Friday, September 28, 2018

Top 10 Dumplings Served in Los Angeles

I love all kinds of dumplings. Boiled. Fried. Steamed. Oily. Slippery. You named it!

Lists of Top 10 Dumplings for Los Angeles is in order. There should plenty to choose from. Not all of them belongs in the same region at Monterrey Park. In fact, you'll find it interesting to know, most are moving towards east on this list.

Pretty much you can treated this scrumptious feigns as a meal itself, an appetizer for some, or anytime snack for most people if you can burn those carbs.

Here is the fun fact: You don't necessary needs meat to put it into dumplings. Nor does it needs to be savory. So a lot of people have precognition in thinking it needs to be in rice wraps as well.

To come with this list, I'll keep this simple. It will be strictly dumplings. Not super sized baos (as in big donut buns size) or pie. I will exclude any shu-mai or anything like rice noodle dishes from dim sum items. As always, keeping it simple with hidden spots as the bigger plus.

Kingburg Kitchen
715 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776


San Gabriel is awash with waves of possibilities for dumplings galore. Pretty much every street corner has a dumpling restaurant at their plaza. Kingburg Kitchen is pretty much known for two types of dishes: their jiaozi (pan fried dumplings) and Shen Jiang Bao (pan fried juicy buns). Think of crispy brown bottom and juicy soup on the inside.

There's something about this little bite size starter perfect for their beef noodle soup as well. It's glorious coming here when you know you can ordered everything from pork to vegetarian version, those will still come out perfect.

Ding's Garden
18922 Gale Ave
Rowland Heights, CA 91748


There are so many version of this place. Too many rumors and innuendos to list here. Pretty much was that there was an original one on Valley Blvd in San Gabriel. After an ugly divorce mess, the business was sold. Then a few pops up in Pasadena, Irvine and here in Rowland Heights. I'll keep this simple in that Rowland Heights location does better on the potstickers variety which is like the jiaozi I posted above.

Ding's is also known for their cold dish appetizers on the menu and their fabulous beef noodle soup. What sets apart from the other locations of Ding's was their pan fried version of their dumplings. They do wonders on the boiled versions as well.

Q Noodle House
18930 Gale Ave
Rowland Heights, CA 91748


Short distance walk in the same plaza as Ding's Garden is this very low key Noodle house that serves up some of the best boiled dumplings you can find. The fish dumplings with right amount of vinegar and soy sauce can liven these simple, but yet delicious treats. Don't let the pungent fish smell fool you, it's an absolute delight.

Q Noodle House is situated in a very popular plaza that includes the best pho place in town (Pho Rowland), Two popular Korean joints (Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong and Sun Nuong Dan), tourist trap of Boiling Crab, an extremely popular Sichuan hot pot (Lameizi) and the previously mentioned Ding's Garden. Be warned: it's crazy traffic jam on Friday nights.

Mama's Lu
153 Garvey Avenue
Monterrey Park, CA 91755


I wrote about this place in one of my earliest blog post. This place still holds the standard for most dishes for the Shanghai cuisine. It used to be very popular for the locals, but then you know... first the blogs, then the media hype (most notably Jonathan Gold) and now social media from the youngsters. It can get crazy in here with long wait for dinner.

Their specialty is the juicy soup dumplings we like to call Xiao Long Bao (XLB). Its hint of a sweet taste often gets imitated it by many other competitors around town. However, I would like to showcase their boiled dumplings as that tends to be underrepresented in their establishments.

This flagship was so successful, it sprang a new shop down the street. In a weird site note, the Mama is run by the daughter, while the mom runs a successful supplier operation of dumplings, xlbs, and other pre-packaged dishes. It gotten so successful, family opened up a new front in south OC called Paper Lantern.

