A.G. Newsletter #130: Carousel, Sassafras, Glass Octopus, Shophouse & The Fish Peddler



Hey there newsletter fans,

Do you like nachos? Can you imagine them with homemade tortilla chips? You can't? Then you need to click this link to my KILLER HOMEMADE NACHOS. They really are killer.

If you're looking for something a little more nourishing, check out The Ultimate Weeknight Dinner: Braised Chicken Thighs and Cauliflower with Olives and Capers. It's an original recipe by ME and it's really, really good.

Oh: and guess what? We got a new kitchen table and it's totally rad. Click here to see it. You'll like it, promise.

Now, on to newsletter business...

Last week, I had some business in Pasadena (actually, I had to pick up the chairs for the kitchen table) and on my way there, I stopped at Carousel which is near the Americana mall.



On my constant search for a place to replace Hummus Place in New York, Carsouel seemed like a reasonable contender. The food was in the right wheelhouse.

Funny, even though the woman who seated me was INCREDIBLY friendly, once seated, I was totally ignored for about 10 minutes. It got to the point where I was ready to get up and leave when a man in a suit and tie, who was probably the manager, saw me fidgeting around and rushed over, apologized for the lack of a server, and took my order. Saved by the guy in a suit.

The food came out promptly:



I ordered a vegetarian platter that came with hummus, eggplant dip, and something I'd never had before, Muhammara which is a spicy walnut dip. There was Sarma (stuffed grape leaves), Tabbule (parsley salad) and stuffed grape leaves. All for $10.95.

I really enjoyed it all, though for some reason it didn't do for me what Hummus Place does for me. I blame the pita which was very flat, almost stale, and not puffy and warm like the Hummus Place pita.

Interestingly, we had a meal similar to this a few nights later at the Mark Bittman-recommended restaurant Adana which I blogged about today. That meal was excellent too though also suffered from paltry pita. Try a little harder with your pita, Los Angeles!

Last Tuesday, I met a friend at a bar on Vine Street called Sassafras.



The place has a very cool decor, reminiscent of New Orleans. See?



I ordered a very deadly drink--THE HURRICANE--which came in a used candle holder; my friend, Marcus, ordered a Black Strap Old Fashioned.



Man, was that drink strong... but really good and fresh-tasting, not like something that comes out of a huge plastic tap like you see on Bourbon Street.

So Craig was really happy last week...his glass octopus arrived! He bought it at a glass store in Bellingham, Washington, when we were there and he eagerly awaited it the whole next week, missing a few delivery days in the process. But at last, it came. Here it is:



You have to admit that's a pretty nifty glass octopus. Hope it survives any earthquakes we may experience out here in L.A.!

On Friday night, we went to see "Blue Jasmine" and beforehand we needed to grab dinner near the Arclight. Stella Barra pizza was totally packed, so I took Craig across the street to Shophouse, that new Chipotle-owned restaurant I blogged about a few weeks ago.

I was lukewarm on it last time around, but this time I really liked it. I got the meatballs over rice with a green curry sauce:



Super tasty and super cheap... it's a good place to know about.

Finally, on Saturday night, we walked out of our place trying to figure out dinner. Outside The Bigfoot Lodge (one of our local bars) we spied a food truck called The Fish Peddler.



How often do you get to patronize a food truck right outside your door for dinner? Not very often, I imagine.

I ordered an Oyster Po'boy which was freshly fried:



And Craig got the craziest thing I've ever seen someone eat off a truck: heirloom tomato salad with seared scallops on top. Look at this...doesn't it look like it's from a restaurant?



That's one of our plates (we brought it home) and it looks like a picture from a fancy joint. So: thanks food truck for parking so close to us.

That's all for this week, folks!

Oh: tune in to my blog tomorrow... I'm posting the 2nd episode of The Clean Plate Club. This one features Midtown Lunch founder Zach Brooks and Academy-Award winner Luke Matheny.

Until next time....

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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