Thrillist’s ‘Fest of the Best’

Villian's Fest of the Best exterior

It’s the end of the year and you know what that means….time to celebrate the best of 2014! This year, I was invited to Thrillist’s ‘Fest of the Best’ event in Williamsburg. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know half of the restaurants there but I was really glad I went.

Spoiler alert
The winning best of the best restaurant went to Bacchanal. Their confit lamb shoulder was amazing……it was so amazing that I went back for seconds.
Bacchanal wins

A close second for me were BLT Fish with their raw oysters topped with wasabi peas and nori and French Louie with their snails Merchand de Vin with Falls Mill grits. Some other great dishes that I can imagine myself eating over and over again where Emily’s smoked chicken and some really tasty sunchocke chips, Seoul Chicken’s mini fried chicken sandwiches served in Kings Hawaiian rolls (man oh man, I grew up eating Kings Hawaiian bread), Avo Toast by Two Hands because avocado toasts are so in right now, and surprisingly the warm grain and kale salad from Randolph.

Thanks Thrillist for a damn good Saturday afternoon (even though it was pouring rain) and some really great foods. Congrats to all participating restaurants for being part the best of 2014.

Photos courtesy of Kimberly Mufferi

Roberta’s Takeout & Delivery

Roberta's Take-Out

It’s not unusual to have a 2 hour wait time for Roberta’s now. I have come to accept this. It’s a lot easier to deal with the wait with the bar in the back. Also they are offering the full menu in the garden, which you order at the bar and grab a seat at any of the tables.

But! Roberta’s recently opened a takeout & delivery spot next to the restaurant. There’s no line, no waiting (except for your pizza to be made), and the great thing is, you can take it over to their garden. Besides a full pizza menu, they also have baked goods, sandwiches, fried chicken, and breakfast items. This might actually make me go to Roberta’s more often…at least I have to go back for the fried chicken.

Roberta’s, 261 Moore St. Bushwick, Brooklyn

LA Eats: Guisados

Guisados

Of course a trip back home wouldn’t be complete without eating some tacos. Few people and couple websites pointed me to Guisados. They recently opened one in DTLA and lucky for me, I was there to check out the Big Gay Ice Cream LA shop.

I guess I should’ve done my homework before going to Guisados. Apparently, the better deal for first timers is to get the platter. It’s a platter of 6 small tacos which is great to get a feel of the place. Instead, I walked up to the counter and got a steak picado, chicken mole poblano, fish, and chicharron.

Let’s start with the not so great and meh. I did not like the chicharron (pork rinds simmered in chile verde) taco. When you think chicharron, you think crunchy and crispy. The chicharron at Guisados was soft because if I had done my homework again I would’ve known that they basically braise and simmer all their taco fillings. Slippery pork skin is not good eats to me. The pescado (grilled fish) taco was alright. I really think that, when it comes to fish tacos, the fish needs to be fried or else it sort of gets lost.

Oh man, but the steak picado and chicken mole poblano tacos were pretty darn good. Great flavors and texture, could’ve eaten 2 more of those.

The corn tortillas were tasty and thicker than the usual tortillas and I really liked that.

My sister told me that they have beef tendon tacos which I want to try, next time I’m home.

Guisados, locations in DTLA, Boyle Heights, and Echo Park Los Angeles

LA Eats: Petit Trois

Petit Trois

You know the phrase “cuts like butter?” Well I used it to describe the steak I was eating, to my friend while we were having lunch at Petit Trois. Oh wow..indeed.

Petit Trois

The steak frites ($33), which comes with an onion soup sauce, is major delicious. The steak was tender and rare and fatty. I also could’ve just eaten the free bread and butter, toasty and soft. My friend ordered the croque monsieur which was really good and really heavy. We also shared a plate of the salmon rillettes that I happily slathered it over the bread and butter.

I hear it gets crazy crowded during dinner service so if you have a chance, go for lunch.

Petit Trois 718 N. Highland Ave, Los Angeles

Pizza At Houdini Kitchen Laboratory

margherita

Ridgewood is an interesting neighborhood. Technically in Queens, it’s right on the border of where Queens and Brooklyn meet. I was last there for Bun-Ker, which is hard to get to by train. Much easier is Houdini Kitchen Laboratory, a new pizza place that’s been getting a lot of buzz on all the food blogs lately. I stopped by on a weekday for lunch, and found the place tucked away next to a loading dock. They have a really beautiful, airy and open dining room, as well as an outdoor patio. I sat on the patio, with a view of that loading dock, and I ordered the Margherita. You may have noticed that the pizza crust has none of the char that I love so much. Instead, the crust is flatter and more like a regular pizza-shop pizza. The pie was still good; a little wet in the center, like a traditional Neapolitan pizza, with a nice balance of sauce and cheese. The sauce could have used a little more salt, but after eating the first slice I doused the rest of the pie in some of the chile oil provided on the table and that helped some too. While I enjoyed the pizza at Houdini, I wouldn’t call the Margherita destination-worthy. If I lived in the neighborhood I’d probably be there pretty often, but I have better, closer options right here.

Houdini Kitchen Laboratory — 1563 Decatur St, Ridgewood

Prince St. Pizza Is Worth The Trek To SoHo

Prince St Pizza

Happy Friday! I suggest leaving work early and head straight down to SoHo for a slice of this incredibly deliciousness at Prince St. Pizza. A Paulie Gee approved pizza joint, it is situated in the heart of SoHo. If you have live in NY long enough, you’ll probably wonder…..a great slice joint in SoHo?! Yes! The corner slice, $3.95, that I got (the Spicy Spring) had a nice crispy bottom and gooey top. The crust was chewy and light and who can say no to those cute looking slices of pepperoni.

Also, I love the corner slice. Are you a fan of the corner slice, if so…we’re best buds!

A great way to start the weekend.

Prince St. Pizza 27 Prince St, SoHo

Vegetarian Ramen At Momofuku Noodle Bar

hozon ramen

As a vegetarian, I’ve never really felt the urge to dine at any of the Momofuku restaurants. When he first started out David Chang made it pretty clear he didn’t care much about vegetarians, though over the past few years that’s started to change. Then I read this article on Eater about a new vegetarian ramen they’ve been serving at Momofuku Noodle Bar with Hozon broth. Hozon is a local company, also owned by Momofuku’s David Chang, that’s been making fermented products similar to miso, and at the Noodle Bar they’ve made it into a ramen broth. It’s not as good as the both at Chuko, but it’s a great bowl of noodles. The broth is salty and rich, and is studded with fried chickpeas, crispy crackers, and sauteed kale for texture. Better still were the noodles; so firm they almost snapped between my teeth, and with an almost buttery aftertaste. I’m glad I finally gave Momofuku Noodle Bar a chance, as I can now cross that one off my list of NYC restaurant experiences.

Momofuku Noodle Bar — 171 1st Ave, NYC