bg90027's Profile

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Cocktail ideas for my peppercorn syrup?

I'd try other combinations of fruit and spirits. Maybe substitute tequila and strawberries or bourbon and peaches for the watermelon and gin using the same proportions.

Sep 11, 2014
bg90027 in Spirits

Twentieth Century Cocktail

I haven't had the Twentieth Century but I've had and like the somewhat similar Nineteenth Century which subsitutes Rye for the Gin, Sweet Vermouth for the Lillet, and Lime Juice for the lemon juice.

Jul 23, 2014
bg90027 in Spirits


Hacienda Vieja or Espolon

Jul 01, 2014
bg90027 in Spirits

Where Are the Joints? aka smaller, individually run neighborhood places?

Canele in Atwater Village
Red Hill in Echo Park

Jun 16, 2014
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Claud & Co Eatery (Pasadena)

I can see now why you wouldn't find it very Brazilian. Whether its tasty or not, that doesn't sound much like a traditional Moqueca. If you ever want to try an authentic version, there's a restaurant by the name of Moqueca in Oxnard which does a great one.

Jun 13, 2014
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Claud & Co Eatery (Pasadena)

Moqueca is a classic Bahian dish made with coconut milk, yuca and palm oil. Surprised that you wouldn't find it particularly Brazilian.

Jun 12, 2014
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Costco Liquor Store- what to buy?

I'm in Los Angeles. I'm not sure those are always in stock but I have found them there. I think they've had some of their Rye there too. Maybe the Double Rye? Unfortunately, I've never seen the Rendevous Rye which is by far my favorite of High West's product line.

May 23, 2014
bg90027 in Spirits

Costco Liquor Store- what to buy?

My costco often has good deals on scotch. I've bought Lagavulin 16, Talisker Storm and Oban 14 there for very good prices. High West makes barrel aged and bottled Manhattans and Boulevardiers which are really nice and great for taking on weekend trips. My Costco occasionally has those for cheaper than I can find them anywhere else.

I generally stay away from buying wine at Costco because they don't store it properly. I suppose its fine if you are buying everyday wines for near term consumption but I wouldn't buy anything special there.

May 22, 2014
bg90027 in Spirits

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? [Through April 30, 2014]

I love both Custer books and "The South American Table." Sad to hear that about "La Gran Cocina Latina." I bought it last year but haven't gotten around to cooking from it.

Apr 22, 2014
bg90027 in Home Cooking

13 Best Sausages In LA

Too many hot dog places for a sausage list.

Apr 22, 2014
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

PIE - LA Dish of the Month (March 2014)

Their maple custard pie is great.

Mar 04, 2014
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Where to get my knives sharpened??

I agree that Ross does a better job. I've never been quoted a day or two return time from Ross though. It's more like 4-5 days which for me will likely mean at least a week since it's not very convenient for me to get to their location during the times that they are open on weekdays. A week is a long time to do without your best knife. Taking a knife to Ross will also generally require me to devote an hour to driving and dropping off the knife and another hour to make a round trip just to pick it up. By contrast, I'm at the farmer's market every weekend anyway. Gary does an acceptable job (at least for me) and is very convenient. It's a trade-off in quality for convenience that I'm usually willing to accept.

Feb 26, 2014
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Where to get my knives sharpened??

The two places I've gone to and would recommend are Ross' Cutlery downtown. Or Gary's Knife Sharpening service:


He sets up in a lot of farmers markets and will sharpen your knifes while you shop which is really convenient.

Feb 25, 2014
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Boker's Bitters?

I like them a lot in the Martinez. They were Jerry Thomas' favorite bitters so they show up frequently in his recipes. You can always substitute another aromatic bitter for them though. The Martinez is the only cocktail that I make regularly in which I use them though.

Feb 24, 2014
bg90027 in Spirits

Spirits local to Los Angeles

Greenbar Collective is the only LA distillery which I'm aware of to open post prohibition. They are generally well thought of but I can't personally vouch for them.

Here's their website where you can peruse their lineup:


There might be SF based distillers whose products we get that you might not be able to find on the east coast. St. George's and Lost Spirits come to mind.

Your best bet to get something unique though might be in bitters, which would also be easy to pack. I'm a big fan of Miracle Miles Bitters, especially their Chocolate Chili Bitters. Bar Keep in the Silverlake neighborhood has a great selection and keeps open bottles for sampling.

