Thursday, June 30, 2011

Redondo Beach: Uni is an Aqcuired Taste

Michael and Connie paid me a visit a few weekends ago, and decided to take them to Redondo Beach Pier for some spicy fish soup at Pacific Fish Center. Even though I did just go there recently with Young and Lydia, figured... why not, it's a beautiful day!

Redondo Beach Pier
W Torrance Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

View from our table at Pacific Fish Center.

live shrimp
I had to get the live shrimp again. Just as good as I remembered!

shrimp head
With the live shrimp, you also get the fried shrimp heads!

shrimp head
Ahhhh so good. Shrimp flavor to the max.

spicy fish soup
Spicy fish soup once again! A large this time :P

spicy fish soup
Yes :] Fish (prob cod), mushroom, green onion, tofu, cabbage, daikon etc. Good stuff.

quality seafood
After we killed the soup, walked around a bit and headed down one level of the pier and headed to Quality Seafood for some fresh fresh fresh uni!

Since 1953!

fresh seafood
It's an old school spot that sells all sorts of fresh seafood. They even have an oyster bar right at the front and you can choose from over 20+ oysters to have it shucked in front of you. Ranges from $1.65~$2.50. A LOT of people go for that.

fresh yellowtail
Fresh yellowtail!! Would totally get it if I knew how to cut and fillet fish... hmmm... hamachi sashimi and kama.

sea urchin
What Connie and Michael were aiming for! Fresh sea urchin for some uni.

sea urchin
Sorry buddy. You gon die.

fish monger
Fishmonger opening up the sea urchin for us...

... and you get this!! Uni! As fresh as it can get! Flavored with a little sea water. It was actually still moving around while it was sitting on the plate hahaha.

I have never seen uni with that shade of yellow. It's had such a vibrant yellow color.

Look at all the little egg sac haha. To be honest, I still have not acquired the taste for uni yet... it's still a bit too much for me.

Yea, Connie and Michael killed it. I only had a little spoonful, and now I can say I did it haha.

ice cream shop
Afterwards, decided to grab dessert!

choco covered
Michael's chocolate covered black cherry ice cream cone.

black cherry ice cream
Just your typical Dreyer's ice cream, but man, the black cherry is good already, but on a warm day, it was even better.

funnel cake w/ french vanilla & mint chip
Connie and I decided to share a funnel cake topped with french vanilla & mint chip. Funnel cake was disappointing :[

Good food, good friends, beautiful weather: it was a good day!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicago: One More Time

Woke up pretty early on the last day of our stay since we had a pretty full day and there was a few things we wanted to accomplish. For Ben and I, it was to go on the Architectural Boat Tour, and for the Ahrhan and Anna, it was to check out the original Macy's and shop a little. However our ultimate goal that day was to go to another deep dish pizza spot before we all head off to the airport and take our flight home.

Intelligentsia Millennium Park
53 E Randolph St.
(between Wabash Ave & Garland Ct)
Chicago, IL 60601

Yup, at the famous Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea for breakfast since Ben and I needed something quick!

Intelligentsia is actually from Chicago!

Lots of baristas, and yup, hipsters.

single drip
Single drip!

cool bag
Cool looking bag for pastries!

iced green tea
Ben's breakfast: iced green tea with almond croissant.

cafe latte
My cafe latte. Really nice steamed milk and deep espresso flavor!

Latte art.

pain au chocolate
Chocolate croissant. It's a little different. It's not really flaky like most croissants, more like a bread.


After the boat tour, Ben and I met up with Ahrhan and Anna at Lou Malnati's, which is another famous spot known for their deep dish pizza. They actually had a throwdown here with Bobby Flay on his show and did end up beating Bobby. Check out video below!

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
439 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60654
Neighborhoods: Near North Side, River North

Lou Malnati's for lunch!

the lou
The "Lou" with fresh spinach, mushrooms, and sliced tomatoes covered with mozzarella, romano and cheddar cheese. Also sausage added.

the lou with sausage
Took over 40 minutes to bake this bad boy!

deep dish & crust
Lou Malnati's is known for their buttery and flaky crust, and I'm not gonna lie, it's damn good. Holds up super well with all the toppings and juices from the vegetables.

deep dish
Juicy, cheesy pizza!

Less sauce than Pequod's. Awesome combination of ingredients! Somehow ate 2 slices here hahah.


