VIDEO: Celebrating My 100th Episode At Ox And Son

Unique dessertsoy

As many of you know, I’ve enjoyed working alongside Tastemade for a while now, and love being part of this ever growing community that has quickly become like family to me through the ups and downs of life.

In about 6 months of starting out, I somehow reached over 100 videos on my Tanaya’s Table channel!

I don’t know how it happened so fast, but I do know that I had a lot of fun meeting so many great chefs and fellow food lovers along the way.

I feel blessed to have tasted and shared with you so many amazing dishes — everything from street food, hidden gems and fine dining to special events, new openings and pop-up dinners.

Through the countless hours (which would add up to multiple weeks of my life!) filming, hosting, arranging, editing and getting creative with my clips, it’s been a learning process that has given me the opportunity to hone my skills in video content production.

I’m so excited to say that — with a lot of encouragement and requests from my amazing followers — I’m working on launching my Tanaya’s Table YouTube channel as well!

Without further ado… here’s how my friends Nitar and Taylor from Tastemade, and Tastemade itself, showed me some love: They took me out to a magnificent three-course meal at Ox & Son, a new modern American restaurant by FNA Hospitality Group in Santa Monica. 😀

For starters (along with some great wines), we had amazingly fluffy Uni & Eggs with truffle salt & molasses bread with caraway seeds, Kusshi Oysters harvested from fjords in glaciers (see video to hear Chef Brad’s awesome description) and Yellowtail Crudo.

I loved all of them, but the Uni & Eggs (pictured above) really blew my mind and tastebuds! It’s a definite must-try, as the moist, fluffy eggs with crème fraîche and chives go so surprisingly well with the buttery Santa Barbara uni and slightly sweet, soft, deeply flavored bread.

Uni and Eggs

As for main courses, we got the Prime Charcrust Hanger Steak with a crisp cheddar panisse, broccolini, charred onion and black garlic & miso lime béarnaise; Chicken Fried Duck Confit with shaved pickled vegetables, house kimchi slaw and red chili & local honey sauce; and Sticky Pig Cheeks with black vinegar glaze, roasted turnip, coconut black rice and charred leek.

We all sampled from one another’s plates. The Sticky Pig Cheeks that Taylor got were my favorite, with the thick, sweet-tart glaze going so well with the succulent meat. Plus, the black rice with coconut milk took me right back to my travels to Bali a couple years ago!

For dessert — not sure how we had room, but we (okay, especially Nitar and I) always have room for dessert, I suppose! — we got the rich coffee cake & butterscotch deconstructed dessert, as well as the refreshing lemon & strawberry malt deconstructed cake. Peep the one-minute video above for all the visuals and action shots!

If you’re looking for innovative American food with a touch of global flair, I definitely recommend checking out Ox & Son in Santa Monica. Thanks again to Tastemade for making me feel part of the family, and to showing me appreciation in such a delicious and special way. ‘Til next time, on the road to the next hundred videos… Cheers from Tanaya’s Table!

Behind The Scenes: Haché LA Now Serving Sirloin Steak Burgers In Silver Lake

Hache LA Header

As I’ve been away doing some research through Halloween weekend exploring Vegas to scout some of the best eats to bring to you all (anything for research!), my first meal out when I got back to L.A. was also an amazing one.

It was a juicy sirloin steak burger in Silver Lake at Haché LA, to be exact… with my fellow Tastemakers (see video below)! Could it get any better? I think not.

Chef and owner Mick Schepers from Mick’s Karma Bar is behind this new L.A. burger spot, and although the menu here at Haché LA is similar to his Irvine location, there’s a lot more he can do in this Silver Lake space.

He plans to serve a vegetarian patty soon, as well as bring back his liquid nitrogen-frozen ice cream made from a rich, creamy custard base.

Check out below to find out what makes these juicy burgers so unique, and get a peek into the kitchen to see how they make their all-sirloin patties:

Watch as chef & owner Mick shows us the secret to his amazing ground sirloin burgers!

Watch as chef & owner Mick shows us the secret to his amazing ground sirloin burgers!

