Odys + Penelope recently started their brunch program. The space was larger than I imagined and was airy and bright. After we were seated, our waiter asked us if we wanted anything to drink and told us about their free mimosa promotion for the month of September. We were like OK, why not.
It tasted like a grapefruit mimosa. I took two sips and gave the rest to my husband.
Porchetta Eggs Benedict, Housemade English Muffin, Hollandaise, Breakfast Potatoes
I have seen the pictures online and what we got was not what I pictured. There was a very small slice of porchetta on each muffin and the hollandaise did not have much flavor. At least it came with some nicely browned potatoes.
Frisee + Smoked Trout Salad, Warm Fingerling Potatoes, Avocado, Fried Organic Egg
This was a pretty good salad. The trout was perfectly smoked but I wish there was more of it. The avocado and egg provided good fat and protein and potatoes added some earthiness to the dish.
Summer Chop, Peach, Cherry Tomato, lemon Cucumber, Feta, Grilled Corn, Mizuna, Almond
I am a sucker for a salad with peach and had to order it. It was pretty good but the peach was not as flavorful as I hoped. There must have been a tiny bit of lemon cucumber somewhere in the salad. Feta added tang, corn and tomatoes were the reminders that summer was coming to the end.
I have been eyeing Here’s Looking At You at Koreatown for a while now and finally decided to give it a try. The chef behind the restaurant, Jonathan Whitener, last worked at Animal restaurant. The space was bright and casual. The service was helpful. I mainly picked this restaurant because their veggie dishes appealed to me. When I asked our waiter where their shrimps were from, he did not know and nobody else in the kitchen knew either. He had to wait for the chef to come back to ask him. At the end, he told us they were from Thailand. Canada, Mexico and Gulf are much closer.
Hiramasa Radish, Wakame, Serrano, Onion, Charcoal
My husband picked this dish and really enjoyed it. The thin slices of Hiramasa, a close relative to yellowtail, were sandwiched between thin slices of radishes. There was a dusting of charcoal and onion and wakame played sauce roles.
Nectarine Syrian Feta, Celery, Pigweed, Sumac, Rye, Lemon
One of the reason I picked this restaurant was to try this visually appealing dish and thankfully it did not disappoint. Even though the nectarine season had passed, I found the nectarine good enough. The celery noodles added crunch, feta a bit of salt but what I loved about the dish was the rye crumbs. I don’t remember tasting much sumac though.
JJ’s Avocado Tangerine, Nori, Hazelnut, Champagne Vinegar, Kohlrabi
I love avocado and had to order this dish. The crunchy kohlrabi was a great contrast to the soft avocado. The tangerine’s sweetness balanced the dish and hazelnut added a nice nuttiness to it.
Heirloom Tomato Corn, Aged Gouda, Chicory, Calabrian Chili, Mushroom, Buckwheat
In summer how can you not order heirloom tomatoes? They were great and went well with the crunchy bitter chicory. The aged gouda added umami and the chili provided heat. I would have liked to see more corn but the crunchy buckwheat added some earthiness to the dish.
Baby Octopus La Ratte Potato, B&B Celery, Old Bay
The baby octopus were cooked beautifully but unfortunately their heavy use of salt made the dish not so pleasant to eat. The potato puree helped though.
Veal Sweetbreads Fennel, Mustard Seed, Sesame
The sweetbread was cooked just right. Crisp exterior and soft interior. Fennel added anise flavor and pickled mustard seeds sweetness to the dish.
Yellow Peach Goat Milk, Cornbread, Lemon Verbena, Popcorn
Our final dish was the yellow peach dessert. The peach pieces were sweet and went well with the tangy goat milk and cornbread. The popcorn added a nice crunch.
Beefsteak is a plant based cafe by Chef Marcel Vigneron and is right next to his other restaurant, Wolf. We had lunch here the first week that they were open and since they share the kitchen with Wolf, everything went down smoothly. Since they use high quality ingredients, their prices reflects that. They have some speciality drinks such as Matcha Latte or Turmeric latte at $7 a pop. Service was friendly and we were impressed with what we had.
Potachos Carrot Queso, Sunflower Sour Cream, Pico de Gallo, Pickled Jalapeño
I asked the counter guy what potachos was and as soon as he said crispy potatoes, I was sold. It is similar to the one that they serve at Wolf. It was $2 more than the one from Wolf because it was prepared different. The crisp potatoes came with a sweet carrot queso and they were topped with delicious sun gold tomatoes.
The K-Town Kimchi, Broccoli, Sesame Seed, Toasted Seaweed, Scallion, Beans, Ginger Gochujang Dressing
A very flavorful dish. You have a choice of brown rice or quinoa. I was glad to see it was a red quinoa. The kimchi provided probiotic, the broccoli, good fiber and toasted seaweed a bit of umami. The ginger gochujang dressing added some sweet heat to the dish.
Vaca is Chef Amar Santana and partners Spanish influenced restaurant In Costa Mesa, CA. Ever since the restaurant opened up, I was curious to see if they can deliver the kind of Spanish cuisine we savored in Spain. After reading some mixed reviews, my husband decided to check it out for his birthday. From my research, I knew that they served great wood fired grilled steaks and good tapas but I did not expect much going in. I did not find most of their tapas that interesting and asked where their shrimp was from? our waitress did not know and had to ask. The answer was it was farm raised from some country in Latin America that I can not recall. The service was friendly and helpful. As we walked in, they asked us if we were celebrating an occasion and we responded yes. The seating arrangement was not ideal because they had crammed too many tables too close to each other. You felt like you had no privacy.
HUESO AL HORNO Roasted bone marrow, beef cheek toast, citrus
The bone marrow was OK and was resting on the top of beef cheek that reminded my husband of a Persian stew, Fesenjan. It was on the sweet side.
PULPO A LA GALLEGA Warm Spanish octopus, fingerling potatoes, pimenton and Spanish olive oil
This dish was 80% potatoes, 20% octopus. The little octopus that you got was thinly sliced and was buried under a mountain of potatoes.
BONELESS PIEDMONTESE NEW YORK STEAK
Thank God the steak delivered. They had a selection of New York strips and our waitress recommended the Piedmontese one. It was very beefy and had a great char and a nice crust.
Chimichurri Sauce and their version of A1
I liked the chimichurri much better. The other sauce was too sweet.
Vanilla Ice Cream
What was odd, they did not ask us if we wanted to order dessert and just delivered this treat with a candle. It was a nice gesture but odd nevertheless.
Sprouted Rye Bread
I asked if I could get the sprouted rye bread for our steak and eggs dish and the answer was yes. It was our first time trying it. It was pretty good and had a dense texture.
Steak & Eggs Hanger Steak, Fried Eggs, Chimichurri, Grilled Bread
The steak was cooked to the specified medium rare but It was not as beefy as I hoped. The chimichurri was pretty good though and helped to brighten the dish.
Croque Madame Sourdough , House-Cured Ham, Fried Egg & Mornay Sauce
After reading a couple of praises online about the croque madame I had to try it. As they placed it in front of us I was intoxicated by the heavenly gruyere smell. The sourdough bread was very crusty and a great base for the flavorful ham, gruyere and perfectly fried egg.
It looked a little dark and hard to slice but it tasted pretty good. A little on the salty side though and at $12, I wish it was a little bigger.
Buckwheat, Banana & Walnut Loaf
My treat pick. At first I thought it was pretty good but when I had the second half, I felt it was a little too sweet. I think it might have had some date.
My husband picked this. As I took a bite, I was in sugar shock. Too much date made this blondie not such a pleasant treat.