Hatfield’s – Hollywood

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

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For my birthday this year, my dear boyfriend treated me to dinner at Hatfield’s, a restaurant that had earned one coveted Michelin star back when the Guide was still in LA. He knew that I love tasting menus, although it proved surprisingly difficult to find one with availability on a Sunday night. (As I am constantly reminded, I work the same nights that normal people want to go out!)

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The first thing I noticed that the odd sense of familiarity when we walked into the dining room. And that’s when it hit me — this is the dining room from the movie Chef! So our date night started out with plenty of jokes involving “He’s NOT getting to me!” “I’m NOT needy!” “It’s f*cking molten!” (If you still haven’t seen the movie, stop reading right now and go track it down!)

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We sat in the center of the dining room and got an amazing view of the open kitchen. I was mesmerized by the brigade and how calmly and deliberately everyone seemed to move; it was almost unreal, especially compared to my experience in a closed kitchen where organized chaos breaks loose every night.

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We opted for the chef’s 7-course tasting menu (priced at $110 per person). We were told that it would be served “in tandem,” which was described to mean that each of us would receive a different dish each course. Long story short, we got to try a total of 14 dishes! I defined the dishes that I received first as (a) and the ones Martin received first as (m). Please forgive me if I missed any details; there’s quite a bit going on in every dish and by the end, I was really feeling the gin in my cocktail! (Also, the photos aren’t too stellar thanks to my camera phone and low lighting.)

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Speaking of cocktails, I had The Hendrix Experience: Hendrick’s Gin, Thai basil syrup, lemon, prosecco. It was a lovely bright green color and tasted as refreshing as it looked. Martin mentioned that his usual libation of choice is the sazerac and our server suggested The Innsbruck. I remember nothing about it other than that it is rye whiskey based, garnished with a sprig of rosemary, and went down oh so smoothly.

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Amuse Bouche: Cured Fluke, Egg Salad Remoulade, Potato Chip. A delightful first bite of cured white fish to whet our appetites for more.

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Course 1(a): Croque Madame: Yellowtail Sashimi, Prosciutto, Sunny Side Up Quail Egg, Grilled Brioche. One of their signature dishes, we were thrilled to see this as part of our tasting menu. The “grilled” brioche reminded me of this one time when we fried brioche croutons in clarified butter. Butter + butter = love. The combination of cured jamon and fresh hamachi doesn’t sound like it would work out but somehow it does in this adorable little sandwich.

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Course 1(m): Kanpachi Sashimi, Persian Cucumbers, Mango. A refreshing and light starter, this is the way I generally like to begin my dining adventures.

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Course 2(a): Butternut Squash Flan, Coconut Froth, Maitake Mushrooms, Curried Sweetbreads Croquette. I loved this dish. I may even go so far as to say it was my favorite of the night. Hidden beneath the froth of fragrant coconut and Thai-inspired flavor is a delicate butternut squash flan. The silky texture and the smooth broth paired wonderfully while the croquette added an extra level with its crunch. The maitake mushrooms were just the icing on the cake to remind you that, indeed, Winter is Coming.

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Course 2(m): Squid Ink Garganelli, Dungeness Crab, English Peas, Pea Tendrils, Pearl Onions. We are both huge fans of squid ink pasta; there’s just something about the gorgeous black color hiding away a surprising burst of citrus and briny flavor that we can’t get enough of. The pea tendrils were fried as a crispy garnish and the crab added a lightness to an otherwise creamy sauce.

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Course 3(a): Slow Cooked Salmon (Sous Vide), Eggplant, Charred Scallions, Salmon Roe. I had never had sous vide salmon before and I’ve got to say, I’m just not a fan. The peculiar cube of gorgeous medium-rare salmon looked beautiful but had a soft texture that I could not get past. I did enjoy how the roe added a finishing touch of saltiness to the dish the way a sprinkling of fleur de sel would have.

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Course 3(m): Red Wine Braised Octopus, Charred Shishito Peppers, Orange Rind Gastrique. The octopus was pleasantly tender, and as I am a huge fan of shishito peppers, I much preferred this dish over the salmon.

