Best part of Far Bar is the back patio.
Well, that and duck (fat) fried rice.
Best part of Far Bar is the back patio.
Well, that and duck (fat) fried rice.
Just watched Belgium v Japan replay. What an amazing game! Bad food probably wouldn’t have mattered much during this one.
To be honest, I’d rather have bad food while watching a good World Cup match. Less distraction.
COLOMBIA FIELD REPORT: El Meson Criollo opened at 8am, 3 hours prior to the 11am game. When I got there at 9, there were already several fanatics ensconced in TV-viewing position. As time unfolded, the place filled and got overpacked; seating for 80 was fully consumed, plus 30 persons were standing all around the inside perimeter. A few more spilled out the front door. Cars became “stacked” in the parking lot. A bunch of fans wore the yellow jerseys of their team. It was a loud crowd, too, in terms of both shouting/voices and accoutrements like stadium horns and cowbells. A camera crew from the latino media entity Telemundo showed up to do its thing. Must’ve been such a downer for these folks when their team lost on a kick after double overtime.
The restaurant failed to have sufficient staff on hand to handle the overpacked house. It took 45 minutes for me to get served by one of their 2-3 servers, and that was only after a Colombiana sharing my table went up to a server and told him so and to come take my order. I knew I wanted to get out of there at halftime, but until then, fortunately my food came pretty fast. My spinach empanada was fresh and quite good, as far as empanadas go (I think they’re overrated); with high quality, just-right crust and probably baked, not fried. Next was an arepa con queso, a 4" diameter white cornmeal fried patty, with a melted/stretchy mild white Jack-like cheese inside. Oily and rather bland, but good to try once, and I got the impression that El Meson’s were about as good as an arepa can get. An excellent hot/spicy condiment was on the table; a water-based muddle of micro-minced green chile and raw onions, some red chile bits, and a touch of oil. Definitely not chimichurri, this was Colombian!! Must’ve been El Meson’s version of aji. Whereas the aji can cut through the unctuousness of an arepa, it will also obliterate an item’s flavor. Hmm. The restaurant pared down its usual menu due to the event; one selection was a “bandeja paisa” combo plate, so I got that. It was a generous amalgam of chicarrones/fried pork, a 6" cut of thin beef, medium well (how I like it!), hot plantains, a mini arepa, and a thin slab of something starchy and bland (i.e. yuca/cassava), all on a bed of steamed white rice; plus intense, delicious beans as part of the combo on a separate plate. For only $14 it was a great deal and tasty for the most part. It was moderately greasy (except the beans). It may not have been 4-star, but I am by no means complaining. All I drank was a 7-Up, but I noticed the young lady sharing my table ordered a nice-looking Colombian beer called Aguila. I think soups & stews are something Colombian cuisine can really excel at; I’d like to come back here sometime and give theirs a try.
ENGLAND FIELD REPORT #2: As my appetite had been gobbled up by Colombian food a bit prior, I didn’t order any food at The Robin Hood pub; but, I noticed other folks were dining on shepherd’s pies, and of course fish & chips. The house menu includes typical British fare of bangers, samosas, sausage rolls, Cornish pasties and Scotch eggs; but actually has more American and Cali-Mex items by the number. It likely does this to stay in business; can’t argue with that. To drink, all I had was a cherry Diet Coke; which the fabulous, hard-working barmaid refilled for free. It was a full house, and she knew how to handle it. There were TVs in the bar area (of course), but a movie-size screen for the game had also been set up in the separate dining room for the event. Everybody in either room could see. A KCAL 9/channel 2 newsmedia cameraman came in and filmed the crowd during the second half, adding to the excitement. This is such a nice place; popular with the ladies, and everybody who wanted a seat got one. G-d save The Robin Hood – and Team England, who dramatically won after double overtime in the penalty kick shootout!
Insofar as CiaoBob’s question who we’re rooting for, it’s now down to 8 teams and of them, I am 100% behind England!!
While we’re having a couple days off here (July 4-5), I’d like to mention there are only 8 teams now left in the competition out of the original 32; and your time is ticking loudly to view-dine any of the remaining in their local venues: Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, England, France, Russia, Sweden. There’s also Uruguay, but it has no LA venues.
RUSSIA UPDATE: Traktir Restaurant in WeHo will now begin screening the Russia games, starting with this Saturday, July 7 (11am). Call them first; they’re prissy you have a reservation.
BELGIUM UPDATE: Brussels Bistro in Laguna Beach has started opening in the mornings 30 mins. pre-kickoff to screen their team’s games. Partial menu is offered.
CROATIA UPDATE: St. Anthony’s Croatian Church is gung ho. Games are being screened in their parish hall; bring cash for food/drink/brew they might have available on the premises. Expect a crowd of 300.
@Cousteau Chef Ludo Lefebvre has been opening the Petit Trois Valley/Sherman Oaks location for each of the French games. It looks wildly fun on his IG feed. This could be a viable option for folks in that neighborhood. I would recommend calling to inquire about availability…photos indicate a packed house. I would be interested in going for the final (if they make it), but I don’t know how game I would be to wake up that early to make the drive.
