June 15, 2015

Humble Potato

With a second location which opened less than two months ago in Culver City [the original location being Westchester], you'd think Humble Potato is out-growing its humble ways.  The good news is that it's not, so we can continue to love Humble Potato in all of its cutesy hipster glory.

Cute + hip.  But importantly, does it serve good food?... yes.

Humble Potato is a casual, Japanese-fusion "hambuga" & hot dog shop that "introduce[s] savory Japanese flavor twists to American comfort food."  What does that even mean?  Check it.

Take the classic American hamburger, hot dog, and fries and add some curry, ginger, yuzu, and other Japanese spices to add some Asian flair.  It's like when I was a kid, I'd add gochujang on my cheeseburger.  Too bad I didn't/ don't have enough business savvy to open up a Korean-style hamburger place (I'd call it Simple Yam).  But lucky for us all, we have Humble Potato.

Kare Fries -- Sunny egg and Japanese curry with carrots over crispy potatoes -- $6

The Kare Fries are kind of similar to poutine sans the cheese, but with thicker gravy/ curry and a sunny-side egg.  A concept that is delicious, mind you.  And the sweet curry compliments the crispy fries quite well.  These will go fast.

Sweet Potato Fries -- $5

Jack'd -- 1/4-lb Angus beef patty, melted pepper jack cheese, caramelized onion, applewood-smoked bacon, avocado, soy-pickled jalapenos on a sweet brioche bun -- $11

Battle Royale -- 1/4-lb Angus beef patty, melted cheddar, caramelized onion, smoked bacon, garlic jam, romaine, tomato, avocado, Japanese spices, spicy HP sauce, and sunny egg on a buttered brioche -- $13

With so many different ingredients, trying to eat the burger without creating a mess will be a true challenge.  Messy or even messier, it was a pleasant surprise to learn that one particular ingredient didn't really overpower the other, complimenting each other quite well to create a satisfying party in your belly.  If you prefer your burger a particular way (i.e., meat cooked well-done), don't be afraid to let them know.

Runny. Egg. Yolk. -- gross to some, but fantastic to me.

For those who want to stick to more simpler dishes, try the Hambaga, their signature burger with less accroutrements, or the classic Japanese chicken katsu with kare.  For the vegetarians, there are a couple (literally, two) salad options, fried potato served in four different ways, and a Japanese-style grilled cheese that includes a hash-brown crisp (carbs, dairy, carbs).

Unlike its Westchester sibling, the Culver City location is now serving up a wide variety of beers (Ichiban and Sapporo on tap!), wine and sake to help wash down every bite of your tasty meal.

Plus, Humble Potato's haiku-esque vision/ mission/ pledge is wholly worth supporting:

Simple Food.  Happy People.
Humble Lasts. Hunger Shouldn't.
Where There's Good Will,
There's Good Eats.
Eat Well.  Feel Good.
Live Humbly.

Click to add a blog post for Humble Potato on Zomato

cuisine: Japanese-American Fusion
location: Culver City
websites: { HP | yelp | facebook | twitter | instagram }
attire: Casual
price: $10-15
notes: Good for brunch, good for lunch, good for dinner and good for late-night/anytime snacks.

May 25, 2015

Madera Kitchen

Just like how Manhattanites avoid Times Square, Angelenos avoid Hollywood.  Not because Hollywood is void of interesting characters (far from it), but because its high density of tourists make street-navigating frustrating and parking near impossible.  On the rare occasion that I make a trek to Hwood, it's for a movie at the ArcLight Dome or a show at the Pantages or the Hollywood Bowl.

Yet Madera Kitchen, a restaurant/ event venue located in the heart of Hollywood, manages to stay away from the maddening fray.  In fact, Madera provides an atmosphere that is akin to the laid-back style of West LA.  With abundant natural lighting, open patio space, and cool beats playing in the background, this is a perfect place to enjoy a casual Sunday brunch balanced by the right amount of people-watching.

The eclectic indoor and outdoor design & decor immediately sets this place apart from any other restaurant.  Each "room" in the restaurant creates a vibe slightly different from the other, but is overall welcoming.  Clearly, the artistic interior designers of this restaurant know what they're doing.