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Course 4(a): Pan Roasted Duck Breast, Strawberry Sambal Gastrique, Braised Radicchio & Hibiscus, Fennel & Gold Beet Salad, Cashews. I felt that this dish really embodied the time of year — the transition between summer and fall. I actually really enjoyed the radicchio and hibiscus, which I found to be extra bitter (Martin was not a fan but loved the duck).

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Course 4(m): Buttermilk Chicken, Arugula Pistou, Mushroom Duxelle, Crispy Shallot. The chicken was incredibly succulent and completely changed my view on ordering the poultry at a fine dining establishment. The crispy shallots were a fun garnish, making me think of fried chicken, while the sauces underneath melded well with one another.

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Course 5(a): 36 Hour Slow Cooked “Pastrami-Style” Short Rib, Shimeji Mushrooms, Fingerling Potatoes, Frisee Salad. The short rib was incredibly tender and paired with the mustard vinaigrette that dressed the salad beneath it, I was transported to a very high-end version of a Jewish deli. I just have to say though — I’ve never been able to look at a plate of frisee without feeling a lot of appreciation and a little bit of guilt, because I know what a pain in the butt it is for the person who has to pick the yellow leaves from the bitter white stems.

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Course 5(m): Braised Short Rib, Celery Root Puree, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Red Wine Jus. A second preparation of the short rib, this was almost lacquered in red wine and tasted wonderful for it. I’d say this dish was the most no-frills one of the bunch, and I appreciated that. Nothing beats a good plate of beef, brussels, celery root puree, and red wine sauce.

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Course 6(a): Pavlova, Freshly Whipped Cream, Strawberry Chamomile Sorbet. The paylova was crispy and airy, the whipped cream was delicate, and the sorbet was the star of the show. It was fruity yet fragrant and not-too-sweet, just the way I like it.

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Course 6(m): Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Watermelon Granita, Blackberry Banyuls Sorbet. I usually dislike tangy dairy, but the buttermilk panna cotta was the perfect counter to the sweet fruit. I was also really looking forward to tasting the blackberry banyuls sorbet (banyuls is an expensive French vinegar made from Grenache grapes) and it exceeded my expectations.

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Course 7(a): Peanut Butter Semifreddo, Crunchy Chocolate-Peanut Tuille, Bitter Chocolate Ice Cream. I don’t know how they knew. Martin said he didn’t tell them. I didn’t mention anything. It’s like they’re mind readers, but our server placed this plate down right in front of me and I was thrilled. (What can I say? I love to feel special.) The semifreddo was delicious and if you managed to take a bite with a little bit of everything on it, it was like the world’s best candy bar.

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Course 7(m): Sugar & Spice Beignet, Venezuelan Chocolate Fondue, Vanilla Malted Milkshake. I love beignets and I love even more that this one is dusted in cinnamon-sugar rather than confectioner’s. The chocolate fondue was incredible — super velvety and bittersweet, perfect for someone who loves the darkest of dark chocolate (like me!). I really liked the playfulness of the vanilla milkshake, although I couldn’t help but make the comparison to Michael Mina’s root beer float (which, with its edible chocolate straw, wins by a slight edge).

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Bon Bons: Homemade Mallomar, Dark Chocolate, Marshmallow, Graham Cracker, Sea Salt. I will be perfectly honest — the first thing I did was poke it. It feels squishy. How do they get it coated in chocolate that is malleable enough to squish with the marshmallow enrobed inside? It was mind boggling, and I pondered it as I devoured the last, satisfying bite of our meal.

It’s no wonder that Hatfield’s still holds strong on Jonathan Gold’s list of 101 Best Restaurants in LA. This husband and wife team (Chef and Pastry Chef, respectively) creates intricate dishes that highlight so many seasonal ingredients, often combining a multitude of flavors in new and exciting ways. Some dishes were more amazing than others, and a few just had a bit too much going on for my taste, but overall, I had no complaints about our meal at Hatfield’s. Keep it on your list for a romantic date, special occasion, or cause for celebration!

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Check out Hatfield’s: hatfieldsrestaurant.com

6703 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

See their Yelp reviews here!

