March 17, 2012 |
For all of the hundreds of restaurants in L.A.'s Koreatown, tucked behind untranslated signs and inside barely marked skyscrapers, in sleek malls and dusty strip centers, the area has never had much in the way of recognizable chefs. Generations of Los Angeles Koreans and Korean Americans have been going to Ham Ji Park for pork ribs and to Masan for monkfish soup, to Ham Hung for cold buckwheat noodles and to Mountain for abalone porridge, but the cooks have been mostly behind the scenes.
January 6, 2012 |
Spain has a post-holiday tradition that goes way beyond Black Friday. Each year the country conducts an entire month of January sales, or rebajas , that make winter a good time to visit. Illinois-based Tourcrafters offers a four-night Madrid shopping trip through the end of the month that starts at $485 per person. On this tour, bargain hunters have free time to check out the Mercado de San Miguel food market, the Rastro antique flea market and El Corte Ingles department store while enjoying tapas and wine-tastings along the way. Dates: The five day/four-night tour is offered for travel through Jan. 31. Price: $485 per person, based on double occupancy (this tour is offered in February and March for a higher price)
October 13, 2011 |
The Spanish are on to a good thing with tapas, those lusty little bites that bars in Spain put out in the early evening. Ever wondered how the Spanish can eat dinner at 11 or later? Because they stave off hunger pangs and socialize earlier in the evening at tapa bars, ordering wines by the glass and nibbling on anchovies, chorizo and garlicky sautéed shrimp. In L.A., we now have enough restaurants specializing in tapas that you could actually do some bar hopping. But that would involve a bit of driving.
October 6, 2011 |
In Porto, I remember eating sardines grilled outside a little restaurant near the sea accompanied by gulps of chilled vinho verde . It's easier to find the wine here now, and this bottling is well worth seeking out. Look for the characteristic tall slope-shouldered shape and the distinctive Trajarinho label. Pour a glass: It tastes alive. It's similar to Spain's Txakoli, only the grapes get more sun in Portugal, so you have not only that bracing snap of acidity but also beautiful ripe fruit.
September 8, 2011
A 4-year-old red from Rioja for less than $20? That's why Bodegas Sierra Cantabria always gets such high marks for its price/quality ratio. Winemaker Marcos Eguren conjures up a delicious intro-level Rioja, one that anybody would be proud to serve. Modern in style, it has both fruit and intensity without sacrificing elegance. Layers of blackberries and spice and its well-integrated tannins make the 2007 Sierra Cantabria Rioja "Crianza" a great quaffing wine. Have it with grilled sausages, charcuterie, tapas and first courses.
July 29, 2011
Pattern Bar Where: 100 W. 9th St., downtown L.A. When: 11 a.m.-midnight Mon.-Thu., 11-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat. Price: Beer, $6-$9; cocktails, $10; tapas, $6-$12 Info: (213) 627-7774; patternbar.com