Thursday, March 24, 2016

MILK + T (Los Angeles, CA)

Before I even started The Episodic Eater, I was all about the food trends and trying everything new.  While boba in Southern California is more of a staple and less of a trend, and food trucks exploded here several years ago, there is something completely fresh and new about the Milk + T's boba truck. What is it?


Milk and T (Los Angeles, CA) on The Episodic Eater


MILK + T is a self-serve boba truck, a completely new concept to me.  In fact, it is the first one in Southern California.  Also, the other fresh concept here is... its freshness!  MILK + T uses real fruit and sugar, lactose-free milk, and other natural ingredients because it is committed to delivering the best product out there.  :)

As you can see below, it's making a buzz and people love the concept!


Milk and T (Los Angeles, CA) on The Episodic Eater


I tried three drinks, and all of them were completely different!  Let me give you the rundown...

First, you order one of the drinks from the menu or you can build your own from scratch.  I chose a couple off of their Top 10 Menu, plus the daily special, the Lady Bug.  Then, they hand you a jar and you proceed to scoop up your ingredients.  Besides boba and various jellies, there is fresh fruit and even chia seeds and basil seeds.  Then, you place your finished jar at the other window, and wait for your finished drink!


Milk and T (Los Angeles, CA) on The Episodic Eater


And voila!  Something tasty gets placed back in the window in a jiffy.  :)


Milk and T (Los Angeles, CA) on The Episodic Eater


All three ended up looking and tasting so different, just from the few ingredients I added and the teas and syrups they added as well.  It's like a fun little science experiment!

Let me describe each one...

Friday, March 11, 2016

Guelaguetza Restaurante (Los Angeles, CA) + Lunch with Jonathan Gold of City of Gold


Today's post is going to be a bit of a departure for The Episodic Eater.  Yes, I still plan to include all the pictures and comments about the dishes I sampled at Guelaguetza Restaurante, one of L.A.'s most iconic restaurants.

Guelaguetza Restaurante (Los Angeles, CA) + Lunch with Jonathan Gold of City of Gold on The Episodic Eater
Guelaguetza's bright orange exterior with gorgeous murals


However, there are going to be more words, more thoughts, and one huge step for me in this single post...  I am no longer going to be anonymous.


Guelaguetza Restaurante (Los Angeles, CA) + Lunch with Jonathan Gold of City of Gold on The Episodic Eater


One of the reasons I have decided to unmask myself is because of the media screening that I saw of City of Gold a couple of weeks ago.  The subject of the film, Jonathan Gold, is (or was) one of the most secretive food writers in the country.  No longer the case, we are treated to a glimpse into the life of one of our most influential writers.  I purposely say writer and not food critic, because after seeing this movie, you will understand how much he loves and appreciates food that he eats and experiences.  If you have ever read one of his reviews, you will know how easy it is to get lost in his descriptions.

The film, which is being released today, March 11th, is a must-see.  Anyone who loves food, L.A., or peering behind the scenes, will certainly receive a treat.  Believe me, it is a ride... literally.  I think Jonathan Gold must have driven the filmmakers around the city for hours, commenting on every restaurant along the journey.  But more on that later!


Guelaguetza Restaurante (Los Angeles, CA) + Lunch with Jonathan Gold of City of Gold on The Episodic Eater


Perhaps the more important reason why I am making a change to write more and no longer be incognito is the lunch that I enjoyed at Guelaguetza.  I remembered that I have something to say about food instead of just a quippy pun accompanying a social media post.  Even if you are a long-time reader, I am guessing you don't know much about me.  You don't know that I have experienced every month at Maude for a full year, or that I consult with restaurants who need business help, or even what I look like, all because I choose to stay behind the scenes.

I knew that needed to change as I was sitting down to lunch with a who's-who in the food world, including the subject of the documentary, the man himself...

Jonathan Gold.


Guelaguetza Restaurante (Los Angeles, CA) + Lunch with Jonathan Gold of City of Gold on The Episodic Eater


Yes, in the back room of the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country in the middle of Koreatown, my mind was made up.  I was going to sit back and enjoy the conversation so I could write something authentic and true.  I was actually going to have a meal without needing to snap a million pictures with the best lighting.  I would enjoy my food piping hot for once, because that's why I got into this in the first place, my love of food!

