dessert at el caserio, silverlake

This is a lightly chocolate dreamy concoction atop a satsifyingly crunchy nutty base. yum.


the el caserio ambiance upgrade

El Caserio has opened a finer dining branch of their ecuadorian-italian cuisine. Just a block away from their original restaurant at Virgil and Beverly, this more upscale version is right off the Silverlake Blvd 101 freeway exit. The cost of the dishes are comparable to the original, if not a buck higher. Old favorites like the llapingachos con fritadas that I have raved about in a previous posting are just as delicious here. But the rest of the menu won't include the typical south american greasy plates like lomo saltado and bistec a la pobre. You'll find more seafood dishes at higher prices here. But as my friend and dining buddy discovered, the kitchen would more than accommodate your needs if you just *must* have lomo saltado for lunch if you order off-the-menu in a white linen/dark wood setting. The attractive patio out back looks perfect for an office party and the expansive and well-appointed indoor bar was inviting us to imagine future happy hour mingling. I'm not quite sure if the location and deceptive residential bungalow appearance of the restaurant will help or hinder the success of this relatively new venture. I'm excited to have this new dining option.


"french" bakery, korean style

Paris Baguette on 6th st, just west of Kenmore is quite a treat. Their fresh chocolate croissants fulfilled its yummy flaky buttery reputation. I threw in an almond bread filled with creamy filling for good measure, as I indeed did enjoy the walnut version I had tried at Cake House in the Ktown Galleria. Didn't know Koreans had these lightly sweetened and not too heavily creamy nut-breads. Who knew?

As far as the decaf coffee I had? Watery. Kinda like that of the union-busting Starbucks.

Grubclub grand total: five bucks and some change.

Paris Baguette
3470 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
one on 6th st and another on Western.
Open 7am


spoon house's perfect business model

With only noodles to cook and sauces to heat up, I believe Spoon House in Gardena has found the most deliciously affordable business model for restaurant food. Case in point: the light spaghetti with basil clams in cream sauce. yum. All for around 8 to 10 bucks a person.

Spoon House
1601 W Redondo beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247

See. Even the parents think Spoon House is tasty!

Pann's Grub Goodness

Who knew illewminator and I could find such a tasty deal at the ungodly crossroads of La Cienega, Centinela and La Tijera! For around 25 bucks including tax and tip, we had ourselves four juicy and meaty fried chicken wings atop a thick belgian waffle, a hearty bbq beef brisket sandwich with a side of bbq chips, two side salads and a caramel bread pudding to go.

Yelpers had compared it to a Denny's for Ladera Heights. But I think it has much more tastiness. Can you find caramelized brisket bits and 'jus' at a Denny's? And I would say that the meaty fried chicken wings of Pann's can go toe-to-toe with the Roscoe's chicken wings any day of the week. The waffle wasn't the best that I've had (I wish there was enough "structure" to stand up to the weight and heat of the four meaty wings). But the tastiness of our meal and the extensive menu was impressive enough that these two Downtown/Silverlake gals have already committed to trekking back out to Pann's for seconds.

I believe mac and cheese and barbecue plates are in our future.

Pann's Restaurant
6710 La Tijera Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Small lot parking. Counter seating for the diner experience. Booth seating for the Tarantino Pulp Fiction experience.



I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I have been totally looking forward to seeing LA Weekly Restaurant Critic Jonathan Gold speak this evening at the Central Library in Downtown. In fact, I have been waiting for this day to come since Illewminator sent the invite a month ago. Even as I rushed out of the house, late as usual, I turned around to retrieve my copy of Counter Intelligence for Mr. Gold to autograph. I was so geeked.

