Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hiro's Blog Mentioned in LA Times

My humble blog site was mentioned in the online section of the LA Times:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tito's Tacos

"I love Tito's Tacos, you love Tito's too..."
What is it about jingles that hook someone in?  If you ever find yourself at Tito's Tacos, you'll no doubt find a few long lines that are reminiscent of cafeteria lines in junior high.  You can smell the masa from a block away.  The smell teases you until you finally get to order.  Here, their tacos are meat tacos on fried shells, with or without shredded cheese.  Equally good are their meat burritos and tamales.  Their menu is simple, and people come back for more.  They're open 'till 11:30pm.

Tito's Tacos
11222 Washington Place
Culver City

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Beer Can Chicken aka Beer Butt Chicken

Beer Can Chicken:
4 lb Whole Chicken (this one was about 4 1/2 lbs)
12 oz can of beer
Canola Oil (a light coating to help make the seasonings stick to the skin)
2 tablespoons each - salt/pepper
Herbs and seasonings of your choice

Be sure to empty out 1/2 the contents of beer first. Shove the can up the butt of the chicken. The can will help stabilize the chicken as it cooks upright. More importantly, the beer will steam the chicken from the inside.

Be sure to remove the gizzards and other stuff in the cavities.

Cook at 325, about 25 minutes per pound. BE SURE TO USE A MEAT THERMOMETER!!

Finished product. I also made some mushroom stuffing to go with the chicken.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's a pork fat thing

Ramen has always been a great comfort meal for me. Nothing beats noodles drenched in a pork broth garnished with stewed pork. Santouka is doing it right by serving a very hearty and rich Ramen. And the chashu is phenomenal. As Emeril says, "it's a pork fat thing."

Speaking of Emeril, where's that guy been these days? He used to be on Food Network 24/7. The younger personalities seemed to have pushed him aside. What's up with that? Say what you will about Emeril, but he made Food Network what it is today.

Inside Mitsuwa Marketplace
3760 S. Centinela Ave.


What are we tipping at restaurants these days? 15%? 20% Has the recent economic recession changed our usual tipping habits? Do we leave no tip when the service is bad? Do we ever put money in tip jars at Starbucks?

As a rule of thumb, I generally tip in the 20-25% range. Service is bad, I still leave a minimum of 15%.

And sometimes when they have me sign my receipt with a pen with a large plastic flower on it, I find myself conflicted on how much I tip I should leave.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pho real? Pho Show

A Pho place near my house. I decided to give this place a shot, despite its corny play on words.

This section in Wikipedia made me laugh:

"A popular naming convention for phở restaurants in some localities seems to be placing a number in the name (e.g. Phở 24, whose name refers to the use of 24 ingredients, and the 24 hours required to prepare the broth).[3] There are four differing stories as to how this practice came about:

* The restaurant was opened in the year indicated in the name.
* The owner of the restaurant was a restaurateur in Vietnam before immigrating, and their restaurant was located on that street number.
* Much in the same way that one would see multiple burger restaurants with a number after them (e.g., John's #2), the number is simply present to prevent duplication in naming.
* According to the owner of a phở restaurant in Maryland, the number is one that is considered "lucky" by the owner.

Additionally, some restaurant names are unintentional (or in some cases, intentional) forms of word play on phở and fuck, as in "Phở Kim Long", "What the Phở?" and even "Phở King"."

I was very impressed with the spring rolls. They were perfectly fried. The Pho on the other hand, was a bit bland for my taste, but still very passable, partly because of the convenience factor. The staff was very attentive. On the westside, I personally prefer Pho 99 on Wilshire, but I'm definitely glad there's a new Pho place.

Pho Show
4349 Sepulveda Blvd.
Culver City

My obsession with fish taco - Part III

Part III of my quest to find fish tacos in West LA takes me to gr/eats, a little known restaurant on Sawtelle, owned by and situated next door to Giant Robot (if you're a fan of Japanese pop culture, you have to check it out).

This fish taco is not fried, but still tasty. They use ono fish (instead of the traditional cod variety). Fish was well seasoned, and the rice and beans were fantastic.

Check out their eclectic menu).

2050 Sawtelle Blvd.
West LA

My obsession with fish taco - Part II

In Part II in my series on the beloved fish taco, I make a visit to the 'ol Brentwood Country Mart. Patrons often visit Country Mart for rotisserie chicken and ribs at Reddi Chick (I'll do a post on that place soon) and the mac & cheese and chocolate chip cookies at City Bakery. Frida Taqueria is a fairly new joint there, and boy am I glad this place exists.

