WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING...

"Galo is becoming the new K-Town Food Blog king." - LA Weekly

"Galo 'Make One' Canote goes from Graffiti to Gourmand" - Los Angeles Grubstreet




12/27/10

Under The Tuscan Gun

Many know I love and enjoy to eat and eat out a lot.  I enjoy trying new spots and expanding my experience in food whether it is of or from a different region or culture or simply be extremely adventurous and try something crazy or wild that many may frown upon.  Aside from my many other passions, I have a passion for food and I thrive to please my taste buds and expose them to the sensuality found in different foods.  Another objective, is also enlightening people on the aesthetics of cooking and possibly help them break from the shell of conventionalism and not be afraid to try something new.  As the saying goes: "Don't knock it until you try it!"  

Over the last year, and after blogging for other sites, I have been attempting to simply concentrate and blog for myself.  Albeit, I have not been all that consistent at blogging for myself and updating my blog regularly, I can say my food blog has somewhat created a "tiny" buzz, specially in and around Koreatown. This has lead me to focus more on the area and neighborhood I so proudly, and basically, was raised in...and still live in. 

Well aside from eating out, I enjoy cooking.  At a very young age, I can remember my beautiful mother bringing me into the kitchen to have me help with either cooking and/or baking.  Every dish she made, every cake she baked, she had my hands in it and I pretty much learned to cook most of those dishes.  I think it was at this point that my love and passion for food was born.  Aside from her cooking skills, my mom's philosophy of not fearing to try something new was ingrained in me and it is why I also am so adventurous with my food.  

Anyhow - as much as I love to talk about myself, this isn't about me.  This post is about cooking and cooking recipes from a site/show called Under The Tuscan Gun
 
Under the Tuscan Gun is a site/blog that features recipes from Tuscany. Tuscany is a region located in Central Italy - mainly known for their beautiful landscapes and its rich artistic legacy.  Tuscany also has it's own unique cuisine.

It is here where the lovely Debi Mazar and her husband Gabrielle Corcos come in.  They created this show/site to bring you homemade Tuscan food and share their family recipes.  The couple takes you through a step-by-step cooking process and shares a list of amazing recipes from appetizers, to cakes, pastas, meats, drinks, desserts etc.  The show is casual and intimate as they allow you to enter into their kitchen at home.

They bring you normal food, using normal ingredients.  And as stated by Debi in an interview with The Florentine: "You don't have to use a bottle of $70 olive oil to be a great Italian cook."  She adds "that their recipes and meals are for real people, who have jobs and kids."  Sounds like many of us.

The site has a grass roots method.  It has no advertisers and said to,  at times, have averaged 300, 000 hits in a month...that's a lot!!

Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar
The show has had so much success, that it recently was promoted to Television.  On Sunday January 19th, 2011 the Cooking Channel will air and premiere their brand new cooking show called, EXTRA VIRGIN.  And I, personally, can't wait!! They promise to bring you fantastic traditional Tuscan recipes that will be served to you and dressed with a lot of comedy, lifestyle and some fashion…and hopefully me as one of their guests. ;-)

So for all you so-called foodies or cooks, who specially love Italian cuisine...if ever in the mood for some authentic cooking some Tuscan or Italian cuisine visit the blog or  tune in and watch the show.  II am sure the show will be a great success.

I leave you with some videos of some of their recipes.


Pasta al Vino



Lasagna alla Bolognese



and if you want to learn more, make sure to visit their blog/site at 

Under The Tuscan Gun - for fresh, traditional Tuscan recipes.

11/4/10

Betito's Mexican Restaurant

So what's up people? As many may know, or not, I recently returned from a trip to Mexico about a month ago. While in Mexico, I had the divine pleasure of having some excellent food and dishes that were "to-die-for".  Definitely worthy of a blog on it's own but not today.

Anyhow - to prepare for my visit to Mexico, I wanted to sorta get my palette ready.  Finding it difficult to find quality and good tasting Mexican food in Los Angeles now-a-days, I decided to have dinner at a Mexican food spot I have heard so much about out in Canyon Country.

