Two avid Chowhounds (well, one really avid, one amenable) drove down to LA from Berkeley this weekend. Here's where we ate and drank.
Ubon: Late afternoon snacky meal. Refreshing iced matcha, and a veggie handroll, with *raw* okra. I am now a convert. It did things for the texture I didn't expect (in a good way). Zaru soba with tempura mochi. Lovely texture, the mochi was elegantly done up in nori before being battered. The soba was part of a lunch special that came with inari sushi. Good deal and very tasty.
Cobras and Matadors: Well priced, lovely service, good (but not spectacular) food. We're spoiled by Bar Cesar here in Berkeley. Wonderful, savory socca. Good romesco with the patatas bravas (but bland potatoes). The octopus could have been a lot zippier, but the texture was nothing to complain about. Interesting, though overly crunchy, puy lentils with jamon serrano. We had some great, crisp white wine from next door that I forget the name of.
Swingers: Our stomping ground. Food was so so this time. The french toast was overly thick and undercooked, with a sour-tasting fruit compote. Love the atmosphere, though.
Loteria Grill: I had fully intended to trek over to Gualaguetza, but after hearing my friends complain about their terrible experience there with red snapper and crickets (not in the same dish), I got discouraged and decided to try something less exotic. So the Farmer's Market it was, and Loteria. All I can say is: FABULOUS! Best meal we had. Succulent conchinita (sp) pibil - pork in banana leaves, chicken in mole, and fantastic minty green rice.
Urth Cafe: Quite the scene, and a really good deal for Orange Cake, a slice the size of both my fists for about $3.00.
Chateau Marmont: OK, we just had drinks here, but it was awesome. This is where's we're staying the next time we visit. If they'll have us. I sniffed out some elitism, but they probably are justified, given the celeb heavy guest list.
Tom Bergen's Irish Pub: This was a last resort at the end of a rather mixed up evening, but a great choice. Our good natured waitress gave me an extra shot of Jameson in lieu of Aspirin for my headache, and the potato pancakes with my smoked salmon (too thick, but good flavor) were decadent.
Vallarta Mexican Market: Van Nuys, I think? Great place. We got the birria and a gordita with pollo. Good and good, and they both hit the spot. We washed it down with a mamey aqua fresca. Creamy in a banana kind of way, except it was pink. Can anyone give me more info on this fruit?
So on our dance card for next time: Lucques, Singapore Banana Leaf, Ambala Dhaba...