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LA WineFest 2013 – Hollywood, CA

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

We were super excited to find out that we had won Gourmet Pigs‘ giveaway of a pair of tickets to this past weekend’s LA WineFest at the historic Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. We love food events and this was an awesome opportunity; we otherwise would have had to dole out $60+ a head for admission, although with the wine and beer freely flowing and part of the proceeds going to benefit a good cause, we could see how it could still be very worth it.

Including a souvenir wine glass!

Including a souvenir wine glass!

With an impressive exhibitors list of over 500 local and international wineries, breweries, spirit-makers, and food vendors, this 8th annual event drew visitors from all over LA to partake in the festivities while also supporting the 2013 official charity Food Forward. Now that’s a pretty good way to spend a weekend in LA, if you ask me!

There were just too many vendors to name, and because of the crowds, we were not able to visit every single table. But we did sample a lot of them and here are just a few of our favorites.

Fancifull Artisanal Cheeses and Salami

Fancifull Artisanal Cheeses and Salami

When you think of wine pairings, the first thing that probably comes to mind is cheese. We spotted a huge crowd that had gathered round and decided to check out Fancifull – a gourmet foods and gift baskets vendor.

Wally and Terry August of Fancifull

Wally and Terry August of Fancifull

Wally takes great pride in his cheeses, all made with farmstead dairy. Sheep’s milk, goat’s milk, and plenty of cow’s milk cheeses… My favorites were a tossup between the Beecher’s Flagship (cheddar-like cow’s milk cheese from Seattle) and the Jeff’s Select Gouda from Caves of Faribault, which had a gorgeous bright orange hue.

Stella Artois Biergarten

Stella Artois Biergarten

Stella Artois was very obviously one of the larger sponsors of LA WineFest, and the lines for the biergarten dominated a majority of the main event floor. Good thing the friendly staff meandered through the lines and poured tasters of Cidre, an apple cider newest on their product line. With so little time and so much to see, we left our place in line and continued wandering.

Vibrant Rioja

Vibrant Rioja

From several feet away, Martin’s keen eye spotted a very familiar bottle – a Rioja from Vibrant Rioja that we have often seen on the shelves at Trader Joes. A mid-tier, very smooth Spanish wine, Martin has aged the 2003 and 2004 vintage until recently, a good 8 or 9 years, before drinking. This 2006 vintage was also deliciously smooth and we may be picking up a few bottles to add to our library.

Garlic Expressions Salad Dressing

Garlic Expressions Salad Dressing

A delicious vinaigrette that features pickled whole garlic cloves as the prize at the bottom of every bottle, Garlic Expressions was a fun and flavorful vendor. As the presenter noted, the dressing could be used on salads, as a marinade, or even for dipping with bread.

San Antonio Winery / Maddelena

San Antonio Winery / Maddelena

Of course, the local San Antonio Winery had come out to showcase their Maddelena label. Martin has yet to visit their tasting room, but I have been tagging along with my parents since I was a kid. As the winery was (and still very much is) as family business, I remember Santos pouring me glasses of their blood orange sparkling soda while my parents tasted the “adult stuff.” Ahh, memories. I sampled the riesling and was very pleased with it; sweet but not cloyingly so. I’ll have to ask my dad to grab a bottle for me next time.

A bit of bubbly - Champagne Devaux

A bit of bubbly – Champagne Devaux

Among the wine and beer were also vendors of bubbly – this one is actually from France. Luckily we happened to stop by right as he was opening a new bottle. He told us a story of this gentleman who opened a bottle of champagne simply by rubbing the bottle’s neck to create vibrations and then with only a champagne flute, was able to pop the cork right off! The brut was a bit dry for my taste; I overheard other patrons asking about his rosé, which was apparently very popular and he had run out of it.

More bubbly - J. Hamilton Wines

More bubbly – J. Hamilton Wines

A very local winery just out of Westlake Village, J. Hamilton Wines offers a few limited varietals, custom blends, and a handful of sparkling wines including a private cuvée that I had to try. A crisp, refreshing brut.

