23 Sep 2013

THE APPLE PAN

Los Angeles, USA

The Apple Pan in Culver City, LA is an old-school diner established in 1947 with most of its original fittings intact. It’s a small, pitched roof house with counter seating only, arranged around the food preparation area. When we arrived there were about 10 people waiting to be seated, but it only took 5 min to get a spot. We came straight from a taco food truck, so I was already quite full. Therefore we shared a bit of everything, starting with the steak burger and fries. The burger is quite small, which I think is a plus, as there is more room for sides and desserts. The meat and vegetables were very tasty, but I thought the sauce was a bit distracting, and took away from the simple flavours of the rest of the burger. Coke was served in a little paper cone placed in a metal stand. Authentic details like these really make the Apple Pan a truly American experience. Disappointingly, they were out of their famous Apple Pie when I was there, so we opted for a slice of Pecan Pie and Banana Pie with cream. Both of these were an amazing ending to our meal, with rich and classic flavours. Even though I didn’t love the burger (due to the aforementioned sauce) I would certainly return to the Apple Pan because of its amazing and genuine diner feel. 





West Los Angeles, 10801 W Pico Boulevard, LA, CA 90064 


The Apple Pan on Urbanspoon

The Apple Pan

20 Sep 2013

BROOKLYN THE BURGER JOINT

After having spent a decent amount of time in Seoul, it became clear that meat; beef in particular is a fixture of Korean cuisine; hence the super popular and famous Korean BBQ. In a land of meat lovers and as an avid burger enthusiast I took it upon myself to find the best burger in Seoul, and after some extensive online research and asking around, it seemed that all fingers were pointing towards the Burger Joint. Located in a remote suburban neighbourhood (Seorae Village), the burger joint is a charming restaurant nestled on a quiet street and can easily go unnoticed. The restaurant is small in size and only seats about 20 people. The dining room exudes warmth through its colourful décor and tones, and boasts an incredibly stocked condiments bar, with virtually every sauce one can imagine! My friends and I arrived at 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, so the restaurant was quite empty to our delight, as we were warned about the infamous queues it has. We each ordered soft drinks and milkshakes to start followed by burgers. The milkshake menu is quite extensive with all the classics, as well as creative options to choose from. Two of us opted for a classic Vanilla Milkshake (you can never go wrong with a vanilla milkshake) while our friend ventured onto trying the Nutella Milkshake with roasted marshmallows. The vanilla milkshakes were delicious, thick and perfect; the Nutella Milkshake however was explosive, although I would have preferred it as a dessert as it was too heavy to be eaten with a burger. With the milkshakes so good, we all got really excited about our burgers to come! We all ordered the Brooklyn Works, which comes served with American cheese, bacon, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles and a special house sauce; I ordered my burger without the bacon. The burgers were all cooked medium and were fantastic in every measure of the word. The meat was perfectly cooked and tasted incredible. One thing you’ve got to love about South Korea is the high quality of the meat, and this burger was a true testament to that; it was honestly one of the best beef burgers I have had. The burger came served in a sesame bun which was also toasted to perfection, as well as French fries which were my least favourite item as they were not as thin as I would have liked them to be, but nevertheless were still good. The Brooklyn Burger Joint has been recognised as serving the best burgers in Seoul and I can truly attest to that, as not only is it the best burger in Seoul but it is also one of the best burgers I have had anywhere.


















































































































Seocho-gu, Banpo-dong 551-32 (서초구 반포동 551-32)


14 Sep 2013

BEDUA

Bedua is a restaurant located in Zumaia, in the northern Basque countryside of Spain just 20 minutes away from the seaside town of San Sebastian. Over time the restaurant has established itself as a culinary hotspot among locals and more increasingly tourists, as it continues to serve excellent quality and authentic food in a picturesque and serene setting. Bedua is nicely perched between hills overlooking vast expanses of farmland, much of which belong to restaurant, which locally grows all its ingredients on site. The restaurant itself is housed within a medieval ancient house dating back to the 15th century, where its rustic interiors compliment the traditional offerings on their very simple and straightforward menu. Primarily specializing in steak, Bedua also offers a choice of delicious appetisers as well as seafood as an alternative to the meat. Accompanied by our Spanish friend, who has become a regular at Bedua, he naturally ordered for us, and his choices did not disappoint. We started with the Tortilla de Patata (potato omelette), the Pimientos Verde (grilled baby green peppers), the Panache de Verduras (a salad of mixed vegetables) as well as a Nicoise style salad, which came served with white asparagus. Even the simplest vegetables, such as the locally grown iceberg lettuce, had so much flavour and crunch. Collectively, all the appetisers were delicious and settled easily into our very hungry stomachs, and just opened up our appetites for our main dish. For the main we were served with the house special, the Chuleton a la Parrilla (the grilled steak), which we got to pick and approve prior to the chef grilling it. The steak was cooked medium rare and goes down as being one of the best steaks I have ever enjoyed. Only sprinkled with salt and without any sauces to distract from the quality of the steak, the taste of the meat was explosive; it could convert a vegan into a carnivorous diner. There is not much more to say about the food except: wow! What I love about Bedua is the simplicity of the recipes of what is being cooked, where the focus is on the quality of the ingredients. This is a true barometer of excellent food.





