Category Archives: Food

Toro! Toro! Toro!

“After struggling to cope with the impact of the March 11 disasters last year, a burst of national pride has got Japan’s fishing industry off to a stirring start in 2012: A brand new all-time record price tag for a bumper bluefin tuna.

“Weighing in at a hefty 269 kilograms, the fish, caught off the coast of northern Oma, Aomori prefecture, was sold for about Y56.5 million, or about $736,700, at the year’s first auction at Tokyo’s renowned Tsukiji fish market Thursday.

“The new record valued each kilogram of the prized fish worth at about Y210,000, or roughly $2,736, and blew away the previous one, set last year, by more than Y20 million.

“But the high price was more about national sentiment than tuna economics… The reason for the premium bid? What’s caught in Japan ought to be eaten in Japan, according to the man who runs the company.”

via WSJ

BUT the overfishing of the Blue Fin Tuna is an alarming issue and extinction is a real threat -the commercial overfishing of these beautiful fish needs to be addressed. Find out more here

“Overfishing will wipe out the breeding population of Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of the ocean’s largest and fastest predators, in three years unless catches are dramatically reduced, conservation group WWF said on Tuesday.

“As European fishing fleets prepare to begin the two-month Mediterranean fishing season on Wednesday, WWF said its analysis showed the bluefin tuna that spawn — those aged four years and older — will have disappeared by 2012 at current rates.”

New York a Nom-Nom

I was in NY for a week not too long ago. If you follow my instagram (ampal_creative) you will have noticed that 50% of my pics from the trip were of food. I am a fat kid at heart and love food and eating. I wanted to share a few of my favorites I visit every time as well as some new ones we discovered on this trip. None of these meals were too expensive, and all were definitely worth the items I sacrificed at uniqlo.

The amazing noodles and roast pork above are from the aptly titled Great NY Noodletown. BTW, this is a fan page, I dont think the restaurant knows it exists. Their roast pork is amazing, and even better with the pan fried noodles, which were actually CRISPY!!!

These house made sides in Little Italy* (I forget the name of the cafe) had me drooling in line – from L-R: front row – Butternut Squash, Roasted Cauliflower, Fresh Ricotta, back row – Roasted Peppers, Homemade Mozz, and Eggplant Parm. NOM NOM NOM!!!

I consider myself a connoisseur of Pastrami and hold Langer’s as the holy grail of the brined/smoked/steamed beef and was eager to check out Mile End in Brooklyn, after hearing stories of delicious pastrami from my pastrami partner in crime JDH.

The story I heard, was that a law student dropped out of a local university to pursue his love of the beef, learning from best and creating his own homemade smoked meats, pickles and other delicacies. His passion shows in the delicious food and people love it. They will be opening a second restaurant in Manhattan soon. This is it right here, a slab of brisket that is dry rubbed then smoked, so it is technically “smoked beef” not pastrami. A couple of stacks of evenly sliced rye are in the foreground, and to the left lay a delectable bowl of drippings and end pieces used for their sauces.

This is THE dish – smoked meat poutine. It was as good as it looks, but the gravy was a bit thick for my California tastes. I think the Gorbal’s bahn mi poutine is a better overall dish, but this is still a meal I will return too.

The next destination was Saltie’s as recommended by our friend Seth. I grew up on his parent’s bagels, and to this day swear the original Baltimore Bagel’s were the best. Food is in the Brau DNA, so I was a bit skeptical but took his word on a Captain’s Daughter – “sardines, pickled egg, salsa verde.” Going into the restaurant I really doubted it would deliver; I like an occasional sardine on a good Caesar salad, but questioned it as the main ingredient along with pickled egg. It was really good. The bread was perfect, and the odd pairing was unlike anything I’ve had. Be forewarned, if you eat the whole thing it will sit heavy and you can count out any make outs or close conversations with anyone you’re trying to impress.

Roberta’s was conveniently located across from my friend’s loft, so it was an obvious choice. They grow their own vegetables in an amazing garden that doubles as a beer garden in the summer. The woodfired pizza was delicious, and probably even better topped with their veggies.

We had a drinking/pumpkin carving party. Fortunately most guests used the dull knives, no blood was shed and my octopus donated these soy, garlic, horseradish seeds.

The first time I ate at Joe’s Shanghai we sat across from Terry and some 18 year old. Their super dumplings are legendary, cheap and served late into the night. Steaming with broth they are amazing on a cold night. A couple of trays of crab or pork dumplings are pretty much as essential as having a late night slice of pie when you’re in NYC.