So I called some friends up and rolled out there with an appetite.  After a 30 - 40 minute commute on the 5 fwy, we arrived to our destination...a spot called Betito's.  A little joint found in a small plaza in Santa Clarita.

The Betitos logo

Upon entering, we were immediately greeted by a nice looking host and were taken to a nice table in the back area.  The place was somewhat packed with young couples, families and older folks as well.  A definite good sign.  I found the place to be cozy and very charming.  The decor? mos def Mexican.  The music? Rancheras and playing at a decent decibel level.  The place was mildly lit...a perfect setting for any occasion.

Our server immediately brought us our menus and our "servicio", two large plates of "homemade" chips and salsa.  The owner, who was also working the kitchen, had the server highly recommend their margaritas.  We were like...uhhhh....and before we even decided or had time to think it over, we had a pitcher of margarita and shots in front of us.  Who would complain about that?

Homemade Chips


Margarita Pitcher and Chips


Margarita


Their margaritas were delicious.  Strong, but not overwhelmingly strong where all you taste is alcohol.  [Albeit, for some that may be all what matters]  They were perfectly balanced.  Just enough triple sec and you can taste it was made with real lemon juice.  The tequila was definitely not their house tequila since it had a nice smooth finish.  They were also perfectly chilled which served to be refreshing on a hot summer evening in September.  I, personally, am more a beer drinker, preferably dark Mexican beers or bitter beers but I was like "Excuse me Elena (our server), can we please have another pitcher?" haha

Next thing we know, Gus the owner, walks over to greet us and in hand, had a couple of dishes of guacamole he had just made for us.  Little did he know, I am a guacamole snob and I measure most, if not all, guacamoles to my very own bomb guacamole.  I must say...this one was good.  Chill, flavorful, the avocados tasted fresh and topped with cheese.  It also wasn't too tomatoey or oniony.  Was it better than mine?  well we'll just have to leave that for another blog.  Granted, I will be bias and it is my blog. haha anyways - the guacamole was good.  *thumbs up*


Fresh Guacamole

So after a couple of hours of chomping on chips and dipping them in salsa, making beans or guacamole tacos and drinking some margaritas, we decided to order.  I decided to go traditional, since the fajitas were recommended and is one of their staple dishes.  My counterpart one, ordered the wet burrito, and my counterpart two, ordered their famous Zarapes.     

When my fajitas arrived, they arrived sizzling and cracka-lac-kin'.  I dove straight into them since they looked delicious and was highly anticipating them.  I ordered them with extra onions and extra onions they had.  The meat was soft, tender and juicy.  The meat juice; not greasy at all.  The portions...very generous.

The wet burrito was huge, smothered in red salsa and melted cheese.  So huge, I was full just looking at it.

The Zarapes, which are two flour tortillas stuffed with charbroiled steak, pico de gallo and topped with lots of special sauce and sour cream were of generous proportions and served with a bed of rice and beans.  I was hoping we all would share but by the looks of  everyone quietly eating, it uhhhh...didn't seem like that was gonna happen.  

Steak Fakitas

Wet Burrito en Salsa Roja

The Betitos Zarapes



As I was unbuttoning the top button of my pants, so I can breath, and were wrapping it up at the table, Gus walked over to chat it up a bit with us.   I took advantage of the time and managed to ask him a couple questions about the joint.  How it opened up and whatnot.  

The  establishment has been opened for over 28 years now and was opened by none other than mom.   The menu is mainly comprised of her own recipes stylized after traditional food from Mazatl├ín.  A city in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico where the family is also from.  He said the clientele they have is predominantly made up of loyal patrons who have been coming for years.  The restaurant's name, Betitos, is named after his brother and family member who passed away years ago.

It was cool sitting down and chopping it up a bit with the owner. And chef.  He says he tries to keep his mom's tradition going.  And now I understand and can see why people still come and have remained faithful diners.  Aside from the food being good and reasonably priced, you feel very welcomed and also feel at home. 

