Sixth Street Tavern – Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

The Financial District of Downtown Los Angeles, the iconic part with all the tall beautiful skyscrapers lighting up the horizon, is home to plenty of wonderful bars and pubs hidden among the street level retail of the towering buildings. At the corner of Sixth and Hope, Martin and I went out to Sixth Street Tavern one night after he got out of the office. Our conclusion? Sixth Street Tavern is an awesome example of LA’s great trend — the gastropub.

Weck jars, craft beers, and a menu that includes elevated pub food? Count us in!

Weck jars, craft beers, and a menu that includes elevated pub food? Count us in!

The decor feels trendy yet understated and every table is lit with a candle resting in a Weck jar. We were feeling pretty ravenous so we ordered a handful of dishes to share. I would definitely recommend going with a small group in order to sample more of the menu!

Duck Fat Fries - duck fat, hickory dipping sauce

Duck Fat Fries – duck fat, hickory dipping sauce

First, we started with the duck fat fries. Three words that were always meant to be spoken in harmonious succession. Duck. Fat. Fries. Super crispy and full of savory decadence, these were the perfect thing to start noshing on. I like barbecue flavors so the hickory was my sauce of choice, but the fries were delicious even with ordinary ketchup.

Bistro Burger - worcestershire onion compote, port salut cheese, arugula, aioli

Bistro Burger – worcestershire onion compote, port salut cheese, arugula, aioli

We wanted to split something substantial, so we agreed to get a burger. Martin let me pick and when I saw the Bistro Burger, with a description is suspiciously reminiscent of one of my favoritesThe Office burger, I had to get it. We ordered it rare and the burger arrived perfectly cooked to temperature. The cheese was melty but not too strong, and the worcestershire onion compote was mouthwatering. It was especially impressive served on the glistening bun.

Chicken and Donuts - buttermilk fried chicken, doughnut, maple glaze, tapatio whipped cream

Chicken and Donuts – buttermilk fried chicken, doughnut, maple glaze, tapatio whipped cream

We agreed to select a small plate to share as well. I saw the chicken and donuts and gasped. Sweet and salty with… do my eyes deceive me? Tapatio whipped cream?!?! DO IT, my stomach roared. The chicken was crunchy, hot, and super juicy. The doughnut was crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and piped full of that fascinating Tapatio whip. The entire bite was glazed in maple, transforming into an awesome combination of breakfast and dinner in one bite. So. Freaking. Good. This is the kind of dish you dream about and then return to a restaurant specifically to devour. Martin did, with one of his friends. I’m still dreaming…

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Check out Sixth Street Tavern: sixthstreettavern.com

630 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90017

See their Yelp reviews here!

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Public House – The Venetian, Las Vegas NV

Food Adventures, Las Vegas

“Who spends Christmas in Vegas anyway?” many of our friends exclaimed. Well, when you’re spontaneous like Martin and I are, and an offer for three free nights of hotel lodging pops up in our inbox, you can bet we will welcome the opportunity for a short getaway to Sin City. Las Vegas has really established itself as a food destination, with many of the world’s renowned chefs opening up restaurants on the Strip. But we decided to save the Robuchons and the Gordon Ramsays for another time. Instead, we had our Christmas dinner at an underrated gastropub (our favorite kind of joint) with Executive Chef Anthony Meidenbauer at the helm — Public House.

Festive View from the Deck at The Venetian

Festive View from the Deck at The Venetian

Public House is not just any gastropub. With a selection of literally hundreds of beers in bottles, cans, and draft, no server could possibly rattle them all off for every customer. Instead, we were seated and immediately presented with our menus and… an iPad. That’s right, folks. There really is “an app for that.”

Perusing the Varieties of Beer

Perusing the Varieties of Beer

Perhaps I was in a less adventurous mood drink-wise or perhaps I was so overwhelmed by all the choices, but I ended up selecting a tried and true favorite: Lindeman’s Peche Lambic. (Fun fact — I love this sweet, fruity ale so much that I have a pair of the branded flutes at home; we also have a pair of branded chalices in which to serve Martin’s favorite, Chimay.)

Lindeman's Peche Lambic

Lindeman’s Peche Lambic

The entire menu looked awesome and suited to our taste, so we had a difficult time choosing just a few dishes. I had, however, been eyeing the roasted bone marrow appetizer since we first decided to make our reservation here, so that was a definite starter. The bones, still piping hot from having been roasted to order in a (probably) 400 degree oven, smelled incredible. The mere sight of this appetizer made me salivate.

