My mother and I came here for a special occasion after reading about it in the restaurant edition of Angeleno and it was a perfect meal. We had a 6 o’clock reservation, early enough that it was still quiet and we got to ask a million questions of our simply wonderful server. I would suggest going earlier because the longer we sat, the louder it became. Besides, when you get there earlier, you can still hear the charming background music, including songs by Edward Sharpe and Zooey Deschanel. There are four seating options. You can sit in the general area, made up of tables or semi booth seating. You can sit in the semi-outdoor shaded eating area. You can sit at the bar, looking in on the wide selection of mixed drinks being whipped up while the wine is selected behind you. Or you can sit at a high top community table and look in on the kitchen into the activity of the chefs and the generations old pizza oven.
The menu is divided into five main sections: small, medium, large, pasta, and pizza. The smalls are a snack, two mediums make a meal and the larges are enough for a meal alone. The pasta dishes are medium sized and the pizza are big enough to share but can be eaten alone.
As a small and a starter, we shared a chickpea panelle with lemon and ragusano cheese.
We couldn’t help taking a bite before snapping a photo. These are made up of chickpea flour that is then made into wonton-like strips (though that doesn’t quite describe it either), seasoned with parsley and rosemary, then quickly deep fried. They’re drizzled with lemon and topped with cheese then they’re sent out, piping hot and absolutely delicious. They were like nothing I have ever tasted. They’re not at all greasy but light, and they melt in your mouth.
We then got the grilled pork meatballs as our first medium.
They’re grilled in lemon leaves then placed on a bed of dressed snap peas and bitter greens with grated hard boiled egg. Each week, the restaurant gets a whole pig which they then transform into all the pork dishes on the menu. We found out from our waitress that they put cheese milk soaked bread in with the pork, which helps make the meatballs so tender and flavorful. They were simply perfect; crispy on the outside, delicate and light on the inside.
Then we had our second mediums which made up our main. We got the grilled mackerel in scapece (a vinegary marinade) on top of cauliflower, cured lemon, crispy buckwheat, and pesto pantesca.
The vinegar dressing on the fish balanced out the salty, heavy taste that mackerel is known for. Then the chefs managed to create this wonderfully crunchy and flavorful concoction beneath the fish. Then we got the maharrones de pungiu.
I had never heard of this pasta before. It’s similar to gnocchi except it’s pasta instead of potato. They roll the pasta along a cheese grater to create the dotted texture you see, which causes the sauce to really grab the pasta (all the pasta and bread is made in house, by the way). The sauce was a simple tomato sauce, rich but not too heavy, topped with shredded fiore sardo cheese which is a bit sharp in taste and provides a nice contrast.
We were so happily full and contented we only had coffee for dessert, even after looking at their impressive menu. All in all, the experience was wonderful. They aren’t trying to change the face of food, they’re just making really great food.
Price range it’s the kind of place you go for a special occasion, but the food also warrants that respect.
9575 West Pico Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Lunch: Tuesday through Fri 12-2:30pm
Dinner: Tuesday through Sunday starting at 5:30pm
Here’s the info about the dish that made them featured in Angelino: http://www.thefeast.com/losangeles/Breaking-Angeleno-Magazine-Releases-Annual-Best-Restaurant-List-124390829.html
This recipe is taken from the Silver Palate Cookbook. My family has had our copy for so long that the spine is falling apart, but it’s more a sign of love than age. While there are a lot of great recipes in the cookbook, this is probably the most popular.
Named after the style of chicken made in a small town on the Mediterranean coast in Spain, this chicken makes for a great summer meal. I’ve made some minor alterations because the original recipe was rather fancy, but the original can easily be found online if you’re more of a purist. The recipe emphasizes how important it is to marinate the chicken overnight. It also comments (and it was my experience as well) that the cooked chicken gets better after sitting in the fridge for a day or two. Makes 10 or more portions, but the recipe is easy to divide if needed.
2 1/2 pounds of chicken (or 4 chickens, quartered) 1 head of garlic, peeled and finely puréed 1/4 cup dried oregano coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1/2 cup olive oil 1 cup pitted prunes 1/2 cup pitted Spanish green olives 1/2 cup capers with a bit of juice 6 bay leaves 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup white wine 1/4 cup Italian parsley or fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
1. In a large bowl combine chicken quarters, garlic, oregano, pepper and coarse salt to taste, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers and juice, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Arrange chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans (I used an inch deep pyrex baking dish) and spoon marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle chicken pieces with brown sugar and pour white wine around them.
4. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting frequently with pan juices. Chicken is done when thigh pieces, pricked with a fork at their thickest, yield clear yellow (rather than pink) juice.
5. Place chicken away on stovetop away from heat to cool to your preferred temperature and enjoy!
If you have a lot of leftovers and don’t want to transfer everything to containers, you can store the chicken in the pan by simply covering the top with tin foil. If chicken has been covered and refrigerated, allow it to return to room temperature before serving and spoon some of the reserved juices over chicken.
I know I’m cheating calling this place a Los Angeles restaurant, but I thought I could count it considering it is arguably in the LA area. Located at Cross Creek, this deli is worth the trek. Just off the PCH, this roadside stop is quiet, calm, and filled with good food. The usual LA character are there with their white fedoras and stylish toddlers, and the restraurant has the required pretension, what with it’s imported candy and my personal favorite…
That’s right. You read correctly. Boxed Water is one of the many new campaigns by environmentalists and while I honestly mean no disrespect to the cause, it does look just a bit silly. My New York friends tell me they’ve seen this around they’re city, but for me, this is a first.
But besides a spattering of interesting clientele and the occasional stocked item, the place really has no apparent snobbery. It definitely has a distinct personality that might not be for everyone, but I think the overall atmosphere is fun, casual, and quite lovely. They’re great when you’re in the mood for a fresh salad or an intense baked good, but you strike gold when you get their sandwiches. We got chicken
paninis with mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and balsamic on a rustic roll (also known as the “kitchen sandwich” and the “prosciutto di parma”). Our sandwiches were similar in ingredients, not due to lack of variety on the menu, but simply that’s what our tastebuds were craving. And why shouldn’t they! Salty prosciutto with garlicy pesto, tangy tomatoes and balsamic all encased in crispy bread? What’s not to like?
Be careful when ordering though. They take pride in they’re sandwich making and get pushy if you don’t know what you want. But be direct, go with the flow, remember to decide on a bread from their fresh selection, and you get a near perfect sandwich. After we ate, we both agreed that if we hadn’t been so full, we’d eat it all over again. One of our friends chickened out and just got a salad that was really good;
a chinese chicken salad with a gingery dressing, surprising with all its crunchy textures. But see how it kind of looks wimpy next to the sandwiches? Or at least I think so…
They offer a wide selections of bottled drinks, but I always pick something fizzy to cut against the intense flavors. They also have a freezer section where they offer fresh pasta, soups and sauces.
Prices range from $9 to $15. They only have outdoor seating and while there is covering, it can get a bit cold sometimes. You can eat there or take it to go, but make sure you’re going at a time when you won’t get stuck in traffic. I know it might sound like there are a lot of possible obstacles in going there, but every time I have been, the ends more than justify the means.
The Apple Pan is an LA landmark in the best way. Opened in 1947, my father said he went as a child and that some of the staff that worked there then still does now. Rumor is that someone tried to buy out the block for a development project years ago. Supposedly they made a very nice offer but The Apple Pan stood their ground and chose to remain in their original space.
As you can see, not much has changed since they opened, but not much has needed to. They have a U shaped counter that encircles the kitchen. They follow the recipes that were perfected before the restaurant even opened. The service is wonderful, the size is just big enough and the recipes still produce awesome food. We got fries
and their classic hickoryburger with their house sauce.
For dessert, we got banana cream pie (family recipe originated in Missouri in 1886)
and you can’t go to The Apple Pan without getting their apple pie (family recipe from 1881 Ohio).
The pictures speak for themselves on this one (except the burger, which looks better in person). The place is perfectly low key. The only silverware or pottery there is for the pie. It’s a blast from the past; quickly served great food.
Prices range from $3.50 to $5.75 for burgers. Cash only. Pie by the slice and whole pies available.
10801 West Pico Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90064-2105 (310) 475-3585
Located at the newly renovated Santa Monica Place, True Food Kitchen is (surprisingly) a chain of 4 restaurants spread throughout California and Arizona. Their outlook is that fresh ingredients taste pretty good on their own, and their goal is to complement the flavors around them in a healthy yet interesting way. They buy as much of their food as they can from local farms, and what they do import (such as the meat for their bison burger), they import from sustainable sources. They adjust their menu to what’s in season. They have put thought into how their food affects the world around them. I was surprised to research and find that it was a chain because they have created a spot that fits very cohesively with the mindset of Los Angeles.