You might also want to stop by K&L Wines if you are in Hollywood. They have a great selection, good pricing, knowledgable staff and they also buy single casks from distillers which they have bottled and are exclusive to them.

While its not LA based, I'd imagine that we have a much greater selection of tequila and agave based spirits than you would have access to on the east coast. Ramirez Liquors in Boyle Heights probably has the best tequila selection.

Hope that helps.

Feb 14, 2014
bg90027 in Spirits

DineLA Winter 2014

Had dinner at Black Cat on Sunset in the Sunset Junction area of Silverlake. For those not familiar with it, it's a gastropub owned by the same people that own Village Idiot on Melrose.

For $25, I had

3 big pork sopes
Shrimp & Grits
Brownie with Buttermilk Ice Cream

All items are on their regular menu, and that combination would have been $10 more with their regular pricing. Everything was really good. I'd go back for the sopes and shrimp & grits would still be a bargain at regular pricing. They also had some pretty good cocktails at reasonable prices.

Jan 23, 2014
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Help with my next bottle of booze

It's very hard to recommend something based on the level of information you've given. Bourbon, Rum and Tequila are the most obvious spirits that you haven't listed. If your goal was to round out your bar for entertaining, I'd suggest that you start with one of those but if it's just to make drinks for yourself and you don't like tequila or bourbon, then there might not be a need to own either.

Also, you haven't really told us what your favorite spirit and cocktail is. Do you really like Rye a lot or just more than Bourbon? What brands do you have? How much are you willing to spend on a bottle?

JMF's suggestion of buying some good cocktail books and doing some research is a good one. When I first started expanding my bar from a very basic one to a really good one, my approach was to buy something needed to make one cocktail that I knew I would really like and then look additional ways to use it over time by again buying things that would make it more versatile.

Without knowing more, I'd suggest getting a rum next. Maybe El Dorado or Mt. Gay. A simple diaquiri (rum, sugar, fresh squeezed lime juice, ice) is a great drink and easy to make. If you're more inclined to buy a liquor, I might suggest a Maraschino liquor or an orange curacao.

Jan 16, 2014
bg90027 in Spirits

Spin-Off: What gins to people love?

For drinks that call for a London dry, I like Berry Bros & Rudd, #3. For everything else, I like St. George's Mt. Tam.

The Old Tom gins are fun to play around with too.

Jan 09, 2014
bg90027 in Spirits

Roast Goose in Los Angeles

The number of views limit applies only to hotlinks so you can get around it by using a search engine to look for the article.

So go to google and search "goose tacos" site:latimes

and that article will be the first thing that appears and you will be able to view it even as a non-subscriber.

Dec 17, 2013
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

What are the most unusual bitters flavors you have tried, and what recipe(s) did you use them in?

You're right I really should try those WBA Bitters. I'd blame my failure on two things: (1) I am most likely to use bitters that I bought for their unique flavor profiles or to use to make a specific drink. I bought these for neither reason, more because of generally hearing good things about them. (2) perhaps more importantly they ended up hidden behind a ton of other bottles. Out of sight and out of mind...

The one bottle I forgot to mention was a recent purchase of Bittercube's Door County Hops Bitters made with chinook and cascade hops. I experimented a little with them last night trying to mirror the flavor profile of an IPA with St. George's Mt. Tam Gin, Zirbenz Stone Pine liquor, a barspoon of Kummel and some fresh lemon juice, orange juice and grapefruit shrub and a couple of drops of the burlesque bitters (for a touch of floral). The drink wasn't bad and I think the bitters went well with those sorts of flavors. I probably had a little too much going on with so many ingredients. I might try leaving out the oj and subbing a rye or wheater bourbon for the gin and playing a little with the ratios.

Dec 11, 2013
bg90027 in Spirits

What are the most unusual bitters flavors you have tried, and what recipe(s) did you use them in?

I use the fee brothers peach bitters in making Laphroaig Projects:


As the blogger here says, it doesn't sound like the ingredients would go well together but they do.

Dec 11, 2013
bg90027 in Spirits

What are the most unusual bitters flavors you have tried, and what recipe(s) did you use them in?

