Morfia’s Ribs & Pies mac and cheese

Another quintessential barbecue joint mac and cheese.  It was pretty good, but the cole slaw was better.  Didn’t really taste the cheese, but it wasn’t nearly as greasy as other BBQ macs I’ve had.

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Taste of the Nation LA & Roast Leg of Lamb dinner

Nothing says charity in Los Angeles like paying to stuff and drink yourself silly.  Also, I’m pretty sure I don’t like sour beer.  I do, however, like soup shots, anything with squid ink, and the spectacle of paella.

 

 

 

 

Took a week off to go visit friends & family up north (see: Jardiniere) with some unexpected complex dental work involved.  It can’t all be fun and games and fancy restaurants, so one night, I cooked dinner (courtesy of my friend’s CSA box!) and we had a nice little party.


Arugula, grapefruit, red onion salad with lemon vinaigrette


Horseradish mashed potatoes (used skin-on red potatoes and a boatload of prepared horseradish–bless you, Trader Joe’s); vegetables roasted with the leg of lamb


Impatient, only got photos of the cut up lamb.  It was marinated for several hours in some kind of grapefruit, wine, olive oil, herb mixture.

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Jardiniere Chef’s Tasting Menu

Hi, San Francisco.  We don’t always get along, but I think I’ve had more good meals than bad, so it’s all right after you get past traffic, parking, near-suicidal cyclists and near-homicidal buses, the weather, the hills, people who like the Mission, people who have become too cool for the Mission, inflated rental market, etc.

Part of the impetus for the venture was a Bloomspot deal at Jardiniere for the $110 six-course (but we got seven courses?) chef’s tasting menu at the price of $65 per person.  So onwards.

I had a root canal earlier this week, so I was pleased that all of the courses were an appropriate consistency (aside from the steak, which involved a lot of chewing, so I gave most of it to Tom).

Crudo.  A refreshing start.

Vichyssoise with smoked salmon.

One of my faves, sea urchin crostini with foie gras shavings (I couldn’t really taste those, but that’s okay because I love the taste of sea urchin).

The most perfectly cooked egg in the world in a duck, farro, morel sugo.

Steak.  Foie gras.  One of these things was perfect for me to eat.

Cheese course.

Dessert.  Cornbread with sweet stuff and blackberries.

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Plan Check – Southern comfort food Asian hinted gastropub something or other

Despite mixed reviews, I wanted to check out Plan Check (this name is kind of blah) because it’s near my place and I thought I could add it to the cadre of too-lazy-to-cook dinner staples in my neighborhood.  To sum up, it’s a good local joint, not really much of a destination or party location.  It’s low key, the dishes are on the smaller (yet more expensive) side, so it’s not really a full traditional sit-down dinner type place, and the service was a bit on the slow side. However, the drinks (also a bit expensive for regular consumption) were good and I thought the food was pretty fantastic.

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At $3.00 each, these are not your dollar-oyster deals.  I usually would not want to pay more than $2 per oyster, but I was in the mood.  These were really succulent, not a hint of fishiness, and finished with a really fresh hint over the tongue.

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Pastrami Nosh.  A bit overkill, but absolutely delicious, definitely not a health food as it’s loaded with fatty thick-cut pastrami, Swiss cheese, kimchi mustard, and an egg on top.  Yum.  These portions look small, but it’s a lot of flavor packed into each bite.

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Okay, yes, this is a terrible picture, but the smokey fried Jidori chicken was really good.  It would be neat if they did a couple renditions of fried chicken only because I’d really like a Korean fried chicken option to avoid having to go all the way to Kyochon.  This chicken was juicy, not as greasy as a lot of the Yelp reviews led me to believe, and was relatively easy to eat with few bones.

All that saltiness from the pastrami left me actually craving dessert, so we got the homemade cruller donuts that are basically like churros on a bed of cream with “fruit.”  The fruit in question was a couple of banana slices, and I thought the cream and salty-sweetness of the churros could have benefited more from the texture and acidity of berries rather than the bland gumminess of bananas (okay, I am not that big a fan of bananas; I actually don’t mind them, but nowhere in the fruit spectrum does banana fall under juicy and refreshing, unless I just swam a 100 relay and have charley horses).

So summary: the menu is small but unique with some spins on your classic burger/sandwich/bar finger foods that are probably a little pricier for the portion size (but don’t be fooled, they are really filling!) than you are expecting, but the food and drinks are extremely tasty.  Service was a tad slow, but friendly.  I would love this place as after-work dinner and drinks, although it will have to compete with Freddy Small’s, which is always a staple in my routine.

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Noodle soups in Little Osaka.

The so-called Little Osaka strip on Sawtelle Blvd. has been enjoying some new openings.

Bun Bo Hue at Nong La Cafe

Tonkotsu ramen (with the most perfectly cooked soft boiled egg) at Tsujita

I would’ve tried Tsujita’s famed tsukemen style noodles, which is basically dipping noodles in the soup broth, but it was a little more expensive and this place is cash only, and I wasn’t sure how much I had on me.  Well, next time!  The only real annoying thing about Tsujita is that they are known for their ramen, but only serve the ramen at lunch time.  Dinner time is a no go.

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Foie gras & shrimp wonton soup at Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant (Rosemead)

Countdown to California foie gras ban.  Sea Harbour has a strange number of foie gras dishes; I didn’t think foie gras really appeared in Chinese cuisine, much less dim sum.  But here is their wonton soup where each wonton has a hidden nugget of foie gras nestled inside its shrimpy filling.  Like many well known dim sum restaurants, this place was really packed on Sunday afternoon.  A 40-minute wait is considered not that bad.

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Baby Blues BBQ – Venice, CA

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Memorial Day puts me in the mood for BBQ, so we headed to Baby Blues BBQ on Lincoln Blvd. that was running some great lunch specials.  Three of my favorite BBQ-related things in one dish — brisket, ribs, and mac and cheese.

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