Eater's Digest: Las Vegas 4

Previously on Adam Riff™:

O.M.G. Burger (LVB Burgers)
duck burger stuffed with muenster cheese, smoked ketchup, heirloom tomato, watercress, roasted duck mayo
—Where I began to wonder if I actually love duck, or if I just love Peking duck.

March 2017
morimoto / sugarcane / the buffet at wynn / beauty and essex / the buffet at bellagio / chengdu taste / royce' / sugarcane / the buffet at wynn / yonaka modern japanese / shang artisan noodle / sweets raku / wicked spoon buffet / naked city tavern / bacchanal buffet / sugarcane / bacchanal buffet / tacos el gordo / sushisamba / the buffet at wynn

Ichigo (Sweets Raku)
balloon-shaped thin white chocolate cup filled with pie crust and strawberry mousse, served with strawberry candy filled with strawberry sorbet and condensed milk mousse

^ Standing fuckin' ovation. I was delighted to discover sorbet inside the candy strawberry.

Angel Cream (Sweets Raku)
fromage blanc mousse and pear mousse with earl grey cookies and dark chocolate

Hamachi Tacos (Morimoto)
yuzu kosho, avocado, lime

Petite crunchy raw fish tacos are ubiquitous in Vegas – and I will always order them.

Another trend: Beef cocktails.

Wagyu Manhattan (Morimoto)
iwai whisky, melted wagyu lard, walnut liquor, walnut bitters, burnt orange peel

Wagyu Manhattan (Sugarcane)
wagyu-infused iwai japanese whisky, walnut bitters

Wagyu Old Fashioned (Sushisamba)
japanese whisky treated to a wash of the highest-grade wagyu before being stirred with maple and salted caramel

A barman at (Morimoto) explaining its drink menu: "We have blah blah blah blah blah…and Moromito beers."

Toro Tartare (Morimoto)
wasabi, nori paste, sour cream, sturgeon caviar

^ A clunky deconstruction. My server explaining it: "Toro with blah blah blah blah blah…and Morimoto guacamole."

Tuna Pizza (Morimoto)
anchovy aioli, olives, jalapeno

^ Barman: "As seen on the cover of Morimoto's cookbook." "Are staff paid by how many times they say 'Morimoto'?" I wondered.

Duck Duck Goose (Morimoto)
duck meatball soup, duck confit fried rice, gooseberry compote

^ Rekindled my love of duck. The soup is potent.


(Naked City Tavern) is a smoky, skeezy off-Strip pub that serves some of the most interesting food in Vegas.

Crawfish "Popcorn" (Naked City Tavern)
crispy crawfish tails, butter dust, naked city seven pepper hot sauce

Duck Confit Lasagna (Naked City Tavern)
in-house noodles, duck-laced ragu, fresh mozzarella, pecorino, sweet basil

Bacon Candle (Naked City Tavern)
a square of solidified pork fat with a wick surrounded by a ring of sweet balsamic reduction, two high-end salts, and both bacon and basil powder

I saw a sign outside (Harrah's) promoting a "Bizzurger."

I thought it was white people being lame, but upon closer inspection, it's a burger with pizzas as its buns.

Design Firm: Oh shit! Sbarro's rebrand is due today!

(Miracle Mile Shops)

(Beauty and Essex) is, of course, Chopped judge Chris Santos' chain of restaurants hidden inside pawn shops.

Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon, and Tomato Soup Dumplings (Beauty and Essex)

Hand Cut Steak Tartare (Beauty and Essex)
crispy mustard and chive sticky rice cake
—Damn, I love raw proteins served in/on crispy carbs.

"Fish and Chips" Tacos (Beauty and Essex)
beer-battered chilean sea bass, chile-lime slaw, crispy matchstick potatoes

^ The crispy matchstick potatoes are wholly unnecessary, but welcome.

Peanut Butter Pie Sundae (Beauty and Essex)
peanut butter ice cream, chocolate sauce, chocolate chunks, crushed pretzels

^ Vegas Seven named it the best dessert in Vegas. Ehh…

Nutella Sundae (Sugarcane)
nutella ice cream, nutella hazelnut brownie, cracker jacks

^ Nutella ice cream doesn't taste like anything. Nutella isn't good diluted.

Torrejas (Sugarcane)
caramelized apples, maple butter, cinnamon ice cream

^ Oversold to me [it's French toast], but I lapped up every drop of the melted maple butter.

Goat Cheese Croquettes (Sugarcane)
membrillo marmalade

Foie Gras Bastilla (Sugarcane)
pistachio duck leg confit, golden raisin puree

Fat Duck Makimono (Yonaka Modern Japanese)
crispy foie gras, eel, gruyere, bacon, avocado, foie gras caramel, spicy aioli

^ Perplexing sushi. Liver, eel, gruyere, avocado… The crispy foie gras is a garnish?! And the bacon, or what I assume was bacon, was jerky tough.

Chicken Sesame Cold Noodle (Shang Artisan Noodle)
shredded chicken breast, sesame sauce, veggies
—The one time I find this dish on a menu, it's bland.

Boiled Fish with Green Pepper Sauce (Chengdu Taste)

^ If water-boiled fish made with red peppers is a show-er, then this green chili counterpart is a grower. You don't realize how spicy the fish is until your tongue is numb.

Toothpick Lamb with Cumin (Chengdu Taste)

^ You can't go wrong with lamb and cumin. Individually skewering chunks of lamb seems like a waste of toothpicks, though.


Mt. Fuji (Andrea's)

"Pan con Chocolate" (Jaleo)
chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil, and brioche ice cream

"Gin and Tonic" (Jaleo)
gin and tonic sorbet, fizzy tonic "espuma," lemon, and aromatics

Guava Chiffon Pancakes (Cinnamon's Restaurant)

Cookie Dough Baked Alaska (Cut)
baileys, milk chocolate ganache, espresso salt

Graham Central Station Ice Cream (Handel's Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt)
graham cracker-flavoured ice cream with graham ripple and chocolate-covered honeycomb crunch

Yellowtail "Pastrami" (Morimoto)
togarashi, gin creme fraiche, candied olive, morimoto grapeseed oil


Fiery Salty Caramel Chocolate Tarte (Morimoto)
dark chocolate sorbet, marshmallow, salty caramel ganache, spiced rum


Eater's Digest: 31 Flavours

Man, I consume a lot of ice cream.


Tico Time Ice Cream (Ice and Vice)
pink guava, chili lime plantain chips
—Guava and plantain chips – who knew?

Splinters Ice Cream (Ice and Vice)
smoked whiskey barrel wood ice cream, cracker jack brittle
—A 21+ flavour. I had to show identification to order it, despite not tasting any alcohol. The house-made Cracker Jack brittle is [Italian chef kiss].

(Ice and Vice)'s winter 2016-17 series is…something. From best to worst:

Thai-Phoon Sorbet (Ice and Vice)
thai tea, mango, sumac jaggery
—Tea is an underappreciated ice cream flavour.

On the Rocks Ice Cream (Ice and Vice)
persian black lime, cola, cherry pop rocks
—Pop rocks and Coke with lime.

Photo Bomb Ice Cream (Ice and Vice)
chlorophyll, citron marmalade
Chlorophyll ice cream? Chlorophyll ice cream.

Colt .45 Ice Cream (Ice and Vice)
toasted barley, chicory root, spiced molé
—Yecchh! One of the least palatable ice creams I have ever tried.

Mexican Neapolitan Paleta (La Newyorkina)
—Oaxacan chocolate, Mexican vanilla, and local strawberry.

(La Newyorkina) specialises in artisanal paletas.

Chamoy-Filled Mango Paleta (La Newyorkina)
—Like a chamoyada on a stick.

The Red Hook Paleta (La Newyorkina)
—Stumptown coffee ice cream with chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough. Scrumptious.

(Superiority Burger) pairs an ever-changing gelato with an ever-changing sorbet as a dessert item.

Milk Toast Gelato / Yellow Peach Sorbet (Superiority Burger)
—The pairing when I visited. Peaches and cream and bread.

Chocolate Chip Passion Fruit Soft Serve (Milk Bar)

Cranberry Limeade Soft Serve (Milk Bar)

I don't love Milk Bar, but its soft serve is on point.