101 Noodle Express
1408 E Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91801


For the very longest time, this place rivals Mama's Lu as the place to go for all Shanghai related cuisine in the hotbed of Asian cuisine. Probably less than 5-10 minutes drive for one. Pretty much a slam dunk if you need something fulfilling. This place get the same kind of hype from the social media crowd as Mama's for the same exact dishes. So be warned when you find out there's a big wait for those dumplings and beef roll. Oh, one big difference: CASH ONLY.

New Golden City
1015 Nogales St #128
Rowland Heights, CA 91748


They just got featured last week for top chicken dishes place and now they're back in this dumpling rendition. This place has been around for quite awhile since the golden days of the 90s when Rowland Heights was awash with newly arrivals from Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants. Along with the Supreme Dragon Restaurant (old school colleagues will remembered this beloved shuttered place) was the go to place for dumplings. The only drawback is the tight parking spaces in the plaza that houses Ranch 99 supermarket.

If you can get over this small mishap, you'll enjoyed many of the fine Chinese dishes that many people come to love. The traffic is rough in this area because of road construction since 4 years ago for tunnel road they will eventually finish, but it's worth the trek for this surround area.

Hwang To Kil HTK
18732 Colima Rd
Rowland Heights, CA 91748


Whoa! A Korean restaurant entry. You probably never get to see that happened, but it's only right when there's a place like this only happens once in a while. Korean Military Stew which was popular among ex-patriots of the cold war days from our Southeast Asian neighbors. A dish that incorporate rationed food such as cheese, sausage and spam into soup. This restaurant serves some of the best stew and spicy noodles soup you'll find in this area if you don't wish to travel to hectic Koreatown.

Don't sleep on their version of kimchi dumplings, which incorporate the salted and fermented vegetable into pork dumplings. It's already popular in commingled with fried rice, but with the steamed dumplings and a bit panned, these are simply superb.

Pine and Crane
1521 Griffith Park Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026


Hipsters can rejoice! There is a place for them on the eastside (sensitive topic for region gatekeepers). This well known, uber popular Taiwanese influenced housed some of the more aesthetics pleasing dishes for the uninitiated. As many are still not treating Taiwanese dishes as a finer cuisine until this place opened up in a busy stretch facing Sunset Blvd.

The Chili won tons are the popular side dish many would get to accompany with their beef rolls or something less challenging to be nibble. Without a doubt, this was an mistaken item on their menu. Whenever I showed this photo, people knew where these won tons are from. Go figure!

Little Shanghai Restaurant
18457 Colima Road
Rowland Heights, CA 91748


Unusual, but not really. This tiny little restaurant is a very old food court that probably seen more turnovers than a French bistro on Melrose Ave or Third Street on the westside of LA. The only constant in that fool hall (we called that now?) is this Shanghai restaurant that outlast most take out joints in this sleepy hallow of a plaza.

Extremely popular for their pan fried dumplings over the juicy soup version. I probably would choose Mama's for that version. If you ever settled into this table service corner spot (the only one in that food hall that does not have a stall, but an open space), go for their dan dan mein as well.

Tasty Noodle House
1611A Azusa Avenue
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745


This place was bestowed upon me because of the fact I had to work late one night. My former boss who at the time decided to treat me to a dinner because I needed to finish some project. Apparently this hybrid of a Shanghai/Taiwanese/Northern Chinese cuisine place was a popular spot among the vast residents of east SGV. I didn't know how popular until I realized most chose this over another popular place in this plaza (checked it on Yelp, it got more reviews for that rival).

Regardless in the lack of exposure, I'm pretty certain most residents is keeping this place on the down-low for their Shen Jiang Bao (pan fried) and many vast array of fried rice and fried noodle dishes. It's probably a good idea in not letting out-of-towners on this hot tidbit. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Love Affair Continues at Ar Cucina

In a city I want no part of, it's amazing I still coming here every other week.

Not quite sure if was by design or by accident, I think this part of the area was more of tourist trap than any other city on the westside including Santa Monica or Venice. It fascinates me that a portion of the city is right dab smack in the heart of many hollywood types who have a studio nearby.

