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5 Foods Friday: 5 Things to Eat at Outside Lands

12 Aug

For music, food and general San Francisco enthusiasts like myself, it really doesn’t get much better than the Outside Lands Festival.  With  great musical performances, an entire giant tent dedicated to wine and seeminlgy endless food offerings, my visit to SF’s annual music, food, wine and art festival is long overdue.  After disecting the “Taste of the Bay Area” lineup for this weekend… I’ve carefully chosen my top 5 must-try festival foods.

1.  Arepas – Pica Pica Maize Kitchen

Indigienous to mainlyVenezuela and Columbia – Arepas are a moist and tasty corn dough treat that are typically stuffed with melted cheese and meat.  They are easy to eat and walk around with and keep you full for awhile, a perfect festival food!

2.  Hawaiian Poke and Baja Shrimp Ceviche – Pacific Catch 

Typical poke consists of cubed raw yellowfin tuna that is mixed with soy sauce, sesame oil, seaweed and chili pepper.  It is full of dynamic flavors that serve to enhance the natural taste of the fresh tuna.  Pacific Catch has a famous restaurant in the Marina District of San Francisco that I’ve been wanting to try –  so as long as all this fresh raw fish is kept firmly on ice, I will most definitely be trying the poke and ceviche at this festival food stand.

3.  Uhhmazing chicken, beef and carnitas tacos and burritos – Gordo Taqueria

When I lived in the Bay Area during college, Gordo’s was THE spot to hit up for some real Mexican food that reminded me of my hometown, San Diego.  Gordo’s is a huge must for me!

4. Po’boys (Shrimp, BBQ Pork, Southern Fried Chicken) – Criolla Kitchen 

Even though these may get a little messy and difficult to eat while walking around a festival, good po’boys are crispy and always packed full of flavor.  The perfect po’boy must be eaten right away and it’s all about the freshness of the bread roll.

5.  Filet Mignon Sliders, Portobello Mushroom Sliders, BBQ drumsticks – Up & Under

I have a strange obsession with sliders and pretty much anything that’s cute and mini-sized (i.e. mini Tabasco bottles).  Sliders with filet mignon and portobellos + BBQ drumsticks…who can resist? I’ll take 2 of each please.

This weekend at Outside Lands, I will eat my heart out and dance my ass off.  I’ll be sure to report back with photos…

5 Foods Friday: 5 Best Things in LA to Eat with your Hands

5 Aug

On whole, I find utensils pretty overrated.  Since the foods I enjoy the most are the ones where I get to toss the spork aside and use my hands, I’ve decided to do my first 5  Foods Friday post – a weekly themed list of my top 5 fave foods/places to eat.  This week’s theme: Best things in LA to eat with your hands.  Before eating, please wash those hands first, your cell phone probably has more bacteria on it than a gas station toilet. Yummm.  So with that said…let’s eat!

1.  Umami Burger

This place is definitely an LA staple and on any given night you’ll find crowds of people waiting to get the infamous Truffle, So Cal, or Umami burgers into their hot little hands.  For blue cheese fanatics, the Port & Stilton burger is a must.  The juicy beef patty is loaded with Stilton blue cheese and caramelized onions – which serve as a perfectly sweet contrast to the sharp, full-bodied cheese. 

If the rich and amazingly flavorful burgers aren’t enough for you, Umami also has housemade, crispy cheesy tots, onion rings and they even make their own ketchup, roasted garlic aioli, jalapeno ranch and spicy diablo sauce.  Wash it all down with fresh watermelon juice or a deliciously sugary glass bottled Coke.

Umami Burger: Juicy Beef (ground in-house), Roasted Tomato, Parmasean Crisp

2.  Cielito Lindo: Taquitos

Located on the corner of Downtown’s Olvera Street Marketplace, this famous little stand sells the most incredible taquitos I’ve ever tasted.  They are freshly made to order, pan fried to a perfect crisp and topped with an amazingly flavorful  salsa verde and avocado sauce.  The true flavor of the taquitos and fresh tortillas aren’t drowning under heaps of shredded lettuce, they look simple but once you bite into one, the sauce perfectly enhances the taquito’s juicy meat and crispy yet soft texture.   At $6 for a tasty combo plate, Cielito Lindo really can’t do any wrong.

