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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hour of the CHIPwreck

The second in the annals of chips is Kettle Bakes Pretzel Chips Original flavor. They're similar to Trader Joe's but Kettle's aren't as crunchy (which is odd, as their potato chips are extremely crunchy). There's also no indication that the pretzels were baked in a kettle. The flavor was good, no weird after taste- not too salty. There were honey dijon but I didn't try them.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dim Sum Sundae Sunday

It wasn't really a marathon, although it could constitute a Food 5k. It really was just lunch and dessert. Fantastic lunch and fantastic dessert.
In a moment of spontaneity we found ourselves Alhambra-bound Sunday morning. Seated outside Triumphal Palace at 11:30am, we eagerly awaited what we've read about countless times- one of the best dim sum restaurants in the LA area.
Two-tops aren't plentiful at this lazy-susan-rich spot. We waited for forty five minutes amongst large groups of predominantly Chinese families and friends. Upon being seated we wasted no time checking off seafood and pork-filled dumplings. The cartless service at Triumphal palace is refreshing.
Not picture were the two best pork dishes: Steamed BBQ Pork Buns and Pork Shiu-Mai. It should be noted that every order was lighter and fresher tasting then dim sum I've had in the past.
The simple elegance of the Crystal Shrimp Har-Gow set them above many past dumplings that I've eaten.Scallop Dumplings
Congee with Sliced Fish
Sesame Seafood Roll
BBQ Pork Belly
Fried Crab Claw with Stuffed Fish
Fosselman's Mint Chip and Mocha Almond Fudge Sundae with hot fudge, whipped cream and nuts
We were pretty full after that. Altogether a wonderful summer Sunday.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

More On Spice, To Prove We're Not Morons

Some scientific data behind spice and masochism. And Jonathan Gold's review, where his friend "used to keep a Thai-language card in his wallet instructing waiters to feed him food spiced for Bangkok natives instead of for the inadequate palates of the farang."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dear Jitlada, you win. We Surrender.

I woke up this morning with a black tongue and my stomach precariously balanced between the volatile states of seizure and bleeding.
I like to think that I have an iron stomach; sushi for breakfast, wine/beer/tequila/scotch consecutively, food marathoning in general. Jitlada successfully cracked said iron with a blunt blow to my stomach in the form of their southern Thai masterpiece, Phat(tha)lung-style spicy, tumeric-flavoured, dry curry with beef. It's one of those perfectly spicy and delicious dishes that relentlessly harms the body as quickly as it satisfies the tongue and heightens the senses. We ordered it as spicy as they could make it, and for the record, the vegetables on the side don't help. The song "Hurts So Good" by John Cougar Mellencamp is the first that comes to mind (and I must be delirious from the spice to be quoting John Cougar Mellencamp).
The recently translated southern Thai menu has lead us back to Jitlada, not that we ever doubted their excellence. We'd been making the Thai Town rounds for the past two years, most recently abandoning Torung for their lack of ability to properly hurt us. At Palms, back when we were regulars, they brought the spice to a satiating level. Ruen Pair did too. However, neither did it with the friendliness or power that Jitlada did. Jitlada's matriarch has been more hospitable than any other restaurant we've visited, while at the same time serving the painful level of spice we require.
I'm not sure about the black tongue but I know we'll return to Jitlada, possibly tonight. I'm also pretty sure my stomach will be fine... or at least I hope.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First Is the Worst, Second is the Best

Eater was kind enough to invite me to the Hell's Kitchen finale viewing party at Tanzore.
Caroline on Crack was there and provides good commentary as always.
Bonnie handled her second place finish gracefully, having invited family and friends to watch her come up short of the $250k head chef prize. Don't worry Bonnie, I wouldn't want to live in Vegas either. The food at Tanzore is good- notably lighter than the usual Indian fare. This begs the question of whether I would seek out lighter Indian fare, and the answer is no. I'm very happy with greasy, heavy Indian food from any number of the typical Indian restaurants in the greater LA area.
The video setup was terrific- easily viewable from anywhere in the lounge, good quality sound and image, and they were able to play music over the commercials. It's an excellent viewing party location.
It was nice to meet the people behind Eater LA and The Knife.
Last but not least was Moxy, the wonderful brand manager from the alcohol sponsor Charbay. She genuinely cares about the company she works for, effusively explaining the passion that the owners have for their craft. The flavored vodkas are as good as any I've had. Their unusual flavors include blood orange, meyer lemon, green tea and pomegranate.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Knife, a Fork, a Bottle and a Cork...

