Have had some pretty great eating weekends lately that I haven’t mentioned. Also, don’t take too many food pix so I apologize because this is going to be a little dry, but:
Chaak Kitchen - went because of Patricia Escarcega’s review in the LAT a little while ago. Downtown Tustin was a ghost town when we showed up around 8, except for Chaak, which was buzzing and more upscale than we had anticipated. Cocktails were fine, but the food absolutely lived up to Escarcega’s glowing review. Had duck panuchos, a large format cochinita pibil, a tamal, and the crudo. It was all excellent, but the salsas that came with it were truly stellar. If it weren’t so damn far, I’d definitely go back, and soon.
Sushi Inaba - Shoutout to the other posters who called attention to this place (and also to @g_sny in LA Mag). Had a lovely and affordable 10 piece lunch here, and we were the only people there so it was basically a private tasting. I am no sushi expert, but I thought it was great. Had a really nice chat with the itamae, too, who was friendly and knowledgeable and cited all sorts of research he had read about rigor mortis and aging fish and such. Maybe rehashing material that’s posted elsewhere, but one other touch that I enjoyed - instead of using a torch directly on a couple of the pieces, he held it to a log (?) of binchotan, so it was flavored with smoky wood instead of butane.
Bavel - dammit those oyster mushrooms are so good. There was also a new tomato salad that I really enjoyed, with cheese and a salsa macha/chili crisp type condiment all over it.
Angel’s Tijuana Tacos - they opened up a new location close to my place in Eagle Rock. The asada had good flavor but more gristle than the last time I was there. The al pastor remains excellent and more heavily spiced in Middle Eastern style than other places around town. The tortillas are made fresh and are excellent.
Mariscos El Faro - lobina + aguachile tostadas, that good good. empanadas are alright.