Feb 2020

B-Sides: Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup Edition

1919 Lanzhou Beef Noodle - Arcadia

At the top of the year, I ate bowls upon bowls of Lanzhou beef noodle soup from over half a dozen specialists in Los Angeles while trying to wrap my mind and palate around the Hot Dish for a feature on Eater LA. With its ropey, hand-pulled noodles and gorgeously clear broth, I never tired of the noodle soup even though I ate it for weeks on end.

Still, on occasions when I was dining out slash researching with a companion or two in tow, I took the opportunity to taste other specialties on the menu. Below are the best of the b-sides. Mmm…

Lanzhou Noodle House - Walnut

Though the Lanzhou beef noodle soup at Lanzhou Noodle House in Walnut was one of the weakest that I sampled, its cold fried tofu appetizer was terrific, with a generous slicking of chile oil and light crusting of sesame seeds.

LAN Noodle - Arcadia

At LAN Noodle in Arcadia, The Astronomer and I were taken aback by the seemingly simple scallion noodles. Whereas scallion noodles are usually stir-fried quite straightforwardly with soy sauce and scallions, the ones at LAN arrived in a shallow soy sauce broth with crisped and browned green onions heaped on top. The dish’s innovative composition and nuanced flavors gave the famed beef noodle soup a run for its money.

Jan 2020

The Year In Delicious: Top 10 Bites of 2019

Cafe Du Monde - New Orleans

It’s the last day of January, which seems like as fitting a time as any to finally reflect on my favorite dishes of 2019. Thank you for reading Gastronomy these past thirteen years—it’s been a genuine thrill getting to share my culinary adventures and endeavors on this space. And without further ado, here are the 10 best bites I ate in 2019…

Otoño - Highland Park

Gambas a la Plantxa at Otoño in Highland Park, California

Chef Teresa Montaño has found a new home in Highland Park at Otoño since closing her six-year-old Basque restaurant Racion. By the time we were through with the griddled blue prawns with cherry tomatoes, garlic, and Brandy de Jerez, the only thing that remained on the plate were the blackened shrimp tails. We ate every last morsel—head, whiskers, flesh, and all.

Cotogna - San Francisco

Lamb Sausage Pizza at Cotogna in San Francisco, California

After years of hearing my cousin Michael espouse the glories of Cotogna, we finally had the opportunity to dine there together. Of all the memorable plates that evening, the lamb sausage pizza lingers in my mind for its exceptional crust and balanced toppings.

Jan 2020

Bar Restaurant – Los Angeles (Silver Lake)

Bar Restaurant - Los Angeles (Silver Lake)

The Astronomer and I checked out Bar Restaurant in Silver Lake during the Thanksgiving holiday while my in-laws were in town to provide free and enthusiastic child care. Black Friday may be the finest time to go out to dinner. Turkey-induced comas and over-charged credit cards make for mellow dining rooms across the city. Our kind of scene.

Bar Restaurant - Los Angeles (Silver Lake)

Here in this comfortable and quirky dining room, Bar Restaurant serves up a “not too serious neo-bistro” dining experience from Chef Douglas Rankin. He previously spent years behind the stoves at Trois Mec, Petit Trois, and the Bazaar.

Bar Restaurant - Los Angeles (Silver Lake)

Before diving into the Euro-Californian fare, The Astronomer and I sipped a cocktail each. I had my usual Old Fashioned, while he had the evening’s special, which was tall, gingery, and well-balanced.