When I get to the library, however, I meet this obnoxious Asian woman by the elevators in the parking garage. She's freaking out on her cell phone because she's late to some event. So I offer for her to follow me up the stairs to the library. Once we get there, she freaks out again because she doesn't know where to go, and I'm like, just follow me, I think we're going to the same place. Once we get to the auditorium, we see this HUGE line that bends around the corner and then some. The woman, still on the phone, bypasses me and just walks through crowd, ignoring the long line of increasingly impatient Gold fans. I immediately and instinctively follow her as she butts in front of all these people to the very head of the line, that is now blocked off due to overcapacity. She ducks under the barrier and is essentially carried off by her companion who was waiting securely on the other side. I, on the other hand, am left at the front of the line with all the crazies...

The coordinator of the Zocalo event then announces that the auditorium is full and no one else is allowed to enter. All of a sudden, what appears to be a group of cultured and civilized intellectuals turns into an hysterical, semi-apocalyptic mob in a seriously deep frenzy. They go berserk. They want blood.

But I rsvp'ed! Why did you overbook? Is there an overflow room? You must let me in. I have been waiting here for a half hour. We demand a formal apology. Everyone here should get their parking tickets validated. This is outrageous. This should have never happened. Will you ask Jonathan Gold if he will speak again in another hour? Let me speak to the person in charge!

The coordinator apologizes. "I'm sorry," she says over and over and over again, and louder each time. To deaf ears, of course. Yeah, I feel bad for her. But as part of the hungry pack, I also make a meager attempt:

Hey, I have a friend in there who is saving a seat for me.

Sorry, Miss, there are no available seats.

Oh, I see.

Finally, the security guards slowly turn the mob away and successfully divert a possible riot. I think to myself, maybe if I linger around just a little longer... but then I see other Grub Clubbers and realize that no one made it in! I feel better.

I guess Jonathan Gold will remain a mystery, a myth. Kind of like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jesus...


Pizzeria Mozza: Listen to Flavor Flav & Don't-Don't-Don't Believe the Hype!! (Sorta)

(fennel sausage pizza image courtesy of rick p. http://speedm.yelp.com)

i can't believe i did it but i finally ventured out to see about the hype.

i couldn't get in on a last-minute reservation cancellation so we waited at 6:45p on a Wednesday night for two spots at the bar. we got in after a 20min wait or so.

winebar guy in the corner was friendly. very responsive with refilling my water glass (for i am quite the thirsty diner). did some friendly and appropriate verbal sparring w/ me when i asked smarta*s questions about the menu. all-in-all. okay.

crowded. even the tables looked crowded. rather small space. i wonder how much more money they could be making right now if they had just 30% more table area. hmmmm..... overall really simple. casual clean decor.

okay. here we go. overall, i think there are certain items that we tried which were a bit overpriced or not worth the cost. i proceed...

* roasted spears (4) of asparagus coated w/ finely grated parmesan, with ample buttery slices of quality prosciutto and drizzled w/ olive oil. - 8 dollars---this was divine. i'd say hearty enough to merit the price.
* tricolore salad, well-coated in grated parmesan and complex anchovy based dressing - 14 dollars!!!!! delicious...but TOO expensive, even for the ample portion!
* fennel-sausage pizza - 14 dollars---MEH. Salty sausages...though still tasty. otherwise the toppings were unremarkable...couldn't really taste the other ones. the crust was pretty nice. most food bloggers have already covered this finer point. i get it. nancy does bread and she does it well. let's move on.
* prosciutto pizza - 15 dollars---Also MEH. plenty of prosciutto covering the pizza but i couldn't taste really any of the other toppings. i think we were on prosciutto overkill after being satiated by the asparagus appetizer
* butterscotch budino for dessert - 8 dollars. too sweet...and salty

total bill without tip = $63.87 (for two young ladies eating everything but half of each 10inch pizza

overhyped for sure. good joint but for the hype and price of some of the food, it's a little TOO much drama to get in for me. worth the wait to beat the crowd if you got a first date that requires some action around you to keep the conversation interesting. next time, i'll just get a pizza (the price is okay for what you get) and the asparagus/prosciutto appetizer.

641 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 297-0101