Campanile

Do you hear that?  That’s me giggling because that was an awesome dinner.  Do you hear that?  That’s me giggling because we got 30% off the bill through Blackboard Eats.

I’ve been singing to my parents about how I had this 30% off deal at Campanile and after a last minute reservation today, we were off for a good meal.  Apparently my parents have gone before so maybe that explains why I was more excited to go than they were.

We started with the Steamed Mussels.  It was a nice way to start the meal.  It’s light and it wet my appetite just enough.

Then our entrees came out.  I ordered the Oregano-Roasted Baby Lamb.  It was served on top of a ratatouille and some spinach.  The lamb was topped off with feta cheese.  The lamb was so tender and was cooked perfectly.  And I made sure to have some feta with every bite of the lamb.  Those two just went so well together.  The ratatouille also did a good job in complimenting the lamb.

My mom had the Pan-Roasted Sea Bass.  It’s served on a bed of corn, pea tendrils, and diced red pepper.  The light taste of the fish and the sweetness of the bed of vegetables made for a pleasant taste in the mouth.  I think I’ve got a thang for pea tendrils.  So pleasantly sweet!

My dad had the Grilled Prime Rib.  I keep telling him that real men order their meat cooked at least medium-rare.  He dismisses me and always orders medium.  He took a bite, looked up at me, and said, “I should have ordered it medium-rare.”  I told ya so!  Regardless, that was a pretty darn good prime rib.  So tender.  Seasoned so well.  Meat so tasty.  Good stuff.  It’s on a bed of beans which I don’t go too crazy about.  That’s okay because I just don’t have to eat the beans, right?  Good prime rib.

And then came dessert.  Strawberry Cobbler and Buttermilk Panna Cotta.

A nice warm strawberry cobbler with its tartness balanced out by the sweetness vanilla ice cream and fresh cream.  The sweetness of the panna cotta balanced out by a mango sorbet, some berries, and some crushed pistachio.  A great way to end a great meal.

Oh yeah, while we were waiting for our food, a little dog wandered in, quietly going from one table to another. It was kind of amusing watching this dog because it was roaming around the side walk as if it ran this town. The manager apologized for the dog and gave us some muffins from the bakery.  The dog was from a few doors down and somehow turned into Campanile’s “little mascot.”  It was never a problem for us but okay… thank you?  Ahaha.

It was great to try out one of LA’s finest restaurants.  It’s also nice to see Chef Peel walking around greeting his customers and asking about their meals.  Somewhat inspiring in the sense that it seems like he’s doing something he loves and is successful at it as well.

Now to find out what I love to do…

Campanile
624 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: 323.938.1447

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Röckenwagner Bakery

A German bakery in Mar Vista.

Nothing about Röckenwagner Bakery particularly screams German.  Then again, I don’t know much about German-fare either… sausage, beer, sauerkraut, and… pretzels?  They have an assortment of pretzels but aside from that, it’s mostly stuff you’d find in other bakeries: scones, pastries, croissants, etc.

But more than pretzels, I came here for…

Berliner Fridays!

Nice little donut filled with raspberry jam.  I love me some donuts.

Ich bin ein Berliner.
– John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Röckenwagner Bakery
12835 Washington Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Phone: 310.578.8171

Röckenwagner Bakery on Urbanspoon

Café de Leche

I think I find appealing any name of an eating establishment that has the slightest thing to do with milk.  After I go on a taco crawl on York Blvd., I usually pass by a closed cafe on the corner of York Blvd. and Ave. 50.  The name was appealing and so was the interior, or at least what I could make of it from the outside at night.

After lunch at Pho 87 with a church friend, P, we checked out Café de Leche.  Parking was easy to find and the place wasn’t crowded.  A nice little spot to chat and enjoy a Saturday afternoon.

P got the “pan de guava” (pictured above) and a “Chaichata,” a mix of chai tea and some good ol’ horchata.  I got a “dulce de leche kiss” (pictured below) and an “Espresso con Horchata.”

I don’t drink coffee so I can’t say much about how great the espresso was.  But I can say the horchata kind of toned down the strength of the espresso which you can probably tell by the color of my drink.  It was a good mix though.

It seems like the Chaichata and the Espresso con Horchata were the only two horchata-infused drinks on the menu.  There’s also a selection of loose leaf teas and other coffee drinks as well.

Picture this.  Two carne asada tacos and a carnitas taco with a bottle of Jarritos from the Tacos La Estrella Truck a few blocks away on York Blvd. and Ave. 54 and an afternoon spent at Café de Leche to top it off.  Hey, I’m a content man.

Café de Leche
5000 York Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90042
Phone: 323.551.6828

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Square One Dining

This is only my second week back and it feels like I’ve been back in LA for much longer. Anyways, last week I sat around and did a whole lot of nothing. This week, I started to run in the mornings. Today though, I had an errand to run before I could run so after that errand was finished, I decided to run in Griffith Park. The course would be from The Trails Cafe to Mt. Hollywood and then back down again, about 4.5 – 5 miles (Note: The Hollywood sign is on Mt. Lee, not Mt. Hollywood).  It was my first time actually running up that trail so it was a bit harder than I thought.  Took me an hour to complete.  I could definitely shave off some time there!