Gourmet Balsamic Blends

Gourmet Balsamic Blends

We love olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting. We briefly frequented the Gourmet Balsamic Blends booth where I tried the “margarita” – a few drops of pomegranate balsamic vinegar complemented by lime-infused olive oil. Yum!

Lobsta Truck - check out their adorable tip jars!

Lobsta Truck – check out their adorable tip jars!

Now we really needed to get some real food into our stomachs, so we continued to seek out Lobsta Truck, possibly one of our favorite food trucks in LA. The line was long but we joined the queue, knowing the wait would be worth it. To pass the time, we admired their super cute tip jars — “Help us get to Vegas!” and “Help us get home from Vegas!”

Lobsta Truck Menu

Lobsta Truck Menu

This is only part of their menu but it covers the most important things you need to know — 1) they offer lobster rolls Connecticut-style (with drawn butter) and 2) they have lobster bisque to which you can add extra meat!

Lobsta Roll with Butter!

Lobsta Roll with Butter!

I know – it’s pretty dinky. But the split-top buns are always toasted to a golden crisp and stuffed full of lobster meat glistening with hot butter. When we visited New Hampshire and Boston recently, we were surprised to find that the Maine-style (a lobster salad of sorts dressed in mayo) is much more common. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the Connecticut-style and the one from Lobsta Truck is definitely worth the $12.

Live Music

Live Music

An outdoor festival is not complete without live entertainment, and we managed to snag seats right next to the band, playing lively music we could sway to while enjoying our lobster rolls.

The Chocolate Traveler - Tabasco Chocolate

The Chocolate Traveler – Tabasco Chocolate

I had seen and sampled The Chocolate Traveler at Taste of Beverly Hills a few years ago, and I recognized their adorable round tins packed with wedges of silky dark chocolate. This time they had a new variety – tabasco flavored! I thought they were delicious and captured the vinegary, peppery flavor of tabasco quite well. Martin felt quite a kick to his taste buds though.

Champignon - Cambozola Black Label

Champignon – Cambozola Black Label

More cheese! I’m not a huge fan of blue cheeses, but this triple-cream Cambozola Black Label was really wonderful. It was creamy and had a pleasantly nutty flavor. Martin mentioned that it was reminiscent of the cheeses we had at Cowgirl Creamery in Petaluma.

Hot's Kitchen Menu

Hot’s Kitchen Menu

Still a bit hungry, we followed the sights and smells leading us to the cardboard trays of fries. Turns out, they originated from Hot’s Kitchen and they were not just any fries — they were Belgian truffle fries. Sign us up!

Tossing in the truffle oil

Tossing in the truffle oil

Their simple but crowd-pleasing menu of burgers, fries, and tacos meant that there was a bit of a wait but the trade-off was made-to-order noms. Here’s one of their team members tossing a fresh-out-of-the-oil batch of fries liberally with truffle oil.

Belgian Truffle Fries - shaved parmesan, maitake aioli

Belgian Truffle Fries – shaved parmesan, maitake aioli

Doesn’t that look amazing? Being Belgian-style fries, the potato sticks had a great balance of crispy exterior to fluffy, soft insides. The aroma of truffle oil wafted up to our noses as we ate, and the shaved parmesan added just enough saltiness. I liked the maitake aioli but Martin found the texture a bit chunky for his preference.

Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee

Our last stop for the day was at Grande Avenue Coffee. Martin selected the iced coffee, which remarkably resembled Vietnamese-style ca phe sua da! It was so good and the perfect beverage for the warm, summer-in-LA day.

Crimsonberry Iced Tea

Crimsonberry Iced Tea

I decided to go with the crimsonberry iced tea – a blend of elderflower, rose hips, cranberry, and other goodies that add so much flavor to the iced tea that not a granule of sugar was needed. Super refreshing!

We had a fantastic time at LA WineFest and are already looking forward to next year’s 9th Annual event. Hope you will mark your calendars too – if you haven’t checked it out yet, you’re missing out!

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Check out LA WineFest: lawinefest.com

The Historic Raleigh Studios
5300 Melrose Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90038

See their Yelp reviews here!

