Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Talkin' Turkey and BBQ at Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill

Pin It

It's time to think about Thanksgiving
and preparing the turkey and sides.

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill
was kind enough to invite me to their

Flame, Smoke, and Turkey
'When BBQ and Thanksgiving Collide'



 Chef Alex Benes,
Wood Ranch's Sultan of Smoke,
gives us prep/cooking tips
and prepped a turkey for us.

NOTE:  Wood Ranch doesn't do turkeys for Thanksgiving.

 Chef Alex showed us how
to cut out the backbone and
butterfly the turkey.

After injecting the bird to keep it moist,
a rub was spread on and will be
cooked breast-side down.
All of the juices will run down into the breast,
keeping it juicy.


 Through the magic of television,
well you know what I mean...

The turkey is done!


 Chef Alex breaks down the bird for tasting,
which was really good and moist.

The best part was sampling the bird with 
the smokey gravy.


Now that the demo is over,
time to sit down and sample 
some of Wood Ranch's specialties

See What Jay Eats...

I started the evening out with a
Raspberry Ranch Lemonade.

Cruzan raspberry rum and lemonade.
(not your typical lemonade stand beverage)

I love that they use fresh squeezed citrus
in their cocktails and you can taste the brightness.


 Fresh Guacamole & Chips

Was just talking to someone about fresh
guacamole and this one did not disappoint.


 Famous Shredded Onions

Nice and crunchy,
a great starter.


Burnt Ends and Mac & Cheese
on the same plate!

Can it get better than this?

Burnt Ends are from the point half of a smoked brisket.
This is a Kansas City traditional BBQ menu item,
and for me, the best part of a smoked brisket.


I would have been happy with this plate of 
burnt ends and mac & cheese,
but we continue to move on with more...


Pulled Pork Sliders
topped with cole slaw.

If you follow me on Instagram,
you know I love pulled pork,
this was a very good slider.


Tri-Tip Sliders

I'm torn at this point, tri-tip is one
of my favorite cuts of meat,
but really love pulled pork.

Either way, wasn't disappointed.


Yes mom, I ate my veggies too...
Tuscan Kale Salad

with watermelon radishes, green beans, golden raisins,
carrots, toasted pumpkin seeds, chives, cauliflower,
Parmesan, and balsamic vinaigrette.

I love kale and this was a great salad.
Loved all of the texture, as it wasn't just all kale.
Lots of crunch, loved the raisins,
and a simple vinaigrette to round it out.
I would order this salad again.


 Chef Alex introducing the Brisket Burger 2.0

Chipotle-cherry BBQ sauce, Shredded Onions,
with tomato, pickle, and lettuce,
on a toasted sesame-seed bun.


Brisket Burger 2.0

It was a good burger,
loved the crunchy onions with it.


House-Made Vegan Burger

Lentils, bulgur, cashews, leeks, 
with avocado, lettuce, tomato, pickles
on a toasted honey-wheat bun (not vegan).

With all of the meat and BBQ Wood Ranch serves,
they do make a great vegan burger patty.
It's hard to make a veggie patty great,
this was a winner.


St. Louis Ribs

Dry-rubbed & smoked 
with BBQ sauce on the side.

A great tasting rib.



The Certified Angus Beef
Short Rib

A Pecan smoked short rib
with a nice glaze and choice of sauce.

I'm trying to remember if I've had a smoked
short rib before?
It was very tender and flavorful,
one of my favorites of the evening. 



All-American Baby Back Ribs

A classic and done well here.



Tri-Tip

Grilled to perfection
and one of my favorites cut of beef.


What's great entrees without 
sides to match?
Lauren's Favorite Mac and Cheese

Who doesn't love mac and cheese?
Especially with BBQ!
It isn't a fancy one, it's just good...


Fiery Green Beans

Green beans with a kick.


Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Butter, brown sugar, honey and more,
my favorite side of the evening. 

I can see why a lot of people order during the holidays!


