Friday, October 19, 2018

A Humble LA Food Blogger's Guide to Philly.





Philly is a very different city than Los Angeles. In fact the similarities are so rare I was surprised they had 7-11 locations the first time I saw one!

Philadelphia really did grow on me. As a city it's a tiny fraction of what I'm used to in LA population wise. The racial makeup is radically different and the food culture even more so.

Thanks to Visit Philadelphia I got to see a lot of this gorgeous historic city. But you are reading this because of food…

So yeah Philly has some serious eats. Obviously there's the cheese steak. But it runs deeper than that. Philadelphia has street accessible Italian food that LA can't touch. The Amish influences on food from the farming to preparation is something we have nothing of in LA.

So where to go? What to do? Ok here's my humble opinions.

First off let me endorse Big Bus Tours Philly. They are educational, take you around almost everywhere in DT Philly worth going and they will even pick you up and drop you at your hotel for no additional charge. It's really a great way to explore the city without trying to find parking.


Oh. BTW. Gino's and Pat's suck. Don't do it to yourself.

Miller’s Twist- I hate using the words the best I have ever had. It's a cop out usually. The person saying that probably says it all the time and hasn't had a lot of what they are trying. Miller’s Twist really is the best I have ever had though. Honestly I had no idea I actually liked pretzels this much. Amish women actually are making pretzels by hand the entire time this place is open. Doing it the right way with lye (it's toxic but only before it's cooked) the RIGHT WAY. The end product is a shiny mahogany brown pretzel with a light chew. This place may ruin bulk frozen pretzels for you forever.



Lynn's - Yes this is a random recommendation but... I'm still doing it. Lynn's may be the best example of street cart food in Philly. This is probably the most popular breakfast spot for University of Penn students in the know. Lynn's serves made to order breakfast sandwiches for around 3 dollars. Best food deal in Philly? Possibly. The most popular sandwiches are usually the freshly cracked egg sandwiches but I really enjoyed their eggplant spinach parm Sammie. This spot is a little off the beaten path.





Federal Donuts - LA has a shitton of donuts. In fact we have the biggest amount of independent donut shops in the country. I have had my fair share of donuts and am picky as hell. I put FD in my top ten. What makes FD work? Half their donuts menu is made to order. Which means yes you have to get a made to order donut and you can't even look at anything else on the menu. I suggest the brown sugar donut. It's like a churro and a donut from a upper class family had a beautiful donut baby. The made to order donuts are cake donuts so expect a butter crumb experience.


Shane Confectionery -This is the oldest operating candy store in the United States from the 1860’s. Expect a upscale, old fashioned candy experience. Most of the candy here is actually made in house! Are you a person who loves chocolate? Like a LOT? Like wants to watch someone grind cacao nibs by hand and then make you Aztec hot chocolate with them? Well they do that. It's kinda impressive. Oh and make sure to grab some house made caramels.



John's Roast Pork/ DiNic's at Reading Terminal Market -So for some people the sandwich of Philly isn't a cheese steak it's a roast pork roll. Those people probably need to do PR for their sandwich because outside of Philly I don't think anyone has even heard of this sandwich (cue emails and messages telling me about how they know about this outside of Philly.) The two spots you can get a pork roll (that matter) are John's Roast Pork ( started in the 1930s)  and DiNic's at Reading Terminal Market . John's Roast Pork is as blue collar Italian worker as it can get. When I was there I asked if the fries were hand cut and they obviously have never been asked that before (they actually said they might have to do it ) John's Roast Pork is a James Beard recognized restaurant due to its pork roll. It's the quintessential South Philly experience. That being said i prefer DiNic’s. DiNic's at Reading Terminal Market is definitely more the “new school” option for pork sandwiches. Its stool seating at a stand at Reading. The sandwiches are hefty and I suggest trying them with all the toppings they offer your first time (sharp provolone is amazing)  DiNic’s won Travel Channel's "Best Sandwich in America" title.
 Johns



Dinic's





Reading Market. This is a spot I am going to miss so much. If you are a foodie and don't come here you might as well stay at home. Reading had over 40 vendors ranging from a 120 year old ice cream shop, to amazing Amish food, to Philly's most popular donut shop. You could spend your whole day here. Luckily it's a stop for the Big Bus Tour and is right next to the train station so it's super easy to get to. But seriously eat all the Amish stuff you can!






I came to Philly expecting to eat a cheese steak, complain about the cold, and see some American landmarks. But the city surprised me. There's a pretty good food scene if you are looking for it. Special thanks to Tiny Luke for spending a little time explaining his city to me (look him up if you don't know him.)




Saturday, August 11, 2018

Spoonfed is a Small Oasis in Hollywood

 I'm not a fan of Hollywood as a neighborhood. I said it. Yes there's stuff I like a lot but its the kind of place that if you spend too much time in you are bound to get frustrated.

So that's why I'm telling you about Spoonfed. Opened recently, Spoonfed is tucked away in a corner of Hollywood known for movie production more than tourists.  Its carved out of corner of a business center so if you go after 5 or a weekend you are sure to get away from the noise that is Hollywood.

Spoonfed is a little of everything. They sell food gift items for their Hollywood neighbors. They have a coffee bar...and one room is actually a fully stocked regular bar. Hell there's an entire case dedicated to giant cakes.

