Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Quick Bite Highlights @ Umami Burger, Mendocino Farms, Drago Centro & VegeUSA

Just trying to jumpstart into a regular blogging routine again, so gonna attempt a weekly habit of recapping favorite bites that I've Instagrammed from the past week or so . . .

Umami's Greenbird & Smushed Potatoes
At Umami Burger in Los Feliz, I lunched on one of my favorite turkey burgers in town, the Greenbird that's piled high with assorted green toppings: butter lettuce, sprouts, green goddess dressing, crushed avocado and even a ever-so-slightly "green cheese" (which I found out from LA Weekly is a combo of more green goddess with ricotta & goat cheeses.) I love that the burger isn't dried out or too crumbly, and the assorted toppings gave it an interesting flavor and texture (I even appreciated the green cheese, even though I normally prefer a more melty cheese for a burger.)

The Smushed Potatoes with a smear of aioli were great too, love the contrast between the salty crisp skin and the buttery, fluffy interior. Alas, this was a side meant for sharing and I couldn't finish this on my own!
Mendo Farms
While working in downtown LA, I lunched at Mendocino Farms with a very yellow meal of Turkey Leg Confit sandwich with a side of Curried "That's a Choke" Couscous deli salad. The sandwich was messy (the housemade "yellow rooster sauce" was pretty watery) but worth it, giving a subtle heat to the juicy pulled turkey leg and providing some balance against the papaya slaw and pickled red onions. Of course, I also asked for a side of their jalapeno relish, which kicked up the heat factor a hundred times with repeated dipping.

The side deli salad was also great, but again, too much food for me to handle after the sandwich. So I'm thankful it already came in a to-go container, which allowed me to convert it into a breakfast (topped with diced avocados) the morning after.
Prosecco & Oysters
While debating dinner plans that same day, I also made a stop by Drago Centro, which has one of the best bar menu deals in downtown (and possibly LA) with a variety of tasty bar bites and drinks on their all day long happy hour menu. Normally I wouldn't give a second thought about dining at Drago but after the Mendocino carb fest for lunch, I couldn't bring myself to indulge in pasta here (and not ordering it would've been sacrilegious!)

So I indulged on a simple snack four of Crystal Point Oysters topped with rhubarb "caviar", 4 for $5, and a glass of Le Vigne de Alice Prosecco. I was also lucky enough to taste some of their Spring cocktail experimentations, but will keep that hush hush until they're perfected for debut later this month. (Ok, maybe I'm not so great at keeping a secret, particularly after a glass of bubbly.)
Vegan Tacos
And lastly, this past Friday I had a chance to finally check out VegeUSA, a vegetarian marketplace with a small cafĂ© attached. I went for a trio of their Vegan Tacos ($1.90 each) and even though I'm not big on faux meats, the "fish" taco had surprisingly great flavor and texture -- might've even fooled me for real fish if not for its perfect slice shape, even after a deep-fry.

I wasn't so hot about the other two fake meats ("spareribs" and "BBQ chicken") but the fish taco is promising enough that I'll give some of their other dishes a try (definitely curious about their faux-crabcake salad), and shop from their market as well -- particularly stockpiling on their frozen vegetarian steamed buns!


Offbeat Follies said...

While I'm overall not big on Umami burgers, I am in looooooove with their smushed potatoes and that heavenly aioli!

Elise Vu said...

Love Umami! I'm always there! I'd like to invite you to a foodie event in Huntington Beach! Is there an email address I can reach you at? My email address is elisevu@dishcrawl.com


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