A.G. Newsletter #54: Brunch at Gjelina, Lemonade in Venice, Pa Ord & Gastronomico

Hey there good people of the Amateur Gourmet newsletter,

So did you see my doughnut post from last week? It's a comic book post about The Best Doughnuts in L.A. Click that link for a fully immersive experience, including videos of me eating each and every doughnut. I wonder if some doughnut fetishist has those videos playing on a constant loop in some dark hidden lair beneath his house now that they're online?

Also, I just did a post about How To Fry Chicken For A Crowd. This is a good thing to know because everyone loves fried chicken and if you can serve it up at a dinner party, you'll be a very popular person indeed.

Now then: this week's newsletter features places I'd been to once but have now returned to for a second visit.

For example, I blogged about Gjelina in August. It's a truly awesome restaurant, with amazing food. So on Saturday, when Craig wanted to visit Venice Beach again, I said we should eat brunch there. We got there at 11:30 or so and only had to wait 10 minutes for a table (if you show up later, you'll be waiting a lot longer).

Craig ordered poached eggs with mushrooms and asparagus topped with parsley and breadcrumbs:

I ordered a spicier egg dish--baked eggs with merguez in a spicy tomato sauce with yogurt:

We both agreed that mine was more flavorful than his; his was more subtle.

We both went crazy for these fried fingerling potatoes topped with Parmesan:

Those are the best fingerlings I've ever had; garlicky, crunchy. Like french fries except with farmer's markety potatoes.

And look how they served up my cappuccino:

That pretty much says it all: Gjelina is a place that cares about details. And it's definitely one of my Top 3 Favorite Restaurants in L.A. So Far.

As for our day in Venice, we walked into a cakestand store where Craig was recognized by someone he went to high school with:

Then we walked along the boardwalk and saw the exterior of a freak show:

Skaters doing skateboarding tricks:

And the canals that give Venice its name:

After all that walking, I was parched. So I was happy to find this place on a corner of Abbot-Kinney:

If you're ordering just lemonade, you can cut the big food line. So I did and ordered this blood orange lemonade:

It totally hit the spot.

Now, then, remember when I went to Pa Ord in Thai Town with Zach Brooks?

I wanted Craig to experience my favorite Thai food in L.A. so far.

We went on Friday night and started with a bowl of Tom Kha Gai (chicken/coconut soup) that we ordered "medium spicy." You can see how that was interpreted:

We both almost keeled over from the heat. But the broth itself--flavored with lemongrass and galangal--was pretty terrific, though Craig said it still didn't hold up to his favorite Tom Kha Gai in Seattle, at Thai Tom. I still haven't been there.

We ordered a seafood noodle dish that was just ok, not great:

The noodles were good, as was the sauce, but the seafood seemed a little less than fresh (and the imitation crab in it didn't help).

What did make both of us swoon is the dish that I swooned over last time---crispy pork with Chinese broccoli:

That's the dish you should get when you go to Pa Ord. (And the boat noodles, if you're brave enough. Craig wasn't.)

Finally, I returned to Gastronomico last week for lunch. It's such a peculiar place. The food is fantastic, but it's in a strip mall and it's decorated like a pizza parlor for kids' birthdays. They need to work on atmosphere. They don't need to work on the food, though; here's my trout on an heirloom tomato salad:

That was my "healthy" lunch before hitting the gym last week. I'm documenting my new workout regimen on my Not Food blog, if you want to follow along. Today I begin Week 2 of working out.

Ok, folks, that's it for this week. Tune in tomorrow for an amazing HUMMINGBIRD CAKE that I served after serving up that fried chicken.

Until next time....

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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