Take a moment before taking in this next picture.

This is a plate of the legendary Momofuku Steamed Buns. An absolutely perfect marriage of “pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions” they were one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Ever since I saw Anthony Bourdain visit David Chang’s exalted establishment I knew I would eat there.

This was the delicious “bev eggleston’s pork shoulder steak – cauliflower, piperade, pine nuts.” They have ridiculous meal options for larger groups that get served to a lucky few tables reserved months in advance, that is on the radar for next time. Jacob has been part of a fried chicken 2 ways (korean and american preparations) for 8, and they currently have a bo-ssam and rotisserie duck option, but plan on reserving a table way in advance.

There are countless other amazing restaurants in NYC, but these are some of our favorites. We hope we can point you toward some flavor bliss next time you’re in the city. This post has already made me hungry, enjoy!

Ark Collective’s : Get to Give Art Benefit Recap

A big shout out to the boys over at Ark Collective for putting together a great event for a good cause last Saturday at the CAMP in Costa Mesa. The Ark Collective is a Southern California backpack company that was established with the goal of enhancing the educational experience of the underserved youth in America. With their “Get to Give” program, every backpack purchased results in a new backpack being given to an underserved youth on your behalf. Last Saturday they teamed up with Orangewood Children’s Foundation and auctioned off 25 custom painted Vinchee Packs from 25 artists from all over the country. The night was a success, raising over $4,500 and providing great times with rad people. Also, thanks to ECCO for providing tasty grinds throughout the night. Stoked to see whats next for these guys, keep an eye out for the Ark Crew.

Sushi with Bode Helm

Last week I went down to Katsu! happy hour for killer sushi and $1 beers. After devouring a plate of ceviche and draining my 2nd pitcher of beer, I saw this cute girl looking my way. I gave her a smile and ordered up another pitcher. While waiting, I decided to have a chat with this babe and the dude that was with her.  They turned out to be awesome people, we smashed a few bottles of hot saki together and went our separate ways, but before leaving I asked for a business card, which she handed to me happily. BODE HELM PHOTOGRAPHY it read with a picture of a rig in a red dress on the front. I stuck it in my pocket and found it in that same pocket early this morning. I went to the site and found out that Bode had been working hard and had a lot to show for it. See for yourself.

Ichiban mas Chingon

Sushi is my meal of choice, so when I found this beautiful plate of fish in front of me yesterday, my eyes lit up, and I may even have been frothing at the mouth.   My friend Shahin, had been telling me about the Sushi Gen sashimi lunch for a while, adding to the rumors around the inconspicuous Little Tokyo establishment.   Shahin runs PureFish, specializing in all natural sustainable seafood, so I knew I had to trust him on this one.  Yesterday,  I got the call around noon saying he put us on the wait list and to cruise over in about 45 minutes.  When we skated up, the line out the door only added to the hype.

I can’t really do the meal more justice than saying it was better than my high expectations and delivered 100%.  I’ve tried many of the bountiful sushi options in Little Tokyo and Downtown LA and Sushi Gen is definitely the best.  At $15 with a tasty tofu in sesame scallion sauce appetizer and a bowl of rice its a steal.  Just do it – get there early, put your name down and prepare for satisfaction.

La Torta Loca is another favorite lunch spot that regularly satisfies our Mexican lunch cravings.   My new favorite torta is the Carne y Chorizo.  Starting with a perfectly light bolillo roll, they fill it with chorizo on the bottom and carne on the top.  Queso fresco, lettuce, tomato and jalapeno blend with the meats to create a spicy melody of flavors.  My previous go to was the cubana, but I think the simpler C&C proves less is more.  A solid homemade salsa and chips compliment the sandwich for a reasonable $6.50.  Tony and his family are really nice and craft the best torta’s this side of the border.*  Next time you’re in the Fashion District cruise by or call in a few delivery sandwiches.

There are countless food options in Downtown and most are decent.  However, there are a few gems I’ll be sharing with you.  Please enjoy and support these local businesses.

*Anyone who has surfed K-38 in Baja knows the legendary “Taco Surf” stand.  The jolly owner served carne or pastor in either a taco or torta – basically the Hattori Hanso of the torta.  It may be a bit of nostalgia tinged memory combined with the post shred hunger, but they get the award for best torta.