Archive for the 'Los Angeles' Category

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Maude – Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)

Maude - Los Angeles (Beverly Hills)

It’s avocado season here in Southern California, and Maude, Curtis Stone’s critically adored restaurant, is celebrating in grand fashion with a month-long tasting menu dedicated to the super-luscious, downright buttery ingredient.

Maude Restaurant - June 2015 - Avocados

Maude’s menu changes with the seasons, focusing on “one key ingredient” each month. [See what the restaurant is cooking for the rest of this year.]

Our ten-plus course dinner featured California-grown Hass avocados in every single dish. Sometimes avocado was the star of the plate, while other times it elevated the ingredients surrounding it. As a lifelong avocado lover, it was a pleasure to experience the fruit in a plethora of forms, both classic and innovative—avocado leaf ice cream, anyone?

Maude Restaurant - June 2015 - Avocados

Named after Curtis Stone’s grandmother, Maude is a jewel box of a restaurant with just 25 seats and an impressive open kitchen. The space and service were warm and welcoming with the ideal touch of sophistication.

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Test Drive: Munchery Meal Delivery

Munchery - Los Angeles

Munchery, a meal delivery service operating in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City, recently launched in Los Angeles, and I was delighted to take it for a test drive. With The Astronomer and me balancing working full-time with a new baby, mealtime solutions that are convenient, tasty, and healthful are very welcomed in our household. Dinner at our doorstep? Yes, please.

Munchery - Los Angeles

Whereas Seamless and UberFresh deliver restaurant-prepared meals, Munchery’s food is made “in-house” at a central kitchen. The menu, which changes weekly, is created by a team of chefs who have worked in some very impressive restaurants including Providence, Hatfield’s, and Craft.

To place our first order, I logged on to Munchery’s website, chose the dishes that we desired, and selected the time and date of the delivery. Munchery currently delivers from 4 to 9 PM, Monday through Friday. There’s no order minimum or subscription commitment. The cost of delivery is $4.50 for on-demand (arrives in about 30 minutes) or $2.95 for schedule ahead (up to seven days in advance). Orders can also be placed via Munchery’s mobile app.

Munchery - Los Angeles

The food arrived on time, fully cooked, chilled for freshness, and packaged in materials that were either recyclable or compostable.

Every dish included clear instructions for preparation and assembly.  Most items required a few minutes in either the microwave or oven and the application of sauces and garnishes. Easy stuff.   Continue reading ‘Test Drive: Munchery Meal Delivery’

Phở Ngoon – San Gabriel

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

In the mood for Northern Vietnamese fare, The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Courtney, headed to San Gabriel’s Phở Ngoon for lunch. The newish restaurant, which is located in the same plaza as Boston Lobster, offered a lovely change of pace from the Central and Southern Vietnamese cuisine that we tend to favor.

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

Upon arriving at the modernly appointed restaurant, we were seated promptly and presented with menus. The one-page bill of fare was awesomely concise, consisting of just three starters and ten mains. We shared five dishes between the three of us.

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

First up was an order of pho cuon ($3.50), a dish that was super-trendy in Hanoi circa 2008 when The Astronomer and I lived in Vietnam. Comprised of thin rice noodle sheets wrapped around lettuce leaves, grilled beef, and fresh mint, the pho cuon was served with nuoc cham for dipping.

While I didn’t care too much for this dish in Hanoi, I quite liked Pho Ngoon’s more robust rendition.

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Phong Dinh Restaurant – San Gabriel

Phong Dinh Restaurant - San Gabriel

A recent girls’ night out brought me and my gal pals to San Gabriel’s Phong Dinh Restaurant. I’m not sure what constitutes a roaring good time for you and yours, but for me and mine, it’s a killer baked catfish. I roll with the best posse ever.

Phong Dinh Restaurant - San Gabriel

Thien An in Rosemead has always been my go-to spot for baked catfish, but we decided to try Phong Dinh this evening at the recommendation of my friend Thien. She promised that the catfish here was even better than the one at Thien An.

According to the restaurant’s menu, Chef and Founder Minh Trang was the first to introduce baked catfish (ca dut lo hau giang) to the area in 1994.

Phong Dinh Restaurant - San Gabriel

Before the star of the show arrived, accoutrements were scattered about the table—a large platter of herbs and lettuce, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber spears, vermicelli rice noodles, rice papers, and best of all, a tangy-sweet tamarind dipping sauce.

Our waitress revealed that the recipe for the sauce came from her aunt, who hails from Can Tho. Now that I’ve experienced this seriously awesome sauce, I can’t ever go back to eating plain ol’ nuoc cham or mam nem (fermented anchovy dipping sauce) with my catfish. Consider me a changed woman.

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