Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’

Perception never falls into the simple categorization of black versus white. Perception falls anywhere within a boundless spectrum of antipodes. The problem lies with people’s ability to conceive perceptions beyond their scope. You can ask a person what type of music they love the most, while the next person may loathe that type of music. Most people claim to not like country music, yet the truth reveals that they simply have no preference for it; however, few people actually get adamant about the music. Going beyond preferences commonly exists in food and beverages. Where one person may call something “the best,” another will claim something else as better. For example, my father swears by the $2 wine from Trader Joe’s, unable to accept that pricier fine wines taste better. Some people say that no other burger can top a common burger from corporate fast food or corporate restaurants. People truly get attached to their fast food burgers and refuse to believe that better burgers exist out there. Whether or not you claim to know about the best burger in the world, I encourage you to seek out these five burgers in the greater Los Angeles area this season and give them a try. Who knows – maybe you will alter your opinions after one bite!

5. Eat Chow‘s Chow BBQ Burger

Portion size means a lot to the typical person who goes out to eat. Fine-dining restaurants focus on quality over quantity, so while fine-dining entrées appear small, it makes up for it with outstanding flavor. Generally, people want that happy medium between fine-dining and fast food, a restaurant that serves high-quality yet affordable food, something that Eat Chow specializes in. Now with three locations in Orange County, Eat Chow does not boast too much, perhaps because their foods speaks for itself. Eat Chow takes common foods and makes them well, from their burgers to the sandwiches to the entrées and more. Clearly a lot of care has gone into the dishes, evident by how much of the food’s natural flavor one can taste. In addition to the heightened food quality, Eat Chow doles up generous portion sizes too, such as in their Chow BBQ Burger. This grass-fed chuck patty comes topped with housemade barbecue sauce, smoked gouda cheese, crispy onion strings, bacon, mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, and tomatoes on a brioche bun. You can take on this huge burger for just $13.

4. Ocean Diner‘s Kiss Me Kate Burger

Different ingredients yield different flavors to the palate. Some ingredients have mild flavors, while some ingredients have extreme flavors. Some of the extreme-flavored ingredients may come with inauspicious side effects, such as spicy foods attacking the taste buds or foods invoking halitosis, or bad breath. Some of the latter ingredients taste so good that people often endure the side effects, such as garlic. For a calamity of ingredients that can cause bad breath, Ocean Diner has found just the combination. From the outside, Ocean Diner looks like your typical small-town American diner. However, Ocean Diner truly has some amazing things going on in here, such as their Kiss Me Kate Burger. This specialty burger comes with bacon-roasted garlic puree, grilled onions, and goat cheese. This $11.95 comes served with French fries, mashed potatoes, brown rice, coleslaw, or cottage cheese. As a special menu item, it will not last forever, so head over to Ocean Diner fast before this burger leaves their menu!

3. green2Go‘s Grass-Fed Bison Burger

A simple human truth states that people desire control in their lives. When someone lacks control over a situation, they may start to feel stress or panic. Give someone control, and they feel a lot more comfortable over their situation. This applies to all walks of life, including food, and green2Go gives you that control over your food. green2Go uses only the freshest all-natural ingredients to ensure pure flavor and nutrition. While you may certainly order any of their items as the menu describes, green2Go proudly offers a Build-Your-Own section where you get to dress up your favorite menu items, such as their Grass-Fed Bison Burger. This bison patty comes on your choice of brioche or squaw bread, or a lettuce-wrap, organic lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a dill pickle. From there, you can select up to four add-ons to accompany your plate, which you can pick by walking up to the BYO bar to the left of the front counter. For $16, this burger comes to you with your choice of a side salad or roasted mini potatoes.

2. Abricott‘s Lemongrass Chicken Burger

Who says that a burger must contain a ground beef patty? Not all burgers must contain beef.  We have seen multiple different types of burgers, such as turkey burgers, salmon burgers, and even vegetarian patty burgers. We rarely ever see a chicken burger, much less a chicken burger done right. Abricott would like to turn that perception around. Known for their French-Asian cuisine, Abricott remains a staple in local Pasadena food, and has attracted the attention of locals and travelers alike. Pasadena brings in huge amounts of travelers between the convention center and the Rose Bowl, and travelers often want to savor the local flavor. Abricott’s menu covers multiple forms of food, including their Lemongrass Chicken Burger. Not just any old burger, this burger contains a ground chicken patty seasoned with lemongrass, topped with tomato, onions, lettuce, and mayonnaise served on a bun with coconut tamarind sauce. At $10.95, you can taste this unique burger that few other places can match in flavor.