Believe it or not, I love coming here for dinner or brunch. To AR Cucina, I definitely love coming here.

While north portion of Hollywood gets starlets wannabes, I started to notice the industry workers tends hang out here in Culver City. People might not know them, but their credits on IMDB tends to rival the performers/actors anyway.


This brings up the interesting thing about AR Cucina in  a busier section of the street that caters for industry types, that are busier than Canon Blvd up in Beverly Hills or Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood. AR Cucina was a restaurant I followed closely back in the day when it used to be an Indian restaurant called Sambar. It abruptly changed to an Italian focused restaurant sometime in early last year.

Steak Tagliata - medium rare grilled steak, salsa verde, pickled cipilloni onion, travioso radicchio

I can tell you in that the setting almost remains the same with the cocktails serving here remains roughly the exact posh presentation as well. The restaurant always had a big wood fire oven that was seemed out of place I guess for tandoori chicken, but works great for pizza. So the transition went very smoothly.

Polipo - Grilled Octopus, Arugula, Fingering Potatoes, Fresno Chili

Speaking of which, many of the naan reminds me of either a pita bread or pizza dough. Of course, I was thinking Indian fine cuisine was somewhat in style for the trend a few years back, I can see why this place wants to catch that hot trend of the moment.

Back in the day, I loathed coming to this area because of the high pretentiousness of certain industry types I have to hang around with, but love the potential of cool vibes of certain part of the city. This restaurant along with its sister restaurant Akasha always gets me in a good mood.

The other selling point was their outstanding happy hour nibbles and creative drinks that can soothes the wary naysayers such as myself. These drinks often inspires me to check out the other creations they might have and reduce me to a happy go lucky person by the end of the night. Luckily, this tends to be ever changing menu with different specialty based on the main components.

Tagliatelle - Pork & Beef Bolognese, Tomato Strattu, Paraigiano-Reggiano

Oh, let's not forget about the pastas. It's probably the saving grace in this fine establishment. Especially the Tagliatelle, the Pork & Beef Bolognese version is the best I have encountered here. I also recommend any of Steak dishes they served that night. They do anything beef right in here. With so many Italian repertoire, it would be amiss if the steak is not present.

One Crazy dessert...

Overall, I just love coming here to AR Cucina. I haven't really formally go to the flagship restaurant Akasha as I thought it was more of a date place during evenings where ARC is more of a cozy bistro. You will get the feeling of having the urge to check out the newer spots in downtown Culver City as there was a revolution of new places popping up along Culver City Blvd, Santa Monica Blvd and Jefferson.

Now, I may want to come here for meal... living here in this city is still a love/hate thing for me that is hard to get over. People needs to live here to find out.

Ar Cucina
9531 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

AR Cucina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, September 21, 2018

Indonesian Cuisine at Its Finest Served at Kasih

Indonesian food has often been misrepresented and underrepresented.

It's often misrepresented because people often associated as a street food or some sort of quick easy snack food. I think the most common example is some fish balls in curry soup or the instant noodle packs you might have seen in your local market.


Underrepresented in here in LA for somewhat of an odd reason. It does have a sizable population from the southeast Asian country, but the best restaurant is in a hard to naviagate strip mall in Bellflower (Toko Rame) and through the word of mouth, a local vendor is selling from a back of a pick up truck somewhere in a Covina parking lot.

Not a joke, one of my ex-coworker actually need to snap a photo of the menu that is posted on the side of the pick up truck and would have to pre-order the dishes, then go to that parking lot to pick it up.  I missed having that Roti and Nasi Goreng as I don't know which parking lot to look for.


Good news, both problems solved in one swoop with the opening of Kasih in Little Tokyo area of downtown. A recently opened Indonesian fare that not only bring out the best of this underrepresented cuisine, but also dash that street fare perception by elevating to a whole new level.


