Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Los Angeles: "D" of BLD

BLD is this very very popular breakfast & brunch spot in Mid-City.  Funny thing is BLD actually stands for "Breakfast Lunch Dinner" and I didn't know they serve dinner, since all I hear is how good their breakfast & brunch is.  I figured... dinner's gotta be pretty good too so I took a chance with it when Gilt City had a offer for BLD!

In case you don't know, Gilt City is Gilt Groupe's Groupon-esque site, except rather than offering a discount, most of the time for restaurants it is a set price for a prix fixe menu, and the offer for BLD was dinner for two, with two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts, and a bottle of wine!  Pretty awesome deal in my eyes :P

7450 Beverly Blvd
Mid-City West, West Hollywood
Los Angeles, CA 90036

"D" for dinner!

fuso barbera
We went with the Fuso Barbera for our free bottle of wine.

Young, a little bit fruity.

spanish tuna tartare
For my appetizer, I went with the Spanish Tuna Tartare.  Beautiful presentation.

It sorta tasted like.... spicy tuna to be honest haha.  The paprika aioli was a nice touch for that extra kick.

fried green olives
At first I thought these were small falafels, but it is actually fried green olives!  Salty crunchy goodness.

citrus salad
Diana went with the Citrus Salad.  I knew she would go for this as soon as I saw it haha.  Many tables also ordered this, and yup, all ladies.

Lots of different types of citruses.  Grapefruits, oranges, pomelos are the more prominent ones.  Very light & refreshing!

braised beef short rib
I went with their popular Braised Short Rib for my entree.  It is this huge piece of short rib that sits on top of Anson Mills grits.

parmesean crisp
Awesome huge piece of parmesean crisp!

short rib
Super tender short rib sitting in tasty tomato beef jus.  Fresh arugula is nice for that peppery flavor.

buttermilk fried
Diana's Country Fried Chicken with honey glaze.  Our favorite of the night. Perfectly fried and seaoned chicken that's moist. The honey glaze definitely makes the chicken even better.

mac & cheese
Mac & cheese.

collared greens
Collared greens.

malted chocolate ice cream sandwich
For dessert, we went with the malt chocolate ice cream sandwich.  It's hard to say no to creamy ice cream between two warm chocolate chip cookies :P

banana cream pie
Banana Cream Pie.  Perfect dessert for the banana lover!  Not really for me but I did like the brownie crust haha.

For our first Gilt City experience, it was a good one, except there were few blemishes by BLD though.  We found a few pieces of fish scale in the tuna tartare, and we even found a hair in the mac & cheese!! To their credit, they did correct everything pretty fast and service was good.

Next time, I want to check out their breakfast & brunch offerings since that's what they are really known for!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

San Francisco: Pizzeria Delfina

I've had a lot of great Neapolitan pizzas lately, especially at New York's Eataly, so I was pretty excited to try one of the most popular spots for pizzas in SF, Pizzeria Deflina!  There are two Delfinas in SF, one located in Mission and one in Pacific Heights.  They do differ in terms of the menu, and Defina Mission is definitely the more well-known one, but we just wanted pizzas so the smaller Pacific Heights location worked for us.

Since we had a pretty big group, we went super early to claim a table and good thing we did, because the restaurant is not very big, with only around 20+ seats and a few tables outside.

Pizzeria Deflina
2406 California St
Between Fillmore St & Steiner St
Pacific Heights
San Francisco, CA 94115

pizzeria delfina pac heights
Pizzeria Delfina.

Menu on July 1st, 2012.  They change the menu depending on what is in season.

delfina pac heights
Nice open kitchen.  The restaurant itself is very comfortable too, with lots of day light coming in.

Every table, there is a small plate with some oregano, dried red pepper, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

iced tea
Iced tea with a small carafe.

One of the more adventurous items on the menu, Chilled Tripe "Tripperia Style," which is chilled tripe served with salt & chili oil.

Some people will be turned off by this, but it is a really really refreshing dish. Squirt some lemon over the tripe, drizzle a bit of the oil, and add a dash of the salt, and it's a cool flavorful party going on in your mouth!

acme bread & mozza
Mozzarella in Carrozza.  Super tasty but super oily. They put a fun spin on a classic Italian dish.  Mozzarella is stuffed inside bread from the famous Acme Bakery, then deep fried in this light tempura batter.

Carrozza means carriage in Italian, so usually Mozzarella is placed between bread, sorta like a sandwich.  Here, they fry it!  Of course when cheese is friend, it is melted and turns into this orgasmic gooey mess.

Margherita, with tomato, fior di latte mozzarella & basil.  What can I say, I love margherita.  Delfina has definitely got margherita right! Great tomato sauce with a great crust and fresh mozzarella is definitely the way to go!

margherita close up
I want more basil :P

broccoli rabe
Broccoli Raab, with broccoli raab, caciocavallo, mozzarella, olives & hot peppers. This is definitely a pie that's more for the grown ups. Brccoli Raab has that distinctive bitter flavor, which I do like a lot.

The sharp caciocavallo goes really well with the bitter broccoli raab!

prosciutto & arugula
Prosciutto Pie, with Prosciutto di Parma, caciocavallo, mozzarella, panna & arugula. I was afraid of the prosciutto being skimped like many places, but no worries about that here!

Arugula & delicious Prosciutto di Parma is loosely topped onto the pie once it is baked.

Salsiccia with housemade fennel sausage, tomato, bell peppers, onions & mozzarella. Seems very boring, but the housemade sausage is definitely the star.

Fennel is not too overpowering.  I can probably just eat the sausage by the spoonful!

My best meal this time in San Francisco was definitely at Pizzeria Delfina.  Not only was the food good, the service there was excellent as well.  Now, I just need to try find a comparable Neapolitan pizza place in LA!

