Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks, CA

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

annnd we’re back. we took a break from bbq for awhile after being burnt out after trying gus’ bbq, baby blues, bludsos and lucille’s bbq all in a month to two months. enter smoke city market.

we were thrilled when we walked into eclectic western decor. this has to be good.

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

before coming here, we read that the restaurant suggests that you shouldn’t put bbq sauce on their ribs. however, it does provide bbq sauce on each table if you feel so inclined. we ordered:

  • baby back ribs
  • side of potato salad
  • bbq beast – brisket, pulled pork, sausage, cole slaw, hot vinegar (per recommendation)

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

alright. the ribs. they were moist but rather tasteless! you would think if the recommendation is to not use bbq sauce, that the meat itself should be well seasoned.

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

now the bbq sauce. i personally like a smokey, sweet bbq sauce. therefore, tangy is just not my thing. i did not love the bbq sauce but drenched my ribs in it anyway since it really needed flavor.

potato salad was good.

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

the bbq beast. i liked the bbq beast a lot better than the ribs. but that isn’t really saying much. oddly, the sausage was what stood out in the sandwich.

Smoke City Market | Sherman Oaks

  • food: we really wanted to like this place. the bbq just fell short. ribs were under seasoned and bbq sauce was very tangy. sandwich was ok but still just meh.
  • service: cashier was amazingly nice, energetic and helpful! this was the main reason we really wanted to fall in love with the bbq here.
  • ambience: eclectic, bright, and very western. clean and very well lit.
  • parking: this place is on van nuys (a main street) near all the car dealerships. ample street parking.
  • overall: no our favorite.

Smoke City Market
5242 Van Nuys Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91401

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By | June 4th, 2014 | Food, Restaurants | 0 Comments

Black Hogg | Silver Lake, CA

Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake

what we ordered:

  • popcorn bacon ($8) – bacon with maple crema. this is one of the popular items on the menu… and rightfully so.
  • garlic scallion string beans ($8) – sautéed string beans, garlic scallion vinaigrette with hazelnuts.
  • pork belly tacos ($10) – pork belly, fuji apple slaw, and jalapeño relish.
  • duck ceviche ($13) – chilled duck confit, fish sauce lime juice, thai chili on tostadas. this is different but very tasty. i liked the tostada. kyle really liked this one.
  • steak tartare ($15) – wagyu, sesame, soy, fish sauce, egg yolk with brioche toast. pretty darn good.
  • five leches bread pudding ($8) – brioche, rhubarb, toasted pecans.

Black Hogg | Silver Lake

so bundaberg has a peach soda… yep! peach soda! it is delicious and definitely now one of my favorite sodas. bacon popcorn…you will be surprised at how good this is.

Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake

this is definitely up there as one of the best string bean dishes i have ever had! the vinaigrette make this dish and will not disappoint you. so glad we ordered you, garlic scallion string beans!

Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake

i’m gonna go ahead and say it. this is the perfect taco. perfect. pork is cooked perfectly and melts in your mouth. the fuji slaw and relish cut the pork fat and provide a refreshing kick.

Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake
Black Hogg | Silver Lake

i have a weakness for bread pudding. i’m normally not a fan of tres leches but this one is stupid good. not too sweet. the pecans add a nice crunch. the vanilla ice cream compliments it well. too good. #treatyoself

Black Hogg | Silver Lake

  • food: we love the food here!
  • ambience: casual, clean feel. minimalistic design. light wood paneling. neutral colors.
  • service: we have been here twice and have received great service!
  • parking: metered street parking. if there are no meters available, the restaurant does offer valet.
  • overall: i feel like black hogg is a very underestimated restaurant in la. our meals here from beginning to end have been amazing! black hogg is very well one of our favorite restaurants right now. so if you do score a table at this place, two winners are definitely the green beans and the pork belly tacos. since this place is the small plate concept, things could get pricey. but again, i think it is well worth it.

Black Hogg
2852 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Neighborhood: Silver Lake

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By | May 27th, 2014 | Food, Restaurants | 0 Comments

ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen | Hollywood, CA

this is known as the asian chipotle (i didn’t coin this term…i wish i did).

ShopHouse | Hollywood ShopHouse | Hollywood

you walk in:

  1. pick your protein. your choices are chicken, steak, pork meatballs, or tofu. we went with the meatballs because they look moist!
  2. choose your base. noodles, rice (white or brown), or lettuce. i chose noodles but requested some lettuce on top. stella chose rice. the lady helping us even suggested noodles and rice. look, i’m all about cross contamination but that seemed a little too sacrilegious… even for me.
  3. choose your sauce (choice of two curries and a tamarind vinaigrette). normally i would do red curry but since stella already ordered the red, i went with the green curry so that we could sample everything. the red curry is considered “spicy” and the green curry was considered “medium spicy”. since this is more of a southeast asian fusion establishment, we assumed spicy would be toned down for the masses. major underestimation by us. the red curry was pretty darn hot. not stupid hot but definitely a lot hotter than one would expect. the green curry was great and had a good kick to it.
  4. choose your toppings (veggie and garnishes). i would’ve liked to try the broccoli but it wasn’t available. green beans and corn it is! also, the green papaya slaw was a good addition to my bowl.