Coming to this restaurant, I was already ,impressed the chic decor inside and the up tempo look of the patio table seating. Not exactly the low down simple comfort fare we come to expect. The upside on this is that we may get the fancier fare of an elegant treatment of this cozy cuisine.

Nasi Goreng is still what I want. That to many of us can be just simply a fried rice, but with intricates of spices and seasoning, this can be a spectacular dish.


My other favorite dish was their interpretation of Snapper Ceviche. The seafood fare is fairly discounted in most Indonesian establishment, but doing it along the lines of their elevated dishes fits the theme here without further thoughts. I think it works well.


Some of my fond memory in coming here was their pork belly. Their "Babi Guling" included this fabulous Balinese Salad as the pork belly was served with this Asian Chips just like the fried rice.


Maybe we just count our lucky stars with this upscale fare, but it doesn't stopped there. The desserts was also fantastic as well. I just can't get over the feeling of how that Coconut Panna Cotta looks. It got the gelee in between panna cotta with the mango puree on top. Serves with banana gelato, it totally completed me.


Their cocktails are phenomenal as well. Picture this for a second, even the passers by want to join in on a few drinks. That's how bad this looks. The patio seating invites the lookie loos and it's a great advertisement on how fantastic of a meal it wound up to be.

Thoroughly impressed with this dining experience here at Kasih. I had one little wish though after this.... someone needs to help me find that pickup truck or at least show me the parking lot where I can find that other Indonesian fare.

200 S. Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Kasih Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Top 10 Chicken Dishes Served in Los Angeles

I'm pretty sure you have seen tons of lists for places to go and reality just hit you. Majority of them are in part of the town you hated to go for various reasons? Parking maybe? Way out of the way for one meal? What's worse?... it catered to a segment of crowd you don't fit in.

Honestly, I can compile so many lists with a whole bunch of places to eat. The main reason for this list was that I don't feel like doing a review for every one of the place. It's a bit time consuming to try every thing. Instead I'll highlight the specialties for the places I had visited. So once in a blue moon, you'll see a list pop up for specialty dish or a particular fun fact.

For this segment, I'll do places I go for chicken. Maybe I'll do more lists in the future if I had enough contents for it. 

No ranking or are in any particular order. I'll list the places for their awesome skills in doing chicken justice. Area of local suburbia will be given special treatment here. Best Chicken in Los Angeles or OC? Maybe. You can decide.

Higo Chicken
722 Whittier Blvd
La Habra, CA 90631


This was one of my favorite find recently. It's a hybrid of Peruvian cuisine with a hint of Japanese subtlety. There's a wok in the kitchen for tallarin (think of chow mein, but pasta) and the decor of the place somewhat fits more in line of an Asian cafe than a la polla brasa places you are accustomed to.

The big attraction given by the name is the Peruvian Rotisserie chicken that are served here. Juicy and tender. Can be combo with their basil spinach spaghetti or basil rice. Must get their spicy cheese potato as well. A true find in a hidden strip mall.

Chicago's Pizza With A Twist
11767 South Street
Artesia, CA 90701


I am thinking this place was more than just a normal pizza shack. It's regional chain for their mix of Indian cuisine on to pizzas. My review can be found here. What attract me is their flavored wings. Obviously you can get buffalo sauce or some sweet sauce elsewhere, but have you ever heard of had their Tandoori spiced wings?

Don't knock until you get it. This is just totally out of this world.

Tokyo Fried Chicken Co.
122 S Atlantic Blvd
Monterrey Park, CA 91754


This weirdly get a ton of love early on, but was able to sustain after all these years (more than 5 to be exact). I always was meant to do a review of this place after few visits, but never got around. It's a good time to add in this perennial favorite. Think of karaage chicken you would have ordered from Japanese restaurants, then imagine when it's southern deep fried with the batter and kept its essence of flavor of ginger, garlic and soy.

Voila! A cosmic creation. Oh, don't skimp on the creamy corn if you get a chance to get in to this place. Popular with the young hip foodie crowd.

