The 92nd Los Angeles County Fair opened last Friday, August 29th 2014, featuring the best of greasy delights,
larger-than-life Chinese lanterns, 70 carnival rides, Monster Trucks, EDM
clubs, and of course, Capuchin Monkeys.
Being held in Pomona Fairplex’s 487-acre land since 1922,
extreme foods (consisting of anything deep fried, wrapped in bacon, or on a
stick) will always be the main attraction despite organizers’ utter resilience
to display newer attractions. This year, a new nighttime exhibit, called as
Luminasia, will feature larger-than-life Chinese lanterns replicating wonders
of the world, LA landmarks, exotic animals, and the twelve symbols of the
Chinese zodiac. Also, as an avid animal lover, I’m curious to see what Mojo’s
Wild & Crazy Lagoon has to offer. This is no ordinary petting zoo - they’ll
have peacocks, monkeys, kangaroos, camels, and many exotic creatures.
Definitely don’t miss out Zor when you’re there, they’re fire dancers performing
ancient tribal dance using flaming swords, ball n chain, and other fire
Last Wednesday, August 27th 2014, I was very
fortunate to attend the media tasting of foods to be featured at the Fair. Me and my brother had a field day. We ate so
much, we could barely move at the end of the night. We wanted to try as much as
we could for the blog – making sure readers are making the wisest/ informed
decision in picking out their foods. Just remember, greasy food should be eaten
with care – don’t eat them unless it’s worth it!
With that said, here are the bee’s knees:
1.Ramen Burger by Keizo Shimamoto
Always been a fan of the original ramen
burger. I was the fad chaser who lined up for 2 hours a year ago and I still
make my regular visit to their stand in Koreatown. But if you never had one,
ramen burger is terrific. The ramen is a little crisp on the outside but breaks
apart easily when you bite into them. The quarter pounder patty is definitely
the highest quality – it’s cooked medium rare and topped with a teriyaki-like
sauce (I presumed it’s a combo of mustard, mayo, onion, and soy sauce). Then
the arugula and scallion bring both sweetness and peppery to the party. Anyways,
give it a shot – you don’t have to be drunk to eat this – it’s 600% percent better
than many of the most overhyped burger joints in LA.
To be honest, Los Angeles is the mecca of overhyped burger joints and gastropubs. Is it a conspiracy to think a group of Los Angeles restaurateurs collude every week to create another gastropub? I understand public’s desire to drink peanut butter beer from a local brewery or to devour a grass-fed bison burger without the 4 hours commitment in a jacket and slacks; But when there’s too many of them, the flux of turnovers is inevitable. I mean you might fall in love with a burger joint only to realize they had closed down before you made your second visit 6 months later. That said, it's still sad to think of some of the burger joints we recently lost: Kalbi Burger, The Parish, Haven Gastropub, Hamburger Hamlet, and the utterly delicious tamago (egg) burger at Fuku. Till this day, I regard that tamago burger the same way I regard tequila – if I ate one, all of a sudden I wouldn’t be able to stop, and suddenly I’d be broke and jobless.
Initially I had some trepidation when I got the invite to The Bowery. It’s another gastropub – years of experiences have taught me I typically got bored halfway into eating the food that I over-ordered and I’d ask myself, “Is it wrong I kinda wanna cook top ramen in my kitchen rather than eating here?” But after entering/ observing the Bowery and talking to owner George Abou-Daoud, I knew I was in for a treat.
Here’s my reasoning: First, George is probably the pioneer of this gourmet burger movement. He’s done it since year 2005, way before we knew the juggernauts: Umami, Father’s Office, and The Counter. The most impressive part is – he did it when the odds were stacked against his favor – Tower Records and The Palladium were closing while those ritzy apartments were probably a rolled-up blue print.
As a fellow entrepreneur, I admire his fervor. Second,
looking at the menu, The Bowery is no ordinary gastropub. Granted the menu
could be a smorgasbord of all things irresistible and forbidden on any sort of
diet, but they didn’t neglect people who seek balance. There are so many
healthier fares I can’t wait to try on my next visit: Roasted Tomato Soup,
Spicy Tuna with Saffron Risotto Crostini, Chickpea Falafel, and the Vegan
Burger (with Black Bean & Roasted Beet Patty…Interesting!).
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t been to Killer Shrimp in a long time. In fact, I visited them a couple of times in their original location on Washington Blvd in Marina Del Rey. Back then they had the following menu items:
Killer shrimp with rice
Killer shrimp with pasta
Killer shrimp with bread
I received an invitation to check out their new location on Pier Avenue in Hermosa Beach, just steps from the Hermosa Beach Strand.
resident of that location was Cantina Real and the present owners retained the front
patio. The inside, however, has been beautifully transformed. Large windows
were installed, two skylights were cleared and the restaurant is filled with a
lot of natural light. In addition, Killer Shrimp also offers unobstructed views
of the Hermosa Beach Pier and the ocean.
has an interesting history. Owner Kevin Michael’s father is musician Lee
Michaels. Growing up in Venice, Lee perfected the sauce which later became
their “Killer Shrimp’. They served
their shrimp dish to friends and neighbors who thought that they had something
special. Lee’s sons were soon seen peppering the neighborhood with flyers and
were delivering up to 40 meals per evening.