Saturday, August 30, 2014

Los Angeles: Boba 7

T, my sister, and I left SoCal Sunday morning while CL stayed behind.  We first stopped by Porto's for potato balls and cheese rolls and also to meet with my friend, the Bengali Princess.

Then, on our way out, we decided to give LA one last chance to redeem itself after all our failed pearl tea experiences by making a detour for Boba 7.

Thank goodness we did some research on Yelp first.  If not for the reviews, we would never have figured out that Boba 7 is located in the back of a Thai restaurant.  The only hint of its existence on the street is a tiny collapsible sign:























You have to walk through the restaurant to get to Boba 7.  It was a pretty awkward feeling...and the restaurant wasn't even open when we went.  I can only imagine what it's like walking through the space when it's open.

Anyway, Boba 7 is essentially a bar, a counter, and some outdoor seating:
















Kind of sketch, but I guess that's part of its charm.

Boba 7 is known for its alcoholic pearl tea drinks.  Yup, you read that correctly.  Alcohol.  In pearl tea.

Unfortunately, you can't buy the alcoholic drinks to go.  Since we had to be on our way, we had to give up on the alcoholic offerings and choose instead from the nonalcoholic options.

We ended up getting the #HorchataBoba and the #Bobatella:























As you can probably guess from the names, the #HorchataBoba was...well, horchata and tapioca.  The #Bobatella was Nutella milk tea with tapioca.

We really struck out in LA because none of us particularly liked either drink.  While the concepts were intriguing, both of them just tasted like watered down versions of our grand expectations.  So disappointing.  Maybe the alcoholic drinks are better.

Sigh.

Where can a girl get good pearl tea in LA?!


Boba 7
518 W 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 538-8022
http://www.labobatory.com/

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Los Angeles: Father's Office

Three years ago, we tried to go to Father's Office.  And failed.  All thanks to my sister, who was not yet 21 at the time.

This year, my sister is finally 21, so T and I planned our entire Fourth of July weekend around getting down to Father's Office:
















Making it inside was the mission, the primary objective, the end goal.  Everything else was just bonus.

We didn't really understand the reason for the strict age restriction until we made it through the door.  Father's Office is a bar, plain and simple.  Yes, it has fancy food.  Yes, it has tables.  But don't expect to be led to your seat by a hostess.  Don't expect to have someone come take your order.

Send someone to place your order at the bar.  Everyone else, scatter and try to claim a table before some hipster beats you to it.

We were lucky enough to score a table all to ourselves outside.

We split a couple things.  There was the sweet potato fries ($7.50), which came in a cute mini-fry basket:























It also came with roasted garlic blue cheese aioli.  I'm usually terrified of blue cheese, but I was surprised that I actually like the aioli.  A lot.  Which is good, because you can't ask for any substitutions at Father's Office.  Not even ketchup.

The brussels sprouts ($9) were roasted to perfection along with pine nuts, sherry vinegar, and crispy serrano:
















The Spanish mushrooms ($5) were good, but not quite as memorable as the rest of the meal:
















We split two entrees.  One was the duck confit salad ($13):
















The duck rested on a bed of mustard greens, frisee, figs, and hazelnuts dressed with tangelo vinaigrette.

The best, by far, was The Office Burger ($12.50):























We added shoestring fries for $2.50.

Back when I was in Chicago, my roommate (Queen G, for those of you who read my posts from that far back) told me that The Office Burger is the BEST burger in all of Los Angeles.  That claim was what instigated our obsession with getting into Father's Office.

Now, I haven't tried all the burgers in LA, but I can say that The Office Burger is one damn fine (read fooooine) burger:
















Caramelized onion + bacon + gruyere + blue cheese + arugula = bumpin' party in my mouth.  Again with the blue cheese.  I was hesitant at first, but I ended up loving it.

And that bacon compote tho.  Holy moly.  It was almost a religious experience.

You must go.  It was definitely worth the three year wait.

...And the six hour drive.
 

Father's Office
3229 Helms Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 736-2224
http://fathersoffice.com/

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Los Angeles: Lady M Cake Boutique

The plan was to do at least one more non-food related thing in LA besides watching fireworks.  That didn't happen.  Apparently everybody and their mama goes to the beach on July Fourth weekend.  Totally should have seen the parking problem coming.

So instead of killing time in-between food excursions by hanging out at the beach, we went straight to Lady M Cake Boutique.  CL had heard that their mille crepe cake was to die for and we'd called that morning to place a hold on one for CL's mother's birthday.

