Thursday, January 19, 2012

stone brewing world bistro & gardens

had the day off on tuesday, so we took a road trip down to san diego for some running/hiking at mission trails, followed by a trip to stone's world bistro & gardens. in addition to the plethora of taps and an incredible bottle selection, their food is outstanding and atypical of what you'd think a brewery would serve up. love that place!

choices, choices
chicken tikka masala
open interior
it's a stone!

returned home just in time for dinner, where we've been on a ramen kick lately. my top two had previously been daikokuya (little tokyo) and asahi (sawtelle), but this past weekend we tried yamadaya and santouka, both of which are adjacent to culver city.

thought yamadaya was a bit too pork-laced, so i preferred santouka instead. also, you can order your bowl size in small, medium or large, which is a nice touch. still, daikokuya and asahi remain in the top two spots...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

review - 800 degrees

sunday evening brought about my first trip to 800 degrees, the new westside pizza joint by the umami restaurant group that opened its doors just last week. 800 degrees refers to the temps of their dual wood-fired ovens, which can crank out personalized neopolitan pizzas in 60-90 seconds, and at an AMAZING price point - we're talking an unheard of $6 for a traditional 12-inch margherita.

approaching the location at 6:30pm, the storefront was obvious by the line of 8 going out the door. within minutes, there were 20 people behind us, so we got there at the right time.

the menu is set up as so: there are three classics - which they can add any fresh topping to for a buck - along with a small list of specialities (i got the spicy meatball). as soon as you give them your order, they go to work making your pizza in front of you. by the time you pay for a salad or any drinks, your pizza should be done!

their process is similar to say a chipotle, in that they have simple, fresh ingredients that they're able to spin into your meal while you make your way thru the line.

taste-wise, the pies are quite good. the crust is thin and achieves that light char around the edges. the toppings, while not plentiful, actually fit well ratio-wise with its thin crust. the margherita had chunks of fresh mozzarella and basil peppered throughout. but most of all, it's a pizza that you'd be getting at other italian restaurants for $15 easy, but here they can be had for literally one-third the price.

i really don't know how long 800 degrees can keep this up - if the lines are any indication - but kudos to them for figuring out an intelligent business plan and carrying it out. now if someone wants to give me any stock in their company...

800 degrees
10889 lindbrook ave.
los angeles, CA 90024

Saturday, January 7, 2012

top 25 things to eat in LA

inspired by pal nicole iizuka (, i decided to come up with my own list of favorite 25 things to eat here in los angeles. once i got started, i thought it would be difficult to actually reach 25, but as i accumulated my list and started to pare it down, it pained me to have to remove the last three or four. the list also had to include places still open for business, so the BTO ("better than oreo") at kris morningstar's mercantile sadly was not eligible.

that being said, here's my inaugural list in alphabetical order, which i will update throughout the year should anything else become deserving of the honor:

amandine café - croissant

animal - bbq pork belly sandwiches, slaw

asahi ramen - kimchee ramen

aurélie the cookie guru - chocolate chip cookie

bay cities italian deli - godmother, the works

best fish taco in ensenada - shrimp taco

café dulcé - green tea donut

chego - ooey gooey fries

cora's coffee shoppe - eggs benedict w/smoked salmon, creamy spinach, lemon pepper

father's office - FO burger

gjelina - butterscotch pot de crème, salted caramel, crème fraiche

huckleberry - BLTA

ink. - apple, crème caramel, burnt wood sabayon, walnut

jin patisserie - macarons

kaiten-sushi daichan - white tuna nigiri

lazy ox canteen - slow cooked pork shoulder, turnips, quinoa, walnut chile tarator sauce

lukshon - spicy chicken pops

milo + olive - roasted pumpkin, brown butter, sage, buckwheat honey, black pepper

phillips bar-B-que II - beef ribs

piccolo venice - acquerello rice, black winter truffle, parmesan

pizzeria mozza - fennel sausage, panna, red onion, scallions

porto's bakery & café - potato balls

son of a gun - fried chicken sandwich

sweet rose creamery - old rasputin stout ice cream, handmade chocolate cone

versailles - lechon asado (cuban style roast pork)

Friday, January 6, 2012

next race is...

the 15k xterra mission gorge trail run on sunday, february 5!

it's located at mission trails regional park in san diego county, so it'll be another first to visit there. the course has something called "the thousand steps" - which occurs near the halfway point - leading up to south fortuna peak, so i can already tell that's NOT going to be fun.

um yeah...

our same crew from crystal cove will be running mission gorge, so we all have a month to go.

time to hit the trails!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

santa barbara county courthouse

happy new year!

hope everybody enjoyed their holiday season and was safe and sound celebrating new year's eve. this year, as usual, was low key, so NYE was spent at AMC century 15 watching david fincher's "the girl with the dragon tattoo." the US remake boasted a career-defining turn by rooney mara (sister of kate) as lisbeth salander, the fierce goth hacker/protagonist of the stieg larsson trilogy.

sunday, january 1 brought about a much happier tune, so heidi, ernie and i jumped in our ride and made the 90 mile jaunt northwest to beautiful santa barbara for the day. a number of sights and eateries we had hoped to hit up (andersen's danish restaurant & bakery damn you! no marzipan to bring back...) were closed in observance of the new year, but we were able to visit the historic santa barbara county courthouse, dubbed "the most beautiful government building in america."

neat compass atop the tower
view of the mountains
view of the pacific ocean
view of anacapa st.

commencing construction in 1927, the spanish style building was completed in 1929 and boasts gorgeous, manicured gardens & lawns amongst its square block-long radius. there's also an elevator one can ride to the top of the clock tower, where panoramic views of the city, the ocean and the mountains await.

and a few snaps inside the grounds:

main foyer
mural room
down a long hallway
underneath a spiral staircase

one last parting shot of the clock tower from outside the grounds: