February 27, 2011

Mendocino Farms Review : Getting a Dose of Culture

Since the Metro Red Line is walking distance from our apartment, we decided to hop on the Metro and venture into downtown to experience the SUPRASENSORIAL exhibit at the MOCA. Another reason for our DTLA adventure, was for a downtown sandwich shop which prides itself on original sandwiches made with some of the freshest ingredients.  Suffice to say, once we finally found Mendocino Farms nestled on the bottom floor of the California Plaza, we were ready to eat it up!

Mendocino Farms
When we go to new places, it is almost expected that we will order one of two things, the chef's special or the place's signature dish. Need-less-say, I was extremely excited to try Mendecino Farms when I first walked up to the menu and saw "Duck Confit" written as Chef Judy's Pick, that got the hooks in me for sure. The sandwich has confit of duck leg with roasted fig spread, crispy chicharrones, breadcrumbs, spinich, herb aioli and chimichurri on ciabatta. The tender duck and crispy chicharrones makes for the best salty bites.

Mendocino Farms
Karen's eyes lit up when she saw a few banh mi sandwiches on the menu but couldn't resist the sweet call of braised pork belly. Mendecino Farms' Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi includes braised, caramelized pork belly, daikon and carrots pickled in-house, cilantro, cucumbers, jalapenos, chili aioli on panini grilled ciabatta. The sweetness from the salad and raw jalapeno peppers balanced well with the savory pork.

Mendocino Farms
Pure cane sugar soda fountain provided by Boylan. Sweeeeet...

Mendocino Farms
300 South Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90071

February 24, 2011

Din Tai Fung Review : Are You DTF?

We're not the biggest fans of Chinese food(sorry to all our Chinese buddies). I'd like to think that maybe we just haven't gone to the right places yet. Even though I grew up in the SGV(San Gabirel Valley), I grew up eating more Mexican food and Filipino food. So as a kid, I thought Chinese food was Dim Sum Express and Sam Woo. Which is what this blog is really all about, finding and sharing good food around town(so please school us if there is some good Chinese food out there). For us, going to a place like Din Tai Fung made us realize that just because we might not like the type of food, we will always enjoy the food if we know its freshly prepared.

We both enjoy places that have DIY dipping sauces, be it a shabu shabu restaurant or just a place with a huge condiment counter. The ginger always seems fresh, and boy do we love us some fresh ginger.

We would put garlic on everything if it tastes good, so the sauteed garlic green beans is one of our favorite starters. They usually have a few seasonal vegetables that they serve sauteed. The vegetables are never overly greasy and still have a good crunchy bite to them. 

We always get a little excited when we see these 10 little guys in the steamer. A puff of steam will bellow out when the waitress opens up the steamer(I'd like to imagine that they've been hot boxing in there waiting for us to eat them). All of Din Tai Fung's dumplings are made in house just like they are supposed to. These pork and soup filled morsels can be really delicate to handle with chopsticks. So be gentle or it might just squirt out prematurely(it's never happened to me though, I swear). We're still talking about dumplings right?!?

Fortunately, the proper way to eat these things is printed on the back of your chopsticks(sorry we didn't snap a picture of that). The gist of it goes: dip, nibble, sip, add ginger and devour. I'm sure you'll get the hang of it because you will not stop eating these things. The filling is well seasoned and the dumpling wrappers always have that fresh made doughy bite to them. The initial bite is a rush of pork flavor from the soup, and adding the ginger at the end makes the final bite that much more tasty. However, the dumplings are on the smaller side. We've been to other places that served xiao long bao(soup dumplings) and theirs were almost twice the size, but that will have to wait for another review.

1108 S. Baldwin Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91007

February 21, 2011

Kalbi Burger Review : As Seen On TV

We are a couple of good ol' Americans with red, white and blue (some purple and gold mixed in there too) running through our veins, so we are always on the look out for a good burger and fries. Imagine the buckets of drool when we came across Kalbi Burger near Koreatown. Their signature Kalbi Burger patty is made with half ground chuck and half Korean marinated short rib. Not to mention, all the burgers they cook are 100% Natural Angus Beef, which means cows raised with no hormones, or antibiotics. I may not be a vegetarian, but these cows are.

That is what chef/owner Hawk Lee spoke to us about during a taping of our friend’s upcoming public access food show “Eat LA”. He is proud of the product he has put out, as far as quality of ingredients and inspiration for his menu, and you can really taste the difference in these burgers. Did I mention you can customize your burger as well? One of our favorite burgers to get here is the Kalbi Burger but with a little kimchi added on. The pickled kimchi and marinated Kalbi patty just go together well. The Asian inspired burgers that Hawk has created are a refreshing twist on the American classic.

Karen's favorites are split between the Kalbi Burger with kimchi and the banh mi inspired Saigon Burger. The jalapeno and cucumber cut thin to give the burger a distinctive crunch like a banh mi sandwich. Hawk confessed he would drive all the way to San Gabriel for a good banh mi.

My vote is also split but between the Kalbi Burger and the LuLu Burger, which comes from da islands brah. The Lulu burger is topped with a grilled pineapple with bacon and a spread of Hawk's secret LuLu sauce.

Kalbi Burger
Kalbi Burger topped with American cheese, standard salad (red onion, tomato, lettuce) with a Korean vinaigrette and Kalbi aioli sauce. Fries were tossed in two different types of sea salt and red wine vinegar.

Whether you are familiar with Korean/Asian flavors or just want to try a fresh, quality burger with a new taste, try a Kalbi Burger and eat it up!

Kalbi Burger
4001 Wilshire Blvd., Unit E
Los Angeles, CA 90010

February 20, 2011

Table for 2

Thank you for stopping by to take a look at our sliver of the internet. With open minds and bellies full, we hope you find it fun and informative. We both enjoy good food and cherish its ability to bring people together. Come join us as we sift through LA's strip malls, food trucks, neighborhood pubs and other great places to Eat It Up...enjoy

We ♥ Food!
Urth Caffe
Roasted Turkey Panini w/ Jarlsberg Swiss and whole grain mustard on honey wheat @ Urth Caffe.