Miàn by Chengdu Taste – San Gabriel

Mian by Chengdu Taste - San Gabriel

Thanks to The Astronomer’s “alternate work schedule,” every so often we’re able to meet up for a low-key weekday lunch. We stopped into Miàn during its first week of service for a taste of Chongqing-style noodles. Even though the line for a table was longer than anticipated, the food was well worth the wait, especially the dumplings (surprisingly).

Mian by Chengdu Taste - San Gabriel

Tony Xu, who last dazzled our tastebuds at Chengdu Taste in Alhambra and Rosemead, keeps the hits coming at his second concept Miàn. The restaurant serves just a dozen different mian (noodles), five kinds of chaoshou (dumplings), and eight appetizers.

Mian by Chengdu Taste - San Gabriel

A complimentary dish of pickled and lightly spiced cabbage arrived at the table to start.

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Trois Familia – Los Angeles (Silver Lake)

Trois Familia - Los Angeles

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).

Trois Familia - Los Angeles

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.

Trois Familia - Los Angeles

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.

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Little Sister – Los Angeles (Downtown)

Little Sister - Los Angeles (Downtown)

The original Little Sister in Manhattan Beach has always piqued my interest, but I never got around to dining there because: Bacon Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits. You know how it goes. It took a shiny new Downtown outlet, as well as the initiative of a few colleagues, for me to finally make my way here. And let me tell you, it was well worth the wait.

Little Sister - Los Angeles (Downtown) Here at this newish and very bustling spot, Chef Tin Vuong cooks up solid Vietnamese and Asian-inspired fare. Drawing from family recipes and his San Gabriel Valley roots, Chef Vuong’s creations are beautifully composed, boldly flavored, and straight-up tasty.

Little Sister - Los Angeles (Downtown)

To start, our party ordered one of every item under the “Introductions” section of the menu. First up was the house-made sesame sourdough baguette with Echire AOC butter and sea salt ($5).

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Brunch at Taco María – Costa Mesa

Taco María - Costa Mesa

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.”

Taco María - Costa Mesa

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.

Taco María - Costa Mesa

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.

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