And here I thought my post from the LA trip in October was big. Goes to show how much I know because this post laughs in the face of the old one. It sh*ts all over the old one, and seriously, can you believe this trip was actually shorter?!

I can’t. But it was.

My luggage put on 6kgs while it was there and so that it didn’t feel bad, I stuffed myself full of SoCal culinary goodness and gained like 6kgs myself. Or something like that. I mean, this post doesn’t even cover it all! There was already that dinner at Market, followed by channelling my inner Homer with a pizza & beer dinner.

And there’s also a fabulous dinner at Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya but that one’s gonna get a post of its own.

This post is for all the adhoc eating that I did. And boy did I do a lot. Buckle up!

{In sort of chronological order}

The Original Farmers Market & The Grove

The Original Farmers Market is located on West 3rd St, pretty much in the heart of the city. I don’t know why ~ why?! ~ we didn’t make it here last time but ohmygod I am so taking Panu back here next time.

A Wholefoods market and numerous food stalls sprawl across the outdoor area with cuisines from Japanese to Brazillian (which were exactly the two that I zeroed in on), sweets to beers and everything in between.

The sushi was ok, but the Brazillian churrasco  plate swept me off my feet. Served buffet style, you can have as much “meat off the skewer” as you like on your plate and it is charged by weight.

We had garlic chicken, garlic beef and charred sirloin steak, accompanied by various salads (including okra which I love!) and some gorgeous little cheese bread balls.

Aside from the food market, The Original Farmers Market is also adjacent to The Grove, an outdoor bazaar of shopping, entertainment, cafes and chillaxin’ space. The perfect place to soak up the sun with a scoop of Haagen Dazs 😉

The Original Farmers Market
6333 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90036
(323) 993 9211

Karl Strauss Brewing Company

After a half day in LA enjoying this crazy awesome season they call winter, my colleague and I caught the tiniest little propeller plane down to Carlsbad (LA’ers I know, I know, I didn’t realise how close Carlsbad is to LA!) and checked into the Pacific Grand Palisades. We totally could have driven. It would have taken like an hour, LOL! 😀

Anyway, we get to Carlsbad, we’re hungry and all that and thank God there’s a restaurant-slash-bistro thing right next door. Turns out it’s a Karl Strauss restaurant. What’s a Karl Strauss Restaurant you ask? I didn’t know either but it’s a brewery, and this is the restaurant! Fricking genius 😉

Karl Strauss has a bunch of beer inspired interesting things on the menu but um, we didn’t order any. Looking back, I have no idea why because they had beeramisu for God’s sake! Why didn’t I order that?

Instead we had the drunken shrimps which were good, and the buffalo style boneless chicken wings which were not-so-good and I’ll tell you why. They call them wings on the menu. Wings. Pretty clear right? But they were actually pieces of chicken breast meat and I detest breast meat. Fail.

My main was actually a chicken salad thing, which tasted ok but was sort of hideous to look at so no piccies. And the bread pudding, luckily, was fantastic, the dried cranberries adding a great touch to an otherwise sickly sweet dessert.

Note: we had our breakfast buffet at Karl Strauss everyday. Hence my phatness fatness.

Karl Strauss Brewing Company
5801 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, CA, 92008
(760) 431 2739

Karl Strauss Brewery & Restaurant - Carlsbad on Urbanspoon

In-N-Out Burger

The famous In-N-Out Burger. What can I say except there’s a reason why London foodbloggers are banding together to petition for this chain to hit up our cold grey shores.

What impressed me most was the simplicity of the menu. You get three choices: a hamburger (no cheese), a cheeseburger (with cheese) or a double cheeseburger (if you’re hungry). And you can have fries, or no fries. That’s it.

But what I did learn though (and it’s great to eat with locals!) is that you can order variations to the limited menu. For example, we had our fries “well done animal style”. Damn right yo, no tourists would ever know them code words!

What are fries “well done animal style”? Simple. They’re overcooked so they turn out extra crispy, and the animal *growl* comes from the topping – a decent serve of cheese, onions and thousand island dressing.

OMeffingGOD yum.

I have to say it lives up to the hype. Simple is as simple does and the soft bun and very plain insides just worked. The big slice of fresh onion was a little bit like a slap in the face but hey, ain’t no kissing anyone that day and better yet, if you were gonna kiss someone, make sure they’ve had an In-N-Out Burger too!

In-N-Out Burger

Haneda Sushi Bar & Seafood

Plonked in the middle of Korea-town (apparently the largest concentration of Korean folk outside of the motherland), we found this tiny little sushi bar with the most adorable little Japanese chefs.

It was a late night, we’d just come back from Carlsbad and needed something quick and easy. Quick and easy it was, and tasty too!

