Archive for October 2011

Lunch Links (The “Now I’m Super Excited For Tsujita to Serve Ramen” Edition)

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Tonkotsu Ramen From Tanaka, Tsujita’s Test Kitchen in the Mitsuwa Marketplace

  • MAR VISTA Get a sneak peak at Tsujita’s tonkotsu today and tomorrow! [Grub Street]
  • DTLA Daikouya has better side dishes than Shin Sen Gumi [Gastronomy]
  • DTLA Chris Cosentino’s PIGG will be part of Umamicatessen [LAT]
  • DTLA Baco Mercat will open at the end of the month!!! [Squid Ink]
  • DTLA The Pie Hole is now open [Eater]
  • HWOOD The first time you try crispy pork w/ chinese broccoli is always the best [AG]
  • MOBILE The Bun Truck looks pretty tasty [Actor's Diet]
  • MOBILE Food GPS’s favorite food truck is the Shrimp Guys [KTLK]

Your Guide to Tsukemen in Los Angeles

Do you think Los Angeles’ ramen obsession caused an explosion of new noodle shops all over the city. Or did the noodle shop explosion cause us to become ramen obsessed? The old chicken or the egg adage. (I kind of wish I was writing about oyakodon right now!)  I’m not sure I know the answer, but if you eat with the rhythm of the city chances are you’ve been slurping up a ton more ramen these days.  I know I have.  I also blew through the first issue of Lucky Peach, watched seminal Japanese ramen movie Tampopo for the first time, and ate my first bowl of tsukemen. What’s the Japanese term for perfect storm?

Watching the long-out-of-print-and-not-available-on-Netflix Tampopo was long overdue.  And Lucky Peach, a joint venture between McSweeney’s & Momofuku, will restore your faith in the awesomeness of print.  If you haven’t picked up the first issue (which was dedicated entirely to ramen), you really should.  But the final piece of my ramen hurricane might be the one that has the longest lasting impression.  On the surface, tsukemen seems fairly simple.  It’s ramen where the noodles are served separate from the broth, which is turned into a dipping sauce of sorts.  But once you dive in you realize that it is far more complex.

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Urbano Pizza Bar Has a 2 Slice Lunch Special

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Urbano Pizza Bar has been getting a lot of ink ever since Top Chef Ilan Hall, from the Gorbals, started showing up sporadically behind the counter a few months ago. Nobody seems to know exactly what his role has been (besides creating a few side dishes and getting them a shit-ton of PR from blogs) but I was told by an Urbano regular that nothing seems to have changed about the pizzas since they’ve opened- and that’s a good thing, because Urbano probably serves the best pizza in Downtown L.A. right now. Sadly, though, the pizzas are all $12 and up- and not quite big enough to share, Bottega Louie style. So I never really considered this place a true Midtown Lunch… until they introduced their 2 slice lunch special!

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PROFILE: L.A. Lunch’er “Sofia”

As is customary on Midtown Lunch, every Tuesday we profile a random reader to get their recommendations for the best spots to lunch near their work. This week it’s Sofia, a talent coordinator who has seemingly eaten at every single lunch spot in all of Downtown L.A.!

Name: Sofia

Age: 25

Occupation: Talent Coordinator & Office Wrangler

Where in L.A. do you Work?: The Groop in DTLA

Favorite Kind of Food: I like carbs and I like cheese. I’m very much into ramen and huge salads that are bigger than your face, as of late. My holy trinity would be pizza, burritos and cheeseburgers.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: I hate peas and salmon. I hear they’re good for you though.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: Mendocino Farms rules the coop when it comes to sandwiches – whether you’re vegan or want some pork belly (drool), they’ve got it. I love their pulled pork sandwich which is sweet and tangy but not sloppy, the farm club with fresh, moist turkey, thick cut applewood bacon and herb aioli and the proscuitto chicken with almonds on ciabatta. What makes me love MF even more is that they have Boylan’s soda on tap. Brilliant. The also have a pretty robust deli case, which they hand out samples for very liberally. I like their chimichurri pasta, black lentils and potato salad. They have 2 locations in DTLA – 4th/Flower & 3rd/Grand. I prefer the 4th/Flower location simply because then I won’t have to make the tough choice between MF v. Starry Kitchen.

Pizzanista! is an amazing pizza shop on 7th and Mateo. It’s run by the same guys who operated Toddy G’s in a new incarnation. They’re on the pricey side, but worth it. The pizzas are decadent, delicious but not greasy. They’ve got the standard pizzas, which are delicious. I’d vote against the salads because they’re too simple, don’t offer protein and aren’t worth the price. They’re a pizza place though, and they deliver – big time! The stars are the mac and cheese pizza (yes, combined) and the meat jesus pizza. The mac and cheese pizza is only available on Sundays, but with one bite, you almost forget and stop resenting the fact that you’re working on a Sunday because the pizza is that good. The Meat Jesus – aside from being so cleverly name – is the holy trinity of meat toppings on pizza – pepperoni, sausage and bacon. It’s rich, meaty perfection.

Café Nine is a cute little café hidden above DTLA and unknown by most. It’s at 453 S. Spring St. located on the 9th floor, which gives you an amazing view of LA while sitting in a super cozy, chic café. It’s relatively cheap, which is awesome. I like the turkey sliders, which are adorable sliders with cheddar, mixed greens and herb aioli. They’ve got a great Pulley’s Pork, which is a pulled pork sandwich on Hawaiian bread with coleslaw… yum. Breakfast and coffee is also served. This is a gem in DTLA.

But wait… there’s more. Way more.

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Naan Hut is Now Serving Sangak Pizza

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When Naan Hut opened at the beginning of the year on Santa Monica Blvd. in West L.A., fans of freshly baked sangak who live or work on the westside rejoiced. The ironing board sized bread is the hallmark of any truly great Persian bakery, and those of us who live or work on the westside were excited to not have to drive all the way to the Valley for fresh baked sangak goodness. As a fan of lunch I was also excited that they were serving chicken and beef kebabs with sangak for $6-8.

Back when they first opened the “menu” was clearly a work in progress, scrawled on sheets of paper hanging on the walls. But the other day I was wandering past the store and noticed they have upgraded to a full printed menu, which not only offers kebabs and sandwich, but also includes something called sangak pizza. “What the hell is that?” you might be asking. Well, it’s exactly what you might imagine it to be…

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Lunch Links (The “Fundamentals of Meatballs” Edition)

Fundamental LA: Pork Meatball Sandwich
Pork Meatball Sandwich from Fundamental L.A. Photo courtesy of Guzzle & Nosh

Ruen Pair Gets Robbed!: We normally love Squid Ink's food fight series- after all, who doesn't love a good dish on dish battle to the death. But we've gotta call BS on their latest entry, in which Ruen Pair's stir fried morning glory was defeated by its next door neighbor's morning glory with crispy pork. Not only is crispy pork an obvious advantage, but even though it isn't on the menu Ruen Pair will gladly serve its crispy pork with stir fried morning glory if you ask. We demand a do-over!