Roasted Bone Marrow Appetizer

Roasted Bone Marrow – bacon marmalade, grilled bread

It is admittedly hard to mess up roasting bone marrow (we even did it ourselves at home), and the bones at Public House were made extra special by resting alongside thick, grilled slices of a rustic bread and a heaping pile of bacon marmalade. Bacon. Marmalade. Reminiscent of the onion compote I made for our copycat Father’s Office burgers, it tasted delicious although the flavor was a bit overpowering for the delicate marrow decadence. The marrow itself melted like nature’s butter, smearing effortlessly over the charred bread. Sinking our teeth into that was like a bite of heaven. A great way to start our evening.

Roasted Bone Marrow - piling it on high

Roasted Bone Marrow – piling it on high

We also ordered a second appetizer to maximize our exposure to the menu’s offerings. Torn between the grilled octopus and the crispy pig tails, we decided to go with the land critter. I was a bit surprised to find that the “tail” was really more like hunks of pork belly lacquered in a sweet & sour glaze. Definitely not the curly bits of offal I had in mind. The flavors were interestingly Asian-inspired, but as the fatty layers were still quite heavy and not fully rendered, this was not my favorite dish of the night.

Crispy Pig Tails

Crispy Pig Tails – calabrian chili glaze, radish, buttermilk dressing

Martin and I were both in a carnivorous mood. He selected the 8 ounce filet mignon of natural angus beef, simply as it is – topped with a generous dollop of maitre d’hotel butter (a homemade herbed butter) and served alongside greens. The steak was wonderfully tender and cooked perfectly rare as requested; the butter melting over the seared crust added an appreciated touch of fat. The frisee and arugula salad was a bit heavily salted and the vinaigrette was more acidic than we’d prefer, but seeing as how Martin is not a fan of salad anyway, no harm, no foul.

8 oz. Filet Mignon - greens & maitre d'hotel butter

8 oz. Filet Mignon – greens & maitre d’hotel butter

Since it was Christmas after all, I gravitated toward the Christmas Specials, a small insert that our server placed on top of the regular dinner menu. My family often celebrated Christmas with prime rib, so I decided to go with that for old times’ sake. It being a whole rib roast, I knew it would be difficult to get a cut that was just right, but I asked for the kitchen to provide the rarest they could. I was very pleased with the generous slab of medium rare (to rare) that was placed in front of me. With its peppery crust and a dousing of au jus, the prime rib was incredibly satisfying. The creamy truffled spinach was a pleasant side dish to add a bit of greens in my life, and the yorkshire pudding soaked up the jus the way it should. However, with the portion being unexpectedly humongous, I am ashamed to admit that this entree bested me and I could not finish it.

Public House Prime Rib - creamy black truffle spinach, yorkshire pudding

Public House Prime Rib – creamy black truffle spinach, yorkshire pudding

But, as they say, there is always room for dessert. The selection of homemade ice cream and sorbet caught my eye, in particular the pear balsamic sorbet. We asked if we could substitute this for the milk chocolate sorbet that usually tops the creme brulee and it was easily accommodated. The giant crepe dentelle made for an impressive presentation and the creme brulee was the perfect texture — crunchy caramelized sugar giving way to a dense custard filled with vanilla bean. I was very happy with the sorbet, which balanced the sweetness of the pears with the tartness of the balsamic to yield a frozen treat that danced on my palate. I think Martin was most pleased with the feuilletine crumble; we love crepes dentelles and especially appreciate their buttery fragility after having made (or tried to make…) a batch at home. This crumble was tossed in chocolate and were reminiscent of Nestle’s Buncha Crunch candy, one of our favorite movie theater splurges.

Creme Brulee - pear butter, feuilletine crumble, pear balsamic sorbet

Creme Brulee – pear butter, feuilletine crumble, pear balsamic sorbet

All in all, we had a great dinner and were very grateful for all of the people who were working on Christmas Day so we could have somewhere to go. If you find yourself wandering the Strip and end up in the Grande Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, I definitely recommend seeking out Public House for a pint of beer and tasty gastropub bites. And if you were hesitant about vacationing here during the winter holidays, check out this festive scene just outside the hotel. It certainly felt more Christmas-y there than the 80-degree day they were having in our beloved City of Angels!

The Venetian - Winter in Venice

The Venetian – Winter in Venice

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Check out Public House: publichouselv.com

The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian
3355 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109

See their Yelp reviews here!

Father’s Office – Culver City, CA

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

On Monday we posted our how-to for making your very own Office Burger. And as I mentioned, it certainly will not be putting Father’s Office out of business any time soon but it will be a great addition to your next barbecue and possibly impress your food-loving friends. But I’ll be honest – we did not quite give Sang Yoon’s gift to the LA gastropub scene the proper introduction. The Best Burger in LA is a prestigious title with gourmet burger joints popping up left and right. The Office Burger takes the lead on many of these lists, and rightly so — it’s delicious!