Phat Birds
4701 E 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90022


If there is ever a discussion about just "Best Fried Chicken", this place will always be on the top any of my list. I can't do a list of this magnitude without including this place. Seriously, it would do an injustice. Check out my love affair with this place in this review.

Dino's Chickens and Burgers
843 W Arrow Highway
Azusa, CA 91702


The charbroiled chicken in here always exploded with a mixture of lemon and pepper with a bag of tricks in their other spices. Their fries are also drenched with juices from their chicken and sauces are sure to delight the senses. Not going to lie, your clothes might smelled like the chicken after a while. Also, don't be alarmed if you need to take it to dry cleaning afterwards.

Tasty Food
8150 Garvey Ave Suite 117C
Rosemead, CA 91170


You know it was coming. We can't leaved off any list without mentioning the steamed chicken variety of Hainan Chicken. It needs to be perfect and balance in 4 essential categories. The chicken itself needs to be juicy and plump with flavors. The skins itself needs to retain that unmistakable texture. Then you got the dipping sauces that can add another element in the taste without losing the essence of that original flavor. Oh, what else we're missing that is probably the most important about this dish?

The rice. Yup, that needs to be infuse with the stock of the chicken broth and immerse it hours after. It's like sushi, you don't serve it plain. That's just wrong and criminally insane if you just accepted as such.

Speaking of which, the best Hainan Chicken (Thai, Singapore, Malaysia, or any southeast Asian variety) that can be found is in inside of a rundown supermarket in Rosemead on a nondescript food court. Check them out, it's never on Eater LA's list for some reason.

Honey Kettle
9537 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232


We already did a Fried Chicken place above with Phat Bird. I made some weird promises on not looking for places in locations people loathed to travel to. Yes, Culver City will be one of them with paid parking meters in abundances. So why here?

I can't let anyone leaved without getting their honey infused chicken sandwich. That's why. Phat Bird and Tokyo Fried Chicken Co. has something in that variety, but Honey Kettle can parallel them in their offering of this sandwich that is solo in their menu. Strangely they don't offered any other sandwiches, other than just this one standalone. Take it for what its worth. A must ordered item if you happened to hit this part of the area in the uber trendy zone.

Toko Rame
17155 Bellflower Blvd
Bellflower, CA 90706


I'm pretty sure everyone is thinking a Tokyo Rome, a hybrid version of the Tokyo Italian variety. Reading the name closely will give you a misspelled combination of international city. This Indonesian restaurant has been a mainstay in downtown Bellflower. With the expansion of many hype restaurants moving towards southeast LA area in Gateway cities, a new food hall will be building close to this popular Indonesian bistro that serves some of the most authentic southeast Asian fare.

One of which is this buttered chicken that just melt in your mouth. Love it when it's bone in, as the skin and meat literally comes off the bone quick. Side note: It's a bit hard to get in to the parking lot. Almost required stunt drivers to maneuver into a parking space. Trust me it's not easy, but when you do get in... you might just want to stay there the whole day because it will take more effort to get out.

New Golden City
1015 Nogales Street
Rowland Heights, CA 91748


This is a bit off the beaten path on the east side. New Golden City attracts a lot of family crowd for the easy comfort food of dumplings, beef roll cakes and noodles dishes. One of the more understated items tends to be the poultry dishes. In the alternative universe, a lot of people often surmise in Chinese restaurants in that you can't eff'd up a chicken dish.

That's easy to do if you over cooked it or over sauced it (aka Kung Pao Chicken). This variety of their "House Chicken" is not only seasoned with the right amount of sauce, but it's also tender and juicy in its own right. It's a perfect a compliment to a bowl of steamed rice.

Chef Kang Food Rehab
401 S Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90020


Let's not forget about what's popular in southern California... Korean Fried Chicken (the real KFC). One of my favorite type is the soy garlic wings that many restaurants have tried to fashion. Some are very successful in adapting this, while others failed miserably. Needless to say, I will only showcased the best ones and Chef Kang's version is one of the best I have encountered in Koreatown.

