Archives for posts with tag: restaurants


every once in a while you have the meal of a lifetime. in the three short years that alma has been open, i have eaten here only four times, and each time i went was one of those meals. sure there were mistakes, delays in timing, a dish off just slightly, but man was i astounded that every time i went in i left with my mind blown by some sort of delicacy that even if i had the recipe i was sure i couldn’t reproduce. this is culinary mastery at its best. tonight was no different.


i had heard of the troubles alma was having via social media, and quickly donated to their indiegogo crowd funding site. i chose the ‘dinner for one’ perk, and a ‘tote bag.’ this place was too important to the downtown los angeles cuisine, and more importantly…its community, to let it go away. it raised upwards of 50k, but sadly even with many efforts to stay open, it will close october 24.

i have often thought, if i were to open a restaurant it would be a place like alma: small, personal, farm to table, community driven, and sustainable. the same person greeting you at the door could be pouring your wine and taking your order, but also expediting the kitchen, and even sometimes preparing your dish. the kitchen is small, and the prep has to be thought out precisely. there is no walk-in freezer, actually to my knowledge there is no freezer, and only a very small fridge to hold what has to be kept cool until made that evening. i have been there when the kitchen is shutting down, cleaning out, and throwing away the last bits of mis-en-place, and it seems extremely minimal. impressive.


i will truly miss this place, and rumors of another alma in the future makes me giddy.

*i must say, even though they knew i was redeeming my perk (i would only have to pay tax), the staff treated me like any other diner, and because of that they got better (and then some) than twenty percent and not just on the $14.85 tax i owed them.


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.

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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.

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

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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

i am not sure where i first heard of al + bea’s mexican food, but i believe it was an article on the best burrito. i remember it specifically mentioning the green sauce, and since they are just across the los angeles river in boyle heights from where i live downtown, i had to check them out. i am certain that they must use some sort of addictive additive (like crack) in their beans, because there are mornings i will wake up and have their bean and cheese burrito on the brain. maybe they use lard? or it’s the type of bean? but their refried beans are just damn tasty. other than ordering their chile relleno burrito once, i always get the bean and cheese with red sauce. i tried the green sauce, but i prefer the kick of the red. it is nothing fancy. a tortilla, refried beans, cheese and sauce. that is it.

the menu is above the tables and ranges from burritos and tacos to hamburgers and fries.

you stand in line to order from a window, wait for your number (called out first in spanish, and then nicely in english for us gringos in socal who don’t know their basic spanish), and pick it up at another window. fyi, it is cash only, but they do have an atm, and it is ridiculously cheap. lunch time can get quite busy. i managed to beat the rush today, but by the time i was done there was quite a line.

al + bea’s mexican food • 2025 east first street, los angeles, ca 90033 • 323-267-8810

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