They Scoop Gilmores, Don't They? Ice Cream (Ample Hills Creamery)
coffee chocolate pudding ice cream, snickerdoodles topped with pink sprinkles
—A Gilmore Girls-inspired flavour. I could not detect any snickerdoodles in my scoop.

Cranberry Gin Fizz Sorbet (Ample Hills Creamery)
cranberry purée, lime, gin

Ants on a Log Sorbet (OddFellows Ice Cream Co.)
Celery sorbet with peanut butter and raisins. Nope!

Miso Cherry Ice Cream (OddFellows Ice Cream Co.)
Saffron Passion Fruit Ice Cream (OddFellows Ice Cream Co.)
—Selections from an Asia-inspired series.


Bone Marrow Ice Cream with Bourbon Smoked Cherries (Salt and Straw)
—Didn't taste like anything.

Peanut Butter Ritz Apple Pie Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
—All I tasted was peanut butter.

Raspberry Nutella Ice Cream (Gresescent)
—Disappointingly anemic on both fronts.

Lemon Bar Ice Cream (Gresescent)
lemon-infused ice cream, freshly-baked lemon bar cookie bits
—The best lemon ice cream I have ever tried.

Blackberry Mint Mojito Ice Cream (Gresescent)


Ham Solo Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)
Honey-baked ham ice cream. It tasted just like honey-baked ham.

Green Bean Casserole Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)
fresh green beans, sautéed button mushroom base, french fried onion inclusion

Asparagus Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)

Mango Mezcal Sorbet (Little Giant Ice Cream)

Hard Apple Cider Sorbet (Little Giant Ice Cream)
—Delectably refreshing, if barely hard.

Buttermilk Cranberry Swirl Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)
—Too much buttermilk ice cream, not enough cranberry jam.

Ugly Sweater Ice Cream (Little Giant Ice Cream)
jameson whiskey ice cream, pineapple compote, cranberry sauce, holiday m&ms
—Waaaay too much Jameson in its Jameson base. The taste of whiskey overwhelmed everything else.


PB&J Ice Cream Pie (Tartine Manufactory)
fior di latte, concord grape sorbet, grape pâte de fruit, candied peanuts, peanut cookie crust
—Deceptively hefty. It needed more grape pâte de fruit or some peanut butter to break up its shit ton of grape cream soft serve filling.

Thank You for Being a Friend Ice Cream (Humphry Slocombe)
dark chocolate cheesecake ice cream, amarena cherries, house-made graham crackers
—A Golden Girls-inspired flavour.


Eater's Digest: Philadelphia 4

Previously on Adam Riff™: Eater's Digest: Philadelphia 3

October 2016
beiler's bakery / itv / the sidecar bar and grille / skygarten / royal sushi and izakaya / south philly barbacoa / stock / little baby's ice cream / destination dogs

A low-key birthday jaunt.

Apple Fritter (Beiler's Bakery)
—A warm Beiler's apple fritter should replace the dying Great Barrier Reef as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Beef Fat Biscuit (ITV)
scallion honey butter
—Comparable to the stellar biscuits at Momofuku Daishō.

Chicken Liver Stroopwafel (ITV)
plum agrodolce

^ Chicken liver and jam is a tried-and-true combination. I had never had it in stroopwafel form, though.

Adobo Sidecar Wings (The Sidecar Bar and Grille)
ginger-cilantro kalamansi sauce, scallions
—Seemingly every time I visit Philadelphia, Drew's chef friends happen to be cooking stuff that he conceived. This visit: Filipino wings.

Jon: Are there any foods that you dislike?
Drew: Hmm…
[one minute passes]
Drew: Pears.

Hidden inside a Queen Village red brick row house, (Royal Sushi and Izakaya) is the darkest [visually] restaurant I have ever been to. Imagine eating Japanese food in the climactic fight of Ang Lee's Hulk.

I wanted to try (Little Baby's Ice Cream)'s Earl Grey Sriracha, Everything Bagel, and Ranch flavours, but the only intriguing flavour available when I stopped by was

Cheese Board Ice Cream (Little Baby's Ice Cream)
melted aged cheddar and chevre cheese ice cream, crushed crackers, toasted pine nuts, local triple berry jam

Anyway, Weckerly's is better.

(Stock) is one of Eater's "essential Philadelphia restaurants," and to my surprise, its proprietor didn't bother to build out a kitchen. Food is cooked on freakin' hot plates.

Vietnamese Iced Coffee (Stock)

Philly has a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb
Philly has a little lamb joint serving barbaco…a

(South Philly Barbacoa), Bon Appétit's sixth best new restaurant in America for 2016, is like Philadelphia's Pizzeria Beddia – wonky hours, limited menu, cash only.

Lamb Barbacoa Taco (South Philly Barbacoa)
Lamb Pancita Taco (South Philly Barbacoa)

^ Consomé (South Philly Barbacoa)
—Made with lamb drippings.

Previously on Adam Riff™:

O.M.G. Burger (LVB Burgers)
duck burger stuffed with muenster cheese, smoked ketchup, heirloom tomato, watercress, roasted duck mayo
—Where I began to wonder if I actually love duck, or if I just love Peking duck. [to be continued in Philadelphia]

Mighty Duck [Anaheim / SNA] (Destination Dogs)
duck sausage, duck confit in hoisin sauce, chicharrones, grilled scallions, sesame seeds
—More duck on duck, and more…nothingness. I fed most of this dog to dogs.


One Bite in Bangkok [Thailand, BKK] (Destination Dogs)
python sausage, cucumber salad, tomato pepper jelly, crushed peanuts, cilantro
—Python sausage.

The Underdog [Australia, SYD] (Destination Dogs)
kangaroo sausage, frizzled onions, vegemite aioli
—Kangaroo sausage with Vegemite mayo.

Racist food truck?

Tempura Cheese Curds (Double Knot)
yum yum sauce, cilantro

Duck Scrapple Bao Bun (Double Knot)
maple teriyaki, cucumber, chili

Rice Krispy Sushi (Sampan)
vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, peanut

Chocolate Stout Vinegar Custard (Martha)
almond crumble, malted milk powder

Baba's Pumpkin Pie Kombucha (Martha)


Eater's Digest: Las Vegas 3

Previously on Adam Riff™: Eater's Digest: Las Vegas 2

October 2016
sake rok / lvb burgers / the buffet at wynn / eatt / gelatology / libertine social / the buffet at wynn / standard and pour / donut bar / the buffet at wynn / the goodwich / the buffet at wynn / eatt / dw bistro / bacchanal buffet / port of subs

This trip, I spent about $150 Uber-ing off-Strip to try stuff.

Big Poppa Tart (Donut Bar)

^ A one-pound donut with a Pop Tart inside.

I ordered one with a strawberry Pop Tart inside. It was sickeningly tasty, inexplicably reminiscent of birthday cake.

Crispy Rice (Sake Rok)
spicy tuna, serrano pepper, coriander, ponzu
—Amuse-bouche yaki onigiri.

Ratatouille Rolls (Eatt)
zucchini, eggplant, red pepper

^ I could do without the…shallots?

Exotic Fruits (Eatt)
coconut foam, passion fruit heart, macha tea meringue

Broccoli (Eatt)
gluten-free tortilla chips

^ Like guacamole, but made with broccoli.

O.M.G. Burger (LVB Burgers)
duck burger stuffed with muenster cheese, smoked ketchup, heirloom tomato, watercress, roasted duck mayo
—Where I began to wonder if I actually love duck, or if I just love Peking duck. [to be continued in Philadelphia]

Date and Bleu Cheese Jam (Standard and Pour)
buttered almond, bacon bread

^ I couldn't discern the bacon in the accompanying "bacon bread."

Crispy Oysters (Standard and Pour)
sriracha egg salad, flying fish roe
—Sriracha egg salad.

Venison Tartare (Standard and Pour)
cherry mostarda, white chocolate, quail egg
—Raw venison with white chocolate.

Wine and Cheese Sundae (Standard and Pour)
cheesecake blondie, merlot ice cream, brandied cherry
—Merlot ice cream.

