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Blu Jam Cafe, Los Angeles

January 30, 2012 1 comment

We got here at about 10am, greeted by a strong British ascent and had a good 30-40 minutes wait before seated. Our server too had a strong Brit ascent which was pretty interesting. The best part about Blu Jam Cafe was that they served brunch till 5pm! Yes, 5 in the evening! I have read multiple reviews from here and never had a chance to stop by. K was here just the day before and recommended us coming again today. I guess that alone says a lot about the cafe.

Both yy and me had the breakfast trio, two eggs any style, two classic pancakes or French toast with smoked bacon, bockwurst, or chicken apple sausage, with different combinations. Had a cappuccino along with it and the coffee was decent with overflowing froth, definitely not comparable to Espresso Profeta but its much better than most cappuccino I had at brunch spots, which were mostly disappointing. Normally I would just wait till after brunch before driving to Starbucks for my caffeine dose. Anyway, K had the salmon hash which tasted really good! The food portion are relatively small than regular breakfast/brunch spots which is good, means I don’t need a to go box.

Blu Jam Cafe

Salmon Hash
Chopped fresh salmon sautéed with red potatoes, tomatoes, capers, chives and olives topped with scrambled eggs and dill hollandaise, served with toast

Btw parking was not that much of an issue on a weekend morning but street parking are only valid for 2 hours. Definitely will be here more often. Blu Jam Cafe, see you soon.

Blu Jam Cafe

Salmon Hash
Chopped fresh salmon sautéed with red potatoes, tomatoes, capers, chives and olives topped with scrambled eggs and dill hollandaise, served with toast

Blu Jam Cafe

Crunchy French Toast

Blu Jam Cafe, Los Angeles

Blu Jam Café
7371 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Tel: (323) 951-9191
Opening Hours:
Mon-Sun 8 am – 5 pm
Wed-Sat 6 pm – 10 pm

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Categories: Brunch

The Bazaar – DineLA 3rd Stop

January 28, 2012 2 comments

The Bazaar is by José Andrés, chef and owner of ThinkFoodGroup (TFG), have plenty of awards under his belt. His newest restaurants are in Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas named Jaleo, China Poblano and é. There’d definitely lots of really good reviews about The Bazaar all over the net. Bazaar has a tapas type of dining, basically you order a bunch of appetizers and share it among the table. The idea of tapas is kinda like asian hot pot, it encourages conversation as people will not be totally focused on eating their own entree. Read: socialize.

We had a reservation of 8 and when our party, L L Y J W G C, arrived we were seated promptly. The general atmosphere was rather loud with the dining area mellow lighted, posh looking yet casual. It was then followed by a little drama… The server came to our table and introduced himself and said that dineLA was only for a party below 6 and we had to order from a regular menu as their kitchen and chefs could not support such a big party. so we asked for the table to be split into 2 tables of 4. Apparently the restaurant will be fully booked till 10.45pm unless we ordered from the regular menu. So we were kinda out of luck. Anyway after talking to the waitress a little we managed to get a table of 4 and 4 at the bar counter. Felt the waitress did quite a good job in mitigating the situation and compromising. When I got home, I did a quick search on it and I couldn’t find anywhere that they didn’t serve the dineLA menu to a party of more than 6. So if you are taking a party of 6 for dineLA, you should definitely call to make sure and if require, split the booking into 2. Anyway in short, we got our tables and let the food do the talking..

The appetizer that almost everyone would start off with had a interesting idea of an air bun basically it was hollow and had a layer of warm melted cheese topped with Wagyu beef.

The Bazaar by Jose Andres

“Philly Cheesesteak”
Air bread, cheddar, Wagyu beef

Right after the appetizer, everyone has a choice of 3 main entree tapas and we just got a bunch of different dishes and shared among the table. Everything tasted so awesome and my favorite being the sea scallops.

