Archive for ‘Los Angeles’

June 26th, 2016

スモーガスバーグLA デビュー!

スモーガスバーグ、と聞いてどこかで耳にしたことあるなあ、と思う方。もしくはそんなの昔から知ってるよ〜、ブルックリンの屋台村でしょ?とおっしゃる方。その通りです。2011年にNYブルックリンでスタートして以来人気が絶えず、ラーメンバーガー等様々な話題のある食を生んできた大人気野外大型屋台村です。そのスモーガスバーグがロサンゼルスに先週日曜日、6月19日にデビューしました。出店内容は9割、地元ロサンゼルスのお店で、市内にお店を持っている所も有れば(Pizzanista!)、イベントやファーマーズマーケットで少しずつ人気が出て来てるお店(Mamamusubi)、また、ニューヨークからはラーメンバーガーやロブスターロール、そして今、インスタグラムされまくりのレインドロップケーキ(今年のクロナッツか)など様々。初日は父の日だったせいか、家族連れからブロガー、カップル等多くのアンジェリーノ達が猛暑にも負けず(35度!)集まり盛り上げてました。

 

50軒近いユニークな食べ物屋さん、飲み物屋さん、デザート屋さん、どれから試してよいのか迷います。友達とたくさんで行ったとしても全部制覇するのは難しい、ので、以下、ロサンゼルスのメディアのおすすめです。コメントは私のものですのであしからず。また、私のおすすめも最後に追加しておきます。

まずは大御所ロサンゼルスタイムス紙より

Bub and Grandma’s Bread ダウンタウン周辺で精製された小麦粉を使ってパン職人の焼くバゲットやサワードウ。クラストが固くて中がしっとり。生きてるパン食べてる!という感じです。

Burritos La Palma 先日行われたタコス祭り(Tacolandia)でベストに選ばれたブリトー屋さん。手作りトルティーヤが売り物です。スパイシーなサルサとモチっと小さめのブリトーは王道B級グルメ。

Califas Taco ロサンゼルスの人気タコス屋さん、Mexicaliと新しいラテン風ステーキコンセプトのレストランSalazarのオーナーのスモーガスバーグだけで出す「フライドポテト」とタコス。

Guerrilla Tacos 新鮮なウニや刺身、フォアグラ等を使ったグルメなタコスをフードトラックでカジュアルに楽しめるので人気。高級素材とストリートが融合したこれぞロサンゼルス、なタコスです。

Maury’s Bagels ベニスにある人気レストランGjustaで働いていたシェフのはじめたベーグル屋さん。スモークサーモン等もGjustaのものなので味に間違いはないはず。ベーグルは「モチッとして味わいある」らしいです。

Porridge + Puffs 今、ロサンゼルスで小さなブームのフィリピン料理。ハリウッドにある同名レストランの出すフィリピン風お粥。半熟卵やピクルス等で見た目も味も一工夫されてます。

Rucker’s Pie ここも上記Gjusta出身であるペイストリーシェフのパイ屋さん。季節のフルーツをふんだんに使って一人分の小さいサイズからファミリーサイズまで色々。クラストは言うまでもなく、さくっと、しっとり。

Ugly Drum Pastrami パストラミサンドイッチとパパイヤスラーピー(Slushyと呼びます)だけで勝負してます。パストラミは蒸してあるのをその場でちょっとずつ切ってくれてジューシー。スラーピーはNYのホットドック屋、パパイヤキングのパパイヤドリンクにインスパイアされたの?と聞いたら「ニューヨークで飲んだ事ないんだよ」と言われちょっと悲しかったですが、本物のパパイヤが入っており、本家より美味しいです。

情報紙 LA Weekly

Amazebowls: ココナッツを半分に割ってその中にアサイボールを入れ、ボール(ココナッツ)ごと食べられるおしゃれでヘルシーなスイーツ。可愛い見た目はスナップチャット、インスタグラムでの自慢になること間違いなし。アート地区とベニスに近日お店オープン予定。

PopdUp: ハイビスカス、ブロッドオレンジ等、ユニークな味で体によい素材を使って作ったオリジナルシロップのドリンクをグラスのジャーで。甘さも控えめなので暑い夏にはピッタリ。コーヒーゼリー等、トッピングもアジアっぽい。(オーナーは日系人の方)

