Feb 2017

Maple Block Meat Co. – Culver City

Maple Block Meat Co. - Culver City

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been eating my feelings lately. Ever since what’s-his-face won the election last fall, I’ve been drowning my liberal-leaning tears in all manner of comfort food. Over-eating as a consolation prize ain’t much, but that’s all I’ve got these days… that, and toddler cuddles. Both simple pleasures are appreciated.

Maple Block Meat Co. - Culver City

When it comes to comfort food, it’s hard to beat southern barbecue. I’ve been hearing nothing but terrific things about Chef Adam Cole’s Maple Block Meat Co. since it opened last August, particularly about the brisket. A weekday lunch with two friends meant that California’s “best” would finally be mine.

Interestingly, prior to smoking meats in Culver City, Chef Cole spent time in the kitchens of The Bazaar and ink.

Maple Block Meat Co. - Culver City

To start, the anchovy-spiked Pimiento Cheese Sandwich ($6) was calling my name.

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Jan 2017

Tết 2017: Not Your Grandma’s Bánh Chưng (InstaPot Edition)

Tet 2017 - Banh Chung Making Party

In preparation for Tết, my friends and I gathered this past weekend to make bánh chưng. Spearheaded by Chef Diep Tran of Good Girl Dinette, this annual tradition never fails to make me extraordinarily happy. There’s always great conversation and food, of course, but what really inspires me is preserving and celebrating Vietnamese foodways.

Tet 2017 - Banh Chung Making Party

This year’s event was particularly special because June was able to attend and participate. I hope she loves and looks forward to making and eating bánh chưng every Lunar New Year as much as her mama does.

Tet 2017 - Banh Chung Making Party

Diep kept things streamlined this year with only one filling: fish sauce-marinated pork belly with sautéed shallots and mung beans. Classic.

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Jan 2017

Destroyer – Los Angeles (Culver City)

Destroyer - Los Angeles (Culver City)

When work brought me to the Westside of town last week, I stopped in to Destroyer for a late lunch in between meetings. I have missed Chef Jordan Kahn’s intricate cooking (and pretty plating) ever since his “punk Vietnamese” spot Red Medicine closed and was eager to be reunited.

Destroyer - Los Angeles (Culver City)

Here at Destroyer, Chef Kahn serves a pared-down menu that’s vegetable-forward and Scandinavian-influenced. The restaurant is only open on weekdays for breakfast and lunch.

Destroyer - Los Angeles (Culver City)

Soon after placing my order and finding a seat, the cardamom bun arrived. Not too sugary and sweetly spiced, the bun showed a kind of restraint characteristic of Nordic pastries. While I usually prefer my breakfast buns ooey-gooey and super-sweet, this delicate little number was welcomed.

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