Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Relaxing Eats Over Labor Day Weekend: Verdugo Bar and Daikokuya (No. 206)

Seems like this Labor Day the blogger brigade is out in full force, whether marching into mini-vacays or assaulting the multi-event extravaganza known collectively as The Taste. As for me, I had a pretty low-key time around town, more by coincidence than anything else, having no idea September and Labor Day weekend would come so soon! In fact, I didn't even know about the extra day off till the Wednesday before when my co-workers started chatting up about their holiday plans.

Since I missed the press pass application deadline for The Taste & not feeling spontaneous enough for a quick trip on the fly (don't even want to imagine all the traffic & lodging nightmares,) I spent most of the three days just lazying around my place. But it wasn't completely without its share of foodventures . . .

Goat Cheese-Honey Truffle
On Saturday, I helped out my friend for her design school project. She approached me about doing a cooking demo show so I offered to whip up something that's sophisticated-sounded but oh-so-simple to make: goat cheese-honey truffles, which has only five ingredients and takes about 15 minutes of hands-on prep time.
Callebaut Chocolate Chopped
Of course, it got a little more complicated when we have to do multiple takes (plus cleanup & resetting the kitchen between each take,) and I have to keep talking on-camera to avoid that awkward silence (and I hope they can find & edit in some background music during that dead time.) But it was definitely a fun experience (moreso since I brought a bottle of Prosecco for the occasion.)
Jackfruit Hoagie in Peach BBQ Sauce
Sunday, I decided to make a long overdue re-visit to Verdugo Bar, where The Hot Knives duo has a "Gnosh Pit" vegan BBQ going on -- with $5 BBQ'd Jackfruit Hoagies, Po' Boys with oyster mushrooms, and summer succotash + jalapeno cornbread. I only had stomach space for the two sandwiches, and they were great! I liked the po' boy better, with its crispy, savory mushrooms and an indulgent radish remoulade (or should I say vegmoulade?) -- totally didn't miss the meat! The lightly-dressed kale slaw was also a nice, refreshing change from its cabbage-y cousin.
New Belgium's Kick @ Verdugo Bar
And as to be expected, Verdugo bar put out an awesome beer list for the occasion -- I loved the numerous fruity brews they had going on (e.g. New Belgium's Kick Cranberry-Pumpkin Ale, Wandering Aengus' Anthem Cherry Cider, Hangar 24's Polycot Apricot-Loaded Summer Wheat,) perfect for an afternoon picnic on their patio. As my friend Andy noted, this definitely filled the void left behind by Pure Luck (and fortunately, Verdugo will be doing a vegan shindig of some sort the first Sundays of each month!)

On Labor Day itself, I actually labored through the day . . . taking care of chores in & around my place, doing a bit of grocery shopping for my office & at-home meals and putting in some extra exercise in anticipation of the coming week's indulgences (starting with Edison's Radio Room Revival tonight!) But I did squeeze in some time to check out Daikokuya's Arcadia outpost . . .
Daikokuya stall @ Arcadia
Yay for being much closer than the other locations, and even more bonus points for NO LINES. However, I wasn't feeling so hot about smelling fare from the adjacent food court stalls (namely, stinky tofu) it's in. Also, the food court itself is pretty depressing, bordering on gross (quite a few tables have food trays LONG overdue for a bussing.)
Half-Ramen / Half-Oyakodon Set
I also felt iffy about the food itself. I got the half-ramen/half-oyakadon combination with extra negi (a perfect portion size, since downtown LA's full-sized ramen & half-rice bowl option is always too much food!) The ramen proved to be as solid as the other Daikokuyas' (which is to say -- decent, tho not super-stoked) but the oyakodon was lackluster with dried out chicken & too little donburi sauce in proportion to the rice. But given its proximity & ease of access, I'll probably go back and give their other half-ramen/half-bowl combos another try . . . maybe to-go this time so I won't be thinking "when did I order this stinky tofu donburi?"

And so went my Labor Day weekend . . . lazy hazy, easy breezy and much-welcomed recharge after an eventful summer. Now I'm ready to tackle Fall and all that it has to offer (maybe something from this crazy list of LA Food & Wine events?)

A few more photos on flickr here

Verdugo Bar
3408 Verdugo Road
Los Angeles, 90065.
(323) 257-3408

Daikokuya Arcadia
1220 S. Golden West Ave (Inside of President Square Food Court)
Arcadia, 91007
(626) 254-0127


TreasureLA said...

BBQ'd Jackfruit Hoagies? YES PLEASE.

Nastassia (Let Me Eat Cake) said...

glad you enjoyed your weekend! so sad i missed hot knives at Verdugo that hoagie looks GOOD!

gourmetpigs said...

Ooh, camera? You'll be posting that video, yes?


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