Thursday, April 12, 2018

PEKING TAVERN (DOWNTOWN, LOS ANGELES, CA)

Peking Tavern
806 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
www.pekingtavern.com
Tel: 213.988.8308
Cuisine: Chinese
$$ ($15-$30)
Sat, 04/07/2018, 8:30pm reservation
   (3 piglets)


In the basement of a bank in downtown Los Angeles sits a Chinese gastropub. Peking Tavern serves street food that would be commonly seen in Beijing, hence the name Peking.

Upon going down the stairs, you are greeted by the hostess. We were led to a table in the near empty dining room. There was communal seating in the middle of the room, which many people were flocking to as well as the bar area. The ambiance was very cool and bar-like but with a hint of Asian inspiration (minus the Kobe Bryant mural). I did appreciate that they seemed to be all about LA; however, I was disappointed with the service. It took them 15 minutes to take our order and a good amount of time to get our food. Most of the time spent at the restaurant was waiting and not eating.

Kobe Bryant

The bar area
MY FAVORITE DISH. KOBE BEEF POTSTICKER ($13.50): Pan fried Kobe beef dumpling with reduced ginger vinegar glazing. I thought this dish was delicious. It had a crispy skin coating and the filling was moist and juicy. It was a bit different but in a good way with tons of flavor. It was similar to a pork dumpling but 10x better.
BEEF ROLL ($10.00): Sliced braised beef shank with cilantro, green onions, sweet and savory sauce in handmade wrap. I thought this dish was good but a bit dry. I didn't taste much of the sauce. The wrap itself is delicious. It was perfectly crispy with a chewy texture. It's worth a try.
BEEF NOODLE SOUP ($9.50): Braised beef shank with fresh noodle, Chinese sauerkraut and cilantro. This was pretty good. I thought it had a lot of flavor but it wasn't the best noodle soup I've had. I did enjoy the noodles. I'm a noodle girl so any type of noodles I'm a fan of.
SPICY MANGO MARGARITA ($10.00): Tequila, Cointreau, Mango Nectar, Sriracha, Lime Juice. I loved my drink. I thought it was absolutely delicious. I could definitely taste the sriracha and the mango balanced out the spiciness. It's a great way to enjoy the meal.
Overall, I thought Peking Tavern was just ok. I was mostly turned off by the wait time and the service. It seemed as though only two people were working the dining room for a Saturday night. Additionally, the food was good, but it didn't blow my mind. I did enjoy the potstickers and the drink. If they could improve on the service and improve on the other dishes, then maybe this place could be a hit.

Notable dishes: Spicy mango margarita and Kobe Beef Potstickers

Monday, April 9, 2018

FOODIE CON (@THE REEF, LOS ANGELES, CA)

Foodie Con
1933 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Foodie Con
$$ ($15-$30)
Sat, 04/07/2018, 10:30am-5:00pm
   (2.5 Piglets)




Foodie Con is an event supposedly made for foodies. I thought I would step into heaven when I arrived, but it was somewhere in between Earth and Hell. It wasn't anything I expected and it lacked the food component that I was hoping for. 

At $40 for a VIP ticket (luckily I was comp'd), I was anticipating a plethora of food samples, food dishes, and everything else in between. What we actually experienced was a Farmer's Market where you have to pay to get in. There were more vendors trying to sell or market their merchandise than actual food tastings and restaurants promoting their food. Additionally, VIP didn't get you much other than a secret room with a big blow up swan and unicorn and extra seating for picture taking. Below are some pics of the event...



The only thing that was really free...ramen to take home

The VIP room

Silent Disco

One of the very few food vendors selling their food

The room
Overall, I would say that Foodie Con is a pass. There needs to be vast improvement in terms of vendors...ie less vendors and more restaurants/food promotion. It is called Foodie con and as the name implies, I expect more food for foodies. The beer area with beer tastings were probably the best part from the whole event, offering glasses of beer to taste. There was a silent disco was interesting, but not amazing. The only good thing was getting free ramen cups. 



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

JACKS N JOE (DOWNTOWN, LOS ANGELES, CA)

Jacks N Joe
2498 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90007
www.jacksnjoe.com
Tel: 213.748.4565
Cuisine: American
$$ ($15-$30)
Sun, 03/11/2018, 10:00am walk-in
(4 Piglets)




When it's a cold and rainy day in Los Angeles, all you want is something comforting, especially when waking up. It is difficult to get out of the warm bed unless there is something worth it. 

My friend phoned me up in the morning and wanted to get breakfast. The original plan was to get Korean food, but then we managed to take a detour to satisfy our cravings for pancakes. 

Jacks N Joe is a cool and hip breakfast spot located near USC. They are known for their pancakes, which consists of half the menu. 


This ain't no IHOP. The ambiance is a trendy, hipster "ish" diner. It feels like a mom and pop shop and the staff are super friendly.

The kitchen
Bar-top seating

Dining Room
TURKEY BACON ($3.50)

HASHBROWNS ($3.50). This was delicious. It tasted like fresh shredded potatoes that have been cooked perfectly to a nice crispy outer texture. I thoroughly enjoyed eating it. 