We shared two sushi platters, some tempura and soft shelled crab. The food was fresh and flavoursome, not profoundly outstanding but definitely not bad. I was happily snapping away when the curious little Japanese chef wandered over and shyly watched me take photos of his beautiful food.

Somehow, I managed to get him to pose and y’know, without any coaching, he does the Japanese tourist pose. I love it 😉

Haneda Sushi Bar & Seafood
3839 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90010
(213) 251 9929

Haneda Sushi Bar & Seafood on Urbanspoon

Joan’s on Third

Joan’s! As I type Joan’s on Third has just started following me on twitter! I don’t even know why because um, this post isn’t live yet but hey, one and all are welcome to join in my twribble.

Joan’s on Third is a fantastic little cake shop-cum-coffee shop-cum-deli. Family owned and operated, it serves walk-in customers and also operates as a fully fledged catering business.

After an afternoon of shopping on Robertson Blvd, it’s the perfect place to kick up your feet and dig into a luxurious slice of cake. My friend Sophie and I shared a slice of hazelnut & apricot meringue cake which was honestly ridiculously good ~ rich but not too rich, sweet but not too sweet. Perfecto.

I also took home a selection of packed sweet things including chocolate coated gummi bears and some gummi fruits and sour apples.

The cows out front are cute too. They hang out there with some water bowls and chillax with passing dogs 🙂

ps. only downer at Joan’s is their no photo policy inside. It sucks extra bad because they have the most gorgeous products! Shame.

Joan’s on Third
8350 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90048
(323) 655 2285

Joan's on Third on Urbanspoon

Ruen Pair in Thai-town

Thursday night I hung out with Sophie, who drove all the way from Vegas to see little me (spe-cial). She had a Thai craving so we did Thai, and where do you go for Thai but Thai-town (ok people stop recommending Jitlada, I’ll make it there next time, promise)?

We thought we were hungry, I mean we were hungry but the portion sizes at Ruen Pair completely wiped us out. We ordered three starters and two mains – totally doable by two hungry girls right? Right. WRONG. Not at Ruen Pair.

The starters at Ruen Pair would equate to what I would normally call a large main meal. And the mains are just stupid. We didn’t even make a dent in the dishes, admitted defeat and packed up what would be enough food to feed at least two more people.

Taste-wise the dishes were ok. Some were stunning like the Chinese broccoli with crispy pork but I found the pad thai (my benchmarking dish) a little too bland. The pork jerky was also new to me, you take a piece, wrap it in sticky rice and pop it in your mouth. Not bad!

Some how, even though we actually rolled out of Ruen Pair, we managed to steer across the parking lot to a local Thai sweet shop and stocked up on some delicious gelatinous pandan goodies. I just never learn.

Ruen Pair
5257 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90027
(323) 466 0153

Ruen Pair on Urbanspoon

Huckleberry Cafe

Oh Huckleberry, I’d even heard of this place before landing on the sunny west coast of the US of A. I knew it was in Santa Monica, I knew it was a popular breakfast joint, but I didn’t know they served baked eggs. And we all know how much I love baked eggs.

On a Friday morning, Huckleberry is packed, but we managed to score a table outdoors to enjoy the sunshiny breezy Santa Monica climate.

I ordered the baked eggs because, um, did I have an option? And Sophie had the bacon & egg sandwich.

The baked eggs were good, just good. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them except that I’m comparing them to Lantana Cafe here and well, Lantana adds mushrooms and chorizo and spinach to their eggs!

It was great anyway, eating breakfast in the SoCal sunshine. Reminds me of the days when I used to sit streetside at Urban Bites in Newtown, Sydney, and leisurely indulge in breakfast.

ps. BIG grapefruit juice. Cost a mint (like $7?!) but brilliantly refreshing.

Huckleberry Cafe
1014 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA, 90401
(310) 451 1322

Huckleberry on Urbanspoon

Marmalade Cafe

Sometime after our leisurely Huckleberry breakfast, Sophie and I cruised down to Malibu, took some photos of the stunning coastline and well, worked up an appetite doing that.

We crashed at Marmalade Cafe and shared some nibblies. And boy am I glad we just ordered nibblies and dessert ~ the size of these things!

We shared a warm spinach & cheese dip with tortilla chips, and followed that up with only the biggest slice of red velvet cake I have ever seen. Really, almost as big as my head.

The food at Marmalade Cafe was pretty good but I’ve gotta say, the service left much to be desired with the waiter forgetting us (asking for menu’s, asking for milk and so forth) a number of times and the food taking its time to make its way out to us.

Marmalade Cafe
3894 Cross Creek Road
Malibu, CA, 90265
(310) 317 4242

Marmalade Cafe on Urbanspoon


So on Friday evening, I had the most awesome evening with my LA gals at Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya. This is yet to be blogged because… well it deserves more than just snippets, but anyhoos, after loading up on food and sake, we hit up Milk to satiate our sweet cravings.