They pluck from their own herb garden in addition to the herbs that they buy for their “globally inspired cuisine”, but even to think of putting in a garden at their entrance boldly states what their going for. But this goal goes past simple presentation; they back it up with good food. While they’re very trendy with their vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options, they have plenty of simple food. We got chicken teriyaki over seasonal vegetables and brown rice
and shrimp dumplings
made with a housemade whole wheat dough and filled with ginger, cashews and garlic, a interesting but still yummy twist. Not all their food has an asian flair. They also have a full selections of pizzas and sandwiches in addition to their miscellaneous entrées. What made the meal though was our dessert: strawberry rhubarb cobbler.
This was simply fabulous. Warm, fresh cobbler with house made vanilla ice cream on top. It was pretty heavenly, and I’m a tough critic on my favorite kind of pie.
They tell you what they are and they deliver. They also have a lovely bar, serve coffee and tea and also offer a large selection of in house sodas. Their “red moon” soda, made with blood orange and yuzu juice, agave and soda water, is pictured below.
Prices range from $7 to $25 at dinner, but most things are in the middle of that spectrum.
8-10 small Yukon Gold potatoes (do this by eye, should cover the bottom of your skillet once over)
3-4 sprigs fresh (or 1 tablespoon dried) rosemary
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoon of garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour oil while tilting the cast iron skillet till the bottom is covered in a light layer of the oil. On a cutting board, cut the potatoes into quarters, approximately inch sized pieces. Place potatoes into the skillet, tossing them so they get evenly covered in oil. If they seem dry, feel free to add an extra table spoon or two of oil. Season the potatoes with the paprika, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper so that the seasonings are evenly spread over the potatoes. Toss the potatoes again then place in the oven. Cook for 45 mins till golden brown.
Ok, the curb appeal isn’t great, but the closer I got, the more I was sold. Gazing in the window, you can see flowers on the sill and high top tables where people are sitting reading. Then, you walk towards the entrance and end up in a small outdoor eating area where kids are running around as their parents talk over the coffee their drinking in tin cups. Walking inside the restaurant though is what did it for me. I was greeted by the hissing sound of the griddle, the quaint wall paper and the smell of great food.
We went on a weekday, so I can’t comment on how it might be on a weekend, but when we went the service was polite and prompt and the atmospheric noise is quiet enough to have a conversation with the people you’re with. The menu is diverse serving everything from breakfast foods like frittata and pancakes to lunch foods like burgers and mac and cheese. They have both a breakfast and brunch menu depending on the time of day, but the specials menu was really impressive. Two of the things we ordered was the fresh mozzerella “samwich” with roasted peppers, prosciutto, tomato, mix greens and pesto on olive bread
and raisin french toast with strawberries and fresh whipped cream off the specials menu
and yes, they were as good as they looked. The food was an interesting, yet complimentary mix of flavors that simply hit the spot. Needless to say we left full and happy, but the atmosphere was partially what was so great. Yes, the food is wonderful, but it’s simply a nice place to spend a morning with friends.
Food ranges from $5 to $10, with sides ranging from $1.50 to $6. Good press coffee and tea selection as well.
Located at the corner of 11th and Spruce, this small coffee shop sits in a quieter area of center city on a tree lined street. In this nicer weather, they open up their windows and line their sidewalks with tables and chairs in addition to their comfy interior.
They serve Counter Culture Coffee, a lesser used brand compared to Philadelphia’s more popular La Colombe bean. Counter Culture, as served here, has a bit of harsher taste, but for the coffee lover, their coffee really hits the spot. They’re always experimenting with different blends, always looking for a way to top themselves. If you go on their website (link below), you can read about all the alterations they make, but for the more casual coffee goer, all you have to know is they make a mean espresso. Their chai is also very good, especially with the biscotti they sell. The environment is bright and comfortable. It’s quiet enough to read a book, but it’s located on a busy enough street to people watch if you’d like. Inside there’s comfortable seating and quiet and interesting but non-intrusive music playing. The service is always prompt and polite. It’s simply a great overall coffee experience.
All drinks range from $2 to $5 and while this might seem pricey, it is more than worth it for what you’re getting. They also sell baked goods and coffee beans.
1101 Spruce Street Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 609-4469
Optional 2 tablespoons of stir fry sauce (a good one is offered by House of Tsang)
Separate and rinse the head of lettuce in a strainer until clean. Leave in the sink to dry. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and saute turkey with 2 tablespoons soy sauce, garlic powder and optional stir fry sauce until brown. Stir in ginger, scallions, garlic, red pepper flakes, hoisin and remaining soy sauce and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanuts. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm wrapped in lettuce cups.