1. Gus’s Barbecue‘s Brisket Burnt End Burger

When one orders a burger, one can typically expect a ground beef patty supported by various toppings, correct? The beef patty usually stars as the protagonist in the story known as the burger, but once in a while a burger may feature more than one co-protagonist. For a story featuring more than one star, we turn to Gus’s Barbecue in South Pasadena. A local barbecue legend, Gus’s Barbecue has done barbecue right for such a long time that they know exactly how to apply their prized meats to other forms of food. For example, take their Brisket Burnt End Burger. This beef burger comes topped with beef brisket burnt ends, cheese sauce, pickled jalapeños, and mustard on a toasted pretzel bun. All burgers come with your choice of French fries, sweet potato fries, potato salad, cole slaw, or BBQ baked beans. You can pound this mound of meat at Gus’s Barbecue for $13.95.

While corporate chains tend to pose problems for local mom & pop shops, sometimes they can revitalize an area. An area may lack cultural diversity, sometimes due to the location or the local population’s culture or inability to adapt new ways. When a corporate chain steps in, sure they bring in the same thing that all of their other locations carry, but this can bring about change in the location that they step into. For example, think about a Kentucky Fried Chicken opening in China. Traditionally, fried chicken represents a foreign concept to the Chinese. However, the introduction of Kentucky Fried Chicken in China proved successful, as the local population got hooked on this American-style fried chicken. They got hooked on it so much that Eastern culture tried to imitate it and create their own version, which led to the eventual creation of Korean Fried Chicken. Lots of Korean restaurants and shops now serve Korean Fried Chicken, such as the recently-opened Jumping Däk.

If you visit Jumping Däk, you will get Korean Fried Chicken and not much else, but you will get Korean Fried Chicken made very well! Having just opened less than a month ago, Jumping Däk boasts a menu specializing in the savory food, along with sides and desserts to accompany the main course. This fast-casual restaurant replaced an old Hawaiian BBQ fast-food restaurant that never really saw too many customers. However, with the recent opening of a ramen restaurant next door, it made sense to open something here to take advantage of the overflow of the ramen restaurant’s customers, and here we have Jumping Däk. For those who have never tasted Korean Fried Chicken, luckily Jumping Däk provides samples of their three flavors: Sweet, Spicy (pictured below), and Fiery. Sweet and Fiery explain themselves, while Spicy represents a happy medium of the Sweet and Fiery. Basically, imagine popcorn chicken tossed in their signature sauces. Customers can enjoy this Korean Fried Chicken a la carte, as a sandwich, or as a combo with sides and a drink. Jumping Däk also utilizes a unique method for a dessert: Preferé Ice Cream. If you have seen or used a Keurig machine before, this concept will feel familiar. They take a small sealed cup of ice cream and place it in the top of the machine, which then dispenses soft-serve ice cream. I personally have not tried it yet, so I cannot attest if it tastes better than regular soft-serve ice cream – I will save that for a future blog post.

Jumping Däk opened their first location in Buena Park in early December 2016. They said they have plans to open additional locations, including a second location somewhere in Northern California. To see what they have planned for 2017, make sure you like them on Facebook for updates as they come. In the meantime, make sure you visit Jumping Däk in Buena Park soon and experience some real KFC for yourself. At Jumping Däk, KFC stands for Korean Fried Chicken, not that other corporate place.

Much of the United States has this fixation about their local fair, whether the city or the state fair. From a narrow perspective, nothing changes year after year at the fair – if you attended previously, you would receive the same experience again the next time. This largely remains true persistently, but the experience generally changes based on who you attend the fair with, not which fair you attend. If you visit various fairs within the same region, you would see most of the same things: fair food, carnival rides, animals, and tons of vendors. For example, the San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles fairs all have the same basic outline of the aforementioned features. Once you have gone to one fair, you have basically experienced it all. So what can you do to continue to enjoy fair life without wading through the hoards of people in the hot sun? If you enjoy fair food, you would have wanted to go to Beachwood BBQ last week for their rendition of fair foods with a twist.