The Jolly Oyster: 自然との調和を大切にしたベンチュラ地区にあるオイスター専門店。生のオイスターをスパイシーかハーブのソース、そして小さな粒のフィンガーライムで頂きます。日系人の多いトーランスにもお店あり。

Paloma’s Paletas: 蝶ネクタイをした売り子のお兄さん達が素敵なアイスキャンディー屋さん。ピンクレモネードやココナッツ等、パステル調の色で楽しいです。パレタスとはスペイン語でアイスキャンディを意味します。

Belly & Snout: ホットドック屋さんですが、トッピングにアドボやオックステール等がある、ここもフィリピン風。ロサンゼルスで一番多いアジア系って、実はフィリピン系の方々であり、アメリカ国内で最もフィリピン系が多いのはロサンゼルスなのです。

Red Hook Lobster Pound: ニューヨークのスモーガスバーグでも人気のロブスターロール店。ロサンゼルスのロブスター屋さん、Lobsterdamus もグリルしたロブスターを出しているので食べ比べはいかが?両店ともメイン産のロブスター使用。

Raindrop Cake: 日本の水信玄餅にアイディアを得て作った「雨粒のケーキ」とはすばらしいネーミング。今年のヒット商品であること間違えなし。水を固めただけ、とか黒蜜が美味しい、等アメリカ人の感想は様々です。

Porridge + Puffs  上記タイムス紙をご参照ください。

Calo Provisions: ポークの「出汁」と椎茸の「出汁」ベースの選択肢があるメキシコ風スープ、ポゾレとラテンのちまき、タマレが売り物。ロサンゼルスの食文化の融合が見られます。

Good Gravy Bakes: アメリカ人の大好きなビスケット、日本で言うクッキーの様なビスケットではなく、甘くないスコーンに10倍くらいバターを足したものをビスケットと呼びます。南部の朝ご飯には欠かせません。LA Weeklyさんはおすすめの様ですが、これは私もアメリカ人の夫も一口食べて、不味い、と捨ててしまいました。ビスケットはさくさくでももちもちでもしっとりでもなく、グレービーと呼ばれるホワイトソースも味が中途半端でした。

Rucker’s Pie: 上記タイムス紙をご参照ください。

気づいた方もいらっしゃると思いますが、ロサンゼルスなので多くはメキシコ風。様々なバリエーションのタコスが多かったです。また、ニューヨークでは割とアジア系食が強かったのに比べ、ストレートなおにぎり屋さん、ヌードル屋さんとタイ料理以外、物珍しいアジア料理はなかったです。フィリピンがアジアを代表してくれてるのでしょうか、上記のお粥以外にも焼き鳥っぽいお店が有りました。また、ビアガーデンもありますので、飲みたい方はIDをお忘れなく。ビールの飲めるのは区切られたエリアのみ。未成年は入れません。

私が美味しいなあ、と思ったのはBub and Grandma’s Breadのパン、NY発の手作りモッツアレラチーズをパン粉をつけて揚げたBigMozzのモッツアレラスティックです。チーズの新鮮さが味わえる上、ディッピング用についてくるトマトソースにコクがあり気に入りました。また、思わず買ってしまったのはThe Sprouted Nutのナッツ。水につけ、発芽したところで低温乾燥しているので火をくわえてないので栄養価が満点の上、クランチー。ヘルシーなスナックにぴったりです。食べ物以外にも古着、アクセサリー、家具等色々おしゃれな物売ってます。

その他の屋台リストはスモーガスバーグLAのウェブサイトをご参照ください。

さて、場所はロフトチックなオフィスビルのあるRowDTLA。すぐ横にはAmerican Apparel のビルも有り、この一角だけおしゃれなのですが、一歩外に出るとあまり安全を感じられないのでご注意を。車で来る方は2時間まで無料の駐車場が敷地内に有ります。入り口はAlameda StとBay Stの交差点。Uberなどを使う方はダウンタウン、Alameda & Bayと言ったら連れていてくれます。毎週日曜日朝10時から夕方6時までです。因に日曜日以外は会場は野菜等の卸し市場です。

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”.

20140525-194515.jpg

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.

20140525-194633.jpg

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.

20140525-194528.jpg

Pistachio Bun | Faith & Flower

20140525-194615.jpg

Crispy Egg | Faith & Flower

 

20140525-194625.jpg

Crispy Twice Cooked Potato | Faith & flower

 

 

November 25th, 2011

The day I acutally enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner

I must have done it right, because It’s the day after thanksgiving, and I’m still full.  Sure, half of America is saying that right now, but for me, it’s the first time I’ve ever uttered those words AFTER Thanksgiving.