Frida Taqueria @ The Brentwood Country Mart
225 26th Street

My obsession with fish taco - Part I

There's nothing like a nice crispy fried fish taco. El Super Taco on Santa Monica Blvd (just east of Bundy) makes excellent fried fish tacos (Ensenada style). I also recently came across a great food blog devoted to tacos in LA called The Great Taco Hunt. Check out
Here's the blogger's review of El Super Taco.

El Super Taco
11923 Santa Monica Blvd.

Just my luck

My fortune cookie had no fortune inside. Does this mean I'm cursed?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Art of Boiling Your Own Dinner

Cleverly named for the boiling point of water, Mizu 212 serves a traditional Shabu-Shabu meal. Basically, they bring you raw meat (beef is the preferred meat, though I went with the pork this time around), raw vegetables, and other things that you can boil in water (udon noodles, shumai, etc.)

I loved the scene in "Lost in Translation" where Bill Murray says, "What kind of restaurant makes you cook your own food?" when he refers to the Shabu-Shabu restaurant from earlier in the day.

Mizu 212
2000 Sawtelle Blvd.

Asian-Ya Soy Boy

I heard they recently revamped their menu, so I thought I'd check it out. Asian-Ya serves different Asian cuisines, but it's primarily Korean. They're known for their soontofu. I'm weary of restaurants with quirky names, but I have to say their food is pretty good. I looked at their revamped menu, and I was a bit overwhelmed.

I finally decided to go with their Jalapeno Curry. Next time, I will try one of their ramens and see how it stacks up to the other ramens on the westside.

Asian-Ya Soy Boy
11660 Gateway Blvd.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Needless to say I didn't buy this...

It's a really nice looking bottle of water, but unless it gives me super powers, I won't be purchasing it anytime soon. I elected for a simple bottle Aquafina for $1.49.

I looked up Aquadeco's website and I get the feeling that they're more excited to sell you on their nice looking glass bottles than the water itself. Even more ridiculous are the accessories for the water. They have decorative sacks (a la Crown Royal) and lighted display stands that make the bottles look pretty. The website says, "more romantic than candlelight!"

Monday, June 09, 2008

Miso Salad at CPK

Famous for their ecclectic California-style pizzas, California Pizza Kitchen (or CPK) serves some great salads as well. I tried the Miso Salad (with shrimp and blue crab, few bucks extra, but well worth it).

California Pizza Kitchen (many locations)
11677 San Vicente Blvd.

Blue Marlin

West LA is home to many Japanese inspired French restaurants. Sawtelle Kitchen is one. Some would consider Chaya to be in that category. I'm a big fan of Blue Marlin. Blue Marlin serves amazing pasta and seafood gratin dishes as well as some classic Japanese dishes like curry and Om-Rice (Omelet covered fried rice, usually served with ketchup or demi-glace).

Try their Spaghetti with Pollack Roe (I did a post on this a while back) or their sea urchin over rice.

Om-Rice with shrimp and chili sauce

Curry with crab creme croquettes

Hot pot lunch special (changes daily)

Blue Marlin
2121 Sawtelle Blvd.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Save the taco trucks!!!!

My buddy Pete just informed me that there's a new legislation that now requires vending trucks to change location every hour. The penalty is a misdemeanor charge of $1,000 and/or jail time.

I personally am grateful for the services provided by hard working taco truck vendors. I frequently visit them late at night on Venice Blvd (there's a few of them near the Mar Vista Bowling Lanes). They provide inexpensive and hearty meals for hard working LA citizens.

Please take the time to write to the LA County Supervisor's office or go to

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Chameh - Korean Melon

The Chameh tastes like a mild cantaloupe. The Chameh is best served chilled. Cut in half, discard seeds in the middle, and enjoy with a serrated spoon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bloody Mary and her cousins

Some interesting variations on the Bloody Mary:

Bloody Geisha - sake replaces vodka
Bloody Maria - Tequila replaces vodka
Brown Mary - Whiskey replaces vodka
Bloody Maureen - Guiness replaces vodka

I love a good Bloody Mary. People often call it a nice hangover cure. I had one at Casa Del Mar. Theirs is called a "Mary & Ginger," a play on the names of the Gilligan's Isle women. It's made with Hangar One Wasabi Vodka, Gari (ginger), and Bloody Mary mix.

Casa Del Mar hotel bar
1910 Ocean Way
Santa Monica