Sticky USA – Hollywood, CA

Desserts and Sweets, Food Adventures, Los Angeles

On Sunday, we trekked up to the Hollywood & Highland Center, a side of town we rarely leave the Westside to explore. But we had a wonderful reason to visit the heart of Tinseltown tourism — the team at Sticky had invited us over for a candy-making session!

Sticky - right in the heart of Sweet!

Sticky – right in the heart of Sweet!

Sticky is an Australian candy company started by attorney-turned-confectioner David King. This Hollywood storefront, their first in the US, is situated in the middle of Sweet!, a full floor of the shopping center that’s completely dedicated to sugary treats. But skip those Hershey bars and kitschy Oscar statuettes and make a beeline for the entertaining live candy-making by the awesome team at Sticky… and possibly some newbie guests like us.

We were greeted by the friendly Candy Master himself who invited us behind the counter and handed us our aprons and kevlar gloves. We were very excited for some hands-on involvement in the candy-making process, but we had no idea that we would truly be following it through from start to finish! (PS: David’s wife Rachel kindly offered to take photos for us throughout the process, so we are very grateful for the excellent material we have to share below!)

Start at the beginning: the sugar

Start at the beginning: the sugar

Here we are right at the very beginning – boiling down water and pure glucose to a hard-crack stage. Craig of the Sticky team added in kiwi flavoring and this was when we were informed that we would be making the kiwi candies on their infamous fruit mix. I am certain my eyes widened with surprise, especially after David said that it would be a relatively easy design for first-timers. “Easy” was not the first word to come to mind…

The Cooling Table

The Cooling Table

As we waited for the sugar to be ready, David gave us a mini-tour of the long story short, pointing out the water-cooled table, then the heated warming table, and that was when we realized we would be working in front of the many visitors, shoppers, and candy lovers wandering by. No pressure.

Hot hot hot!

Hot hot hot!

The sugar is piping hot, around 300 degrees F. After David shared his story of a burn severe enough to warrant a skin graft, we were convinced that there is no messing around with this stuff.

Adding color

Adding color

At this point, it’s time to add the coloring that makes candy so attractive. We mixed in different sections – a large area for the brown kiwi “skin,” a sizable amount of green for the “fruit,” black for the “seeds,” and some clear/white for the center.

Separating the colors

Separating the colors

After a bit of blending, we used a pair of heavy duty scissors to separate the colored sections. (If the green looks a little sparkly to you, it’s likely because that part contains some citric acid powder gently mixed in.)

Making some white...

Making some white…

The clear sections were moved to the warming table to keep them pliable, but we had some work to do for the white and light green portions. What do you do to make clear candy turn opaque? You pull it!

.... and some green!

…. and some green!

Using those trick-of-the-trade hooks, we pulled the candy like pulling taffy. The process incorporates air bubbles and leaves us with an opaque candy mass with a satin-like sheen.

Sculpting the seeds!

Sculpting the seeds!

Now for the fun part – the sculpting. David described this art form as building a 3D sculpture to create a 2D image. So first, the seeds. A tube of black, some opaque green, and some clear green, assembled like so:

Looks like a hot dog

Seed #1 resembles a hot dog

So that’s one seed. Of 24. We have some work to do. Pull pull pull.

They're multiplying!

They’re multiplying!

Luckily, the designers of the kiwi candies had clever math skills. The one hot dog cut in half became two pieces that could be stacked side by side. Then pulling the new shape and cutting it in half would make 4, then 4 became 8.

One last stretch!

One last stretch!

This last layer, eight “seeds” wide, was stretched extra long, cut into thirds, and stacked again. Finally we have our 24 seeds!

The middles!

The middles!

Next we rolled out the white center for the candy. The “seeds” will wrap around this white tube.

Rollin' out the green

Rollin’ out the green

If you’re lucky, slicing open a kiwi will reveal more than just seeds… so good thing we reserved some opaque green for the “meat” of the fruit. Martin rolled it out to just the right size to fit around our work-in-progress.

Rollin' out the "skin"

Rollin’ out the “skin”

While Martin kept our kiwi burrito rolling (letting it settle too long on the warming table would yield a flat side), David rolled out the brown candy to be wrapped as the “skin” layer. The color looks great and very realistic – it’s only missing the fuzz!