After his many ventures in catering side of the business, it was great to see that a brick and mortar restaurant is set up on a busy traffic side of Vermont Avenue in Koreatown. There are many dish to try from Crab Curry rice to his stewed ribs, but it's the soy garlic wings or Honey wings that are needed to be had in this fusion restaurant in this chicken tastings.

8914 Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035


Harissa is a Kosher restaurant that serves Tunisian cuisine that has a hint of American and European influences on its dishes. Situated at the southeast side of Beverly Hills, it offers some of the finest Tunisian couscous feast, such as this Lemon Raisin Chicken dish. If there's a chance a joyous occasions can be found, this would be a good place to start.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Dinner That Conquers Itself Is The Mighty

Did anyone remembered Hatfield?

Nope. Not talking about the ones with McCoys, but about the restaurant that was on the famed Melrose Avenue in the hey days.

I still reminisced from the time that I truly believed it was my first fine dining experience. You just don't what to expect on your time ever. Whether or not you need to dress up. Do I need to be ahead of time to check in for my reservation? How much really do I need to prepare myself on what to order?


It's weird about the good ol' days where it seemed a new restaurant or at least the high class ones would opened up on that street in short amount of times. I still had that found memories of needing  a scale map to plot it out. Kiddos, it's way before Yelp, Google Map, FourSquare or even Travel Advisor existed to help.

Nowadays, there's so much info going on an instant flash, you could hardly keep up with the new news. Even yesterday's news is old news. As you have heard, I have gone incognito for quite awhile. Never realized I didn't do a review of one of my fondest place until it was closed a few years back.

So to my trusty google searched, I was able to find out that the husband and wife team of the namesake Hatfield's opened up a new restaurant in downtown called The Mighty. (although they did opened up Odys + Penelope and The Sycamore Kitchen).

Braised Meatballs - Tomato, Grilled Polenta, Bread

Even by my own standards, it took me awhile to figure out that they just opened sometimes last year in a block away from the beautiful Vibiana wedding venue. Looking at the menu, I was able to figure it out that some subtle differences between Hatfield's and The Mighty.

For one thing, it's more casual than fine dining. Whereas in I dealt with tasting menu in my previous dinners, the Mighty has many dishes in a la carte, which I probably preferred. Some of the dishes you can encountered in this restaurant are the elegant plating with the well thought out components for the dish.

The famed Squid Ink Pasta with Dungeness Crab and Creamy Pomodorro sauce, Basi

I always admired the way Chef Quinn Hatfield display some of the creativity in presenting something that sounds simple on the menu, but dazzles you when it comes out. The pasta dishes I am being told is now the big attraction. Obviously the squid ink pasta are the ones I needed to order. Instagrammable perhaps?

Warm Brown Butter Strawberry Crosata

Interestingly, I read a few blog write up where they mentioned this was a breakfast place with pastries and hardy lunch meet up place. Even a brunch place during the weekend. Honestly folks... I don't do lunch, but I might make the exception for the Mighty. Especially any desserts or pastries coming from the Hatfields.

That's another interesting thing, I am trying to get used to in not calling this place "Hatfield's" and start calling it The Mighty.

ps: Right after I wrote this, they are limited to daytime hours for breakfast and lunch. Hopefully they bring back dinner service.

The Mighty
108 W 2nd St #105
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Mighty Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, September 14, 2018

City Bright Gin Served at True Food Kitchen

What's this month?

September is Hunger Action Month. During September people everywhere in the United States will help to feed the needy in their neighborhood, working to ensure that the 48 million people who live with hunger every day can get some relief.


One of the campaign to bring awareness to plight of the less fortunate was the collaboration between GreenBar Distillery and Burrito Project in Los Angeles. During this month, for every City Bright gin cocktail served at a participating Los Angeles restaurant, GreenBar Distillery will donate a burrito to Burrito Project to assist in this endeavor.