Fruit Loop Panna Cotta (Standard and Pour)
orange sorbet, raspberry gummy, hazelnut

^ To my relief, the raspberry gummies were tender.

There is nothing that (Gelatology) won't infuse milk with. Among the gelato flavours available the night I visited: Boo Berry, Croissant Bread Pudding, Count Chocula, Halo-Halo Rice Pudding, and Green Tea Kit Kat.

(DW Bistro) fuses Jamaican and New Mexican cuisine.

Jerk Fried Calamari (DW Bistro)
sweet chile glaze, basil, sweet hot peppers
—Anemic jerk.

DW Fried Chicken (DW Bistro)
dusted with jerk-seasoned flour
—I ordered a side of fried chicken and requested dark meat. My waiter informed me that (DW Bistro) only fries white meat. "Fine," I replied. Then this arrived:

Chive Turkey (The Goodwich)
chive ricotta, cranberry, greens, walnut, chicken skin, swiss
—I came for this sandwich…

Pig o' the Week: El Escobar (The Goodwich)
butt n' belly, sofrito, avocado, plantain, pepperjack, apple
—and stayed for this one.

Jalapeño-Sour Cream Chips (The Goodwich)

[right] Negroni (Libertine Social)
juniper panna cotta cake, campari gel, pistachio crumble

^ A dessert adaptation of a Negroni. As I've never had a Negroni, I can't tell you how well it translates. It was a bitter dessert, though.

^ [left] Manhattan (Libertine Social)
rye whiskey bread pudding, vanilla and house maraschinos ice cream

Strawberry Gazpacho Shots (Libertine Social)
king crab, avocado puree, hearts of palm

^ Tart!

^ Parmesan Churros (Libertine Social)


Foieco (Naked City Tavern)
tortilla stuffed with fatty duck liver, duck confit, charred cherry tomatoes, pickled vegetables, and santa barbara uni cream
—Foie gras and duck confit and uni – oh my!

Bacon Candle (Naked City Tavern)
a square of solidified pork fat with a wick surrounded by a ring of sweet balsamic reduction, two high-end salts, and both bacon and basil powder

^ Diners light it up and wait for the grease to melt into the other ingredients, at which point they sop it all up with charred crostini.

Frito Pizza Pie (Flour and Barley)
topped with chili, cheddar cheese, onions, fritos chips, sour cream, and chives

^ Two pies in one.

KYGO Cloud Nine "S'mores" (Beauty and Essex)
dark chocolate torte, pecan graham crumble, marshmallow clouds, white and milk chocolate sauces

^ A Norwegian DJ-inspired dessert.

Decadence D'or Cupcake (The Venetian / The Palazzo)
palmira single estate chocolate, derived from the rare and fragile porcelana criollo bean; tahitian gold vanilla caviar, the world's most labor-intensive agricultural crop; louis xiii de rémy martin cognac, 100 years in the making; edible gold flakes; hand-blown sugar fleur-de-lis
—A $750 cupcake.


Eater's Digest: Austin, TX

September 2016
barley swine / lick honest ice creams / franklin barbecue / brew and brew / hotel san josé lounge / cheer up charlie's / the side bar / odd duck / noble sandwich co. / cow tipping creamery / torchy's tacos / sway / shake shack / veracruz all natural / gourdough's public house / baton creole / the hightower / prohibition creamery / via 313 / easy tiger / royal blue grocery / noble sandwich co. / odd duck / la barbecue / tiny pies / lenoir / snooze / alamo drafthouse / whataburger

Beef Rib (La Barbecue)

^ "What am I eating?" I wondered as I chipped away at it. $22.00/pound. Each rib weighs about 1.5 pounds.

Brisket (La Barbecue)
Brisket (Frankin Barbecue)
—The gold stars are only for brisket with some fat. Lean brisket is trash, even Franklin's.

Steven and his friend Marissa drove up from San Antonio to help me eat the four pounds of Franklin brisket that I pre-ordered. We managed to eat about half of it. In retrospect, The Amazing Race's "eat four pounds of meat by yourself" Roadblock in season seven was mental.

I ordered the 10-course chef's tasting at (Barley Swine) and a root beer that was unpalatably rooty.


Pig Skin Noodles (Barley Swine)
shrimp dumpling, hot sauce

Mid-Tasting Palate Cleanser (Barley Swine)
watermelon shrub, basil and mint pearls

Dry-aged Akaushi Ribeye (Barley Swine)
bone marrow hash
—A heavenly slice of red meat.

Koji Rice Porridge (Barley Swine)
—Like a honeydew sago. Flashback to my childhood.

Potato Chip-Crusted Catfish Sandwich (Noble Sandwich Co.)
remoulade slaw, bread and butter pickles, tnp vinegar hot sauce, garlic bread

Smoked Duck Pastrami Sandwich (Noble Sandwich Co.)
russian dressing, rye pickles
—Odd-tasting duck.

(Odd Duck) is (Barley Swine)'s seemingly more popular sibling.


Pretzel (Odd Duck)
pig face carnitas, cheddar, fried egg puree

Beef Cracklin' Tater Tots (Odd Duck)
mustard bechamel, pickled mushroom
—I couldn't discern the "cracklin'."

Spiced Eggplant (Odd Duck)
sunflower butter, marinated feta, olive, sweet peppers

Chicken-Fried Fish Head (Odd Duck)
seeded dredge, salsa verde, mint, cilantro
—Much larger than I expected.

Coffee Croissant (Odd Duck)
pecan, whiskey, milk jam

Chocolate Layer Cake (Odd Duck)
mexican vanilla ice cream, chocolate potato chips
—The chocolate potato chips are just garnish, disappointingly.

Jon: I'm confused. This place (TOMS) sells coffee and shoes?

Activated Popsicle Shandy (Hotel San José Lounge)
charcoal lemonade popsicle, shiner blonde light

^ Charcoal, lemonade, beer.

'Son of a Peach' Dessert Donut (Gourdough's Public House)
peach filling, cinnamon sugar, cake mix topping

^ Cloying, even for my diabetic ass. My donut had, like, a ladle of icing slathered on it.

Peach Cobbler Pancake (Snooze)
peaches, almond streusel, vanilla cream, whipped raspberry mascarpone

Baked Potato Pancake (Snooze)
—A poor man's latke.

Jambalaya Baton (Baton Creole)
traditional rice-based dish smothered with the "trinity" of cajun vegetables along with garlic, tomatoes, and cajun spices; deep-fried on a stick and drizzled with remoulade sauce

^ I dislike how its chunks of sausage are skewered on the stick.

Cajun Poutine (Baton Creole)
seasoned waffle fries, melted brie cheese, badass brown gravy
—I ordered this to go and received the saddest box of waffle fries topped with a few slivers of congealed brie [gravy in a separate container].

Migas (Veracruz All Natural)
eggs, tortilla chips, avocado, pico de gallo, cheese
—Served as a taco.

(Torchy's Tacos) are…fine.

Green Chile Queso and Chips (Torchy's Tacos)
homemade chips with green chile queso topped off with guacamole, queso fresco, cilantro, and diablo hot sauce
—Torchy's queso, on the other hand, I still think about.

Fruit Cup (The Hightower)
mexican marigold ice cream, clementine sorbet, watermelon granita, chili and lime powder
—"What a curious play on a fruit cup," I thought, not realizing that it is a play on a MEXICAN fruit cup.

Banana Split (Sway)
milk chocolate five spice, condensed milk, and cashew caramel swirl ice creams; black sesame brownie, candied cashew, coconut milk jam, drunken cherries, bananas, whipped cream
—A Thai play on a banana split.

Its description as punctuated on (Sway)'s website –

– reads like it only features one flavour of ice cream [condensed milk and cashew caramel swirl], when it actually features three [milk chocolate five spice, condensed milk, and cashew caramel swirl].

"Bubble Cone" Stacker (Cow Tipping Creamery)
housemade vanilla egg waffle cone, green tea soft serve, toasted coconut dust, cornflake crumb, toasted sesame seeds, drizzle of white chocolate sauce, pocky stick on top

^ My bubble waffle was tough.

