#philzcoffee Glad you’re in my ‘hood. Thanks for hooking me up with my caffeine fix in Santa Monica. Your Jacob’s Wonderbar is still my all-time favorite coffee.
The Tasty Chronicles: Having a cup of my favorite Philz Coffee…Jabob’s Wonderbar. What a thrill knowing that this popular Bay Area coffee house has a location in the Los Angeles area just a mile from the sandy beach of Santa Monica.
Fasten your saddle for the ride!!! The Rhone Ranges trailblazes into Downtown LA with a posse of California Rhone wineries. @RhoneRangers
The Tasty Chronicles: The Hollywood Farmer’s Market is like THE mega mall of farmer’s markets. My visit last Sunday was to see what was in season, which was taste testing the many fresh fruits for a good portion of my morning.
From the looks of it, the stone fruits had a head start in the growing season as I saw plenty of peaches and plums at almost every fruit stand. The yellow and white nectarines were humongous and super sweet! There was also a bountiful variety of apples and it’s not even apple harvest season yet.
Around the corner and tucked in an alley next to the food court was The Spice Alley where I found more food stalls like loose spices and teas, hot sauces, and pates.
The Hollywood Farmer’s Market is always a fun food destination to visit in the Los Angeles area. When ever I go, I never know what I will find at this food bazaar. There is so much for my senses that it’s mind blowing.
The Hollywood Farmer’s Market runs year round every Sunday from 8:00AM to 1:00PM rain or shine. It’s a bit of a walk from the closest Metro Station (Hollywood and Vine Street). There is plenty of free street parking on Sundays, but if you want to park as close as possible, the parking structure on the north side of Ivar Street from Sunset Blvd has all-day paid parking for $5. Like any farmer’s market, it’s predominantly cash only.
The Tasty Chronicles: Last weekend I had an unexpected opportunity to cook at home again thanks to Belcampo Meat Co at the Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles. The price was a good one for a fresh Pekin Duck at $5.99 a pound. I rarely see this awesome price at the local grocery stores where they sell a frozen duck for a little more per pound.
As soon as I got home, I followed Food Network Star Ted Allen’s Crisp-Tender Roast Duck recipe. Instead of the cranberry and rosemary sauce that came with the recipe, I made an Apricot Sauce instead, because I wanted a different kind of sweetness. I added some frozen cubes of Sauterne wine that I had in my freezer for the purpose of cooking to the apricot jam and slowly simmered it in a small sauce pan. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of my dinner plate with the Apricot Sauce. Despite the technical glitch, my roast duck dinner was fantastic!
Mayhem…simply mayhem over the grand opening weekend of Dunkin Donuts in Santa Monica. Just like a good milkshake, I adore a good donut, but I absolutely love a great cup of coffee. After pondering my thoughts, I think it has been been years since I’ve visited a franchise donut shop in LA. But who cares…as my real visit to Dunkin Donuts was to try the coffee, which Time Magazine says, “….which despite its name generates nearly 60% of its revenues from coffee and beverage sales, not doughnuts.” Supposedly, Dunkin Donuts owns the market of selling premium coffee to the working and middle class population. Ha…take that Starbucks!
I arrived today at 7:00am only to find a long line that wrapped around the building. It was no surprise to me to find the long line, because Los Angeles has a ton of foodies who go to new restaurants like concert goers who flock to music festivals. In LA, food is a big deal, however, this line on a Sunday morning was not of Foodies, but consisted of families who brought their kids and a good mix of whatever Santa Monica has that day.
It took a good one hour of waiting in line and a test of my patience till I got to the cash register to order. The efficiency and ease of ordering was superb and it was super fast to get my Spicy Sausage Breakfast Sandwich too. The donuts were obviously super fresh and as happy, animated, and whimsical looking on the pictures. A half dozen of donuts will drop you almost $6 and a full dozen is $9. Breakfast sandwich combos are between $3.50 to $6 with coffee and a few select combos have awesome tasting hash browns.
The good ol’ cup of joe is a bargain for everyone. A large cup of regular coffee is still less than $2.50 and any signature hot or iced coffee is less than $3.75. Now the taste test….
For a regular cup of coffee, I say stick to McDonalds for the better brew that wakes up your senses. Dunkin Donut coffee does not compare to McDonalds’ roasted Arabica coffee. I wanted to like Dunkin Donut’s coffee and kept coming up with excuses to like it. Unfortunately, the flavor of the regular cup of coffee fell short. There was no robust flavor, no acidity, and zero depth. I am not sure if I was served a fresh, ground batch of brewed coffee, but the flavor of my cup of regular coffee was not what I had expected.
As for the donuts and the breakfast sandwiches, Dunkin Donuts has winners! The donuts tasted way better than the donuts from Krispy Kreme across the street. I also loved my Spicy Sausage Breakfast sandwich as it had a nice little spicy kick to it. The Hash Browns were delicious too.
Anyway, I can see how Dunkin Donuts revamped the business model and the food. I’m just puzzled that in the coffee wars against McDonalds and Starbucks and the like, a regular coffee at Dunkin Donuts was bland and boring. How could it be a winner?!?!? My next visit will involve drinking a signature coffee drink like a mocha or something. Perhaps Dunkin Donuts won the coffee challenge with the added sugary flavors to the regular cup of coffee. (Scratching my head)…Strange?!?!?
The Tasty Chronicles: Picked up some Zucchini Squash Blossoms at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market yesterday. I forgot that I make a pretty decent Fried Zucchini Squash Blossom stuffed with goat cheese and various dried herbs. It’s been a long time since I made this. Delicious!
This weekend debuts the public Chili Grinding Season food tours at Huy Fong Foods in Irwindale, California. If you don’t know the background of this business, here it is. David Tran immigrated from Vietnam to the United States over 30 years ago. To earn a living, he made small batches of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce and sold them to the local restaurants and Asian Grocery stores in and around the Chinatown area of Los Angeles. His business evolved and moved to Rosemead, California. Last year it moved to an even bigger facility in Irwindale, California.
The move to Irwindale about a year ago came with controversy as nearby residents complained about the smell of the chili peppers. The complaints led itself in front of the City of Los Angeles Council Members who forced temporary closure of the facility after naming it a public nuance.
A humble man, David Tran fought for his right to continue his business. With it, came media coverage and bids from the State of Texas who wanted to lure this big industry out of the State of California.
David Tran worked on improving the business and appeasing the nearby residents. He made plenty of changes to the air filtration system on the premises and worked closely with the County Health Department, Air Quality Control Inspectors, and most recently with the California Governor to keep the doors open for business in the Los Angeles area. His win-win situation garnered the Los Angeles Council Members to retract the public nuance claim.
To celebrate the victory, Huy Fong Food hosted a public open house over the weekend for the local community with hourly food tours of the facility for the Chili Grinding Season. I was able to attend the food tour, which also commemorated the 34 year anniversary of Huy Fong Foods in the Los Angeles area. It was pretty cool to watch the process of my favorite, the Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce from start to finish. It was also quite fascinating to learn the history of Huy Fong Foods.