Milk appears to be the new trendy thing to do, crammed full of twenty-somethings just hanging out and looking decidedly cool. Us cougars, we just trudged right in.

We shared a “grasshopper” (choc mint ice cream macaron sandwich), some mini red velvet cupcakes (because they didn’t know I’d just indulged in the mother of all red velvets earlier that day) and the star of the show, and Milk‘s signature cake – the blue velvet cake. Blue. Woah.

I have to say, I rate the blue velvet way more than the red. And this is mainly because it has a flavour, where as the red is just cocoa. Y’all knew that right? That the red velvet cake is just cocoa? Sorry if you didn’t. But anyway, the blue velvet cake is blueberry flavoured and laced through with sweet, juicy, fresh blueberries.

Again a winner in terms of food, and a massive lo-ser in terms of service with the aisle nazi storming up and down ensuring the precious aisles weren’t blocked. What-ever.

7290 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90036
(323) 939 6455

Milk on Urbanspoon

KyoChon Fried Chicken

The new KFC. Mark my words, the new era of goddamn Korean Fried Chicken. In October I had but two tiny pieces of KyoChon’s fried chicken. What a tease and over the months I’ve been harbouring a craving for the crisp double-fried skin of this chicken, coated in garlic soy or chilli sauce.

My craving was realised on Saturday, my last meal – the last supper – before my long trip back home.

10 wings, 10 legs, 50/50 with the marinade and a large serve of chicken fried rice. And a bucket of pickled radish because day-em that chilli sauce is HOT!

KyoChon did not disappoint the second time round (the potential for heartbreak after months of craving is always scary) and there’s really not much to say except that cousins from America, can you please please bring us KyoChon? And In-N-Out?

kthxbai 🙂

3833 West 6th St,
Los Angeles, CA, 90020
(213) 739 9292

KyoChon Chicken on Urbanspoon

Pinkberry vs Red Mango

Ok we’re almost there. This post is almost as long as my epic Fat Duck post, and oh I have a story there too*.

Before I left, I had to do a froyo-off. Pinkberry vs Red Mango. Supposedly Red Mango was the original. And then supposedly Pinkberry marketed its ass off and spawned a bunch of new froyo joints. Supposedly.

I can’t comment on the history, just the taste.

Pinkberry is lighter and tart-ier with a distinct yoghurt-y sour-y taste and texture. I thought it was pretty good and the various flavours (original, chocolate, pomegranate, coconut) were actually more intense than in any regular froyo.

Red Mango just plain and simply tastes like ice cream. It’s thicker, richer, creamier and I mean you really could kid yourself into thinking you’re lapping up some ice cream. And so I loved it more. Life’s a bitch, Pinkberry.

So! Them are my eating adventures in LA. I can’t believe I ate my way around LA in October and I ate my way around again in January and I already have a new list of places to check out next time!

I {heart} LA.

* So I met this guy at the company we worked with in Carlsbad and he’s like “oh you’re a foodie, have you heard of The Fat Duck?” … I’m like “have I heard?? I only waited a lifetime on the phone and YES I HAVE HEARD OF THE FAT DUCK.” And he goes “oh, I grew up with Heston. He’s my best friend.” Waaaah, small world.

28 Thoughts on “big eating in Southern Cali: In’N’Out, KyoChon, Huckleberry & more. why i’m totally phat.

  1. Oh yes… We went to the IN & OUT often too when we were there for 2 weeks when I was 5 months pregnant. What I like about them is that the burgers are made fresh and on order.

    I wonder if it is the same Thai restaurant we went to when we were there. There is this famous Thai restaurant in LA that has an Elvis impersonator singing on stage.

    You didn’t check out the Cheesecake Factory??

  2. Cooking Ninja: Oh no it wasn’t the Thai Elvis place haha we were going to go there but opted against it cos he’s not always there 🙂 And no, gave the Cheesecake Factory a missed – did that a couple of times in NYC.. so many other great places in LA to visit!

  3. you can ask for the onion to be grilled at in-n-out instead of the raw ones.

    man…you really ate your way around La La land! *kowtows*

  4. Damn, In-n-Out AND Kyochon in one visit! Very jealous! But re: animal style, have you not seen the In-n-Out secret menu?

  5. OYY I must confess I have been ignoring your tweetphotos after I saw that redvelvet cake LOL I was droolign all over. And yet… here I am… tsk tsk! what does that say abotu me huh? and you? LOL

  6. Vix: OoOOooh see I am learning more about In’N’Out every day 🙂

    Su-Lin: Yes! KyoChon AND In’N’Out and more in one trip ~ i am such a pig 🙂 I had not seen the secret menu, that’s great 😀

    Valisa: Haha I’m sorry!! It says I’m phat 😉

  7. I do not know how you do it! Just the first two meals would’ve KO’d me! It took me ages to get my first taste of In’N’Out and now you’ve added to the enormous list of places to eat when we visit my sisters in LA. I’m not even going to pick a favorite among these meals you’ve described – I want them all (as long as I can also have a small portion of your stamina and metabolism)!