Signature Bourbon Ice Cream (Prohibition Creamery)
Sangria Sorbet Ice Cream (Prohibition Creamery)
Tiramisu Ice Cream (Prohibition Creamery)
Whiskey Chocolate Ice Cream (Prohibition Creamery)
—High-quality boozy ice cream.

Steven: This place (Star Seeds Cafe) has good food, but the wait staff treats you shitty if you don't have tattoos.
Jon: Soooo they hate Jews?

(Alamo Drafthouse / HBO)

Green Chili Lamb Sausage with Pretzel Bun (Easy Tiger)
lamb, queso blanco, escabeche
—The escabeche I can take or leave, but the sausage and pretzel bun are superb.

(Lenoir) is a wonderland of ingredient combinations.


Habañero Noodles (Lenoir)
cucumber lime broth, pepita-sesame crumble, mint oil

Braised Goat (Lenoir)
everything sourdough crepe, full-sour gherkin, thai chili mustard, barrel-aged beet hot sauce

Smoked Apple Crème Caramel (Lenoir)
chili coconut chicharrón, grape consommé

Brûléed Spice Cake (Lenoir)
cheddar ice cream, watermelon-fig salad, garam masala

Thai Lime Leaf and White Chocolate Profiteroles (Lenoir)
herb anglaise, cocoa nib

No dish I tried, however, was as wonderful as its optional

Miso Apple Sesame Bread (Lenoir)
eggplant pecan spread

'The Detroiter' Pizza (Via 313)
smoked pepperoni under the cheese, natural casing pepperoni on top
—I knew that Detroit-style pizza was square, but was unaware that traditionally, a layer of pepperoni lines Detroit-style pizza crust – pepperoni under the cheese.

Texas Two Step Pie (Tiny Pies)
—Combination brownie and pecan pie.

Texas Sheet Cake Ice Cream (Lick Honest Ice Creams)
chocolate pecan icing, chocolate ice cream

(Whataburger) is the lean brisket of burger chains.


(Lala's Little Nugget) – Christmas-themed bar.

Corndog Fish Collars (Barley Swine)
hot sauce

French Toast Fritter (Odd Duck)
butternut squash, coffee mayo, goat feta


Housemade Twinkies (Drink Well)

Donut Cone (Cow Tipping Creamery)

Tiramisu Pops (Sophia's)
mascarpone, coffee, housemade lady fingers

Asian Movie Night (The Peached Tortilla)
popcorn ice cream, asian caramel, rice puffs

Kimchi Arancini Balls (The Peached Tortilla)
wasabi and sriracha aioli, roasted nori

Honey Walnut Shrimp Po'boy (General Tso'boy)
battered wild caught gulf shrimp, sweet mayonnaise, candied walnuts

Honey Walnut Sundae (General Tso'boy)

Mexican Coke Sweet Potatoes (Lucy's Fried Chicken)

The Real Deal Holyfield (Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ)
tomato serrano salsa, fried egg, potatoes, refried beans, bacon, mesquite smoked brisket

Whip-Indianized Nachos (Whip In)
el milagro tortilla chips, braised black beans, kashmiri pepper queso, pico de gallo, cilantro chutney

Kashmir Frito Pie (Whip In)
spicy goat chili atop fritos with black beans, melted cheeses, sour cream, and cilantro

Mumbai Migas (Whip In)
vital farms eggs soft scrambled with grilled onions, feta, totopos, and cilantro chutney; topped with pico de gallo and served with black beans and basmati rice

Bangalore Biscuit Sandwich (Whip In)
vital farms fried egg, house made goat chorizo sausage, grilled tomatoes, mixed greens, and melted cheese on a fluffy indian spiced biscuit; served with grilled crushed potatoes

Naan Burrito (Whip In)

Jon: You had sex with your Uber driver?
Steven: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Steven: She gave me five stars.


Eater's Digest: Downtown Los Angeles

Previously on Adam Riff™:

I have a formidable backlog of food notes on New York City and Los Angeles dating back to May 2014 that I desperately need to clear. Some restaurants I tried have closed. Some dishes I tried are no longer available.

Phase three:

Downtown Los Angeles (May 2014 – September 2016)
b.s. taqueria / bäco mercat / bar ama / barrel down / bearclaw kitchen / belcampo meat co. / birdies / the black sheep / bombo / bottega louie / the briks / broken spanish / burritos la palma / califas taco / the chairman / chego! / chicas tacos / crepes sans frontieres / crispy cuban / donut friend / downtown donuts / fritzi / eat drink americano / eggslut / eko eats / gelateria uli / good gravy bakes / gresescent / guerrilla tacos / guisados / howlin' ray's / j's mart cafe / knead and co. / lemonade / the little jewel of new orleans / little sister / madcapra / mariscos jalisco / mcconnell's fine ice cream / mr. ramen / octopus / ohana poké co. / ol' skool bbq / osso / otium / the pie hole / pitfire pizza / pizzanista! / plan check / poke express by honda-ya / poke-2-go / preux and proper / raindrop cake / rucker's pie / sea salt fish grill / semi sweet bakery / seoul sausage co. / sidechick / sixth street tavern / sonoratown / spitz / spread mediterranean kitchen / the stocking frame / stoked! california bbq / sugarfish / triple 8 / ugly drum / valerie confections / van leeuwen artisan ice cream / wafl / wokcano / woodspoon / zema

Steak Tartare with Mustard Ice Cream (Eat Drink Americano)
raw diced filet mignon, home-made dijon mustard ice cream

^ The difference in temperature can be jarring.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon (Preux and Proper)
pain perdu, smoked strawberries, doubletree sorghum, fruity pebbles

^ I've eaten foie gras with French toast and/or berries before, but never with SMOKED berries and Fruity Pebbles.

Jambalaya Biscuit Pizza (Preux and Proper)
wild mexican white shrimp, pulled chicken, persillade, smoked moz

^ The biscuit base was unappetizingly chewy.

(Woodspoon) is a "rustic Brazilian kitchen" that flavours its water with a cinnamon stick. To my amusement, it neighbours an Argentinian restaurant.

Brazilian Chicken Pot Pie (Woodspoon)
hearts of palm, black olives, hard-boiled egg

Not sure what is Brazilian about this pot pie, but it was pleasantly dense.


8. Fried Chicken (Eko Eats)

7. Birdies Spicy Sandwich (Birdies)
fried chicken breast, cole slaw, ghost pepper mayo, tillamook pepper jack, cured pickles
—Not spicy at all.

6. Chicken and Donuts (Sixth Street Tavern)
tapatio whipped cream

^ Tapatio whipped cream!

5. Nashville Hot Chicken (Howlin' Ray's)
bread, pickles
—Prepare to queue an hour to order.

4. Da KFC (Seoul Sausage Co.)
twice-fried wings, gochujang honey, pickled daikon
—Hella crispy.

3. Half Fried Chicken (Osso)
potato salad
—Because it's cooked-to-order in a skillet, prepare to wait half an hour for this to arrive.

2. Za'taar Fried Chicken (Spread Mediterranean Kitchen)
za'atar ranch
—A boneless delight.

1. Southern Fry Sandwich (Plan Check)
smokey fried jidori chicken, spicy green pimento cheese, duck breast ham, pickles

^ Plan Check's Plan Check Burger (americanized dashi cheese, KETCHUP LEATHER™, schmaltz onions, mixed pickles, crunch bun) didn't wow me, but its Southern Fry Sandwich is on my Mount Rushmore of fried chicken sandwiches.

The Classic Brik (The Briks)
tuna, capers, shallots, harissa, egg

A brik is a Tunisian deep-fried filled filo dough pastry.

(The Briks)' menu is presented in a Pee Chee folder and its washroom walkway is wallpapered with pages from a print version of the Urban Dictionary.


6. Churro Funnel Cake (Bar Amá)
chocolate sauce, powdered sugar, vanilla ice cream

5. Man Salad (Seoul Sausage Co.)
tater tots, kim cheese, pickled veggies

4. Ooey Gooey Fries (Chego!)
beer-battered fries, sour cream sambal, monterey jack and cheddar cheese, cotija, chillies, cilantro, pickled garlic

3. Fish and Shrimp Po'Boy (The Little Jewel of New Orleans)
golden fried catfish, shrimp
—My go-to when I want a meal delivered in DTLA.

