Monday, November 27, 2006

Eater LA Emerges!

The much-anticipated Eater LA has arrived in Los Angeles! For those who follow the New York food scene, you're undoubtedly familiar with the original Eater and their infamous *Eater Deathwatch,* *Eater Plywood,* and other trademarked foodstalker items. Now Eater brings its cruel jaws to Los Angeles, albiet late enough to bypass the Pinkberry madness (thank your lucky stars for that!).

Although the site celebrated its soft launch today, there are actually posts dating back several weeks, including many links to all of you fabulous people (Jeni, Pat, Eddie, Jonah, Kirk, Bree, Tokyoastrogirl and others). Because of course, as any good editor knows, the TRUE way to a foodbloggers heart is through their ego stomach.

Welcome to the L.A.foodblogosphere Eater!

Friday, November 24, 2006

If I Did It, Here's How it Happened: Ross Cutlery

Tonight on the Fox News Channel...

Let's say that I... ALLEGEDLY... carved up a small animal last night. I'm not saying I did, but IF I did, it probably would've been a turkey, and I probably would've used a very sharp knife, theoretically speaking.

Now of course, there's absolutely no evidence whatsoever that I carved up a turkey. Well, except for that very sharp knife you see in exhibit A, or possibly those cuts you see in exhibits B and C, which are actually injuries I sustained while golfing. Golfing on a turkey farm.

Now before you start thinking that I have incredibly poor taste (which I do), let me take a moment to explain exactly what my Thanksgiving carving story has to do with O.J. Simpson's latest tell-all.

You see, prior to beginning my Thanksgiving cooking extravaganza, I wanted to make sure I had the proper weapons... I mean, equipment. And nothing wreaks terror in the hearts of turkey carcasses everywhere like razor-sharp equipment.

For razor sharp knives in only 1 hour, there's really only one place to go in Los Angeles - Ross Cutlery downtown. Yes, THE Ross Cutlery where O.J. Simpson purchased a 12" knife one week prior to Nicole/Ron murders, because he most likely had some serious cooking going on that week too.

Ross Cutlery is a phenomenal knife store, not just because they have great prices (as much as 30-40% off retail for some brands), but also because the owners are knowlegable, helpful, and extremely customer-friendly. When I asked for a carving fork to go with my knives, they pulled out the Wusthof, but they also lined up several lesser-known and less-expensive brands and explained the difference between each. Compare that to my experience at Sur La Table, where the only option on the table was the $160 carving set, and they seemed really reluctant to show me anything else.

In addition to great knives, Ross Cutlery also offers a very speedy knife sharpening service. As a Global owner, I generally have a hard time getting same-day knife sharpening because Japanese knives are sharpened at a narrower angle (10-15%) than the more common European knives (20%), and as such, require different sharpening equipment and a more precise skill.

Having your knives sharpened by a professional is truly a treat, and after only a 45 minute wait, I returned to find my knives shiny and razor sharp.

Literally razor sharp.

They say that cooking with a dull knife is actually more dangerous than cooking with a very sharp knife and that's true... until you get to the point where you're washing and drying the knife and it's SO sharp that it cuts through the dish towel and slices open your fingers.

Which is exactly what happened last night, your honor. Exactly.

Ross Cutlery

310 S. Broadway St.
Downtown Los Angeles

Saturday, November 11, 2006

BLD Restaurant: Better Luck Next Time

When Grace first opened several years ago, I was a bit of a junkie. Something about their beef tartare with truffled grilled cheese sandwiches, braised pork shank, and gourmet doughnuts just really hit me right. It felt professional but unassuming, upscale but comfortable - gourmet food without the fuss or the attitude, served in portions big enough to fill you up.

So when Grace offshoot BLD opened last month, I was expecting more of the same... only now I'd be able to get Breakfast, Lunch, AND Dinner all under one roof. It's probably a little unfair to BLD that I went within weeks of opening with the intention of comparing dinner there to dinner at Grace. They are pretty different concepts: Grace being more of your traditional fine dining, BLD feeling more like a diner that's trying to be a nice restaurant (or the other way around). One thing both restaurants achieve well is the unassuming vibe: although at Grace it feels intentional, and at BLD, it feels accidental.

Let's not beat around the bush here... the service was accidental, dare I say, abyssmal. Normally I can try to overlook bad service and focus on the food, but here, the service actually interrupted the food too.

