...the only type of marathon I will ever run.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Coachella- Daft Punk

Here is a totally non-food realted post. Coachella is always a highlight of my year. There's absolutely nothing worth eating at Coachella (don't even ask about the date shakes at Hadleys). The city of Palm Springs and surrounding areas barely have anything edible, however food is not the reason to go to the 100+ degree Coachella Valley during the last weekend of April.
Besides Ashlee and Shannon's parites, one of the best moments of 2006 was easily Daft Punk at Coachella.

It's not the most obvious call, considering all the great shows and new artists (Forward Russia , Lily Allen and Be Your Own Pet all at the Troubadour were each excellent).
However, it's not even a question that Daft Punk took the cake, as the energy, set and sound were far better than even one aspect of the other choices.
I have songs from Forward Russia from spring of 2005. Most of it was downloaded under the pretense that dance-punk was dead. Nonetheless I heard an At the Drive In-quality but with a female drummer/vocalist, Katie Nicholls. This leads in nicely to hype about the next Gwen Stefani, Jemina Pearl, who emphatically mimics Karen O who is copying Ann Wilson from Heart which leads to acknowledgement of Cameron Crowe's wife Nancy Wilson and ultimately Sofia Coppola (at 3:35 into the video).

Everything posted thusfar is a summary of the music of 2006 and the influences of the bands that represented it. I look forward to hearing what 2007 has to offer.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Another Idea- Dim Sum/Yoga Bar

While on the subject of interesting restaurant ideas, I thought I'd throw out this one:
LA doesn't have a modern dumpling bar like New York. With the number of yoga studios around town, why not combine the two. I always see people going from Yoga Works on Larchmont straight to Village Pizzeria. It seems like a contradictory activity. The Eastern take on food and exercise is complimentary, and would yield a smart restaurant.
I envision the yoga studio upstairs with the dumpling bar below (I don't know what type of health code issues there are). Any financial backers, feel free to step forward now.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Compilation Menus

While on the subject of east coast restaurants, my food marathoning friend Peter told me about Parish Cafe. The menu includes sandwiches created by different chefs from around the area. I like the concept of a compilation menu and think there will be more like this in the future.

Peter also told me about Chacarero I'm still waiting to try it.

A Chacarero is a traditional Chilean sandwich. It begins with homemade bread, that we make fresh daily. The main ingredient is either tender grilled steak or chicken (or both). Then with your main ingredient, we add steamed green beans, which gives it that authentic Chilean touch, Muenster cheese and fresh tomatoes. After that, we add an avocado spread, salt, pepper & our secret hot recipe to complete the sandwich.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Someone Tried- Shopsin's

In response to yesterday's soup post, my friend Stacie in New York told me about Shopsins. Unfortunately it's closed, but they definitely had soup. Check the menu (soups are on page 4).

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why Haven't They...

Modern takes on comfort food are trendy right now. So why isn't there a grilled cheese/Mac&Cheese restaurant that serves soup. It's a simple concept: eight different cheeses, breads and macaroni, eight different soups. Keep it on the hipper/fancier side and appeal to the Pinkberry/Toast/Urth crowd. No greasy, overstuffed paninis, no thousand calorie cream of broccoli- clean sandwiches on fresh bread with gruyere, ham-less pea soup and (obviously) spicy Thai and other Asian soups...
In recent discussions it's become apparent that everyone (especially, but not only during cold weather) loves soup. So why is it that Souplantation , some random ramen and Pho restaurants and Doughboys are the only places offering soup as a main component to their menus? How do salads and sandwiches earn so much menu clout, while soups are often relegated to an uninspired list of two.
With so many varieties of soups from all different parts of the world, and the many degrees of fancy soups that can be produced, it would seem like an inexpensive way to expand the menu. Toast offers a variety, yet still stick to standard American fare. Most trendy lunch places do (Cheebo : vegan butternut squash, Joans: tomato). Doughboys is the best bet for large portions of tasty soup. If they changed their menu seasonally I probably wouldn't even have this rant.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Just the Truth

Cookie Casa is better than Sprinkles.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Official Food/Music Post

I'll start with lunch yesterday at Mirabelle . Mirabelle is directly across the street from my office. As a result (and simply because of the location) we eat there frequently. I stress that the location is the only reason because the food isn't great, the service is terrible and worst of all, the music is consistently atrocious.
There are three things that restaurants do wrong when it comes to music:
  1. Volume- Too loud is worse than too quiet, but both can ruin a meal.
  2. Vocals- Often times it's difficult to compete with other table's conversations. I don't want to have to battle Andrea Bocelli as well.
  3. Style- Cheesy Italian pop, Trance, Outkast... Leave dance music to the clubs, party music to parties, and leave bad music out completely.
Mirabelle deftly accomplishes all three feats of musical ineptitude on a daily basis. Money for Nothing by Dire Straights, followed by jazz-world fusion, followed by Aretha Franklin... It should be noted that Mirabelle's decor is that of a 1650's trade ship. The clientele ranges from Hollywood blue hair's to entertainment industry business lunchers to Euro-trash Sunset Plaza types. First and foremost they have to lose the 80's pop rock. Second, lose songs with vocals altogether and stick to instrumental only- the noise from traffic on the sunset strip is loud enough. Which brings me to my main point about music and food- Ultimately, jazz works best.