You see, I don’t like turkey.  Let me rephrase that, I used to not like turkey.  For some reason, every time I ate it, there was this strange “turkey” flavor that I couldn’t get over.  But, something happened at dinner yesterday that not only changed my long-standing opinion of turkey, but actually made me say the following four words, “I love this meal!”

There are millions of restaurants out there, but how many of them do you go back to over and over, every time leaving happy? Not many.  Stefan’s at L.A. Farm is our exception.  We always leave satisfied.  It’s hard to believe that from one restaurant, I’ve discovered so much great American food.  Now, I can proudly add Thanksgiving dinner to that list.  While the entire meal was delicious, a few dishes, on their own, actually changed my opinion on Thanksgiving dinner.

As I explained yesterday, my husband picked Stefan’s for our first ‘restaurant’ Thanksgiving dinner from just looking at their menu.  Why did he pick Stefan’s?  The menu offered the straight forward, classic Thanksgiving meal he was hoping for: roasted turkey, gravy, stuffing, yams and yes, mashed potatoes, which he believes is a must dish for Thanksgiving.  Judging from their regular menu, I was expecting a good meal, but I have to admit, I was reluctant that I had to eat turkey as a my main dish.  As we were driving to the restaurant, I even said to my husband “if I don’t like the turkey, we’ll just stop at a Japanese noodle shop later.”

Surprise, surprise, I actually loved turkey!  Instead of that strange taste I was expecting, I enjoyed only flavorful tender meat.

Another dish I don’t like is yams.  It’s usually served either very, very sweet, and/or too watery.  The texture of the marshmallows placed on top usually doesn’t sweeten the deal for me either. With a combination like that, you can imagine that the idea of candied yams is not at all appetizing for me.  But tonight, Stefan’s baked yams with marshmallows completely won me over.  The marshmallows were slightly crunchy and the yams were cooked sweet, but in a very delicate degree.  Finally, it made sense that these two should be served together, or should I say, three, as the dish went well with the turkey!

It’s hard to believe that it took me a quarter of a century to truly appreciate the Thanksgiving meal.  So to honor the tradition of Thanksgiving, let me say how thankful I am that my husband insisted on picking a restaurant with mashed potatoes.  I’m also thankful for Chef Stefan and his staff who always treat us like family!

August 27th, 2011

The day I hosted my first taco party

All I needed was an excuse.  For what, you ask?  To make fish tacos as good as the ones that my fish-phobic husband ate multiple times a day during our trip to Hawaii.  Sure, the beautiful sunset probably had something to do with it, but when there’s any kind of momentum in the ongoing quest to turn my husband into a seafood lover, I’m going to do what I can.  Anything to help achieve my dream of enjoying seafood (and Asian food) with him everyday (I can already sense his fear as he reads this post).

How did I get fish back on his plate on the mainland?  Having our niece and nephew in town from Florida was the perfect excuse for a family meal.  I volunteered to cook as my menu was already planned out in my head–fish tacos.  Of course, I was going to make beef and chicken options as well, but if I could duplicate the taste of the fish tacos he ate on the big island, it would be easier to introduce more seafood into his diet later.  Now you have to understand, a taco ‘party’ is a pretty ambitious move for a girl who just discovered soft tacos in the first place, but when it comes to cooking, I have no fear.  Sure I had rookie questions, like: ‘Do I heat up the store bought tortillas first?’ but I wasn’t going to let those deter me from completing my quest.  As far as toppings go, my plan was to make regular tomato salsa, mother-in-law’s green sauce, and a spicy mayo just for the fish.  Once the actual cooking began, the chicken and steak were the easiest to prepare; just marinate and grill. Preparing the perfect fish taco, however, would require a bit more effort, starting with the shopping!

Finding the perfect kind of fresh fish would be a battle.  Mahi mahi is the ideal choice, as it’s a meaty white fish, whose texture is similar to that of swordfish, but where could I find it?  I have lots of childhood memories of my mother buying fish, and I could hear her advice in the back of my mind.  She NEVER bought fish from the supermarket, but rather, preferred the fish market.  Her philosophy was, “The fewer the middlemen, the fresher the product.”  But I don’t live in Tokyo anymore… This is Los Angeles, where there aren’t fish markets in every neighborhood.  Where could I find fresh mahi mahi without having to wake up at 4am and drive down to the docks?  Luckily, I happened to remember
Santa Monica Seafood, one of the few places in this town where you can find a good variety of fresh fish.

