Lukshon – Culver City

It’s apparent that I’m a big fan of FO I & IIA lot of my friends One close friend even assumed that when Sang Yoon opened Lukshon next door in February 2011, I was first in line. Sadly, my friend was incorrect. It was only until a few weeks ago that I was able to finally check it out. Because I have let a lot of time lapse, I am just going to summarize my experience as wonderful — Being promptly seated by a friendly hostess to being served delicious food and having my water glass repeatedly refilled by an astute waiter. I would go back in a heartbeat. And plan to soon!

I have placed *s next to my favorite drinks/dishes.

THE DRINKS:

* Fujian Cure: Isle of Skye 8 year old scotch, lemon, galangal, lapsang souchong black tea

Yokohama Romance: Prunier VSOP cognac, cherry heering, kaffir lime, lemongrass, shaoxing wine

THE FOOD

Spanish Mackerel coconut vinegar, jalapeno, lemongrass, green papaya

* Spicy Chicken Pops Shelton Farms drumettes, garlic, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), spicy sichuan salt

* Garlic Pork Belly do ba jian, rice cakes, cabbage, garlic chives

* Baby Monterey Squid stuffed with chiang mai pork sausage, with candlenut, mint, and rau ram

X.O. Rice jasmine rice, house-made x.o. sauce, long beans, egg

* Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts lightly fried in a soy sauce with sesame seeds sprinkled on top

Complimentary DessertsChocolate Custard/Pudding & Mango Panna Cotta

Lukshon
3239 Helms Ave.
Culver City, California
310-202-6808
Mon-Sat: 5:30-10:30pm

Filed under:Another Day, Favorites, Los Angeles

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CASA Cocina y Cantina

I had heard a lot of great things about CASA lately and was happy that I could check it out. My first impression: high-end Chipotle. The way food is ordered is very similar to Chipotle, but CASA is undoubtedly better quality and gives more options.

You start by choosing a base (burrito/bowl/tacos/salad), a protein (pollo asado/carnitas/al pastor/grilled seasonal veggies/soy chorizo y papas/barbacoa/carne asada/baja fish), and then customize it (beans/ lettuce/salsas/cheeses/guacamole/etc.).

My choice was (not surprisingly) tacos. I ordered the pollo asado, grilled seasonal veggies, and carne asada. My favorite was between the veggies and the carne asada.

CASA
350 South Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 621-2249

Filed under:Downtown, Happy Hour, Los Angeles, Taco

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Mikawaya Mochi in Little Tokyo

While galavanting around Little Tokyo, I found Mikawaya, a store that specializes in mochi ice cream and other desserts. Mochi ice cream (not to be confused with the mochi topping found at Pinkberry and other frozen yogurt establishments) is pounded sticky rice injected with ice cream. Mikawaya has an impressive menu of mochi flavors including the common (green tea, vanilla, chocolate, mango, red bean, strawberry) and the special (coconut, cookies & cream, pistachio, cheesecake, crème brûlée, chocolate hazelnut, and coffee).

Although the two most popular flavors of the store are green tea and mango, I ordered a coconut and a green tea mochi. The mochi definitely tastes better than what you get from the store. I loved the green tea and while the coconut was good, I will likely try something different next time. Know before you go – CASH ONLY.

Mikawaya
118 Japanese Village Plz Mall
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 624-1681

Chinatown: Dim Sum @ Golden Dragon & Am(a)y’s Almond Cookies

Naturally after saying I had free time to update this site, my life became exponentially busier. But, I will try to keep up. Here are the highlights from my recent trip to Chinatown.

Out of my almost 10 years in Los Angeles, I have (to the best of my recollection) never been to Chinatown.

The purpose of the trip was to go to Golden Dragon for dim sum. I was able to try my first fried chicken foot. Sadly, I didn’t get a great picture of the said chicken foot, but you can see it in the photo in between the greens and the dumpling towards the top of the plate. Similar in color to a chicken wing, but a unique and different (crispier) taste. I don’t know how often I will order it again in the future, but I am glad to say that I have lived this crazy world and ate a fried chicken foot.

Also, I stopped by Amy’s/Amay’s Bakery and picked up a box of their popular almond cookies. I love the trade dress of the box and the cookie ain’t so bad either.

The cookie looks like this:

Golden Dragon
960 North Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 626-2039

Amay’s Bakery & Noodle Company
837 Commercial Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012 U.S.A.
Tel: (213)626-2713

Filed under:Another Day, Downtown, Los Angeles

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Studying Sandwiches @ Mendocino Farms

It was a big week for me. My first time on the DASH & my first taste of Mendocino Farms located…. downtown!

First, the DASH experience. Only trying to get a little over a mile from where I was, paying the $0.35 to get there seemed legit on the warm June gloomy day. (However, starting on 07/01/11, the ride will cost $0.50) I didn’t pay so much attention to the actual time it took to get there so I can’t really tell if the DASH lived up to the name. But, I did get to do something I don’t do as often as I’d like: If you’re thinking it is sitting next to strangers you are SO VERY WRONG. Instead, it’s staring out the window and looking at downtown. My mental map of the area is far from developed. Finally having the opportunity to look around, not having to focus on the road and driving, helps me orient and familiarize myself with this wonderful city.