The finished 26 lb monster

The finished 26 lb monster

Here’s the kiwi sculpture ready to be hand-pulled and cut into bite-sized pieces. Believe it or not, it weighs 26 pounds!

Martin happily rolling along

Martin happily rolling along

Martin was charged with two tasks – keeping the mass moving so that no side goes flat and hand-pulling from one end to size so it could move along to my station…

Cutting the pulled candy!

Cutting the pulled candy!

It was simple enough — periodically I took the spade and with a swift whack, separated the candy into long tubes. Craig kept them moving until they were sufficiently cool, again to prevent flat sides.

We switched

Then we switched places :3

Eventually we got the hang of it, but David stepped in to check on our consistency. He explained, as he deftly manipulated the sugar to just the right width, that working with sugar depends heavily on speed. Too slow and the sugar cools too quickly to work with.

The tubes - ready for cutting

The tubes – ready for cutting

Before we knew it, we had finished turning the 26 pound mass into these thin long tubes, ready for the next step – cutting into nom-ready pieces.

Chop chop!

Chop chop!

Using a bit of physics, David showed us the technique for cutting up the tubes. This part was probably the most difficult as the candy would shatter down the middle or the slices would end up too skinny or too thick. But not to worry, David came over and told me that the imperfections were the beauty of handmade products. That each candy-maker places his or her own style and flair into the confections.

Finally finished!

Finally finished!

David pointed to one of the pieces I had cut and asked me, “Do you think that is beautiful? Is that a piece that you would want to eat?” It was then that I really understood his passion for his art…. although I didn’t have the heart to say what I was really thinking – no, that piece is ugly; I need more practice.

The finished product

The finished product

The audience, adults and children alike, really seemed to enjoy watching the process and sampling the finished product. We certainly enjoyed participating and working alongside David and Craig. Although now in retrospect, I still cannot believe they consider the kiwi to be one of the easier designs!

The team at Sticky!

The team at Sticky!

We had such an incredible experience learning something new from people who are truly passionate about what they do. And they are not relegated to making fruit assortments every day… one of their main business lines is custom design orders. They do weddings, company logos, funny greetings, you name it!

If you’re in LA, be sure to swing by and check them out! In fact – you could even stop by one of their other global locations in Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. Funny story, long before we had even heard of Sticky, we tried their candy courtesy of a friend who had brought them back from Hong Kong. The style and intricacy of their designs is so iconic I’d recognize it anywhere!

And speaking of trying their candies, how would you like to skip the drive to Hollywood & Highland and sample some of these confections in your own home?

We are hosting our very first GIVEAWAY! (*insert fanfare*) Click to enter our Rafflecopter giveaway!

Sorry, no fancy widget… we’re working on that. We received a lot of goodies from Sticky and we would love to share some with one lucky reader (open to US residents only). We will announce the winner next Friday 5/31!
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Check out Sticky USA: stickyusa.com

6801 Hollywood Blvd, Ste 201
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Tip: They’re located in Sweet! alongside many other confectionery vendors.

See their Yelp reviews here!

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our-growing-edge-badgeThis post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Sonya at And More Food. Cheers!

Crack Sauce and Burgers and Sake Bombs, Oh My! – Fukuburger Hollywood

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

The day had finally come. After stalking ticket sites and snagging super cheap pre-sale tickets over a month prior, we finally made it to Saturday the 26th — the night Cosmic Gate had their “Wake Your Mind” album tour with live vocalists and a 21+ show at Avalon in Hollywood. We were so stoked. But first, we had to eat.

A quick search on Yelp yielded two viable options — Juicy Burger and Fukuburger. Both had consistently good reviews, but two simple words stood out and made us choose the latter — crispy fries. Many reviews had mentioned that Fukuburger serves up crispy fries, a must-have side dish for our burgers. Two more frequently used words — crack sauce. Fascinated and eager, we decided to walk the 3 or 4 block journey over to Fukuburger, located a short distance away from the main hustle and bustle of Hollywood & Vine. As soon as we walked in, we knew this was nothing like we had expected (in a good way). Music was bumpin’ and man, was it packed! We were seated along a beautifully “graffiti’d” wall and perused the extensive chalkboard lists of draft and bottled beers.

