The arrival of Pok Pok Phat Thai was a mixed bag for me. As a Thai food lover, I was thrilled to have superb regional noodles available a stone’s throw from home. The only downside was that the restaurant took the space formerly occupied by Hoan Kiem, a Northern Vietnamese spot that served terrific banh cuon and pho ga. Alas, that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes.
Phat Thai is the first of two Pok Pok concepts that Chef Andy Ricker is bringing to L.A. His full-service Pok Pok, which I was a fan of when I visited it in Portland, should be arriving before year’s end.
Phat Thai’s menu is succinct, and service is efficient. After ordering at the counter and grabbing a seat at the communal picnic table out front, we received our food within five minutes or so. Fast service makes for happy parents, always.
I had heard (and read) that careful application of condiments is key to a great Pok Pok experience. Otherwise, the food can taste bland. This cart full of fish sauce, sugar, and vinegar was on hand to season our dishes to taste. The chili-spiked fish sauce and fresh lime juice were essential for Pok Pok perfection for The Astronomer and me.
Continue reading ‘Pok Pok Phat Thai – Los Angeles (Chinatown)’
I had the pleasure of dining with my mom at Q Sushi a few Fridays ago. She’s been taking care of June while The Astronomer and I are bringing home the bacon, so this meal was a small token of our gratitude. Bà Ngoại is the best!
Chef Hiroyuki Naruke, who ran a six-seat sushi bar in Tokyo’s Roppongi district prior to relocating to Los Angeles, serves a hyper-traditional, omakase-only sushi experience at Q. I am a total purist when it comes to sushi, so I knew that Q and I would get along swimmingly from the start.
Priced at $165 per person, the omakase typically begins with a slew of tsumami (small appetizers), followed by a perfectly orchestrated parade of sashimi and nigiri sushi courses. All in all, it’s a 2.5 hour feast comprised of 20 or so courses that passes by much too quickly.
Taking care of Mom and me this evening was Chef Rui. He seemed a bit chattier than Chef Hiro, which was a good thing, because I had plenty of questions up my sleeve (per usual).
Continue reading ‘Q Sushi – Los Angeles (Downtown)’
The Astronomer and I traded in Baby for pasta one evening a couple weeks back. With my mom in town helping with June for a few days, we seized the opportunity to enjoy a night out on the town—just the two of us.
We’ve been meaning to return to Bestia for quite some time now, and thanks to Reserve (a “personal dining concierge” app that I highly recommend), we were able to snag a table at the last minute. It’s amazing what a three hour getaway can do for the psyche of new parents!
Upon arriving at the restaurant, The Astronomer and I were led to the hottest seat in the house, literally. Perched in front of the grill and wood-burning oven, we were treated to pizza-tossing, bone marrow-roasting, tomahawk-grilling, and ribeye-searing all night long. It was a splendid performance.
Sommelier Anthony Calian got us started with pours of Bio-Secco Rosé, which he aptly described as “liquid Jolly Ranchers.” My first postpartum drink—mmm, bubbly.
Continue reading ‘Bestia – Los Angeles (Downtown)’
Unless you’ve given up social media for Lent, chances are that you’ve heard a little somethin’ somethin’ about Downtown’s newly opened Faith & Flower.
There’s a great chef in the kitchen (Michael Hung of San Francisco’s La Folie) and a talented bar man too (Michael Lay of Vegas’s Rose. Rabbit. Lie), but what really drew me here was my friend Stephane Bombet, one of the restaurant’s managing partners. This is his first project since parting with Chef Ricardo Zarate‘s Peruvian empire (Mo-Chica, Picca, Paiche, and Blue Tavern).
Whereas most of Downtown’s popular spots are minimally appointed and distinctly urban, Faith & Flower feels downright sumptuous, complete with crystal chandeliers, fancy cutlery and chargers, and plush banquettes. To keep the done-up room from feeling formal or stuffy, the energy, music, and service all hit the perfect upbeat yet casual note.
To start, we tried two of Michael Lay’s creations. I chose the intense and smoky “Olvera” ($14) made with Nuestra Soledad mezcal, Cherry Heering, Zirbenz Stone Pine, Royal Combier, housemade orange bitters, and lapsang souchong vapor, while The Astronomer selected the “Angels Flight” ($12) with Denizen rum, yuzu, palm sugar, and kaffir lime leaf.
Continue reading ‘Faith & Flower – Los Angeles (Downtown)’