Archives for the month of: January, 2013

it was almost a year ago that i discovered the wonder of guisados just a couple miles away in boyle heights. they have some of the best tacos i have ever had, so when i heard that they were going to expand to echo park, and eventually downtown, i was ecstatic. the echo park location is just down the street from dodger stadium, and opened just after the new year. i actually can’t believe it took me this long to go check it out.

My HipstaPrint 916813765_2

to no surprise there was a line out the door. granted it was lunchtime on a friday, but it moved fairly quickly. just like their boyle heights location, the tortillas are handmade right in front of you, from masa made next door to the other location, and the menu is on a chalkboard on the wall. it seems to consist only of tacos at this time, but perhaps they will expand to tamales and ceviche like the other location in the future.

My HipstaPrint 916813765_8My HipstaPrint 916813765_4My HipstaPrint 916813765_7

a nice young man wearing a dodgers hat, who seemed to be running the place, answered some questions i had about the menu, and also delivered our food. i ordered their version of an arnold palmer, called an armando palmero, named after the owner, which is a lemon-lime-hibiscus tea mix.

My HipstaPrint 916813765

for tacos i ordered a mole poblano, a pescado, and a cochinita pibil.

My HipstaPrint 916813765_1

they have decent sized indoor eating area…

My HipstaPrint 916813765_5

…but, even though it was a brisk socal day in los angeles, we chose to sit outside on the lovely patio, which has a stone fountain, veladoras on the tables, and a nice view of downtown.

My HipstaPrint 916813765_6My HipstaPrint 916813765_3

as we were finishing up, a pickup truck pulled into the parking lot, and none other than armando himself jumped out with a large bag of masa in hand. we congratulated him on a job well done. he explained that his son had called needing more masa, so he rushed it over, and confirmed that the dodger hat wearing young man was indeed his son. this echo park location was opened for him to run. i asked about the future downtown location, which he said is at least six months out, and apparently will be his daughter’s venture into the family business. each of the current locations are only a few miles from where i live, but i am very much looking forward the downtown location opening up only a few blocks away. i see a lot of tacos in my future.

guisados: echo park • 1261 w. sunset blvd. la, ca 90026 • 213-250-7600

Advertisements

i’ve only made risotto once before, but i have been reminded many times by tom colicchio in a few top chef episodes that it can be quite tricky. in fact, once again a chef was just recently eliminated by making one not to the judges liking. i’ve had a wild mushroom risotto at past top chef winner ilan hall’s restaurant the gorbals, and mr. colicchio’s vegetable risotto at craftsteak in las vegas, so i have an idea of what the consistency and taste should be. what is so damn difficult?

karl, my mushroom guy, at the hollywood farmers market had a wide array of mushrooms sunday, so i thought i’d try my hand at a wild mushroom risotto. i chose black trumpets, chanterelles, and shiitakes. i compiled the list of ingredients and amounts after the fact, so some are approximations, and others are optional or interchangeable. for instance, i grabbed what i thought was frozen vegetable stock from my freezer and as it melted i realized i had in fact taken out a container of lobster stock. i happened to have tarragon and savory on hand, but sage and thyme could also work, and white wine can be used instead of red.

ingredients:

  • 4 cups lobster stock
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups wild mushrooms, big ones cut up, leave small ones whole
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh savory, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • s+p
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

directions:

heat the stock so it is warmish-hot.

My HipstaPrint 913504197_4

sauté about 1/3 of the garlic and onion in some olive oil for about 3-5 minutes or until translucent. add the mushrooms, butter, tarragon and savory and continue cooking for a few minutes until the mushrooms have just browned. add some s+p to taste. set aside and keep warm.

My HipstaPrint 913504197_6

coat the bottom of and heavy bottom pan, such as a dutch oven, with olive oil and sauté the remaining onion and garlic until translucent as well. add the rice and stir quickly allowing the rice to be coated with the oil and opaque, about a minute. apparently this cooks the starchy coating and keeps the rice from sticking. add the wine and stir until it is almost evaporated.

My HipstaPrint 913504197_5

add the stock, a ladle at a time, and stir until just absorbed. then add the next ladle of stock and repeat each time allowing the stock to be incorporated until your stock is gone. stirring continuously should help cook the rice evenly and not stick to the bottom of the pan. i noticed a couple ladles near the end of adding the stock the rice still seemed to be a bit al dente, and also the rice and stock seemed to be making a creamy saucy consistency. by the time the final ladle had been incorporated the rice was perfectly cooked and not mushy. the risotto shouldn’t be too thick, but also not runny. it should almost ooze.

My HipstaPrint 913504197_3

stir in the mushrooms, parmesan and parsley. add s+p to taste.

My HipstaPrint 913504197_2My HipstaPrint 913504197_1

serve immediately.

My HipstaPrint 913504197

makes 2-3 servings.

i must say even though i was a bit skeptical the lobster stock might not be the right choice when i was defrosting it, it turned out to be a really nice compliment to the earthy mushrooms. granted i know i only made a small batch, i’m not working in the confines of a kitchen foreign to me, and i was able to use my own equipment and tools, but this just wasn’t that hard, and it turned out really tasty. i certainly doubt i would get eliminated on an episode of top chef for this dish, and who knows perhaps i would win?

today i woke up with a touch of a sore throat, my head was stuffy, and my eyes a bit goopy. ugh. did i just catch the cold that has been going around? great.

i discovered blossom vietnamese restaurant pretty early on living in downtown los angeles. since it is only a few blocks away, and has reasonably priced, quality, tasty food, i go there often. a few years ago, i got the start of what was in the makings of being a pretty bad cold. i hardly ever get sick, but when i do all i want is hot, steamy, spicy, brothy chicken soup. i remembered that blossom had phở ga on the menu, so i got on my trusty steed and biked up there.

My HipstaPrint 904730565_3

i must have sounded worse than i thought, or sniffled a bunch when i ordered, because the man taking my order asked if i was sick? then asked if i liked ginger and garlic? he said he would put some extra in, and that i should add it to the broth, and that it will help me feel better. i had heard of the wonders of garlic and ginger in the past, and i knew homemade broths are very healthy for you, but had pretty much thought that chicken soup wasn’t going to cure my cold, it would just make me feel better and comfort me. i was wrong. the next day my cold was gone.

good broth will resurrect the dead. -south american proverb

the chicken is juicy and never over-cooked. the broth is steamy and flavorful. the bean sprouts, thai basil, jalapeño, lime, ginger and garlic are fresh and plentiful.

My HipstaPrint 904730565_2My HipstaPrint 904730565_1

all together with a little hoisin and sriracha hot sauce makes a big bowl of delicious medicine.

My HipstaPrint 904730565

so today when i woke up feeling crummy, i got on my trusty steed once again, went a few blocks west up winston street, and ordered what i now call ‘the cold killer’: phở ga with extra ginger and garlic. needless to say i am already feeling better.

blossom vietnamese • 426 s. main street, la, ca 90013 • 323-623-1973

%d bloggers like this: