hungry trojan has moved

http://www.hungrytrojan.com/

i bought my name. the site has now moved.  is the hungry trojan back for good? maybe. possibly. probably. :)

done.

after about three and a half years, i’m ready to call it quits.  bye.  thank you.

Mizu 212

The only shabu-shabu experiences I’ve had were in Koreatown. And Koreans, we all know what we order, the Genghis Khan. Last week, after I urged my dad we should try Robata-Ya, he realized that there’s more to Sawtelle than the plazas with Nijiya Market and Hurry Curry.  Now he wants to try every damn establishment on that street. Last week was Robata-Ya, this week it was Mizu 212. Next week, it’s probably going to be Chabuya. The week after will probably be Hide Sushi.

Well anyway, Mizu 212 is all about being organic.  It leads me to assume everything on the menu is actually organic.  That usually means it’s going to cost a bit more.  Having only been to Korean establishments for shabu-shabu, I thought Mizu 212 would be a bit different.  Not so much, pretty much the same with the exception of everyone having their own pot rather than there being a communal pot.  Hey, they had kimchi on the menu too, but who pays for kimchi??

I got the “Vintage Natural Prime Rib-Eye”, father got the same, and mother got the “USDA Prime Rib-Eye” so we can see the difference.  The Vintage Natural Prime Rib-Eye was nice and tender.  The USDA Prime Rib-Eye wasn’t quite as tender.  If you’re paying this much to begin with, another few dollars for the better quality meat is worth it in my opinion.  Oh, they also have Wagyu here.  Now that’s too pricy.

Eating shabu shabu just feels healthy.  The meat is boiled and you have all those vegetables to eat.  It’s clean.  You dip the meat and vegetables in tasty ponzu sauce and the sesame seed sauce (I do prefer the peanut sauces but the sesame seed was pretty good too).  It’s not that bad.  Not bad at all.  But unfortunately, I’m more of the type that generally doesn’t like his meat boiled.  If it wasn’t for the sauces in shabu shabu, I would find it quite bland.  This goes for all shabu shabu, not just here.

The only real complaint I have here is the price point.  I thought maybe Japanese places would have better quality shabu shabu than Korean places.  Apparently that isn’t necessarily the case.  You can get shabu shabu for ten bucks over at Khan in Koreatown for lunch where the meat is just as tender and the portions more generous.  But if the money is worth the ambiance that Mizu 212 has, then go for it.  It’s quite a nice setup they have here.

Mizu 212
2000 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Phone: 310.478.8979

Ciro’s

My blog has gone international. That’s right, it’s gone global.  How global? One reader in Korea, ahaha, but hey, I’m totally happy with that. She had requested that I update the blog so thank her for the update. This one’s for you noona!

Some setbacks have let me home having much time in my hands. In the beginning it was cool. I got to relax. But too much time led to my idleness and I felt I needed to establish a routine. Rather than sitting on my rear end and getting fat, I started going to a Muay Thai gym last week. It’s probably as close to Rocky as I’m going to get. When I signed up I was told, “When you walk through those doors, you’re ours.” I get a work out and learn a martial art, it’s a win-win situation. Well, my bruised feet and shins might not feel that way.

The gym being in the industrial part of downtown is pretty close to the Eastside. Heck, The Yard is pretty much at the western border of the LA River. What does that mean for me? I’m gonna cross those damn bridges and get me some breakfast in East Los. Heck yea.

Recommended by Valentina of Eastside Food Bites, I stopped by Ciro’s, down the block and across the street from Manny’s. If you’re not on the lookout for Ciro’s, I’d say it’s easy to miss. Dark windows and no flashy signs. You walk in, and you’ll be welcomed in by friendly people telling you to sit wherever you please. So I sit and I’m ready to order a complete meal after being worked at the gym.