Interesting fact from the man himself: The original Mick’s Karma Bar in Irvine used to be a coffee joint, and then they transitioned to juice. However, the burger they also served there went viral on social media to the point that they scrapped everything else on the menu to only serve a handful of his famous burgers with thick-cut fries, as well as some refreshing drinks like their strawberry basil lemonade (see video above).

You can taste Haché LA’s ground sirloin burgers with all the trimmings at 3319 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles.

Stay tuned for more L.A. eats as well as part one of a Las Vegas dining series!

Hidden Gem: Eat Food Drink Coffee

Although it may be a smallish suburban city, there are many things that Cerritos, CA is known for. For one, it’s got that really cool titanium-plated library with a shark tank, which was named one of the world’s 50 most beautiful libraries.

Of course, there’s always the Cerritos Auto Square that pretty much everyone in SoCal knows about as well. The Los Cerritos Mall, Cerritos Towne Center, and the Cerritos Performing Arts Center are also popular local destinations. Yet none of these involve one of the best secrets in Cerritos.

Okay, I lied. The hidden gem I’m talking about is Eat Food Drink Coffee, and it is located right next to the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. However, most locals who live right down the street are oblivious to this wonderful little cafe that feels like home away from home.

Eat Food Drink Coffee Ube Pancake 2

When I first discovered Eat Food Drink Coffee, I actually almost missed it. It is adjacent to an office building, contained to a smallish corner of the large, corporate-looking edifice. However, once you meander inside, it’s a whole new world of warmth and good vibes.

The service is stellar, and even though I don’t prefer disclosing right off the bat (if at all) that I write about food, they must have detected that we were food lovers, because they seemed to especially enjoy having us there… in a genuine way. Juan, our chef, delighted in the fact that we trusted him to choose the options that came with our meal, and personally brought the food out to us.

Eat Food Drink Coffee Ube Pancake 1

We had the ube (purple yam) pancakes, which are technically not on the menu, but I had heard about them and they were accommodating in making them for us. The uniquely purple pancakes had the subtly sweet, starchy and slightly vanilla-like flavor, so they were definitely made with plenty of the real stuff. Your first time trying them (be sure to ask for them!), don’t expect a fluffy interior so much as a cake-like texture, which actually goes quite well with the ube flavor. Delicious, and a must-try for ube lovers and curious foodies.

We also got a breakfast bagel sandwich filled with a fried egg and crispy bacon, which was the special of the day and came with a hot beverage. Seeing how our group was sharing different items, Chef Juan cut the sandwich into four pieces before bringing it out to us. Talk about personalized service!

Eat Food Drink Coffee Sandwich

Lastly, the turkey and crispy onion sandwich on ciabatta bread was the perfect lunch dish to end our meal. The soft ciabatta bread held together moist turkey slices, crisp lettuce, a zingy mustard and crispy crushed onion rings. The Hawaiian hazelnut boba (yes, they have boba too!) is another flavorful complement to your midday meal. They also have a few interesting crepes, such as the red velvet or the PB&J, which I personally have yet to try.

As Juan chatted with us, it was clear that he loves his job and enjoys making people happy with his food. It was also clear that this place needs to be put on the map, because most current customers are office folks who need to get in, get out and get on with their work… and thus can’t truly appreciate the cafe for all that it is. Additionally, after the new management took over the cafe in August, even the office folks have been skeptical to give them a try, due to past experiences with an old place in the same location. However, this new gem, tucked away in an unassuming business plaza, is truly worth seeking out.

Eat Food Drink Coffee Location

Eat Food Drink Coffee is located at 17785 Center Court Drive, Suite 185 Cerritos, CA 90703, and they even deliver. They are open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on select Saturdays during the same hours as the nearby Cerritos Farmer’s Market. My recommendation would be to call them at 562.402.4400 before coming if you’re hoping to catch them on a Saturday.

Trust me, you’ll be glad you tried it. Cerritos pride!

