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I always research the latest reviews for places to eat, even when I know several and have options suggested by locals. Even though they have been around since 2010, I would probably not have found L’Aller Retour without some online research because it has a tiny entrance on a small street near the Carreau du Temple. It was definitely worth the search because it was one of my favorite meals during the last trip.

Classic escargots for 6 Euros were perfect in every way, and I even got a friend to try one for the first time because of the buttery garlic aroma that perfumed the table upon their arrival 🙂

My friend appreciated the quality of the meat in the burger for 14E50 as well as the crisp fries, saying it was very good in spite of it not being well done (for an American-it was well done by French standards, which means it was pink in the middle instead of red).

 

I had come specifically for the knife cut Charolais steak tartare for 14E that was the best one I ate during this trip. The large salad was very much appreciated to help balance out the meat, with a very nice vinaigrette dressing.

Ending lunch with an espresso was a perfect way to cap off lunch at a newly found favorite.

After last week’s post on Bavette Meat & Provisions, it seems I’m on a butcher post spree 🙂 When I want to just pick something up to cook immediately or have someone cook for me, I go to Belcampo. I live closer to their Santa Monica location now, but it’s also easy to get to their Grand Central market location in DTLA is you ride the Metro. I carry my own cooler bag with ice packs (thank-you @jean_de_paradis) whenever I shop for provisions that are temperature sensitive like meat, poultry, and seafood, but if you live close enough to any of their locations to walk home, their grocery bags advertise all the attributes of their products.

Their ground beef was on sale, so I made two half pound patties of their marvelous grind.

 Of course, I topped it off with some bacon 🙂

 I used the spicy Italian Sausage in some pasta.

The Porterhouse pork chop was a hearty meal and well worth the $20 price tag.

If you don’t want to cook, they will do it for you; I highly recommend their lamb burger with sweet potato fries!

Rabano is one of those places that make me appreciate living in the South Bay.  Supporting small businesses that make fresh, tasty. and healthy food is always a pleasure, and the added bonus of having them close by, makes it on my list of go to places when I don’t want to either cook or drive.

It is popular and the parking lot is tiny, so either go at a non peak time, or park on a nearby street like Artesia or Prospect. The parking is the only drawback here; once you get inside you may either order on the tablets in front of the large menu on the wall (there are daily blackboard specials by the cashier) and take a number, or if you prefer human interaction, order at the cash register. The choices are very straightforward, but on my first visit, it was a bit overwhelming. For the bowls, you can choose any item with white or brown rice, ancient grains, or salad. For the salads and sandwiches, it pretty much self explanatory unless you want an upgrade or add on.

I was very impressed at the quality of the ingredients for the prices. Grass fed beef burgers for $12, free-range chicken in the salads and sandwiches, hand made sodas and dressings.

Their pork belly knockout, with lemongrass marinated pork belly, a sweet miso glaze, gochujang, wilted spinach, pickled slaw and watercress on ancients grains for $11.50, was a hearty meal. Tender pork belly with the contrasting bright pickled slaw, and greens made it a filling bowl, but not heavy or greasy. I put my leftovers on arugula when I got home and had a second meal from my leftovers.

The Lechon Cubano of cuban style pulled pork, mojo criollo, black beans, red pickled onions, and sweet plantains for $9.50 nice riff on Cuban pork. I found my serving about half fat, half pork, but even so, there was more than enough pork and flavor to make me happy. I added lots of hot sauce to spice it up, and next time I would ask for more of the pickled red onions to perk it up.

My favorite bowl here is the El Koreano for $11.50 with grilled certified Angus beef (you can choose free range chicken instead), baby bok choy, cucumber, carrot, gochujang, house kimchi, and a sweet umami glaze. I chose it over white rice, but next time I would choose either ancient grains or brown rice. All the contrasting textures and flavors, from the crunch of the cucumbers to the tender meat and the wonderful home-made spice of the kimchi, worked together to create a colorful complimentary composition.

Service was both friendly and efficient, with a harmonious energy that echoed the food they serve; it really is true that the back of the house is as important as the front of the house, and the house at Rabano is well kept inside and out.

Does anyone know what this is?

Are any of you fans of the TV series M*A*S*H*? Klinger’s favorite diner Tony Packo’s is famous for this! I was asked all those questions and didn’t know…so I will tell you the answer: a fried dill pickle! It was delicious! Sour, crunchy, salty, and you will definitely want more than one slice! Friends who live in the area near Old Town Torrance know this place well and had almost polished off the entire plate of ale battered fried pickles ($6.95) before I got there! They saved me one just because they love me:)

It was my first fried pickle, my first visit to Red Car Brewery, and my first Impossible Burger, a trifecta of winning experiences!