We stayed until the restaurant was nearly shut down, and us being the last people in the joint, Gus kindly offered us a small tour of the kitchen and bar area.  The kitchen was pretty impressive .  Unexpectedly large and looked spotless after being used all day and night.  The bar was cool, small and incognito like and I almost lost myself in it. ;-)

The Kitchen Area

A Section of  The Bar

And during one of the laughing and joking around moments with Gus, I attempted being canny and threw in the question behind the secret of their margaritas and Gus padded me on the back and simply replied: "uhhhhh....Galo, that's a secret man.  You liked them, right?" and we both just laughed.  Except mine were a combo of hiccups and laughter.

So if ever in the Santa Clarita area and want some good Mexican food, come to Betitos.  You will not be disappointed.  As mentioned, the prices are good and reasonable, the portions are extremely generous and the service is impeccable.  Besides...the waitresses, such as Elena, are nice eye candy and may make your dining experience more enjoyable.  Well perhaps for people, guys, like me.  

Oh yeah, one thing I also can not leave out and not mention are the chiles toreados or asados.  Very good and definitely spiced up our dinner. 

Chiles Toreados (asados) 





So head on over.  Have yourself a margarita or two, order you up some food and if you mention my name  --- LoveGalo  --- to Gus, and only to Gus, he may just hook up something.  Hence, just may.

Betito's Mexican Restaurant 
18902 Soledad Canyon Road
Canyon Country, CA 91351-3381
(661) 251-0557


FUN FACT: Mazatlán is a Nahuatl word meaning "place of the deer."

7/15/10

Pal Cabron

I have been struggling for a while now on how to piece this new piece of mine together. Desperate for a new update on my food venturing blog, I felt extremely compelled to write something or I will eventually be washed down with the turds as the great Chinaski once said.

So I will make this quick and short and also cheat a bit...(and so what if I cheat? it is my blog and I can do as I wish, right?)

Anyhow, so about a month ago, while grubbing down and watching the World Cup Opener Game at La Guelaguetza, I met the lovely Bricia Lopez, who was walking around with a bottle of tequila in hand and handing out shots to everyone.  (Be still my heart)  So of course, I waved her down, a few times in fact, for the opportunity to meet her and also bring us over some of them shots.

Well during one of those many times we waved her to come over, she told us about Pal Carbon, a new spot she had recently opened out in Huntington Park that specialized in Cemitas and Clayudas.  I immediately thought to myself, "I have to try this spot!!"

So about two weeks later, I finally decided to head out there and invited a couple of friends.  I called Bricia up to find out whether she would be there or not, gladly she was, and all she said was "make sure you guys come hungry". And trust me, we did.

Before heading over there I visited their website to scope their menu out and I found a nice set of funny videos: here is one of them. 


A challenge to see who'd eat more cemitas
 
Upon walking in, it was totally not what I expected. The walls were emblazoned with caricatures and dichos (sayings) which adds character to the place. (no pun intenended)


Their staple character inspired by her uncle...

 
Some of the dichos on the walls

The Stars of Pal Cabron and whom the cemitas are named after

So on to the food....We basically asked Bricia to bring us what she thought we should have and here are a few pics of what she brought us:
Horchata - very good

Their memelitas

The Clayuda - combinacion

My Cemita

So of course, before eating, I had to go to the restroom to wash up. I must say I was surprised to see the restroom also covered with characters and funny sayings...here is just one.


To see more you'd just have to visit and or -------

And okay, so here is where I cheat...

Even though I can write more about the food we had, which was delicious by the way, Ima let my boy The Teenage Glutster tell ya about it, since he wrote a nice write up of the joint a while back. haha

hope you enjoy....

by: Teenage Glutster

Story of my life? I wish...

Seriously, it's actually the newest naughtiest food child of the same family who brought the L.A standard Guelaquetza restaurants. This place is perhaps the only restaurant positive of making even the most pizza/flaming hot cheetoes-esque of my old East L.A Garfield High School homies become even the most diligent of austere foodies.

It's a concept that Bricia Lopez and her brother Fernando Lopez brought to life after a recent trek to Puebla and discovering the delicate beauty of their street staple, a Cemita Poblana, the omnipresent sandwich of Puebla. Freshly baked, dense, rustic roll dusted with Ajonjoli (Sesame Seeds) and made with the legit stuff, not Crisco...yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Seethed with Milanesa, Quesillo, Queso Panela, Avocado, Chipotle, and the ever acquired taste of Papalo, an herb that smells like if a really thirsty deer just walked on top of it. 

