While driving home from dinner at Gracias Madre last week, my mind kept coming back to the idea of comfort zones. Namely, how my food comfort zone is calibrated a lot differently than other people’s. I feel perfectly at ease in a dingy restaurant where no English is spoken and offals are served, but take me to a fancy vegan joint in a ritzy part of town, and I feel a little like a fish out of water.
One man’s comfort zone is another’s uncharted course.
I stepped squarely out of my element for a taste of Gracias Madre, a much-buzzed-about and beautifully appointed restaurant specializing in vegan Mexican fare. Chef Chandra Gilbert opened the first Gracias Madre in San Francisco in 2009 along with Café Gratitude founders Matthew and Terces Engelhart. She formerly worked at Alice Waters’ now-closed Café Fanny in Berkeley and Cowgirl Creamery and Greens Restaurant in San Francisco.
The restaurant sources its organic produce exclusively from Be Love Farm in Vacaville, as well as from local farmers markets.
While my dining companions Diana and Valentina sipped spicy cocktails to start, I began with a cool glass of horchata ($5.50). Made of almond milk instead of the traditional rice milk, the agua fresca had a thicker consistency than I was expecting. Considering that horchata is naturally vegan, I found the ingredient swap unnecessary, especially since the end product wasn’t nearly as refreshing.
Continue reading ‘Gracias Madre – Los Angeles (West Hollywood)’
POT is addictive. After my first hit last Tuesday night, I was jonesing for more this past weekend. Two visits in less than the span of a week, and the restaurant isn’t even officially open yet! Like I said, POT is addictive.
Tucked inside The Line Hotel in Koreatown, POT is the latest, greatest restaurant from Chef Roy Choi.
After years of innovating bold flavor mash-ups aboard the Kogi Truck and at Chego, A-Frame, and Sunny Spot, Roy is drawing upon the traditional dishes that he grew up eating at home, as well as at his parents’ now-closed restaurant Silver Garden, at POT.
Koreatown and Korean food through the eyes of an American with Korean blood.
Printed on tabloid-size newspaper, the menu here is spectacular both in form and function. There are plenty of signature hotpots, of course, as well “Other Things” and “Other Other Things” to round out a proper K-Town feast. Come here with a crowd that likes to share and doesn’t mind a whole lot of double dipping.
Continue reading ‘POT – Los Angeles (Koreatown)’
For our final meal in Charleston, an extra-ordinary dinner at The Ordinary.
Our party of six was seated on the second floor of the former bank building, offering expansive views of the “Southern seafood hall” and oyster bar. I do believe that the award for the city with the grandest dining rooms goes to Charleston!
Adam Nemirow and Chef Mike Lata, the team behind Charleston’s beloved restaurant FIG, opened The Ordinary last year. The menu highlights the “merrior” of the Coastal Carolinas and the East Coast, according to the restaurant’s website.
I’m not quite sure how Hawaiian rolls ($4) fit into the local “merrior,” but no matter… As soon as I spotted them on the menu, I knew they had to be mine. Though not quite as sweet as King’s Hawaiian Rolls, these were warm, fluffy, and benefited from a generous slathering of butter.
Continue reading ‘The Ordinary – Charleston’
Another day in Charleston, another splendid meal set in a gorgeous and historic house. This is the life…
Our first meal of the day took us to Poogan’s Porch for a proper Lowcountry brunch, which I admit resembles a Lowcountry dinner, but with noticeably more poached eggs.
Opened in 1976 and set in a grand 19th century Victorian home, Poogan’s Porch is one of Charleston’s oldest restaurants. The restaurant is named after a dog named Poogan, the pet pooch of the building’s former owners before it was converted to a restaurant.
Chef and managing partner Daniel Doyle has been in the kitchen since 2007. Like all of the best restaurants in town, Poogan’s prides itself on sourcing proteins and produce locally from Charleston and its surrounding areas.
Continue reading ‘Poogan’s Porch – Charleston’