The Bazaar by Jose Andres

Organized Caesar
Quail egg, parmesan

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Sea scallops
Romesco sauce

The Bazaar by Jose Andres

Boneless chicken wings
Green olive purée

The Bazaar by Jose Andres

Grilled Wagyu flank steak
Piquillo pepper confit

The Bazaar by Jose Andres
Seared Struass veal loin
Jaques Maximin, pisto, trumpet mushrooms

The Bazaar by Jose Andres
Sautéed shrimp
Garlic, guindilla pepper

Desserts was served in another section of the restaurant it was the area was better lit and the ambience was more chill. The entire experience was awesome! Favorite spot for DineLA! It’s Molecular Gastronomy! It’s Bazaar!

The Bazaar
SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Tel: (310) 246-5567
Opening Hours:
Mon-Wed, Sun 6 pm – 10:30 pm
Thu-Sat 6 pm – 11:30 pm

Categories: Los Angeles

Lawry’s The Prime Rib – DineLA 2nd Stop

January 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Apparently Lawry’s began business in 1938 by Lawrence L. Frank and Walter Van de Kamp on Restaurant Row on La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California. Of course it got popular and opened restaurants all over the world. Lawry’s has been known for serving a single entree on its menu that consisted of a standing rib roast. Theres a stainless steel looking cart that is pushed around and the meat is served to order. They are also famous for the spinning salad prepared by the waitress who spins a large metal bowl of salad on ice as she pours in the dressing.

So the dining experience with L, L, Y, T, C, G… The main lobby was extravagant. having an old classy feel and plush seats by the side. We arrived late due to traffic and had called in advance to let them know that we would be slightly late. As we waited for our table, which wasn’t that long a wait, there was a “meatballs bar” by the side which we all skipped. The interior of the restaurant had a really high ceiling, well decorated and comfortable to the eyes. We all had the dineLA menu, meaning no order was required since the salad and entree was kinda fixed with a couple choice for deserts, english trifle, chocolate pudding and creme brulee.

The “spinning salad” concept was pretty cool as our waitress poured the french dressing into the bowl. The salad was served really quickly with bread to go along on the side. The prime rib was really good as the cut was sliced by the table. Meat came out medium as requested and the spicy horseradish that came on the side went pretty well with the prime rib.

Lawry's The Prime Rib

Special 8 ounce cut, hand sliced tableside by our Master Carver, served with mashed potatoes and gravy and a side order of cream corn

Lawry's The Prime Rib

Four ounce Atlantic Lobster Tail with drawn butter

Lobster tail was only served halfway into our main entree and sure was good. The creme bulee desert to end of the meal was really good too. To sum up everything in one word… Delicious. On a side note, service was prompt and the our waitress was really friendly too. What more to ask for?

Lawry’s The Prime Rib
100 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Tel: (310) 652-2827
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri 5 pm – 10 pm
Sat 4:30 pm – 11 pm
Sun 4 pm – 9:30 pm

Categories: Los Angeles

SeongBukDong, Los Angeles

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Before ever making a trip to this restaurant hidden in a small plaza in ktown, I have heard so many friends commenting that the braised beef and the braised mackerel tasted really good at SeongBukDong. However, parking in ktown is always a big problem and SeongBukDong sure gets really busy during dinner time.

When I was there with L and Y, we had 2 portions of the beef short ribs that was supposed to be the most popular item on the menu. The waiter took our order not long after writing our name on the waitlist. The wait was about 40 mins and once you get seated, you get served the usual korean fare, plenty of side dishes. There was a good assortment of it including mushrooms, cucumbers and bamboo, radish, kimchi, steamed egg, bean sprout and fermented bean cabbage. In less than 5 mins after we are seated, the pots of beef short ribs were served.

SeongBukDong
Galbi Jjim, Steamed Beef Short Rib

The beef was really really good. Probably the best korean beef ribs I have ever tried. Definitely definitely give it a shot. The wait was totally worth it. The beef was really tender and the stew was good too. It came with an option of brown rice or white rice. The brown rice tasted kinda healthy with beans and some other stuff in it and it was pretty unique and tasted a little sweet and was purplish in color (no idea why it was called brown rice tho.. purple rice?). Anyway, L really liked the brown rice.