With fresh fish, spicy salsas and warm tortillas, everything was in place.  How did it go?  Well, if the reaction of picky teenagers is any indication, it went pretty well, as I saw them return more than once to assemble seconds, thirds and even fourths!  But the big test was watching my husband as he carefully looked over his three meat choices.  Would he go for the tried and true options of chicken and steak, or would he continue to expand his horizons?  He chose the fish!  Mission accomplished! As you can imagine, there is no one happier than I am…with the exception of you, with whom I’m now going to share the recipe.  And yes, if you’re wondering…you should heat the tortillas before serving.

June 1st, 2011

Airport food

When airlines stopped serving a tiny bag of peanuts and charging lots of money on chips and bad sandwiches, American airports started to offer a little more than Cinnabon and Panda Express.  Although the cinnamony sweet Cinnabon aroma is very tempting, you know you don’t want to hit the gym as soon as you land, so you opt to have that salad.  But lately, you can get more than salad or gourmet sandwiches.

Until I started to frequent LAX (Los Angeles International Airpor), I never really paid attention on what they have at the airport for food.  Why?  LAX is the worst, when it comes to… well, everything, but for the sake of argument, let’s say food is especially bad.  When I was a student in Boston, I stopped by at Legal Seafood (seafood chain) at Logan Airport and bought live lobsters as a souvenir to family in Tokyo.

At JFK in New York these days, you can get gourmet paella to freshest sushi in really nice ambiance, and in Chicago O’Hare, I had my first Chicago style hot dog.  There are first class sushi, katsu (fried pork), pancakes to french pastry at Narita Airport in Japan.  Domestic airports such as Haneda & Itami, even a train stations have more variety than any of American airports put together.

So, I started noticing lack of variety and quality when I see nothing but usual suspects of McDonald, Burger King and 3 Starbucks in the terminal at LAX.  I heard the news that they are working on bringing big names of Los Angeles retaurant scenes in next year or two.  I’m looking forward to that opening.  Meanwhile, I was mildly glad to see Gladstone’s seafood and LaBrea Bakery at LAX today.  They are not the best food, but it sure beats sandwich on a cold morning.  I’m just ignoring the fact this meal is as fattening as one Cinnabon bun which I still haven’t had pleasure of having.

May 29th, 2011

Bagel

Growing up in Japan, finding a bagel was about as easy as finding that tree grows money.  When we visited New York City on a field trip, one of the breakfast stop was at a bagel shop, where I ate my first one, it was love at first bite.  With the addition of slathered-on cream cheese, I was hooked.  Today’s Tokyo boasts a few chains where one can find this delicacy, but comparing their version to the real New York bagel is like comparing frozen pizza to wood-fired oven pizza.  This is surprising, considering that the Japanese are known for perfecting products; even in the bread world, where Japanese baguettes could stand up to Paris’ best.  From this, I wonder why the Japanese bagel hasn’t reached perfection.  People say it’s all in the water, so perhaps that could be it.
My husband who is both a bread snob, and Jewish, always has a bagel on his to-do list after arriving in New York from Los Angeles.  Once again, is it the New York water or is it some long lost bit of know-how whose secret is kept by a select group of Manhattan bakers? Larry King has recently tried to bring the best of the East Coast to the West by opening a new bagel shop in Beverly Hills using “Brooklynize” water…
I love a dense, chewy sesame bagel slightly toasted, with  a schmear of cream cheese and tomato.  But with over 600 calories and 20-plus grams of fat, it won’t be a part of my daily menu until a designer creates a fashionable line of stretch pants.  When it’s time to treat myself with the best, I want only a doughy delight that will rise to the occasion.  For that, I head to Murray’s Bagels in the West Village in New York City.

I have to give the Japanese credit for trying to popularize the bagel, but they still need a bit more research and development to recreate the magic of something as special as Murray’s.  They could also use a bit of work on their English grammar, as the picture below shows a Japanese bagel shop in Roppongi, which I’m assuming, is trying to convey the idea that they offer a bagel of the month.