To continue reading....

TEENAGE GLUTSER PAL CABRON

6/23/10

Kalbi Burger

By now, some may have already heard of Kalbi Burger. And why not? since it's opening on June 14th Kalbi Burger has been creating a buzz around town specially in the area it's located in - Korea Town.

As soon as I heard of the joint I had to head on over there and try their burgers.  I met up with my boy, the none other King of Bling - Ben Baller. And both of us being K-Town natives and glad there was a burger joint in K-Town, had to scope it out.


It is on Wilshire Blvd and Wilton Place...inside the little plaza.  As I walked in, I was greeted immediately, I nodded my head and smiled in acknowledgment and looked around first to get a feel of the place.  The walls are painted a nice rich red that I liked very much, there were some mirrors on a wall, a large built in wall clock and a few cool looking tables.  I was glad to find no TV either to distract me from enjoying my meal.



Okay, time to order, albeit I knew what I wanted, their signature Kalbi Burger, I kept wanting to  change my mind because I was tempted to try their other burgers.  But I stuck to my guns and ordered the Kalbi Burger Combo.  I'll have to save the other for my next visits...if the burger was good that is.

While ordering, Hawk (the owner), walked over really quick, welcomed us and immediately went back to hustling on the grill.  I was impressed to see the owner behind the kitchen.  Now-a-days, you hardly ever witness that any more.  I also liked the kitchen being in plain view and open.  One can watch their burger being prepared fresh. 

 
Hawk hustling in the kitchen 
 
Some customers tearing it up.

Their Seoul Burger...soooo good looking I couldn't wait for my order

Okay - my order arrives. 

My Kalbi Burger

I was immediately impressed with the appearance of the burger.  Looked hella fresh.  Rushing and my hands shaking while trying to take a good photo and nearly drooling on my camera, I couldn't wait to take my first bite.  My first bite?...I could immediately taste the freshness.  The meat was juicy and almost melted in my mouth.  The Kalbi Aoili Sauce, a secret sauce, was lightly sweet, adding to the a nice balance to the great mixture of romaine lettuce, Korean vinaigrette, American cheese, red onions and the Angus Beef making the burger burst with flavors.   

The french fries sold me also.  They were nice crispy, golden brown and not overly salty, although I always eat all my fries very salty but found no need to add salt to them.   

 Fries - Photo off Kalbi Burger site. Photo by: Love and Lemonade

Let me mention they have garlic fries too. Which I had with my Seoul Burger on my next visit.  Let me tell you about the Seoul Burger - same thing...large, fresh, soft bread but this burger had sauteed kimchi - whaaaaaa...kimchi on a burger? oh man, being a kimchi fan, I couldn't wait for this one too.   The kimchi totally added a distinct and unique flavor to  the burger.  I enjoyed the burger very much and nearly inhaled it in minutes. The garlic fries had the right amount of garlic on it and still were crispy and golden brown.


 About to take a bite of my Seoul Burger - melting cheese,  fresh meat, kimchi...nom nom nom

About the joint: Hawk was inspired to open up a "good burger joint" in Korea Town after getting tired of having to drive far either west, south, north or east for a decent burger.  His vision? To open a place that served fusion style burgers and represented his Korean/Asian background and culture in his hometown of Korea Town.  Let me mention, Hawk refuses to call the place a "Korean Burger Joint" but prefers it be considered an "Asian and American Fusion Burger Joint". That is why he was also inspired to naming his burgers differently and not solely Korean.  Hence, The Seoul Burger, Tokyo Burger, The Saigon Burger and so on.

Hawk says all his meat come from naturally grass fed cows...no hormones and are antibiotic free. As noted on his website:

"Our meat is 100% Natural Angus Beef, hormonal and antibiotic free, and humanely raised and handled. That means happy cows, happy meat, and happy food!"

He says his ultimate goal is to raise the bar on quality and flavor to the all American Burger. He also said that him and his sister-in-law, who you'll also find behind the grill, or working the register, are the only two who know the secret sauce's recipe.  I asked him if that secret ever leaked out, would we  somehow end up finding her missing. 

