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Bäco Mercat | Downtown Los Angeles

Bäco Mercat | Los AngelesBaco Mercat Los AngelesBäco Mercat | Los Angeles

kyle read in GQ magazine that bäco mercat was the best new restaurant of 2012.  since it was such a bold statement, we decided that it will be the next place on our list to try.  so for my birthday, he made a reservation for two!

bäco = a sandwich.  apparently, a special one.  we decided to order:

  • el pesco bäco – crispy shrimp, sriracha, chive dressing. obviously we got this because of the sriracha. 
  • bazole soup – noodles, pork broth, mushroom and a fried egg (haha, no we did not enjoy the egg).
  • caramelized cauliflower w/pine nuts, mint and garlic
  • hamachi crudo w/ avocado and hash brown ball
  • pork bell ricotta cavatelli (recommended by the waitress)
  • cocä bondiga (also recommended by the waitress)
  • tamarindo & mango soda (made in-house)

 

one thing we were blown away by:  the bäco pop!  before coming here, we heard that the soda here was amazing.  amazing?  psh.  obviously i did not believe it.  we got the tamarindo and mango soda anyway.  …i was completely wrong. so wrong. the soda was delicious!  i literally was blown away by it.  (yep) i would come here for this soda.  we actually wanted to buy a case of this for our home.  nuff said.

Baco Mercat Los AngelesBäco Mercat | Los Angeles

hamachi crudo came first.  this was delicious!! it was a great start to our dinner.  a pleasant surprise was the hash brown in the form of a ball.  great compliment to the hamachi and the guac.

Bäco Mercat | Los Angeles

onto the bäco!  besides the fact that it is just a pita sandwich (i really dont know what we were expecting)…it was wonderful!  the batter was still slightly crispy, the sriracha added a great kick!  great, sandwich! we get the craze.

Bäco Mercat | Los Angeles

the bazole was something we did not expect.  we really thought it was going to be pozole… ya know, the kind we eat during the holidays.  nothing like it.  think ramen…with a huge egg in it.  broth was good but the dish overall was just ok.

Bäco Mercat | Los AngelesBäco Mercat | Los Angeles

the cauliflower was great.  i was a fan.

Bäco Mercat | Los Angeles

the cavatelli (a pasta) was recommended by the waitress.  this was awful.  we did not like this at all.  not only was the cavatelli green, it kind of looked like we were eating worms.  so childish, i know.  but it wasnt just that…the combination of the pork and the cheese…it didnt taste very good.  do not get this.  there are definitely better dishes than this.

Bäco Mercat | Los AngelesBäco Mercat | Los AngelesBäco Mercat | Los Angeles

cocä aka crispy flatbread…so basically this is just a thin crust pizza in our opinion.  we were not expecting this…at all.  we ordered the bondiga – three cheese, smoked jalapeno and meatball.  anyway, it was just ok.  we were not in love with this.  the cheese is a little overpowering.

Bäco Mercat | Los AngelesBäco Mercat | Los Angeles

onto dessert (my favorite part)! we ordered the (i) caramel upside down cake w/ pineapple and hazelnut and (ii) chocolate banana cake.  they were both just ok.  my the caramel on my cake was on the burnt side, which i am not a huge fan of (some people love this).

Bäco Mercat | Los Angeles

  • overall:  while some dishes were a hit or a miss, the hits were definitely worth mentioning and recommending.  we would come back here for sure.  
  • parking:  street or lot.  expect to pay…its downtown. 
  • tip:  make a reservation.  this place gets packed! 

Bäco Mercat
408 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Neighborhood: Downtown

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By |April 22nd, 2013|Dessert, Food, Photography, Restaurants|9 Comments

Republic of Pie | North Hollywood, CA

republic of pie is one of my places to just hang out. we normally come here for pies and a coffee but on nice mornings when we can make it in, we go for the chicken pot pie! it comes in a small, cute cup.  it’s great. make sure you get it!

Republic of Pie | Toluca LakeRepublic of Pie | Toluca LakeRepublic of Pie | Toluca LakeRepublic of Pie | Toluca LakeRepublic of PieRepublic of Pie | Toluca LakeRepublic of Pie | Toluca LakeRepublic of Pie | Toluca Lake

  • tip:  they have live music on the weekdays!  love it!  favorite pies are the chocolate bread pudding (a la mode of course) and banana cream pie (also a la mode).  
  • parking: street parking. 
  • atmosphere:  homey, library, coffee shop, all in one. 
  • service:  always amazingly friendly. 

Republic of Pie
11118 Magnolia Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601

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By |April 17th, 2013|Coffee, Tea, & Bakeries, Dessert, Food, Restaurants|2 Comments

Blue Cow Kitchen | Downtown Los Angeles

Blue Cow Los Angeles

this is the vietnamese chicken salad at blue cow kitchen in downtown la.  the geniuses behind mendocino farms created blue cow, an upscale full-service lunch spot that is great on a nice, sunny day.  so this salad is  my favorite thing to get here.

second favorite thing to get: country fried chicken rolls (ahem, hawaiian rolls).  delicious!

