Ahhh…Akbar

I don’t know why Indian Food is a very under-appreciated Cuisine, maybe it’s because of it’s unnapealing appearance of most of the “molelized” curries or just the plain fact of it being “Indian Food”. It’s really a shame. The complex mixture of spices, techniques and history. I find it amazing.

I mean, i was pretty scared too the first time we were going to try “Indian Food” but quickly changed my mind after opening the door and having the aromatic spices slap me in the face.

Lunch is the time to go eat if there ever was a time, you get a lot more for a lot less. We happened to barely benefit from the lunch specials coming just a couple of minutes before cut off time.

I wish i had more time to write but don’t so all you have to know is with the odd marriage of Coconut and Fennel in the “melt in your mouth” Coconut Lamb or the kick in the mouth that you will receive with the almost-infinite amount of spices in their masala spices Chicken Tikka Masala, Akbar’s is definitely one of my favorite places that will always be one of my favorites.

3115 Washington Blvd.
Marina Del Rey, CA
90292

Inspirating Tender Greens

Appearing to be part of Ford’s Filling Station and unbelievably hard to find, this little unheard of place turned out to be just what i was craving for. Being grilling season and all i’ve been having a hankering for just about anything charred and smoky but since i’m not a hardcore carnivore, i knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to find a place were they not only focused on meat but also on veggies.

As soon as i walked in, i knew I was going to like it. It runs kind of like a Sbarro or Subway(c’mon don’t pretend you’ve never been to any of those places). You order first and you watch them make your salad of choice right in front of your eyes. The first thing i liked is you know how in most places you happen to be interested in both an entree salad and an entree? Well here, you get to choose both! so you could have your Baby Spinach with Goat Cheese and Roasted Hazelnuts and the rare Line Caught Ahi Tuna with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and a little slice of Garlic Crouton.

And to satisfy my picky cravings even more, i even added some nice, blackened slices of Roasted Veggies on top of my salad. So i get what would of probably been 3 different plates in any other restaurant all in one! For only 10 bucks! for dinner! on the Westside! Simply amazing, why can’t every restaurant be like this.

And although that little mountain of greens, the little scoop of potatoes and those 4 little thin slices of Tuna doesn’t look as filling as the thick slabs of meat or seafood you might find anywhere else, don’t worry! The restaurant is just doing you a favor by filling you with their amazing salad and providing you with more of those rising necessary servings of Fruits and Vegetables.

I decided to get the “Fresh Line Caught Ahi Tuna Hot Plate” with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and the “simple salad” for which the restaurant got it’s name for, Tender Greens with Sherry Vinagaraitte and to add some “hot stuff” which in this case was the grilled veggies. The Tuna was perfectly seared, completely pink on the inside, just how i had been craving. Although it was kind of cool by the time we sat down and ate, i didn’t mind since it was so perfect, especially when you forked it up with a big dallop of creamy mashed potatoes. The salad greens were fresh and tender, hence the name but i don’t know why i don’t seem to like vinegar in it’s almost pure form, must be the smell. That still didn’t stop me from eating it, but i enjoyed my dad’s goat cheese salad better, the Hazelnuts somehow tasted exactly like Nutella.

They had many interesting choices for dessert of course revolving around chocolate such as Aztec Cocoa Brownies but unfortunately they were already out today so we tried the Devils Food Cupcake with Toffee Frosting(the last one might i add) but since i’m not a diehard choco-holic like the rest of my family, i got the Carrot Cake With Frosting. We usually share one dessert but since it was so cheap, i decided to try it. The Carrot Cake was shaped like a cookie but had the texture of a cake. It was moist not dry like in most places, and filled with Walnuts and little shreds of carrot. Very good. The cupcake was well chocolate but the frosting, which was was also on the carrot cake was the best, creamy and rounding out the little dryness of both confections.

“Summer Cuisine” if there ever such a label.

Tender Greens in Los Angeles

What was i thinking?…Chaya?

