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Showing posts with label Mark Bittman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mark Bittman. Show all posts

Monday, May 4, 2015

Los Angeles Restaurant Recommendations for a Friend who Lives in New York

Sometimes out of town friends ask for restaurant recommendations. The restaurants I love in Los Angeles are spread all over town and they usually aren't ones that are famous. 

I just emailed a short list to a good friend who wants to give a present to an old friend who has just completed a difficult film project.

I thought I'd share the list with you.


Adana Restaurant
6918 San Fernando Road, Glendale 91201 818/843-6237
Delicious food. Written about by me, Mark Bittman and Jonathan Gold. We all love it. The chef, Edward Khechemyan, is a hard working, inventive man. The food is freshly made. Affordable. Delicious.
Here are links to reviews:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/magazine/this-armenian-life.html?_r=0
http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-0307-gold-adana-restaurant-20150307-story.html
http://menwholiketocook.blogspot.com/search/label/Adana%20Restaurant





Yabu 
11820 W. Pico Blvd
LA CA 90064
 (310) 473-9757
The best affordable sushi, tempura, udon and soba in LA. An intimate, cozy, friendly space. (There are two Yabu restaurants. The one in West Hollywood is good but the one on the west side I love.)
Here is my review:
http://menwholiketocook.blogspot.com/2011/08/yabu-in-west-los-angeles-authentic.html

Liquid Kitty

11780 W. Pico Blvd

Los Angeles CA 90064




























Half a block east of Yabu, on the same side of the street is Liquid Kitty, possibly one of the coolest bars in LA with very large, well-made drinks, walls painted black and soft-core porn or 70s melodramatic movies showing silently on a screen in the back. Out front there is a neon martini glass that changes into a burning cigarette

My favorite evening is a massively large dirty martini up at Liquid Kitty, then dinner at Yabu (tendon (seasoned rice with tempera shrimp & vegetables), uni sushi with a quail yolk, crab handroll, tamago sushi, yellow tail sashimi, black cod with soy sauce). Yum.

La Fiesta Brava
259b Hampton Drive, Venice, CA 90291
310/399-8005, open 7 days a week 10:30am-9:00pm
A hole in the wall restaurant owned by a family. When you walk through the front door, you enter what used to be the living room of a home. This is as close as you’ll get to eating in a Mexican family’s home without going to a Mexican family’s home. The chicken mole is fantastic. Michelle loves the pepper shrimp in the shell with beans and rice. The fish taco is actually a whole grilled fish filet on a handmade tortilla topped with creamy salsa. The food is really good. Unfortunately Rose Avenue is undergoing very rapid redevelopment, with upscale restaurants and shops taking over the neighborhood. The days are numbered for La Fiesta Brava. It is really worth experiencing as many times as possible before it is forced to leave. The restaurant relocated earlier this year. The food is just as good and the new location is bright and airy.
http://menwholiketocook.blogspot.com/2014/09/la-fiesta-brava-delights-with-old.html




Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mark Bittman Visits Adana in Glendale for an Armenian Feast

Located in Glendale, on the border of Burbank, Adana is a great introduction to the cuisine of the Armenian community. Mark Bittman was in town last fall. He asked me for a list of my favorite restaurants. Adana was at the top of the list.
Adana has many great qualities. The interior is unexpectedly elegant. The portions are large. Most dishes are priced under $10.00. The waitstaff is friendly and helpful. Chef-owner Edward Khechemyan treats his customers like they are guests in his home. 
A family business, Khechemyan and fellow chef Sonik Nazaryan work in a New York sized kitchen, the size of a large closet. With an added area for his gigantic gas powered grill, Khechemyan and Nazaryan turn out a varied menu with more than two dozen dishes.
The food is eclectic, with classic dishes from America (hamburger), Armenia (kabobs and salads) and Russia (salads and soups). For a description of the menu, here's a link to my review: "For An Armenian Feast, Try Adana Restaurant in Glendale."

When friends join me for a meal, I happily share my short list of favorites: the Armenian coffee, chicken thigh kabobs with the Persian salad, humus and basmati rice, pork rib kabobs, lamb chop kabobs and the tabouli salad.
Mark Bittman's profile of the restaurant is in today's New York Times Magazine: "This Armenian Life."
In the Fall, I'm leading a field trip to Adana with a group of fellow food bloggers. As much as I love the food, I love sharing Adana with friends. It's that much fun.

