The Cannibal Butcher Shop & The Expo Line

Everything Pretzel at The Cannibal

The Expo Line’s westward expansion to the Pacific Ocean is complete. Starting at noon today, the Expo Line will have seven new stops and a new endpoint at 4th Street in Santa Monica. Another exciting development for the Expo Line is The Cannibal. (How’s that for a segue?)

This butcher shop-slash-restaurant, steps from the Culver City train stop, is a recent transplant from New York City, and this week the butcher shop portion, headed by skilled butcher Tony Suarez, opened for business, selling cuts of meat, sausages and charcuterie, and sandwiches. The restaurant is set to open next week or the week after at the latest.

The sandwich menu at the butcher shop has some classics, like turkey, Italian, Cubano, but also interesting combinations like a roast pork in General Tso’s sauce with dry chile peppers and broccoli, like you’d actually find in a General Tso’s Chicken back East. The meatball sandwich has a kimchi marinara, and the Cubano is pressed within an inch of its life but packed with flavor (and pig’s head terrine)!

The Cannibal is named after Eddy “The Cannibal” Merckx, and Christian Pappanicholas, co-owner with front-of-house veteran Cory Lane, is an avid cyclist. There are cycling supplies in the butcher shop, and each day a different Musette Bag Lunch, which includes a sandwich, side, and fruit or cookie, is available for cyclists (and everyone) to pick up for $15. For a lighter to-go snack, check out their Everything Pretzel!

There have been some early criticisms of The Cannibal on Yelp and on Chowhound-replacement board Food Talk Central, including of the choice of bread being the softer Amoroso’s-style rolls for all their sandwiches as opposed to baguettes or other styles for different ones, and the restaurant is taking in all the feedback. Expect some tweaks and fine-tuning as they settle into the space and the L.A. food community.

As mentioned, the restaurant, helmed by chefs Francis Derby and Jude Parra, is set to open in a week or two and should be worth checking out. You can get to The Cannibal from DTLA in a half hour, or from the Pacific Ocean in under 20 minutes, using the Expo Line, and you don’t have to deal with parking! Or use the bike lines built along the train tracks. Eventually cyclists will be able to score some discounts, including possibly free beer, for showing up in their gear. Speaking of beer, expect hundreds of craft beers curated by beverage director Julian Kurland.  Should be fun!

The Cannibal
8850 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 838-2783
http://thecanniballa.com/

20. May 2016 by The Offalo
Categories: American, Beer, Butcher Shop, Charcuterie, Lunch, Offal, Rotisserie, Sandwich | Leave a comment

Hanjip

Tomakhawk Steak at Hanjip in Culver City

Koreatown is one of the most densely populated and diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles and is home to hundreds of Korean restaurants, ranging from small hole-in-the-wall shops to giant banquet halls.  If you want great Korean food in LA, you’d generally be wasting your time looking for it outside of Koreatown.  But one relatively new Korean barbecue restaurant dares to be just as good as the better KBBQ joints in K-Town, and in Culver City no less.

Hanjip is the passion project of chef Chris Oh of Seoul Sausage fame, partnering with respected restaurateurs Stephane Bombet and Francois Renaud, both also partners in Terrine and Viviane, among other properties.  It has the traditional popular selection of meat, from galbi (short ribs) and bulgogi (marinated sliced ribeye), to samgyupsal (pork belly) and–my favorite–hangjungsal (pork jowl/neck/collar).  It also has some interesting sides, like uni steamed egg, bone marrow corn cheese, and a soju cocktail served out of a hollowed out cut watermelon with Pop Rocks and Fruity Pebbles.

I’ve been to Hanjip twice for dinner and once for lunch since it opened last November, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed with it.  To start, the banchan is diverse and excellent, as are the side dishes.  While I’ve yet to try the uni steamed egg, the kimchi fried rice is tasty, and the seafood pancake is sizable and fantastic!

The meat is top-notch, and comparably priced to comparable K-town restaurants.  Of course you can get a pork combo or a beef combo, with an assortment of cuts.  But if you’re feeling particularly baller, order the $150 tomahawk steak, a 48 oz. bone-in ribeye, seared table-side, finished in the kitchen oven, and served with foie gras butter.  It will feed a full table of adults!

To top it off, Hanjip has great lunch combos: select a bowl from a variety of choices (tuna poke, chicken katsu, sundubu, etc.) and a cut of beef or pork (one slice), and pay just $15.  Best part is you get the full banchan along with it, and it’s perfect for solo diners, which is not something you can say about most Korean BBQ place.

(I know the captions say this was for dineLA, but they extended the lunch combo permanently after dineLA end in February.)

I have several dishes on my radar for my next dinner visit to Hanjip, including the beef tongue, baby octopus, bossam, and that uni steamed egg!  (BTW, they take reservations, another rarity for a Korean restaurant.)  Hanjip will be at Taste of the Nation LA this year (see link for promo code) and will be opening a second location in DTLA’s Historic Core later this year!

13. May 2016 by The Offalo
Categories: Korean, Korean BBQ | Leave a comment

Taste of the Nation Los Angeles (and Laguna Beach)

Taste of the Nation Los Angeles

As usual, I’ll be doing a post later this month rounding up some of the food events taking place in June, but I thought I’d call special attention to an event taking place in early June, since I have a promo code that will save you some money, and the event is for a very important cause.

Taste of the Nation is a series of food events benefiting No Kid Hungry, a campaign started by Share Our Strength, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger in the United States.  This year, ToTN (as the cool kids call it) Los Angeles is taking place on Sunday, June 5th at Media Park in Culver City.

 

The food line-up is impressive and includes chefs such as Mary Sue Milliken (Border Grill), Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish, BS Taqueria), Ted Hopson (The Bellwether), Josiah Citrin (Charcoal, Melisse), Eddie Ruiz (Corazon y Miel), Dakota Weiss (Estrella, Sweetfin Poke), Chris Oh (Hanjip, Seoul Sausage), Kris Morningstar (Terrine), Steve Samson (Sotto, Rossoblu), Bruce Kalman (Union, Knead), Susan Feniger (Mudhen Tavern, Blue Window), and … well, you get the idea!

 

So as mentioned in the captions of the above two Instagram posts, I have a code good for 10% off either GA or VIP tickets (but not the Kids admission).  If you go to the ToTNLA page, click Buy Tickets, then the “Enter a Promotional Code” link, and use OFFALO10, you’ll save $11-$16 on your ticket!

And, if you’re free this weekend, Taste of the Nation Laguna Beach is taking place on Sunday, May 15th.  In addition to chefs Garcia and Morningstar, who are doing both events, Laguna Beach will also feature other notable LA chefs like Ben Ford (Ford Filling Station) and Walter Manzke (Republique).  Unfortunately, I don’t have a promo code for that event, but if you can afford to go to one or both events, you’ll be supporting an important cause and eating great food, a win-win!

11. May 2016 by The Offalo
Categories: Events and Festivals | Leave a comment

Taste of the Eastside 2016

RBTA at Taste of the Eastside 2016

Taste of the Eastside 2016 was a fun, intimate, lively event that took place at the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens.  Featuring restaurants and businesses from neighborhoods such as Atwater Village, DTLA, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and more, Taste of the Eastside had a good variety of food, including a number of vegan and vegetarian options.

Some of my favorite bites were Ozu East Kitchen’s  fried tofu, Okipoki’s tuna poke, and RBTA’s grilled shrimp.

Other highlights included Madcapra’s falafel, My Vegan Gold’s “pork” with sticky rice, surprisingly, and for dessert, Pazzo Gelato’s frozen treats!

The event, which is in its sixth year, seem to run quite smoothly.  While the venue was crowded, the lines for individual booths were relatively short and quick.  Areas were defined for families to “picnic” and for kids to do activities.  It’s great that this was an all-ages event, with affordable tickets for kids ($8 for 2-12 year olds).  Scroll down for more from Taste of the Eastside 2016!