Chaya,,,the name mystified me every time we passed by it. The view of the dim lighting and the ongoing of hungry “westdiner’s” never failed to interest me. And with my mellowing obsession with health still inside me and the new rave that M Cafe has been getting lately, i could not take my meddlesome any longer.

I remember along time ago when i would try to “walk off” my late night gluttony not to mention easing my stomach and guilt, i came across the displayed menu on the window and reading something like “seitan with coconut lentils” and knew, because of my recent infatuation with coconut, i had to sample it. The only problem was, because of my ignorance, i had not seen the price of anything. So there i go, suggesting it without analyzing it. I mean, i knew it was gourmet, and like all great things, is not cheap but $25-35?!! For our situation that we are facing right now?!! C’mon!(and plus, i was really craving a lunchy kinda thing, since it was technically my lunch)

When we walked in i knew it was not going be cheap. There was a 45 minute wait for the dining area and the 20 minute wait for the bar so we decided to opt for 3 seats in the sushi bar. With my dad’s recent convincing lectures in making me really think about what i was doing every time we ate dinner did to my brother and the cheapest entrees being $18(which luckily happened to be what had caught my attention). I was feeling pretty bad. I could also tell that my brother did not want to be here. But what was i going to do now, leave? Well no matter how naive that was, my thickheaded ass still attempted it. Of course, we stayed and i was forced to try to enjoy my dinner.

What made it even worse that we were not served any complimentary bread, something that i highly look forward to. So i had to ask for it myself. The bread was actually pretty good, and i even amazingly enjoyed the olive tapenade that was served with it.

I eventually got my much-anticipated Crispy Seitan with Coconut-Curry Lentils, Kale and Sweet Potato Puree but was not able to fully enjoy it. Not because of my brothers forced consuming of Shrimp Penne Arrabiata that he probably could of made better himself or the weirdness of the lack of communication between the three of us that we all looked forward to because we were all seated looking away from each other but it was surprisingly not… very good.

We were served unusually fast…i’m talking about within minutes we had ordered. Which was good, since i am always starving and they were also extremely generous with my entree. but that did not make up for the lack of flavor that followed. It was displayed very beautifully and if it was not for my uncomfortableness of taking a picture of food, i would of said it was the most beautiful-lest displayed dinner i had ever ate. The 3 huge thick triangular cuts of deep fried seitan, laying on a mountain of potato puree atop a heap of Kale on a bed of lentils. It was easily enough for two.

The seitan was extremely dry, you couldn’t even tell it was fried, not a speck or taste of grease anywhere, maybe if it was cut in smaller piece it would of been better. The “sweet potato puree” tasted just a little bit different of your usual mashed potatoes, it looked a lot like them too, not any shade of orange but white. The Kale was very thick and the a very similar consistency to steamed spinach, It would of been a nice compliment to the meal if there was not so much of it! Too much is not good. The awaited coconut lentils sadly turned out to be a disappointment also, undercooked and with a very tiny noticeable amount of coconut flavor. All this still didn’t stop me from finishing everything, except the kale. But i’m just saying.

There were several appealing dessert options that i would of loved but could not think because of my stupid thoughts inside of my head. My brother suggested the Mango and Rasberry Sorbet with mixed fruit, and even though it was cold outside and there were many other things in the menu that i would of enjoyed…just settled for that. Which turned out to be perfect, with the oblong shaped bowl and surprising diversity of fruits. And plus, i was stuffed and did not feel like consuming 3 days worth of my calories tonight.

Bottom line, not worth the money.

Chaya Venice in Los Angeles

Alot Harder Than It Looks: My First Concocted Dinner (my second attempt on writing about it!)

Ok, ok…it wasn’t all me(thanx Karen).

Many restaurants ago, my brother’s friend Karen noticed my infatuation with food and proposed that we get together one day and make our own dinner for a change. After months and months of lagging, i finally decided that we actually do it.

We had decided on Almond Crusted Salmon with a Lemon Leek Sauce but i needed something else…some starch…some vegetables and C’mon…I wasn’t going to settle for your usual potato and canned vegetables! I needed something…exotic, something i could’nt make by myself in my sister’s annal kitchen.