ShopHouse | Hollywood

my bowl: noodles, meatballs, green curry

ShopHouse | Hollywood ShopHouse | Hollywood

stella’s bowl: rice, meatballs, red curry

ShopHouse | Hollywood ShopHouse | Hollywood

  • service: service was enthusiastic and eager to recommend good combinations. like chipotle, you walk up and pick what combination you want. i will note that it was definitely a turn off when a worker told me they don’t allow photos. this is not a fancy place. why can’t i take photos? there are so many photos of this place on the internet…
  • ambience: very simplistic, clean, minimalist decor. we dug the wall of sriracha. nice casual spot with a few outdoor tables (for those really nice sunny days in la).
  • parking: metered parking. a pain, i know.
  • overall: we were pleased with both our bowls. simple concept but great execution. bowls are very, very tasty and at a reasonable price. winners would definitely be the meatballs and the curry sauces. this is a great addition to the hollywood restaurant scene.

Shophouse Southeast Asian Kitchen
6333 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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By | May 23rd, 2014 | Food, Restaurants | 1 Comment

Chaumont | Beverly Hills, CA

Chaumont | Beverly Hills

we put chaumont bakery on our to-eat list after reading about its opening a little less than a year ago. cute back story: owned by a young french couple. everything is baked on premise.

while beverly hills is not my usual hang out, we were passing through and decided to finally dropped by!

Chaumont | Beverly Hills Chaumont | Beverly Hills

even though we wanted to order everything, we ended up ordering:

  • strawberry tart
  • strawberry short cake

on presentation alone, these pastries are amazing!

Chaumont | Beverly Hills Chaumont | Beverly Hills Chaumont | Beverly Hills Chaumont | Beverly Hills

verdict: pastries were delicious! we put these babies down in less than 2 minutes. (we have no self-control) pastry cream was a winner. not too sweet. crust was crispy (great texture) and buttery. i mean… i can go on and on…

Chaumont | Beverly Hills Chaumont | Beverly Hills Chaumont | Beverly Hills

  • pastries: we are fans and will definitely come back for more. side note: everyone raves about the croissants… next time we will definitely have to try them!
  • service: patient and nice. we took awhile deciding what to order… they didn’t mind.
  • parking: i’m not a huge fan of parking in beverly hills in the first place. it’s expensive and always crowded. we luckily found an open metered spot a block away. not bad.
  • ambience: we dug the decor (you will too). simplistic and elegant. lots of natural light. white walls. there are a number of tables but is not a large place. seating could be an issue during peak times.
  • overall: this place has won us over. stupidly charming. delicious pastries. we will be back soon.

143 S Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

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By | May 19th, 2014 | Coffee, Tea, & Bakeries, Dessert, Food, Restaurants | 0 Comments

Crème Caramel LA | Van Nuys, CA

Creme Caramel LA | Van Nuys

i don’t know if you know but crème caramel (aka flan) is one of my favorite desserts. naturally, i was super excited when we found out crème caramel la opened up in van nuys / sherman oaks! since our first visit, we have been back a ton of times (yep, this place won me over and is now one of my favorite dessert joints).

the shop is small with limited seating inside and a couple of table outside (just in case you can’t wait to take your dessert home). the nice thing about this place is that they provide samples of their dessert. get your wallet ready because you will be buying more than one item.

so far we have tried / loved the following:

  • vanilla crème caramel – their staple. freaking uh-amazing. creamy, smooth, and 100% satisfying.
  • mango crème caramel – the hint of mango is a nice touch.
  • lemon blueberry crème caramel – so great. i repeat. so great.
  • upside down ube pie – this is kyle’s favorite one. crumble adds a great texture. ube is wonderful.
  • bread pudding – solid bread pudding.

Creme Caramel LA | Van Nuys

with the exception of their staple menu items (crème caramel, upside down ube ie, and bread pudding), the menu changes on the regs. they are always trying new things, which we appreciate.

like i said, they provide samples of their dessert! see the sample display below.

Creme Caramel LA | Van Nuys Creme Caramel LA | Van Nuys Creme Caramel LA | Van Nuys

crème caramel is a winner. did i mention that it is not too sweet?

Creme Caramel LA | Van Nuys Creme Caramel LA | Van Nuys

here’s the upside down ube pie. delicious.

Creme Caramel LA | Van Nuys Creme Caramel LA | Van Nuys Creme Caramel LA | Van Nuys

if you are a flan lover, you will appreciate how silky smooth this is.

  • parking: street parking. you should have no issues unless it’s food truck night. there is additional parking in the back but we have never had to use it.
  • ambience: don’t expect anything fancy. this is a small place (so not ideal for large groups) but still cute.
  • service: we love the staff. everyone is so sweet and extremely eager to help.
  • overall: desserts are a little pricey $4-5 each… but i think they are well worth it. the plus side is that if you buy 4 (or a certain amount) you get a little discount! this place is a gem and you will be happy you were introduced.

Crème Caramel LA
14849 Burbank Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 91411
Neighborhood: Van Nuys

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By | May 13th, 2014 | Coffee, Tea, & Bakeries, Food, Restaurants | 0 Comments