Did you hear? Lien Ta and Chef Jonathan Whitener, the former Animal chef de cuisine, are opening a restaurant. Woo! Here’s Looking at You is slated to debut later this spring in the former Whiz space in Koreatown. Los Angeles is in for a real treat.
In anticipation of their grand opening, Lien and Jonathan popped up at Chinatown’s Unit 120 back in January to give a sneak peek of their Japanese-Mexi-Cali concept. Priced at $75 per person, the family-style supper included three starters, two mains, and two desserts.
Dinner started with a cocktail—a cupful of the chef’s signature Mai Tai from the community punch bowl.
The trio of starters was quick to arrive. Pristine cuts of hamachi were given the Vietnamese treatment with tamarind, rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), palm sugar, and hibiscus onion. Continue reading ‘Here’s Looking at You at Unit 120 – Los Angeles (Chinatown)’
The Astronomer and I ducked into Trois Familia for brunch on a Friday morning back in January when we had an engagement in the neighborhood. This was hands down the hippest restaurant that we’d dined in together in quite some time—knit caps and tight jeans errywhere. We fit right in (wink, wink).
The third restaurant collaboration between chefs Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook, and Vinny Dotolo (previously: Trois Mec and Petit Trois), Trois Familia serves French-Mexican brunch from 10 AM to 3 PM seven days a week. We ordered a bit of this and a bit of that from the breakfast and lunch menus, and made sure to save room for dessert.
First up was the Beet Tartar Tostada ($8.95). Truth be told, we ordered this thinking it was beef tartar. Even though it was kind of a bummer to receive beets instead of beef, I couldn’t stay mad for long because this tostada was delightful with its bright lime zest and swirls of avocado milk.
Continue reading ‘Trois Familia – Los Angeles (Silver Lake)’
My initial reaction to Jonathan Gold naming Taco María in Orange County the second best restaurant in Los Angeles was, “Wait, what?” My second reaction was, “I gotta get a reservation.”
Chef Carlos Salgado opened the restaurant in the summer of 2013 following stints cooking in the Bay Area at Coi and Commis and running a food truck by the same name in Orange County. Serving Chicano Cuisine, Taco María’s menu is market-driven, modern, and well… Mexican.
While dinner would’ve been the ideal scenario to experience Chef Salgado’s cooking, Sunday brunch was a better fit for the Astro-Gastro family’s schedule. We met up with my O.C.-dwelling friend Courtney and her family to feast.
Brunch, which is served only on Sundays, is a three-course pre-fixe affair priced at $36.
To start, both The Astronomer and I zeroed in on the molletes, grilled bread slathered with refried beans and topped with crumbles of queso fresco.
Continue reading ‘Brunch at Taco María – Costa Mesa’
Work has been busier than ever, which means lunching on leftovers most days while basking in the glow of my computer screen. It’s a highly productive routine, but a girl’s just gotta take a burrito break sometimes. Amirite? One recent Friday, I gathered a posse of burrito-loving colleagues and headed to El Monte. Both Bill and Jonathan have vouched for Burritos La Palma‘s muy excellente wares, so I knew we were in for a treat.
La Palma is a traditional burrito stand from Jerez, Zacatecas. According to Bill, the Bañuelos Lugo family opened the first one in 1980 on Las Palmas Street. This location is the mini-chain’s tenth total and the first in the U.S.
Even though La Palma looks like a fast-casual establishment with its prominently displayed register and menu board, the restaurant offers full service at lunchtime. While our burritos were being made in the kitchen, a basket of chips and salsa kept us munching and happy. Continue reading ‘Burritos La Palma – El Monte’