GI-3760  20750 Zumaia, Gipuzkoa, Spain


11 Sep 2013

TWO PLUS

When in Korea, do as the Koreans do. So it’s fair to say that on my latest trip to Seoul I overdosed on Korean BBQ, it is just common sense to do so! Korean BBQ in Seoul is very popular and quite standard, where most joints offer the usual Bulgogi, which are strips of marinated beef, as well as Galbi that are either pork or beef ribs. Such a set up along with the usual trimmings of Kimchi (fermented vegetables), Japchae (stir fried potato noodles) and Gyeran Jim (steamed egg casserole) are what one usually expects along with a lot of Soju and Beer. Two Plus on the other hand provided a completely different experience, which was quite a relief, as after 10 days in Seoul I wanted to shake things up a little. Located in the posh Sinsa-dong province in Gangnam, Two Plus is a modern take on a traditional Korean BBQ restaurant with a very cosmopolitan vibe, and a rather westernized ambience. What’s special about Two Plus is that instead of only offering the typical meat selection one will find at any BBQ place, the have their specialty Aged Striploin. The Striploin at Two Plus happens to be 1++ Hanwoo grade beef (the highest for beef), thus the name Two Plus. Top-grade hanwoo is Korea’s counterpart to Japan’s wagyu. It was therefore obvious what we ordered. The meat, which arrived raw, was thick, juicy and generous in its portions. We were a party of 6 and hence ordered 6 steaks at 150 grams a piece. Once on the grill we each cooked our own steak to our liking. I cooked parts of mine to rare, and some to medium rare. The taste was merely that of quality, it undoubtedly rivals wagyu beef, which makes me think: Why is wagyu so much more popular? The meat melted in my mouth and was un-spoilt with any sauces or condiments, pure decadence. Words cannot do this beef justice. Along with many bottles of Soju and Beer this was by far the best Korean BBQ I have had in Seoul.      




































































































Yeyoung Bldg. 532-9 Sinsadong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul


8 Sep 2013

GRANGER & CO


London, UK

Granger and Co has been a fixture on the London brunch scene for quite some time, and still manages to attract the same number of people since its rise to fame; which is why the queue always demands at least an hour’s wait on weekends (especially on Sundays). Despite the painful waiting time, eating at Granger’s is really worth it. The excellent food is matched by an even greater and kinder service, where the attentive and friendly waiters go out of their way to make your dining experience as comfortable and as enjoyable as possible. The dining room layout is quite simple and easy on the eyes, the ceiling is decked with timber and the chairs are vintage looking echoing a 1960’s vibe; the place eschews any clutter and rather focuses on simplicity which is reflected in their menu offerings. The food at Granger is an eclectic mix of continental European cuisine with an injection of some South Asian flavours, where the house specialties are reserved under a list called: Bill’s Favourites. On that list are my favourite ricotta hotcakes, which are simply divine. They are basically an alternative version of pancakes and are thick pancakes made and stuffed with ricotta cheese, which come served with maple syrup and honeycomb butter. It goes without saying that if heaven has a cafeteria, it would serve the ricotta hotcakes at Granger and Co. The ricotta hotcakes were actually ordered for dessert, and in fact we each started with an order of the chopped salad with chicken, halloumi and avocado. The salad comes with the ingredients all separated so that you are free to mix as you please, and is served with lemon and olive oil dressing. Albeit quite a standard choice, I have always favoured the chopped salad here, as it is extremely fresh, light and is the perfect entree prior to digging into the ricotta hotcakes. Mimosa’s were naturally ordered in the spirit of the weekend; they are also delicious. As always Granger and Co never disappoints and is highly recommended; great people, great food and great service.





175 Westbourne Grove  London W11 2SB

www.grangerandco.com


Granger & Co on Urbanspoon

5 Sep 2013

SUSHI SAMBA

London, UK

With a view competing with the best in London, SushiSamba has received a lot of attention this past ye
ar with their first European location. Placed on the 38th and 39th floor of the Heron Tower, it boasts amazing views of the city. The cuisine is a mixture of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian. The first impression is formed in the lift ride on the way up, which is pretty cool. The interior is a bit all over the place. The main dining room with the hanging lights is quite striking, but the orange tree outside is a tacky disaster. With such a great location, it’s a shame that the interior doesn’t measure up. Nonetheless, it is definitely not a boring place. The best view I thought was from the ladies bathroom, where it is quite surreal to see the Gherkin and Tower 42 from such a perspective while washing your hands.





When it comes to the actual food and drink on offer, I started off with cocktails. They serve a range of classic cocktails with interesting twists, such as lighting a star anise  on fire before stirring it into the Tonka Bean Old Fashioned. The Chucumber with Hendrick’s gin and Pablo Piscobar with citrusy yuzu are both amazing, and highly addictive. I sampled some of the small dishes, starting with a mix of vegetable tempura. The asparagus and mushroom ones were great, but as with most tempura, needed a good soaking in soy sauce to have enough flavour. The glazed pork belly was good and really filling for their small size. I love padrón peppers and always order them at tapas places, as they can never go completely wrong. At SushiSamba they are also tasty, but the Spanish do them better. The fish tacos were nicely presented in very crispy taco shells, but lacked a bit of flavour. In general, I enjoyed all of the food, but it is a little over priced. The incredible view comes first at SushiSamba, and the food is secondary.


110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY



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