One of my friends ordered the Cobb Salad ($13.95) with balsamic and no bacon….I don’t share my friend’s palate, but the dish looked fresh. She didn’t care for the balsamic so asked for some ranch which she added to the salad…it didn’t seem to help her opinion of her meal.

Another friend ordered the grilled salmon ($17.95) with fresh vegetables which he demolished with relish.

I have been wanting to try the impossible burger, so when I saw it on the menu I had to order it! It came with coleslaw and either a salad or fries, so I opted for fries.

It was a very decent vegan burger with good taste and honestly with all the other components of the burger, it could have passed for meat. My friends thought the texture was a bit odd but they enjoyed it nonetheless.

I’m sure there will be return visits, but next time I will get there early and grab at least TWO slices of the fried pickle!

Grand Central Market has evolved into a food mecca, with far too many great options to try all in one day, but a friend and I tried to eat our way through the market anyway 🙂

We started off at Belcampo with their $14 lamb burger, made with garam masala aioli, tamarind chutney, mint, cilantro, and red onion on a wonderfully soft bun. I love that all their meats are grass fed and that they have complete control of every aspect of their operation from raising the animals to processing and butchering them. Yes, the prices here are higher than your local chain grocery store, but I prefer to buy less from places with practices I want to promote, than feed the corporate machinery.

We split the medium rare burger and loved the textures and flavors. If we had not planned to try other places in the market, we would have eaten one of these each!

We also shared a plate of the sweet potato fries, seasoned with celery salt, and they were so crisp, salty, and sweet that we fought over the last fries!

Ramen Hood was our next course. It was the only vegan ramen I’ve ever tried, with sunflower seed broth, king oyster mushroom, bean sprouts, scallions, and chili threads, we added a vegan egg for $2 more making the total bowl $12. It was much better than we imagined, with full flavors and the “egg” not only looked like an egg, but the texture was very close to one. A satisfying bowl, but next time I think I would try the spicy version that I saw my neighbors eating at the counter simply because I think some added heat might enhance the flavors even more.

We were pretty full but wanted to try a small bite at Madcapra, made with locally sourced organic ingredients, so we got just the green falafels for $3.50. They were dry and bland on their own, but once we added the dipping sauces, they were good.

Sticky Rice serves organic locally sourced Thai comfort food, like this rice noodle plate with beef that was so big I had to take half of it home! The assortment of condiments was a very nice way to add heat and zing to any dish on their menu.

We ended our eating spree with a walk to the now closed Fabrique for some lattes; I chose the lavender, which was smooth and creamy

and my friend had the rainbow latte, a beautiful ending to a great day of food:)

I like my red meat very rare or raw (yes, I love steak tartare), so for me to eat a burger, I have to trust the source of the meat. Even with the plethora of burger places in Los Angeles, very few casual places serve grass fed meat and even fewer are burger places.

Short Order in the Farmer’s Market not only grinds their own meat from grass fed whole steers, but they use local, organic and artisanal products on their menu. The buns are as important as the burger, and you can rest assured that they bake their own bread since Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery) is one of the partners.

If you want a classic lunch combo, you can pair your burger with a milkshake or a beer starting at $6, or you can order wine by the glass starting at $10, but with 90+ degree heat and humidity, I opted for a herbal crimson berry iced tea for $3.50. It was slightly tart blend, and perfect if you want to quench your thirst without any added sugar.

The Commando is literally a “naked” beef burger for $8, but I “dressed” it a bit by adding raw onions. It was perfectly juicy and seasoned, so if you’re a purist, this burger is the one to order. I loved getting a rare burger and not having to worry about the quality and safety of the ground meat! If you want to be more gourmet, you can opt for truffle mayo for $2 or a chipotle BBQ sauce for .75 more.

Besides beef, they have tuna, portobello and free range turkey burgers, along with salads, home made sausages, and sandwiches made with pork belly, so no matter how you want to eat, you will find something on the menu to fit your appetite. I was intrigued by the grass fed lamb, feta, salsa verde and wild arugula burger for $14, so I ordered it on another visit.

The seasoning that was so perfect on the Commando burger made this burger too salty with the feta cheese, but aside from that, this was a good alternative for a red meat burger even though it is a bit pricey.

Thrice cooked fries for $3 were ok, not especially crisp or addictive, but decent. They offer sweet potato fries with cinnamon and thyme for $5 but with the classic Commando, I wanted classic fries.

The wood grilled asparagus with almond basil pesto for $7 was wonderful as a side dish, but I could have easily made a meal of three plates of this!

For a quick lunch in the Farmer’s Market, Short Order has good food ethics and enough options for everyone, so I’m keeping it on my short list of burger places:)

Short Order on Urbanspoon

 

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