The Office Burger

The Office Burger

A brief introduction to Father’s Office. It’s hard to say if Sang Yoon could forsee just how big of an impact his decision to install a small kitchen in the back of the (first and original) Santa Monica location on Montana would have, but it transformed F.O. from a dime-a-dozen dive bar to one of LA’s most popular watering holes and arguably revolutionized the bar food scene in the US.

The Bar

The Bar

Sang Yoon went on to open a second F.O. in Culver City’s Helms Bakery District, once home to an actual bakery that would deliver bread to local residents like the milk man and his glass bottles on neighborhood doorsteps. This location is newer, larger, offers ample (for LA) parking, and frankly, it’s closer to where we live so this where you’ll likely find us.

Fruitesse

Fruitesse

Let’s start with the “-pub” in gastropub. F.O. features 36 craft beers on tap, ranging from local microbreweries to imported genuine Belgians and more. I think this is the only place that served my favorite Lindemans sweet Belgian lambics on tap, switching from the peche lambic to the framboise and back. Their selection rotates with the seasons but variety is the constant. (Now their resident fruity brew is the Liefmans Fruitesse.) Martin knows his beers better than I and typically partakes in German hefeweizen or Belgian witbier, among his usuals being the Allagash White from Maine. Not sure what to order? Never even heard of these breweries? Just ask the guys and gals behind the counter – they know their stuff and can help you find something you like. They’re like… beer sommeliers, if you will.

Spanish Mushrooms

Spanish Mushrooms

On to the appetizers (or appeteasers… Big Bang Theory anyone?). Though let me say now that the burger is definitely a must-have, there are some noteworthy Small Plates on their menu that you’ll want to check out, especially if you’re hanging out in a group and can share. First, the tried and true – Spanish tapas style mushrooms, served warm and dressed in garlic thyme, sherry vinegar, and olive oil. Delicious moist little flavor bombs, I found myself picking up my fork over and over to spear yet another unsuspecting mushroom despite trying to save my appetite for the burger.

Sonoma Lamb Skewers

Sonoma Lamb Skewer

The show-stopper – Sonoma lamb skewer. The presentation of the kabob over the stunning green yogurt sauce definitely caught the attention of everyone at our table. The spiced meat was flavorful though sadly a bit dry the last time we had it.

Uni Crostini

Uni Crostini

The unique – Fresh Sea Urchin Crostini. Don’t forget to check out the LED monitors at each cash register; they often have a small list of daily specials. If you spot the uni crostini, GET IT. Grilled slices of baguette topped with sauteed fennel and generous pieces of fresh uni, probably locally sourced from Santa Barbara. Hot and cold, crispy and creamy, this juxtaposition of flavors initially confused me, then intrigued me, and finally, it won me over and delighted me. And now I crave it but sadly, it has gone under the radar… for now.

The Frites

The Frites

Torture, I know, but before we talk about the burger, let’s briefly go over the sides. Our favorite are the regular ol’ frites. You can add them to your burger basket for a $2.50 charge, or for $5 you can spring for a whole basket. We opted for the latter because we just can’t get enough of these crunchy, thin shoestring fries tossed in salt and parsley, paired with an addictive garlic aioli. Some people say the frites are too thin, but Martin and I are the type to dig all the way to the bottom of a French fry carton to find the extra crispy teeny-tiny bits. These are perfect.

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Ahh… the ever-popular sweet potato fries. Thick, hearty strips of crisp-on-the-outside, sweet & soft on the inside goodness. These only come by the basket, but have no fear – you will run out and contemplate ordering another…

The Main Event!

The Main Event!

Okay, okay, now for the burger. The infamous Office Burger. The patty – dry-aged ground chuck, juicy and charbroiled to the perfect temperature (the one thing that can vary on their notorious no-substitutions menu). This isn’t your ordinary backyard barbecue, slather it with ketchup and relish sort of burger (although I adore ketchup and relish). No, this gourmet burger is topped with Maytag bleu and gruyere cheeses, caramelized onion & applewood bacon jam, and a mound of arugula, all sandwiched on a toasted French roll. A-MAY-ZING. Each satisfying bite tantalizes the taste buds with the sweet, sweet onions, the rich meat, the sharp cheese, and slight spice of the arugula… This burger is full of flavor and decadence.

Always room for dessert!

Always room for dessert!

I was so excited when Father’s Office added desserts to their menu. Back in 2011, long before Foiehibition, Father’s Office debuted one of their first ever desserts – the foie gras ice cream sandwich. It was house-made hazelnut and foie gras ice cream smooshed between two oatmeal raisin cookies. So good. The foie gras flavor was really delicate but detectable. Unfortunately the sweetness and strong cinnamon flavor of the cookies overwhelmed it a bit. Still, the cookies were moist but substantial enough to make this handheld dessert delicious down to the very last bite.