Adana Restaurant, 6918 San Fernando Road, Glendale, California 91201 (818-843-6237). Mon-Sat: 10:00 am-9:00 pm; Sun 10:00 am-6:30pm

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Eating Our Way Through Tokyo and Kyoto

With only a few days in Tokyo and Kyoto, to take a snapshot of the food scene takes eating at half a dozen restaurants each day.

Starting early, we visited Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market to see the fresh catch of day being sold in the warren of stalls. While we were there, we ate at the dozens and dozens of food stalls that rim the outside and inside of the market. 
Our first stop at 8:00 a.m. was Ryu Sushi where we had a sashimi plate and a sushi sampler. The fish was what you would hope for--eating at a restaurant so close to the fish market--fresh, clean tasting and delicious. For me, there was a huge eye-opener: mackerel.  

The few times I have eaten mackerel in Los Angeles, it tasted fishy and oily. At Ryu Sushi the mackerel sashimi was mild tasting, sweet and buttery. Mark Bittman always writes about how much he likes mackerel. Now I understand why.

In our short time at Tsukiji we ate sashimi, sushi, tamago, pork ramen and soba with shrimp tempura. 
From the Tsukiji market we had lunch at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Hard to believe, we were still hungry.  We enjoyed a delicious multi course lunch before we visited the Meiji Shrine and had a leisurely walk in the rain around the Yoyogi, the magnificent, forested park surrounding the temple. 
For a small donation, a member of the Shrine's staff will hand write your prayer that will be transcribed on a piece of wood and hung on the wall surrounding the tree at the entrance of the temple.
Dinner was back at the Park Hyatt Tokyo but this time at the New York Grill with its fabulous view of Tokyo. The steaks were delicious. Japanese beef is outstanding.
In the morning, some of us had American style breakfasts with eggs and pastries. I had a Japanese breakfast at the Park Hyatt. There were so many dishes, I would have happily stayed longer but we had a schedule to keep so off we went to Tokyo Station to get on the bullet train to Kyoto.
Kyoto has a friendly competition with its much larger rival, Tokyo. From a visitor's point of view, it is definitely an easier way to experience Japanese culture. Smaller, less crowded  and easier to navigate--traffic in Tokyo is a mash-up of rush hour mid-town Manhattan, Seattle and the 10 freeway in West Los Angeles. Going anywhere in Tokyo takes forever.  In Kyoto, you get where you want to without hassle.

Kyoto also is a great city to use to cool out and relax. The thousands of temples in the city offer locals and visitors the chance to enjoy nature and quiet contemplation. 
We had a Shojin vegan meal at a Zen temple at the Golden Pavilion and, at Ryoanji Temple, we enjoyed the plum blossoms, a sure sign that spring has begun. 
The Zen spirit is evident at Ryoanji as you walk around the lake, you'll notice that damaged trees are not cut down. They are lovingly supported with bamboo poles and tied carefully with rope to prevent further damage.
In my next post, I'll talk more where we stayed in Kyoto--the Hyatt Regency Kyoto--the temples we visited and put up more photographs from the Lantern Festival, the elegant French-Japanese fusion restaurant Misogigawa and our sake sampling at the izakaya bar, Ichi in the entertainment district.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Farmers' Markets' Army of Believers

Fueled by the books of Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman, among others, and by the recent release of films such as Food, Inc. and Food Fight, a lot of people are talking about food policy in the United States.

With so many people suffering from diabetes, Americans have paid a high price for the convenience of fast food. When the First Lady digs up part of the White House lawn to plant a garden, you know we're either at war or there's a problem with what American's are eating.

Knowing that consumers want a reliable, healthy food supply, corporations use phrases like "Organic," "Farm Fresh," "Healthy Choice" and "100% Natural" as marketing tools to keep processed foods in our pantries.

Access to fresh, affordable produce is essential to good health. The big question is how to do that?

Those of us who live in communities with farmers' markets are lucky. In our area, we have two great farmers' markets: the Santa Monica Farmers' Market and the Sunday Pacific Palisades Farmers' Market.

In Southern California the full bounty of summer is apparent on the farmers' heavily laden tables.

Besides being a source of good food products, farmers' markets are good for one's mood. No matter what modern-living crisis we're dealing with, an unhurried walk around the market is calming and reviving.

