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Sourdough Pizza? Yes, you read that correctly. Wildcraft has combined a Neapolitan style pizza place with gastropub ingredients to create a hybrid that works. With a wood oven that heats to 900 degrees Farenheit, the pizzas are literally made to order and delivered to you in minutes. For those die hard fans of authentic Napoli or New York style pizza, this is neither, but it is a nice fusion stepchild of both. This is the latest venture by the people who created Abigaile in Hermosa Beach, so it’s nice that I get the same food talent now closer to home.

Located in the heart of Culver City, it is easy to access with two free parking structures and is walking distance to both the movie theater and Sony studios. Whether you are watching a movie or making one nearby, this is a convenient place for lunch, happy hour, or dinner.

I could make a meal out of the appetizers here. The fried green olives wrapped in fennel sausage, topped with grated parmesan and almonds for $8 ($5 during happy hour) are the perfect small bites to share for those who want a bit of meaty substance to a bar bite.

When I ordered these I thought the olives were stuffed WITH the fennel sausage, but the olives are stuffed IN the fennel sausage. It actually tastes better this way because it tastes more like meat with a surprise filling, and how often do you find that?

For vegetarians, there are several pizzas and menu items like the baby spinach salad with salt roasted beets, walnuts, goat cheese, and avocado in a balsamic dressing for $9-14 depending on the size. You can add chicken to this and make it a heartier dish if you wish for $3.25. The one pictured is the large size and I recommend this only for a full meal unless you are a a large rabbit! The flavors were superb, but the dressing was a bit excessive, so if you like your greens lightly dressed, ask for your dressing on the side.

Another one of the appetizers I could eat as a meal by itself is the tuna crudo with veggie couscous, pistachios, and pea tendrils for $14 ($10 during happy hour). This is a light and filling dish that would please any pescatarian. What other pizza place would have this on their menu?

I had to try one of their pizzas, so I went with the white pizza with pork belly, fresh Manila clams, oregano, and red onions for $17 (I could not find nor taste any of the chilies nor fried sage that was supposed to have been on this pizza). I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I liked the slightly sourdough crust and that the toppings worked well together. I would have liked more toppings and the missing chilies and fried sage would have added a nice complexity that I found lacking in this pizza, but I enjoyed it enough to take half of the 12″ pie home.

Go for their “Rest & Relaxation” happy hour from 4-7pm when you can get a Cabernet or Pinot Gris for $5, or one of their micro brew ales for $4. They offer complimentary flat or sparkling filtered water, and if you want a full meal with dessert, they also have espresso and tea.

Sometimes Californian hybrids work, and they do in this case.

Wildcraft Sourdough Pizza on Urbanspoon

A couple I met at a wine tasting event at Wally’s recommended Ado to me, and since people who know good wine usually know good food and visa versa, I went to taste for myself. Ado has two locations, the original, located in a converted house, and a smaller more casual outpost, both located in Venice. Both locations are in areas where parking can be a challenge, but the larger one has valet parking, so that was the one I chose.

The current menu is somewhat different with slightly higher prices than what is on their website, so be aware of that if you are planning to go based on what you see from their menu online.

The house is charming with a seating area downstairs, upstairs and on a terrace outdoors.

I rarely see watercress available, so I chose this salad with hearts of palm, roasted almonds, pecorino cheese and watercress for $13. It had a light balsamic dressing and the textures worked well together.

I wanted to order the menu item I saw online for tagliatelle with wild boar, but it was not on the menu. Instead I ordered the tagliatelle with rabbit and dried figs for $24. The pasta was wonderful, freshly made, light, and al dente, the ground rabbit was tasty, and the unusual addition of dried figs somehow worked with this dish, giving it some sweetness, but mostly some texture and a slightly earthiness with the crimni mushrooms.

I had a nice glass of Rosso for $15 with my meal, and a very good decaf espresso to finish.