So if you’re looking to unleash your inner carnivore or perhaps celebrate a long day’s work with a cold craft beer or two, head on over to F.O. and order The Office Burger with a side of frites and a tall glass of whatever tickles your fancy (there’s even a cute fire hydrant tap for pouring water). Have your IDs out and ready (sorry kids, it’s 21+ even if you’re not drinking) and be sure to delegate: group A scopes out seating while group B gets in line and picks up the first round of the night. It helps to have a game plan.

Cheers, my friends!

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Check out Father’s Office – Helm’s Bakery: fathersoffice.com

3229 Helms Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034

See their Yelp reviews here!

Farewell to Foie – The Last Supper at Waterloo

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

What better way to spend June 30th than with a double date with our friends Cassandra and Brian! Together we bid farewell to foie at my and Alice’s favorite local gastropub Waterloo & City with a 6-course menu entitled “The Last Supper.” Unfortunately by the time this entry is posted, SB-1520 would have passed and these dishes will be a fond memory. But without further ado, here is the play-by-play of The Last Supper:

Ahi Tuna & Foie Gras Torchon

The most eye-catching explosion of colors of the entire meal, the ahi tuna and foie gras torchon was an attention-grabber of a dish early on in the tasting menu. We were expecting Chef Brendan to balance all the fatty foie with other sweet and tart flavors and he did just that in this dish. A generous chunk of foie on top of the lean slice of ahi with the pork gelée and prune jam was one delicious bite after another. The micro greens provided a much-needed textural contrast between the foie and ahi. Well-rounded dish and tied the chicken liver and foie gras mousse as my favorite dish.

Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Mousse, Toasted Petit Pain

Second course consisted of a foie gras addition to the charcuterie menu’s Chicken Liver Mousse, which gave it a smoother texture. Again, Chef Brendan kept in mind the richness of the foie and included a sweet potato jam to balance the dish. However, it was a little too sugary. Also, the ratio of toast to mousse was a little off to me – I could’ve used another pair of toast (although the mousse was delicious on its own as well).  The plate was completed with a caper berry, cornichon, pickled onion.

Foie Gras Ravioli, Duck Broth, Wild Mushrooms

Third course is a foie gras ravioli and wild mushrooms in a duck broth. Alice was a huge fan of the broth which reminded her of a favorite Vietnamese dish she had as a child (mì vịt tiềm). For me, the broth was a little too salty and we both agreed that the pasta was undercooked. We were both a fan of the mushrooms which provided an additional umami flavor. The explosion of foie gras out of the ravioli was especially pleasant to the palate. Unfortunately, one of my raviolis was missing a filling but that was promptly rectified by Cecily, the Maitre D that night.

Halibut, Manila Clams, Foie Gras Sauce

Fourth course consisted of a beautiful piece of halibut, perfectly seared and served with manila clams, potato cubes, peas, and bacon (or pancetta?) in a foie gras sauce. The sauce had great depth of flavor with the rich foie and the smoky bacon. The halibut was beautiful and delicious but as the star of the show we really wanted to see the sear on the halibut so it was confusing as to why the clams were placed on top of the halibut. Nevertheless, the combination of the halibut, bacon, and foie sauce all in one bite was heavenly. It was one of Cassandra’s favorites.

Slow Roast Duck Breast, Seared Foie Gras, Plum Jam

The fifth and main course was a generous piece of seared foie on top of a slow roasted duck breast and complemented with micro greens and a plum jam. We’re always a fan of dishes that compose of different parts of an animal and this dish was exactly that. The duck breast had its own jus but also worked surprisingly well with the plum jam. The seared foie definitely needed the plum jam to cut the fat and the ratio of foie to jam was perfect. This dish serves to only reaffirm my belief in the duck. All hail the duck!

“Twicks”, Chocolate Panna Cotta, Butterscotch Mousse, Shortbread, Caramel

The sixth and final course is something we haven’t seen on the menu before, although Alice had seen it mentioned as a new menu addition. The “twicks” is kind of like a deconstructed Twix candy bar when eaten all together. Individually, I was a big fan of the chocolate panna cotta and the shortbread. We did not recognize it at the time, but we later found out that it was topped with foie gras ice cream. As delicious as this dessert may be, we almost regret not finishing the meal with the bourbon glazed donuts as we usually do.

All in all, we were very pleased with this last farewell hurrah for foie. We popped in to say hi to Chef Brendan at the pass, and he seemed to be having a great time going all-out to work with this delicacy before midnight. Waterloo & City never fails to disappoint, and even though it was Cassandra and Brian’s first visit, they’re already looking forward to coming back and trying dishes off the regular menu.

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Check out Waterloo & City: www.waterlooandcity.com

12517 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90066

See their Yelp reviews here.

Follow them on Twitter @WaterlooandCity!