In college my roommate always played jazz while he cooked. I don't know the origin of the activity, but I've adopted it. For some reason, the cooking process is enhanced by jazz (not smooth jazz, god forbid). Further, jazz has enough moods to work for both parties and serious business dinners, and it can add an air of class and sophistication (particularly to a restaurant that resembles a pirate ship).

Of course this is just a generalization. At Inoteca in New York they play Alice in Chains and And Justice For All-era Metallica, which worked perfectly for the hip, casual restaurant. Many Dodd Mitchell-designed restaurants choose electronic music, which also works well in maintaining a modern ambiance and hipness.

Many other restaurants achieve excellence in their musical choices, while some fall flat. I'll post more in the future.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's Just the Truth

Nothing will ever stop me from loving Taco Bell.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Kickboxing and Spicy Soup Part 3: The Rest

Upon finding the bug in the soup we were quickly brought a fresh, new bug-free bowl. We sadly left Palms Thai, knowing that we had been cheated on. How could we ever trust them again?

We continued kickboxing but took a break from spicy soup. As the craving mounted we discussed giving them another chance. The insane rationalization was that the restaurant has a 'B' because it's big, open for long hours and so busy that it's hard to maintain all proper cleaning standards. We were making excuses. We know.

After a month or two, we decided to give them another chance. The soup was as good as ever, the staff was glad to have us back and we were happy once again.

Then the most dismal day of the dog days of summer came upon us. And like the saying goes "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me," we were shamed again. Halfway through a superb pot of soup, we found a fly. The deep intense, sadness filled us both. I even went into denial and chose not to look, just to keep from having my world collapse on me. After a few minutes, the shame and despair set in. We didn't eat another pot. We just left, broken and beaten.

It is dramatic (and pathetic) to speak about food this way. I think there's a certain group of you who can relate.

Over the last few months we made an assault on Thai Town trying to find a comparable pot of soup: Yai (uses red chili oil), Red Corner (expensive for small portion), Jitlada (slow service), Rodded (too sweet), Thai Patio (wasn't spicy enough despite requests), Vim (got weird facial pain after soup), Sanamluang... then Chao Krung (boring), Natalee (not even close)... then switched to Sherman way: Krua Thai (ehh), Swan Thai (almost there, but still not quite). Obviously we have an affinity for Palms' style of soupmaking. They give huge, inexpensive portions, and the chili's they use are fresh and spicy. So as this saga ends, our search continues.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Chicken Noodle Soup with a Soda on the Side

This is a good way to start the music side of this blog. Look for a full music post soon.

To start it all off, here's the Harlem hit of the summer and Kat's current favorite...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Chulada Grill

With the advent of Chowhound, it's almost impossible to find restaurants that are untouched by the forks and fingers of food bloggers. So I'm gonna make an effort to find some.
Chulada Grill is a stereotypical Mexican American restaurant in the Miracle Mile area. They seem to specialize in takeout and delivery but we ate there. As the area is not necessarily known for its food, I'd have to say it's a solid local choice. I haven't had the American side of the menu yet, but the burgers and chili seem like a good hangover meal- when leaving your two mile radius isn't a pleasant option.

Ambiance: Two TV's tuned to Jeopardy, a salsa bar akin to La Salsa/Baja Fresh, chips were unsalted, table cloths/paper napkins.

Service: Extremely attentive, food was brought quickly.
Food: CHILE VERDE, Deep fried pork with green tomatillo salsa, bell peppers, tomatoes, rice, beans and tortillas. $8.50- Although the color made the dish look like snot, the pork was tasty and the sauce was quite flavorful. Rice, beans and tortillas all were fine.
MACHO BURRITO, Choice of beef or chicken, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese
- My friends ordered chicken burritos, which are large and very tasty. They come wrapped in paper, which sealed in some liquid (probably from freshly cut/cleaned lettuce/tomatoes, combined with the very tender chicken).
Drinks: Cold Dos Equis and Coronas.
Note: The guacamole wasn't good and was overpriced at $2.50 for a college shot-glass-sized cup.

Chulada Grill
5607 San Vicente Blvd.
(Corner of Hauser and San Vicente)
Los Angeles, CA 90019
p.(323) 954-7570