Scratch Bar – Beverly Hills, CA -Great tasting menu for an affordable price. Scratch Bar is located amongst giants on restaurant row in Beverly Hills. It is an unassuming bar/restaurant located next to the likes of Lawry’s, The Stinking Rose, The Bazaar, Matsuhisa, Fogo De Chao, Spago and Mastros. But this little restaurant can surprisingly hold up it’s own and it’s creative and imaginative menu was not only delicious but inspiring. Chef Phillip Frankland Lee and staff prepare everything from scratch, hence the name Scratch Bar. They offer an affordable tasting menu to let you sample a plethora of dishes from the menu. Some amazing dishes that we tried and keep in mind I give extra points for creativity, were the Puffed Smelt with Bone Marrow Mustard, Blackened Cauliflower, Roasted Bone Marrow and Sourdough and Caramel Apple Panna Cotta. All these dishes were very unique as well as delicious. This was a pleasantly surprisingly good meal. Big props for opening this tiny restaurant on restaurant row that sure packs a punch in flavor and imagination, it is a David among Goliaths. Love, peace and Bone Marrow and Sourdough grease!
Paraiso Tropical – Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Ole Ole Ole, sometimes OCFoodList goes out of the country to try new food. With the World Cup Soccer tournament going on we traveled to Brazil to cheer on Team USA. Unfortunately USA got eliminated but at least we got to try some great food. We tried Paraiso Tropical which was highly recommended by Dani Alves a right back for the Brazilian National team who grew up in the state of Bahia. Paraiso Tropical is run by renowned chef Beto Pimentel who also manages one of the largest fruit and vegetable plantations in the world. In his food he uses fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs in his cooking. He incorporates many exotic fruit and vegetable combinations that are not used anywhere else. Some specialties he has are his Moqueca which is a Salt Seafood Stew cooked with Coconut Milk and fruit smoothies made with fresh exotic fruit. He also has different seafood dishes which incorporate cooked exotic fruit. If you are a fruit lover or seafood fanatic definitely check this place out if traveling to the beautiful state of Bahia Brazil. Love, peace and Moqueca grease!
Fresh Fruit Slushies made with real fruit – Mango
Guava and Coconut Fruit Slushie
Moqueca – Seafood stew slow cooked in terracotta with pitanga and biri biri, peppers, special aromatic seasoning and palm oil.
Beto’s Specialty Moqueca – Soft Shell and Shredded Crab, Shrimp and Green Cashew Nuts
Octopus and Shrimp with fresh cooked fruits
Fresh Fruits – Pineapple, Watermelon, Jackfruit and Sugar Cane
Homemade Banana Candy
Sushi Koto-Fountain Valley, CA. You know those restaurants frequent all the time and want to keep it your little secret. Sushi Koto is one of those places for me. This place in my opinion has the best valued Chirashi Bowl in the land. Yes based on value and quality it even takes out the mighty Akasaka and I’ll even explain exactly why. When going to Sushi Koto don’t mind anything else on the menu, it’s all about the Chirashi Zen. Don’t bother with any of their other Chirashi specials or Bento plates. They are good but the Chirashi Zen is the best. It is better than any other Chirashi bowl I have tried because it comes in a box and you open the box and it is beautiful and you are amazed but then “Spoiler Alert” you realize that the box has two levels. One level consists of mostly fish roe and rice but not just salmon roe but also masago, flying fish roe and others which creates a colorful masterpiece. That level also contains avocado, baby squid and unagi and others depending what is fresh for the day. The 2nd level is your normal Chirashi fare including tuna, albacore, yellowtail, salmon, mackerel, white fish, shrimp, egg but also scallop, clam, crab, uni and if you are lucky some chu toro and other morsels. The bowl varies on what is fresh for the day but is pretty consistent and gives you much much more variety than most Chirashi bowls. What makes it even better is it is a fraction of the price as well for only $25.00, which is a total steal. I like going here after work and not having to make a reservation, not having to wait for a table so please keep this our little secret, hush hush. Oh by the way their other food is decent but why mess, when you can just have the best. Love, Peace and Chirashi Zen grease.