Taking it "toooo far"

Soy Dream Mocha “Heavenly Pie” for breakfast on Sunday.

Unintentional Necessitated FRIED Garden Burger with “thousand island” dressing, cheese product with enriched hamburger buns, with FRIED French Fry’s at Rick’s afterschool in Alhambra.(unintetional because they use to char-broil it like regular burgers which made the best “guiltfree” GardenBurger i have ever had anywhere and Necessitated because i had already ordered it and wasn’t about to throw it away)

I know i’m “young” and have a fast metabolism and all but i think i’m taking it a little bit too far, don’t you think?(if anyone is reading this?)

Informed Indulgences: My Dinner ar La Vecchia Cucina

My time is coming, sooner than i think. Pretty soon i’m going to have to decide what it is that i am going to do with my life. Will it be something along this newly found passion that i have for food? Or will my consolling affection with music prevail?

In my chaotic attempt to make a decision, my brother in my support, had a friend who happened to know someone, that knew someone that that knew someone else that was married to the new Head Chef/ owner of this italian place in Santa Monica, La Vecchia Cucina Italiana . He happened to mention me and my affection with food and seemed intrigued.

By next tuesday, we were having dinner their. The aroma of garlic and olive oil, the noisy chattering of blatant Westsiders, the fancy pyramidal set tables and me with my usual levis and back-patched black sweater…i felt like a fish out of water. But like so many times before, i was not going to let that ruin it for me.

I was really looking forward trying it out and meeting him. Italian food was probably one of my first cuisines that i’ve had other than Mexican. (even though it was probably some sort of enriched pasta product with a fake “Ragu” sauce, but it doesn’t matter!)
I was also really looking forward to the complimentary bread and olive oil that are given in most italian restaurants, me being the carb-a-holic and all. And soon enough, a big steaming basket full of fresh bread was in our table ready for my carb compelled indulgence.

This was probably the best complimentary bread and olive oil blend that i have ever had. The bread was warm, crusty, and toasty on the outside and soft as pillow on the outside. The oil was was the perfect accompaniment to this, especially since i had a craving for anything doused with garlic. I usually don’t like eating olive oil by itself but this was different, not having that “fruity” taste that most store brands have but this rich, smooth taste. It was full of shredded basil and was infused with garlic, but not the Prestos kind of garlic that leaves you reeking of garlic for days on end, but enough.

I don’t know why I’ve been having this huge craving for garlic and this hit the spot. I decided to try shrimp one more time(I don’t know why, i’m starting not to like shrimp anymore) and get theLINGUINE MARE E MONTI , Linguine noodles in a pesto sauce with butterflied shrimp and Shitake Mushrooms. It was alright, the noodles were perfectly Al Dente but the sauce was a little bit too creamy for me, and the shrimp…well, i guess i just don’t like shrimp anymore. That still didn’t stop me from finishing it though.

The best dish was the Penne Arabbiata that my brother got(like always). Exquisitely spicy with a little bit of tangyness. My dad’s INSALATA ALLA TIBURCIO, Baby mixed greens topped with roasted pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes
and goat cheese tossed in our raspberry vinaigrette was also quite good. Sweet enough to be a dessert, just how i like it.

After finishing, the owner/chef Mark had recognized my brother and came to ask us how it was. He was very nice, he answered many of my questions about culinary arts and what it took for him to get there. Very informative.

Like if we hadn’t had enough calories already, my brother had told my about the chocolate cake they had there. He said, they’ve had the same jewish lady make it for years and it my brother had told me that it was exceptionally rich compared to other ones we’ve had before, of course we hadto get it. “Rich” is an understatement. This is one of “the world’s going end and you know you’re going to die” kind of things to eat. Me and my brother could barely finish one slice! And thats us. I could almost hear my heart crying for mercy….poor little heart

By the end of the night, i know i probably ate like 4 days worth of calories, but i didn’t feel bad. It was worth it.


La Vecchia Cucina Italiana

2654 Main St.
Santa Monica CA
900405
(310) 399-7979

La Vecchia Cucina in Los Angeles