Dec 2018

Rustic Canyon – Santa Monica

Rustic Canyon - Santa Monica

The last time I ate at Rustic Canyon was in 2011, when Chef Evan Funke was serving up drippy burgers on Monday nights. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of On Vegetables at my local library that I was reminded of the restaurant recently

After zipping through Chef Jeremy Fox’s thoughtful forward and skimming some of the recipes, I immediately made dinner reservations for two. I wanted to experience firsthand the cooking of an ambitious chef who had finally found peace and balance in a professional kitchen. I hear it’s a rarity…

Rustic Canyon - Santa Monica

The Astronomer and I secured a sitter and made the trek to Santa Monica on a Saturday night. We were greeted with warm smiles even though we managed to arrive 30 minutes late for our reservation. The Westside is always further than I think it is.

Rustic Canyon - Santa Monica

The first dish was a fun take on the classic wedge salad. In place of iceberg lettuce was an array of endive, while the ‘nduja breadcrumbs and egg bottarga roughly approximated bacon bits ($18). A blue cheese dressing, blue cheese crumbles, and pearls of pomegranate rounded out the plate.

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Dec 2018

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine – Alhambra

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine - Alhambra

The Astronomer, June, and I haven’t dined on Indonesian food ever since the incredible food stalls behind the Duarte Inn permanently shut down. Dining at Borneo Kalimantan, along with our friends Andrew and Miri, reminded us how much we adore the cuisine and its awesomely sweet, savory, and funky flavors. We need more Indonesian fare in our lives.

Pro tip: Make sure to have plenty of greenbacks handy because this restaurant is cash-only.

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine - Alhambra

We shared three orders of the Roti Prata ($3.99)—two at the start of the meal and one near the end. Wonderfully flaky and rich, the breads were served with a spice-tinged curry dipping sauce.

Borneo Kalimantan Cuisine - Alhambra

Also great was the Chicken Satay ($7.99), which were served in a pool of peanut-y goodness with a smattering of fried shallots on top.

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Nov 2018

Cindy’s Noodle Land – Arcadia

Cindy's Noodle Land - Arcadia

A recent date night took The Astronomer and me to beautiful Arcadia. Following a sneak peek of the Moonlight Forest exhibit at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, we made our way to Cindy’s Noodle Land, where Shaanxi- and Henan-style noodles and lamb dishes reign supreme.

Cindy's Noodle Land - Arcadia

As soon as we walked into the restaurant, simply appointed with a mostly neutral color palette, I made a beeline for the cold appetizers in the case upfront. I have my priorities straight.

Cindy's Noodle Land - Arcadia

From the available selection, I honed in on the seaweed, tofu skin, and spongy wheat gluten (choice of 3 for $7.49). All three were solid, especially the lattermost, whose tang-forward flavors brought me back to the random street stall in Beijing that The Astronomer and I frequented over a decade ago.

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