Nestled in a small space in historic old-town Seal Beach, Beachwood BBQ has garnered an outstanding reputation not only among the locals, but across the nation for their influence on the craft beer industry. Sure they revolutionized the idea of rotating taps, but Beachwood BBQ churns out some stellar eats above and beyond standard bar food quality. For the most part, one can see Beachwood BBQ’s menu as mostly bar food, since most, if not all, of the menu pairs really well with whatever beer they have on tap. Folks in the area last Thursday evening could truly immerse themselves in the bar food experience when Beachwood BBQ hosted a dinner night aptly entitled Beachwood On A Stick. On this night, Beachwood BBQ took a good look at common fair foods, and re-envisioned a more gourmet version of each of their ideas. In addition, each food item received its own beer pairing to go with it. Some of the pairings matched well, while a few lost me in the mix. You can peek at the menu above, or scroll down to read the descriptions plus my review.

  • Lamb Kofta, $5: smoked lamb, mint BBQ sauce | Pairs w/ Duvel Single Belgian Pale Ale

I will call this my favorite out of all of the menu. This looks small, but the sheer meatiness of it plus the unique minty BBQ sauce makes for a divine bite.

  • Poutine, $4: mashed potato, mozzarella, sage gravy | Pairs w/ Avery Samael’s Oak Aged Ale, an English Barleywine
  • Chicken Gumbo, $4: diced chicken, onions, bell peppers, okra, sassafras cream, fried rice | Pairs w/ Brouwerij Malheur 12° Belgian Strong Dark Ale

The Poutine basically represents a mozzarella stick, but with mashed potatoes in it as well. The gravy made it soggy, so it crumbled right off the stick. This did not contain meat, which made me sad 😦 Also this beer pairing sorely did not work out for me. On its own, this barleywine would taste great as a sipper. However, due to its strength, it badly damaged my palate.
The Chicken Gumbo basically represents a shish kabob, with no fancy tricks other than the fried (literally) rice.

  • Funnel Cake Dog, $4: smoked andouille sausage, powdered sugar | Pairs w/ Firestone Walker Easy Jack IPA

Take a really spicy sausage, batter it with funnel cake batter, dust some powdered sugar on it, and you have this… Emphasis on really spicy. The beer pairing, for as much IBU’s as it contains, could not douse the fire raging in my mouth.

  • Liver & Onions, $4: grilled chicken livers, roasted pearl onions, red wine demi glace | Pairs w/ Tahoe Mountain Bright Moments Pale Ale

Once you get over the fact that you have liver on a plate in front of you, the flavor comes up remarkably well. The texture of the liver may make some people queasy, so turn off your mind when you eat liver.

  • Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana, $3: rolled in pork rinds | Pairs w/ Almanac Biere de Chocolat Porter

My favorite dessert, since it does not taste that sweet, and it also has pork rinds to give it a salty taste. Imagine a frozen chocolate banana with sea salt, and you have this amazing dessert seemingly easy to make at home.

  • Twinkie, $4: sorrel marshmallow filling, funnel cake fried | Pairs w/ New Belgium Wild² Dubbel

If they could tone down the sweetness, this would have turned out as the most demanded item. The funnel cake batter and the filling’s overbearing sweetness makes this large enough to split with another person.

Miss out on Beachwood On A Stick? Pay attention to their Facebook page, as they always announce events like this in advance there. Even if you cannot make it to a special dinner night, head on over to check out their ever-changing beer selection, plus their menu of great eats.

How many ways can someone prep meat into food? When I ask this, I refer to versatile dishes that can adapt to any meat. For example, a pot pie typically uses poultry, while a burger will use almost any red meat. Here in the 21st century, we have witnessed many different kinds of food utilizing many different types of meat. Burgers nowadays use more than just beef – they can use turkey, salmon, duck, and even foie gras. Poutine can use any type of meat too, as the meat gets added to the top of the dish. By its nature, meatloaf can build with any meat. But what else can you think of that can utilize any meat? Around the world, different cultures prepare meat in different ways: as an entrée, in a sandwich, in a soup, deep fried, and more. In Southeast Asia, the locals love their curry, and thanks to culinary advancements, the world now not only sees curry widespread, but also a plethora of variations of curry. For those that have not tried curry before, some restaurants, such as Beachwood BBQ, allow customers to sample various types of curry.


Clockwise from top left: Chicken, Shrimp, Pork, Goat

Back in action with their continuing series of special monthly dinner nights, Beachwood BBQ hosted an IPA & Curry Night last Thursday night. Just like with the last time they held a Curry night last year, Beachwood BBQ presented a menu with five different choices of curry, along with five different IPA’s that each correspond to a type of curry. Individual curry entrées cost between $15 and $18, while a sampler plate of four of the curry dishes cost $19. To go with the sampler plate, guests could add on the beer pairings for $6. Traditionally, an IPA goes very well with meaty, flavorful dishes, as the bitterness penetrates the flavor of whatever you eat, acting as a pseudo palate cleanser. Thankfully, Beachwood BBQ tapped the perfect pairings for each curry dish. I ordered a sampler of the four dishes with meat, and each had its own unique presentation.

