His place, his call. I’ve got no problem with him playing his jams, but they lost a party of six because of it yesterday, and I won’t go back if I know that’s on the playlist… but I will go back.
Quick light lunch and dessert before Hamilton.
The more we eat at Sweetgreen, the more I like it as a nice alternative to Tender Greens when you want a tasty Salad that’s beyond the typical Mixed Greens offerings.
Shroomami Salad (Organic Wild Rice, Shredded Kale, Raw Beets, Bean Sprouts, Basil, Spicy Sunflower Seeds, Roasted Sesame Tofu, Warm Portobello Mix, Miso Sesame Ginger Dressing):
While not photogenic, the Shroomami Salad was extremely satisfying and tasty. The warm Organic Wild Rice and the Warm Portobello Mushroom Mix softened up the Kale and other ingredients, lending this Salad a really savory, Stewed Mushroom-like flavor in each bite. The Sesame Ginger Dressing matched well with the other flavors.
OMG Omega Salad (Organic Arugula, Baby Spinach, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Basil, Avocado, Roasted Steelhead, Nori Furikake, Miso Sesame Ginger Dressing):
This time, I remembered to ask them for extra Nori Furikake to add into the Salad. That made a big difference. In addition we tried their Spicy Cashew Dressing, and that really complemented the flavors in this Salad.
The Roasted Steelhead was flaky, moist, and this was another satisfying Salad, that tasted a lot better this time now that we could actually taste the Nori Furikake with the rest of the ingredients.
6115 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Tel: (323) 498-5558
Rubies + Diamonds Coffee
I read about this place in the L.A. Times last year, when they wrote an article about the owner of this swanky new Coffee Shop featuring a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (and product) baked by her own daughter who was a junior high schooler(!).
The interior looks really fancy, and maybe a bit excessive, but it’s different from most Coffee Shops I suppose.
BKON - Matcha Tea (Hot):
Their Matcha was OK. Not overly concentrated, but it felt a little faint in actual Matcha flavor.
Vegan Peanut Butter Scone:
Our barista wholeheartedly recommended this as the item to get, so we ordered one. For being Vegan, this Peanut Butter Scone was extremely potent with Peanut Butter flavor (in a good way), and the Scone itself was nicely balanced (not dried out, with some moistness). Pretty good.
Elia’s Chocolate Chip Cookie:
Trying the owner’s daughter’s famous Chocolate Chip Cookie, it was pretty impressive. Very chocolatey, moist, it was really satisfying.
Rubies + Diamonds Coffee
6115 Sunset Blvd #150
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Tel: (323) 465-0400
Char kway teow, bihun goreng, and ayam bakar. The first two were very good as usual, but the ayam bakar was a little disappointing. Ayam bakar was one of my favorite things when I lived in Malaysia since it is basically just grilled chicken marinated and drenched in kecap manis (), so I decided to try the one here for the first time and it really lacked that char and crispy skin of what I was used to. Still tasted pretty good, though!
A friend mentioned that her cousin had opened up a place close to our house, and I’m a big fan of exploring and supporting local businesses. So off we went.
A fair warning, Portofino is really small with limited seating. If you know you’re coming earlier in the day, you may want to make a reservation. The dining room is about 900 sq. ft. And has about 25-30 seats. Otherwise, you may have a wait when you arrive, but the staff works really hard to turn tables as efficiently and thoughtfully as they can. It’s located in a strip mall with a $0.99 store and a Paul’s Place diner.
The restaurant was busy tonight, but we only had a 20 minute wait. We were greeted and seated by the chef/owner, Giancarlo. He took drink orders and quickly returned with drinks and popping hot, crusty rolls and butter. Ask for oil and Balsamic for the rolls. They make their bread fresh here and it shows. The rolls are crusty and crisp outside and pillowy soft in the middle.
Our kids fell in love with the bottled Italian iced tea (available in peach or lemon), and chef was so amused that they loved it so much he slipped them a couple of extra refills…it was so sweet of him.
Most dinners come with your choice of salad, pasta e fagioli soup, or lentil. The salads were standard fresh greens with tomatoes and black olives and just the right amount of dressing. The kids liked the fagioli soup, but I didn’t have a chance to taste it.
While the restaurant was busy, I don’t feel like they were ever in the weeds. Service was consistent and courses came out of the kitchen at appropriate intervals. We were checked on regularly and received refills of water and sodas.
