality. Obviously you'll prob find better sushi in Little Tokyo or Torrance, but when it comes to the Westside, we take what we can get! One person, who's name I shall not mention, has compared Hide sushi to that one could obtain from your local supermarket, like Ralph's. This person obviously is a gigantic boob when it comes to food and prefers his/her sushi to be served on warm rice, which in my opinion spoils the delicious rawness of sushi. It's a wonder why I continue to be friends with this person. But who knows, maybe warm sushi rice is appropriate for certain types of fish. I certainly cannot appreciate it. Anybody have any comments on this??

Read more »

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kogi Taco Truck

So I thought I was one of the last people to try Kogi, but apparently there's still tons of people who hadn't even heard of Kogi until recently. One such person is my old roomie. She too is a foodie and I remember when we first started rooming together she told me it was nice that I liked to eat cuz her previous roomie was not much of an eater. She liked to eat. I liked to eat. She liked to cook. I liked to cook. She liked to bake. I liked to bake. What a pair! Haha. I kid, but its always nice to be around people who have similar interests. More and more, my life becomes centered around food. So I find myself gravitating toward fellow foodies.

On this foodie journey, my old roomie and I planned to chase down Kogi and Marked5. Marked5 you ask? It's like japanese burgers on rice buns. That's about the extent of my knowledge. First stop Kogi. Luckily we got there just as it parked and started setting up, so the line wasn't bad at all.

The menu:

My roomate and I weren't sure of what to get and of how much to get. Especially since we planned on eating more at our 2nd stop, Marked5, we wanted to plan appropriately so as not to overeat. We got 2 tacos each. 1 beef, 1 pork for me and 1 beef, 1 tofu for old roomie. We were concerned that that might not be enough and that if we wanted more we would be stuck in a longass line. So we also got sliders to split.

I chomped on the sliders first. The flavors were immediately mouthwatering, and my first thought was like "All the hype is true! This stuff is well worth the wait!" Well-marinated beef and a perfectly complimenting veggie/salad toppings. After a while, the bun became soggy and didn't seem to compliment the filling as well. So I moved onto to the tacos.

What was in the slider was the same thing in the taco. Also delicious! I've heard complaints that it all tastes the same. Different meats that are masked in the same flavors since all are slathered in the same sauce with the same veggie toppings. Point well taken. Stuff still tastes good tho! Again after a while i got sick of the taco and just ate the filling and I began thinking to myself. Gosh this would all taste great with some rice! Haha. Maybe next time I'll sneak over my own rice and dump out the filling onto my own rice.

Mmmm, spicy pork taco!

So old roomie had read on their website that they have some special dessert, called chocolate tres leches. I was unimpressed by the appearance. It looked sooooo homemade and sorta suspicious. Wrapped in plastic in a tin foil cup. It was really good tho. Like a chocolate cake I've never had. I can't even describe what about it was different. Certainly the topping of "spiced peanut brittle with toffee, cocoa pebbles, cinnamon toast crunch" was good. You wouldn't really know there was cereal in there. There was also some creamy center with some tapioca balls which was a little weird but really didn't add or detract from the overall deliciousness. I think that makes it the tres leches, but my favorite part is the cake. And it's all yours for $4.

Mmmmmm, chocolaaaaaaaate.....

Anyways, you won't be seeing pics from Marked5 cuz those bastards up and moved from their posted/planned location. My poor friends who I was gonna meet up with even got there before I did and had to break the news that there was no such Marked5 truck at the Venice location. Instead they were over by Robertson and Olympic. I was disappointed and this caused our food truck chase to come an abrupt end. It probably was for the better since old roomie and I were pretty full from all the Kogi-ness. Ironically I did see the Marked5 truck on my way back home and was tempted to stop but I was angry they ruined my plans and didn't want to give them any business for the night. They looked pretty empty anyways. Anyways, there's always a next time!

Read more »
Related Posts with Thumbnails


Home | About | Link | Link
Simple Proff Blogger Template Created By Herro | Inspiring By Busy Bee Woo Themes