Here are a couple of photos from their website.  

The Lulu Burger... Photo by: Love and Lemonade

The Saigon Burger... Photo by: Love and Lemonade

The always smiling Hawk wishes everyone come by and visit his joint.  At least try it once.  He promises to make your visit a pleasant one and hopes to make you one of the tastiest and most flavorful burger you'll ever have.

Hawk (the owner)
  
Once I make my way through the menu and almost try all the burgers, I can't wait to build my own burger.  I found that to be pretty cool.  I'm pretty anxious to do that. And Hmmmm...maybe if the burger I build on my own is good enough - he will be inspired to name it after me. *hint hint*  

I must add also - you can't beat the prices either.  The combos are all under $10.00.  Nice deal for a quality burger.  They also serve hot dogs, salads,  chili, sweet potato fries and salt and vinegar fries.  You can view their menu by visiting their site.  Hopefully, when you go, you may just find me there...maybe even behind the kitchen.  Oh and MAKE SURE you mention you read about it here on Galo Eating.  

Kalbi Burger
4001 Wilshire Blvd Unit E
Los Angeles, CA 90005
phone: 213.738.7898
Website: Kalbi Burger 
Click here for driving directions

6/18/10

Pure Luck Restaurant

I have been wanting to become vegetarian for a while now.  Not necessarily for political beliefs but mainly for the sake of discipline.  I have although, due to belief is some monastic philosophies, have considered it more often that one may think. 

My first attempt of vegetarianism was about a year ago.  I decided to try becoming vegetarian for about 6 months, with the ultimate goal of becoming vegan for at least a month. Again, the sole reason was for personal discipline and perhaps a desire to cleanse the body from toxins and built up waste.  Of course that venture was short lived albeit, I had the opportunity to try many vegetarian dishes.

Anyhow - I have a neighbor friend who works at Pure Luck Restaurant and has been inviting me to come by and eat at the joint.  She claims they have pretty good food and also a good selection of beers on tap.  One day, she kindly brought me some of their tomato bean soup and I was impressed.  The soup was pretty thick, consistency was much like pea soup.  Its flavors were pretty intense.  The beans were definitely not overcooked and they had that perfect tenderness.  The veggies can be tasted even though the soup was very spicy.  I eat spicy food and I must say, this soup was spicy.  Not overly numbing spicy but had the right amount of spice to add some pzazz and make me sweat a little. 

So a few days later, I was craving some soup, and Pure Luck being only 5 blocks away from me, I shot on over. Pure Luck is located near LACC, just North of Melrose Ave and on Heliotrope.  I have fond memories of this street dating back to my early years as a teen but specially more so for one of my favorite movie scenes ever being filmed there. The broom scene with Turbo in Breakin' - I just can't believe how much this little area has changed.

(The liquor store is no longer there. it is now a Tattoo shop and has some coffee shops next to it. The diamond brick-layered sidewalk is still there. Pure Luck is across the street from here) 

Pure Luck is in what appears to be a house that was converted to a restaurant.  Upon walking in, I was immediately greeted by my friend and she sat me by the window.  The place is small but quaint with green walls and bamboo forest wallpaper that give a relaxed, chill, very home-like feeling.  There are a few bar tables with a cute corner section that is mainly all wood.

After indecisively looking through the menu for a while, I ordered myself an order of half Pickle Chips and half Rosemary Fries to start off with. I also ordered me a pint of Point Five IPA - a half IPA beer that's pretty light, refreshing and not as bitter as your normal IPA's.

The pickle chips were good and were served with a side of their garlic aioli sauce that tasted more like sweet BBQ sauce. I personally would have preferred ranch dressing but they did not have any. Big minus there for me. The Rosemary Fries were actually good. Crunchy, since I always order my fries very well done, and they had a light hint of garlic and rosemary which made them even better.  The portions were pretty generous too.

 
The Pickle Chips and Rosemary Fries.

  
Cold pint of brew. Very refreshing as the day was hella hot...