We arrived at Lady M to find a line out the door:
















There's only a row of tables inside Lady M, so if you're thinking of dining inside, try to limit your party to less than three people.  Actually, two would be ideal.

Because we were only picking up our cake, we got to bypass the line and head straight to the counter:
















The interior looked much like the exterior, classy and very...minimalist.  Not much color going on, but I guess that's what gives it that expensive feel.

When we saw all the cakes lined up all pretty, we started having second thoughts about the cake we ordered.  Why limit yourself to one cake when you could have a variety?  We asked if it would be possible to cancel our order and get individual slices instead.  Luckily, that was okay.

There were eight cakes on display.  Before we could discuss which ones looked the most appetizing, CL blurted out, "Let's just get a slice of each!"  And of course, once that idea was thrown out into the universe, there was no way to take it back.

It had to happen.  The universe demanded it.

We could only watch in growing realization of the absurdity of what we'd just done as the girl behind the counter cut slice after slice...after slice:
















We ate the first batch of cake slices after dinner at Father's Office.  CL set aside the cakes that her mother would be most interested in and we demolished the rest along with T's Mama Ninja (who we met up with for dinner) on a bench outside the restaurant.  Real classy like.  With plastic forks and all.

We had the banana mille feuille:























The cheesecake:
















And the checkers:























After we got back to CL's house, we proceeded to eat the rest of the cake slices with CL's parents.

There was the coconut mille crepes:
















The couronne du chocolate or "crown of chocolate":
















The green tea mille crepes (which was a little worse for wear because I'd accidentally flipped upside down when I was transferring it from box to box earlier...oops!):























The red velvet:
















And the original mille crepes, which was why we went to Lady M in the first place:
















Essentially layer upon layer of crepes (though not quite a thousand of them), the mille crepes cakes are what Lady M is known for.  We were expected to be blown away by it, but alas, that wasn't quite the case.  The cake just tastes...well, like a stack of soggy crepes.  Maybe we left it in the car too long?  Maybe it tastes better fresh?  Perhaps.

All I know is that besides the banana mille feuille (which was friggin' delicious), the rest of the cakes didn't quite live up to the hype.  Especially for $8 a slice.

Sorry, Lady M.


Lady M Cake Boutique
8718 West 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(424) 279-9495
http://www.ladym.com/

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Los Angeles: Saffron & Rose Ice Cream

Before we'd even left for our SoCal trip, we'd mapped out all the ice cream places T wanted to try and figured out which ones were doable.  Saffron & Rose was "along the way" (kinda, not really) to the beach from Quan Hy, so that was our next stop:























The place was poppin' and yet the man behind the counter was super friendly and very patient with us as we taste tested our way through the various flavors:
















There were the standard flavors:























Then there were the more "exotic" Persian flavors, which were what we gravitated toward.

We got three small bowls ($4 x 3), each with two flavors, to split between the four of us.  We got pistachio, nutella (okay, not very Persian, but it was just that damn good), white rose, saffron and pistachio, cucumber, and lavender:























I'm not usually into flowery stuff, but man, that white rose was subtly sweet and so fragrant.  As was the saffron pistachio.  And the nutella!  So rich.  Gotta love the ribbons of nutella in the ice cream.  Don't even get me started on the cucumber.  So refreshing!

The texture of the ice cream was just divine.  Creamy and smooth and dear Lord I want some now.

I want to go back.  I want them to open a branch in the Bay.  There are so many more flavors I need in my belly.  (Like the watermelon that we got to taste test that tasted just like summer.)  WHY ARE YOU SO FAR AWAY, SAFFRON & ROSE?!


Saffron & Rose Ice Cream
1387 Westwood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 477-5533
http://www.golobolbol.org/

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Orange County: Quan Hy

We got back to Quan Hy from our detour to Hien Khanh just in time for our party to be called:
















The place was super packed:
















It's really rare to find an Asian restaurant as well put together as Quan Hy.  Everything looks modern and chic.  Even the bathroom is nice!

This was my second trip to Quan Hy, so I knew what was coming and I knew it was gonna be good.  The excitement at our table was palpable.

T did all the ordering.  We got the goi mit, which was jackfruit salad mixed with shrimp and pork ($10):
















We figured getting a salad (a fruit salad to boot) was the healthy thing to do, given all the glutinous rice things that were coming.  The jackfruit was very subtle and not very sweet at all.  The peanuts added a nice crunch along with the crispy sesame rice crackers.