Anyways, I went over to Square One Dining afterward for brunch.  Despite the ominous looking Scientology building across the street towering over this spot, my meal was pleasant.

The baked egg dish with chorizo was crying out to me.  The entire dish comes baked in a skillet.  On the bottom layer was a tortilla.  Then there was chorizo, tomato, onions, and roasted bell peppers.  Then another tortilla on top.  Two eggs baked perfectly with gruyere cheese melted on the eggs and some salsa roja to top it off.  This thing was heavenly.

I also got a half-order of the buttermilk pancakes.  It’s one pancake as opposed to three and I got a topping of strawberry rhubarb with vanilla cream.  The pancake was fluffy and light.  The slight tartness of the strawberry rhubarb and the sweetness of the vanilla cream went real well with the pancake.  Slather on some of their syrup and you got yourself something really good.

The chorizo baked egg dish was great and so was the pancake.  And there’s still more to try from their breakfast menu.  Sounds so… good.

Square One Dining
4854 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Phone: 323.661.1109

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Irv’s Burgers

Do you like fried egg in your burger?  I like fried egg in my burger.  Have you tried a burger with fried egg?  I think you should.   You know what?  I think a fried egg in a burger should be a given.  It’s heavenly.

Enough with sounding like a creep.  I don’t know how else to explain Irv’s Burgers but to say that it’s a burger in its simplest form.  It’s what a burger should be.  It’s what you expect a burger to be.  Nothing fancy, no gimmicks, just a plain ol’ burger.  From time to time, I guess it’s nice to mix things up a bit with a more gourmet-type burger from Umami or 25degrees.  But for the most part, a simple burger would do.  A simple burger with fried egg and a side of fries that aren’t of the sweet potato kind.  With that said, I still do love them chili burgers from Tommy’s, ahahahaa.

Double Cheeseburger with Fried Egg

Irv’s Burgers
8289 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Phone: 323.650.2456

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La Petite Creperie

I came back last week from Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA.  I completed 9 out of the 10 week program but thus, I didn’t make it.  But I’m home and I’m glad to be back home.

Once you’ve been deprived of certain things, you begin to realize how much you take for granted.  And I suppose I’ve begun to appreciate the smaller things in life that we all think is a given.  Like being able to use the restroom whenever you want.  Being able to wash your hands with soap rather than using a bunch of hand sanitizer instead.  Not having someone scream at you for making a small mistake.  The weather here in Los Angeles.  And being given more than five minutes to finish your meal without someone yelling, “WHYY ARE YOU TASTING YOUR FOOODDD?!!  SHOVELL ITTT!!!”

With that said, I spent a week of doing absolutely nothing.  Part of it had to do with resting my feet and another part of it had to do with having the opportunity to just be able to do nothing.  It was a rough two months, I could use a week.

But being back for a week, things feel still strange to me.  I feel out of touch and out of place.  And to get back at least some sense of normalcy, I decided to do a post.

La Petite Creperie is a new crepe spot in Mar Vista.  It opened apparently while I was away in Quantico.  It’s a breakfast/brunch/lunch place.  Their offerings are simple, savory crepes and sweet crepes.  Throw in some omelet and salad selections as well.  It’s a small pleasant place with good crepes.  Need I say more?

The Champignon: Portobello Mushrooms, Oyster Mushrooms, Gruyere, Garlic and Shallots.

The Confiture: Your choice of housemade Strawberry, Raspberry, or Blackberry jam.  This one in particular is Blackberry.

You have to be on the lookout for La Petite Creperie.  It’s off Venice on Grand View Blvd. but there aren’t any signs that make this place stand out.  Maybe these chairs outside should alert you as to the location.

La Petite Creperie
3809 Grand View Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Phone: 310.437.0226

King Torta

You have got to be kidding me.  King Torta?  The king of tortas?  It’s on like Donkey Kong!  As much as I like tacos, and I really do like tacos, the torta is my favorite taqueria fare.  But in this great city, good tortas seem hard to come by.  Or maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places.  But if a place claims the torta is their specialty, I’m going to find a way to get there.

King Torta is in the neighborhood of Lincoln Heights.  I went for lunch on a weekday and was surprised to see many fellow Trojans there.  Turns out it’s very close to the USC Health Science Campus.  Good to know!  I think it’s safe to assume that the torta was probably the right thing to order.  And may I add that this seems to be a pretty popular joint.

I ordered the carne asada torta.  The carne asada itself was good and the salsa accompanied the torta well.  I think the salsa share a hint of similarity to King Taco’s salsa, just a hint.  The bread was a bit lacking though.  My favorite part of the torta is the bolillo bread.  I like it nice and soft, but the outside should be slightly buttered and toasted just enough.  And the taste…  I can’t believe I can’t describe how I like the bolillo to taste.  I obviously haven’t been to Super Tortas in a while.

King Torta is a nice option to have, especially if you’re in the Lincoln Heights area.  Fortunately, my church is in Lincoln Heights.  So if I’m feeling like torta and I need to go somewhere close, King Torta it is.

King Torta
4507 Valley Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90032
Phone: 323.222.7006

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