Quick Bites :: Ink.Sack

Quick Bites :: Ink.Sack

I could have slept in this past Saturday and further nursed my wicked allergies/cold (that I would later find out was a sinus infection), but why do that when the Work Son was offering a ride to LA to pick up sammies and ice cream? Only condition was that I had to busy myself for about 45 minutes while he got his haircut. He added that there was a popular coffee shop just around the corner where I could hang/read/write while he got snipped, I was all in – just had to load up on the OTC drugs.

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The shop was Urth Caffe – which proved to be a little too well known, as I spent William’s hair cutting time waiting to order, and then waiting again for my drink, a Spanish latte that was delightfully rich and bold, just sweet enough, but teeny. The 35 minute wait to 2 minute swig ratio is just wrong.

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The sandwiches were from Ink Sack, another short walk from the barbershop; a shop owned by Michael Voltaggio of Top Chef fame, known for general badassness. From here, I got the cold fried chicken sandwich on wheat and a bag of crab chips. The sandwich fared much better than my coffee in its ratio; add to it that it was affordable at five bucks and was packed with bright flavors (moist chicken, a creamy sauce with a slight tang) and robust texture (the chicken had a good bite to it, the bread balance soft and crunchy). And I didn’t ask what made the chips crabby – they looked like ordinary potato chips – but I finished every last greasy, crunchy crumb left in the bag. This place was definitely worth getting out of bed. (Work son William went for the turkey melt and the pork shoulder banh mi).

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But then there was ice cream. Salt & Straw was our destination. I’ve been to one of the Portland locations but never to LA’s first outpost. After samples, I almost went with the gritty, unapologetic Stumptown Coffee & Burnside Bourbon, but opted instead for the indulgent Salted Malted Chocolate Cookie Dough. Honestly, I think the odds of going wrong at Salt & Straw are 0 to none – they just make quality ice cream. And they’re so cute!

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Outing done, I spent the rest of the afternoon and the next day in bed, finally getting myself to urgent care on Monday with a trip to Northern Cali planned for the next morning. Happy to say I’m 90% recovered with a 100% chance that I’ll be eating lots more once I’m fully back.

Baxter Finley Barber & Shop
515 N. La Cienega Blvd.

Urth Caffe
8565 MelroseAvenue in West Hollywood
and other locations

ink.sack
8360 Melrose Avenue

Salt & Straw Larchmont
240 N. Larchmont Blvd.

Tasty Places :: Anaheim Packing House

Tasty Places :: Anaheim Packing House

I’ve always been a fan of the food court. On weekends, dragged away from morning cartoons for a full day’s worth of mall shopping, the food court was my only saving grace (with the exception of a stop at T-Shirts Plus). There, I could get a plain double cheeseburger and a corn dog; a slice of pizza and a vanilla cone, my colorful stack of trays revealing how adventurous I’d been on a given day. Despite the fond memories, eating healthier and doing most of my shopping beyond the mall in recent years have limited my food court outings significantly.

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Until now. A friend and fellow food luster of mine recently told me about the grand opening of the Anaheim Packing house, an au courant clustering of local restaurants slanging such delights as waffle sandwiches, poutines, craft beers, indulgent chocolates, and gelato on a stick in a facility that was once a commercial hub of the citrus packing industry of the OC. Of course, I had to check it out.

As usual, I arrived with an earnest appetite and a willingness to release dollar bills freely to any delicious dish able to get my attention. There was just too much to conquer, however; which is fine because that means I have an excuse to return. Soon. The planner in me had already decided to order a buttermilk fried chicken waffle sandwich from The Iron Press. But don’t I love spontaneity too – walking about, I couldn’t help but notice the healthy-sized fillets of deep fried fish served up by Chippy Fish & Grill (and the long line there, telling me this was one of the go-to places). Thankfully, my work son William wanted the same plates I did, so we agreed to split a fish & chips platter and a waffle sandwich.