  • Chicken: the spiciest curry, I regret starting with this one. Great texture and consistency with the meat and broth, which ate well with the basmati rice.
  • Shrimp: I only got two pieces of shrimp, so this one went down fast. The watery broth did not go with the rice too well.
  • Pork: the most savory curry, this one had the greatest salt profile, typical of pork. Very tender pork made this one a well-balanced curry that anyone could enjoy.
  • Goat: more for the aroma and presentation. Very gamey texture and mild flavor, making this a great starting curry, not one to follow the chicken or pork.

Beachwood BBQ typically runs these special dinner nights every two months, each time selecting a new type of food. Word has it that a dinner night will return as early as next month during the week following Easter, and will feature Poutine! As for what day that will occur, keep your nights open on Wednesday the 23rd and Thursday the 24th, as Poutine Night will certainly return on one of those two days, should Beachwood BBQ decide to run Poutine Night.

Not only does April indicate the first full month of Spring, but typically April means that Lent just ended, or ended early in the month. This allows those who participated in Lent to release any sacrifices and resume habitual life. What practice do most people resume following Lent? Most commonly, Lent observers sacrificed certain foods, alcohol, and even sex. But for those who do not observe Lent, Spring still instills life and energy into everyone. The longer daylight hours coupled with warmer weather energizes us to get out there and perform more tasks than in the Winter. Naturally, a warm sunny Saturday afternoon calls for throwing a backyard brew fest, and Slater’s 50/50 Lake Forest accomplished just that.

Slater’s 50/50 hosted their own Backyard Brew Fest this past Saturday at their youngest location in Lake Forest, where guests could indulge in unlimited samples of craft beer. Taking place on a day filled with many other large events, Slater’s headed in the opposite direction from those large events. Instead of selecting a vast venue and filling it with the most amount of people and vendors possible, Slater’s aimed to keep this fest small and intimate. The fest area literally took place in their backyard, a span of one lane in the parking lot fenced off, keeping the area down to less than the restaurant’s area. Mama always said “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” and Mama speaks the truth. True craft beer lovers welcome this notion of keeping attendance low, as this places a greater emphasis on selecting quality breweries that will supply their better brews, including Hangar 24’s limited-release Hammerhead. At least 16 local breweries attended – of all the present breweries, I recall seeing Ritual, Bootleggers, Hangar 24, Rough Draft, Ballast Point, El Segundo, Golden Road, Fireman’s Brew, Deschutes, Cismontane, latitude 33, Valiant, Taps, Ohana, Allagash, and Old Orange. The intimacy of this event called for the breweries to not only supply their own plastic sampler cups, but their own staff as well. Whereas most beer fests use volunteers to pour beers for the breweries, all breweries utilized their own staff or brewers for this beer fest, allowing guests to easily interact with people knowledgeable about the brewery and their brews.

As a brew fest hosted by a restaurant, you can bet the restaurant provided most of the food. Unlike some beer fests where guests have to pay additional to eat, Slater’s 50/50 decided to treat their guests to free small bites. Keeping with the unlimited theme, unlimited beer samples necessitate unlimited small plates, so Slater’s 50/50 selected a good variety of their wonderful food to dole out to the guests. For starters, Slater’s offered plates of Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, and their House Salad with chicken breast. Besides the Bacon Brownie, guests waited longest for the samples of the B’ B’ B’ Bacon Burger. If not for the long line, I would have gone back over and over for the burger; instead I opted to take two servings of the other three items.

As an unexpected treat, Chapter One also made a special guest appearance to serve their own food at this brew fest. They brought samples of their Scotch Egg and Jerked Salmon Nachos appetizer, as well as mini servings of their Red Velvet and The Dude (White Russian) Donuts. As evident by the photographs, all these samples flew off the serving trays as quick as the beers.

Size does not mean everything, and this quaint beer fest proves that. Sometimes, you have to scale things down a bit from the chaos that large events can create. By limiting the attendance and area, fewer social barriers exist, allowing the people to more easily interact with one another. Specific to this brew fest, this also relieves the pressure of beer servers to expedite the lines, as they now can slow down to chat with the guests. Always consider the outcomes of the event based on how many people attend. If you attended a larger beer fest, not only would you have to worry about finding and/or paying for parking, but with more people, you have less room to move around, and will often bump or elbow your way through the crowds. A small fest like this also does not cost as much to attend, enticing guests further to consider that event. If you missed Slater’s 50/50’s Backyard Brew Fest, fret not, as plenty more beer fests will occur in the coming months. If it happens in Southern California, more likely than not you can find me there, and I will bring back all the information you need to know.