Bridging Generations Through Mexican Food at Chalio’s

L.A. boasts an abundance of good places to find traditional Mexican food throughout its various parts. However, Chalio’s Mexican Restaurant in Whittier, CA has stood out for generations for its famous birria, or meat stew made with a base of dried, roasted peppers. Although birria has traditionally been enjoyed only on special occasions, Chalio’s owner Raul Luis’s father started serving it years ago out of the family’s backyard after he’d lost his job.

Once word spread of the delicious fare, customers needed some sort of sign to find their way to the family’s home. The cactus by their fence became the designated landmark letting people know they’d found Chalio’s! Now, Chalio’s has grown to multiple locations in the L.A. area and in Texas.

Invited to a Chalio’s Cinco de Mayo food tour, my friend and I visited the Whittier location for the first time. Here’s what we had, and how it was:

Nopal Sope

· Nopal sope – I loved that the pinto beans were whole instead of refried in this dish, which gave the beans a fresher taste instead of weighing the dish down. The diced nopales, or cactus leaves, were tangy and not slimy, as they sometimes can be. The sope was topped with pico de gallo salsa, queso fresco and a slice of avocado. All of these ingredients sat on top of a masa dough base, which brought the dish together to create a unique and healthier sope. Raul expressed his concern over the elevated risk of heart disease and diabetes in the local Mexican population, and said he wanted to create a change in the community and cater to more health-conscious customers through dishes such as these. The sopa de birria (pictured below) had a more traditional base of refried beans, and was topped with red onion and cilantro.

Sope de Birria

· Zacatecano taco – This taco consisted of carne asada, nopales, pico de gallo, queso fresco and a slice of avocado served on a handmade corn tortilla. “With this dish, I’m trying to get more of the younger generation to try nopales,” said Raul. “If they eat it this way (mixed with carne asada, in a taco), they’ll like it, and my hope is that we can transition them so they can eventually enjoy more traditional dishes.”

Birria Taco Dorado

· Taco dorado de birria – This unique dish stars the famous goat stew, stuffed into a fried taco shell. It is then topped with red onions and cilantro, then drenched in a savory tomato-based consommé. The filling was moist and plentiful, and the shell added a nice crunch. The consommé made a flavorful dipping sauce for this texturally complex, very tasty dish.

Michelada

· Camarones a la diabla – Juicy shrimp in a thick and spicy “devil” sauce, made with a combination of chilies, herbs and spices, served with rice and beans. By this point we were beyond stuffed, so I took the dish home. Plus, I didn’t even mention all the great drinks that our super sweet and hospitable server Stephanie kept bringing out for us: Micheladas, horchata, sangria, mango and strawberry margaritas with agave wine… and even vaporized tequila!

I first experienced the Vaportini (pictured below) while covering the amazing 2014 Las Vegas Nightclub & Bar Convention. However, I hadn’t seen it elsewhere since. How does it work, you ask? The liquor is heated at the bottom of the globe, and you suck the vaporized alcohol through the hole, via straw. Not my favorite way to consume alcohol, but certainly a very innovative one!

Vaporized Tequila

Cinco de Mayo may be over, but did you know that September 16 is the real Mexican Independence Day? Still, you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to check out Chalio’s if you want to try something unique and authentic. If you do visit, let me know your thoughts!

Often hosting fundraisers to benefit today’s youth, Chalio’s is involved in the community and is constantly looking to find ways to bridge the gap between the newer and older generations. Upon returning from the feast, I learned that Anthony Bourdain had also visited the Chalio Birrieria in East L.A. Interesting, right?

When walking into the restaurant, the friendliness of the staff and the decor inside are two things you notice right away. Raul’s motto is to keep on improving, as he constantly keeps his staff motivated to do a stellar job. He also owns Bad Azz Burrito, which is a custom-built burrito joint with massive portions located in Saginaw, TX. The eatery hosts weekly burrito challenges to finish a 3-lb, 9-lb, or 11-lb burrito in record time. Just something to think about if you happen to be in Texas… because the food may be bigger in Texas, but L.A. is where lies the authenticity in Mexican food!