These are some of the cocktail drinks highlighted at True Food Kitchen, with the spirits provided by Greenbar Distillery to showcase the creative craft cocktail drinks at the participating restaurants. These cocktail drinks complimented well with all the courses served from True Food Kitchen (one of the participants).


Please check out the participating restaurants that served City Bright Gin cocktail for the Burrito Project.

GreenBar Distillery

True Food Kitchen
168 Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91105

True Food Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Imagine Your Favorite of Chicago's Pizza With A Twist

Here's a twist, how often do you imagine your favorite food... let's say pizza ..meshed with other ethnic cuisine?

Have you tried Mexican food with Korean.. done it. Maybe French and Japanese... all the time. Maybe Spanish influenced food with Chinese.. more often than you think. Psst, some of us called it Filipino.

Well, let's go with one of ever popular Italian dish of Pizza and commingled it with Indian type ingredients. What do you get? Spectacular marriage I supposed.

Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza

There is a fast food chain that exploded in the central Cali and recently expanded near the border of Los Angeles and Orange county called Chicago's Pizza With A Twist. Pretty big guess that they opened one up in Little Bombay (city of Artesia) that is the epicenter of all shopping and dining for Indian patriots.

The big gain about this little cozy place was that it is in a booming part of the town where a Artesia is meeting a revival of newer hip places towards the south west side of the town towards the mall. At the same time maintaining the traditional old guards of the Little Bombay elements of Indian shops and restaurants.

The flashback memory of me coming to this location of Chicago's Pizza With A Twist was that this dining spot used to be Scotty's Burger, a popular hangout spot for old homey style burgers. This diner looks to be kept immaculately the same as how I had remembered it. Amazingly, after a few coats of paints and maybe a new trim, it still reminds me of Scotty's.

The few things that draw me to this place that I must try was the "Chicken Tikka Masala" Pizza. Few things. First, there are quite a bit of menu items to go through. It seemed they offered the traditional Italian items that you normally deduced in a pizza joint. Like pastas, wings, and run of the mill pizza. If you looked at the menu, it seemed simple enough.


Then you encountered the Vegan portion. The Paneer (curry and tikka masala) and veggie pizzas listed right below them. Then came the star attraction that got me here was their chicken pizzas. Those are the ones that stood out for me with different flavored chicken and Indian influenced ingredients/toppings.

There were buttered or Garlic Chicken to be had, but I really had my eyes set on Chicken Tikka Masala, where I love the flavor of chicken tikka. Plus with cheese, garlic, cilantro, and bell pepper, you would have love the item of fresh supreme pizza.

Tandoori Spiced Chicken Wings

The verdict: Phenomenal! It's probably one of those you didn't think it's possible, but a twist you must try just to get gist of what and how they are incorporated each cuisine and meshed into a collectible sense. I also love the tandoori spiced chicken wings as well. The wings was probably the one that convinced me to try the pizza as I had huge craving for these much every Football Sunday.

This is the question I will eventually encountered... how are they Chicago if it is not a deep dish? Obviously this is not a stuffed crust with the ingredients are inside of pie like rounders. As you can tell on the top photo where the edge of the pizza is high to give more amount of cheese and tomato sauce. That's the definition of Chicago style pizza. Of course you are amour with the stuff pizza (often associated with deep dish), that's just one type of Chicago style, but not definitive.

Don't get me started on Detroit Style; apparently that is another contender for deep dish and have nothing to do stuffed either.

Chicago Style Pizza. Indian ingredients. Let me be the one to tell you it does work.... with a twist.

Chicago's Pizza With A Twist
11767 South Street
Artesia, CA 90701 

Chicago's Pizza With A Twist Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Steak Best Witnessed at Chi Spacca

Question I often get asked is... "steaks, where is the best?"

Seriously, I get that question all the time and automatically offered up a super blase answer of "Black Angus?".