...That's The Way You Spell New York
After a weekend in Philadelphia I took the train up to Manhattan. We were eating within an hour of my arrival.
We started with Momofuku Ssäm, the trendy Korean burrito joint. We waited for a server as numerous employees walked back and forth passed our table. It took about ten minutes for someone to tell us that during lunch your order at the counter at the rear of the restaurant.Never have I experienced such an awkward tension between the servers behind the counter. It was as if we walked into to someone's apartment unannounced and demanded that they make us lunch. The only difference was we were in a restaurant and about to be $16 for a football sized burrito.This proved to be the healthiest thing I ate all week: tofu, cucumbers, mushrooms and rice.Drinking commenced at TV on the Radio at McCarren Pool. The hipsters were out in full force, with some prize-winning costumes. One of the hipster offspring peed in the pool. Drinking continued at Clems. Late into the night BBQ was consumed at Fette Sau. I love New York because you can get a delicious plate of bar-b-que at 10pm on a Sunday and it looks like a typical LA restaurant at 7pm on a Thursday.Slab of baby backs, baked beans with huge chunks of meat in it, fresh pickles and two rolls. A terrific meal, with good flavor in the two accompanying sauces.
Drinking followed at Larry Lawrence where the hipsterism continued. The conversation I walked in on included "what Coltrane was doing in his time was so far superior to what any contemporary band is doing now." The night went on...
By noon the next morning I was at Minka Ramen enjoying a bowl full of fantastic broth, noodles, pork and an egg.
Wasting no time, I tried to grab a bahn-mi before heading to Shake Shack, but Nicky's is closed on Mondays. Checked out the Ikea-sized Whole Foods then on to the meal I'd most been looking forward to... Shake Shack.
It was 2:30 so the line wasn't that long. They have an efficient system for ordering and within twenty minutes I was standing over this box of goodness:
That's the Shackburger, Chicago Dog (tomato, pepper, pickle, onion, relish, cucumber, celery salt, mustard) and Shack Attack (chocolate custard, hot fudge, chocolate truffle cookie dough, valrhona chocolate chunks and chocolate sprinkles). Yes I ate it all and, yes, I'm surprised I didn't keel over and die immediately upon consumption. The burger's flavor was rich, the dog was too small for its toppings, but the shake was phenomenal.
That's a squirrel enjoying a shake shack fry:We met up with a bunch of friends at Loreley where we drank huge liter steins of German beer and had brats with mustard, sauerkraut and potatoes.
I only sampled the food because I didn't want to spoil dinner at Little Owl. I didn't take pictures. The veal meatball sliders, scallops and whole pompano were fantastic.
The next day I had a lobster roll from Mary's Fish Camp and a chocolate chip cookie, three pieces of chocolate (peanut butter & jelly, milk chocolate and a spicy one) and frozen hot chocolate from Jacques Torres.
It's probably a good thing that I don't live in New York, but I really wish I did.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Satriale's, Sopranos and Sarcone's

The Philly marathon continued in a more New Jersey style, with Italian deli subs from Sarcone's. Reminiscent of Satriale's on the Sopranos, Sarcone's is a simple corner deli with fresh meat, cheese and other fixings for sub sandwiches (or hoagie depending on who you ask).
We got an Old Fashioned Italian (thinly sliced prosciutto, hot sopresatta, hot coppa, sharp provlone, dry herbs, lettuce, tomato and onion), The Ultimate Veggie (oven roasted eggplant, roasted long hots, roasted red peppers, sauteed spinach, sharp provolone, fresh mozzarella, red wine vinegar, dry herbs) and The Tony Soprano (gobagool- which is slang for "capicola", mortadella, prosciuotto and a bunch of other meats and spicy peppers).
The sandwiches come on Sarcone's bread which is baked down the street in their bakery.
A few feet down the street we tried George's roast pork hoagie. It was average at best.
We followed that up with something called water ice. It's really a snow cone but in Philly they call it water ice. Don't ask.
Throw in a couple cannolis and you've got yourself a solid Philly food marathon.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Whiz Wit or Witout

One of the original food marathoners got married in Philadelphia. This presented an opportunity to eat a path through the city, and also add on a trip to New York for more food marathoning.
Upon arrival at the hotel we were greeted with a bag full of Philly's most notable sweets: Tasty Kakes, Orange Soda
Philly cheese steaks are renowned for their simplicity and junkfoody goodness. Topped with Cheese Whiz, these sandwiches are most famously sold at Pat's and Geno's. These first two pics courtesy of Carrie: Located on the same South Philly street, it's the equivalent of having two Pinks within fifty feet of each other on La Brea.To keep things moving quickly, these sandwich stands employ a shorthand form of ordering which you can read about here. Basically a sandwich can be ordered with two words "Whiz wit" (a sandwich with Cheese Whiz and onions), a simple method that should be mandatory at most crowded restaurants.The argument over who has the best cheesesteak will go on much longer than I'll be going on food marathons, so I'm not even gonna add my opinion because it doesn't really matter. I didn't get to Jim's, the other top spot, but I did make it to Tony Luke's per a referral from a Philly native.
Philly's inappropriately named water ice, Sopranos-esque Italian deli and NYC meal mayhem coming soon...