The service was excellent with professional Italians who were clearly trained professionals, and the ambiance is relaxed yet upscale enough to make this place a destination for either a special occasion or a place to go in the neighborhood when you don’t want to cook. They are open 7 days a week, so you can go to their house for dinner any night you wish:)

Ado on Urbanspoon

You can find the Eveleigh hidden behind a wooden fence. This former residence was remodeled into a restaurant, and if you want to find it, you have to keep an eagle eye out. If you blink, you can easily miss the entrance to the restaurant’s valet parking ($6), a few feet East of the big florescent green rotund building.

There are two outdoor spaces, so try to come on a warm sunny day when you can enjoy the trees, grass, and climate of Southern California. Since this was a home, this means that the former owners had the unheard of luxury of a front and back yard on Sunset Boulevard!

The offer decent wines by the glass, but because they also offer signature cocktails, I tried the Poor Carlito, made with Milago tequila, fresh lime, honey, and smoked salt for $12. I enjoyed this salty citrusy take on Margaritas and would have had another if I didn’t need to drive home (it was so smooth I didn’t realize how strong it was until I had finished it).

One of the special sandwiches was a Sloppy Joe, made with pulled pork, pickled red onions, and a creamy horseradish mayonnaise on foccacia for $16. The bread was dense and tasty, but I loved the contrast of the rich pulled pork with the pickled red onions. The portion was so big I ended up eating the filling with a fork after eating some of the bread. This was definitely too “sloppy” and big to eat with your hands. Thankfully, the waiter brought me a steak knife to help me conquer this hearty lunch. The chips were good, but were unevenly salted, so I concentrated on the sandwich.

I thought it was an appropriate way to start off St. Patrick’s Day Week-end by getting the ‘bubble & squeak’, made with corned brisket, fingerling potato hash, kale, scotch egg for $14. I LOVED the scotch egg! For anyone who has never had one, get this dish and you will be hooked on the crispy batter fried egg done to a perfect medium (solid white, running yolk). The corned beef was meltingly tender and flavorful, and the kale and onions added a nice change of texture and flavor to the rich egg and meat. My only critique was that it was very greasy (that is oil you see at the bottom of the photo) so do not order this dish if you are counting your calories.

With a wonderful space, unique cocktails, and great meat dishes, this is a place for anyone who wants a tranquil getaway for a brunch or lunch on Sunset.*

*Since tomorrow is the Los Angeles Marathon, this entire strip of Sunset is towaway starting at 4am March 17, so if you want to eat brunch here, plan to park else where and walk (you CAN walk in Los Angeles, especially since so many others will be running:)

The Eveleigh on Urbanspoon

I am a frequent Air Tahiti Nui customer, banking my miles so I can fly in an upgraded class or get a free flight in return for my loyalty. It’s nice when a wine bar offers a similar program for loyal patrons who buy wine flights.

The Next Door by Josie has started Tuesday Night Wine Flights. For $15 you get four pours of any of the wines they offer by the glass and when you get four stamps on your “Wine Flight Boarding Pass”, your next wine flight is on Josie!

And for those of you who want to come to Los Angeles to experience this deal, Air Tahiti Nui has now teamed with Expedia and they are offering a 10% discount on all new hotel reservations worldwide when you book and pay by March 31, 2013, just use code ATN10U. If you prefer to go to Tahiti or any of her islands, the discounts are even better, at 25-50% off.

Looks like it’s time to formulate my flight plans 🙂

The best remedy for a sad love affair is a new one which is better.

A Food Affair is the perfect antidote to my grief of bad owner attitude and a revolving chef in residence from my formerly favorite French bistro. I had to keep eating out until I found a better combination of food and service.

Tonight I found the perfect neighborhood French bistro. Not only is the food superb, but the couple who own it are professionals who know how to be personable. This place only opened 4 months ago, but from my experience tonight, they will be here for as long as they wish to be.