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The fish was phenomenal – tender and perfectly cooked, the batter light, satisfyingly greasy and sweetly briny, an archetype of fried fish right here in Southern California. Awesome too were the Iron Press tater tots, topped with minced garlic. We regretted the fact that we’d been born with just one stomach each as we ate. Really, vacuumed is more appropriate in describing how I sucked up that chicken sandwich, with flavors that wowed, especially the jalapeno syrup I poured over the chicken. My only wishes were that the waffle would have been warmer (that was my bad – I was still over at Chippy waiting for our fish when the waffle order was up) and a tad browner on the outside (perhaps that may have made it too crisp?). But I’m still a believer. Next time ’round, I’ll ask for my waffle well-done and eat it hot off the press.

This visit wouldn’t have been right without a sweet ending. Since I’m an overachiever, I had two. The first was a vanilla gelato ice cream bar dipped in milk chocolate and chopped hazelnuts from Pop Bar; then I shared an affogato from Dark 180 with William and my chow pal Kristina. Both desserts were rich, decadent, cool, creamy, and rapturous.

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Besides the food, the place itself set the scene for an idyllic afternoon, with lots of light, outdoor seating, live music, and plenty of greenery – a great date sort of a place. Or a group outing, as I had with my ever-famished posse. I advise against going solo as you need someone with whom to split the waiting in line (since you can’t just eat at one spot). Next time, aside from getting a fresh waffle sandwich, I hope to make my way into the Packing House’s own speakeasy, The Blind Rabbit, and to taste my first poutine at The Kroft. And I’d like to pick up some spices and candy to take home from Buy’N Bulk. And likely another ice cream bar. More tater tots. Also gotta get the fish again. And a soul food place called Georgia’s is opening soon.

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Better figure out how I can get another two or three stomachs before heading to the Packing House again.

Anaheim Packing House
440 S Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim

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What I’m Eating Now At :: Milk

What I’m Eating Now At :: Milk

There are some places I go to over and over and over and over. Sometimes because I get addicted to one thing that I must eat continuously for fear that the place will retire it from their menu before I’ve burned out on it (true story); or sometimes I go back because there are just too many dang choices. So What I’m Eating Now At posts will be brief (this one excepted since I want to take time to explain what I’m doing) and visual. Once my photography improves, I hope to promote drooling.

First up, the Red Velvet Ice Cream Sandwich at Milk. Now that it’s trendier, more popular than it was years ago (back when they still baked chocolate hazelnut Madelines, the most wonderfulest cookie ever to puff up in an oven – perhaps I sound bitter? – refer to the true story reference in the preceding paragraph), it’s kind of a pain to get in and out.

The line, the wait, however – worth every punchy, creamy, chewy bite.

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PS – If these pics didn’t get you salivating, perhaps it was because I was using my iPhone 4s camera.

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Milk
7290 Beverly Blvd. in LA

foodnews :: Salt & Straw Coming to LA

foodnews :: Salt & Straw Coming to LA

This just in from Eater LA – the Portland-based ice cream shop Salt & Straw is opening up a Larchmont location. Salt & Straw was one of my favorite finds during my Eating Portland trip earlier this year. My taste buds are rejoicing, my waistbands are hollering “Aw, damn!”

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Tasty Places :: Michael’s Pizzeria, Naples

Tasty Places :: Michael’s Pizzeria, Naples

I know it’s called Naples, but never did I expect to find authentic Italian pizza there, just a 10 minute drive from work. At least I’m told it’s authentic since the closest I’ve gotten to Italy is Mulberry & Grand in Lower Manhattan. Whatever the case, it was magical, just the experience I was craving after weeks of Lean Cuisines, fast food, and leftovers.

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It was all going stunningly well, my Pizza Margherita drizzled with oil, oozing with rich mozzarella and zesty basil, when my dining companions said yes to the Affogato.

What’s Affogato? I’d heard of it before, but didn’t know what it was; learned today that the word means “drowned.” Michael’s version is made with two scoops of house-made hazelnut gelato topped with a piping hot shot of espresso. It blew my mind, this dessert. Plus, there was the bonus of my afternoon buzz – kept me working hard the rest of the day. Well, all I have to say is brava, Michael’s Pizzeria. Brava, and I’ll be seeing you again very soon. Happy new year to you and the family! Only the best for 2013!

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