So on to what else I ordered. Somewhat a little full from a great serving of fries and pickle chips, I wanted something relatively small, light but good. They had some taco combos that came with sides but I was done with "sides" and just ordered myself a Baja Taco and a Jackfruit "carnitas" taco.

The Baja Taco is a veggie fish flavored tofu taco.  It was actually pretty good although a little bit bland and slightly chewy.  But it was still good.  It had sour cream, onions, tomatoes and cabbage and served on two corn tortillas.  Very much like your typical fish tacos.

Plate of Fish Tacos and "carnitas"taco...

The carnitas taco was absolutely better.  It surprisingly tasted very much like carnitas. Had the pork flavor and composed of the same stringy texture as carnitas but the significant difference was that the flavor was lighter and not as greasy as normal typical carnitas.

The taco was served with chopped onions, fresh cilantro and a green tomatillo that was obviously freshly made. It was so good I asked for some extra sauce.  It isn't spicy at all although, it may be spicy for some.

My friend finally took a small break and walked over to sit with m for bit me with a glass of their Anvil ESB - a more darker, full bodied IPA that was evidently more bitter.  It was very good and suited well as an after meal drink.  She also had with her a plate of Tacos de Platanos (plaintains).  I personally do not have a sweet tooth so was a little reluctant to try them, specially with the taste of IPA still lingering and bathing my taste buds.  Well I must say they were delicious.  The tacos are made with sweet plaintains, sweet cream and caramelized grilled onions. then served on two corn tortillas.  The result is a well balanced subtly sweet treat that I would definitely order next time I come.

The Plaintain Tacos

So if vegetarian or simply in the mood for some healthy food, make sure you visit Pure Luck. I am certainly returning for the beers and also to try the their carnitas burrito. 

Pure Luck
707 N Heliotrope Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90029
323.660.5993     

6/14/10

Watch Mexico vs France at La Guelaguetza....

Okay everyone - Mexico's World Cup Game 2 is up.

And most of you futbol (soccer) fans, and those willing to rise up early to watch the World Cup games, already have your spot sought out to watch the upcoming match of France vs Mexico this Thursday the 17th. Gladly, this game is not one of the earlier games so some may have the chance to sleep in a little before the game while others rise up early regardless.

The game is at 11:30 AM, which is a great time for brunch, and anyone wanting to go somewhere to watch the game should head on over to La Guelaguetza Whether you wish to have breakfast or lunch while watching the game La Guelaguetza is the place to be at this Thursday. La Guelaguetza is an authentic Oaxacan Restaurant located in the heart of Korea Town. They will be hosting a game viewing party with lots of specials going on. With $5 game specials such as: chilaquiles, menudo and pozole and $5 drinks such as: Oaxacan style Micheladas, Garra de Tigre and Margaritas.


Chips with their homemade Mole and salsa

Oaxacan style Micheleda

Chapulines a la Mexicana (Grasshoppers)

Hooked up Clayuda Tricolor

I, along with some friends, went last Friday for the opening game of Mexico vs South Africa and the place was packed. There were people everywhere...standing, siting, drinking, eating and cheering as they watched the game on the restaurant's 150" screen. Shots of Real Mexicano were passed around freely by Bricia, horns were blowing, Mexican flags were being waved around or worn as capes by fans dressed in luchador masks, sombreros, team jerseys and Mexican gear.



Akwid in the house

Our table of devoured plates of appetizers, clayudas, menudo, pozole and drinks...

More of the crowd on deck...



Teenage Glutser repping...


Bricia, the girl with the shots and some musician dude...forgot who he was...but that's Bricia with the cute smile...

MEXICO SCORES!!!!

So whether you are a Mexican fan or France fan or simply want to go to a place to watch the game and enjoy some great food and drinks. Head on over to La Guelaguetza. early arrival is highly recommended because it will be packed.

This is the World Cup menu ya'll - click on it twice to enlarge -


*And MAKE sure you find Bricia and mention - LOVEGALO - to receive some memelitas on the house or whatever she decides to give you*

See ya there and
"Arriba Mexico!!!"

La Guelaguetza
3014 West Olympic Boulevard 
Los Angeles, CA 
Phone - 213.427.0608 
 
For a more thorough review write up on the restaurant visit LA Eastside