3.  Haru Sushi & Roll Cafe: Lava Stone & Albacore Onion Roll

I know you “technically” should be using chopsticks for anything sushi related, but sometimes the rolls get just a little too big and crazy, and I’m forced to view these delish pop-ems as more of a finger food.  Haru is undoubtedly one of my favorite spots in LA for a sushi feast.  The Lava Stone (crispy rice topped with spicy tuna, black caviar and avocado), Albacore Onion roll (spicy tuna roll covered with albacore, topped with lightly fried onion strips)
and the Yellowtail and Jalapeno Carpaccio are my consistent go-tos on the menu.

4.  Mendoncino Farms: Korbuta Pork Belly Banh Mi

This place has superb sandwiches and super fresh ingredients that never fail to impress.  Along with the DTLA masses, my favorite sandwich here is the Korbuta Pork Belly Banh Mi.  It’s not a completely traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi, but this version does great justice to the original.  The sandwich has tender braised and caramelized kurobuta pork belly, housemade pickled daikon and carrots (which balance the subtle sweetness of the pork), cilantro, cucumbers, jalapenos and chili aioli all on a grilled ciabatta.  The only drawback is that once you’ve experienced all these explosive flavors on your palate, you’ll crave this sandwich on the daily.

5. Fugetsu-Do Bakery: Mochi 

Even though I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, I have to give a shout out to Fugetsu-Do Bakery in Little Tokyo for their amazing Mochi (small gooey Japanese rice cake deliciousness).  This 100 yr-old Japanese bakery in Downtown LA remains family owned and makes the best Japanese desserts – no Mochi compares to the lightly sweetened treats made here.  Their specialty is the strawberry mochi with a crunchy peanut butter filling.  Even though this flavor combo may sound a little off, the amazingly chewy texture of the outside strawberry mochi perfectly compliments the soft peanut butter filling.  Plus, you get to hang out with possibly the sweetest woman in the world…

 

Now go roam the LA culinary streets and dig in!  It tastes better that way.  Stay posted for 5 Foods Friday next week!  Also feel free to leave theme suggestions if you so dare.

FYI: Cinco de drinko is NOT Mexican Independence Day

5 May

 

Cinco de Mayo is probably the most misunderstood “holiday” of all time.  Since I grew up in San Diego and have a HUGE affinity for any food and/or drink related to Mexico, I’ve decided to post some One Delish Dish fun facts relating to this day:

1.  The actual Mexican Independence Day is September 16th.

2.  Sorry to break it to you beloved college frat boys, but Cinco de Mayo is not when Mexicans commemorate the invention of Jose Cuervo, Tecate and sombreros (you all know who I’m referring to). 

3.  Just so you can impress someone…Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla.  French occupation of Mexico took place after the Mexican-American War, the Mexican Civil War and the Reform War (la Guerra de Reforma).  This was a significant victory because 4,000 Mexican soldiers overthrew the formerly undefeated, 8,000-man French army.

4.  This day is celebrated all over the U.S., but in Mexico, it’s mainly celebrated in the southern state of Puebla, where the battle was won.

5.  Ohhhh so this is why everyone here gets wasted… “Cinco de Mayo has been heavily promoted by U.S. liquor companies and distributors since the 1960s to boost springtime sales in advance of more solemn — and less party-hearty — observances as Mother’s Day, Armed Services Day and Memorial Day.”

I know you may want me to just let you drink your salt-rimmed margarita and eat your chimichanga in peace, and I’m all for that, please don’t get me wrong – but I do believe it’s nice to get a little perspective on a feasty fiesta occasion such as this one.  Have fun, be safe y Feliz Cinco de Mayo! 

Mmmm…tequila and tacos at El Carmen

7 Apr

This place is one of my favorite spots in LA.  El Carmen is an unassuming tequila bar/restaurant tucked away on 3rd st. in the Mid-City West area.  The entrance is just a plain door with a small awning and an old neon sign above it, but the tacos, insane tequila selection and Mexican wrestler decor make El Carmen stand out above the rest.  Their bar has every kind of tequila imaginable, complete with a tequila sampler and a novel-size list of margaritas.  My personal faves are the jalapeno and the cilantro-ginger margaritas, but the pomegranate and blood orange margaritas are also really tasty and popular.

 This place is great for happy hour, a light dinner or also for drunken munchies (since the kitchen is open late).  The menu has a variety of options like nachos, ceviche and flautas, but I have a soft spot for their carnitas taco, the chicken enchiladas, and the sweet corn tamale.  At $4.25 for one carne asada taco, I wouldn’t classify this place as the absolute cheapest in town, but they use quality meat and the unique art and music filled ambiance is a lot of fun and definitely can’t be found elsewhere.

          8138 W. 3rd St ~ Los Angeles, CA 90048 ~ (323) 852-1552

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