For the nominal price of $17.99 per person, Hae Jang Chon provided my cousins, The Astronomer, and me with an all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue feast that was so stupendous that it left our clothes and pores imbued with smoke and meat for days.
What set this barbecue emporium apart from others that I have visited in Koreatown [See: Don Day, Don Dae Gam, Tahoe Galbi] was the smooth stone grill used in place of the more common metal grates.
According to the restaurant’s website, the stone grill is ”nature’s best cooking surface.” It “produces various healthy minerals,” “absorbs and decomposes heavy metal ions,” and best of all, “absorbs excessive oil to bring out the exquisite taste of pork.” I don’t know if any of these claims are actually true, but I am sold nevertheless.
Another one of the restaurant’s notable touches was the homey tablescape that was neatly set before we were seated. Each place setting included an array of condiments in addition to silverware and plates. I went through two dishes of the fermented bean paste during the meal because meat just tastes better with a hit of salty funk.
Continue reading ‘Hae Jang Chon – Los Angeles (Koreatown)’
Along with playing slots and attending a show, dining at a sumptuous buffet rounds out my list of Vegas must-dos. Every Sunday morning, Jasmine at Bellagio is transformed from a Chinese restaurant into a wonderland of brunchy delights complete with live cooking stations, a raw bar, and chocolate fountains.
Saturday nights in Sin City can be a bit of a blur, even for good kids like The Astronomer and me, so the Fountains Brunch was just the thing to replenish our minds and bodies before hitting the road home.
The setting here is as tranquil as can be. The room is filled with plenty of natural light and faces the famous fountains that never seem to get old.
Elegant touches throughout the room, like this elaborate charger plate, made the girly girl in me smile.
Continue reading ‘Fountains Brunch at Jasmine – Las Vegas (Bellagio)’
Cousin Phil is my favorite person to feast on all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue with. His appetite for animal lifeblood rivals that of a T-Rex and his skills on the grill are top notch. When it’s just The Astronomer and me protein-loading in K-Town, there’s always a possibility that we won’t be able to polish off the final plate of galbi or that we’ll somehow burn the delicate shrimp or squid. However, when Phil’s around, everything is carefully managed and under control.
When a recent business trip brought Phil to Los Angeles for two days, The Astronomer and I whisked him away for a Korean barbecue dinner. After picking him up at his downtown hotel, we made the short drive to DonDay in Koreatown. According to my friend Danny, the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat specials offered good quality and value. Our party of three settled on the $19.99 per person option that included a variety of animals, cuts, and marinades.
Included in the price of admission was a small army of side dishes. The Astronomer and Phil didn’t care too much for the banchan, but they’re my absolute favorite part of Korean dining.
Tonight’s selection included blanched broccoli with sesame oil, pickled daikon, kimchi, macaroni salad, marinaded cucumbers, bamboo shoots with jalapenos, and rice papers. I appreciated how the ladies who run the joint happily refilled my mac salad and rice papers when I ran low.
Continue reading ‘DonDay – Los Angeles (Koreatown)’
The last time I indulged in a lavish Sunday brunch spread, I wound up in the fetal position in the hotel lobby. The Astronomer fared slightly better and only popped a button off his pants. We’re normally rational and quite levelheaded, but for the life of us, we couldn’t exhibit good behavior when faced with such a stupendous buffet. You’d do the same in an all-you-can-eat foie gras ice cream sandwich situation too, trust me.
A couple of Sundays ago, I was once again confronted with a brunch spread so awesome that it threatened to compromise my reasonable nature. This time around it was at Scarpetta, Chef Scott Conant‘s modern Italian restaurant tucked inside the Montage Beverly Hills.
I, along with my partner in crime Diana, were guests of the hotel this morning during the debut of Sunday brunch. We were seated on the cusp of the dining room with an idyllic view overlooking the Beverly Canon Gardens. Mimosas were quick to arrive, which we appreciated greatly. Cheers to good food and good friends.
Before piling our plates full of this and that and everything in between, we strolled through the open kitchen to survey what was cookin’. We spied a crudo and shellfish station, cured meats, a pasta station, an egg station, waffles and pancakes from the griddle, a carving station, and a fruit station. Outside the kitchen was an impressive display of cheeses and sweets. [See the complete menu here.] It was a sensational selection of dishes and we were excited to get started.
Continue reading ‘Sunday Brunch at Scarpetta – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)’
When the Indian kids studying at Caltech are hungry for a taste of home, they head to Mezbaan Indian Cuisine in Old Pasadena. It’s hardly the closest Indian restaurant to campus, but the quality makes up for the longer trek, according to our friend Raga, a computer science grad student from Madras.
Raga introduced The Astronomer and me to his favorite spot a few Sundays ago. We came for the all-you-can-eat buffet, which is priced at $10.95 and includes champagne. The fun starts at noon and runs until 3 PM. Mezbaan also has a weekday buffet for $8.99 from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM. For grad students living on a stipend, these buffets offer a lot of bang for very little buck. Ordering a la carte will come once PhDs are in hand. Or maybe not…
While we were filling up our plates at the steam tables, our really nice and attentive waiter dropped off a basket of warm and pliable naan. This was the first of two baskets we plowed through during our meal.
On our visit, Mezbaan offered three different condiments—mint chutney, tamarind chutney, and raita, a cooling yogurt sauce. Raga had a soft spot for the minty one, while I favored the sticky sweet tamarind one.
Continue reading ‘Mezbaan Indian Cuisine – Pasadena’