MY FAVORITE DISH. TREE HUGGERS ($10.50): 3 Buckwheat Pancakes with House Made Granola, Seasonal Berries, Sweet Orange Butter, Sprinkled with Powdered Sugar. This was delicious. It definitely tasted a bit healthier since it was made with buckwheat. It was soft and moist, with a bit of texture. I like the granola and the fresh berries. It was well-balanced. 
Overall, I thought Jacks N Joe was delicious. My friend and I were able to get in and out pretty quickly without a wait. If you are coming with a large party, I think the wait times could be longer. The staff were very efficient and I really liked the coffee they had as well. I just wish it was a little more conveniently located to me. Additionally, parking can be a bitch during the weekends. 

Notable Dishes: Tree Huggers and Hash Browns  


Saturday, March 3, 2018

THE SHERMAN (SHERMAN OAKS, CA)

The Sherman
14633 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
www.theshermanla.com
Tel: 818.485.2200
Cuisine: American
$$ ($15-$30)
Sat, 2/24/2018, 7:00pm reservation
   (2.5 Piglets)



The Sherman is a restaurant situated on bustling Ventura Blvd in the heart of Sherman Oaks. Centered around fresh, sustainable ingredients, the eatery tries to promote a neighborhood gastropub where locals can go to for a meal and feel like family.

The décor is rustic and urban. The menu is pretty simple and Californian with a hint of Southern cuisine. The service was pretty spotty and could definitely use some improvement.

The bar area

Dining Room

We came here for a birthday dinner and unfortunately, we picked the wrong place to host. There was just too much waiting and the worse part of the whole thing was when it came down to the bill, they were there in a heartbeat to pick up our payment. Anyway, this is what we ordered:

MY FAVORITE DISH. THE SHERMAN BURGER ($17.00): Lemon Basil Aioli, Sharp Cheddar, Sambal Aioli, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Wild Arugula, Red Onion Marmalade, King's Hawaiian Buns, Gremolata Fries. I thought this burger was pretty amazing. It was moist and juicy and perfectly cooked. There was so much flavor going on with this burger. It definitely was messy, but who the freak cares? It's a burger and it's meant to be messy. It was fresh and I would seriously order this again. 

Gremolata Fries
ESPRESSO BRAISED SHORT RIBS ($25.00): Espresso, Cabernet, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Smoked Gouda Mash. Everything about this dish was delicious minus the actual main dish. The meat itself was really dry. The potatoes were super creamy and smooth and the sprouts were delicious. I just wouldn't order this again based on the short ribs. 
S'MORES CHEESECAKE: The cheesecake was good. I didn't think it was amazing. I like the marshmallows. They were toasted and tasted like roasted marshmallows like how s'mores would be. 

Overall, I probably would pass on coming back to the Sherman. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my burger, I just didn't think the wait and the lack in attention to detail for service was worth ignoring. It's also interesting when restaurants are so quick to get the bill when they're so slow in everything else. For that, I'll pass. 


Notable Dishes: The Sherman Burger and Fries

Thursday, January 25, 2018

GEORGIE (BEVERLY HILLS, CA)

Georgie
Montage Beverly Hills
225 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
www.georgierestaurant.com
Tel: 310.860.7970
Cuisine: American
$$$$ ($50+)
Mon, 1/22/2018, 7:00pm reservation
    (3.5 Piglets)



I am an avid watcher of the Food Network and many of the celebrity chefs. Geoffrey Zakarian is one of those chefs who seems personable and makes the food look delicious. The chef recently opened up the restaurant Georgie in Beverly Hills, replacing his fellow colleague Scott Conant's Scarpetta (which I was a fan of). 

Located in the Montage Beverly Hills, the restaurant space is exquisite. It's classy and sophisticated. The chairs and benches are lush and candlelights with a white interior complete the décor. 

My friends and I were torn between the regular menu and the dineLA menu. We opted for the dineLA along with an order of their most delicious bread...

Interior
FENNEL AND ZA'ATAR PARKER HOUSE ROLLS ($3.00): Smoked Honey Butter. I loved these rolls. They were warm and delicious and just went so well with the honey butter. I didn't quite taste the smokiness, which was a disappointment. But seriously, this is a must order.



MY FAVORITE DISH. FIRST COURSE: KOBOCHA SQUASH SOUP: Roasted Chestnuts Emulsion and Pepitas (Vegetarian). I loved this dish. It was creamy and full of flavor. It coated the palate well and the emulsion added a creaminess to the soup. If I had this soup everyday, I wouldn't mind. The best part, it's vegetarian and I enjoyed it!


COURSE TWO: ROASTED MARY'S CHICKEN: Slowly Roasted Parsnips, Carrots, Rosemary Oil. From vegetarian, I had to pick my next dish that wasn't. I chose the chicken out of the options available. The chicken was moist and tender. I wish the skin was a little crispier, but other than that, the chicken was cooked perfectly. The vegetables were nicely roasted, but it was nothing special.
THIRD COURSE: CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT TORTE: Cookies and Cream Ice Cream and Cocoa Nib Tuile. I'm a big fan of chocolate and peppermint. The cake was a bit too dense for my liking, but still delicious. I liked the ice cream but unfortunately, I wish there was more. I didn't finish my dessert, so that says something in itself.
Overall, I thought the food was just ok. The dineLA menu was different than their regular menu, so it is possible that the food could be better. I thought the service was on point and they were very quick to time the dishes right. The restaurant is beautiful and I love the spacing between tables so you're not elbowing other diners. Would I come back? It's questionable, but the bread sorta sold me here.

Notable Dishes: House Rolls and Squash Soup