Magnum – A Loaded Pop-up @ Biergarten

Omg, where did Catty Critic go?  Why hasn’t she posted a review in a while?  Did she finally pop from all the food she’s been nomming?   No, no…I’m still here and I’m still expanding.  Like the majority of  people out there, come New Year’s I’m gonna resolve to get my lard-ass on some sort of workout routine that doesn’t involve shoveling food in my mouth.  But in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the rest of 2010 with some amazing meals…like the one I had last night.

I'm gonna eat the menu

Rock My Palate invited me to join her 4-top for dinner at Magnum, a pop-up at Biergarten via Joseph Mahon (formally of Bastide) and David Haskell (sommelier extraordinaire).  I never made it to Bastide so I wasn’t familiar with Joseph Mahon but after last night, da-yum…. Feed me, Chef!

The menu consisted of 5 courses ($56) with 2 supplementals ($10) and a wine pairing option for $54 (same pricing for 5 or 7 courses).  Naturally, we opted to go for it all but we split the wine pairing 3 ways since the group had to work the next morning and I was driving.

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A Korean walks into a hofbräuhaus…

Okay, so when someone asks me to hang out in Koreatown, I immediately think all-you-can-eat-KBBQ and karaoke.  I don’t think hofbräuhauses (is that the right pluralization?).  And I certainly don’t think Biergarten.  But last Saturday night, I found myself in K-town with Rock My Palate and other friends at a bar/restaurant that was a mesh of German, Korean and…Mexican? What?

Beer float ahoy

I like my chicken drunk

Opened 8 months ago by Neil Kwon, Biergarten offers a great spot to hang out with friends, drink good beer, grub on great food and watch a game on one of the many flatscreens on the wall.

The beer list is extensive and features offerings from breweries near and far that are sure to please the pickiest of beer aficionados.  There’s also a full bar and, of course, the requisite soju. Neil is happy to mix the soju with Calpico, creating a dangerous cocktail that will lead some people to channel their inner AC/DC at karaoke afterwards. And for those who really love their beer, there are beer floats for dessert  – a stout paired with chocolate ice cream.  Yum!!

Since I’m not a huge beer head, the food was of more interest to me.  The menu at Biergarten has some adventurous variety of German, Korean and Korean fusion cuisine.  You could go with the traditional brat but definitely get the drunken chicken, Biergarten’s version of “beer can chicken”.  Moist, flavorful and accompanied by a bucket to toss in the gnawed on bones, this was a winner.  The addition of the bucket is what pushes Biergarten above other places.  They take care of the little details which makes the whole experience there that much better.

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LudoBites 6.0: Waiter, I need a bigger stomach, please…

Beyond these doors...heaven

A few weeks ago, I was sadly lamenting the fact that I failed in securing a reservation for what Jonathan Gold considers one of LA’s 99 essential restaurants for 2010.  Other people’s clicking-fu was stronger than mine…  But thanks to a stroke of luck, I won Rock My Palate‘s giveaway and found myself at LudoBites 6.0 last week Wednesday.  Accompanying me was Husband and Kat of Kat’s 9 Lives and one of her friends.

This iteration of LudoBites is at Max’s in Sherman Oaks…like, the Valley, shaw! And, like, traffic getting into the Valley is, like, totally lame.  </Valley Girl speak>  Thanks to Husband’s iPhone TomTom app, I found myself driving scary side roads and we managed to arrive right on time.  And for those worrying about parking, there is valet ($3.50).

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SugarFISH: A sushi lover’s dream come true

Last week, I received an invitation to try out SugarFISH’s newest location.  Monday night found me wandering into Downtown LA, a place I usually avoid thanks to traffic.  I brought my friend, D, along to keep me company.

The gateway to sweet sweet sushi

SugarFISH first opened in Marina Del Rey mid-2008.  Started by a group of sushi lovers in conjunction with Chef Kazunori Nozawa, better known as the “Sushi Nazi” of LA, SugarFISH’s goal is to bring Nozawa’s Tokyo omakase style of this delicacy to the masses at affordable prices.  Given its quick expansion into Brentwood in 2009, DTLA now and a Santa Monica location scheduled to open in Jan 2011, SugarFISH is succeeding.

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