There can be no doubt that I am a man who loves his poutine. In a lot of senses I am a purist, but when a place gets the right kind of creative I can get behind it. The Kroft in Tustin, Orange County started lighting up my social media feed months ago with some beautiful food pics. It took a while to find an excuse to get down there, but when I did I couldn’t help but make a stop.
The latest issue of Los Angeles Magazine boasts an impressive list of the 10 Best New Restaurants in LA. But the magazine went one step further and set up a celebration at the Architecture and Design Museum downtown to feature a number of them, as well as a few other restaurants. Thus, I made my way there to see what passes for “best” and “new” these days. Here are the highlights:
Once upon a time I was featured on a show called Eat Street to talk about a food truck in LA called Grill ‘Em All. Eventually, like many successful food trucks, Grill ‘Em All opened a real restaurant. For some reason they chose Alhambra, which is better known for its Chinese food than its burgers, but diversity is always a good thing and the restaurant has stood strong for a couple years now. I finally got the chance to try it recently to see how it turned out.
Tacos tu Madre was blowing up all over the social media a few months ago with amazing-looking burritos that seemed to represent a new level of delicious fusion. Thus, I had to give the place a try and had my best opportunity when out in West LA. They were out of a couple things, but this didn’t impact what I had in mind. There are a number of options and they are all available as a burrito, a taco or a bowl.
Generally Indian restaurants have Indian-sounding names. They might be named after a place, a name or a phrase, but Mint Leaf is not one of these. It’s Indian, but a step up in fanciness. In my experience, fancy Indian food is unnecessary because it tastes just as good as more cost-effective Indian, but I figured it was worth the try.
Summer out in San Gabriel means 626 Night Market. It’s easily one of the greatest events LA has to offer and there are only a few chances to visit. I popped in for the August 2016 iteration and came out so full and so happy. Below were my highlights.
Bacon and Avocado Musubi – What Floats UR Boat
This place specializes in literally only 3 musubi options and they are all nothing like what you would expect from “sushi.” If you get all three they come in a boat, but I needed to conserve stomach space and stuck with one filled with chipotle caramelized bacon and avocado. The avocado was insanely creamy and the bacon was insanely perfect. The rice and seaweed added perfect balance to an already great mix of food.
Part of me feels like the whole fusion fad is behind us, but that just means that when a new fusion spot appears on the scene and gets good reviews it’s probably worth going to. Thus, the world has Humble Potato in Westchester (and Culver City), which merges Japanese and American food. Fortunately, they offer a whole lot more than potatoes.
Nonetheless, we ordered some regular fries and sweet potato fries just to see how humble they would be. Turned out they were pretty humble. Seriously, there was nothing extravagant about either potato as they both put up some solid flavor without trying to do too much.
As for my meal, though, I ordered the Katsu Sando, which is Japanese for chicken cutlet sandwich. It’s typically topped with HP and tonkatsu sauce, as well as some slaw, but I got the slaw on the side for the ladies at dinner with me. I also ordered a fried egg on the top along with some curry on the side for good measure.
The sandwich was more than just humble, which is good because it was not a potato. The cutlet was perfectly fried, there was just enough sauce on top and the egg was nice and runny. The curry was even pretty good, but not anything special, plus it was packed with veggies for no good reason. Nonetheless, I had never thought to eat chicken katsu as a sandwich and now I can’t comprehend not having that as an option. In that sense, Humble Potato did me good and I would love to get back and take down one of their Hambagas.
For our last night in Portland we went out big, heading to Tasty n Sons. Our waitress tried to make the claim that the food was meant to be shared by the table like tapas, but everything seemed like an entree and that really seemed like a ploy to get us to order more food. Thus, my buddy and I decided to go splitsies and then decide whether sharing was the right course of action.
It seems like every day brings the world a new food festival. Some may say there are too many, but I say that is crazy talk and then go on my way to eating at another. The LA Food Fest is one of the biggies and took place this past weekend in Exposition Park – right next to USC making it easy for Metro-goers. As media I got in an hour early and took the time to figure out what looked good, with the help of my trusty assistant.