It’s a good thing most people in LA don’t realize that the word “mian” simply means “noodle(s)” in Mandarin, or else they might just write off the restaurant Mian in San Gabriel as some sort of Noodle World or Noodle and Company knockoff. Fortunately, Mian is anything but. Like Chengdu Taste before it, Mian represents the Sichuan (or Szechuan or Szechwan) region of Chinese cuisine.
Ann Arbor is home to a great many restaurants. Of course, I may be a little biased and assume that they are all amazing, but when I found myself at Taste Kitchen, I was in new territory. You, back when I was a student Taste Kitchen didn’t exist. Plus, if it did it was definitely beyond my onetime student budget.
LA isn’t an easy place to have sustained success. And I’m not just talking about the entertainment industry, I’m talking about food. You see, one day you can’t get a reservation at a place and the next it’s being replaced by a hot new thing. Yet, there are exceptions, like In-n-Out. But also Bestia, an Italian spot downtown that still requires reservations months out.
Bludso’s in Compton is very often hailed as the best BBQ in LA. Yet, for some reason, a number of people find it difficult to make it to that part of town. Thus, Bludso’s spun off into Hollywood with a bar and que concept that creatively includes a bar along with BBQ. In other words, my long-awaited trip to BBQ heaven (and possibly like real heaven) in Compton was put on hold to make the trip to Hollywood.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when it comes to Italian food (namely pasta), you’ve gotta be pretty damn special to convince me I can’t do better on my own at home with the dry stuff and some Classico sauce. Union Restaurant in Old Town Pasadena is the latest attempt to convince me to leave home for Italian food.
Pork and booze are easily two of the greatest things that can be consumed on the planet, if not just two of the greatest things in general. Celestino in Pasadena is fully aware of this and has combined them in a pasta dish worth writing about. It is called the Pennette Con Prosciutto e Vodka, but it may as well be called Paradiso.
Pasadena isn’t exactly known for being at the forefront of the food world. Often a restaurant finds success elsewhere in LA and decides Pasadena is a good outpost for a sequel. You could say that is the case with Ramen Tatsunoya, which first found success in Japan, then as a popup in Torrance, but Pasadena was officially chosen as it’s first location for a long-term foray into the United States. The incessant hour-long line out the door proves that this wasn’t a bad idea.
When you need to get away from it all (say from a 3 month old child and the busy streets of LA), Cliff’s Edge in Silverlake is actually a pretty good way to do it. You see, just off of busy Sunset Blvd, Cliff’s Edge feels like it might as well be Middle Earth. There’s a real tree growing right in the middle of the place and the whole place really does feel like an earthly Lothlorien. There was no Lembas bread to eat, but there was plenty to be found.
In a place that is one number short of 7-11, I spent my 30th birthday dinner with my wife. That missing number was 7, and restaurant was called Eleven. Now, Eleven is known to have one of the better burgers in the ‘burgh, but it’s not on the dinner menu, so I made do with all the other goodies that were available for the ordering.
The Spanish town of Segovia is famous for a few things:
Its Roman aqueduct — still standing since it was constructed in 50 A.D, it consists of 163 arches made of 20,000 granite blocks and not a drop of mortar.