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Good pork is hard to find, and if the preparation is as good as the product, it becomes a reason to partake of porcine pleasure as often as possible. Pikoh does many things well, and their pork tonkatsu with shredded cabbage, caramelized lemon, and Japanese mustard for $16 is one of those things. What’s not to love about a crispy fried tender piece of pork?

That same pork is available with curry, rice, and egg, for $24, enough to satiate those who have hearty appetites.

During happy hour, the had pork ribs which had nice tenderness, but I found them a bit lacking in oomph (how else do you describe something that is good but not great?). I haven’t been back for happy hour, so not sure if it is still on the menu…

One new dish that definitely had oomph and has become one of my favorite dishes there is the kim chee fried rice with pork belly for $16. This version of the classic comfort dish is not only well rounded in textures and flavors, but it delights with every bite.

Having become a regular here, it is nice to see that they keep some classic favorites like the tonkatsu, while adding new ones like the kim chee fried rice to keep giving me choices that are far from boring 🙂

It was a gray drizzly day, and after a fully day in the craziness of DTLA swerving to avoid pedestrians weaving in and out of numerous encampments of tent cities, I felt nauseous, both emotionally and physically. The new Playa Vista enclave Runway is nearly the polar opposite of DTLA; from the manicured play spaces for children and pets, to the wooden plank walkways that meander through restaurants and shops, this was like a breath of oxygen after being submerged in smog. I am not saying that I would want to live in Runway because I prefer a less curated environment, and one in which there are shops and restaurants which have no other sibling outposts across the city, state, or globe. I am glad I finally visited, walked, and ate here, and I would again.

We ate at R.O.C., which has the much smaller sibling on Sawtelle. Service was fantastic, and the food definitely had a Californian take, using fresh ingredients with middle of the road dishes and flavors that don’t venture too far into unknown anglo territory. It was not Michelin star quality, but better than many other Taiwanese restaurants.

Because I was feeling queasy, we began with an egg flower soup with tofu, bamboo shoots, and fresh herbs. It was a perfect comfort soup for a gray day, and it promptly settled my stomach enough to eat the chicken soup dumplings.

The tips of soup dumpling were a bit thick and hard, drying out and hardening more as they cooled, but the flavor was nice and they served it with freshly cut ginger with tableside black vinegar and soy (but you had to ask if you wanted any chili oil).

The vegetable potstickers came with pure hoisin sauce and chili sauce on the side. They were crisp and VERY hot, but the filling was a bit bland and definitely anglified chopped greens.

The stir fried baby bok choy were crunchy and tender, but the flavor was very light on the garlic and slightly sweet.

The pickles were fabulous! Brightly acidic and slightly spicy, we ate nearly the entire dish.

We also ordered the three cup chicken, which was done with all dark meat, and quite tasty, even with the slightly sweet sauce, it married the peppers, onions, and basil well.

It’s fun to explore the extremes of Los Angeles, from the frenetic pace of skid row to the fantasy land of a complex built to create a new neighborhood. There are good and bad aspects in both, just as there are good and bad aspects of all humans, wherever they live, play, and eat 🙂

I am an omnivore who likes almost everything except lima beans 🙂  Many of my friends are pescatarians, so finding places that offer delicious fish means more choices for everyone. I’ve heard good things about Urban Plates, so I tried their grilled wild albacore. It was a very generous portion for $13.50 and although all the ingredients were fresh, they were also plainly boiled or unseasoned, and unfortunately the vinaigrette did not perk things up.

After going to another location of King’s Fish House that was very disappointing, it was refreshing to go to the one in Victoria Gardens and find that everything was cooked with deft skills and served with a professional demeanor. The simple codfish and chips (substituted spinach for the chips) for $13.50,

and the grilled ahi with vegetable side and upgraded asparagus side for around $30 were executed perfectly, not overly done, and very generously portioned.

Sonny’s Bistro has a great lunch menu including the crunchy ahi salad for $14 that makes it a bargain for lunch. Because I love sand dabs and rarely find them on any menu, I ordered them here for $22 and devoured the plate along with a side salad that kept me satiated all day.

 

Sometimes all I need is a nice piece of grilled fish for a meal. A friend picked up a bento box for me along with an extra side of mackerel from At Home Kitchen. For only $6.50, this is a great alternative to cooking mackerel at home where you must deal with the smell and splatter.

I can count on one hand the people who are willing to wait for a table at Sushi Gen with me, but the ones who have the patience are rewarded with some of the freshest fish in Los Angeles. I always go for the chirashi at lunch, but if you are more traditional, the sushi deluxe or sashimi are equally good and none of them will serve you any of the crappy salmon that finds its way into most other sushi restaurants, and that alone is worth the wait!

 

Fame and fortune are fleeting in life, especially here in Los Angeles, but a taste of the unctuous fatty brisket from Maple Block Meat Co. will be indelibly seared into your memory, making you salivate for more long after you have left the premises, unlike the name of someone who is well remembered for only 15 minutes.

The fatty brisket is so good that I almost headed out the door one night when they ran out, but as you will see, it was good that I stayed to taste some of their other menu items.

If you go at lunch they offer a $13.50 lunch box special with a sandwich, side and drink that makes it a great deal for any carnivore. The brioche bun is the perfect vehicle for delivery of the juicy tender morsels into your mouth. I chose the greens as a side to help balance out all the meat 🙂 The close up picture shows how the chopped brisket is literally fall apart tender.

Another good choice for lunch box sandwich is the old school smoked sausage. The only issue I had with this wonderful meat was the casing was a bit tough so I ended up scraping the sausage out of the casing and putting it back in the sandwich with the whole grain mustard, creamy cole slaw, and pepper spread, the additional sauce was unnecessary, but I loved the vinegary slaw as a side.

I went in one night just as they ran out of brisket 😦 Rather than trek somewhere else, we ordered half a pound of the smoked prime rib for $18 with a pickle plate for $6, and a large market chopped salad for $11. The prime rib was so good that by the end of the meal we were glad that they were out of brisket so that I was “forced” to try it 🙂 Of course I got the rarest cut they had, but they do offer more well done cuts for those of you who are not blood red raw meat eaters. The pickle plate was abundant enough to take some home, and the chopped salad was nicely dressed in a red wine vinaigrette that helped make the meal easier on the digestion. The salad was so big we took half of it away in a doggy bag, and it held up pretty well as lunch the next day.

I will always be a fan of people who choose quality ingredients and who also possess the skills to render them into bites of heaven:)

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