Some chips and some salsa and avocados come out for you to snack on. Let me tell you, that’s $1.20 worth of avocado you get at Subway that Ciro’s just gives to you. I don’t know what it is with many of the places in the Eastside but what you get for your money is a pretty damn good deal. Anyway, last week I ordered the Chorizo and Eggs and a tamale.  Today was the Huevos Rancheros and a tamale. A complete breakfast.

So I’ve noticed a couple of different variations of the Huevos Rancheros.  You have one where the tortilla is deep fried with a slightly thicker ranchero sauce and you have on where the torilla isn’t deep fried but with the ranchero sauce not quite as thick.  I’ve come to like both kinds.  The Huevos Rancheros here is the non-fried variant.  The eggs are cooked right with the yolk a bit runny and the ranchero sauce… yum! Roll up the tortilla and soak up the sauce and yolk, yum again. The peppers and onions that were simmered in the ranchero sauce, with the egg, the tortilla, and the sauce all in your mouth create a party in your mouth. These are some good huevos rancheros.

The lady brings out my tamale and tells me that now I have a complete breakfast. The tamales here are pretty special. They are made only in the month of December and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only. The one you see here is the pork tamale. The corn base is good and the meat is spiced well. They’ve got other tamales I want to try, for instance, the sweet one with pineapple, coconut, and raisin. There aren’t that many days left to get them so I better hurry. I think you should hurry too.

I’m pretty glad to have tried Ciro’s. The folks are friendly. The food is good. The portions are generous. Looks like I have a new breakfast joint to frequent.

Ciro’s
705 N Evergreen Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Phone: 323.269.5104

Echo Park Taco Run

The appeal of taco runs is that when it’s planned right, you have several stops within a very close distance to each other. What’s more, you have a variety of meats to choose from. It’d be more than just an average carne asada taco at every stop.

To my knowledge, Echo Park’s taco scene may not be as exciting as Highland Park’s, but Echo Park has its gems as well.

(This is an ongoing post)

Bellevue Ave. & Laveta Terrace

As of now, this taco stand is my favorite place to get tacos.  Usually, tacos from taco stands run at $1 a piece. Here, it’s $1.25.  But this isn’t your usual taco stand.  Though they charge a quarter more, the portions are far more generous than other stands.  They definitely give you more than your brick and mortar taquerias as well.  But aside from their portions, the tacos themselves are great.

I wouldn’t say I’m a lengua snob, but the lengua here is money.  So money.  Just watching the lengua boil makes me content.  It’s so tasty and so very tender.  My favorite lengua taco, served here, on Bellevue.  Aside from bomb lengua, they have buche which is nice and crispy, they have pretty good carne asada, some pretty good chorizo, and plenty of salsa to choose from.  My usual fix here is two lengua tacos, one buche taco, and one carne asada taco.

Wait, what’s that deep fried goodness on top of my tacos… The crispy tortilla.  Just ask for some and they’ll gladly give it to you.  Save the crispy tortilla for last to scoop up all that meat that will fall out of your tacos.  You just made yourself a tostada.  It’s great I tell ya.

They also have quesadillas here for $2.50.  The tortilla isn’t so big but they pack that sucker with so much meat and cheese.  Awesome deal.

They set up on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only at around 6pm-11pm.

Tacos Arizas on Sunset and Logan

Not too far away, you have Tacos Arizas. I’m assuming this truck, or trailer, is known for their carnitas as I’ve noticed that’s what many people order whenever I come.  So how is the carnitas here?  Tacos Arizas serves some mean carnitas.  Not as mean as Tacos La Estrella in Highland Park, but still some dang good carnitas.

But what’s my favorite taco here?  The tripas tacos.  I love me some good intestines.  Ever had some at a Korean barbecue joint?  Once I found out that intestine was a taco meat, I was game.  And Tacos Arizas is my favorite spot so far when it comes to tripas tacos.  Glorious.  So nice and crispy but not cooked so much that it’s all burned up.

Tacos Arizas seems to always be in this spot.