2. Fresh Thick-Cut Fries (The Chairman)
—Bomb thick fries.

1. Beef Tallow Fries (Belcampo Meat Co.)
—Bomb thin fries.

Midnight Slider (The Black Sheep)
pork sausage patty, hash brown, fried egg, american, pepper jack, chipotle aioli

^ The inclusion of a hash brown patty was interesting.

Slut (Eggslut)
cage-free coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette

^ An eggy mashed potato spread.


5. Cochinita Pibil Taco (Guisados)
shredded pork cooked in a sweet red achiote spice, black beans, yucatan compliments, pickled red onions, habañero chile

4. The Foghorn Leghorn (White Boy Tacos)
geiikikan sake-marinated chicken breast, scrambled eggs, red and yellow bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, home-made old bay aioli

3. Tripita Taco (Sonoratown)
mesquite-grilled, house-made flour tortilla, chopped cabbage, spicy red salsa, avocado sauce

2. Clams and Lardo Taco (B.S. Taqueria)
garlic chips

^ Brothy!

1. Fish Taco (Chicas Tacos)
beer-battered fish, caesar salad, croutons, morita salsa, queso manchego

^ A fish taco topped with Caesar salad.

Smorgasburg is a weekly outdoor food market.


4. Strawberry Passion Fruit Crumble (Bearclaw Kitchen)
layers of fresh strawberries, fresh cream, passion fruit curd, shortcake crumble

3. Hainan Chicken (Sidechick)
garlic rice, pickled cucumbers

2. [tie] Fritter Seems Forever (Donut Friend) /

Polar Berry Club (Donut Friend) /
lemon glaze, fresh mixed berries, mint

Chocolate from the Crypt (Donut Friend)
a chocolate cake donut, chocolate glaze, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chocolate shavings

^ The best fritter, yeast-raised donut, and cake donut that I have ever eaten on the west coast are made by the producer of Blink-182's Dude Ranch and Finch's What It Is to Burn.

1. Pastrami Sandwich (Ugly Drum)
prime brisket brined for two weeks, rubbed with pepper and spices, then smoked with hardwoods overnight; served on izzy's rye from la brea bakery with plochman's spicy brown mustard

^ If Franklin Barbecue's brisket and Mile End's smoked meat sandwich mated. If only it didn't cost $20…

3. (The Pie Hole)
2. (Gresescent) Ice Cream
1. (Gelateria Uli)

3. Double Crust Apple
2. Fresh Strawberry
1. Chocolate Crostata

4. Raspberry Nutella
3. Strawberry Jam
2. Lemon Bar
1. Blackberry Mint Mojito

5. [tie] Rye Bread / Poblano
4. Snow Queen Nectarine
3. Strawberry Stracciatella
2. Orange Passion Fruit Stracciatella
1. Chocolate [Sorbet]

Raindrop Cake (Raindrop Cake / Smorgasburg: Los Angeles)

^ The viral dessert of 2016 is a blob of water and agar served with roasted soy flour and a syrup [in my case, matcha green tea].

While the "cake" is supposed to be flavourless [you're practically eating water], it is acutely flavourness, and no amount of syrup can mask its acute flavourlessness.

Initially, I thought it was a baked cake, and was mystified by its translucence.

Strawberry Shortcake Donut (Birdies)

^ Cream overload.

112 (Westbound)
grilled peaches, ginger beer gelée, peach cream, celery apple sorbet
—Peaches and cream, heh.


Popcorn (Westbound)
distilled vinegar powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt
—An addictive complimentary snack. It's supposed to taste like Cool Ranch Doritos?

Oxtail Quesadilla (Broken Spanish)
plantain, habañero, salsa quemada

Lamb Neck Tamale (Broken Spanish)
king oyster mushroom, queso oaxaca

Macaroni and Cheese Pizza (Pizzanista!)
tomato sauce, elbow macaroni, asiago, fontina, cheddar, grana padano

^ Macaroni and cheese and RED SAUCE.

Califas Taco (Califas Taco)
—A messy taco topped with fries.

Potato Waffle (Fritzi)
—Literally mashed potatoes pressed into a waffle maker – bizarro waffle fries.


(Goldenboys Chinese) – "Los Angeles-inspired, farmer's market-fueled, stoner Chinese Food."

The Jane Goodall (White Boy Tacos)
donald duck orange juice- and chili-marinated tofu, grilled banana, aunt jemima maple syrup
—That description…

Beet Trifle (Westbound)
orange cake, regan's orange bitters, beet meringue, spring herb ice cream, brandy caramel

Tim Tam (Westbound)
almond milk panna cotta, nutella crunch, cacao nibs, espellete

^ I assume it tastes like a Tim Tam.

$100 Edible Gold Donut (Birdies)
cream cheese champagne glaze, flakes of 24-karat gold leaf

^ I was talked out of trying it.

claro rum, cognac, meletti amaro, apple, cinnamon


Spinach Bucatini (Otium)
egg, bacon, clam, crème fraîche

^ Orgasm in a bowl.

Bologna Taco (B.S. Taqueria)
kewpie mayonnaise, escabeche

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich (Eat Drink Americano)
english muffin, wakame seaweed, saffron aioli

Pilgrim (Eat Drink Americano)
slow-roasted turkey, traditional stuffing, corn foam, cranberry sauce

Crispy Sunchokes (Bäco Mercat)
tarragon, dukkah, butter croutons

Potato Terrine (Osso)

Donabe Smoked S'mores (Otium)
kumquat, olive sable

^ For brunch, (Otium) serves an off-the-menu donabe smoked French toast and pork belly.


Eater's Digest: Flyover Los Angeles

Previously on Adam Riff™:

I have a formidable backlog of food notes on New York City and Los Angeles dating back to May 2014 that I desperately need to clear. Some restaurants I tried have closed. Some dishes I tried are no longer available.

Phase two:

Flyover Los Angeles (May 2014 – May 2016)
amelia / atticus creamery and pies / baroo / beer belly / cafe at the line / canter's deli / cofax / commissary / coni'seafood / du-par's / the gumbo pot / homestate / kali / locol / night and market song / odys and penelope / plan check / quarters korean bbq / republique / sack / salt and straw / seoul waffle pizza / sung nong dan / short cake bakery / wolvesmouth: cut your teeth

(Baroo) was sold to me as "an oddball fermentation restaurant" and "a taste of the future."

Noorook (Baroo)
jobs tears, kamut, farro, roasted koji beet cream, concentrated kombu dashi, toasted seeds [sunflower and pumpkin] and macadamia nuts, finger lime, rose onion pickle

^ A creamy plate of mold.

Kimchi Fried Rice (Baroo)
pineapple fermented kimchi, amira basmati rice, 63°C sous vide egg, gremolata, pineapple jalapeño salsa, purple potato chip, roasted seaweed, toasted buckwheat and quinoa, micro greens

"Baroo" means "a bowl that Buddhist monks are allowed to possess and use for their meals until their last breath."

Baroo's Ragu Style (Baroo)
handmade pasta, spicy faux oxtail ragu, tendon puff, gochujang, gremolata with heirloom cherry tomatoes, krout powder, three-years-aged parmaigiano reggiano

Mocha Chip Cookie (Cafe at The Line)
—"L.A. Weekly's Best Cookie in L.A." I was skeptical, but god-DAMN…it IS the best cookie in Los Angeles.

Ritz Toffee Bar (Cafe at The Line)
—The crust contains Ritz cracker.

Pescado Zarandeado (Coni'Seafood)
grilled snook with salt and house sauce

^ Whole snook fajitas. Bring a friend or three.

Tacos de Marlin (Coni'Seafood)
smoked marlin with onion and tomato
—Another signature menu item. Too salty for me.

(Commissary) is a vegetable-forward restaurant inside a greenhouse on the pool deck of a hotel. Its cocktails are served in plastic deli containers.

At (The Gumbo Pot), a sign on the counter marketing a crawfish pie tempted me to order one, upon which an employee pulled a Hot Pockets-lookin' box out of a freezer and dropped a frozen pie in a deep fryer. -___-

Toasted Meringue Gelato (Kali)
cured egg yolk shavings

^ A stupendous dessert.