Also to mention, this restaurant is really small and has like only 12 tables. It gets really busy and usually require at least a 30 mins wait before you will be seated. Even when we left, there was still a good number of people still waiting to be seated. The beef ribs will definitely make you come back for more. Almost everyone that was dining at the restaurant ordered a pot of beef ribs or braised mackerel or both.

Finally, a quote from my Korean TA, Jay, “this place is a hidden gem for sure”. So definitely give this place a try, you will not be disappointed!

Korean Restaurant
SeongBukDong
3303 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Tel: (213) 738-8977
Opening Hours:
Mon-Sun 9 am – 12 am

Categories: Korean, Los Angeles

Tsujita L.A., Los Angeles

January 25, 2012 Leave a comment

At a corner in sawtelle, there was this ramen shop, a branch of Nidaime Tsujita, that was renovating for a couple of months before finally opening in September 2011. They already had multiple locations in Japan and was breaking into the US market. However, they didn’t start serving ramen for lunch till late October 2011. I remembered reading somewhere that the owner Takehiro Tsujita didn’t want to serve ramen till his staff mastered the skill. I have walked past the restaurant countless times and never had a chance to try the ramen there as it gets really busy during lunch. So one fine friday afternoon, me, A and B decided to take a trip to Tsujita L.A. for ramen. We had conversations from last quarter that we should find a day and grab ramen together somewhere since A was a huge ramen fan.

Tsujita LA
Char-Siu Tsukemen
Tsukemen topped with slices of roasted pork

From what I read, tsukemen, means dipping noodles. Noodles are served cold with dipping soup and toppings on the side. According to the menu, the tonkotsu soup is simmer for 60 hours and seafood is added for sweetness and thick tastiness. There was even an instruction on how to eat it. You are supposed to eat the first one third of the noodles with the dipping broth, the next one third with the black shichimi (black seven flavor chili pepper) and finally with a squeeze of lime with the remaining one third. The waitress will then add hot water into the dipping sauce to make it like a soup. The Char-Siu Tsukemen was really good and totally worth a try. Soup was thicker than regular ramen soup and the noodles also tasted chewier than regular ramen. Its also not the usual ramen where the noodles is served with the soup. A ordered a Tsukemen and B had a Char-Siu Ramen. Will definitely come back another day to try the Char-Siu Ramen which looked really yummy as well. On a side note, ramen is served exclusively during lunch hours.

Tsujita LA / Artisan Noodle
2057 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tel: (310) 231-7373
Opening Hours:
Dinner: JAPANESE CUISINE STYLE
6:00pm – 12:00pm
TSUJITA LA Open 7Days
Reservation For Dinner.
Lunch:TUKEMEN RAMEN STYLE
11:00am – 3:30pm
Artisan Noodle Open 7Days

Categories: Los Angeles, Ramen

Fogo de Chao – DineLA 1st Stop

January 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Happy Lunar New Year Everyone!

Restaurant Week, a biannual event, started Jan 22 2012 and will run till Feb 3 2012. Basically a big bunch of restaurants in Los Angeles County will offer set lunches at $16, $22 or $28 and set dinners at $26, $34 or $44. DineLA have been running for 5 years since Jan 2008 and to start off had lunch at Fogo de Chao with L, L and Y.

So I was looking up the history of the restaurant. Apparently Fogo de Chao dated back to 1975 in the mountainous countryside of Rio Grande do Sul in Southern Brazil. An important part of the culture is churrasco, which is the Gaucho way to roast the meat over open fire (bbq) at festive occasions and gatherings.

Fogo de Chao

Now the restaurant located in Beverly Hills serves the Gaucho way of roasting in a buffet style setting. If you have never tried Brazilian beef buffet before, you should definitely take a trip to Fogo de Chao. The best Brazilian beef buffet you would get in town. The meat just keeps coming before you could finish the last piece there would be another right in front of you. In the picture you can see a red and green coaster-like item.. if you flip the coaster to the green side, it shows “yes please” and the red side shows “no thanks!”.. you get the idea. There is also a large selection of meat that you could choose from. You will definitely leave this place filled to the brim and satisfied.

