It’s a well known fact that cured meats make my heart go pitter-patter, so when a fellow Pasadena-based food blogger alerted me that a basturma specialist recently opened up shop down the street from my home, I made my way there at my earliest convenience.
House of Basturma was completely empty when The Astronomer, Danny, and I arrived last Tuesday night. However, as soon as we walked in, the mom and pop who run the place unglued their eyes from the local news and assisted us in navigating the Armenian-Lebanese-Turkish menu. I kind of got the sense that the older couple was a little baffled as to why two Asian kids and a white dude were stopping in for dinner, but they were hospitable and friendly nevertheless.
We ordered a chikofte platter ($5.99) to start. Traditionally served as an appetizer, chikofte is a mixture of bulgur wheat and finely ground raw beef. We were informed by the proprietress that only Middle Eastern palates appreciate this dish, but we went ahead and ordered it anyway because I heart raw meat as much as the cured stuff.
The chikofte was topped with lightly dressed fresh tomatoes and served with warm pita bread. The first few bites of the chikofte along with the pita and veggies were very lovely, but after bite number five, it started tasting monotonous. Had the portion not been so generous, we would’ve left things off on a high note!
Continue reading ‘House of Basturma – Pasadena’
I followed the opening of Susan Feniger’s Street with great anticipation during the early months of 2009. I had just moved into town following a year traveling and feasting abroad, so news of a local restaurant specializing in global street food was especially exciting to me. Every minuscule pre-opening detail, from the interior design to menu development, was captured on the restaurant’s “Street Noise” video series. I watched each one and felt like a privileged insider getting a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant’s impending launch.
As stoked as I was to try Street, the lukewarm reviews that came out during the first few months of service changed my mind completely. It seemed that paying premium prices for street eats didn’t sit well with folks (see: $16 bowl of phở), and the hodgepodge menu was something of a minefield. Without glowing reviews all around, the restaurant soon fell off my radar.
It wasn’t until I received a 30% off coupon from Blackboard Eats some months ago that I finally made my way to Street for a meal. Ain’t no better motivator than a hefty discount and promises of kaya toast.
The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Laurie, brunched here one Sunday afternoon following a terrific volunteer sesh with Project Angel Food. We’d been up and on our feet since 6:30 AM, so we were hoping that this meal would be a real battery charger.
Brunch began with a plate of spiced Turkish doughnuts simmered in cardamom rose syrup and served with sour cream and rose hip jam ($10.50). The sweet and slightly floral doughnuts were grease-less, pillowy wonders that had all three of us seriously impressed.
Continue reading ‘Susan Feniger’s Street – Los Angeles (Hollywood)’