Second, Mendocino Farms. Adjacent to the Omni Hotel is the California Plaza. Inside the plaza appears to be many different restaurant choices and dining options. As it was official LA feeding time, 1pm, lines were forming everywhere. MF’s line was the longest, which reassured me that I was making the right decision. While waiting in line, a genuinely perky worker who was excited to be alive and working (but not in that annoying way), handed me a menu and asked if I had any questions. Not noticing that the answer to my question was practically written right in front of me, I asked what the soup of the day was. Notwithstanding my obvious oblivion, the worker patiently and excitedly told me: chicken tortilla and a tomato bisque.

An interesting fact about me: I will never ever order a bisque, especially tomato. I’ve tried really hard to like it, but to no avail. It might be the one food (that I’m aware of at this point in time) that I absolutely dislike. It’s a combination of the tomato taste and the texture. My reaction is like no other reaction I have had before to anything else in life. But, I digress…

Like most lunch hot spots, you order up front, pay at a register, and wait for (with the ability to watch) the preparation of your meal. When complete, the food will be placed in a brown lunch bag and someone will then proceed to call out your name.

Not interested in the soups, I focused on a sandwich. It was not an easy decision, but I ended up choosing the A Sandwich Study of Heat (Turkey Avocado)fresh local farm turkey, smoked gouda, avocado, chili aioli, jalapeno relish, tomato, romaine lettuce, (side of chipotle salsa by request).

Although I have a useful liberal arts degree, I never sandwich studied heat before. I can only guess the studying of heat in sandwich form is in reference to the sandwich eater’s ability to control the amount of heat of the sandwich through using the spicy salsa at their own discretion. My studies turned sloppy after I accidentally spilled the salsa everywhere.  Aside from my mess, the heat was not overbearing and made the turkey avocado really stand out.

MF is also a provider of Boylan Soda in fountain soda form (not bottles). I am familiar with Boylan gourmet sparkling beverages because the company is from NJ area & I know I have had it throughout my life (but only in bottle form). It was quite a delight to have refillable access to the fountain. The only complaint: it’s FOAMY. Filling up my soda took 2-3x longer than it normally does (total first world problem). However, it is totally worth the wait.

I hope to repeat MF again in the future. The whole experience (aside from the large crowd/line) was great. And, their menu is so impressive that it wouldn’t be fair to not go back.

Mendocino Farms
300 South Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 620-1114
Twitter: mendocinofarms

Philippe – Chinatown – Single Dip Experience

One fine afternoon I was able to make it to Chinatown for lunch at Philippe. Philippe, established in 1908, claims to be home of the original French dip sandwich.

When I entered around noon, the place was packed with lines to the wall opposite of the display counter.  Food is ordered and served in a unique manner: along a display counter exists about 10 servers who are called “carvers.” Each carver has everything they need to prepare your meal right in front of them so that they can take care of your whole meal.

Not surprisingly, this place is CASH ONLY (but there is an ATM (or what east coasters call a MAC machine – acronym for money access center). Seating is family style and there is an upstairs floor with many different rooms. The floor is covered in saw dust – which is presumably to absorb the many liquids that fall in this busy establishment.

A French dipped sandwich consists of either roast beef, roast pork, leg of lamb, turkey or ham served on a fresh baked French roll which has been dipped in the natural gravy of the roasts (au jus). ($6.00) Swiss, American, Monterey Jack or Blue cheese may be added. I chose the turkey French dip, no cheese!

Although Philippe’s serves close to 300 pounds of pigs feet every week, I opted for the potato salad as a side. ($1.20)

Philippe is also known for its hot French mustard.  At every table there is a squirt bottle of the mustard for you to use at your discretion. The heat is more like a horseradish/wasabi. I hope to buy a jar and send it to my parents someday.

My biggest regret? Not double dipping! Double dipping is when the completed sandwich is dipped in the jus. One can also order the sandwich “wet” which I am guessing is a more serious kind of double dipping in the jus.

You dip the way you want to dip, I’ll dip the way I want to dip.” – George Costanza

Philippe
1001 N Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 628-3781
Daily Hours: 6AM-10PM
Twitter: PhilippetheOG

LAPD – Downtown

I was arrested! Arrested by the shiny and comically mesmerizing LAPD building located downtown, across from City Hall. It was impossible for me not to stop and take pictures — even at a time when I was trying to beeline to the subway.

It’s official title is the Los Angeles Police Department Police Administration Building, designed by DMJM (or what is now AECOM) Architects and completed in 2009. The 491,00 square foot, 10-story building was a $437 million project and houses about 2,300 employees/officers. The design is “modern with both physical and metaphorical connections to the surrounding community.”

The building/design has won a plethora of awards and certifications. Two are of note:

  • ONE: It has achieved a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council because of sustainable strategies such as using recycled content building materials; energy-saving daylighting design and lighting controls; a high-efficiency HVAC system; locally produced materials; and water-efficient plumbing fixtures/irrigation/landscape materials.

Pictures inside the LAPD can be found here.

LAPD Police Administration Building
100 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012