The kids ordered pizza and fettuccine Alfredo. The pizza had a great crust that was crispy and chewy. I wish the bottom was a bit more charred, but the sauce and toppings were plentiful and good. The pasta for the fettuccine Alfredo was perfectly al dente, and the sauce was one of the most different Alfredo sauces I’ve ever sampled. The sauce was lighter and looser than normal, and had the saltiness of Parmigiano Reggiano but it must have been made with another different type of cheese that rounded out the sauce to make it seem lighter while adding another depth of flavor that I couldn’t identify. The chef suggested I try the Linguine Frutti de Mare…perfect al dente linguine in a lovely cioppino-style red sauce with mussels, clams, bay scallops, and shrimp. The seafood was perfectly cooked and the red sauce had a nice essence of the sea…it paired well with the house chianti. The veal piccata was tender and well-cooked in a nicely seasoned piccata sauce, however the sauce was a bit confusing. It tasted like a great piccata sauce, but the texture of the sauce was odd…it wasn’t a light liquid, it wasn’t thick like gravy…it was somewhere in between and we felt it a bit strange. It came with a side of broccoli and penne marinara. The food was just solid…like you went to an Italian grandma’s house to enjoy some home cooking…there was lots of love and soul in the food here.
We tried the spumoni and the cannoli for dessert. The spumoni was a great standard Italian ice cream studded with maraschino cherries and orange peel. I love spumoni. The cannoli comes one to an order and they make them a la minute. The freshly fried shell is filled with a slightly sweetened ricotta that’s studded with chocolate chips and candied orange peel. One of my boys said it was the best cannoli ever.
Prices here are super reasonable. Most entrees are well under $20. If located in a different city out west or closer to L.A., they could easily charge more. We were treated so well by the team here, and had a great dinner. This will probably be our go-to neighborhood Italian place since their menu is solid with so many different options.
from my post on the Republique thread…
Also hit up LunasiaAlhambra for dim sum brunch yesterday. Quoted us a 45 minute wait, which was actually a 65 minute wait. Walked over to 85c Bakery a couple blocks away to pick up some goodies while we waited. Dim sum was great as usual. Tried a few new things there, some of which were good (Singapore style chow fun, roast duck - they do a decent version) and others we won’t be having again (taro cake with chinese sausage - way too dry, wontons in chili oil – odd taste).
John’s Place. NWC Central/Puente. I’ll have to get in and check it out!
Hue Oi, Fountain Valley (same plaza as Au Lac, across from Mile Square Park)
Com Hen. Baby Clam Rice. Also available with bun/noodles. I wish there was more rice and more clams! When mixed it was predominantly herbs, so it felt like more of a herbal salad with warm rice mixed thru. Still good, but I just wished the ratio was different, but I’m not Central Vietnamese so I don’t know how it should be served.
Bun Bo Hue. One of the better bowls of BBH in Little Saigon. The condiments are essential for BBH, it really comes alive with the lime/sprouts/herbs/banana flowers. There is also house made chili sauce at table side, definitely add 1-2 scoops. Pieces of flank, blood cube, and a offal cut are included (I think it’s the foot).
All of your Central Vietnamese rice flour apps are here, as well as the standards (pho, lo lac, etc )
Love your coverage of little saigon, keep it up.
Thanks! In the first dish, I didn’t see any Cornish Hen. Is it buried underneath the peanuts? Or just chopped up into bits? Thanks.
Hen=Clam in Vietnamese!
Should have wrote that better or made a note.
I do what I can!
There is so much good stuff in Little Saigon that I haven’t even touched.
Nice! I read about the Black & Whites. How were they?
I think they might be the best donuts in The Valley…
Nice! How was it?
Strange indeed… Usually TWELVE is the number to get.
Well, we haven’t finished them! They’re quite good, although I don’t know if I’m FTC-ish to make it out there in the future unless I’m kinda sorta driving nearby. These are not elevated pastries and are comfort food at their best. But one strawberry donut is way too much for one person (IMHO). Best to split btw 2 or even 3! Have you tried one? I think it’s def worth a try.
Okay, but you got kids, right? Them kids have GI tracts that are way more, er, ADAPTABLE than is mine!
Thanks @paranoidgarliclover. No, I’ve never tried it yet. It always feels a bit far, but besides that, reading some mixed reports I wasn’t sure if it was worth it.
It is: also get the Tiger Tail. Not highfalutin donuts, by any means, but the fresh strawberry donuts are unique and can be crave-worthy. The plain glazed cruellers are also very good. I don’t love many of their filled donuts, but I don’t much care for them in general. Apple fritters, when fresh, can also be marvelous - when older, not so much. (Though a friend uses them in bread pudding and that is pretty delicious.)