Some of the food was good, some was fair, some was almost bad. Among the bright spots was the charcuterie: BLD's cheese and charcuterie selection rivals that of hometown favourite AOC (you know, someone should really put those two together, call it DA' BLOC, throw in some of Grace's donuts, and keep it open 24 hours... now that would be my kind of fusion restaurant).

BLD has about 20 different selections each of cheese and charcuterie. For our platter, we chose prosciutto di parma and a truffled cow's milk cheese. It came out on the slab looking all luscious and provocative, as parma tends to do, and tasted equally great. Nice selection of accoutrements, including a raisin-nut bread, french bread with honey, candied almonds, date cake, and apricot jelly. Yum.

Unfortunately, the "Yum" stopped there. If only the rest of the meal could've been as good as the beginning...

We started off with a fun-sounding tater tots appetizer, which, from the menu, sounded like a gourmet version of school cafeteria tots. When it arrived with a whopping total of just 5 tots, plus greenery, I almost thought we had ordered (or received) the wrong dish. They appeared to be deep-fried shredded potato balls, which sounds like it would taste great, but didn't quite hit the mark. They reminded me a little bit of the fried mac and cheese balls at Fred 62, only not as many of them, and not as good.

Although we had already ordered our main entrees, our waitress came by after we finished our appetizer, but not to pick up the empty plate. "I forgot to tell you, we ran out of the angus beef burger. Would you like to order something else?" Um, how do you run out of a hamburger two hours before closing is my first question. My second question is, couldn't you have told me that 20 minutes ago, before I was starting to envision that juicy beef in my mouth? "People really like the pork burger," she offered. It wasn't what I wanted, but as an indecisive menu reader, I didn't want to put my dining companions through the wait... "Fine."

I didn't want a pork burger at all. I thought about getting up and changing it, but figured it would probably delay things further. So pork burger it would be.

The pork burger was actually quite good, but only if you're in the mood for pork. It tasted like a more savory and juicier version of a turkey burger, fairly light since it's white meat. Unfortunately, the fries were soggy and cold and the bun tasted dry and day-old. I ate the pork patty just by itself and felt a little sad. Grace was nowhere to be found in this restaurant.

Cat had the Self-Constructive meal combo, which gives the diner a choice of one of four proteins (half chicken, hangar steak, salmon, or tofu), plus two sides (fries, asparagus, fingerling potatoes, garlic rapini, grilled mushrooms, etc.) plus one sauce (basil pesto, lemon butter, red wine sauce, etc.). I was expecting a little more of a disaster to come out of the kitchen, but it actually seemed to come together nicely: grilled chicken, french fries, garlic rapini, with a lemon butter sauce. Cat chose wisely...

The chicken and garlic rapini tasted pretty good, the fries, again, were soggy and cold. Not exactly Craft-style execution, but an interesting idea.

Brian had the braised short rib sandwich, which we all expected to be the best thing on the menu. Although it was better than either of our dishes, it still felt underwhelming. Too much coleslaw, dry and tasteless bread, soggy cold fries... hey, the beef can't do everything.

I didn't eat much of my entree, so I was pretty hungry and looking forward to some type of down-home dessert. The waitress brought by the menu... there were a lot of choices, many very yummy looking. I set my heart on the yellow cake with dark chocolate frosting, only to be informed when the waitress returned 10 minutes later: "Oh, we're out of that. We're also out of..." rattling off every item on the dessert menu except for the cookies, ice cream sundae, and crepes. Uh huh... maybe you could have just told us what was available instead. Thanks.

I do want to give BLD one more try. The prices are reasonable and I'm interested to see what they make out of a weekend brunch. But next time, I'll go in with expectations set low.

Who knows, maybe those teeny remnants of Grace will peek out and surprise me.

BLD Restaurant
7450 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
Mon-Fri 7am-12am
Sat-Sun 8am-12am

Friday, November 03, 2006

National Pocky Day!

Hey everyone! Next Saturday, November 11th, is National Pocky Day!

To celebrate, I'll be hosting an Online Pocky Party all week long! What was your first Pocky experience like? Have a special Pocky memory or photo? What's your favourite Pocky flavour? Leave a comment or email me at

Don't be caught empty handed on National Pocky Day - check out Famima!! for a great selection of Pocky flavours. In the meantime, please enjoy these awesome commercials from Japan.

How come we don't get commercials like this in the U.S.?

Despite anything I could possibly tell you, nothing will prepare you for the awesomeness of this next one.

And finally, WOW! Where can I get Pocky G? I've gotta try this!