The Best Kimchi Fried Rice in Town


There are handful of places to go for Korean BBQ but only a few really stand out. One of them being Dong Il Jang. Literally, that means the East House. One of the best dishes they have is the kimchi fried rice. Except it's not really a dish. It comes with an order of the Ross Gui (rib eye) and only with the Ross Gui. It is heavenly. Although other meats may be tasty and even downright tempting, such as galbi and bulgogi, I must have my kimchi fried rice when I go to Dong Il Jang.

One of the waitresses comes by at the latter part of the meal with minced Ross Gui, sliced kimchi, butter, daikon and gochujang (red pepper paste) and fries them up on the same pan the meat was grilled on. The meat drippings and all the ingredients come together with the yummy dollop of butter. She flattens out the rice when all the ingredients are mixed. The bottom part of the rice gets crispy from the grill pan and then it's time to dig in.


Other notable mentions include the Hyut Mi Gui (cow neck meat) and the shik hae (rice drink usually served as dessertif). I didn't like the Nyeng Myun ("cold noodle") too much there. The broth didn't have the really refreshing taste I crave after gluttonous feast of Korean BBQ and the noodle was too gummy. I much prefer Chosun Galbi's nyeng myun.

Interestingly enough, Dong Il Jang also has a sushi bar in one section of its restaurant. The sushi bar serves japanese style sushi with loads of sides such as: edamame; wakame (seaweed salad); sea snail; pickled daikon; minari (dropwort); marinated squid; and lightly pickled cucumber. On a separate occasion, My friend and I had dinner at the sushi bar. We started off with some conventional sashimi such as salmon, tuna, yellowtail and halibut. The chef then moved us onto some delicacies such as uni, abalone, ankimo (monkfish liver) and nigiri. My friend and I went sashimi the whole way and even got some eel sashimi. It was sooo good. We were also served Minced & Baked Giant Clam and a side of Mong Gae (English name?). Between two of us the total bill including tax and tip was $90. A very good deal. If you don't feel like being adventurous and letting the chef take the reins, at least try the Eel Roll.

Dong Il Jang
3455 W. 8th St.


The Luncheon: Phalanges & Digits

Once in a while I like to get a few people together for a weekend luncheon. Good casual food, casual lunch setting and some booze does everybody good on a weekend. The theme: finger food.

bottom clockwise: quesadillas w/spiced apples; cheesy sticks; candied nuts; manchego and membrillo

I probably adjusted the menu a thousand times but here is what I ended up with. I made a few dishes I learned at Hipcooks: Manchego and Membrillo; Spiced Chickpeas (Hummus); and my boy made Candied Nuts and Sangria. These are perfect for entertaining and very easy to make. The cheese plate just requires arrangement on a cutting board or plate with a knife. Done. The hummus - just put everything in a food processor and press ON. Done. Sangria - cut up some citrus and combine with alcohol in large container. Done. Easy and simple.

Here is the rest:
Marinated Olives
Eggplant Dip
Roquefort w/ Sage Honey & Toasted Walnuts
Cheesy Breadsticks
Goat Cheese & Tomato Tartine
Brie Quesadilla served w/ Spiced Chunky Apples & Creme Fraiche
Strawberries w/ Marscapone Whipped Cream
Chocolate Panini

And a few easy recipes:

Marinated Olives
I used Lucques and Picholine olives. You can use your favorite olives. Marinating olives is very flexible because you can put in whatever herbs and spices you like. I used minced garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary and good olive oil. If you don't like olives you can also use this marinade for fresh mozzarella balls (boccocini).

Strawberries w/ Marscapone Whipped Cream
Fresh fruits are great for desserts because you don't have to cook anything. I am really bad at baking and dessert making. That's why I love easy desserts like this. Fresh strawberries from the farmer's market look beautiful and plump and who doesn't like a pretty bowl of whipped cream, especially with marscapone cheese. First thin out two heaping spoofuls of the marscapone with a touch of heavy cream. Whip up half a pint of heavy cream in an electric mixer with a spoon of sugar. Do not over beat or else your cream will become too thick. Fold in the thinned marscapone cheese into the whipped cream mixture gently and serve with strawberries.

Eggplant Dip
Cut 1 medium eggplant, 2 red bell peppers and 1 red onion into 1 inch chunks. Toss with olive oil and few cloves of chopped garic. Salt and pepper. Roast in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes or so. Let it cool a bit. Place in food processor in a spoon of tomato paste. Pulse a few time. You want this to be chunky rather than pureed. Serve at room temp with crotini or crackers.


Hip Cooking Class for Hip Students

I arranged a private cooking class at Hipcooks for my birthday bash. Monika Reti, our instructor, taught us various tapas dishes we can "oooh" and "ahhh" people with. How? Easy, stress-free recipes, eye-tantalizing presentation and fresh ingredients. Let me add one very important principle to that: give people good booze.

If you can be a "sneaky" cook by using the above principles, you can throw a grand party for your pals. The class was very hands-on. There was slicing, whipping, beating, sauteeing, crimping and even sangria making. Everyone also got pretty boozed up because we kept wanting more sangria. We were a boozy group of students.

There were a few nuts and potatoes flying around, but we all survived and the food was delicious. Everyone had a really great time. Hipcooks got voted the best cooking class in LA and has also been featured in LA Weekly and DailyCandy.com. If you sign up for a class, please mention me as a reference!

The Menu...
Candied Walnuts, Cashews and Pecans
Marinated Olives
Manchego con Membrillo (quince)
Spiced Chickpeas & Tortilla Toasts
Tortilla de Patata (spanish omelet)
Camarones Bravas (shrimp w/ saffron & pepper flakes)
Salad w/ Lemon Juice and Olive Oil

Monika Reti


Authentic Rustic Italian at La Terza

La Terza
(from LA Times)

Needless to say, LA is not renowned for great Italian food. New York has Little Italy and Boston has the North End and Los Angeles, we have bad pizza and little to no access to great Italian cuisine. Except for Gino Angelini's La Terza and Angelini Osteria. Sadly, I have not eaten at Angelini yet but I can definitely vouch for La Terza.

La Terza's rustic Italian cuisine really hit my tastebuds spot-on. The White Truffle Ravioli was so light, the Roasted Duck Leg perfectly carmelized, the Polenta, light and creamy and the Osso Bucco so tender. And to finish off the meal, Ricotta Fritters with Marscapone Ice Cream and Sour Cherry Compote. I was a very happy girl that night.

One dish I wasn't too fond of was the Beet Salad with Gorgonzola and Walnuts. It was a bit too plain or maybe I just don't like beets. I would have much preferred to have grilled radicchio with the gorgonzola and nuts. Besides that, all the dishes were delicious and the dining experience very pleasant and satisfying.

La Terza
8384 W. 3rd Street