The entrance to Chi Spacca is by entering Mozza2Go

There is one place I am proud to go and have no problem in shelling major bucks in this regards. Honestly, It's this place was the only steak I am willing to go for as I can see them up grilled close and personal on their work station in the open kitchen.

That place would be here at Chi Spacca, part of the immensely popular Mozzaplex.

If you ever been to Mozzaplex, which is like 4 places within close proximinity of each other on that Southwest corner spot of trendy Melrose Avenue and desirable Highland Avenue. This corner included the tourist trap of pizza machine of Pizzeria Mozza, fine Italian courses of Osteria Mozza, the order-to-go take out counter of Mozza2Go, and this meat-centric cozy little restaurant of Chi Spacca.

Press Play to see the origin

The thing to remember about dining in on the 3 big names restaurants above (minus the 2Go) was that it might take a good reservations ahead of time for busy weekend evenings. I often made the mistake in thinking I could just strolled in to Chi Spacca and immediately think I can be seated at one of their counter even though it was next to impossible (so said on table reservation on their website). Lessons would be learned when I was denied twice for Saturday evenings.

The catch of it was simply that I had to put down a deposit for reservation. Obviously if I no-showed or canceled too late, then the business would lose out on a bill that evening. So without hesitation, they would charged that deposit at the end of the night. It's more than a guarantee assurance for the restaurant and a hindrance for the rest of us diner who are not fully committed days ahead.

Press Play to see the final stage before plating

Once you are ready to go, You would just need to head over to the location of Mozza2Go, where Chi Spacca is jointed with the take out space/accessories store. You would noticed something out of place right away as the hostess with her stand is standing by a left side wall by the store of Mozza2Go and would greet the patrons of Chi Spacca that arrived for their reservations. The side wall with an obscure seen door handle would popped open for the diners to be seated at the tables on the other side of the wall.

Press Play to see the perfect cut of the steak

My best description out of that would be like going to a speakeasy, but for a steak or Italian dinner.

I often prepared to sit by the counter seat close to the grill as I can see the action of how the steak are prepared and how the buzzy action of the kitchen staff prepared their menu items of pasta, pizza, or steak are worked. It's an eye-popping experience that will only leaved you impressed when you get to take it all in.

Costata alla Fiorentina 42 oz (Dry Aged New York Steak)

The steak as it is was everything you wanted. The way the cook prepared with seasoning and checking the temperature on the meat when it was on the grill was immaculate. Coming out and even cutting it to be plated was beautifully done. The presentation in this was on point. In fact, throughout the night, every steak was expertly mobilized to be evenly presented when arriving to the diners.

The steak that I placed the order was a 42 ouncer of a Dry Aged New York steak. My gosh, if you see the result of this, you will be in love by staring at it. It also didn't take long for it to be devoured as well. Would have gone great with a red wine, but we wasted no time in finishing this bad boy.

Puglia Burrata (was acquired from that region from Italy, special delivery for a cheese)

My other highlight of the night was their burrata that was imported directly from Italy. My gosh, so creamy when this was popped open for the world to see. The toast was also grilled to be crispy, perfect to be a compliment to that burrata that you'll be ecstatic about.

Butterscotch Budhino

The perfect ending to this dining experience has to be their desserts. Getting anything less from a Mozza restaurant would be a shock. The butterscotch budhino was the right call on this night. Rich and decadent, a sweet contrast that settled nicely after a hearty meal.

Here's the deal about coming here was that this restaurant was prominently featured on Netflix's Chef Table as the star chef Nancy Silverton explained her love of Italian cuisine in her life. It was more of her life story, but this restaurant on the show got me because of how the steaks was prepared and showed for display on the screen. There was just no way I was missing out on this.

If I saw that episode on Netflix... just imagine on how many others might have. Not just Los Angeles, but the world. So this will be a sticker shock on the wallet and many others will be happy to replace you on the reservation.

For that question above, no doubt about where to go for that best steak.

Chi Spacca
6610 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Chi Spacca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato