Blue Dot Açai & Yogurt Parfait

Ξ July 26th, 2009 | → Comments Off | ∇ Highland Park |

Blue Dot

Blue Dot

In order to write a poem you don’t always need a pen, just the subtlety of the ball.

On the lips of the referee, silence wins.

It’s so much more enjoyable to watch soccer in Spanish.  The broadcasters treat the game more like an epic poem, or in the case of the 5-0 U.S. loss in today’s Gold Cup final, a Greek tragedy might be more appropriate.  (Watching the U.S. defense quit in the second half feels similar to finding out you’ve slept with your mother and blinded yourself…I imagine).

Yet I digress.  The purpose of this post is really to pimp a new local business bringing last year’s frozen yogurt fad to NELA.  Normally I’d make some snide comment about Pinkberry and it’s imitators and then try to lump them with Sprinkles and Kogi, but in this case, Blue Dot Açai & Yogurt Parfait brings something unique to the neighborhood.  In the vein of my previous post on Brazil, I returned home last week hoping to be able to find the Açai smoothies that I’d fallen in love with.  Jamba Juice only uses Açai juice as an ingredient and Whole Foods sells a frozen version in a bag that wasn’t nearly as good as the original.  My search quickly led me to this new business that has only been open for a month.  They have the classic yogurt options that have become so popular in the neighborhoods to our west with a bevy of fruit and candy toppings (Cinnamon Toast Crunch having the most promise).  Still, I avoided these and tried their Original Açai Bowl with blended Açai, granola, fresh sliced bananas, and honey.  The result was heavy but delicious.  Açai is pretty high in calories so the bowl is probably better suited as a healthy meal than a snack.  Still, it makes a great addition to the neighborhood and will have to be worked into my sweets circuit.

A partially eaten Acai bowl
A partially eaten Acai bowl
 Blue Dot Acai and Yogurt Parfait
5110 Townsend Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90041

 

Comida muito Legal

Ξ July 26th, 2009 | → Comments Off | ∇ Highland Park |

For the final installment of our Latin American food series, I’m going to touch on my four day stay in Rio de Janeiro.  The irony in travelling through Latin American countries such as Chile and Argentina is th they didn’t feel very “latin”.  A map would have you believe that Latin America begins in Tierra del Fuego and ends at Mexico’s northern border.  The irony of my trip of course is that I left Highland Park for cities where the locals were overwhelmingly anglo, the foodrecalled Michigan more than Michoacan, and street life lacked any of the chaos so enjoyable in other parts of Latin America (and LA for that matter).  Brazil finally contained the exoticism I was looking for after some 13 hours of flying.  Brazilians have crafted a very unique cuisine from a nation rich in fruit and expansive ranches with a strong cultural blend of Portuguese, African, and Amerindian cultures. 

The centerpiece of breakfast in Rio is the fruit.  Fruit stands are omnipresent in Ipanemaand Copacabana and provide a cheap, fast, and healthy way to start the day.  This meal consists of mango juice, an egg and cheese sandwich, and blended frozen açai.  Açai was a real revelation on this trip.  I know Jamba Juice uses it as an ingredient in some of their smoothies, but I’d never tried it.  Not only is it delicious, but it’s very healthy as well (very high in antioxidants).

breakfast

Carioca Breakfast

Perhaps most representative of Brazil’s multicultural history isfeijoada, a Brazilian bean stew.  Traditionally served only on weekends, the dish is historically slave cuisine.  The undesirableparts of the pig (ears, tail, feet) would be salted and slow cooked into a meal so heavy, it can only be eaten as lunch on a day off.  (You wouldn’t want to be digesting this at your office desk.)  Traditional garnishes can include orange slices, mantioc flour, rice, collared greens, and bananas.

feijoada

Feijoada

 Stews are very popular throughout Brazil.  Although my trip didn’t take me out of Rio, we did find a restaurant that served amazonian food typical of the northern state of Para.  Not much goes to waste in this salty dish as the rice in the stew is cooked with chicken blood.

galinha-cabidela

Galinha Cabidela

As the terminus of the world’s largest river, freshwater fish plays a large role in Paran cuisine.  The Peixada do Peixes do Rio Amazonas was an entire pot full of broiled freshwater fish, vegetables, and coconut milk.  Intensely rich in flavor it was difficult to even put a dent in this.

peixada-do-peixes-do-rio-amazonas

Peixada do Peixes do Rio Amazonas

 Just down the coast from Para is the Brazilian state of Bahia where seafood is again a staple of the diet.  This Moquequa is a mixture of rice, mantioc flour, calamari, shrimp, and chicken.

moquequinha

Moquequinha

For dinner, buffets where the customer pays per kilo seemed popular but a uniquely Brazilian meal is of course the churrascaria.  You begin by loading up your plate withvarious side dishes and then an army of waiters circulate through the tables offering different roast meats directly off the spit.  I didn’t actually take this picture as I’m not comfortable trying to mime to our waiter why I want him to pose with a sword stacked with chicken hearts.  I probably would have appreciated this more if I hadn’t spent the previous two weeks on a strict diet of grilled red meat.  Of course I don’t have to go far in Los Angeles to get this food as Porto Alegre in Pasadena or Fogo de Chao near the Beverly Center.

churrascaria

Finally, any summary of a trip to Rio would be incomplete without mention of the Caipirinha.  Made with lime, sugar, and cachaça, sitting in a plastic chair between a white sand beach and the towering cliffs of Rio might be the quintessential Brazilian experience.

caipirinha

Caipirinha

 

Northeast Links

Ξ July 19th, 2009 | → 5 Comments | ∇ 90041, 90042, Food, Highland Park |

  • If you’re reading this as I’m writing it, you have about one hour to get to the Milagro Allegro Community Garden (115 S. Ave 56) for an evening of live music, speakers, and even a film screening.  See more information here.
  • LA Weekly reports that Bigmista’s Barbeque has expanded to the Eagle Rock Farmer’s Market.  Kudos to the chef for not falling back on the food truck cliche when discussing opening a more permanent location.  As a bonus, the fruit at the Eagle Rock Farmer’s Market seems to be especially good lately.
  • The Los Angeles Times takes us on a photographic tour of “almost town homes” being built in Eagle Rock.
  • On the taco truck front, we recieved word from the loncheros association’s president Erin Glenn that some LAPD officers are harrassing individual truck owners.  No word on if this is going on in NELA, but I’m drawing a line in the pavement in front of Tacos La Estrella. See the video here.
  • Speaking of getting my salsa roja fix, our own Boulevard Sentinel takes a noble albeit faulty stab at what the author calls an “Eagle Rock taco crawl”.  I hate to pick on a fellow Oxy alum, (the author of this article was not editor Tom Topping), but there are a few significant mistakes and omissions we’d like to point out.  First, the article seems to have only a passing, and misleading, understanding of the recent political battles surrounding the trucks.  The author mistakenly attributes the phrase “Carne Asada is Not a Crime” to anonymous websites and, even worse, Facebook groups.  A little research would have gone a long ways in allowing her to add that two local residents coined the phrase and spearheaded the online movement.  With our egos slightly bruised, she then goes on to locate Tacos La Estrella and El Pique in Eagle Rock.  (Yet were a crime to have occurred on the exact same block, the paper would have reported it as Highland Park.)  Finally, and this is minor, the author ordered the green sauce at Tacos La Estrella and reviewed it pretty tepidly.  (Next month I should we expect a review of Philippe’s excluding the French Dip?)  Everyone knows red sauce is the silver bullet of La Estrella.  Considering this is the first mention we’ve seen of the taco truck issue in the Boulevard Sentinel, to say we’re disappointed would be an understatement.

 

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