FRANCE UPDATE: Moulin, with locations in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, is screening the France games. It’s a cafe/boulangerie. And as Attran99 discovered, Le Petit Trois in Sherman Oaks is also screening.
holy fuckin shit… this was a tremendous day of footy! Think I’ll watch Russia at Village Idiot tomorrow.
BELGIUM FIELD REPORT #2: This isn’t a full-fledged field report as I never got to eat at Brussels Bistro. After a nearly 2-hour drive down from LA in triple digits on an empty stomach, and paying $10 to park in a pricey Laguna city lot, I walked up to the venue to find the doors unopened and a line of 30 persons on the sidewalk. I got in line, where I overheard someone say that at the previous game screening a few days earlier, the bistro’s kitchen was closed but the management was circulating free pizza. After 20 minutes of waiting, a rumor hit the line that the bistro’s TV was not working. The game was starting so people began to leave to go see it at other venues nearby. I soon thereafter got it from the horse’s mouth that all the power was down in the venue; and that the place was remaining totally locked. Man, what a time to lose power. “The best-laid plans of mice and men…”
(Btw the horse also said the restaurant will be moving to San Clemente in November. Fine by me; parking should be easier.)
Hence I ate at a place couple blocks away appropriately called C’est La Vie. It was French, which I thought was fitting in light of France’s victory in the earlier game that day. On the same street was an art gallery/store having an exhibit/sale of Dr. Seuss paintings. I thought this was profound, as I’d just thought of his Solla Sallew on my drive down there. The gallery didn’t have anything from that book, though. But, it did have a print from Green Eggs and Ham; of obvious significance to foodies. It was the first time I noticed that the ham, not just the eggs, was green.
For tomorrow I’ll be @ Traktir, to eat borscht and hang out w/ Russian expats while they go krazy for their team! :-p
Cool, have fun. This Rooski cant stomach restaurant Russian food. Since it’s summer ask for green borsh. And don’t say the ‘t’, there’s no ‘t’.
Don’t forget their cute carafes of vodka
Na zdorovie, tovarisch!
Davai davai, nalivai
and pass the pickles
@Cousteau, I couldn’t figure out how Portugal Imports could have shown the game 'cause I only remember 2 2-tops inside the store. My research shows a post in their FB that looks to be London Pub’s patio area (later confirmed). I remember talking to Marco during the remodel of LP that he knows the owner which if I remember correctly is the same as Surati Farsan (off Pioneer Blvd.). So, if you’re in the area, you can have your big English Breakfast (or 1/2) at LP then go next door for the natas, linguica, cheeses, Bacalhau, etc., at PI. Marco is very helpful and takes good care of his customers so if you’re not sure about something like the dry linguica, other sausages/chorizos, different types of cheeses and sandwiches, he will spend time with you, that is, as long as he’s not busy with lots of customers. I would go when they opened during the week 'cause I learned customers come from far away and gets busy during the weekends. I would buy a dozen natas, breads, sausages, different kinds of cheese and other items on the shelves not necessarily because we needed them but because he was always nice and helpful. A few years ago, he mentioned they go on vacation during the summer and close the store; not sure if they still do this.
Upthread you mentioned the dry linguica–is this the one? He keeps them on top of the counter next to the register. Pix is from yelp.
Agree with @attran99 on the natas, have tried them all–good. My only comparisons are the ones they serve during Dim Sum at the Chinese restos and the briefly opened Macau Restaurant on South Street. Portugal Imports is owned by a young couple and when I used to go regularly, the husband told me they have bakers who come in early and bake the natas and other items. So glad they opened this store 'cause we lost the one and only one on 183rd which is now Little Dhaka, a Bangladeshi store with steamed table dishes (passed TonyC’s inspection). https://www.yelp.com/biz/little-dhaka-artesia. At this same shopping center (Pioneer/183rd), is LA Brisket https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-brisket-costa-mesa. Didn’t buy the sandwiches but instead bought 1# each of the brisket and pulled pork, sauces on the side, comes with rolls–nice juicy brisket. When I was at the Post Office last week, I think I spotted about 9 cases of Harris meats outside their back door. I got distracted by a fender bender so I didn’t get a closer look.
Thanks for all your hard work on the WC locations, @Cousteau. Though I don’t follow soccer, I appreciate all the work you’ve put into this. Hope PI has the right linguica so you can make @frommtron’s fantastic caldo verde–would either one of you mind sharing the recipe? Thanks in advance…
Welcome aboard Flipper, and I’m always delighted to find out someone’s paying attention to this WC foodie blog of blogs. Portugal Imports was never a soccer view-dine location on my post…(Natas in Sherman Oaks was the only one I noted for Portugal)…but as a food vendor is a definite for me, it’s just a matter of time. Thanks for the tip to jingle first to make sure they’ve haven’t tip-toed out on vacation. I am hardly ever in that area but would be happy to make the trip, especially for the linguica seca Frommtron cited. The caldo verde recipe looks fantastic and it is Frommtron’s to share…drop Fromm a line!
Thank you also for turning me on to LA Brisket; I’ll check it out. I see online they have a soda with the from-heaven flavor combo of pineapple & vanilla. I am SO there!!