Zait and Zataar as good as ever. The chicken schwarma plate is always the right choice.
Wow! Philly native, California transplant. The major reason I go “home” anymore is for the food! Never thought Utz was equal to Herrs. Herr’s blue bag is the epitome of the perfect potato chip. Warter ice? How in God’s good green earth has California not picked this up?? Especially with the West Coast melting or on fire?! I am also a lemon/cherry girl. As foodie as I am, never deviated from those choices. Ever. Sarcone;s and Cacia - brings back memories and only my homemade sourdough artisan loaves satisfy my bread craving. Acme bread in Mountain View CA was my go-to but now I am (jokingly) in the food desert of Tehachapi.
Any good Italian bakeries in LA? I went to Ospi in Venice last weekend and their brunch ciabatta was amazing but they said they normally buy their bread from Gjusto’s. Are they any good, using South Philly bread as the standard for good? Thanks for the memories…my last water ice was in 2016!
Izakaya Hachi (Torrance) -
Tucked in a strip mall across the street from Kagura is a tiny izakaya that bustles in the evenings to a reservation only crowd. Music is jazz covers of popular hits. It’s quaint and just a touch modern.
We came to try out the menu…and I almost wished that I had been with all the cool kids at Needle
Shishito & Mushroom - shishito, mushroom, soy & butter (not a single spicy one in the batch but lots of great char from the cast iron)
Gobo Chips - burdock root & nori (delightfully crispy with a umami hit)
Assorted Beef Sashimi - Waygu, tongue and I forgot the last (loved shoving the onions on the beef, rolling it up, and dipping in the sauce that was spiked with garlic, wasabi & ginger)
Mentaiko potato salad - potato, egg, cucumber, spicy cod roe & mayo (not as saline or umami as I thought it would be…this could be punched up and less restrained)
Beef Tongue - robata-style (juicy, but a touch over for my tastes…it was a little chewy)
Octopus & Radish Salad - octopus, daikon, mizuna & ginger dressing
Saba Cut Roll - mackerel (from the specials board…bright chunks of saba likely leftover from their battera prep…a touch too much rice for my liking but the ginger here is really well-balanced)
Lamb Chops - robata-style (looked great, but there were 3 of us and only 2 chops…I was the unlucky one)
Pork Shabu Shabu - pork loin, pork belly, Napa cabbage, spinach, mushroom, fish cake, tonkotsu broth, ramen noodles, ponzu & goma for grating (every table ends up with a hot pot on their table and the choices are a Motsu Nabe with offal in shoyu broth or pork shabu…they conveniently give you hot ramen noodles to enjoy the rest of the delicious broth once the veg and protein are used up)
I think we got to a quarter of the menu items? We’re planning on a return trip for Motsu Nabe…apparently, it’s not widely available in our area. There are only a few places touting it on their menu.
Service was efficient and friendly.
Reservations only or takeout is offered if you just show up. Tiny parking lot but you should be able to find parking on Border St. Closed on Tuesdays due to staffing issues.
Dessert was acquired from Sidecar Doughnuts. That passionfruit pavlova creation is pretty tasty. I did notice that Sidecar runs sweeter than Oliboli.
Welcome to FTC!!!
Some mentions of Italian bread and pastries:
Bari has changed considerably since opening (Colby hasn’t been involved for quite some time) and IMHO is not worth a food-visit anymore. The bar program and the space are still nice when we went a couple weeks ago but the food sucked. And they have no “Italian Bakery” presence at all.
Bari had fantastic focaccia and it’s still on the mwnu. Is it not as good as it was?
In this age of aggressively inflated restaurant prices, its becoming increasingly difficult to strike the right balance of quality - price ratio (QPR). Soowoon galbi still hits that sweet spot for KBBQ.
Right now the Combo B runs 150 and comfortably feeds 4-5 people with leftovers. Standout cuts included Soowoon Galbi (very much on par with Parks) Joo Mul Look (marinated cubed prime rib in sesame/garlic - slight edge to this over the KkotSol) Chadol/ Pork belly. Ban Chan we’re all solidly prepared and server was very good.
