Archive for ‘LA food’

May 26th, 2014

Bread and Chawanmushi

Everybody has a favorite carb.  Depending on my mood, my favorite carbohydrate is either Japanese rice or noodles.  My husband?  His choice is predictably, bread.  One time, I left him to fend for himself for his meals, and found out later, that he ate two baguettes by himself in a day. I like the smell of freshly baked bread and eat it at restaurants, but I never brought a baguette or any bread home before I started dating my husband.  One of our first dates, we went to a restaurant which name contains bread and bar for lunch.  Two of his favorite words.  We ordered a bread basket, expecting lots of freshly made warm bread.  Unfortunately, they didn’t deliver anything close to our expectations as we got scraps of bread pieces.  Right there, we established the unspoken code of “NEVER ORDER THE BREAD BASKET”.

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Bread Plate | Faith & Flower

Fast forward five years to the current day where we just realized that we’ve ordered a bread basket twice in a few week…and even more surprising, one was my idea.  Faith & Flower, a rustic Californian restaurant opened near our home, and a few weeks ago, they started offering brunch.  The menu offers a variety of interesting selections.  You can get something familiar like twice cooked potatoes or something exotic, like “Chawanmushi”, which is coincidentally my favorite dish of all time.  It’s a traditional Japanese savory egg custard made with eggs and seafood stocks, but at Faith & Flower, it’s made with lemon dashi and chicken confit.  The brunch also offers their signature dishes,  “Eggs Benedict Pizza,” and “Oxtail Agnolotti.” Both are available on their lunch and dinner menus as well.  I usually order something interesting so I was deciding between their handmade ramen or their Chawanmushi, but since my husband ordered the potato, fried egg and a bread plate, I picked a protein instead of a carb.  Western style Chawanmushi.

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Chawanmushi | Faith & Flower

The bread plate came with a couple of slices of chewy and hazel nutty oatmeal bread, right out of the oven (with the proof being a slight burn on top) croissants, and a pistachio bun with butter and homemade berry preserves on a pretty French antique looking plate.  Very pretty. Even prettier: the bread.  All three kinds of unique, fresh and warm bread made me happy, but the highlight was the pistachio bun.  It was soft, moist and had the perfect density, with a pistachio creme and citrus zest on top.  We were hooked.  Everything that came after was good, but my husband and I were already discussing how we could come back the next day and get this bread plate again. Fortunately or unfortunately, one of us has to work on weekends for while, so we didn’t get to revisit this gorgeous plate of bread for a couple of weeks, but we did talk about it a few times, so that counts.  All that changed this Sunday while I was making us brunch.  I made a call to the restaurant and ordered the bread plate to go.  I had to, because now, I understand the beauty of good bread.

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Pistachio Bun | Faith & Flower

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Crispy Egg | Faith & Flower

 

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Crispy Twice Cooked Potato | Faith & flower

 

 

June 13th, 2011

Mexican food

They are big, fatty, and one dimensionally flavored.  These are the ingredients to pretty much every Mexican dish:  Meat, cheese, beans, rice, salsa, sauce, and tortilla & tortilla chips.  Sure each item has them in different combinations, but still not much variety.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the cuisine until about 6 months ago.  What changed?   Probably a combination of mother-in-law’s fabulous salsa, Dora’s enchiladas and compromises.

Let’s talk about compromises.  Upon getting married, my worldy palate (read: variety) became limited  to the “humorously picky” description my husband gives to his food preferences. Born and raised in Los Angeles, it is almost impossible to find that one Mexican dish or corner place that isn’t amazing (for him). Being easy, cheap and quick (the food, not my husband) it has become kind of fun trying to try them all.  My latest obsession, finding the best tamale in town.  While the search continues, here is a great find.

Hugo’s Tacos has healthier versions of Mexican foods and a cool half price burrito night on Wednesdays (after 7PM–Its added entertainment to watch patrons whisper the secret word to the cashier as if they’re James Bond, trying to save the world, instead of some hipster just saving a couple of bucks on a burrito from a word they read on their Twitter feed).  There are many choices, from salsas, to proteins (Including tofu–it’s L.A.) to style: tacos, burrito, bowl, etc.  So I risk the curious looks by choosing NOT to add sour cream, cheese, and beans to my dish and avoiding a huge tortilla.  It may not be healthy, but it’s the illusion of being healthy!

Since both Japanese and Mexican diets depend on rice and beans, I’ve always wondered why Mexican food is not popular in Japan.  There are many, many KFCs, but no Taco Bells in Japan.  I don’t think my parents (both in mid 60s) in Tokyo have ever eaten Mexican food.