While eating it, I realized that it's a deconstructed egg.

(LocoL) is a fast food concept by Roy Choi of (Kogi BBQ) fame with the mission of bringing affordable and healthful food to low-income neighbourhoods.

On (LocoL)'s advisory board is Rene Redzepi, the chef who started (Noma) in Copenhagen, often called the best restaurant in the world.

Fried Chicken Burg (LocoL)
slaw, buttermilk mayo, hot sauce

^ I guess this was my favourite menu item…?

The chicken patty is cut with fermented bulgur, and the bun is custom-made [partly with rice flour] by San Francisco's famed Tartine Bakery.

Shout-out to the baker at (Odys and Penelope).

Previously on Adam Riff™ [May 2, 2014]:

I snagged a ticket to this next week. It was $185, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to experience a Wolvesmouth meal.


Over two years ago in a nondescript warehouse in Atwater Village, I participated in a dinner experience "exploring harvest, reproduction, and the cycle of life and death" amid a constructed landscape and taxidermy.

I sat beside a songwriter for DreamWorks Animation films.

A custom chandelier made with 7000 coyote teeth. I thought they were maggots.

The first course:

"Wolves in the Snow" (Wolvesmouth: Cut Your Teeth)
venison, pine gelée, cauliflower purée, cocoa coffee crumble, blueberry meringue, cabbage, hen of the woods mushroom, blackberry gastrique

^ Eaten with your hands.

A parade of dishes followed, set to a soundtrack that included the Twin Peaks theme song.

Halibut (Wolvesmouth: Cut Your Teeth)
pickled vegetables, jalapeño crema, poblano purée, candied lemon gelée, "tortillas" [small spheres of masa]

^ An ingeniously deconstructed fish taco.

Lurking in the background the whole meal, underneath a painting of a woman pouring honey on her naked self, was a honey dessert:

Honey Steamed Cake (Wolvesmouth: Cut Your Teeth)
honey coconut crunch, ricotta, nectarine, cornbread, honey ice cream

The final course:

Olive Oil and Lime Parfait (Wolvesmouth: Cut Your Teeth)
buttermilk panna cotta, pistachio genoise, pistachio crunch, strawberry, ice

^ Straight ice as an ingredient.

Instead of clearing our parfait plates, staff powered on a fog machine, distributed protective eyewear, and, one by one, each dinner guest hurled his or her plate at a wall while "I Will Lay Down My Bones Among the Rocks and Roots" by Wolves in the Throne Room blasted.

My throw was terrible.


Blanco Breakfast Taco (HomeState)
egg whites, mushrooms, monterey jack

Pork Toro (Night and Market Song)
grilled fatty pig neck, 'jaew' northeastern chile dip

Cold Fried Chicken Sandwich (Sack)
ranch, cheese, lettuce, pickles, hot sauce

Old Bay Potato Chips (Sack)

Chocolate Pecan Pie (The Gumbo Pot)

Strawberry Pistachio Pie (Atticus Creamery and Pies)
top filled with strawberry cream mousse and bottom filled with pistachio cream

Ococoa's Fig and Sesame Butter Cup Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
chocolate sesame ice cream with ribbons of a fig jam


Som Tum Tod (Night and Market Song)
fried nest of papaya, dressing and trimmings

Nadia was being a baby, so we ordered the non-deep-fried green papaya salad.


Eater's Digest: West Los Angeles

Previously on Adam Riff™:

I have a formidable backlog of food notes on New York City and Los Angeles dating back to May 2014 that I desperately need to clear. Some restaurants I tried have closed. Some dishes I tried are no longer available.

Phase one:

West Los Angeles (May 2014 – June 2016)
800 degrees / abigaile / b sweet dessert bar / the cannibal / cassia / cognoscenti coffee / coolhaus / diddy riese / dk's donuts / east borough / father's office / guerrilla tacos / gjelina take away / honey's kettle / huckleberry / humble potato / izzy's deli / komodo / loqui / mercado / mesa brazilian eatery / plan check / poke me / pono burger / quicksand / salt and straw / santa monica yacht club / sidecar doughnuts / stan's donuts / sweet lady jane / sweetfin poké / tacos tu madre / tlt food / the wallace

Twenty Spot Munchie Box (Abigaile)
waffle bacon burger, "50/50" with wiz, mexican coke float

A $20 brunch play on a Jack in the Box Munchie Meal. The "50/50" is fries and tots.

As Schulzies closed, I believe that (B Sweet Dessert Bar) is the westside's sole bread-pudding-ería, with a rotating menu of 40+ flavours.

Chicken Matcha Mousse (The Cannibal)
roasted plum, almonds, oats

^ Green tea-flavoured liver.

Chicken Parm Sausage (The Cannibal)
tomato conserva, burrata

^ A chicken sausage [might have been two] curled into a disc, breaded, and deep-fried.

Lamb Tartare (The Cannibal)
green apple, aged goat cheese, charred leek
—Served covered in shaved goat cheese. [Shaved goat cheese? Shaved goat cheese.]

Cochinita Pibil Head Tostada (The Cannibal)

Cacio e Pepe Chips (The Cannibal)
kennebec potatoes, canola oil, parmesan, pepper, salt

Charcuterie Platter (Cassia)
salted pork, sichuan lamb ham, singaporean candied pork, vietnamese meatloaf, smoked curried duck, cabbage relish, grilled bread

^ Asian charcuterie.

Vietnamese "Sunbathing" Prawns (Cassia)
fresno chiles, garlic, vietnamese hot sauce
—A fine chilled appetizer. $24 for five, though…

Vietnamese Pot Au Feu (Cassia)
creekstone farms short rib stew, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, bone marrow, grilled bread, bird's eye chile sauce, walnut-mustard
—And this… $46 for two chunks of short rib and some bone marrow? I had a Vietnamese pot au feu in Vegas that was cheaper – VEGAS! And that one contained filet mignon and foie gras!

Pho Baguette (East Borough)
12" french baguette, beef brisket, onion, bean sprouts, fresno chili, hoisin sriracha aioli, side-car pho broth

^ A Vietnamese variation on a French dip.

Phorrito (Komodo)
thinly-sliced rib-eye, bean sprouts, cilantro, onions, thai basil, jalapeño, lime juice, rice noodles, sriracha, hoisin sauce

^ A Vietnamese variation on a burrito.

Turkey Banh-Mi-tloaf Sandwich (Quicksand)
far east-inspired turkey meatloaf, asian slaw, pickled cucumbers, sriracha aioli, ciabatta
—An American variation on a bánh mì.

Bánh Mì Chicken Taco (Komodo)
marinated chicken, hoisin aioli, crushed roasted peanuts, jalapeño, pickled shredded daikon, carrots, cilantro

Java Pork Taco (Komodo)
indonesian pork rendang braised in coconut milk, tomato cucumber salad, green onions, fried shallots

Fish N' Grapes Taco (Komodo)
deep-fried alaskan cod, fresh concord grapes, roasted almonds, sour cream salad

Asian fusion [and other] tacos. Nothing to write home about.

Sweet Potato Taco (Guerrilla Tacos)
almond chile, feta cheese, fried corn, scallions

^ I'm not a fan of sweet potato, but this food truck taco is scrumptious. It's the only permanent taco on the menu for good reason.

Pollo Primo (Loqui)
tortilla, cheese, guacamole, onion, cilantro, salsa
—If you're willing to spend $5 on a taco, then this is a bang-up chicken taco. Its steak counterpart oddly includes beans.

Striped Bass Ceviche (Santa Monica Yacht Club)
coconut water, cilantro, jalapeño

^ Served in a young coconut.

Soft Shell Crab (Santa Monica Yacht Club)
singaporean chili sauce, cilantro, pea shoots

^ That sauce is a god dream.

Pastrami Ice Cream (Coolhaus)
caramelized organic pastrami swirled in sir kensington's "special sauce"
—Sir Kensington's Special Sauce is a mayonnaise-based condiment. THE BASE OF THIS ICE CREAM IS MAYONNAISE.

"Fast Food" Ice Cream (Coolhaus)
salted tahitian vanilla bean ice cream with milk chocolate malt balls and shoestring french fries
—The shoestring french fries in the scoop I tried have since been replaced by french fry crisps.

