Archive for January 2015

5 Things You Should Know About Pok Pok Phat Thai Before Trashing it on Yelp

Chinatown’s emergence as the hottest new food neighborhood in L.A. took another major step forward in the final days of 2014 when Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok Phat Thai joined Roy Choi’s Chego and Scoops in the Chinatown Plaza (Eggslut’s Ramen Champ has since joined them as well.) You likely have heard of Ricker’s brand of Thai food, thanks to super popular restaurants in Portland and New York.  But not everybody has welcomed Pok Pok with open arms and their Yelp page has quickly devolved into a mess of complaints, some fair but most completely unfair for a restaurant that is less than a month old.  Before you jump into the fray with a crappy review of your own, here are 5 things you should probably know about the new Pok Pok, complete with quotes we got from Ricker, who is currently in Thailand.


1.  Pok Pok Phat Thai isn’t Pok Pok.  So you went to Pok Pok on that last trip to Portland and loved the chicken wings?  Congrats!  This isn’t Pok Pok. Pok Pok is a full restaurant, a branch of which will be opening later this year up the street in the Mandarin Plaza.  This is Pok Pok Phat Thai, a quick service noodle shop dedicated to the kind of sautéed fast food they serve on the streets of Thailand.  If you want the wings, you’re going to have to wait a little while longer.

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Watch Me “Gimmick Test” an Orange Chicken Burrito For Zagat

If you read my post about Panda Express Innovation Kitchen last year and thought “Man, I would have loved to see Zach go to town on one of those!” then you’re a very strange person.  But you’re also in luck!  Zagat just launched a new video series titled “Gimmick Testing” starring Lesley Balla and yours truly, and the first episode is… you guessed it… Panda Innovation Kitchen.  Warning: there are slow motion shots of me shoving an orange chicken burrito into my fat face.  Future episodes will feature Lesley and I eating at Choco Chicken, Donut Friend, The Escondite, and more.

Help Starry Kitchen and Roy Choi Fund Their Next Projects

If your New Year’s Resolution was to be more charitable, or support a local business, here are two crowd funding campaigns going on right now that are worth taking a look at…

Just after the holidays Starry Kitchen launched the Kickstarter to end all Kickstarters. It’s called “Save Our Balls” (naturally) and they’re hoping to raise $500,000, an obscene amount for a restaurant kickstarter, for sure, but a drop in the bucket for a couple looking to give themselves some security to open the permanent restaurant of their dreams.   For those who don’t pay much attention to food blogs or Jonathan Gold lists, or find it super easy to ignore a guy in a banana suit with a megaphone, Starry Kitchen is the former illegal eatery, turned legal water court lunch spot, turned pop up restaurant that is currently operating out of Grand Star in Chinatown.  Their food, a menu mix of pan-asian homeyness,  has gotten better and better with every incarnation. But clearly the 5+ years of jumping around has taken its toll, leading them to issue this shocking ultimatum: they raise the full $500k to open their own place, or they go do something else. It’s a longshot they make it to their goal, but I’m not going to be blamed for losing out on Thi Tran’s garlic noodles, Singapore chili crab, pandan chicken, and their infamous tofu balls.  And make no mistake about it… if they close, and you didn’t donate, I will blame you.

But wait, there’s more…

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Pok Pok Phat Thai Now Open in Chinatown; Night + Market Song Finally Starts Lunch Service Today

It’s been two and half years since we first whined about Night+Market not being open for lunch, and while WeHo still has to go to Talesai for their mid-day taste of Thai food, the Silverlake branch of Chef Kris Yenbamroong’s Night+Market has finally answered our prayers.  N+M Song opens for lunch today, launching with a “fast plates” menu designed for quick lunchtime eating.  A few of the dinner favorites, like the khao soi, are available and the fried chicken sandwich has finally made it to the printed menu.  Plus you can get meat in your pad thai!  Check out the full menu over on Eater.

But wait… there’s more.

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