  8. I’m happy we were able to go to Red Mango, and even better you liked it better than Pinkberry! 🙂

    It was great meeting you Catty!!

  9. Tangled Noodle: Believe it or not I still have an enormous list of places to eat in LA! And also, I really don’t have a great metabolism LOL am thinking about submitting myself to 10 weeks of personal trainer hell 🙂

    Kung Food Panda: It was sooooo nice to meet you too. We could have talked for hours. And Red Mango rocked. And you rocked.

  10. Glad you made it to the Original Farmers Market and that you had good froyo…but by God woman, how did you pile all that into your 3 free days – that is well impressive 🙂

    The In-N-Out burgers make me crave for one…beautiful photos btw too. I guess I have to try the ‘original’ that Pinkberry stole from…but I rather quite like the distinct little sour yogurt flavor of Pinkberry – that’s what makes it yogurt and not ice cream…hmm.

    Wonderful post.

  11. Yinnie on February 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm said:

    I don’t understand why I’m putting myself through your photos. *sulks*

    Looks like you had an AMAZING time. =)

  12. Catty hon, I’m so jealous! I was following your tweets and was anticipating this post – looks like you had such a fab time. We still on for Sat? xxx

  13. Wow, so many places! I definitely want to try out some of these places next time I’m in LA. Especially the Farmers Market and Milk.

  14. Laissez Fare: I’m so glad that I made it to the Original Farmers Market, it was such an awesome place and The Grove is great on a warm summer’s day, although it’s winter over there! And you know what? Pinkberry is actually very good – much better than a lot of froyo I’ve had. I do like creamy though so Red Mango WIN but yeh, not a thing wrong with Pinkberry 🙂

    Yinnie: LOL self punishment works wonders 😉

    Mowie: we are so on for Saturday sista!

    kirbie: LA is like an eating haven. I’ve now done two big eating trips and there are seriously dozens of restaurants I still need to try! Enjoy!

  15. Oh ya, and I’ll add, you ate VERY well! Jitlada next time OK? LOL, I’m kidding 😛

  16. This is why I need to go to LA – shocking that I haven’t been there yet considering I have family there! And it’s always okay to eat loads when on holiday. When I went to Belgium I put on 2kg in 2 days, lol.

    I really wish we had blue velvet cake here, and you say it tastes of blueberries! Looks amazing. And that fried chicken… oh my god.

  17. Kung Food Panda: DEAL. Jitlada with u next time, followed by Red Mango. We need tradition, right??

    Su-yin: LA really is an eating haven. And yes the blue velvet cake not only tasted like blueberry, it HAS blueberries all the way through!

  18. Looks like you had one tasty trip! I loved reading this post and getting to feel a sense of pride in my own city. I love the Farmer’s Market and Joan’s of course. Yum yum yuM!

  19. phenomenal post catty! i wanna go to Milk only cause the food colouring’s calling out to me 🙂 u ate up the world darling. I can’t wait for your Izaka-ya post. 🙂

  20. It’s hard to believe you did this kind of damage in a week. Impressive@! I hope London gets an In n Out. That would be awesome! It was fun hanging out with you. I hope we can do it again soon!

  21. I really wana check out these places when i am in LA next.I liked reading ur post:)

  22. Natassia: and I’m so jealous that it’s your city! I want to come back and next time I’m eating cake with you 😉

    diva: LOL I know! Colours of the rainbow. Just don’t think about how bad food colouring is for you.

    yutjangsah: I know right? Talk about damage to my waistline! It was great hanging out with you too – hope to see you soon over this side of the world 🙂

    Nina: Thank you 🙂 Definitely check out these places – they were all great!

  23. … I’ve got to plump for Auntie Em’s. One of their red velvet cupcakes saved my life on my 21st birthday (I’m convinced). Economical too–for those who like their “frosting shot” gratis.

    Possibly the only food in the world which makes it possible to drink Intelligensia coffee black.

  24. perry: LOL that is classic, and so true that the pure level of sugar in one tiny little red velvet cupcake can make drinking Intelligensia coffee straight. and black.

  25. Sophie on February 5, 2010 at 4:34 am said:

    Omg Cat. I’m going to start making a list so get your butt into gear and you and Panu come back!!

    You also need to try Yogurtland which has more flavors than Pinkberry, and my favorite sushi place at Marina Del Rey called Tsuji no hana. We can take the Prius far and wide 🙂

  26. Mizzzz Sophie! *big hug* I am totally already making my next list. Can’t wait to see you again, over here or there. Miss you xxx

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