Spicy Pineapple and Cilantro Sorbet (Coolhaus)
pineapple sorbet infused with fresh cilantro and serrano chili peppers

Pistachio Black Truffle Ice Cream (Coolhaus)
sicilian pistachio and black truffle mushrooms

All five flavours of Salt and Straw's June 2016 "fermentation series," ranked:

5. California Avocado and Cardamom Ice Cream with Fermented Carrot Custard (Salt and Straw)
—It didn't taste like much.

4. Fish Sauce Caramel Ice Cream with Palm Sugar (Salt and Straw)
—It tasted too much of fermented anchovy sauce.

3. Sourdough Ice Cream with Chocolate and Strawberries (Salt and Straw)
—I wanted more chocolate.

2. Dill Pickle Sorbet (Salt and Straw)
—More like cucumber water sorbet with pickle juice.

1. Cacao Nibs and Red Miso Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)
—Like cacao nibs and carob ice cream.

(DK's Donuts) has EVERYTHING: donuts, cronuts, waffle-donut hybrids,

donut pizzas,

cronut grilled cheese sandwiches,

GLAZED cronut grilled cheese sandwiches,

donut cookie dough sandwiches…

The Office Burger (Father's Office)
caramelized onion, applewood bacon, gruyere, maytag blue, arugula
—I don't see what all the fuss is about.

(Pono Burger)'s dining area is a historic World War II-era Quonset hut.

Kuawa Crunch Burger (Pono Burger)
organic beef patty, hook's 1 yr. cheddar, housemade organic russet potato chips, organic green leaf lettuce, housemade coleslaw, housemade spicy guava rum sauce
—For a burger featuring potato chips and a spicy guava rum sauce, my only remark is that it eats cleanly.

Organic Russet Potato Fries (Pono Burger)
organic fresh thyme, organic parsley, kosher salt, housemade aioli
—(PB)'s fries, though… Yum!

Michael ordered this:

'Alekina Burger (Pono Burger)
organic beef patty, housemade chimichurri sauce, organic avocado, don juan chorizo, organic sweet potato nest


Yellowfin Tostada (Guerrilla Tacos)
white miso, avocado, chile del valle, seaweed, micro herbs

Chipotle Beef Brisket Sandwich (Quicksand)
thinly-sliced smoked beef brisket, caramelized onion, melted white cheddar, chipotle aioli, soft roll

Chocolate Chip Cookie (Proof Bakery via Cognoscenti Coffee)

Choriqueso Dip (Mercado)
melted cotija, parmesan, oaxaca cheese, white wine, house chorizo, poblanos, mushrooms, fresh chips

Shichimi and Garlic Parmesan Fries with Nori (Humble Potato)


Avocado Milkshake (Humble Potato)

P.I.G. "Pop Tarts" (Abigaile)
smoked pork confit, bacon, gruyere, wrapped in golden pastry crust

General Tso Pig's Head (The Cannibal)
broccoli salad, moo shoo pancake

Paniolo Burger (Pono Burger)
organic beef patty, english oak-smoked cheddar, niman ranch bacon, housemade 100% kona coffee bourbon bbq sauce, housemade organic buttermilk beer-battered onion rings
—"100% Kona coffee bourbon BBQ sauce."

Red Velvet Churros (Tacos Tu Madre)
cream cheese frosting

"Netflix" Ice Cream (Coolhaus)
white cheddar popcorn-infused base, doritos


The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

My mobile's alarm sounds at 3:00 AM.

—Guh. Am I really doing this?

I climb out of bed, throw on a hoodie, and depart for the restaurant.

I had seen celebrity chef David Chang post about Sun Nong Dan on Instagram and wanted to try it whilst in Los Angeles. The restaurant is a short walk from the hotel I was staying at.

Because Sun Nong Dan doesn't take reservations, I planned to eat dinner there on a Wednesday, figuring it would be least busy mid-workweek, and arrived at 8:30 PM to 12-15 people standing outside and a waiting list beside its entrance.


—Welp, I leave Los Angeles tomorrow, so it's tonight or bust.

I would have arrived earlier, but a co-worker roped me into eating Korean waffle pizzas with him after work.

Fortunately, Sun Nong Dan is open 24 hours.

I returned to my hotel room debating when better to return to the restaurant.

—Midnight? No, too early. Remember, Asians are more nocturnal than others.

—6:00 AM? No, too risky. According to Yelp, its beef ribs can sell out. I don't want to have to settle for a soup, as delicious as they may be.

I settled on 3:00 AM, as it is the hour of day when the largest percentage of Americans is asleep. Also, who eats beef ribs at 3:00 AM on a weekday?

On approach to Sun Nong Dan, I see someone standing outside.

—Are you having a fucking laugh?

It is 3:12 AM on a weekday and the restaurant is still full, still buzzing.

I write my name on the waiting list and wait approximately 15 minutes to be seated.

It is 3:45 AM on a weekday and I am at a strip mall eating $46 spicy braised beef ribs.

Back to 3:12 AM.

The someone I see standing outside Sun Nong Dan is an Asian dude, whom the night manager of the restaurant welcomes inside in Korean before speaking to me, also an Asian dude, in English.

I mean… I don't speak Korean – but what if I did??? Shibal…

He just assumed! Correctly, yes, but… Don't judge a gook by its cover.

To try when I am in Los Angeles next:

"Koreatown's Pleasure Palace of Duck"

The Korean J-Shaped Ice Cream Cone

Eater's Digest: Las Vegas 2

Previously on Adam Riff™:

Pretzel Bar (The Buffet at Wynn)
—The best buffet item in all of Las Vegas – confectionery crack.

March 2016
harvest / the buffet at wynn / flock and fowl / portofino / sage / the buffet at wynn / other mama / honey salt / gelato messina / cravings buffet / slo-boy food / zydeco po-boys / the smashed pig / glutton / carson kitchen / the buffet at aria / skinnyfats / rm seafood / the buffet at wynn / herringbone / yonaka modern japanese / tacos el gordo / bacchanal buffet

French Toast and Caviar (Other Mama)
crème fraiche

An oddly pleasant combination.

Togarashi Waffle Fries (Other Mama)
—Like full-bodied Cape Cod Waffle Cut Chips.

Turducken Pot Pie (Carson Kitchen)
buttermilk crumble

Ground turkey, grilled chicken breast, shreds of confit duck legs – plus foie gras.

No longer on the menu, though.

Foie Gras Candy Bar (Sage)
salt and pepper peanut butter cream, bourbon caramel, single-origin milk chocolate

I couldn't discern the foie gras. It's seemingly included just so the restaurant can charge $20 for a candy bar.

Chocolate Bread Pudding (Glutton)
chocolate ganache, candy bar ice cream

Candy bar ice cream > a cherry.

Rick's Tasting Game (RM Seafood)
16 flavours of house made ice cream and sorbet, served blind

You are given vanilla bean, and if you can guess the rest of the flavours correctly, this $18 dessert is free.

I guessed nine correctly, so 10/16.

Three tasted like chocolate. Chocolate, carob, and dark chocolate? A: Nutella, Guinness, and chocolate.

Two tasted like coffee. Coffee and…white coffee? A: Coffee and B&B (Bénédictine and Brandy).

One didn't taste like anything. Some kind of cream-flavoured ice cream? A: Extra virgin olive oil.

C.C.S. [Central Coast Salad] (SLO-Boy Food)
market greens, goat cheddar, beer vinaigrette, charred scallions

Whole charred scallions killed this salad for me. This is what salads are like in San Luis Obispo?

I ordered this salad primarily to try its beer vinaigrette, which tasted like honey mustard.


Martini (Harvest)
smoke and blue cheese infused tito's vodka, mancino secco vermouth, rosemary, blue cheese stuffed olives
—Smoke and blue cheese infused vodka.

Abuelita's Remedy (Oak and Ivy)
stone xocoveza, milagro reposado, ibarra chocolate, topped off with crema de maiz and sprinkled with corn nuts
—Sprinkled with Corn Nuts.

Suzuki Shuzouten Hideyoshi Flying Pegasus Daiginjo (Yonaka Modern Japanese)
—Yours for only $555!

