Half the fun of discovering a new restaurant is sharing it with people you know will enjoy it. As Rachael Ray’s resident restaurant guru, here’s an inside look at what I report back to Rach about some of my favorite restaurant finds and food experiences!
Sent: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 11:05pm
Subject: Another L.A. Food Marathon
Hey Rachael- you know I never have enough time to eat whenever I’m in another city. So, I recently got back from L.A., where I did another one of my marathon eating frenzies. I used to work in a kitchen there about 10 years ago and there were a lot of young talented cooks ready to make their mark. I feel like L.A. is still kind of under the radar compared to other cities, but definitely making a name for itself! The first night I was there I took a friend to Toranoko. Wow, is all I have to say - that place is special! They serve Tokyo City-style cuisine and it almost feels like you’re in a Japanese pub of sorts. It’s the same people behind Lazy Ox Canteen, which is next door (and is amazing) and a bunch of other places in the L.A. (and Las Vegas) area. We had some insane dishes like this super fresh piece of uni they put over a fish broth gelee with some edamame and gold leaf - crazy! We kept ordering little dishes to try because we couldn’t get enough. The raw salmon in jalapeno sauce was fresh and tasty as can be. I could honestly go on and on, but if you like Japanese, you need to check this out. I guarantee you’re gonna love it!
As if we didn’t have enough food at Toranoko, someone who worked there was telling us about The Spice Table, which recently opened and was right around the corner. It has some Singaporean and Vietnamese flavors tied in. Naturally, we went to try more food. We ordered a few different dishes and just sampled. The Laksa (a spicy noodle soup) and the Kon Loh Mee (an egg noodle dish) were both pretty good. We also enjoyed the Fried Cauliflower and the Black Pepper Crab Toast. I’m pretty sure that for lunch it is a little more casual and they do sandwiches and whatnot. It’s an up-and-coming place and I keep hearing more and more people talking about it.
The next night, I was on my own and wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. I wound up going to Son of a Gun, the second restaurant from the owners of Animal. The menu is seafood -centric and it’s definitely more on the casual side. I sat at a counter and had the shrimp toast, which was amazing. I have a picture of it, but it is really dark and I don’t want to be one of those people that posts pictures where you can’t tell what the heck it is. I also had the smoked fish dip with saltines. The two chefs, Vinny and Jon, are super fun. It’s a totally laid-back atmosphere with excellent food. I sent a friend there and he’s been back four times already!
So as I’m sitting at Son of a Gun, a friend back in Chicago who travels to L.A. often texted me that if I was in L.A., I needed to go to his favorite sushi place, Izakaya. I know everyone has their favorite sushi place in L.A., but whatever, he’s been telling me about this place forever, and I know it’s been around for a while. It happened to be a few doors down from Son of a Gun, so I went and sampled a couple dishes. I had a great yellowtail jalapeño and this crazy-good baked crab hand roll. The place was slammed, but luckily I got a seat at the sushi counter. If you’re a sushi fan, you’ll definitely dig it, but expect a wait.
The last night I ate with a couple friends at A-Frame. You know the people behind the Kogi trucks and Chego and whatnot? Well, this is one of their newer spots. The hilarious thing is that it was an old IHOP as you can see from the picture. It has some Korean influences, but I love the chef, Roy Choi, because he does some crazy food and takes risks that other chefs do not. To me, he’s the David Chang of L.A. They serve this amazing chicken salad dish on cornbread that was insane; if they still have it on the menu, you need to try it. We were under strict orders to get the knuckle sandwich…it’s quite an, um, “interesting” dish of unique animal parts in a flavorful broth. I’ll leave it at that. But you should try it. We were also told to get the beer can chicken which was pretty darn tasty. And by the way, he has a pound cake churro on the menu for dessert that is ridiculous, so save room for it. Have fun there - that’s what it’s about!
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243 South San Pedro
Los Angeles, CA 90012
The Spice Table
114 South Central Ave
Los Angles, CA 90012
Son of a Gun
8730 3rd St.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
8420 W.3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
12565 Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
And that’s what’s on my plate!
Andrew “Kappy” Kaplan loves food. A professionally trained chef, by day he runs Yum-o!, Rachael Ray’s charity focused on kids and cooking, and keeps special projects running smoothly for her. By night he hops course to course, place to place, all across the country. He’s Rach’s own personal dining guide! You can also follow Kappy on Twitter to see what’s On Kappy’s Plate in real-time!