The Brunch menu, now available on Saturdays and Sundays, is also heavenly.  Amazing combinations of fresh ingredients coupled with very reasonable prices = a memorable meal indeed.

Plus, bottomless mimosas for $14!

The good news?  The food is as good as it sounds on the menu.

Blueberry pancakes, squash blossom frittata, bfast sandwich.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes w/ orange curd, berries, and whipped creme fraiche -- $11

Looks decadent, no?  Though drenched in orange curd and topped with a too generous portion of creme fraiche, the pancakes were surprisingly fluffy and not overly dense.  This was a sweet touch to our predominantly savory meal.

Open-face Breakfast Sandwich -- bacon, eggs over easy, cheddar, jalapeno aioli, arugula, tomato -- $10

For just $10, you can appease your appetite with this beauty of a breakfast sandwich.  All of the contributing players are great on their own (hi, bacon), but combine them atop a toasted brioche and you have yourself a very satisfying dish.

Squash Blossom Frittata w/ cherry tomato, zucchini, smoked mozzarella, basil pesto -- $12

Non-meat eaters, rejoice because there is a delicious option for you too.  Neither dry or over-cooked (both of which frittatas can easily be), this veggie frittata packs in a lot more flavor than expected.  Win.

Chicken & Waffles -- buttermilk waffle, herb fried chicken breast, spicy maple syrup -- $13

Ah, yes.  Fried chicken & waffles -- the epitome of comfort food and the ultimate combo of sweet and salty.  Some may prefer Roscoe's, but the crispy, still juicy boneless chicken breast served atop buttery waffles and with a spicy syrup was a highlight to this meal.

In addition to a great brunch, Madera has happy hour from 5:30-8pm.  Yes, 8!  Plus, the happy hour menu features some special deals depending on the day of the week ($2 sliders Tuesdays, $1 oysters Wednesdays, $5 ceviche Thursdays and $5 flatbread Fridays).  Madera, you're definitely tempting me to frequent Hollywood more than I imagined.  See you again soon!

Madera Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

cuisine: American
location: Hollywood
brunch hours: Sat & Sun: 10am-4pm
happy hour(s): Tues-Fri: 5:30pm-8pm
websites: { MK | yelp | facebook | twitter | instagram }
price: $10-$25
attire: Casual
parking: Street meters (read the signs)

April 06, 2015


Guys, take a look at this breakfast burrito.  Doesn't it look mouthwateringly delectable?  Lucky for you, these looks aren't lying.

When I first went to Cofax, it immediately thought of the Dodgers.  It was an odd reference at first, considering Cofax is located on Fairfax, near WeHo and not near Dodgers Stadium.  But it's great to know that the Dodgers get love even west of La Brea Ave.

Proudly brewing Stumptown coffee.

Chorizo Burrito with smoked home fries, scrambled egg, crunchy tortilla stripes (INSIDE THE BURRITO), all wrapped in a warm tortilla -- $7.

Growing up in LA, I've had my share of breakfast burritos (Corner Cottage, Lucky Boy, Jinky's).  But what sets Cofax apart from the rest, at least for me, is the crunchiness found both outside (grilled tortilla) and inside (crispy tortilla strips) the burrito.  The melted cheese melds the fluffy eggs, spicy chorizo, and smoked home fries all together like an encore-demanding concert.  Game-changer.

I also asked for red salsa inside for an inviting spice kick.

And fresh creamy avocado too, of course.

Blue & white; breakfast burrito & coffee.  The perfect combo, especially when you pair Cofax with Stumptown.  In addition to burritos, Cofax has Donut Snob donuts, and in clear LA fashion, kombucha and select pressed juices.

If you like Golden State (burgers) and Bludso's (Texas BBQ), you'll likely enjoy Cofax because they're owned by the same folks.  They're doing a mighty good thing.

Cofax Coffee on Urbanspoon

cuisine: Breakfast
location: Fairfax
hours: M-Sat: 7am-6pm; Sun: 7am-5pm
websites: {Cofax | yelp | facebook | twitter | instagram }
attire: Casual
parking: Street meters
price: ~$10
notes: Bfast for champions.
other reviews: LAist | LAMag | The Actor's Diet