Fogo de Chão
133 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Tel: (310) 289-7755
Opening Hours:
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:00
Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:00-10:00
Fri 5:00-10:30
Sat 4:30-10:30
Sun 4:00-9:30

Categories: Los Angeles

Maison Ikkoku, Singapore

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Happy Lunar New Year to all!

I had a really great reunion dinner today. It was raining, so it was really perfect for steamboat (or hotpot, as some know it by). But the best thing about reunion dinner, is really not the dinner, but the reunion! It’s heartwarming to have the whole family huddling around the steamboat, eating and catching up. (: While my dad and mom spent the entire day preparing for the dinner, I was out this lovely Sunday, at Maison Ikkoku for a spot of brunch and coffee. Yes, I know, how un-helpful right? But, I reckon the more I help, the higher the chance of me botching things up, so I figured I might as well make myself useful elsewhere, contributing to the F&B industry.

Maison Ikkoku is named after a Jap manga and translated, it means “house of the moment”. Along Kandahar St (beside Good & Rich Cake Shop, THE place to get the best kaya swiss rolls), it is a three storey shophouse functionally sectorized by levels; level one is the cafe, two is a menswear boutique, and three has an alfresco cocktail bar (which I haven’t visited). Heard real good stuff about their coffee art, and I was not disappointed when I went today. The interior of Maison Ikkoku was fodder for thought and conversation when I went there with Q this afternoon. There were copper pipings that exposed a bulb at the end (we were wondering if it’s copper or brass), the plush pin-cushioned seats, the half-cupboards hanging on the ceiling (supposed to look like they’ve sunken through the second level floor), the old door that’s reused as a table-top, and many other things that kept us entertained. So this is probably a good place to bring a date if you are worried that there’ll be nothing to talk about. :p

I suppose MI wasn’t crowded today because it’s the eve of CNY, and most people were probably busy preparing for the festivities of CNY, so it was quiet and picturesque. We just lounged around the entire afternoon there, sipping coffee, which was quite potent, btw. I hear their baristas roast the coffee themselves weekly, and they’re trained by world-renowned Jap celebrity barista and latte art specialist, Hiroshi Sawada. Which explains the perfectly crafted latte art.

Maison Ikkoku

MI Misubi
Japanese short grain rice with seasoning & SPAM ham

This is one of their house specialty, and it’s like a luncheon meat sushi? But don’t underestimate this seemingly simple looking dish, it packs some umami in it, and if not for our main brunch courses coming up, we might have ordered more of this. And I do apologise for the unusual lighting of the photo, but I was trying to bounce the flash off the wall on the side because the ceiling was not only quite high up, it was also black in colour. Please be patient with noob me 🙂

Maison Ikkoku

S.E.A.T
Norwegian smoked salmon + scrambled eggs + avocado + sourdough toasts

Maison Ikkoku

MI Latte

If you excuse the bubbles (because I took too long to photograph it, being the noob that I am), then you can see for yourself that the latte art at Maison Ikkoku is indeed, exceptional. This is quite a big cup of latte, and I ordered it to photograph it, because I already had a cappuccino before this. Bigger cup = more distinct art. Looks about right, right?

When you are done getting your caffeine fix, do take a stroll up to the boutique on level two. There are many atas menswear labels from UK, Japan, US and France. Even if you do not buy anything, just browsing around in the eclectic shop is an interesting experience.

Maison Ikkoku may mean “house of the moment”, but I sure hope they don’t just become a place of the moment; hope they stick around long enough because they serve good food and really pretty coffee!

Maison Ikkoku
20 Kandahar Street, Singapore,
Singapore 198885
Mon – Thu:9:00 am-9:00 pm
Fri – Sat: 9:00 am-11:00 pm
Sun: 9:00 am-7:00 pm