350 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90071

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By |April 17th, 2013|Food, Restaurants|2 Comments

Sweetsalt | Toluca Lake, CA

Sweetsalt Toluca LakeSweetsalt Toluca Lake

adorable place to have brunch in toluca lake. when we come here, we usually order the shrimp po’ boy.  its not like your average shrimp po’ boy (ya know, the deep fried shrimp kind).  this one has cajun shrimp with crumbled chips and a great spicy aioli.  woo! we’ve tried the lobster roll, truffle chicken, pesto chicken panini, and the short rib sandwich but we always come back to the po’ boy.

we tried the tomato soup this time… probably not again. oh yeah, and each sandwich comes with a nice little salad w/ champagne dressing. this salad always makes me feel uber healthy.

Sweetsalt Toluca Lake

i think you guys know that we are always on the search for great breakfast burritos.  well, sweetsalt has a pretty good breakfast burrito that comes with pretty awesome salsa (which i think makes this burrito).

Sweetsalt Toluca LakeSweetsalt Toluca Lake

  • atmosphere:  very cute. 
  • service: everyone is always nice here.  you order at the cash register, sit down. they bring your food out to you and  you get water on your own.  
  • parking: street. we never have a problem.
  • overall: always a nice choice for brunch on saturday/sunday.

Sweetsalt
10218 Riverside Dr
Los Angeles, CA 91602
Neighborhood: Toluca Lake

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By |April 15th, 2013|Food, Restaurants|2 Comments

Asian Fusion @ Asia de Cuba | West Hollywood, CA

Asia De CubaAsia De CubaAsia De Cuba

asia de cuba is our favorite restaurant in la right now.  we went here for our anniversary last year and fell in love. when a deal on gilt came up for a pre-fix dinner for two at this wonderful place, we obviously had to get it.  so, asia de cuba (in the mondrian hotel) sits on top of a hill in west hollywood, overlooking la.  excellent location.

the night we came, it was cloudy out but still warm enough to sit outside.  love it.

Asia De Cuba

our deal ($110) was a four-course dinner for two. for our starters, we chose (i) ropa vieja of duck and (ii) crispy octopus ajillo. the ropa vieja of duck was topped with hoisin sauce served in lettuce cups. note to self, must get this again.  the duck was moist, sweet with a little spicy kick.  this is a little wrap so its not heavy…however, it is a messy.

Asia De CubaAsia De Cuba

the amazing view.  too bad it was cloudy out.

Asia De Cuba

the crispy octopus ajillo w/ caramelized onions and sake pickled lychee was highly recommended by our waitress.  this is something we never have ordered but we are absolutely glad we did.  they werent lying when they named this crispy.  it really is! not dry crispy.  moist on the inside, crispy on the outside.  how do they do it?! for someone who loves crispy texture…this was awesome.

Asia De Cuba

note that the plating here is amazing!  so we took a gazillion photos! (yep, i’m one of those)

Asia De CubaAsia De Cuba

calamari salad “asia de cuba”.  this is their signature salad.  calamari, hearts of palm, bananas (yeah first time for us too), cashews and sesame orange dressing.  refreshing.  calamari and cashews give it a nice crunch.

Asia De Cuba

we were weirded out by the bananas at first but the tastes blend so well.

Asia De Cuba

after appetizers, we were given a great palette cleanser: coconut sorbet! delicious!

Asia De Cuba

the view is so amazing.  here’s another shot.

Asia De CubaAsia De Cuba

lobster mash was great (mastros, you still win my heart for best lobster mash).  we got this because we thought it would go well with the gambas gigante mai tai a.k.a. giant prawns in red thai curry, rum, and coconut cream.  the curry was good.  we wished it was hotter (temperature and spiciness).  side note: its hard for us now that we have been to thailand…curry was so good there.  now every time we have curry, we compare it to our thailand adventure!

anyway, curry was good. prawns were gigantic.

Asia De CubaAsia De CubaAsia De Cuba

our second main and one of our favorites: char siu beef short ribs w/ chili orange salsa!  this is absolutely amazing (and it’s amazing every single time we have it). this is definitely another must get dish! taste – think explosion of flavor.  presentation – impressive, clean and very colorful.

Asia De CubaAsia De CubaAsia De Cuba Asia De Cuba

dessert – mexican donuts.

 

tip:  other things that we love here that we couldnt order because it wasnt part of the tasting menu – miso cured alaskan black cod (fish was perfectly prepared) w/ grilled shishito peppers and plantain fried rice topped with avocado salad aka guacamole (asian cuban fusion…get it?!)

  • overall:  obviously we are big fans of this place.  we recommend this to anyone looking for a nice view of la and great food.  price point is on the high side so this is definitely a special occasion kinda night.  
  • ambience: dining room inside is all white.  large windows overlooking la.  
  • service:  great service every time.  we have never gone there when it’s ridiculously packed so you get a lot of undivided attention. 
  • parking: valet only.

Asia De Cuba
8440 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Neighborhood: West Hollywood

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By |April 14th, 2013|Dessert, Food, Restaurants|2 Comments
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