July 6, 2011

Local is a restaurant, but also appropriate because I am an Eastsider. Zing!

Okay, I’m obviously a little bit behind here. Taste of the Eastside was on May 15th. Back when I was in a nail-polishing phase (they come and go as they please). Sometimes I take a long time to blog things. Sometimes I NEVER GET AROUND to blogging things. It’s part of the delicious suspense of being a reader. (You can always refer to my Flickr to see what I’m not blogging. I faithfully take photos. I’m only HALF lazy.)

Anyway– I feel that I MUST blog Taste of the Eastside in some capacity, because it was a delightful event. For about $25, I got more than I could eat. At first I was stingy with my food-buying tickets (I can’t remember how many we got… maybe 15?), but then I reached a point where I realized– go for broke, kid! Most of us actually ended up with more tickets than we could use, because we got so full.

First of all, the location was amazing. I’ve passed Barnsdall Art Park a billion times (conservative estimate), but I’d never really wondered what was atop that random hill.

Here’s a picture I snapped as I ascended the stairs (this is the view from Barnsdall– not Barnsdall itself):

This image sponsored by The Hangover Part 2.

As you can see, it provides a lovely view of the Griffith Observatory and the Los Feliz/Hollywood Hills area. I’m already so pumped to return, lugging a picnic lunch in my new insulated grocery bag. (Paging Mr. Tea– and anybody else who likes picnics.) (If you don’t, you’re a monster.)

I met up with several friends at the Fest– including Lindsey, Sara H, and Sara D. Here’s a picture of two mini-pies from Brite Spot, modeled by Sara H and Eli.

Pie to the people!

I believe one was banana and the other was chocolate. And they were really “cheap,” ticket-wise.

Out of everything we tried, there were two major stand-outs– two things I still crave. I think this was a general consensus, because these two booths seemed to have the biggest lines.

In the past I haven’t been the hugest fan of mole (mo-lay, a chocolate based sauce), but Huarache Azteca was getting rave reviews, so I stood in the long line. And it was so worth it.

The holy mole.

The chicken was tender, the sauce was savory, the rice was puffy, and the bread was… a big hunk of bread. It was a big portion, for only 3 tickets (as I recall). Everybody who ate this got some sauce on their face. (That’s what she said…) It was sauce-on-face good. (Luckily everybody was willing to tell each other, “Hey… you’ve got a little something…”) It’s the kind of food that makes you want to call your friends and family and force them to try it.

Pazzo Gelato was a bit of a surprise favorite for me, because I went there several years back and it didn’t leave a lasting impression. They were another booth that gave amazing value (I think this was 2 tickets for two generous scoops). I chose red velvet and blood orange.

The blood orange is on the right. Very red motif.

The blood orange was delightfully sweet and tangy, and the red velvet flavor was rich and creamy. The white base gelato had an almost cheesecake-y quality, which is funny because I don’t usually go for cheesecake. But I was all over this!

I was also very intrigued by this artist. I’m not exactly sure what his style was– maybe plein air?– but he was kinda chopping colors on top of each other. When I first saw it he’d already created the background and was chopping in a few people, and every time I walked by he’d chopped more people and details on top of that. (I know, this is all very technical.)

Capturing the festivities.

It makes sense because Barnsdall is an “art park.” (They have all sorts of cool offerings, from a Frank Lloyd Wright house to wine tastings to art classes.)

And of course, I can’t pass up a chance to blog about macarons (from Les Macarons Duverger)!

Yay macarons!

Those were praline, lavender and coffee. The lavender was surprisingly fruity, and better than I expected. (I tried a rose water flavored macaron the other night and threw it away… I know, shocking.) (Hopefully I’ll blog pictures of THAT later.)

Here’s a shot of the lavender filling:

Looks very berry-ish.

Hope you enjoyed that peek of the Taste of the Eastside. I highly recommend that you attend next year, if you live in the area. There were all sorts of treats I didn’t show– oysters, polenta, ratatouille, short-ribs, cupcakes, pho tacos, breakfast-y foods, and more! (And drinks!) (And a confusing recycling vs. landfill trash system!) (And a DJ!)

There were also people doing crazy handstands-on-top-of-each-other yoga on a nearby lawn. Mocking our gluttony with their… flexibility.

At any rate, make sure to check out the Eastside in your LA adventurings. Maybe I’m biased, but I think it’s an awesome place to eat.

(And now you only have 10 months until the next one. See… that’s the beauty of my procrastination. I should have waited even longer.)


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Behold My Leftover-Packing Skills

May 5, 2011

Everything in its place.

Last night I went to Anarkali Indian Restaurant with roomie-Hayley. She’s the last of a long line of roommates, because as of today (my application was approved!) I am moving approximately 2 miles north, to Los Feliz. I’ll be within walking distance of tons of restaurants (some of which I’ve yet to try)– Little Dom’s, Home, Tropicalia, The Alcove, Fred 62, etc.

Speaking of (some of) those restaurants, May 15th (10 days from now… happy Cinco de Mayo!) is Taste of the Eastside, a charity event at which you can barter coupons for little tasting plates from various restaurants I love or have been meaning to try (and sorta love already because of their reputations).

Anyway– Anarkali. I didn’t take any pictures while we were there because I wasn’t in the mood (I know, what?), and didn’t feel like subjecting people to my Blackberry’s auto-flash. The decor was lovely– what I would typically describe as Moroccan– scarves draped from the ceiling, and between the booths for privacy. And the waiters were almost embarrassingly friendly and accommodating. (They opened the door for us when we left!)

I joked that Hayley and I were test-driving the place for a date. It’s a good spot for a date, LADIES. (GENTLEMEN.)

We ordered the dinner for two (romantic): veggie soup, samosas, naan, rice, one vegetable dish (we got eggplant), one meat dish (we got coconut chicken curry), chicken tandoori (kinda the Indian food equiv of fajitas, as it turned out– sizzling chicken and onions), and rice pudding for dessert. For $40, but really for… whatever it was with the LivingSocial discount.

I’m very very proud of how expertly and efficiently I packed up those leftovers (looks more like it was a dinner for three). (I got full really fast, or I might have made more of a dent.)

And the food was great. Any Indian place with a good (banging?) baingan bharta (eggplant)… I’m all about that. (You heard it first here: Elysse is all about the baingan.)

Oh– and we found out after the fact that they offer parking behind the restaurant, which is a BIG plus in the Melrose/La Brea area. (Permit-only parking areas drive me CRAZY.) (Things you don’t have to worry about in NYC.) (Or when you can walk from your apartment to restaurants in Los Feliz!) (Which doesn’t have permit-only parking, because Los Feliz is cooler than that.)


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