Saturday, August 17, 2013

Los Angeles, CA - Ink Sack; I initially had reservations at Ink, but noticed Ink Sack and thought it would have the same caliber of food without the elegance and price. It certainly is a more casual place to eat than if you were trying out Ink. However, I had higher expectations for the food given the recognizable name of e chef.

I started with their BBQ Pork Rinds. They are crunchy, fresh, and have a bit of zest from the BBQ seasoning. I highly recommend finishing the bag when you order it. They do not keep well to the next day. I tried it and they keep their appearance, although lose all the texture. They lose the crunch and pop of their original state.

On the recommendation of the gentleman behind the counter, the Turkey Melt was next. He was right, it was a good selection with a very nice complex dressing and fresh greens, given it a nice garden flavor. The turkey meat was very good in flavor and texture. With it paired up with the dressing, it's a nice sandwich to try.

The last sandwich was the Bahn Mi. I really enjoy a tradition Bahn Mi and these sandwiches are seeming to become more popular among trendy restaurants with their own twist. I think most of these places should stick to serving the traditional sandwich. If you really can't elevate it, you should stick to the original. Ink Sack's version tries to give a slightly new flavor but keep the familiar sandwich. What it delivers is a sandwich that reminds you of a Bahn Mi, but really is does not. It does not come close to having those wonderful fresh flavors of cucumber and cilantro with a bit of spiciness. It's not a bad sandwich, it's just not a good knock off of a Bahn Mi. I'm sure there are better sandwiches to try here.
Los Angeles, CA - Wahoo's Fish Tacos; A fast food Mexican restaurant that I never heard about, but my coworker pointed it out to me to try. With it being basically a fast food joint, I had rather low expectations. Sometimes its nice to have low expectations to have them exceeded.

I tried two tacos, one fish and one vegetarian. The Fish Taco had a corn tortilla, cheese, cabbage, and grilled white fish. I expected dried out cubed pieces of fish, but found nicely grilled fish that was still juicy and had a s ma ll charred grilled flavor. I should also point out its nice to see corn tortilla shells instead of flour.

Vegetarians, you have a pretty tasty taco here, so feel free to join your omnivorous friends. The Tofu Taco came on a corn tortilla with lettuce and  Polynesian marinade sauté. They use extra firm tofu so its not mushy. The star here is the marinade that sweetens the taco making you lick your chops.

Its fast, simple, delicious, and accommodating.
Los Angeles, CA - Holy Aioli; The truck has some unique menu items that drew lots of passersby. The Buffalo Blu caught my interest having chicken, garlic aioli, bleu cheese, buffalo sauce, caramelized onions, sliced apples, on a ciobatta bun. The combination of the buffalo sauce, bleu cheese, and apple slices should be excellent together.

Well, it was ok, but I had higher expectations. I anticipated the buffalo sauce to have more of a presence and maybe more heat as well. The apples should have given it more flavor, but unfortunately you could barely taste them. I was hoping its sweet flavor would come through more, but it didn't.

It's was an okay sandwich with potential. With their creative menu pairings, I would try it again and hope they deliver more complex flavors.
Los Angeles, CA - Green Truck; If you have the option of regular or sweet potato fries, which do you choose? Most of the time the choice will be sweet potato. Maybe because its not available as often as the other, or maybe it's the sweetness that I always crave. This choice was no different.

I was presented the question at this truck and given the opportunity, I went with Sweet Potato Fries. They were not greasy, nice and crunchy on the outside with a soft inside. It's a nice cup of sweet potato fries. They certainly are not the best I've ever had, but not the worst either. I wish it was a tad bit sweeter. Some places will sprinkle a brown sugar mix, satisfying the sweet craving. I wish they would have added another element giving it not just a single note of flavor. But who am I kidding, I'm just talking about fries.

Now when you're presented with the question, sweet or salty, which will you go with?

Monday, August 05, 2013

Los Angeles, CA - Caffe Latte; This cafe/restaurant is extremely conveniently located across the street from the Wilshire Hotel where I was staying. It opens early enough for me to grab a full breakfast before I head to work. Don't let the name fool you into it being just a cafe, it has a full menu with some nice items on it.

Your breakfast, even if its a carb-fest, will start with their Complimentary Poppy seed Muffin. It's a nice way to welcome you in, start satisfying that burning desire to eat. Each day, it was fresh and soft. It's just a poppy seed, not a lemon poppy seed. Don't get your hopes up.

Their Breakfast Sandwich, which has scrambled eggs, bacon, pico se gallo, avocado, grilled spinach, jack cheese, and mayo are really nice ingredients. They all work together for a nice blend of flavors. However, the combination screams to be tucked in between some fresh bread made that morning. What you get is two basic pieces of toast. Not too exciting.

The Breakfast Burrito is one mamma jamma. it includes eggs, spinach, apple chicken sausage, avocado, swiss cheese, and pico de gallo. You cant squeeze in anymore ingredients because the tortilla shell couldn't fit it. This is a full size burrito that will keep you full throughout the day. The nice addition to this is the chicken sausage. It needed that slight touch of oil, spice, and protein to heighten its full effect.

Their best was for last, their Latte Eggs Benedict. I would certainly get this one again. It's not the typical benedict, it's nice to see some originality. I enjoyed the toast underneath instead of the standard muffin. The fresh spinach, some would say is why are you trying to dress it up as a healthy dish or trying to squeeze veggies where they don't belong. I on the other hand like to have the inclusion of the veggies and welcome it to be slightly healthier. The spinach does give it a bit more earthy touch and all most makes it a bit "lighter".

The staff was always really nice and when you're the first in there, the place is pretty quiet.
Los Angeles, CA - Awash; You certainly have a plethora of Ethiopian choices in this neighborhood. I was so excited to see how many options for Ethiopian food there is here. The place was packed, which is always great to see. I would much rather try out a new place that has almost all e tables full than an empty place. Isn't it the rule of thumb, head to the place that has the longest line.

I tried two versions of Awaze Tibbs, beef in a special red pepper sauce and a mild version with a touch turmeric instead of the pepper sauce. When they come to the table, just close your eyes and take in the aroma. From either dish, they have such a full bodied aromatic presence, filling the air with turmeric, cinnamon, and cumin. It will be pretty difficult to try and forget about the flavor of these dishes. They are packed with flavor and when it's soaked up with the injera bread, you really can't stop eating it even when your stomach is about to explode. This brings me to the other highlight, the injera. It's prepared very well, soft, fluffy, and full of sour dough flavor. Some places rush the making and is too bland. Here it has the full flavor it should.

The downfall for both dishes was the tenderness of the meat. In both cases, the meat is overcooked and difficult to chew. I am not sure if its the cut of meat they use or if it was overcooked and now just tough, but both dishes the meat was too hard.

You will not leave hungry because the portions are very large. I had my dish for dinner that evening, a couple of bites later that night, then some the next day. The staff was very nice and welcoming making the visit very pleasant.