Archive for the 'Glendale' Category

Bourbon Steak – Glendale

Bourbon Steak - Glendale

Glitz. Glam. Glendale! Can you dig it?

Bourbon Steak - Glendale

I made my way to The Americana at Brand last week, the epicenter of Glendale’s aforementioned glitz and glam, for a very special dinner celebrating Chef Michael Mina’s newly opened Bourbon Steak and the upcoming Vegas Uncork’d. Both merited plenty of wine and red meat.

This is Chef Mina’s 18th restaurant and the 5th Bourbon Steak; there are additional locations in Scottsdale, Washington D.C., Miami, and San Francisco. The space feels incredibly swanky with an impressive patisserie up front, plush leather seating throughout, and a grand piano by the bar.  

Bourbon Steak - Glendale

The evening’s menu featured a diverse selection of dishes highlighting Bourbon Steak’s contemporary approach to classic American fare. There was plenty of meat and seafood, of course, but also very thoughtful and interesting starters and sides. [See full menu here].

Back when Chef Mina’s XIV was alive and kickin’ on the Sunset Strip, these duck fat fries were a happy hour mainstay. Fried crisp-golden, the shoestrings were served with house-made ketchup, barbecue sauce, and truffle aioli.

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Raffi’s Place – Los Angeles (Glendale)

Raffis Place - Glendale

Every meal at Raffi’s Place begins with sabzi, or “something green”—sprigs of basil, chopped parsley and white onions, and whole radishes served on a plate, along with pats of butter and a basket of unleavened lavash. When pulled together, these aromatics and herbs make for a uniquely Persian appetizer.

Raffis Place - Glendale

The sabzi to start, as well as the bougainvillea-shaded dining room, have been a part of the Raffi’s experience since 1993, when Rafik Bakijan and his wife, Gohar, opened the restaurant to share treasured family recipes with Los Angeles’ burgeoning Middle Eastern community.

Raffis Place - Glendale

For an appetizer, The Astronomer and I shared an order of tadig, a prized crispy rice crust, served with ghormesabzi (stewed greens with beef, kidney beans, and dehydrated limes) and gheimeh bademjan (stewed split peas and eggplant). The rice was a textural powerhouse, while the duo of stews were soulful and hearty.

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Elena’s Greek Armenian Cuisine – Los Angeles (Glendale)

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

A few of my favorite gal pals and I are packing our bags and flying to Portland for a weekend of serious face stuffage next month. To plan and plot our ambitious dining itinerary, we recently powwowed over a most homey and comforting Greek-Armenian dinner at Elena’s. This trip is going to be epic.

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

Hourie grew up in the neighborhood and has been dining at this three-decade-old restaurant for as long as she can remember. According to a 1997 Times write up about the place, “Elena Tchentchenian is the woman responsible for the cultural mixing. She was born in Greece but reared in Armenia, which accounts for the Armenian touches.”

Every meal at Elena’s begins with a basket of warm flatbread accompanied by the most addictive garlic “sauce” ever. Rumor has it that the sauce gets its body from mashed potatoes!

Elena's Greek Armenian Cuisine - Glendale

When I arrived at the restaurant, Lien and Hourie were already diggin’ into a sumptuous mezze spread. There were pretty pink pickles that make my mouth-water just thinking about them…

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Porto’s Bakery – Los Angeles (Glendale)

PORTO'S BAKERY FACADE

Strolling around Porto’s Bakery on a bustling Saturday afternoon, it’s hard to imagine that the shop began over 35 years ago as a home-based business in Cuba. Since its humble beginnings, Porto’s Bakery has garnered a devoted following, outgrowing several locations and eventually settling into a 20,000 square foot building in the heart of Glendale.

Of all the fantastic restaurants in the city of Los Angeles, it’s Porto’s Bakery that has as come up time and again whenever a friend or acquaintance has recommended a local place for me to try. After receiving a half dozen solid endorsements for the place, I made a mental note to stop by the next time I found myself in Glendale.

PORTO'S BAKERY LINE OF CUSTOMERS

After procuring a wickedly sweet suit for The Astronomer at the Glendale Galleria a few weekends back, we made our way to Porto’s Bakery to see what the fuss was all about. I knew that the bakery was beloved by many, but the crowd waiting for their piece of the Porto pie was truly staggering. The staff on hand managed the amusement park-esque lines smoothly and professionally.

POTATO BALL INNARDS

Taking a cue from the customers ahead of us, The Astronomer and I ordered way more food than we had room to eat. The potato ball (85¢) was the lone savory item on our tray. The papa rellena was comprised of breaded and fried mashed potatoes filled with seasoned ground beef. The crunchy texture of the breading had me at first bite, while The Astronomer enjoyed the chili-like filling.

GUAVA PASTRY

The guava strudel (65¢), one of Porto’s most famous baked good, was as tasty as everyone told me it would be. The mildly sweet guava jam smothered in between flaky layers of buttery puff pastry really made this little rectangular sweet shine.

CHEESE PASTRY + CHEESE AND GAUVA PASTRY

The guava and cheese refugi (left – 65¢) and the cheese roll (right – 65¢) were on par with the guava strudel. The cream cheese filling in each one reminded me of Danish breakfast pastries. Puff pastry is an ingredient that I adore, but it quickly gets overwhelming. After taking a few bites from each one, we packed up the rest to go.

CREME BRULEE

I knew ordering a creme brulee ($2.50) at a Cuban bakery wasn’t the smartest move, but oftentimes my gluttony gets the best of me. Much to my surprise, Porto’s creme brulee was completely competent and exceeded my expectations by a mile. The sugary crust was uniformly caramelized, and the smooth custard contained tiny flecks of vanilla bean—two hallmarks of a great creme brulee.

After just one visit to Porto’s, I totally understand why every other Angeleno is crazy about the place. The vibe is fun, the prices are more than reasonable, and the food is perfectly enjoyable. Win. Win. Win.

Porto’s Bakery
315 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91203
Phone: 818-956-5996

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