Of course, we all had to take at least a couple photos... while Jonathan Gold (who sat across from me!) eagerly awaited his grasshoppers.  Yep, that's what I said... ;)


Guelaguetza Restaurante (Los Angeles, CA) + Lunch with Jonathan Gold of City of Gold on The Episodic Eater


Here are some of my favorite moments of both the lunch and movie, all swirled up into one.  Since I'm not a film critic (or a food critic for that matter), I figured I will do what I know best.

I'm going to let the food tell the story.



Tortilla Chips
with Oaxacan Pasilla Sauce

Guelaguetza Restaurante (Los Angeles, CA) + Lunch with Jonathan Gold of City of Gold on The Episodic Eater
Familiar dish, familiar man.


I admit, I am not a huge chips and salsa fanatic when arriving at a restaurant.  I skip it at parties in favor of something I actually want to eat.  However, there is something about this salsa that I cannot help but get addicted to.  It tastes familiar, like perhaps something from my favorite Honduran restaurant, almost like a spicy Enchilada sauce.


When I was watching the film, I realized that I had never seen Jonathan Gold talk in person.  Yes, I hear him on the radio, I spy his reviews on the wall of practically every L.A. restaurant, and I have seen him in person at the occasional food festival.  But about five minutes into it, I felt like I always knew him, and we were just catching up on his life from the yearly holiday newsletter.




Plato de Chapulines
sautéed grasshoppers in olive oil, salt and pepper

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Del Frisco's Grille (Santa Monica, CA) - Valentine's Day Menu


When it comes to Valentine's Day, I admit that I don't always make plans... but I had a preview of Del Frisco's Grille's menu, and this is definitely worth planning for!  Even better, they are serving the menu all weekend, so you can have it Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, if your little heart desires!


Del Frisco's Grille (Santa Monica, CA) - Valentine's Day Menu on The Episodic Eater


For this tasting, I visited the Del Frisco's Grille location in Santa Monica, literally across the street from the Santa Monica Pier.  We sat on the patio, the perfect place for people-watching and sunset-viewing!


Del Frisco's Grille (Santa Monica, CA) - Valentine's Day Menu on The Episodic Eater




Tennessee Peach
Jack Daniels, Fresh Peaches, Honey, Fresh Lime Juice
Cupid's Cocktail
Stoli Razberi, Pomegranate, Orange Juice topped with Sparkling Wine

Del Frisco's Grille (Santa Monica, CA) - Valentine's Day Menu on The Episodic Eater


We ordered a couple of drinks, with the Cupid's Cocktail being on the special menu!  It was fizzy, sweet, pink, and therefore the perfect Valentine's drink!



Jumbo Lump Crabcake
Cajun Lobster Sauce

Del Frisco's Grille (Santa Monica, CA) - Valentine's Day Menu on The Episodic Eater


We chose a crab cake to start, and it certainly did not disappoint!  It is definitely heavy on the crab and not stuffed with breading filler.  Crab lovers will love it!



Shallot Buttered Green Beans

Thursday, February 4, 2016

GD Bro Burger (Signal Hill, CA) - Grand Opening!


Alert!  Alert!  GD Bro Burger is opening in Signal Hill on Saturday, February 6th at noon, and I had an inside sneak peek of their second brick-and-mortar location.  You may remember their award-winning truck from Food Network's Great Food Truck Race, and you definitely cannot forget that red bun.  :)

There is one item that is unique to this location, PLUS there are a couple items that I remixed to make some AMAZING off-menu items...  You will definitely want to check it out!


GD Bro Burger (Signal Hill, CA) - Grand Opening on The Episodic Eater!


As you may see from their logo below (and the picture above), they are known for their photogenic raspberry buns and their frequent appearances on food porn-y Instagram accounts.  It's for a good reason!  They have their finger on the pulse of what is trendy and they just kick it up a notch.  However, it's not just for adventurous foodies, people who like traditional comfort food will keep coming back for more.

Now, let's get to the food!


GD Bro Burger (Signal Hill, CA) - Grand Opening on The Episodic Eater!