Friday, July 6, 2012

San Francisco: San Tung & Nihon

Got some new stuff to talk about!  I haven't done much this summer in terms of food, but I did start off the summer by attending two great music festivals.  Finally, this past weekend, I traveled to San Francisco for a few friend's birthday, and of course, San Francisco is always a top destination for food!

Since I did go up mostly for birthday celebrations, I didn't really plan out what I wanted to eat, but still got to try a few popular places in SF!

San Tung
1031 Irving St
Between 11th Ave & 12th Ave
Inner Sunset
San Francisco, CA 94122

dry wings
San Tung is this super popular Chinese restaurant with over 2800+ reviews on Yelp and still maintains 4 stars!  Quite amazing.  There's always a wait so rather than heading into Inner Sunset, we ordered take out!  Talk to anybody in SF, and they'll take you that the bread & butter of San Tung is their legendary "dry" chicken wings.

Not really "dry" since it does have a sweet & savory sauce over it.  I'm sure the "dry" refers to the Chinese word "乾炒" which literally means "dry stir fry," and that loosely means frying in the wok.  By the time we got it, the skin wasn't really that crispy anymore but it was still good.  Next time, gotta go there and try the wings hot.

pork & chive
Ordered a few types of dumplings.  Pork & Chive was definitely my favorite.

pork & cabbage
Pork & Cabbage.  Nice subtly sweetness from the cabbage.

string bean
String beans, which is always a favorite dish of mine at Chinese restaurants.  At San Tung, it has a noticeably sweeter flavor to it.  There's also a good amount of preserved mustard tuber.  

combo fried rice
Combo fried rice.  For sure would've been better if we had it at the restaurant.

We also got these bigger dumplings.... I liked the other two better :P

sesame noodle
Seafood sesame noodle.  I'm a huge fan of sesame noodles, but at San Tung, it has a really sweet sesame sauce, so I wasn't a big fan of it.  They packed the noodle and sauce separately to prevent it from getting mushy.  Good call. 

black bean noodle (zhajiangmian)
Black bean noodle (zhajiangmian).  I actually liked this one... not what I am used to for zhajiangmian but I like how it is not overly salty like many places!

Glad I finally got to try San Tung, although after the meal, I have decided that I must check out the place for myself to really see if I liked the place or not.  While it is convenient that we did take out, the long drive back from one end of the city to the other probably cooled the food down so it's not as enjoyable!

After lunch, we headed towards Biergarten for some outdoor boozing.  

Cool spot but damn that loooong line just for beer.  Love the litre mugs!


Afterwards, we walked to Nihon Whisky Lounge, which is another popular place with high ratings on Yelp.  I was told they had the West Coast's biggest whisky collection, and we did have a few whisky drinkers in our group so we were pretty damn excited.

We actually went there for happy hour and during happy hour, they have many of their menu items and drinks at half off!  I did have a bit of reservation about the food at this place.  I was afraid of it being... "washed down" or fusion to suit the taste of people, and I guessed right.

Oh took these with my iPhone since I didn't have my camera at the time... so quality and lighting is gonna suck.  A lot :P

Nihon Whisky Lounge
1779 Folsom St
Between Erie St & 14th St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Oimo no Tempura with mountain potato, taro, and sweet potato with a sweet & sour sauce and pink salt.  Loved the taro!  It's been awhile since I got to have fried taro.  Great tempura batter.

seared kobe
Washu Gyu no Tataki with seared US Kobe beef with yuzu sesame dressing.  There's a nice peppery crust on the Kobe.  Beautiful marbling too.

raw hanger beef
Yukke with raw US Kobe beef (hanger cut) marinated with garlic sesame soy sauce.  Probably my favorite.  It really is raw beef but that marinade is right on and even though it is a hanger cut, which usually means it is really chewy, that Kobe beef was amazingly tender.

stuffed mushroom
This was when it began to feel like the place was just... meh.  Nihon - flash fried breaded walu & tuna with sweet soy sauce & lemon aioli.  

Teba Karaage - Japanese style buffalo wings.  After eating so many wings for lunch.... definitely was not craving more wings haha.  I gotta admit, the seasoned sesame is a nice touch though.

hamachi shitake
Hamachi Shiitake with shiitake mushroom stuffed with hamachi, tempura fried, served with sweet chili & sweet soy sauce.  I loved the shiitake mushroom and the hamachi with the crunchy tempura but c'mon... the sauce is pretty damn generic and ruined the shiitake.

Dynamite with baked seafood, sautéed onion & shiitake mushroom in dynamite sauce.  Not a big fan of mayo, and I don't think I ever will be so I've never been a huge fan of dynamite.  Cool presentation though!  They light up the plate so the it can heat the bowl and warm up the dish.

Samurai Roll with spicy tuna & jalapeño, topped with tuna, avocado & habañero tobiko.  Meh, was hoping for some quick from the spicy tuna and jalapeño, but none.

Tori - grilled chicken with soy glaze.  The soy glaze, which is just their version of teriyaki sauce, was sorta... fruity?  Something was a bit off about it :P

pork belly
Butabara, which is gilled pork belly.  I wish they had some sesame oil & salt for this hahah.

peat's old fashioned
Funny, the only picture of the drinks there that I took was this one I took on Instagram, Peat's Old Fashioned.  They added sugar to it so it was very sweet, and it seems pretty watered down.  Two rocks only too...

Even though my drink was only so-so, the drinks others ordered were pretty spectacular.  Was not feeling the food since I'm still a fan of more authentic Japanese food.  Our server was a huge fail too.  She was just rude so it did ruin our experience.

Next up, Pizzeria Delfina!