Previously on Adam Riff™:
I have a formidable backlog of food notes on New York City and Los Angeles dating back to May 2014 that I desperately need to clear. Some restaurants I tried have closed. Some dishes I tried are no longer available.
Downtown Los Angeles (May 2014 – September 2016)
b.s. taqueria / bäco mercat / bar ama / barrel down / bearclaw kitchen / belcampo meat co. / birdies / the black sheep / bombo / bottega louie / the briks / broken spanish / burritos la palma / califas taco / the chairman / chego! / chicas tacos / crepes sans frontieres / crispy cuban / donut friend / downtown donuts / fritzi / eat drink americano / eggslut / eko eats / gelateria uli / good gravy bakes / gresescent / guerrilla tacos / guisados / howlin' ray's / j's mart cafe / knead and co. / lemonade / the little jewel of new orleans / little sister / madcapra / mariscos jalisco / mcconnell's fine ice cream / mr. ramen / octopus / ohana poké co. / ol' skool bbq / osso / otium / the pie hole / pitfire pizza / pizzanista! / plan check / poke express by honda-ya / poke-2-go / preux and proper / raindrop cake / rucker's pie / sea salt fish grill / semi sweet bakery / seoul sausage co. / sidechick / sixth street tavern / sonoratown / spitz / spread mediterranean kitchen / the stocking frame / stoked! california bbq / sugarfish / triple 8 / ugly drum / valerie confections / van leeuwen artisan ice cream / wafl / wokcano / woodspoon / zema
Steak Tartare with Mustard Ice Cream (Eat Drink Americano)
raw diced filet mignon, home-made dijon mustard ice cream
^ The difference in temperature can be jarring.
Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon (Preux and Proper)
pain perdu, smoked strawberries, doubletree sorghum, fruity pebbles
^ I've eaten foie gras with French toast and/or berries before, but never with SMOKED berries and Fruity Pebbles.
Jambalaya Biscuit Pizza (Preux and Proper)
wild mexican white shrimp, pulled chicken, persillade, smoked moz
^ The biscuit base was unappetizingly chewy.
(Woodspoon) is a "rustic Brazilian kitchen" that flavours its water with a cinnamon stick. To my amusement, it neighbours an Argentinian restaurant.
Brazilian Chicken Pot Pie (Woodspoon)
hearts of palm, black olives, hard-boiled egg
Not sure what is Brazilian about this pot pie, but it was pleasantly dense.
FRIED CHICKEN, RANKED
8. Fried Chicken (Eko Eats)
7. Birdies Spicy Sandwich (Birdies)
fried chicken breast, cole slaw, ghost pepper mayo, tillamook pepper jack, cured pickles
—Not spicy at all.
6. Chicken and Donuts (Sixth Street Tavern)
tapatio whipped cream
^ Tapatio whipped cream!
5. Nashville Hot Chicken (Howlin' Ray's)
—Prepare to queue an hour to order.
4. Da KFC (Seoul Sausage Co.)
twice-fried wings, gochujang honey, pickled daikon
3. Half Fried Chicken (Osso)
—Because it's cooked-to-order in a skillet, prepare to wait half an hour for this to arrive.
2. Za'taar Fried Chicken (Spread Mediterranean Kitchen)
—A boneless delight.
1. Southern Fry Sandwich (Plan Check)
smokey fried jidori chicken, spicy green pimento cheese, duck breast ham, pickles
^ Plan Check's Plan Check Burger (americanized dashi cheese, KETCHUP LEATHER™, schmaltz onions, mixed pickles, crunch bun) didn't wow me, but its Southern Fry Sandwich is on my Mount Rushmore of fried chicken sandwiches.
The Classic Brik (The Briks)
tuna, capers, shallots, harissa, egg
A brik is a Tunisian deep-fried filled filo dough pastry.
(The Briks)' menu is presented in a Pee Chee folder and its washroom walkway is wallpapered with pages from a print version of the Urban Dictionary.
OTHER DEEP-FRIED DELICACIES, RANKED
6. Churro Funnel Cake (Bar Amá)
chocolate sauce, powdered sugar, vanilla ice cream
5. Man Salad (Seoul Sausage Co.)
tater tots, kim cheese, pickled veggies
4. Ooey Gooey Fries (Chego!)
beer-battered fries, sour cream sambal, monterey jack and cheddar cheese, cotija, chillies, cilantro, pickled garlic
3. Fish and Shrimp Po'Boy (The Little Jewel of New Orleans)
golden fried catfish, shrimp
—My go-to when I want a meal delivered in DTLA.
2. Fresh Thick-Cut Fries (The Chairman)
—Bomb thick fries.
1. Beef Tallow Fries (Belcampo Meat Co.)
—Bomb thin fries.
Midnight Slider (The Black Sheep)
pork sausage patty, hash brown, fried egg, american, pepper jack, chipotle aioli
^ The inclusion of a hash brown patty was interesting.
cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette
^ An eggy mashed potato spread.
