Monday, April 27, 2015

Scopa Italian Roots

The Bear Crew gathering is becoming an almost regular occurrence lately.  We are killing two birds with one stone, sharing great food and catching up with great company.  I think deep down inside, some of us may feel that our days our numbered.  Buff Bear and Panda Bear are growing up into big boys now.  Getting real jobs, moving away from LA, the epicenter of our once young adult lives.  While we are never sure where the future will take us, we can be sure that we will be great friends sharing great food.  The scenery and context just may be a little different, that's all.  Tonight, the scene was Italian in the outskirts of Venice bordering Marina del Rey.

Fried Calamari squid ink, lemon
I have concluded that squid ink anything is just a sham, a gimmick.  Squid ink does not add any significantly notable flavor.  It adds a strikingly black color, but my tongue lacks the ability to taste color.  Stupid tongue!  There were still light and crispy, not overly battered.  

Crispy Squash Blossoms ricotta, mozzarella, tomato, chili
Squash blossoms are really just a vehicle for crispy fried goodness filled with cheesy oozy deliciousness.  I don't think I've ever had a bad squash blossom.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

4th Street Market

Growing up in Orange County, Santa Ana was NEVER the place to be.  In fact, it was the place you wanted to avoid if you valued your money, valuables, and safety.  My how the world, has changed.  Santa Ana is now like one of the many small pockets of hipster-dom in Orange County.  It's one of the few places you can go to eat something interesting and tasty.

The 4th Street Market, which is literally across the street from The Playground, my all-time favorite OC restaurant, is sort of like a grunge fancy food court.  What an oxymoron right?  The setting is semi-grunge, paper plates, plastic silverware, simple stalls and decor.  The food is semi-fancy as you will see.  It delivers similar food concepts as the Packing District in Anaheim, in much more manageable and intimate setting.  The same damn hipsters are teeming both locales.  Wait, I'm one of those damn hipsters!  Crap...

I think most of the eateries were equipped with iPads and Square receipt apps.  Bye bye are the days of cash registers.

What I love more than anything when it comes to eating is variety.  So we came well prepared, our party of 3, 4 if you include Baby Talks A Lot but she didn't really eat anything but downed some milk.  We ordered enough dishes to get a decent sampling of 4th Street Market's offerings.

Noodle Tramp
Khao Soi wagyu brisket
My time in Portland exposed me to a whole other side of Thai food.  That side includes this dish, a form of curry noodles.  It's not a dish you will find very commonly at most Thai restaurants stateside, and when you do it's probably not that good.  Excellent Thai food strikes a perfect harmony between salty, sweet, sour, spicy, and funky.  Fortunately, Jason Quinn and his Playground crew do this dish some justice, but I've had better.  Heck even the version I make is better.  I'd prefer if they amped up the funk and tempered the sweet.  I might not sure if you really can get this in Orange Country so Noodle Tramp might be your new go to spot.  While traditionally served with chicken, Noodle Tramp gives you the option for brisket which was actually a tasty twist.  The wagyu is nice but not really necessary.

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