So by now, we're stuffed
and Chef Alex said,
DESSERT!
(These gems are made in house daily)


"Simple 6" Key Lime Tart*

 Just six ingredients,
by using good ingredients, that's all you need
to make something great.


 Pumpkin Cheesecake

Would you expect anything else for Autumn?


The Best Cheesecake*

Graham cracker crust, raspberry sauce and whipped cream.


Warm Chocolate Cake*

Flourless Guittard chocolate cake, hand-candied pecans,
with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.


Mom's Deep Dish Peach Cobbler*

Freestone peaches, whole grains, brown sugar, cinnamon,
served with vanilla ice cream.


Since the weather in Southern California is still warm,
it's hard to get into the Autumn season, esp with
Halloween and Thanksgiving fast approaching.
But, it was good to get in some turkey tips and
have never thought about butterflying a turkey,
will have to try it.

Now when I think of Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill,
I will have to think of the grilled items more.
I usually order baby back or St. Louis ribs,
but the brisket burger 2.0 and grilled tri-tip were
really good.  It's hard to find a vegan burger
that tastes good and this house-made one is very good.

Now that I have a better view of the other items
on the menu, I will be back to have more of 
my favorites from tonight!


See what my co-foodies had to say:

@KristieHang

@Tammylalaland



There are multiple Wood Ranch locations in Southern California
and one opening in Virginia in 2015.
For a location near you, find it HERE

Thank You!
Alex Benes
Kevin Diamond
Jennifer Evans Gardner
Wendi Shapiro
Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill



NOTE:  I was an invited guest of Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill
and thank them for the invitation and hospitality.
All comments and opinions are strictly my own.

The pictures didn't turn out as well as I would've liked,
but the food was much better than the pics turned out.




Photos by Jay Terauchi
* - photos courtesy of Kristie Hang
Jay Eats Worldwide
©Jay Terauchi

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dinner for Two at Chaya Downtown

Pin It


It's hard to believe that
is celebrating their 5th Anniversary.

They're located between the twin towers
at the old ARCO Plaza
(now known as City National Plaza)

Did I just show my age? 



Celebrating their 5th Anniversary
with a Special $55 Shared Dinner for Two menu
(through October 2014) 

It's a shared 2 course dinner
with dessert for $55.


See What Jay Eats...

 We started off with some La Brea Bakery bread
while looking over the special menu 
and also regular menu.

We pretty much wanted to try the special menu,
but there was one dish we HAD to order from the regular menu...

One of Chaya's specialties is the Tuna Tartare
which is prepared table side.

Did you know that Chef Tachibe
created the tuna tartare at their
West Hollywood restaurant in the 1980's?

Manager Michael told us that
Chef Tachibe's chef coat and knife
are in the Smithsonian for the creation
of the tuna tartare. 


Chef Tachibe's Original Tuna Tartare
with avocado, micro shiso with crispy crostini

I remember hearing that a Los Angeles restaurant
had created tuna tartare and just recently
found out it was Chaya.

It's was good to enjoy it prepared the way it was created.


Miyazaki Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

served with moro miso aioli, parmegiano-reggiano, arugula
and seaweed grissini.

This was the one dish I was looking forward to
and was not disappointed at all.


Our server Brendan suggested that
we wrap the beef over the seaweed grissini.

It added a nice texture to the flavorful beef
and a fun way to enjoy the carpaccio.


Before we ordered, we were introduced to 
Executive Chef Atsushi Kenjo.

We informed the chef what we ordered
and we were telling him that we had
the Crispy Branzino at Chaya Venice 
for their Annual Garlic Festival menu
and it was amazing!


Chef Kenjo san suggested that we
try the Salt Roasted Branzino (for two)
off the regular menu.

The Branzino (Mediterranean seabass)
was uncrusted and plated table side.

We don't see many restaurants doing much 
table side preparation anymore, tonight was a treat!

I always listen to the chef's suggestions,
so we agreed to have it in place of the 
Sake Steamed Branzino 
from the Anniversary menu.


