California

3 LA Food Spots That Will Leave You Wanting More

Though my time back in LA was brief and insanely busy, I was determined to cram in as many coffee and food spots into our schedule as possible. I mean, a girl’s gotta eat right? Swimming in a sea of comforting fast food, I did manage to pry myself away from the warm embrace of In-N-Out just long enough to find some really great spots.

Baohaus

Eddie Huang’s Bauhaus just made its way to Chinatown in LA and I knew I had to try it out. The restaurant itself doesn’t have a whole lot going on in its favor. It’s tiny, with an extremely limited amount of seating. To be honest, it was so packed when we went that the restaurant pretty much served as a waiting area for people waiting for their orders to come out. It was loud, crowded and I don’t think there was any way to actually enjoy the food there. Luckily, there’s a good amount of seating outside in the courtyard area.

The menu isn’t overly complicated, consisting of 4 different types of baos, 3 rice bowls and taro fries. My boyfriend and sisters all ordered the “Birdhaus,” which came with fried chicken, served with haus seasoning salt, lemon-garlic aioli, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro. It was a huge piece of chicken sticking out of a soft folded over taco-style bao and it was delicious.

Having lived in Korea for way to long, I opted for the “Chairman,” which came with braised pork belly, served with haus relish, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro. I have pretty high standards when it comes to pork belly, and I have to say that theirs is very well prepared. It’s tender, insanely flavorful and totally beat out the “Birdhaus” in my opinion. Pork belly is super fatty especially on a cut that thick, so if you’re not used to it it may come as a bit of a shock.

Lastly, we all shared an order of their hand cut taro fries, which kind of got mixed reviews among our group. Personally, I really enjoyed them. On their own they can taste a bit bland, but their special haus sauce (which I can’t quite put my finger on) really makes them worth devouring.

The baos are a bit on the smaller, pricier side and one will definitely not fill you. If you want the most for your buck, grab their Lunch Special, which comes with 3 baos of your choice and taro fries for $15. All in all, they are definitely tasty, well made and worth another try on my next trip to LA. Their tofu and fish baos are definitely calling my name.

  • Hours
    • 11:00am~4:00pm & 6:00pm~10:00pm, Monday~Friday
    • 11:00am~4:00pm, Saturday & Sunday
  • Address
    • 727 N Broadway #130, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA (Far East Plaza)
  • Phone
    • +1 213-935-8740
  • Website
  • Instagram

Komodo

Komodo was already on my foodie list when I arrived in LA. When I was co-hosting a radio show, we often talked about the latest food trends sweeping the globe. We covered everything from rainbow bagels and sushi burgers to deconstructed coffee and pizza bombs. One of the foods we talked about was the Phởrrito (phở + burrito) and it seemed like I was the only one who thought it sounded amazeballs. Either way, I was going to find out.

The Phởrrito is basically phở you can eat on the go. You have grilled onions, jalapeños, bean sprouts, a generous serving of ribeye beef and rice noodles, topped with Thai basil and drizzled in sriracha and hoisin sauce. All the makings of a good bowl of phở (minus the broth) wrapped and grilled in a giant tortilla. It was so good! It was amazing how much it tasted like phở even without the soup. I had at least 3 different people ask me if it was good while I was eating it and then go in to order one for themselves.

Even though the Phởrrito was filling all on its own, I was definitely curious to try their other menu items. Since I was sharing with my boyfriend, we also ordered an MP3 Steak Taco. It came with seared top sirloin steak topped with a sunny side up egg, tater tots, garlic aioli & cilantro. It was pretty tasty, though a bit on the small side. You would definitely need to order 3~4 tacos to feel full,  but luckily they offer combos and a lot of interesting options to choose from.

Overall, the service was good with really friendly and helpful staff. Like most trendy LA food spots, the seating area is tiny with a few additional tables on the sidewalk right outside the restaurant. Needless to say we had to wait around for a table to open up. Other than that, it was great! Definitely looking forward to more innovative foodie creations from this place.

  • Hours
    • 11:00am~9:00pm, Sunday~ Thursday
    • 11:00am~10:00pm, Friday & Saturday
  • Address
    • 8809 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035, USA
  • Phone
    • +1 310-246-5153
  • Website
  • Instagram

Amara Chocolate & Coffee

Amara Chocolate & Coffee is a small, but well known Venezuelan food spot among Pasadena locals. How I missed out on this place all the years I lived there… I have no idea. Luckily, my family still lives in the area and they made the long overdue introduction.

To start things off, I ordered the signature Amara Latte. Though they had a ton of drinks to choose from, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with a dulce de leche and cinnamon infused latte. It was sweet, delicious and supplied the perfect kick I needed to start my day.

Having never had Venezuelan food, I didn’t know what to get so I ordered the Pabellon Arepa at the recommendation of my mom and sisters. An arepa is a white corn flatbread, this one came stuffed with beans, shredded beef, sweet plantains and queso fresco (fresh cheese). It was the most magical thing I’d eaten in a while. A perfect blend of sweet and savory. Though It didn’t look it, it was also really heavy. I couldn’t put it down, but at the same time I simply couldn’t finish it. In the end I had to admit defeat and get the rest wrapped up to go.

Though there was very little room in my belly, I couldn’t leave without trying some of their Spanish churros. We split an order of six which came with a dipping sauce of our choice. We opted for the dulce de leche sauce. It was the perfect ending to a fantastic meal. The churros were soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside and the dipping sauce added the right amount of sweetness to make it the perfect dessert.

Of all the food spots I ate at while visiting Cali, this was my favorite. It can get a bit busy, but it’s definitely worth the wait. The food and drinks were not only excellent, but unique and flavorful. It’s the kind of place you want to go back to and try the rest of the menu, but you can’t get enough of what you regularly order. I honestly can’t wait to go back on my next trip. Amara… wait for me!

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