Gastropubs have risen significantly in population and popularity over the past few years. What once existed as a foreign concept now flourishes in a modern setting, where people seeking high quality food & drinks at affordable prices actively research gastropubs to visit. When you break it down to the bare bone, a typical gastropub menu contains bar-adapted appetizers, entrée salads, thick burgers, simplified yet improved desserts, and a decent selection of craft beers. Some aspiring chefs have taken a different approach to the menu by reengineering the gastropub perception and focusing the menu on a particular type of cuisine or food. Some gastropubs may focus on pizza or flatbreads. A few may focus on sausages and applications of sausages. Others may just like to experiment with whatever comes their way, and if it ends up tasting good, they run it as a special for their customers to try. In the case of The Factory Gastrobar, they tested out their renditions of chili to pair with their selection of craft beers.

Located in the heart of the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach, The Factory Gastrobar hails as one of Long Beach’s first modern gastropubs. Reinventing classic foods since 2009, The Factory has gone through countless kegs of beer while serving up an ever-changing menu. Every month, they hold special events for different purposes, such as wine, beer, or food. Sometimes, they like to combine occasions to garner a larger turnout. Last night, in conjunction with the tap takeover of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, The Factory also concocted four versions of chili for a chili-extravaganza. Customers could order chili as an entrée, or all four as a flight paired with respective Figueroa beer. The four chilis with their beer pairings from left to right:

  • Bavarian Bratwurst (Paradise Rd Pilsner) – grass-fed beef bratwurst, bacon, Davy Brown ale, smoked tetilla cheese, spiced yogurt crema
  • Fire Roasted (Danish Red) – seasonal vegetables, roasted red peppers, shaved cabbage, avocado
  • Green Pork (Pale Ale) – pinto beans, shishito, serrano, poblano, pasilla, tomatillo, mango salsa, radish, mozzarella curds
  • Creamy Chicken (Hoppy Poppy IPA) – free-range Shelton chicken, white beans, corn salsa, pepper jack, avocado relish

The entrée versions included either bread or a pretzel.

Just like their last similar night of a food night and tap takeover, The Factory plans to retain the popular choices on their menu, pending a few tweaks to perfect the recipe. If you missed all the chili last night, fret not – they will feature one, some, or all of these on their menu very soon. They appreciate feedback, so if you love chili and want to see it on their menu, drop on in and inform them. Until then, visit them anyways and try some of their delicious food and refreshing beers on tap.

All around the world, people find different reasons to go out to eat. Many eat simply for necessity, while others eat based on preference. When you break down the preferences, what reasons may you come across? Value? Quality? Location? Atmosphere? Regardless of the reason, we can all agree that going out to eat has turned into a staple in our lives, despite the notion that one can live an entire life without ever going out to eat. Once in a long while, you discover something that meets all the aforementioned criteria. When something sounds too good to exist, it usually comes with a drawback. This time, the drawback simply relates to time. While The Globe Dine Bar will last for a while, their monthly will fade away soon.

More than your typical gastropub, The Globe Dine Bar sets an international precedence in a local setting. Combining world flavors with terrific imported drinks, The Globe truly represents its namesake by bringing together cuisine from other countries to a small Southern Californian community. Every month, the chef travels to another country in search of inspiration for The Globe’s monthly special. February’s specials revolve around Chinese New Year, welcoming the year of the snake with three Asian-inspired dishes. Out of their monthly specials, their Beef Rib Nasi Goreng stands out the most. For $18, this massive plate comes with charred beef short ribs with a sesame, soy, and ginger glaze (Gedo-Gado) on a bed of Nasi Goreng, served with a side of vegetable salad with sweet chili dressing. Enough to feed 2-3 people, The Globe serves a generous portion of Korean-style on-the-bone beef short ribs, along with stringy vegetables with sweet chili sauce. On the other side of the plate lies a pile of Nasi Goreng, or Indonesian fried rice, which includes chicken, shrimp, and bacon lardons. Oh, and they top this off with a fried egg and include puff chips. From one corner to the other, this plate easily reaches two feet across. It boggles my mind how they can serve so much food for such a low price relative to how much food one would receive off this plate. Sadly, as a monthly special, this dish will not stay around for much longer. You have less than 10 days to head over to The Globe in Garden Grove to order this mammoth meal!