So needless to say you will probably find something here to fit you. The food here works too. This is probably one of the few places in LA you are going to find made to order potato chips...and most likely the only place (let me know if you see this somewhere else) clam dip (its the owners recipe.)

Me? I suggest you try the Chicago/Italian beef sandwich. Its definitely one of the most serious versions I have had in LA.  I would not turn down a giant cake slice though.
Italian beef

Chicken wings

Big Middle East Plate







Blue cheese balls 

The owners favorite clam dip 






                                         959 Seward St, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Maybe the Best Churro You WIll Ever Eat


I go to dozens of new restaurants a month. 95 percent of the time? I never go back. But occasionally I get a place I obsess about. Spots where I am torn between sharing and keeping the lines down for myself...Don Churros Gomez is one of those places.

It's just a truck parked on a quiet corner of Anaheim like so many other roach coaches in So Cal but for people in the know it's a magical places. Don Churros is producing a product at a level that as of now is pretty hard pressed to be touched.

While the truck might be new the recipes have existed in same state with the family for decades. It's a little surprising to learn that the recipe is supposedly vegan (I would guess the sugar being commercial white sugar may be processed with bone ash thought) seeing as this churro meets every standard a churro needs. They are crispy, chewy, without being dense. They say the process is a three day one for the dough and I believe them.

When you go there (and you really should) take time to watch these guys make churros. It's a detailed process with a lot of steps. I would say to try their El Don Churros which is like a cross between french bread and a churro stuffed with caramel but my heart is with the classic.

Just do me a favor and don't go while I'm in line.





                                           1475 S Anaheim Blvd Anaheim, CA 92805










Thursday, March 29, 2018

Why You Should Be in Torrance Right Now: A Foodies Guide to Torrance.



When Discover Torrance invited me to Torrance my first thought was...why? What was in Torrance? I knew it as a city that had a lot of Japanese people...something about cars and it was in the South Bay. After a weekend in Torrance I found a city that doesn't get enough credit for being a destination. 


Madrona Marsh
3201 Plaza del Amo, Torrance, CA 90503
Madrona Marsh is a little slice of nature right in the middle of this busy city. At over 40 acres its a great spot to see tons of native birds,flowers, and even frogs! Admission is free and its a place you can go with just about anyone. 





Torrance Bakery 
1341 El Prado Ave, Torrance, CA 90501
Torrance Bakery is doing things old school because that's what works. One of the oldest bakeries in LA they make hundreds of cakes a day from scratch. Some of their recipes are decades old. You can get cakes donuts and even sandwiches from this baking institution.  









Torrance Farmers Market.
 2200 Crenshaw Blvd, Torrance, CA 90501
Farmers Markets just don't seem as fun as they should be anymore. But the Torrance Farmers Market is a foodies dream. Oysters from the esteemed Jolly Oyster, artisanal mushrooms, strawberries from the famous Harry's Berries (Wolfgang Puck is a fan.) Eat some various grilled meats while looking around.  





Del Amo Fashion Center
3525 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90503
As much as I would like you cant eat ALL the time. So having one of the biggest malls in America right n the heart of Torrance is pretty convenient. With two virtual reality arcades, tons of restaurants, and a movie theatre there's plenty to do while digesting. 






 Madre! 
 1261 Cabrillo Ave #100, Torrance, CA 90501
The owner of Madre will tell you that he makes the best Oaxacan food in LA. But that's for you to judge. They do make some mean grilled meats and the chrozzio cheese skillet is a must try. Looking to try something than your usual beer? Madre has a huge selection of artisanal Mezcal's (a Mexican liquor) that they get from the brewers themselves. 






Din Tai Fung
3525 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90503
Din Tai Fung is the king of dumplings in LA and this is one of their newest branches. Specializing in soup dumplings you can actually watch them make the dumplings from a window inside! You can get anything from truffle to crab and pork but I suggest trying a simple pork soup dumpling splashed with black vinegar for a beginner. 







Get Shaved
1790 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

With Get Shaved I'm cheating. I have been following this truck since it opened and have actually been to this location once or twice...and maybe three times while I was here for my trip. They take SHave Ice very seriously here. Ice sliced paper thin. Housemade syrups. It all results in a product better than anything you will find besides on the Hawaiian Islands themselves. 








Brazilian Plate House
4509 Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503

Maybe its just me but Brazilian food can be...hard. If you want to eat it and you don't want to pay a small fortune for a all you can eat meat dinner well your options are very limited. Plate House fixes that issue. Making Brazilian food from family recipes you can get brazilian cheese bread (which is seriously addicting) one ball at a time here....you wont eat just one though. 


Mitsuwa Marketplace
21515 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

Mitsuwa might be my happy place in Torrance. In fact I think I could have spent my entire weekend pretty happy here. Besides a large grocery store they have a food court, a candy store, and a bakery. You could indulge in a ton of Japanese food that's better than most of what you will find in LA. In fact the ramen and tempura stands are a little famous on Yelp.





Torrance Beach 
Torrance has one beach and this is it. Its a beautiful small beach right on PCH. There's a lot of photo opportunities with the paths and gourgou rocky cliffs. If its too cold to swim you can play volleyball and watch the kitesurfers.