Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Grace came highly recommended by Buff Bear, who has been living in Chicago for the past 2 years.  He said it was better than Alinea.  Dems strong words there Buff Bear!  So of course I had to try the place out, on my now third visit to Chicago.  Triple F never heard of the place, I guess because it hasn't been open for even a year!  It definitely falls under the category of fine dining, with a tasting menu costing $185.  Yes, I know, really steep, buuuut you only live once right??  After the wine pairing, tax, tip, oh god, it was a killer to the wallet to say the least.  Buuut, it was good.  Modern, innovative, tasty.  Better than Alinea?  I guess we'll see...

Amuse Bouche
Alaskan king crab, encapsulated butter
The plating here is so beautiful, I almost didn't want to eat this but it was a delicious, more elevated version of steamed crab legs dipper in butter.  The buttery sphere burst in your mouth with an intense butteriness.  It was a tad too salty overall but still good.

Black pepper melon juice, caviar, mint
This was another ball that exploded in your mouth.  This may be the first time where I didn't find the caviar too salty.
Plum sodaTriple F didn't seem to like this refreshing palate cleanser as much as I did.  It wasn't that sweet, it was more tart and watery.  I like the little seed pulps swimming in my mouth.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Marugame Monzo

I love all kinds of noodle soups.  It wasn't like that when I was a kid.  I was all about rice and my mom always had to make me something else when everyone else was eating pho.  I also was a big tomboy and hated wearing dresses.  It's amazing how some things change so much.  Marugame Monzo is known for making fresh udon.

Here's the udon man slinging fresh noodles.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Tokyo Fried Chicken Co.

Since getting back to the blog after a long hiatus, I haven't had any real noteworthy dining experiences.  But along comes Tokyo Fried Chicken Co., which restores my faith in the delicious possibilities of this world.  You're probably thinking, what's so special about this fried chicken?  The meat is juicy and tasty, while the outside is just perfectly battered and seasoned.  Mmm, my mouth is watering just remembering it.  It tastes like a more mildly seasoned karaage chicken.  But what really makes the place special are the Japanese style sides.  Lo-Ma Linda and Big Head Talks ALot did not know what to expect coming to this little joint all the way out in Monterey Park, but they were very very pleased with the food.

So much beer! Too bad I don't like beer, except to wash out the taste of stinky tofu in my mouth (long story).

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DK Donuts

The cronut craze has taken LA by way of Santa Monica.  What's a cronut you might be asking yourself?  Uhh, have you been living under a rock?  I guess there are actually a lot of under rock dwellers.  It's been described as a "half donut, half croissant pastry hybrid."  It originated at Dominique Ansel's bakery in NYC and there have been many knockoffs popping up across the country.  

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Maccheroni Republic

When I was in college, too many years ago, the only reasons we went to downtown LA was to volunteer at the soup kitchens and feed the homeless people by Skid Row.  Fast forward, again, too many years, and downtown is a destination to dine and spend a night out, what with LA Live, the Nokia Theater, Staples Center, and many restaurants popping up throughout the area.  It certainly feels a lot safer hanging out in downtown LA, so I was a bit surprised to find Maccheroni Republic in a sketchy part of DTLA on Broadway.  The rustic Italian cuisine showcasing a variety of handmade pastas is a stark contrast to the neighboring McDonald's and random shops selling bridal gowns, CDs, discount goods, etc.  I think what was more off putting was the fact they don't serve wine!  What kind of Italian restaurant does not serve wine?  There's no corkage fee so we could have brought our own bottle had we known.  Or we could have hiked over a few miles to the nearest wine shop like our waiter had suggested.  I think The Face Puncher and Lactose Intolerant T (formerly known as Quack Man T) were both thinking the same thing I was, which was "you want me to what?!"

Polpettine di Gamberi crispy pan fried shrimp cakes, caramelized onions
These were golden fried on the outside and shrimpy and snappy on the inside.  The caramelized onions were sweet and added nice contrast, though really I'm not sure how they two went together.  I'm not even sure what was Italian about this, but I do believe the place was authentic.  Our waiter was a real Luigi, with the accent and all!

Fettuccine slow cooked venetian braised duck sauce
The pastas were perfectly al dente.  The duck could have been any other meat really, but tomato sauce was not too overpowering.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fundamental LA

If you know me, you probably know I'm not a huge fan of Dine LA.  First of all, I haven't had very good experiences.  Second of all, I'd rather spend more money to get what I want than to be restricted to a prix fixe menu for less money.  What can I say?  I'm particular about my food and I don't mind paying for it.  That being said, I made reservations for Fundamental LA not knowing it was Dine LA week, but we decided to partake in the offering anyways because it pretty much included most of the things we would have ordered anyways.  Since there were 3 of us, we were able to order 1 of everything off the Dine LA menu.

Requisite open kitchen shot

Summer Salad mesclun greens, hazelnut, white nectarine, celery, champagne vin
I could have made this at home!  Really not much special going on here, and I would have expected the nectarines to be sweeter.  Fun fact, Oregon produces 99% of the U.S. hazelnut crops!

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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Maruhide Uni Club

In the past 2 years I've really developed an appreciation for uni.  Smooth Obturator would order it all the time but I would just give him and those ugly fleshy orange blobs the stink eye.  I don't really know when/how things changed for me, but I just can't get enough uni nowadays.  So when I heard about Maruhide Uni Club as a restaurant solely dedicated to serving uni bowls and other more interesting preparations of uni, I jumped at the chance to go.  Big Willie, who should probably be renamed to Ugly Mullet Head, and Speaker Monkey were down to join me for a slice of uni heaven.

The place is pretty spacious with high ceilings which is sort of unusual for Japanese restaurants as we all know.  They have a fridge with all sorts of uni preparations including the marinated uni, or uni shuntou.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013


Oh Ricardo Zarate, you've come such a long way since your days at Mercado La Paloma, the original location of Mo-Chica.  I first dined at Mo-Chica when it was housed in this food court-esque type venue.  It really blew my socks off at that time, probably being the best fancied up Peruvian food I'd had, even better than the highly lauded Andina in Portland.  Since then, I've tried Picca, Zarate's second effort, but was a bit disappointed.  I left that meal still wearing both my socks.  The H.o.P. (House of Piggy - this is the reference for my family for all of those new to my blog) dined there without me and was also unimpressed.  Soooo, I have yet to try Paiche and instead wanted to try Mo-Chica again to see if it was still just as good as a I remember.

Ceviche Mixto halibut, prawns, scallops, squid, red onion, rocoto, leche de tigre, camote
I think I'm REALLY over ceviche at Peruvian joints.  They're just SOUR SOUR SOUR.  It's hard to appreciate anything else, say the inherent freshness of the seafood?  Nope, nope, NONE of that.

Yellowtail Tiradito rocoto ponzu, garlic chips, green onions
I apologize for the poor quality photos.  It's been awhile since I've blogged and I'm still trying to remember how to use my camera again!  Anyways, the yellowtail was not as fresh as it could have been.  Not much special going on here.

Causa de Cangrejo Aji amarillo mashed potatoes, fresh crab, avocado
I thought the causa was really good last time with the freshness of the crab shining through on top of a tasty mash of potatoes.  The crab seemed a bit too mayo-y this time.  It was still a pretty dish.

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