J.L.'s Profile

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Best Tamagoyaki on the current scene ?????????? You guys know by that I mean the style and texture and flavor that I would climb mountains for and drive eons and eons for....

What are you waiting for, then? :-)

1 day ago
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Best Tamagoyaki on the current scene ?????????? You guys know by that I mean the style and texture and flavor that I would climb mountains for and drive eons and eons for....

Glaring omission: Shibucho.

Glaring.

1 day ago
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

How Did I Miss A New Shopping Center With a Bunch of Chinese restaurants?

Good to know. The Chowpup & I will go review the McBeef Roll.

Aug 25, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Omakase at Mori Sushi: A Pictorial Essay

Thanks for the kind words of encouragement, everbody.

For those of you pining for a Urasawa write-up, I regret to inform you that the travel bug has bitten me, and so I find myself now on another continent...

... but it was a good L.A. sushi streak, yes?

Aug 23, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Omakase at Mori Sushi: A Pictorial Essay

... more photos.

Aug 22, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Omakase at Mori Sushi: A Pictorial Essay

Finishing out my “Sushi Omakase Week” strong, my dinner omakase at Mori Sushi did not disappoint.

Boss Maru-san was my itamae for this adventure. And, in accordance to true Mori tradition, I found every single bite to be simply delicious.

Any write-up of Mori Sushi must include a mention on their rice. Bottom line: The shari at Mori Sushi remains the best in Los Angeles - Toothsome, with just the right amount of vinegar, perfectly packed, just a touch warmer than ambient temperature, proper in proportion to the neta. Each little pearly grain of this exquisite rice just illustrates again how important the rice can be to enjoying one’s overall sushi experience.

Highlights included:
- Uni tempura, with myoga
- “Baby” red shishito, with okra & summer nasu (Japanese eggplant)
- Emulsion of hamo (pike conger eel) broth, with its eggs
- Seared kama-toro (tuna back cheek), with smoked takuan (pickled daikon)
- Kisu (Japanese whiting)
- Hiramasa (yellowtail amberjack)
- Aji (horse mackerel)
- Akami (lean bluefin tuna)
- Managatsuo (harvest butterfish AKA silver pomfret) – This was a delightful new taste for me. Apparently in Kyoto they like to grill this fish. But here in L.A. it is so fresh (today), Maru-san decided to serve it as nigiri to his customers… Lucky us!
- Hagashi “o-toro” (fatty tuna from the dorsal portion near the tail) – A rare cut; extremely rich.
- Akagai (blood clam)
- Bafun uni from Hokkaido
- Sujiko (sockeye salmon roe marinated while still in its egg sack)
- And one big highlight for dessert was Maru-san’s new (and seasonal) item: Yuzu gelee with white sapote, which was truly outstanding!

Overall cost of my omakase (with one green tea and Hitachino White Ale), before tax & tip: $195

During dessert, Maru-san & I chatted about our kids. One of Maru-san’s hopes for the next generation is to make sure that our children know that good food requires real ingredients.

Respect.

South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung Rates With International Counterparts

That's a nice... oh, wait... they just called my name from the wait list at Chengdu Taste from 4.8 days ago. Gotta go!

Aug 20, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Where to "wow" a visitor with "do NOT miss this place" recommendations

Totoraku.

Aug 20, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Early Dinner at Petrossian (West Hollywood): A Pictorial Essay

... more photos.

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Early Dinner at Petrossian (West Hollywood): A Pictorial Essay

Always a treat to come here for a bite to eat. Chef Giselle Wellman is so talented.

Highlights on this trip (full menu available online at their website):

- Half Dozen Oysters: East and West Coast Oysters, with Mignonette Vinaigrette and Lemon

- Napoléon Tartare: Prime Flat Iron Steak, Capers, Shallots, Chives, Caviar

- Squid Ink Fettucini: Yellow Coconut Milk Curry, Salmon Roe, Wild California Sea Urchin

- Smoked Trout: Asparagus, Lemon, Dill, Crème Fraîche, Pickled Red Onion, Rainbow Trout Roe

- Vanilla Panna Cotta: Espresso Caviar, Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

- Olive Oil Cake: With Pistachio Ice Cream, Almonds

- White Chocolate Caviar Macaron: Yes, CAVIAR macaron...

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

A 15 Year-Old Takes Over Fifty-Seven: The Flynn McGarry Pop-Up on August 11th: A Pictorial Essay

... more photos.

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

A 15 Year-Old Takes Over Fifty-Seven: The Flynn McGarry Pop-Up on August 11th: A Pictorial Essay

This kid can really cook.

Whizkid Chef Flynn McGarry has an already impressive resume. He's staged at Eleven Madison Park, Alinea, and Alma - Not bad for someone who started cooking at the ripe old age of eleven. Well, he more than held his own during this pop-up at Fifty-Seven on August 11th. It was my first time tasting his cooking, and I can now declare myself a fan. Now, not all the dishes were hits, but when he makes contact, he hits it straight out of the park.

(Please excuse my crappy photography - For those of you who have dined at Fifty-Seven, you'll know that the lighting can be really low and "woody")

Highlights included:

- Tomato & tarragon "tea"

- Kumamoto oyster with summer yellow corn puree, chorizo, and ginger lime

- Snapper cured in konbu with cantaloupe, fermented rice, sesame & shiso

- Beet Wellington with creamed kale, glazed date & beet bordelaise

- Roasted white chocolate cremeaux with sage, pistachio bombolini, pistachio frozen yogurt, white chocolate fuilletin & rhubarb gel

The Chef (and his Mom) came out to greet all the diners towards the end of the meal. Chef Flynn is very personable - He and his Mom are very down-to-earth people.