I love playing around with different bitters and have these plus a few more that I can't remember off the top of my head:

Angostura (probably needs no comment)
Peychauld's (for Sazeracs and Vieux Carre)
Regan Orange Bitters (milder than Angostura, good for martinis)
Miracle Mile Chocolate Chili (love these for bourbon drinks with some spice component)
Miracle Mile Castilian (works ok with tequila/mezcal, but don't use them often)
Miracle Mile Sour Cherry (don't use a lot)
Miracle Mile Gingerbread (like the idea of them but haven't used)
Miracle Mile Toasted Pecan (like the idea of them but haven't used)
Bittermens Burlesque Bitters (hibiscus flowers, sour berries with peppery spice, use in a drink with rum, falernum, grapefruit shrub & lime juice)
Bitter End Chesapeake Bay Bitters (haven't found a good use for yet)
Bitter End Curry Bitters (haven't found a good use for yet)
Bitter End Thai Bitters (have used with Mekong Thai Whiskey drinks but don't use very much)
Bittercube Jamaican #2 Bitters (like to use in blackstrap rum drinks in place of Angostura)
Brooklyn Bitters Black Mission Fig (like the flavor profile but haven't found a great use for)
Brooklyn Bitters Charred Pineapple (haven't tried yet, probably would work well in Pisco drinks)
Bitter Tears Ms Piggy Bacon Peppercorn (like this alot, use it in a drink with bourbon, homemade date syrup, lillet blanc and grand marnier)
Bitter Tears Curry Pumpkin Spice Mezcal Bitters (haven't tried yet)
Bitters, Old Men Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (love this one, use it in a drink with fresh squeezed blood orange juice, whiskey, and maraschino)
Bitters, Old Men Bangkok Bigtop (Thai Peanut flavor, haven't used yet)
Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Boker's Bitters (for Martinez)
Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged (haven't used)
Fee Brothers Rhubarb (works in drinks with fruit shrubs or with Pisco)
Fee Brothers Peach (works in drinks with fruit shrubs or with Pisco)
Cocktail Kingdom Coffee (new purchase, haven't used yet)
El Guapo Gumbo Bitters (new purchase, haven't used yet)

Dec 09, 2013
bg90027 in Spirits

Ideas for a pint and a half of heavy cream?

How much bourbon do you need if you need a quart of heavy cream. A cask? The recipe I linked up above only requires 1 cup of heavy creme but 1 liter of bourbon.

For me, eggnog is a holiday necessity. Even more important than a christmas tree. I made so much eggnog last year that I was still drinking it in July.

Dec 05, 2013
bg90027 in Home Cooking

Ideas for a pint and a half of heavy cream?

Dec 05, 2013
bg90027 in Home Cooking

Date Night? DTLA, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Eagle Rock, etc.

I'm surprised that there aren't at least a few more posts about Red Hill. It seems like the type of restaurant that would have a small cult following.

I am pretty lazy about making detailed posts about my dining experiences but will make sure that I add something to that thread after the next time i go there, which will likely be pretty soon.

For now though, I'll add a few more details here. Red Hill is located across the street from Allumette in a converted chinese bakery. It's owned by Jason Michaud who also owns Local and used to own Chimu (before it closed) - the casual Peruvian place with Mario Alberto (now at Laurel Hardware).

It's a small dining room. I'd guess about 50-75 person capacity with an open kitchen and a small counter where you can sit and watch the action in the kitchen.

The chef is Trevor Rocco who used to be the chef at Grindhaus Sausages in Hollywood. I was really sad when that closed. Their sausages were absolutely delicious and very inventive. Some of my favorite flavors were Andouille with Crawfish, Beef Chimichurri, Wild Boar with Bratwurst seasonings, Duck with Chocolate and Cherries. They also made mustards in house, potted meats, and pickled vegetables.

Red Hill has a similar sensibility to it. There are lots of grilled flatbreads with interesting toppings. There is a simple bread plate with house churned butter and house made pickles. One of my favorite starters is Beignets with Lardo and Mustard Seed. They basically drop 3 small balls of beignet dough in the fryer and top them with a slice of lardo that melts and glazes them and top each with a small pyramid of mustard seed on each. I've thought about ordering those over and over until I'm full but so far have shown retraint.

They have a great pasta dish with a really nice wide papardelle noddle with a rich and hearty ragu sometimes made with pulled pork and other times with lamb neck. They do a really nice trout with brown butter, blueberries and jalapeno. I need to work my way through the menu more but there is a nice looking pork chop, a duck leg dish, some risottos and other items. The menu is pretty small but everything I've had has been good, although I find it hard to not order the papardelle and beignets because I love them so much. There are some vegetarian options if JeMange's date isn't fully recovered yet.

They have a small but good selection of affordable wine and craft beer (but no liquor license). you can easily eat there well with a glass of beer or wine for $50 per person including tip. It strikes as exactly the sort of place JeMange might be looking for, where everything is very good but casual and it wouldn't be overdoing it for a 2nd date.