A quick search on my kanji recognition app told me that character is indeed read as fuku (or “lucky”).

Martin selected a bottle of Chimay, which arrived with its proper wide-mouthed chalice. Off to a great start. I knew we had to try the Jazz Fries with the famed crack sauce, so that was an easy decision. We each also selected a burger – Martin had the classic fuku burger and I went for the tamago (egg) burger. With the restaurant being so packed, though, the wait was long and the staff (both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house) seemed pretty frazzled.

Fuku Fries

To tide us over while we waited, our server brought out a complimentary order of fuku fries – crispy thick-cut fries tossed in garlic salt and spicy-tart togarashi, served with ketchup and a spicy mayo-like sauce. It was my first time having togarashi in a different context than sprinkled over my noodle broth, but it definitely worked well. The “spicy mayo”, little did we know, was the famed crack sauce! Martin LOVED it, and he’s not a spicy mayo fan in the least.

Jazz Fries

Good thing we both enjoyed it because just as we were polishing off the last of the fuku fries, our order of jazz fries arrived. It was like a Japanese-fusion poutine — a generous serving of the same golden fries topped with gravy and crack sauce. Honestly, it looks like a hot mess, but it tastes SO GOOD. The gravy was hot and hearty and added a whole new dimension to the bowl of fries. We can see why it was so highly recommended. This is also where I’d like to note that of the three big flatscreen TVs they have over the bar, one was dedicated to Jeopardy. How cool is that?! You can watch sports anywhere, but you can come to Fukuburger to get your geek on over fries and beer!

Fuku Burger (Martin’s pick)

Our burgers came out shortly after we scarfed down the not one but TWO bowls of fries. Martin’s fuku burger was drenched in fuku sauce and cooked rare to his request. The execution of his burger was good but it was all just poorly timed. By this time, with the complimentary Fuku fries and Jazz fries, he wasn’t able to finish his burger. There was a good half-hour wait between the fries and the burgers and Martin noted that they were definitely understaffed for a Saturday night.

Tamago Burger (My pick)

Unfortunately, mine was severely overcooked which, I’m sorry to say, I found incredibly ironic that with the kitchen staff so backed up they somehow found the time to overcook mine not only past my order of rare but far beyond what our server said was their standard medium rare. The yolk on my fried egg had already exploded, but it was still yummy and I enjoyed dipping the brioche bun into it. The caramelized onions were so crispy and perfectly done, and the teriyaki sauce was flavorful. All in all, I liked the toppings and would probably get it again, but the dry beef patty just didn’t do it for me.

Sake bombs – set up over chopsticks and a mug of Asahi!

I’m not one to send things back, especially on a crazy-busy night like that one, but the manager offered to make up for it by bringing out a round of sake bombs for us, complete with chopsticks. That was so entertaining! I noticed that even with the small restaurant more or less in a frenzy, everyone was attentive (and apologetic – other tables had similarly long waits).

Despite a few setbacks, I really liked the meal at Fukuburger and I would definitely come back the next time we’re in the area. The people were great; they just were really understaffed in both the front and back of the house and we sympathize. We were lucky to have allowed ourselves plenty of time before our show, so while there was a bit of waiting involved, dinner was still stress-free and enjoyable. Perhaps it’s not the best idea if you’re eating before a strict curtain call, but if you’re in Hollywood just for fun or planning to arrive fashionably late to your next destination, I would recommend considering Fukuburger for fusion cuisine that works. It was a happenin’ place to be on a Saturday night and you know – they don’t call it crack sauce for nothing. I’m already craving another order of jazz fries as I type!

By the way, we love going to trance shows and usually make our way to the front closest to the stage. Here’s a picture from that night — if you look on the left side of Bossi’s neck just under his headphones, you can see Martin’s excited face and wide open mouth. Haha!! (This is Cosmic Gate – Bossi is the one on the left, Nic Chagall is on the right.)

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Check out Fukuburger: www.fukuburger.com

1634 Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

At the corner of Hollywood & Cahuenga

See their Yelp reviews here!