Bravo, Flynn. Bravo.

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Mini-Dinner Omakase at Shunji Japanese Cuisine: A Pictorial Essay

... more photos.

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Mini-Dinner Omakase at Shunji Japanese Cuisine: A Pictorial Essay

Yes, the second time in one week (but just a mini-meal).

I went back a few days after my earlier meal this past week. Shunji told me he was receiving a shipment of really good shinko (baby gizzard shad). Also, he told me that the akami (lean tuna), which was already phenomenal on my earlier visit, would be aged even more perfectly on this visit.

Shunji was right on both counts. This shinko was indeed the best I've ever had. And the akami possessed an umami so terrific, it left a trail of luscious aftertaste in its wake (this fish lived a good life). I had repeat orders of each.

Other standouts included sake-steamed awabi (abalone) in its own kimo (liver) ponzu, baby bonito nigiri with fresh garlic slice, a minimalist yet supremely flavorful bowl of asari dashi with yuzu peel. For dessert, an after-dinner shot of very citrus-y yuzu sake, and also the Champagne grapes and lime ice cream made an encore appearance.

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Yakitori Bincho - Closed

Japan doesn't hold the monopoly on treating guests well (though the flair by which the hospitality is expressed is uniquely Japanese, I will admit). The Chinese, Persians, Spaniards and Bedouin are just some of many other examples of cultures with great hospitality traditions.

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Yakitori Bincho - Closed

Heheheh... It's a Japanese thing, I suppose.

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Yakitori Bincho - Closed

It's a principle in psychology called variable schedule reward:

If a gambler pulls the arm on the slot machine in Vegas but it takes his/her money that one time without any payout, then why do people continue to put money in? Because you never know when you will be rewarded with that euphoric feeling of a jackpot on any given pull.

Same thing with Bincho. Sometimes he turns you away. But when you do gain admittance, it is probably the most incredible Japanese-style grilled meat you can have in L.A. (arguably as good as Totoraku).

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Omakase at Kiriko: A Pictorial Essay

Instead of Iron Chef Japan, now we have "Iron Customer" Japan...

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Omakase at Kiriko: A Pictorial Essay

Dunno... I was being treated by a friend to dinner.

If I had to guess, then probably in the ballpark of $130 to $160, food only. But I stress again - This is only a guesstimate.

Aug 19, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Omakase at Kiriko: A Pictorial Essay

Right on, jj.

The shokunin crew at Tsujita featured some familiar faces from Shunji & Asanebo. It's a pretty close-knit family amongst the veteran sushi corps. They all support each other, and that's a beautiful thing.

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung Rates With International Counterparts

I'm with ya, but the thread is about the DTF... Savvy? :-)

If I'm in SH, you'll find me at Yang's eating SJB. That, or getting some yellow croaker on at Old Jesse. Or hijacking the family dinner at some unfortunate farmer's place in Hangzhou.

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung Rates With International Counterparts

My current DTF hierachy:

Taipei >>> Shanghai > Arcadia > Tokyo > Glendale

If Mrs. J.L. goes shopping at South Coast Plaza soon, maybe I'll tag along...

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Omakase at Kiriko: A Pictorial Essay

Actually I went back to Shunji (for a second dinner in three days) just because Shunji received a shipment of some really extraordinary shinko. Stay tuned...

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Omakase at Kiriko: A Pictorial Essay

... more photos.

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area
1

Dinner Omakase at Kiriko: A Pictorial Essay

Last week was quite the sushi week for me. In addition to dinners at Shunji and Tsujita, I had also gone to Kiriko for omakase.

Highlights: Goma (sesame) paste stuffed in wine-braised summer fig then topped with prosciutto slice, oma (baby bluefin, from Aomori Prefecture) sashimi served 2 ways (seared akami &, o-toro), seared giant hotategai (scallop), wild kanpachi (amberjack), smoked wild sockeye salmon with ripe mango and caviar, steamed kegani (hairy crab) served with kani miso (crab tomalley), duet of bafun uni & San Diego uni (in the same piece of nigiri), brown sugar & ginger ice cream.

As always, Ken-san offers his customers a wonderful omakase. We are truly lucky to have so many high-quality sushi-yas in this part of town.

And who (by sheer coincidence) sat next to me at dinner in Kiriko?

Shunji & Yuko.

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area
1

South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung Rates With International Counterparts

Haven't tried the Costa Mesa location yet, but so far, the Taipei DTF remains the title of Emperor of DTF in my book.

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung Rates With International Counterparts

It's a dessert item, not savory.

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung Rates With International Counterparts

Your typing is sometimes indecipherable, kevin.

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area

Yakitori Bincho - Closed

Erratic hours & a tendency to turn away some potential customers (oftentimes a Japanese restauranteur thing) won't work well on Sawtelle...

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area
1

Yakitori Bincho - Closed

RIP Bincho. His charcoal-fueled feasts were incredible. I wish Tomo-san and his wife the best. Hopefully he will resurface to cook for us again.

Aug 18, 2014
J.L. in Los Angeles Area