Sampling the stone fruit and citrus from Arnett Farms, eating a plate of raw clams at Carlsbad Aquafarms, talking with John, the co-owner of Sweredoski Farms, and hearing his stories about being a Marine before he became a farmer, or literally stopping and smelling the roses at Bernie and Linda's Kendall Garden Roses stand. There is something very satisfying about knowing where your food came from and meeting the farmers who brought it to market.

Recently I interviewed master chef Albert Roux, famous for having revolutionized French cooking in England. In March he opened a restaurant outside of Houston, Texas. Since he trained Marco Pierre White and Hell's Kitchen's Gordon Ramsey, Chef Roux is an experienced cook who has seen it all.

What animated him the most during the interview was his joy at having access to American food products. He delighted in the high quality of Alaskan salmon, Maine scallops, and "happy," free range chickens. And what moved him the most was the dedication of the farmers who sold their wares at the local farmers' markets.

Even though, as he said, they knew they would never make a fortune from their farms, these farmers worked hard so that they could proudly deliver to the market the best produce they could.

Chef Roux called them "the army of believers".

But there aren't enough farmers' markets to solve the problems created by America's reliance on processed food.

If you're lucky enough to have one in your neighborhood, that's great. Even if you don't know how to cook it's easy enough to walk over to a farmer's table and buy pesticide-free fruit and vegetables so you can eat a fresh peach or make a salad.

But even if you don't have a farmers' market close to where you live, it's important to understand that learning to cook is important for your health. Supermarket chains and neighborhood mom and pop stores might not have the best produce, but some produce is better than none.

Access to fresh produce is one issue, the other is understanding that learning to cook is important for your health. The problem is many people have bought into the idea that prepared and convenience foods are just easier to deal with and take less time to prepare. But as Tom Laskawy recently pointed out, it's only a little more time-consuming to cook a meal than it is to microwave one.

There are many ways to promote good health, but certainly eating well is centrally important. In the long run, if you know how to shop for good ingredients and how to cook, you'll save money, have better tasting food, and stay healthier longer.

From the Palisades Farmers' Market today, we brought home a bag heavy with fresh ears of corn, ripe peaches and pluots, a tray of sweet red raspberries, just-caught fish, and fresh arugula, spinach, Italian parsley, and Persian cucumbers.

In my posts this week I'll describe what we cooked for our Sunday dinner: a risotto with squash blossoms and baby zucchini and ginger-soy poached black cod with sauteed garlic-spinach.

Both dishes took no more than 30 minutes to prepare, cook, and serve. Virtually all the ingredients came from our local farmers' markets.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Green Garlic and Clams

Originally posted on bitten, Mark Bittman's New York Times web site, the dish is one of my favorites because it's on the table in 10 minutes.
(David Latt makes a simple dish that can be amplified with any number of ingredients. –MB)
At the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers’ Market — two blocks from the Pacific Ocean — we’re finding one of the treasures of spring: green garlic, thick as a leek and two feet long.
With fresh green garlic, everything is edible except for the outermost skin. The farmer I buy them from swears that even the roots are edible. With some trepidation I nibble on a root strand and am pleasantly surprised that it has heat and an intense garlic flavor.
Next to the stand with the green garlic is Carlsbad Aqua Farm where we buy our fresh mussels, oysters, clams, and scallops. The idea was obvious to me: green garlic and clams.
I have made it several times over the last couple of weeks, and the combination is always ready in ten minutes and infinitely flexible. Served with broth and sautéed garlic-parsley toast it’s the perfect appetizer. Add pasta or cooked rice and the dish becomes a complete meal. Stir in roasted tomatoes and you’ve got the beginnings of an excellent cioppino.
Green Garlic and Butter Clams
Yield 4 servings
Time 10 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 green garlic, washed, outer skin around the bulb removed, thinly sliced, bulb and greens
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon sweet butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 pounds butter clams, washed
Method
  • Sauté the garlic and parsley in the butter until lightly browned. Season with black pepper, add water and clams. Cover and cook 5 minutes over high heat. Transfer the clams that have opened to a serving bowl. Continue cooking any clams that haven’t opened for another 2-3 minutes. Discard any clams that haven’t opened.
  • When you pour the broth over the clams, do so slowly so any sediment is left behind to be discarded. Serve with fresh bread.
Variations
  • --Substitute white wine for the water
  • --Along with the green garlic, sauté 2 thinly sliced shallots.
  • --Tear apart 2 roasted tomatoes, remove the skins, add the pulp to the broth.
  • --Add 2 cups cooked pasta to the broth.
  • --Add 2 cups cooked rice to the broth.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Grilled Corn Salads

Luckily there's still great corn available in the farmers' markets although some farmers have run out.