05. May 2016 by The Offalo
Categories: Events and Festivals | Leave a comment

Brunch at Redbird

Brunch at Redbird

Redbird started Sunday brunch service on April 24th, just in time for Mother’s Day, if you haven’t made a reservation yet.  Chef Neal Fraser‘s menu consists of such brunch staples as waffles, quiches, and fritattas, with nods to the South like biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, hoppin’ johns, and some international inspired dishes like Basque bake eggs and posole.  A variety of excellent baked goods by pastry chef Jashmine Corpuz are also available.

It was my family’s first time at Redbird, so we ordered a little bit of everything.  I had eyed a ca phe sua da-inspired cocktail called Good Morning Vietnam on the restaurant’s Instagram feed and knew I had to order it.  It was a great start, refreshing, bitter, not too sweet.

We started with some pastries including their Bostock that was somehow dense and light at the same time, and really, really good, as well as a Berliner doughnut with a simple but decadent milk chocolate pastry cream.

As an offal lover, two items on the menu caught my eye, the Foie Gras Torchon and the Scrapple side.  The former, which is listed as $26 on their brunch menu online, same as their dinner foie gras dish, was actually $19 for a decent portion of the liver, served sandwich-like with an English muffin.  It was as rich as you’d expect.  The later was an unexpected hit at the table, but mostly for the crispy pig ears sprinkled on top.  The actual scrapple itself was more headcheese based than liver, and reminded me more of a croquette.  Still delicious!

For our main dishes, my wife had the Hopping John, while my younger daughter had the Posole.  I got a taste of each, and loved the posole, which I had tried at LA Loves Alex’s Lemonade last year.  The hoppin’ john seemed a little bland after the posole, but that may also be due to the fact that I didn’t try it until later, after my wife ate most of the ham.  D’oh!  The “fried egg” seemed more sous-vide poached, but my wife didn’t mind as the yolk had that perfect gel-like consistency that my wife loves.

My older daughter’s main was the Grilled Lamb Belly, served with some interesting Korean-Jewish fusion of kimchi and (sweet potato) latkes.  The lamb was very flavorful, and the bold flavors of the other ingredients paired well with it.  My main was the Basque Baked Eggs.  Like in my wife’s dish, the eggs were perfect for me, a little runnier than she’d prefer.  How did the restaurant know without asking?  ;-)  Anyway, I’d never had Basque baked eggs before but it reminded me of huevos rancheros or shakshuka and was packed with flavor.  Only complaint I had was that it needed more morcilla!

We ordered a panna cotta for dessert that was good, but unfortunately I didn’t get a great shot of it.  We thought we were done, but we got one unexpected dish!

My friend and fellow food blogger Julian of Food’s Eye View is actually working as a line cook at Redbird–his story is fascinating.  I told him I was coming for brunch, and he had wanted to send out a tripe dish for me, since I love offal (as if you didn’t know that about me).

Chef Neal Fraser actually came out and told me this earlier in the meal–he was making his way around the dining room chatting with customers during this first brunch service–but said that they weren’t able to prepare it.  But somehow they pulled it off and served the dish after dessert!  To me, this was a better way to end the meal!

Overall, my whole family thought the meal was excellent.  None of us picked the more staid brunch dishes, though based on the dishes we had, I’m sure those would have been delicious too.  The dining room was near-full the entire time we were there, and service ran fairly smoothly.  Redbird was already open for weekday lunches, so Sunday brunch isn’t that much of a departure, but still glad to see the high quality of execution from the get-go.

One thing I didn’t mention was the space, which I didn’t take any pictures of, but it’s a beautiful, and more importantly for photography, bright space during the day at least.  Would definitely like to come back for dinner sometime.  If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day brunch spot, and they still have space, grab it!  Otherwise, definitely try them on another Sunday!

29. April 2016 by The Offalo
Categories: American, Brunch | Leave a comment

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