I eat: UMAMIcatessen

I’ve been craving burgers lately. Like, a lot. Apparently, eating In-N-Out on the weekends while watching playoff hockey has not been enough. I NEED MOREEEE BURGERS!!! So on one of my off Fridays, Henry and I headed to DLTA to try UMAMIcatessen, a food-court-esque eatery, which houses UMAMI Burger (yes, I’m totally stating the obvious :P). Having never eaten at UMAMI, we both wanted to see if the burgers were worth all the hype.

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As we looked over the menu, we knew we had to try their signature burger, the Umami Burger. Choosing our 2nd burger was tough. We were interested in both the Manly and Hatch Burgers. This was a battle of bacon vs. chiles, which we both LOVE, but ultimately, bacon won, as it usually always does. Always.

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Umami Burger, $11
shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp, umami ketchup

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Manly Burger, $11
beer-cheddar cheese, smoked salt onion strings, bacon lardons

We ordered the burgers medium rare, as suggested by our waiter, but when we split the burgers, the patties looked more like medium, almost medium-well. I couldn’t really complain because the burgers were actually incredibly tender and juicy.

To my surprise, I liked the Manly burger a lot more than the Umami. Simply put, the Manly is a high end, refined version of a Western Bacon Cheeseburger. I really enjoyed the combination of smoky + sweet and the contrast in texture provided by the fried onion. Unfortunately, I was not impressed with the Umami Burger. The flavors just didn’t mesh well and I did not care for the roasted tomato or the Umami ketchup. Am I only one??!! I’ve read many reviews raving about the ketchup.

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Smushed Potatoes, $4.50
dutch yellow creamers, double fried

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Crispy Pig Ears, $7
parsley, lemon, brainaise

In addition to the burgers, we also ordered two sides. If you love potatoes as much as I do, you must order the smushed potatoes. Starchy, salty goodness! And if you’ve never had pig ears and are feeling adventurous, I recommend the crispy pig ears; they’re a great alternative to fries.

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FG&J, $8
foie gras mousse, forest berry jam, peanut (yeast)

I gotta say, even though UMAMI is a burger joint, I was most excited about dessert. I love foie gras and I love doughnuts so the FG&J sounded amazing on paper. After a lengthy wait (longer than we waited for our burgers), I took one bite and was immediately turned off. My taste buds were so confused – the delicate flavor of the foie gras mixed with the tartness of the jam just didn’t make sense in my mouth. It was such a shame because the doughnut itself was quite good!

Verdict: 3.5/5
UMAMIcatessen
852 S. Broadway,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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I eat: Bar + Kitchen

One of the benefits of working in Aerospace is the 9/80 schedule, which many companies are on. For those of you who don’t know, 9/80 = working 9 hours M-Th and 8 hours on alternating Fridays.

Yesterday was my off Friday. Yesterday was also the last day of dineLA.

On our day off, Henry and I braced ourselves for traffic and terrible parking as we ventured into DTLA for a dineLA lunch at Bar + Kitchen. I decided on lunch as opposed to dinner because I was more intrigued by the items on the lunch menu.

Bar + Kitchen is located in the lobby of the O Hotel. I found it interesting that there is no distinct separation between the lobby and the restaurant. The first level of the O Hotel truly epitomizes the open floor plan concept. Tables with half booth seating run along the side of the wall with the exception of a communal table (or table for a large party) situated behind the hotel’s front window.

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In addition to the dineLA menu, we also ordered mussels off of the regular Winter menu.

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PEI mussels fennel, saffron, tarragon aioli, grilled bread $9

The mussels were tender and I loved the spicy kick of the broth. Grilled bread with mussels is a must!!

Appetizers

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Crispy pork belly, pickled sunchokes, plum puree

Perfect execution! The pork belly was indeed crispy on the outside, but tender with the right amount of fattiness on the inside. I liked the play on sweet and sour from the plum puree and pickled sunchokes.

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Butternut squash & ginger soup, créme fraiche, spiced pepitas

Very comforting. Incorporating ginger into butternut squash soup never crossed my mind, but it really works! The ginger breaks up the sweetness of the butternut squash and adds depth of flavor. The spiced pepitas were a nice touch, providing a contrast in texture.

Entrées

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Shrimp & grits, spanish chorizo ragout

This was the dish I was most excited about, but it disappointed me. The ragout was so so so salty, even when mixed with the grits! If not for a heavy hand with the salt, this dish would have been great. At least they didn’t skimp on the shrimp (5).

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Mustard glazed kurobuta pork loin, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts

The pork loin was tender and the mustard glaze gave it amazing flavor. Note to self: must try to recreate this at home!

Desserts

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Warm chocolate & peanut butter cake, banana ice cream, peanut brittle

There wasn’t anything wrong with this dessert; it was just very ordinary.

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Butterscotch pot de créme, whipped cream, shortbread cookies

I preferred this over the chocolate/peanut butter cake because it light. My only complaint would be that the consistency of the custard was a little thicker than what I’m used to.

Given the short time frame of dineLA, my goal was to try two new restaurants.
Waterloo & City ✓
Bar + Kitchen ✓
Done! I’m very happy with my choices this time around. Best dineLA run so far!

Verdict: 3.5/5
Bar + Kitchen
O Hotel
819 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90017

For The Love of Ludo

Winner winner, chicken dinner!

I finally got the golden ticket!

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LudoBites 5.0 was amazing as expected. The food was delicious, albeit a little pricey (this meal was def not cheap), but totally worth it. My fave dish was the “Hot Foie Gras Dynamite, Raw Tuna, Lychee, Crackers”. I’m such a foie slut!

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Oh, and thank you to the 2 girls sitting next to us for giving me the cojones to talk to Ludo. Without them, this wouldn’t have happened…

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