Nov 18, 2013
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Date Night? DTLA, Echo Park, Silver Lake, Eagle Rock, etc.

Downtown: Lazy Ox, Aburiya Toronako, Church & State, Spice Table

Echo Park: Red Hill (deserves a lot more love)

Nov 18, 2013
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Wine suggestions for this meal

I think your original suggestion of a white bourdeaux was an excellent one. Smith Haut Lafitte is very pricey, but its still possible to find a very good Bourdeax Blanc for under $30. I'd recommend Clos Floridene which I've purchased in the $20-25 from K&L in the past. One thing I like about the idea of a Bourdeaux Blanc is that I'm assuming that the pan sauce will be made with a Sauvignan Blanc. Serving a more elegant version of the wine you are cooking with just makes sense to me.

The wine nerd in me would want to pair the main course with a Savignan from the Jura region. I think it could be a pairing that would really work with both the chicken and the bread pudding and has the potential for being a really revelatory wine. That said, it would be a risky choice which some might just find strange and off-putting. A white bordeaux is probably the best choice.

Nov 14, 2013
bg90027 in Wine

Is Babita really worth it?

I have nothing against Centeno's burger although you clearly hold it in higher regard than I do. I do reject philosophically the entire concept of the ARC higher end burger though. I think certain foods aren't meant to be elevated, and a burger is one of them. It can be delicious for under $10 and using prime beef and duck fat isn't going to make it enough better to justify the added cost. In my opinion, its a waste of ingredients that have a higher and better purpose in a more elegant dish. At that price point, I'd rather order something else.

Likewise, I've never had Cochinita Pibil at Babita. Never even considered ordering it. Whether they make an effort or not to elevate, I couldn't say. I'd rather order something else there.

I understand your perspective a lot better so thanks for explaining. I just don't really share it. It's hard to make a better Cochinita Pibil than CI does. Its their specialty, its not Babita's specialty. CI also has a much different cost structure so its not a sign that Babita is ripping you off if their Cochinita Pibil is more expensive. I wouldn't make broad conclusions off of that. I just would order something other than Cochinita Pibil when/if you go to Babita.

Nov 12, 2013
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Is Babita really worth it?

I will make one last attempt and then I give up. The reason to go to Babita is that the food generally speaking is better than the food at Chichen Itza (at least in my opinion) and there are many items on the menu that are well worth the higher prices at Babita. That said, I've never ordered the Cochinita Pibil at Babita, mainly because there are other items I am more interested in eating but also because I know that I can get an exceptional Cochinita Pibil at CI for half the price. I generally shun burgers and cheesesteaks at higher brow restaurants on similar grounds. If I choose to go there, it is other menu items that I'm interested in.

So I really don't know what you mean by you never go to "such places." If such places is intented to mean places that would charge higher prices for items like Cochinita Pibil that are available at cheaper, less sophisticated restaurants, then why did you bother starting the thread? You knew from the start about that. I still think we've been largely talking past each other though because I know you are a huge fan of Josef Centeno's cooking and assume it never bothered you that the burger on his lunch menu at Lazy Ox could be purchased cheaper elsewhere if you went to eat there for his pig ears, bone marrow and more sophisticated offerings. I really don't see what's different about going to Babita and just not getting the Cochinita Pibil.

Nov 12, 2013
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area

Is Babita really worth it?

You are missing the point when you offer up the Bazaar's cheesesteak as THE high end counterpoint to a Boo's cheesesteak. How many nice restaurants have a cheesesteak or a hamburger/cheeseburger on their lunch menu which is priced much higher than one could get at a less fancy place? Most of those sandwiches/burgers are just a basic cheesesteak maybe with slightly higher quality meat and aren't "worth" the added price based on the quality of food alone. However, they are but one item on a large menu and to judge the restaurant based on the quality to price ratio of that item versus one at a casual restaurant misses the entire point why the restaurant exists.

And yes, there is a difference in atmosphere difference between Babita and CI but Babita doesn't have a beautiful dining room. There is no ocean view or lovely patio. The reason people drive there from LA because the food is great, not because of the atmosphere. The chiles en nogales are the best in the city. The Shrimp Tompolobambo is great, as is the lamb shank. Everything I've ordered has been great and some people who I've taken there have told me that it was the best Mexican food that they've ever eaten.

Nov 11, 2013
bg90027 in Los Angeles Area