After stuffing ourselves with pizza, we decided to stop by Garrett's Popcorn to get some of the popcorn that Oprah loves :P Garrett's actually all over Chicago and they are known for their flavor gourmet popcorn (of course).

Garret's Popcorn
4 E Madison St
(between Holden Ct & State St)
Chicago, IL 60602

pizzeria uno
On the way there, saw the original Pizza Uno.

Huge popcorn bucket at the shop!

The different offerings. They have 3 kinds: buttery & plain, caramel, and cheese. You can also get a mix of caramel & cheese, which they call The Chicago Mix, or you can get a Caramel Crisp, which is popcorn clusters with nuts and caramel.

tin cans
Different tin cans. I didn't get it cause it was too expensive.

After you order, they fill your order right in front of you! Caramel crisp with pecan is for sure my favorite! Forgot to take a picture though haha.

Overall, an awesome trip to Chi-Town and I can definitely see why people call it the perfect city for foodie. Whether it is fine dining or something old school like a hot dog, definitely a destination for you taste buds. Hopefully... it won't be too long before I can take another bite of the awesome deep dish pizzas in Chicago!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chicago: The Aviary

Grant Achatz is a genius.

Who is he? He is the man behind Alinea, ranked as the #6 restaurant in the WORLD, known for molecular gastronomy. He won the several James Beard Award and a few years ago for Best Chef in the US. Essentially, he is a chef that knows how to manipulate food with science and is damn good at it.

Recently, he started up The Aviary, which is his newest project, focusing on cocktails. However they are not just normal drinks that you would find at a lounge. He does the same thing to drinks as he does with food, find ways to innovate and provides a great experience to the guests.

The Aviary
953-955 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
Neighborhoods: Fulton Market, Near West Side, West Loop

Came here around 40 minutes before it was last call. Don't really know how we found the place since there is no signs outside at all. The neighborhood looked kinda sketch (lots of food warehouse), and we were totally confused until we saw a valet guy outside and pointed us to the right direction.

drinks station
The cage where the masters go to work.

Modern decor in The Aviary.

Beautifully designed space.

amuse bouche
Amuse bouche: watermelon soaked in sake. Tasty!

watermelon soaked with sake
Very refreshing. Would've ordered more food but I was way too full haha.

part of menu
Drinks menu. The longer the line on the left means the more complicated it is. Of course we tried to choose the ones with the longest lines :P

Ahrhan's Rooibos. Ever had a hot alcoholic drink? Generally most people would say no but here, if you get the Rooibos, it is brewed like a tea with a vacuum pot. Lavender, almond, vanilla, and gin sit in a compartment above the vacuum pot and once heated, the heat sucks the boiled water up a glass tube and then boils the drink!

vac pot
After it is done "brewing," the finished drinks travel back down to the pot after the heat is removed. Seems sorta odd to drink a warm alcoholic drink but it's good!

Anna's Blueberry, which is fruits, verjus, sweet vermouth, and rye. The longer you let it sit in that device, the stronger the flavors become, sorta like an alcoholic version of the fruit tea you get at HK cafes :P

The drink itself gets darker and darker after each pour.

in the rock
In the Rocks,which is your traditional Old Fashioned, but with a twist. The twist isn't in the flavor or the alcohol used, rather, it is in the way the drink is made. An ice egg in a whiskey glass was put in front of me, but upon closer inspection you can see that there's something inside the ice egg, and you realize that the bourbon, demerara, and angostura are actually in the ice egg itself and that's why it's called "In the Rocks!"

Check out this video on how it is done!

old fashioned
Our server proceded to break the egg into slices, the alcohol flows out , add a peel of orange and there's the Old Fashioned. Somehow the man has came up with an innovative way to serve Old Fashioned.

Ben's Rhubarb, served in a tall glass, but the cool part is that it is served with little round ice cubes filled with a sweet liquor (maybe wine?) to help sweeten your drink as needed.

ice cubes
The server also brought a few on the side and we just started to eating it like candy haha.

The drinks are all tasty but nothing that will really justify the high price. The least expensive drink is the Hemingway and even that runs at $14. It's all about experiencing the world of cocktail, Grant Achatz style.

After The Aivary, I want to try Alinea even more... I guess it's time to save up around $500 or so :P