I apologize to Chaya Downtown,
I know this picture doesn't do the dish justice.

It was a very flavorful fish with
thyme and fennel. 


Served with a Yuzu Beurre Blanc,
side of kale, carrots, and potatoes.

I love roasted sides and went really
well with the Branzino.

I can see why the chef suggested it for us.



Pumpkin Tiramisu & Maple Apple Tart Tatin
with maple vanilla sauce and vanilla ice cream


It was a wonderful evening,
with great food and excellent service.

This Special 5th Anniversary menu
runs through October 2014.


525 S Flower Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 236-9577


Complimentary parking for the first 4 hours
with validation for dinner 
at the City National Bank Plaza underground garage


Thank You!
Mike Javaherpour
Atsushi Kenjo
Brendan



NOTE:  I was an invited guest of Chaya Downtown and
thank them for their invitation and hospitality.
All comments and opinions are strictly my own.




Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats Worldwide
©Jay Terauchi

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ramen Monday - Ramen Yokocho Pomona 2014 Recap

Pin It

A Special Ramen Monday
Recap of the Pomona Ramen Yokocho 2014


It's Ramen Time
AGAIN!!!

The Fairplex in Pomona



First Stop, Hide Chan from Hakata, Kyushu, Japan.
No line, what a perfect time to be here.

The most famous ramen shop in Hakata, the birth place
of Tonkotsu ramen.

See What Jay Eats...

Hide Chan
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen

I love the thin noodles!


Next Stop, Kohmen in Tokyo.

From the ramen hotspot in Ikebukuro in Tokyo.



Jukusei Spicy Ramen
from Kohmen.

Served with chicken and pork chashu,
loved the greens and spicy paste.


Ran into my friend Mathew
from MenOh in Little Tokyo.

Home of the famous Tokushima tonkotsu ramen.

MenOh has a vegetable ramen (at their Little Tokyo location)
and topped with lots of veggies.
I enjoyed it.

 One of the specials I was looking forward to
is Keizo Shimamoto's Burger Ramen
from the Original Ramen Burger.

It's a deconstructed Ramen Burger (I guess you call it).
A 100% Certified Angus Beef patty with white American cheese,
Hirauchi (flat) noodles with Keizo's secret shoyu glaze, baby
arugula, and topped with crumbled bacon.

I enjoyed this dry-style (soup less) bowl,
Asian flavors but American
(just like the Original Ramen Burger).



At least I had the right shirt on today
to try the Burger Ramen
from the Original Ramen Burger
at the Southern California debut.

First served in Brooklyn and then San Jose,
and now in L.A.

Speaking of the Ramen Burger,
this was the first time Keizo Shimamoto's
Original Ramen Burger was at the
Ramen Yokocho in Southern California.


It was a perfect day, not too hot and
not too crowded...


There was other food too, like my friends from Fluff Ice.


Miso Ramen by
Wakamusha & Tanatsumono

This collaboration from two
leading ramen shops
in Fukushima, Japan.

I'm glad there was a miso ramen,
served with corn.




Just when we thought we had our favorite,
we try another good one...



Tonkotsu and Chicken Ramen
by Norio

The Number 1 local favorite
in Osaka, Japan.

Loved the thin noodles!


It was a nice end to the food festival season for 2014.

My Favorite of the event was the Hakata Tonkotsu
from Hide Chan in Hakata, Kyushu, Japan.


The only complaint I have, I've also heard others say the same thing, the portion sizes are too big.  IMO, the purpose at food festivals is to try as many different vendors as possible, the reason for 11 ramen vendors from all over.  The portion sizes should be a 1/3 of the size and patrons would have a chance to taste more vendors.  This is my opinion for a better event, something to chew on...


Arigato!
Ramen Yokocho
Tomoko 


NOTE:  I was an invited guest of Ramen Yokocho and
thank them for the invitation and hospitality.
All comments and opinions are strictly my own.





Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats Worldwide
©Jay Terauchi