Salina’s Churros on Sunset and Echo Park

I’m not going to say these are the best churros I’ve had.  But hey, still good churros none-the-less.  Churros frecos?  Count me in.  8 for $3.  Oh fasho.  Ask for fresh ones, it’s worth the wait.  Finish off your Echo Park taco run with this dessert truck for one satisfying dinner.

This truck is usually here daily from 4pm-9pm.  There are times when they go over to El Sereno and park behind a Food 4 Less there.  So give them a call to see where they’re at (323-395-7925).

The Gorbals

We were dubbed “the posse” by Jantastic, who by the way now has a weekly review on the food section of Neon Tommy. As part of her posse, we hit up The Gorbals, Ilan Hall‘s restaurant in Downtown.

We were able to sit at the kitchen counter. If you have the opportunity to do so, I recommend it as you can see Chef Hall get to work as well as have him and other members of the kitchen staff explain the dish. That’s pretty awesome if you ask me.

We started out with the bacon-wrapped matzo balls.  As un-kosher as dish may have been, it sounded better than it actually tasted.  Maybe it was the matzo, or maybe it was the bacon.  Something didn’t click here.  But that’s okay, because the BBQ sandwich was up next.

First the bread was grilled on the panini press.  Then the bread with a heapful of cheese was put into the oven where it turned into melted and toasted goodness.  Then comes the pulled pork mixed with some bbq sauce.  It’s a good sandwich.

The cow tongue confit.  Cow tongue… lengua… I love this stuff.  It was seared and had a nice char on the outside but the softness and tastiness was still there.  The cow tongue was money.

Next in line was the Mussels with Squid Ink Butter.  The mussels were good but the squid ink… I should have known better.  I’m not a fan of squid ink.  It’s too rich for me.  The Korean in me needs some well-fermented kimchi when eating squid ink.  Fortunately for me, the squid ink didn’t smother the mussels, so I could deal with this.  But imagine squid ink risotto… pass the kimchi please.  What was nice about this dish, however, was the fact that there were french fries on the bottom to soak up all that mussel juice.  Now that was good stuff.

Roasted Corn and Pimento Butter.  Okay, the presentation was a whole lot better but I took the picture after people dug in.  The corn?  How could anyone not like roasted corn?  How could anyone not like buttered roasted corn?  Good stuff.

Twice fried chicken with grilled watermelon.  Chef Hall tells us the chicken was brined for two days and then fried twice.  FRIED TWICE.  And if you thought that was great, he drizzled some honey on top of the chicken.  This was the most glorious fried chicken I have ever had.  The chicken was so nice and juicy.  The batter had such a nice crisp.  And we got some sweetness up in here.  Then with some watermelon on top of that?  I couldn’t have been more pleased with this dish.

I like the concept here.  There’s lots of sharing going around.  Some dishes were memorable and others weren’t as much.  But the memorable ones, boy were they great.  The next time I’m here, the approach to ordering would be totally different.  I’m taking that fried chicken for myself.  Ahaha.

The Gorbals
501 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Phone: 213.488.3408

The Gorbals on Urbanspoon

El Tepeyac (Manny’s)

Known for their monstrosity of a thing that they call a burrito, El Tepeyac, or Manny’s, has been in business for 55 years.  Manny’s is more than a place that serves a huge burrito and it’s more than just a restaurant.  It’s an Eastside institution to say the least.  And Manny, may I dare say, is like the godfather of Boyle Heights.  He even has the raspy voice to go along with it.

I’ve yet to try their burritos but I do love coming here for breakfast and getting some Huevos con Chorizo!  My dad’s office is conveniently located in Monterey Park and that makes it all the better for me to get my fix.  But seriously, Huevos con Chorizo, what a nice way to start the morning.

El Tepeyac (Manny’s)
812 N Evergreen Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Phone: 323.268.1960

El Tepeyac Cafe on Urbanspoon

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