Bojangoals'
Juicy fried marinated chicken, honey sriracha, cole slaw

GD Bro Burger (Signal Hill, CA) - Grand Opening on The Episodic Eater!


This is the burger that is new to the Signal Hill location.  Oh. Em. Gee.  Even if you live closer to the Santa Ana spot, this is SO worth the drive!  Even on the 405.  In rush hour.  I mean it.

The chicken is perfectly light and crispy, with so much juiciness, I would have thought this is the kind of sandwich they specialize in making.  The cole slaw is perfectly dressed and a needed shot of color for all of those Instagram-ers out there.  And the cherry on the top is that addicting Honey Sriracha sauce...  Maybe they should change the expression to "the Honey Sriracha sauce on top" because I feel like it could instantly make anything better.  :)



Parmesan Truffle Fries

Monday, February 1, 2016

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (Los Angeles, CA) - American Licks Collection

Ever since Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams opened nearly a year ago in L.A., we have been treated to inventive flavors like Thai Chili, Sweet Basil and Honeyed Pine Nut, Berries and Burgundy, and Yazoo Sue with Rosemary Bar Nuts.

Well, Jeni’s New Winter Collection features six, all-new nostalgic flavors!  What does that mean?  The new collection is called "American Licks: Ice Cream as a Living Artifact" after the ice creams we loved as kids, but their popularity is in decline nowadays.

Which blasts from the past are included?  Black & White Cookies, Candied Ginger, Green Mint Chip, Cherries Jubilee, Orange Sherbet, and Pralines & Cream round out the already impressive list of flavors.  All of the flavors are available at Jeni's 21 full scoop shops and online only through March 31st, so you know I had to head in right away for a taste!


Jeni's Ice Cream (Los Angeles, CA) - American Licks Collection on The Episodic Eater


When I arrived, all of the flavors were front and center!  Also, I adore the packaging on the new flavors.  As you may know, the regular menu items are in all white, so these definitely stand out!


Jeni's Ice Cream (Los Angeles, CA) - American Licks Collection on The Episodic Eater


I found out that the scoop shops will be "in character" for a few months, set up like a small museum even with an audio tour narrated by Jeni herself!


Jeni's Ice Cream (Los Angeles, CA) - American Licks Collection on The Episodic Eater


There’s even a "gift shop" with adorable souvenirs, like pencils, patches, T‐shirts, and collectable pins.  Also, they have postcards with American Licks flavors for guests to fill out... and for Jeni's to mail for free!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SOCIAL Costa Mesa (Costa Mesa, CA) + New Dessert Program!


It has been nearly a year since my last trip to SOCIAL Costa Mesa and on this visit, I was lucky to try a few new desserts from the dessert program from pastry chef Ashley Guzman!  Of course, we had some fantastic dishes from Executive Chef Jeffrey Boullt's beforehand, to satisfy our savory cravings as well.  :)


SOCIAL (Costa Mesa, CA) + New Dessert Program! on the Episodic Eater


Let's get straight to the menu!



French Corset
French Brandy, Pear, Cassis, Becherovka, Citrus, Egg White

SOCIAL (Costa Mesa, CA) + New Dessert Program! on the Episodic Eater


I perused the seasonal cocktail menu, and I absolutely love a drink with an egg white.  What impressed me most about this sweet concoction was how thick and frothy the egg white was!  The dusting of nutmeg and the star anise was a gorgeous touch.


SOCIAL (Costa Mesa, CA) + New Dessert Program! on the Episodic Eater



Gunslinger
Rittenhouse Rye, Bourbon, Black Tea Syrup, Smoke, Citrus Oils

SOCIAL (Costa Mesa, CA) + New Dessert Program! on the Episodic Eater


At first, my guy wanted to order an Old-fashioned, but I convinced him to try the Gunslinger, since it is one of only a couple of perennial items on the cocktail menu.  It is definitely for a reason!  His second drink was bartender's choice, which ended up being a cocktail with pear and fig, called "The Emperor."  He loved it so much, that he deemed it the best cocktail he has ever had.  EVER.


Now, to the food!



Brussels Sprouts
Honey, Sweet Potato, House Tasso Ham, Hazelnuts