Very nice alternative to some of the louder more trendy spots but punches at a level of parks (would say this experience last night was better than my last Parks visit).
Current online menu is not the current menu.
None of the skewers and very few of the other dishes.
IIRC there still is/are focaccia but we didn’t try any and I don’t know if they are baked in house or not.
It feels like a place that is treading water until they find a new chef and/or concept. But the whole Italian Tapas schtick that I found endearing is gone.
Yeah I walked by Bari the other night and they were closed when they’re usually open lol I’ve wanted to wish the best for that place as the block needs it but I think Goldies was the best fit for that space
Bari’s focaccia con pomodorini is the main thing I wanted to go back for. The menu on the web site is from May 22 and it has only one focaccia which I presume is the plain (Barese). Oh well.
Hope this scratches the itch…
Philly is really underrated as a foodie town.
LA and NYC are on another level when compared to other cities. Philly is easily in the top 5 in the country. Have you had Angelo’s Pizzeria near the Italian market and South Philly Barbacoa? Probably my 2 favorite places in the city. I still haven’t had Zahav and Laser Wolf but I was thinking about dining there solo as a walk in when they open. The hoagies and cheesesteaks ain’t right outside of Philly.
Sarcones seeded roll is truly a special thing!
I dunno about easily top 5… I’d say NYC, SF, LA, Chicago are at the top of the heap. I’m not familiar enough with Philly to say if it’s next in line, but I think there are some other cities that would be in the running like DC, Seattle, Miami, or Vegas (maybe that one is a controversial pick)
Vegas’s big spenders plus international supply chain plus Southern California farm connections give it a unique advantage.
How about NOLA?
Definitely, the point being more that I don’t see Philly as an easy top 5. Top 10 you could make the case for much more.
Re: Vegas, as a former resident. The food on the strip often gets watered down a bit because it has to appeal to tourists from out of town so depending on your criteria I don’t think they innovate as much as other cities so it may not rank very highly in many people’s minds. However in the past decade the off-strip food scene has also gotten way better and they have that access to high end supply chains that other cities that size maybe wouldn’t.
Went to a Vegan Party
Daughter-in-law hosted a vegan birthday party for our grown chowpup. We picked up the ice cream (vegan of course) at Ginger’s Divine Ice Creams - Beverly-Grove.
There’s a lot of yummy vegan flavors & combinations. We went simple with Tcho Chocolate & Madagascar Vanilla to go with the cake. But! I had to get the Vegan Candied Plum Chipotle for home. If the vegan ice cream is this good I can’t wait to indulge in a big bowl of their ice cream, ice cream. Shhh I broke the rules and got non-vegan Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream for DIL. She loved it. Our sample bite was Harry’s Berries Strawberry Ice Cream.
Shop is bright & cheery w/thoughtful touches & details like insulated bags, planet-friendly metal tasting spoons & custom made glass jars, which I particularly like.
Thanks for reminding me about Ginger’s @Jase!
Party with a View…
Food was vegan but a little cheese snuck in. Most everything came from Whole Foods - 3rd & Fairfax.
Mediterranean Mezze Platter & Vegan Pinwheels
Cocktail Meatless Meatballs
I’m not sure how healthy the meatless meat products are but they sure are making them taste better and better. Tip: keep the Impossible Burger on the grill to get some crispy char. It really was good.
BBQ Chicken Salad - Native Foods Vegan (multiple locations)
Tres Leches Cake - Grain Cafe (Pico in Mid-City)
Next up a trip to Nayarit/Sinaloa by way of Lennox, CA. A meetup with our FTC homies!
106 Seafood Underground
Yep… food talkers bring their own Koshihikari Rice and fancy cooker when the opportunity arises. Thanks @PorkyBelly!
A bar concession has been added to the mix with a welcome assortment of cocktails & beer!
It was really great seeing friends and making new ones! Sergio was in his element putting out delicious food and Maria & Fam were as gracious as ever!