This is truly a place for a friendly feast, and BYOB with no corkage means you can enjoy your meal with your favorite wine.

They offer nice rustic bread, butter and olives on the table.

I started with a charred romaine salad with crispy pancetta, blue cheese, pomegranate seeds and roasted bosc pear for $8 that could have been a meal in and of itself. Great combination of flavors and lovely presentation.

I chose the Boeuf Bourguignon for $18 which came with wild mushrooms, paparadelle, pearl onions, turkey bacon and carrots that was so perfectly done, I don’t think I will ever go to the trouble of making it myself again. The portion was so generous that I ended up taking half of it home.

I tried the Bouillabaise another night and it invoked memories of Nice with fragrant fennel, leeks and grape tomatoes in a light seafood broth. The fish and seafood were cooked perfectly and I highly recommend this dish to anyone who wants something filling yet light.

For dessert my eyes immediately went to the Tahitian Vanilla crème brûlée which was absolutely perfect with the lightly burnt sugar topping and the creamy vanilla custard.

Even though I was full, I still wanted to taste a chocolate dessert, so Babette (one of the owners) suggested the 3 chocolate terrine since it would pack to go nicely if I couldn’t finish it (I took half of it home). The other owner is the chef, Christian, who came out and greeted every diner, making sure everything tasted as good as it looked.

They source as many of their ingredients locally and organically as possible, so you can rest assured that they are not skimping on quality. Since they still cater, they are only open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, so stop by and enjoy a taste of rustic French cuisine without having to endure any jet lag 🙂

I always tell people that just because I look Asian, it doesn’t mean that my knowledge, tastes, or skills fulfill the stereotypes. I have absolutely no idea when Chinese New Year was (I only know it’s over….isn’t it?), I prefer colors like purple and pink to red and gold, and I can not calculate simple numbers without a calculator.

If you’ve read this blog before then you already know my reviews of restaurants are rarely on places which serve any type of Chinese food. My eating partners all know that inviting me to brave traffic to eat dim sum or get authentic Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley is comparable to inviting me to go camping (neither is likely to happen).

R.O.C. (Republic Of China) Kitchen apparently knew that many of us on the Westside would enjoy some dumplings, shu mai, steamed buns, Dungeness Crab glass noodles, and beef oxtail noodle soup without having to trek through traffic. They’ve only been open since October, so their sign isn’t up yet, but the lines are already forming, especially around lunch and brunch times.

The draw here is soup dumplings (no other place on the Westside serves them), but I am not a fan, so I ordered some of the classic pork and shrimp steamed ones. For $9 it may seem expensive, but these are HUGE, and the serving of eight pieces is enough for a full meal for one person or enough to share with 2-3. The dough is freshly made and nicely tender with a bit of body. The filling was delightfully light and juicy, but be very careful when you take your first bite because these come out HOT and as hungry as I was, there were times I literally had to open my mouth to let the hot steam escape after a bite! You can make your own dipping sauce from the little saucers, freshly chopped ginger, and condiments on the table (if you want, you can ask for hot chili).

I ordered the sauteed shrimp with shishito pepper for $16. The shrimp were slightly overcooked, but overall this was a pleasant dish if you like spicy sautées.

When I was eating in, I saw the table of celebrities next me take FIVE bags of food to go after their meal, so I figured, why not take home something for later? I wanted to try the glass noodles with fresh Dungeness Crab $12, but they had run out of crab, so I opted for the oxtail beef noodle soup with bok choy for $8. I was pleasantly surprised by the aromatic star anise flavor in the broth and the huge tender oxtails. The noodles were perfect (freshly made), and if the beef and bok choy had been a bit hotter I would be raving about this dish. As you can see from the picture, the fat around the oxtail was white, and cold fat is never tasty.

I don’t often chose Chinese food, but it was a pleasure to have a place to close to home for slightly upmarket Chinese food at decent (for the Westside) prices.

ROC Kitchen on Urbanspoon




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