We basically ordered almost all the rice cake dishes on the menu.  There was the banh quai vac or steamed dumplings stuffed with mushrooms, pork, and shrimp ($7):























And of course the banh beo ($8), which was the entire reason why we were at Quan Hy in the first place:























These little dishes contained steamed rice cakes and were topped with shredded shrimp.  With a little drizzle of fish sauce?  Ummph.  Mmm mmmm.  Freakin' addictive.

The banh uot cuon thit bo nuong ($8) were also great:
















There were essentially rice noodle rolls wrapped around grilled beef:
















The banh it ram ($7) were my second favorite after the banh beo:























The texture of the steamed dumpling on top contrasts brilliantly with the crunchy (yet chewy) fried rice cake on the bottom.

A bit much for breakfast, maybe, but so damn good.  If I lived down in SoCal, I would be lining up outside Quan Hy whenever I had the chance.  It's been over a month since our trip and T is already talking about going back down for more banh beo.

I'm all for making that happen.  Booyah.


Quan Hy
9727 Bolsa Ave
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 775-7179

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Orange County: Thach Che Hien Khanh

After our failed attempt to get Quan Hy the night before, we were determined to make it happen the next morning.  Screw hipster brunch in downtown LA, we wanted banh beo!

Fortunately, the restaurant was opened.  There was a bit of a wait, so we walked across the plaza to Thach Che Hien Khanh to get some dessert for later:
















On our last SoCal trip, we dropped by the Hien Khanh branch in Orange Grove.  This one is located in a less janky location, though the deliciousness of the che (Vietnamese dessert) is equally good at both places.

The first thing you see when you enter is this humungous counter with all the che you could ever want:
















If you don't have a friend who speaks Vietnamese with you to explain what is what, just look through the display window and point at whatever catches your eye:
















Just don't go overboard.  It will be difficult, but be strong.

T helped us order a bunch of che, which we carted around with us until we finally found an oppotunity to enjoy them later in the day at a Peet's Coffee.

We're suckers for desserts with coconut milk:
















Coconut milk with sweet sticky rice and black eyed peas (che dau trang).  Coconut with various jellies.  Coconut milk with glutinous balls.

T was really excited about this glutinous dumpling sweets:
















We could have gotten them with mung bean inside, but T was adamant that the coconut was better:
















The only che we weren't entirely happy with was the banana encased in glutinous rice:
















It might be because we left it for so long, but by the time we bit into it, the rice was hard.  Like supermarket sushi hard.  Yuck.  No thanks.

The rest of it was great though.  And so cheap!


Thach Che Hien Khanh
9639 Bolsa Ave, Ste A
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 839-8143

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Orange County: Huong Giang Restaurant

The original plan was to grab dinner with CL's parents at Quan Hy.  When we rolled up to the restaurant, we found out that it was closed early for Fourth of July.  Wut?  Fourth of July?  Really?

Our backup plan was to hit up Brodard.  But when we arrived, there were over 20 parties ahead of us in line.  Crap.

We had to scramble for a backup plan to our backup plan and finally ended up at Huong Giang:
















It get getting close to closing time, so the restaurant was pretty empty:
















I don't know if it's the late hour, but our server was particularly impatient...almost to the point of being rude.  Oh well.  It's an Asian restaurant.  You're not supposed to expect great service.

You are, however, supposed to expect good food.

T ordered everything since she's Vietnamese and actually knows what she's ordering.  The rest of us just sat back and waited for the food to come.

We started with these rice noodle rolls with beef:
















Some banh beo or steamed rice cakes:
















We also got these banana leaf wrapped buddies called banh bot loc:
















Which were clear steamed dumplings with shrimp inside:
















The shrimp still had its shell on, which was a little unpleasant to eat, but it didn't bother me overly much.

Then came the hot little foil rolls:
















In which were wrapped little steamed sausages:
















As if that wasn't enough, we also got a bowl of dry vermicelli noodles:
















And egg noodles into which you pour the bowl of soup on the side:
















The food at Huong Giang was just alright.  Nothing incredibly special.  Certainly not special enough to offset the shitty service.

It did the job though.  We went to watch the Fourth of July fireworks at from Downtown Disney with full stomachs.  After which we returned to CL's house and proceeded to eat a ton of fruit...and the spring rolls we bought to-go from Brodard.

Ugh.  We're such fatties.


Huong Giang Restaurant
14564 Brookhurst St
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 531-4930
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