Summer for me is defined by vegetables: great tomatoes, corn, melons... Our favorite way of preparing corn is simply grilling the ears on the grill with a little olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Eaten on the cob is so delicious but added to salads is also a great way to go.

I posted 2 recipes on Mark Bittman's site, Bitten. One combines the grilled corn with parsley, the other features tomatoes. They're easy to make and go with just about anything. Please take a look and let me know what you think.

Friday, July 4, 2008

On the Web: the 4th of July, Picnics, Barbecue, and Cole Slaw

On the web there are sites worth checking out for this 4th of July. In the current gathering of essays on oneforthetable, Amy Ephron brings together memories of celebrations past in well-written essays. Mark Bittman has a series of articles about 101 picnic basket recipes and holiday ribs. Eatdrinkordie has recipes and videos to help celebrate the day.

In the Palisades the 5k/10k races finished by 10am. As is the tradition, the night before folding chairs are put out to guarantee a curb-side seat for the parade.

We're home making food for our picnic. Our friends have called to confirm what they are contributing to the pot-luck picnic.

We saw a beautiful cabbage at the farmers' market, so we decided to add cole slaw to the salads we're bringing tonight.

Cole Slaw with Capers

Yield 10-12 servings
Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 cabbage
1 bunch Italian parsley (washed,leaves and some stems, finely chopped)
1 scallion (washed, trimmed, white and green parts finely chopped)
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup capers
Sea salt and pepper
Tabasco (optional)

Method

Cut out the bottom core and discard. Slice into slabs then chop to create 1/2" square pieces.

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve chilled.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

OCC - Obsessive Compulsive Cooker

I don't think there's a 12 Step Program for people who are obsessive about cooking. I saw an analyst once who told me I shouldn't cook so much. Common sense suggested to him that someone who spent 8-10 hours cooking when he didn't have to has a problem.

I don't mind admitting that I am compulsive about cooking. My defense is that working in the kitchen is relaxing. I put on the radio and listen to NPR or plug in an iPod and play music. I enjoy the concentration required by cutting, measuring, and seasoning. I'm intellectually stimulated by the different possibilities of flavor, texture, and presentation. I'm challenged by the effort it takes to get a complex meal with multiple courses finished in time for a dinner party. And I get enormous pleasure when my family and friends enjoy my cooking.

When our son Michael was 7 years old he made a placard that praised what he thought were my significant qualities. At the top of the list was "Daring Cooker". At that young age he could see how important cooking was to me.

Even when I'm not home--when I'm traveling--I'm thinking about food. I wrote an essay for Peter Greenberg, the travel guru, with food tips when you're on the road. This weekend on Bitten I posted about my last trip to Utah to visit Michelle. Staying at the resort includes well-prepared meals three-times a day...and yet I started calculating how I could 'repurpose' what they serve. So was born my recipe for "Salad Bar Soup".

Ultimately maybe all this compulsiveness is a guy thing. But instead of obsessing about sports, cars or pursuing an esoteric hobby, I think about food and cooking.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Sunday Mornings at the Palisades Farmers' Market

Farmers' markets are enjoyed throughout the country. Southern Californians are uniquely blessed because almost every neighborhood has a market and we can buy locally grown, fresh vegetables and fruit all year long.

We regularly shop at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers' Market and the Pacific Palisades Farmers' Market on Sunday.

In today's Bitten I posted a description of the Palisades market: A Farmers' Market on the Edge of the Pacific.

If you have time, please take a look and come by the market on Sunday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Crispy Baby Artichokes & Spaghetti

In today's Bitten, I talk about making crispy baby artichokes with capers and shallots. I find steamed artichokes very satisfying. The creamy sweetness of the heart combined with butter is comforting. Crispy artichokes are a very different experience. Salty, crunchy with a caramelized sweetness they are delicious in a completely different way. Sold at upscale markets they can be pricey but at Trader Joe's they're very affordable.

The artichokes can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or a main course. They take a bit of work--trimming the outer leaves, cutting out the fuzzy-choke-- so this is something to enjoy making on the weekend when you can have some company while you're cooking.

The recipe on Bitten is vegetarian, although you could add bacon or sausage if you were so inclined.