Hillary Eaton

Originally appeared on LA Weekly

Hanjip is Taking Korean BBQ to New, Swanky Heights

Ever since Hanjip announced it was opening in Culver City, there’s been a lot of talk about it being a game-changer. Besides being the latest offering from the growing juggernaut of Bombet Hospitality Group (Terrine, Faith & Flower, Viviane), Hanjip was created in partnership with Chef Chris Oh (Seoul Sausage, Escala, Nomad Kitchen) — and it focuses on high-quality Korean barbecue.

But what differentiates Hanjip, which opened last week, from other spots in what is arguably the best city for Korean barbecue outside Seoul?

While there’s been a lot of attention given to the location itself, the fact that it’s not in Koreatown is really not its most intriguing selling point. Famed Korean barbecue spots such as Genwa have been creeping out of Koreatown as far west as Beverly Hills, plus there are dozens of great places to grill raw meat throughout Southeast Los Angeles, from Artesia to Hawaiian Gardens and beyond. A Culver City spot just seems to be in tune with the natural sprawl of a popular L.A. dining trend.

Originally appeared on LA Weekly

Boozy Brioche “Adult Donuts” Come to Venice

If Los Angeles was a doughnut, it would be a rum-, pineapple-, coconut- and mint-flavored ring covered in shredded coconut — at least according to Blue Star Donuts, the Portland-based gourmet doughnut shop that just opened its third outpost on Abbot Kinney.

Blue Star’s signature brioche, European-ish doughnuts are made from a combination of eggs, flour and butter in a process that takes 18 hours. The shop also is turning out doughnuts laced with an ample hit of booze — “donuts for adults,” as they like to call them.

But it’s not just the booziness that makes these doughnuts grown-up. They’re also lacking in the syrupy sweetness of most frosted treats. With flavors like hard apple cider, blueberry bourbon basil and horchata, Blue Star is subtle when it comes to sugar.

And in typical Blue Star fashion, a new location brings new flavor concepts. As with its Tokyo and Portland shops, Blue Star takes inspiration from the culture that surrounds its L.A. shop and translates that into seasonally rotating flavors exclusive to the location.

Pineapple Pina Colada

So what does a Los Angeles doughnut taste like? In addition to the aforementioned homage to the piña colada, Blue Star has translated Los Angeles’ health consciousness into a Greek yogurt and honey donut topped with freshly made granola.

For the next L.A.-specific flavor, Blue Star will be tapping into Los Angeles’ undying obsession with brunch via a mimosa doughnut infused with sparkling wine and an orange-scented glaze, as well as a nod to our nearby wine regions with a grenache-laden ganache.

1142 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; (310) 450-5630, bluestardonuts.com.

Originally appeared on LA Weekly

Watch You Noodles Being Made at Musashiya Udon

When it comes to handmade Japanese noodles, Los Angeles is home to a few hotbeds. From Sawtelle’s Little Osaka to Little Tokyo to the South Bay, more than a few restaurants are slinging hand-rolled Japanese ramen, soba and everything in between. With Musashiya, the unlikely neighborhood of Westwood now gets some of the action.

Located in the former Top N One Ramen Express, Musashiya keeps the noodle legacy going, this time focusing on the thicker, chewy udon. But it’s not just that hungry college kids have another place to chow down on carbs between midterms; Musashiya specializes in house-made, prepared-to-order udon that should be notable to any Angeleno looking for authentic Japanese noodles.

Musashiya’s noodles are made simply — with flour, salt and water, the dough left to rest overnight before being rolled in the morning. The dough then goes through an aging period until it’s ready to be cut, boiled and served. This process is tweaked daily depending on sitting temperatures and humidity levels in the air, so that the noodles you’re slurping are always of smooth of texture, elastic but with a firmness.

The restaurant is made up of a bar that wraps around the far wall of the space with high-top chairs, and long communal tables that run down the middle. Covered by nothing more than a glass pane, the noodle-making station is open to diners so you can watch your udon being made. The noodles are then served hot or cold.

Just-made udon noodles

Mainly serving dipping udon — similar in style and influenced by tsukemen dipping ramen and soba — Musashiya offers udon miso tsuke–style (with miso and sesame broth and the traditional accoutrements of bamboo shoots, nori, boiled egg, chasu and curry powder), niku tsuke–style (with a rich, beef-topped beef broth) and soy tan-tan tsuke (a spicy soy milk–based sauce with tan-tan style noodles).

In line with some of the wilder, modern udon trends, Musashiya also offers a creamy egg-and-ham–laden carbonara udon and an egg-drop udon with spicy cod roe. For the udon purists out there, Musahsiya covers the bases with classics such as niku udon, wakame udon and the smoky, bonito-rife,dashi-based classic Japanese soul food, kake udon.

Beyond noodles, you’ll also find appetizers and simple side dishes of karaage chicken, dried soft squid tempura, yam and okra, tofu and hand rolls.

Musashiya opens Oct. 28 with a buy-one-get-one-free promotion, as well as a $10 gift certificate to the first 20 people to dine each day through Oct. 31.

1049 Gayley Ave., Westwood; (310)-208-5999; musashiya.tokyo.

Originally appeared on LA Weekly

A Vegas Izakaya Invades Hollywood’s Late Night Food Scene

When it comes to West Hollywood’s dining scene, the strip of La Cienega between Beverly Boulevard and Santa Monica is a force to be reckoned with. Brimming with ultra-hip celeb hangouts and stylish fine-dining options including the Nice Guy, E.P. & L.P., Nobu, Barton G., Bagatelle and Fig & Olive, this restaurant row is home to some of the trendiest spots in town — especially with the recent addition of Aburiya Raku.

The second location of chef Mitsuo Endo’s celebrated izakaya — a staple of the Las Vegas food scene — is housed in a former soba house behind an understated façade. In this neighborhood of flash, it would be pretty easy to pass it by unnoticed if not for the cloth sign out front.


Originally appeared on LA Weekly

The Best Way To Explore Food in L.A.? Public Transit

Who’s never taken the bus in L.A. before?” Javier Cabral, aka the Glutser, asks through his mini portable microphone. He’s standing in the back of Monterey Park’s Tokyo Fried Chicken, in front of a restaurant full of people eating ponzu-drenched drumsticks and skirting the question by taking some extra time to chew.

“It’s OK,” he chuckles, raising his own hand to encourage others. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Isn’t that the point of all this anyway — to do new things?” Slowly, the hands come up.

The Metro Tour de Food — a collaboration between KCRW, Metro L.A. and Zócalo Public Square, led by longtime food blogger (and recently anointed Munchies West Coast editor) Cabral — is very much about doing new things, especially when it comes to how L.A. does food tours.