Author Archive for Gastronomer

Huckleberry’s Cherry Tomato-Goat Cheese Cobbler

Cherry Tomato-Goat Cheese Cobbler

Not last weekend but the weekend before, I attended the most spectacular brunch hosted by Zoe Nathan, Josh Loeb, and Laurel Almerinda to celebrate the release of their brand-new cookbook, Huckleberry.

Huckleberry Cookbook Brunch with Zoe Nathan Loeb

Inspired by their Santa Monica cafe and bakery, Huckleberry celebrates the bounty of breakfast. From pancakes to teacakes to muffins and egg-topped plates, this beautiful book has mornings covered (and then some).

Huckleberry Cookbook Lunch

Rather than host a traditional book talk and signing, Zoe, Josh, and Laurel dazzled a slew of Los Angeles’ food writers with a seemingly endless parade of made-from-scratch delights from their cookbook. The spread was nothing short of brilliant, and I probably ate enough for triplets!

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Union – Pasadena

Union - Pasadena

I finally made it to Union for dinner this week, nearly five months after it opened in Old Pasadena. I’ve been following the restaurant’s positive press since the start, but couldn’t quite swing a meal here (walking in at 5:30 PM on Saturday evening was impossible) until now. It was most definitely worth the wait.

Union - Pasadena
Along with partner Marie Petulla, Chef Bruce Kalman has created a boisterous, 50-seat restaurant celebrating Northern Italian cooking using locally-sourced ingredients.

Prior to settling down, Chef Kalman was a James Beard nominated Rising Star Chef, pickle master, and alumnus of Park Avenue Café in New York, Spiaggia in Chicago, The Misfit in Santa Monica, and The Churchill in West Hollywood.

Union - Pasadena

To start, a warm and crusty loaf from Etxea Basque Bakery served with house-made cultured butter sprinkled with coarse salt and damn fine giardiniera ($6). This was deceptively simple and so, so good.

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Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival 2014

Mid Autumn Moon Festival 2014

Celebrating in high style at Highland Park’s Good Girl Dinette.

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Mapo Kkak Doo Gee – Los Angeles (Koreatown)

Mapo Kkak Du Gi - Koreatown - Los Angeles

While we’re on the topic of Koreatown, let’s discuss the awesomeness of Mapo Kkak Doo Gee!

I was first introduced to this gem while researching The Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles a few years back. In a neighborhood full of stellar restaurants, I keep returning here time and again for the dependably delicious cooking.

Mapo Kkak Du Gi - Koreatown - Los Angeles

As you can likely deduce from the facade, Mapo Kkak Doo Gee is a no-frills kind of place. The menu features homey Korean fare, and seats are easy to come by at both lunch and dinner.

Mapo Kkak Du Gi - Koreatown - Los Angeles

One of the perks of dining in Koreatown is the free and refillable banchan served alongside every meal. While it’s always nice to receive something for nothing, it’s rarely the case that these pickled and marinated nibbles are as memorable as the main course. At Mapo, however, the banchan are so remarkably good that my chopsticks can’t help but reach for more.

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