August 26, 2015

Hoy Ka

As a LA native, I've learned that there are only two main reasons why one would ever choose to drive to/through Hollywood, LA: (1) to attend a show at the Hollywood Bowl (fun times) and (2) to be an obligatory good host for your out-of-state visitors (true friendship).  Every once in awhile, however, there is a third and valid reason to make the oft-frustrating trek: (3) to eat good food (because I'll drive almost anywhere for good food).

Take Hoy Ka, for example.  Hoy Ka is an authentic Thai restaurant located in what I consider to be the outskirts of Thai Town LA (west of the 101).

Appetizer: Pork Jerky -- deep-fried, sun-dried, marinated pork served with spicy house sauce -- $7.00

Papaya Salad -- shredded green papaya, green beans, tomatoes, dried shrimps seasoned with lime juice, chili and peanuts -- $8.50

Noodle Dish: Large Dry Hoy Ka Pork Noodles -- Noodles with ground pork, BBQ pork, pork meatballs, pork liver and fish cake -- $6.50

Noodle Dish: Individual portion of Rad Na -- stir-fried noodles with chicken, Chinese broccoli in soya bean gravy -- $8.00

Rice Dish: Pad Ka Prao -- stir-fried ground meat with basil, green beans, and red bell peppers, served over rice with a fried egg -- $8.50

I don't hesitate to eat out at Hoy Ka because their reasonable prices, good portions, and flavorful food, help me, at least for a moment, mute the negative markers of Hollywood (horrible parking, crowded streets full of tourists)*.  Also, Hoy Ka holds a special part in my heart because it was introduced to me by some good friends, with whom I got to share the delicious meal pictured above.  Thanks J&J.  :)

So if you're craving some honest, authentic Thai food and you happen to be in Hollywood or the wait at Ruen Pair is unjustifiable, know there is another great option on Sunset Blvd.

* My love/hate relationship with Hollywood is only slightly over-exaggerated.

Hoy-Ka Thai Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

cuisine: Thai
location: Hollywood, CA
hours: Daily, 11am-11:30pm
websites: { hoyka | yelp | facebook | instagram }
attire: Casual
price range: $10-$20
parking: Tiny parking lot right behind the restaurant and street meters (Carefully read all signs!)

BierBeisl Imbiss

Tucked away in a half-vacant plaza in downtown LA (aka, the historic Spring Arcade Building) is an awesome Austrian pub called BierBeisl Imbiss. It's awesome for several reasons.

(1) Solid Austrian representation with a modern twist.

(2) Cool decor with the exposed beams, open kitchen, and big windows.

(3) Enough steins and glasses to cover (or fill) every beer or wine.

(4) This glorious sight of freshly-baked house-made pastries.

Additional reasons why you'll want to check out BierBeisl Imbiss:

5) They're open from 8am-2am, every single day of the year (that's right, Mon-Sun, 365 days).

6) Happy hour is daily from 3pm-5pm and 10pm-2am.  HH deals include all sausages for $6, all sides for $4 and 10 oz. draft beers for $5.

7) Their location is next to the best gelato shop in LA (according to me): Gelateria Uli.  So clearly, a gelato stop is necessary post-meal. Guisados is also a neighbor.

8) While I haven't had the pleasure of spending substantial time in Austria, a good friend who has confirmed that BierBeisl indeed provides an authentic glimpse of beautiful Austria and their meaty, carby, and delicious Austrian fare.

9) It's casual, it's fun, it's hip.  Chef Bernhard Mairinger, you're doing a very good thing here.

10) Lastly, it's LA's only Austrian restaurant.

If these aren't good enough reasons, let the photos do the talking/ convincing:

A few pastries to kick off brunch, served on a sturdy wooden tray.

Not pictured is a cup of Einspaenner (double espresso with a splash of water, whipped cream, and cocoa powder).  What better way to start your morning than with great coffee and fresh, flaky, buttery pastries made in-house?

Apple & Grape Strudel.

Apricot & Goat Cheese Strudel (Marillenstrudel).

Sacher Torte -- a famous chocolate cake with an infamous history/ "torte war" - Wiki)

Sampler Bread Basket.

Sampler Sausage Platter comes with 3 sausages and mustard options.  

For our savory selection, we opted for the Sausage Sampler, which comes with 3 sausage of your choice, 3 types of mustard, fresh horseradish, and three types of bread (pretzel, baguette, and whole grain).

For our meats, we chose Kasekrainer (pork and beef infused with Swiss cheese), Hungarian Andouille (pork and beef with chili and paprika) and the Weisswurst (veal poached in milk, hence the white color).  All of the sausages were perfectly cooked and packed with just the right amount of flavor.  I can only imagine how tasty they'd be paired with a pint of Grieskirchner or their house BierBeisl.

You must be thinking, I didn't have any beer at BierBeisl?!  Not to worry, as I knew the minute I stepped into the restaurant that it would not be my last visit. Beer, schnitzel, and hot crispy fries will be in my next order, which I suspect will be placed very, very soon.  See you there.

cuisine: Austrian
location: Downtown LA in the Spring Arcade Building
hours: Daily, 8am-2am
links: { website | yelp | facebook | instagram }
parking: Street meters or nearby paid lots
public transpo: Pershing Square Metro Station [Red and Purple lines]
attire: Casual
price range: $10-$20
notes: BierBeisl Imbiss is the more casual sister to the once critically-acclaimed/ now-closed BierBeisl of Beverly Hills. {eater LA}  But BierBeisl is expected to re-open on the Westside with a haute cuisine restaurant, patisserie, and a beer garden.  Stay tuned.

littlemeats LA Sunday Supper

Often I'm asked the infamous questions, "What are your favorite restaurants in LA?" or "Where is the best _______ [insert food dish here] in LA?"  Equally I often respond with the following questions: "What cuisine?", "What neighborhood?", "Casual or upscale?"  The fact is, as the second-largest U.S. city, our City of Angels is brimming with people from different cultures, nationalities, and ethnicities.  A beautiful byproduct of such diversity is a city full of authentic cuisine, featuring a variety of countries and usually found in ethnic and cultural enclaves from the 1 to the 210, the 118 to the 605.

While I enjoy checking out a new hot spot or dining at a restaurant already dubbed as one of "LA's finest," what I love most about food is its innate power to move people to share, connect, and form lasting memories, some of which have nothing to do with the food.  So I was instantly intrigued when I learned of the Sunday Supper series hosted by littlemeatsla.

In a loft located near Lincoln Heights, which functions both as their home and workspace, the husband and wife team of Johanna and Robin Chang have coupled the concept of Sunday Supper (i.e., communing and breaking bread, prepared with love) with the passion, talent, creativity, and curiosity of Angelenos.  littlemeatsla is "a creative space based in Los Angeles that gives passionate artisans a platform to bring their ideas and products to the spotlight."  And the Sunday Supper series allows cooks and chefs to serve simple, but thoughtful dishes in a comforting ambiance.

I got to enjoy Stevie Cho's home-cooking during my visit.  The nearly three-hour meal consisted of four-courses including smoked salmon and avocado toast, pulled pork gyoza with pineapple tomatillo, 14-hour smoked Austin-style brisket, soy sauce pickles and sweet potato croquettes with a kimchi puree, and persimmon pudding with vanilla wafers.  Everything was delicious, but this omnivore especially enjoyed the fatty, but perfectly smoked beef brisket.  Make sure you save enough room! (Don't get greedy with the snacks/ appetizers).

Beautiful setting -- both on and around the communal table.

Cook and assembly line, hard at work.

Smoked salmon & avocado toast to snack on.

Red onion topping to mix things up.

Appetizer: Pulled Pork Gyoza with Pineapple Tomatillo

A clear example of a LA fusion dish, showcasing Korean/ Japanese, Mexican, and a little Texan cuisine.

A welcome and intro by our chef for the night, Stevie Cho

Side: Sweet Potato Croquette with Kimchi puree.

Side: Cucumbers and Onions, pickled in soy sauce.

Careful carving.  Also, what's BBQ without Wonder Bread?

Main: Sliced 14-hour Slow Smoked Beef Brisket atop a slice of fluffy Wonder Bread.  Yes.

Let's eat! 

Dessert: Hachiya Persimmon Pudding w/ Nilla Wafers. 

Well Done, Team.

Food was great, decor was on-point, but the company was best.  I got to chat with a hotel manager, an engineer, a stay-at-home mom, a photographer, a fashion designer, and a visitor from NYC.  There wasn't a single lawyer in the room (which was awesome)!  In that moment, for a few hours, with a cross-section of LA, was the beauty of community.  If you're interested in experiencing such communal dining, let me know -- we'll go!

Some other things to know:
  • Suggested $20-$25 donation to support their cause and make Sunday Suppers sustainable (but any amount accepted).  Payment via cash or Cover only.
  • BYOBeverage.  Cool disposable stemless wine glasses provided.
  • In true family dinner spirit, you may be asked to assist in small serving/ cleaning tasks.
  • Free street parking!
  • If it's important to you, there are plenty of Instagram-worthy moments.
  • There are two friendly cockapoo's roaming around.  
  • First come, first served basis. Space is limited!
  • Email for all inquiries about hosting your next event to RSVP for the next available Sunday Supper.


Stay hungry for food; hungry for Life.