TOP FIVE TACOS
5. Cochinita Pibil Taco (Guisados)
shredded pork cooked in a sweet red achiote spice, black beans, yucatan compliments, pickled red onions, habañero chile
4. The Foghorn Leghorn (White Boy Tacos)
geiikikan sake-marinated chicken breast, scrambled eggs, red and yellow bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, home-made old bay aioli
3. Tripita Taco (Sonoratown)
mesquite-grilled, house-made flour tortilla, chopped cabbage, spicy red salsa, avocado sauce
2. Clams and Lardo Taco (B.S. Taqueria)
1. Fish Taco (Chicas Tacos)
beer-battered fish, caesar salad, croutons, morita salsa, queso manchego
^ A fish taco topped with Caesar salad.
Smorgasburg is a weekly outdoor food market.
SMORGASBURG: LOS ANGELES TOP FOUR
4. Strawberry Passion Fruit Crumble (Bearclaw Kitchen)
layers of fresh strawberries, fresh cream, passion fruit curd, shortcake crumble
3. Hainan Chicken (Sidechick)
garlic rice, pickled cucumbers
2. [tie] Fritter Seems Forever (Donut Friend) /
Polar Berry Club (Donut Friend) /
lemon glaze, fresh mixed berries, mint
Chocolate from the Crypt (Donut Friend)
a chocolate cake donut, chocolate glaze, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chocolate shavings
^ The best fritter, yeast-raised donut, and cake donut that I have ever eaten on the west coast are made by the producer of Blink-182's Dude Ranch and Finch's What It Is to Burn.
1. Pastrami Sandwich (Ugly Drum)
prime brisket brined for two weeks, rubbed with pepper and spices, then smoked with hardwoods overnight; served on izzy's rye from la brea bakery with plochman's spicy brown mustard
^ If Franklin Barbecue's brisket and Mile End's smoked meat sandwich mated. If only it didn't cost $20…
TOP THREE DESSERT PLACES
3. (The Pie Hole)
2. (Gresescent) Ice Cream
1. (Gelateria Uli)
TOP THREE (PIE HOLE) PIES
3. Double Crust Apple
2. Fresh Strawberry
1. Chocolate Crostata
TOP FOUR (GRESESCENT) FLAVOURS
4. Raspberry Nutella
3. Strawberry Jam
2. Lemon Bar
1. Blackberry Mint Mojito
TOP FIVE (GELATERIA ULI) FLAVOURS
5. [tie] Rye Bread / Poblano
4. Snow Queen Nectarine
3. Strawberry Stracciatella
2. Orange Passion Fruit Stracciatella
1. Chocolate [Sorbet]
Raindrop Cake (Raindrop Cake / Smorgasburg: Los Angeles)
^ The viral dessert of 2016 is a blob of water and agar served with roasted soy flour and a syrup [in my case, matcha green tea].
While the "cake" is supposed to be flavourless [you're practically eating water], it is acutely flavourness, and no amount of syrup can mask its acute flavourlessness.
Initially, I thought it was a baked cake, and was mystified by its translucence.
Strawberry Shortcake Donut (Birdies)
^ Cream overload.
grilled peaches, ginger beer gelée, peach cream, celery apple sorbet
—Peaches and cream, heh.
distilled vinegar powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt
—An addictive complimentary snack. It's supposed to taste like Cool Ranch Doritos?
Oxtail Quesadilla (Broken Spanish)
plantain, habañero, salsa quemada
Lamb Neck Tamale (Broken Spanish)
king oyster mushroom, queso oaxaca
Macaroni and Cheese Pizza (Pizzanista!)
tomato sauce, elbow macaroni, asiago, fontina, cheddar, grana padano
^ Macaroni and cheese and RED SAUCE.
Califas Taco (Califas Taco)
—A messy taco topped with fries.
Potato Waffle (Fritzi)
—Literally mashed potatoes pressed into a waffle maker – bizarro waffle fries.
(Goldenboys Chinese) – "Los Angeles-inspired, farmer's market-fueled, stoner Chinese Food."
The Jane Goodall (White Boy Tacos)
donald duck orange juice- and chili-marinated tofu, grilled banana, aunt jemima maple syrup
Beet Trifle (Westbound)
orange cake, regan's orange bitters, beet meringue, spring herb ice cream, brandy caramel
Tim Tam (Westbound)
almond milk panna cotta, nutella crunch, cacao nibs, espellete
^ I assume it tastes like a Tim Tam.
$100 Edible Gold Donut (Birdies)
cream cheese champagne glaze, flakes of 24-karat gold leaf
^ I was talked out of trying it.
claro rum, cognac, meletti amaro, apple, cinnamon
REST IN PEACE
Spinach Bucatini (Otium)
egg, bacon, clam, crème fraîche
^ Orgasm in a bowl.
Bologna Taco (B.S. Taqueria)
kewpie mayonnaise, escabeche
Soft Shell Crab Sandwich (Eat Drink Americano)
english muffin, wakame seaweed, saffron aioli
Pilgrim (Eat Drink Americano)
slow-roasted turkey, traditional stuffing, corn foam, cranberry sauce
Crispy Sunchokes (Bäco Mercat)
tarragon, dukkah, butter croutons
Potato Terrine (Osso)
Donabe Smoked S'mores (Otium)
kumquat, olive sable
^ For brunch, (Otium) serves an off-the-menu donabe smoked French toast and pork belly.