Thursday, February 26, 2015

Yep, A "Farm To Table" Diner Coming to Santa Monica.

Are nouveau diners the next big thing? In September came news that Bucato Chef Evan Funke would be opening Thoroughbred in Culver City later  and now it appears Santa Monica plans to get into bed with the post-retro diner movement as well. Ingo's Tasty Diner, a "farm-to-table diner," plans to open soon at 1213 Wilshire Blvd. in the Monica

Billed as a sister restaurant to the ever-popular and delicious Luggage Room Pizzeria in Pasadena, Ingo's is already hiring for all positions, front and back of the house. The new wave diner will also offer a full cocktail, beer and wine menu. Ingo's will be the second LGO Hospitality restaurant in the beachside community, joining Third Street Promenade's The Misfit.

Although the exact details remain shrouded in mystery, Ingo's certainly seems like it will be a more than welcome addition to the mid-Santa Monica/Wilshire corridor. Sick of waiting in the endless Huckleberry brunch line? HERE'S ANOTHER BRUNCH LINE TO WAIT IN. Hallelujah. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kye's: Healthy Food That Won't Make You Want To Slit Your Wrists.

When people ask me to describe my diet, I have a simple answer, "dude healthy." This usually puzzles  the query maker and leads to many more questions about what exactly "dude healthy" entails. Honestly, I don't have a concise response. If you've ever read this blog before you know I certainly go for the glutton. I eat pizza, chicken parms, cake, ice cream, burritos. And LOTS of them. But in between those meals I often eat rather "healthy." Yet, I would imagine my definition of "healthy" varies greatly than say a nutritionist or Natalie Portman's. My "healthy" means mainly low-carb, or, more often, (slightly) more nutritious versions of things that aren't really considered healthy at all. Like In 'n Out Protein Style. Or Cobb Salads. My manliness is satiated, just in a hypothetically healthier form. You know, "dude healthy."

Anyway... where the heck am I going with all this? To put it simply: it's not easy to eat "dude healthy." Some restaurants have a dish or two that fit in the spectrum, but very, very rarely does an entire restaurant offer a menu packed with options. Imagine my surprise then when I found such a haven on, of all places, Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, the land of resplendent housewives and perfectly perspiring yogis. Sure, Kye's very much serves some super healthy superfood in a very sleek and modern abode for the aforementioned housewives and yogis (it was packed with such denizens upon my visit), but it also (very surprisingly) caters to the likes of you and me. You know, normies. 

Turns out Kye's owner Jeanne Cheng created the concept out of her own meal dealings at home. Apparently everyone possessed varying dietary restrictions, plus she wanted to sort of trick her son into eating healthy. And bam, Kye's was born. In Cheng's words, "Give people things they love, but a little better for them."

The main attraction at Kye's is their namesake, Kyerito. In layman's terms, a healthy burrito, containing of a protein, rice, other fillings and sauce, wrapped in either nori, collard green or romaine lettuce. They offer 15 different varieties, ranging from their "Nori N Lox" to "Bean Taco" to their version of the classic Reuben. All the options, if they don't already, can also be catered to any diet (vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, raw, etc).

Photo courtesy of Kye's.
My dining patron and I bravely tackled four Kyeritos in the name of research - Sweet Chicken (den miso-glazed Mary's Free Range Organic Chicken, broccoli, goji berries, white rice and quinoa blend), The Nori Burger (grass-fed ground beef mixed with chard, nutritional yeast, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, brown rice), BBQ Pork (slow-roasted pork shoulder, bbq sauce, poppy seed fennel and cabbage slaw, white rice and quinoa blend)  and the Bacon Pesto (local free-range green eggs, Niman Ranch bacon, arugula, tomato, super seed pesto, brown rice). All were fresh, pleasing and filling. I definitely could see one of these push-pop like nutritional burritos serving as a solid breakfast or lunch option. They all provide the protein one hopes for, just hidden amongst a garden of goodies I (and probably others) normally wouldn't come in contact with. For example, goji berries in the Sweet Chicken! What are they doing in there? I don't know. But I didn't hate them. 

The price is right too ($10-14) - especially for the 'hood.

Our two favorites: The Nori Burger and the Bacon Pesto. The NB tastes very much like a burger encased in seaweed. However, I don't say that in a bad way. Very much the opposite. You get the burger you crave, yet don't have to feel miserable about it later. The Bacon Pesto similarly offers the ultimate breakfast sandwich experience - minus some of the guilt. If I lived a little closer to Kye's, I could see myself stopping by many a morning to pick one up on the way to the office.

We also sampled the Broccoli Stalk salad, which is about the healthiest sounding thing I've ever put in my mouthpiece, but pretty much tastes like a crunchy, sweet coleslaw. PLUS IT HAS BACON.

The Fresh Mint shake (almond milk, mint, spinach, coconut milk ice cream, chinese yam, agave), Black Bean Brownie (black beans, cocoa, maca, sorghum flour, flax meal, sucant, Grade B maple syrup and chocolate chips) and Kabocha Pie (steamed kabocha squash, coconut milk, gluten free flour mix, sucant, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves) further successfully tricked me into eating things somewhat healthy, while tasting nothing of the such. The moist and chocolatey Brownie especially stood out. And it's made with friggin' black beans.

So, uhh, in conclusion. I like Kye's. And if you're looking to eat a little healthier, but not jump-off-a-building-healthy, I think this is the place for you too.

1518 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.
7 am - 8 pm daily.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The 2015 LA Cookie Con: In Photo.

Where: Pasadena Convention Center
When: January 25, 2015
Thoughts: Sweets purveyors and sweettooths from near and yonder descended upon the Pasadena Convention Center in massive troves in what certainly will be the first of an annual Southland sugar-rush powwow. Rumor has it some people waited upwards of three hours to get into the hall packed with cookies, cake pops, artisanal toffee and more cookies. As with most first convocations there were certainly some bumps (aforementioned three hour wait chief among them), but overall, things ran pretty darn smoothly. My mouth is already salivating in anticipation of the 2016 confab. Now, enough with my silly words, here are Lindsay's pictures...