Baklava Sliced (Oak and Ivy)
high west whiskeys, honey-nut infused del professore vermouth, amaro di angostura
—"A cocktail inspired by the great taste of baklava."

SkinnyFATS is located in a nondescript office park in the hinterland, but was packed when I visited, presumably with locals.

Its concept is parallel menus – a skinny menu and a fat one. Each healthy menu item has a corresponding "happy" version.

So instead of ordering this healthy sandwich:

Teriyahi (SkinnyFATS)
seared teriyaki ahi, citrus slaw, spinach, and grilled tomato on sesame crusted 9 grain toast

I opted for its "happy" counterpart:

Filet O Fire (SkinnyFATS)
filet mignon, fried jalapeño, avo pico, jalapeño ranch, on cajun garlic sourdough toast

Hainanese Chicken Rice (Flock and Fowl)
house made ginger scallion sauce, house made chile, house made soy, marinated cucumbers, preserved mustard greens

It's not Nong's khao man gai, but it's good. I appreciate that the chicken is boneless.

Butternut Squash Gnocchi (Portofino)
turkey confit, pickled cranberries, thanksgiving crumble

Thanksgiving dumplings.

"Crab Cake" Arancini (Portofino)
lemon saffron risotto, pesto aioli, fresno pickles
—Fried crab risotto.

Crispy Devilled Eggs (The Smashed Pig)

They reminded me of eating a po-boy.

Lamb "Tacos" (The Smashed Pig)
sour cream, sweet pepper chutney

The taco shells are fried eggplant discs.

Carne Asada Taco (Tacos El Gordo)
Cabeza Taco (Tacos El Gordo)

I dug the smokiness of the carne asada, and fuckin' adored the beef head. Best thing I ate in Las Vegas this trip.

Tuna Poke (Herringbone)
yellowfin tuna, shoyu, maui onion, macadamia

Worst thing I ate in Las Vegas this trip. A sodding rip-off at $22. I only ordered it because it's poke served with green onion pancakes. Well, [shocker!] they don't pair well.

The best restaurant I ate at in Las Vegas this trip was Yonaka Modern Japanese.

Toro (Yonaka Modern Japanese)
bluefin tuna belly, walnut, cranberry, negi, piment d'espelette

Machi Ringo (Yonaka Modern Japanese)
yellowtail, apple, fennel, sweet chili zu, negi oil

Terrific riffs on sashimi.

Meat Candy (Yonaka Modern Japanese)
twice cooked caramel glazed kurobuta pork belly, kimchee apple, smoked tofu peanut butter puree

Karaage (Yonaka Modern Japanese)
fried chicken, jalapeno, mint, basil, onion
—Fried chicken with Thai flavours.

Choco 10 Ways (Yonaka Modern Japanese)
chocolate, coffee-nutella ice cream, marshmallow

1. white choco-tofu frozen mousse
2. dehydrated chocolate milk
3. cocoa crumbs
4. choco mint oil
5. choco caramel
6. choco marshmallow
7. espresso choco macaron with Nutella ganache filling
8. candied cocoa nibs
9. choco wafers
10. coffee Nutella ice cream

Red Velvet Nutella Pancake (The Buffet at Aria)

Breakfast Calzone (The Buffet at Aria)

I know, I know. Buffet food? From a mid-tier buffet, no less?! I couldn't believe it either.

The Red Velvet Nutella Pancake is a tire-sized [in diameter] layer cake, served in slices.

Elsewhere in Las Vegas buffets…

1. Why am I seeing unpeeled cocktail shrimp?

2. The Buffet at Wynn has the best fried chicken.

3. To my dismay, The Buffet at Wynn discontinued the best buffet item in all of Las Vegas.

4. The new best buffet item in all of Las Vegas is a Made-to-Order Crepe (Bacchanal Buffet) with Nutella and strawberry sauce.

What is that place? I wondered.

OH. That's that Parisian sex shop-themed fondue restaurant that I read about – F. Pigalle.


Bacon Pancake Dippers (MTO Café)
peppercorn maple syrup
—In-pancake bacon.

Breakfast Taquitos (Kitchen Table)
chorizo, potato, roasted chilies, pickled cabbage, avo salsa

Hickory Smoked Chocolate Coffee Cake (Yardbird)
smoked coffee cake, house-made coffee ice cream, chocolate sauce

Braised Duck Jam (Inyo)
drake duck leg "pho flavour" with thai basil, mint, bean sprout salad, and sesame cracker
—Deconstructed pho.

Tostada (Kitchen Table)
suckling pig, black beans, cilantro slaw, salsa, quail egg
—Suckling pig tostada.

(SLO-Boy Food)

Calamari Fries (Glutton)
sriracha mayo, eel sauce, crushed peanuts
—Squid as potatoes.

Octo-Cargot (Inyo)
broiled spanish octopus baked escargot style with garlic, shiro miso, and herb butter panko
—Octopuses as snails.

Tate Ichigo (Yonaka Modern Japanese)
scallops, strawberries, strawberry zu negi oil

Caramel Corn Profiteroles (Glutton)
salted caramel, popcorn ice cream, peanuts
—Popcorn ice cream.

Banana Tiramisu (Yonaka Modern Japanese)
fried latte, brown butter-banana crumble, white espresso latte
—Fried latte.

Chow is a combination Chinese and Southern food restaurant.


Eater's Digest: Chicago

Previously on Adam Riff™ (2012):

Martin Scorsese-Inspired Tasting Menu (iNG)

The chef behind that menu killed himself last year.


January 2016
parachute / dusek's / honey butter fried chicken / kuma's corner / boeufhaus / panes bread cafe / gus's world famous fried chicken / ¡bang bang! pie and biscuits / dos urban cantina / pub royale / au cheval / sultan's market / jeni's splendid ice creams / the duck inn

Parachute was Eater's 2014 Chicago Restaurant of the Year, and Bon Appétit named it one of America's best new restaurants last summer.

Baked Potato Bing Bread (Parachute)
bacon, scallion, and sour cream butter

The apogee of Chinese sesame bread.

Yukhoe (Parachute)
beef tenderloin, pear, pinenuts

Beef tartare wrapped in thinly-sliced pear.

Dolsot Bi Bim Bop (Parachute)
spanish octopus, n'duja, squid ink, gai lan, gochujang, soft egg

When mixed up, it turned all black.

A single-colour rice bowl that was one-note – spicy – in taste.

Pork Belly and Mung Bean Pancake (Parachute)
kimchi, black garlic, hen egg, pineapple

Also one-note in taste – sour.

Cookie Dough (Dusek's)
fernet chocolate chips, egg custard ice cream, mint, chocolate cremeux, cookie powder

Dusek's' pastry chef likes chocolate with fernet – fernet chocolate chips for dessert, a chocolate and fernet custard yeast donut for brunch.

Malted Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich (Dusek's)
charcoal compressed banana, charcoal caramel, white coffee, honey compressed figs

Oddly muted in sweetness.

Honey Butter Fried Chicken (Honey Butter Fried Chicken)
honey butter, corn muffins

"Don't forget to put the butter on the bird!" they say.

Fried chicken + honey butter = fried chicken that tastes like chicken and waffles – waffles.

Original Fried Chicken Sandwich (Honey Butter Fried Chicken)
fried chicken strips, candied jalapeño mayo, crunchy slaw

Kuma's Corner is "a burger joint with a heavy metal attitude."

Kuma Burger (Kuma's Corner)
bacon, sharp cheddar, fried egg, tomato, onion

I should've ordered a more interesting burger—

—but I wanted to try the "famous" original.

Shortrib Beignets (Boeufhaus)
braised rib, natural jus

Doughnut holes filled with beef.

Ceci Bean Cavatelli (Boeufhaus)
haus merguez, caramelized shallot, fried ceci bean, caciocavallo, paprika jus

Ceci bean = chickpea. It's a Middle Eastern-flavoured pasta dish.

I dig fried chickpeas as a crunchy component in food.

Orange Chocolate Pie (¡Bang Bang! Pie and Biscuits)
orange curd pastry cream, chocolate cookie crust, dark chocolate drizzle

Spiced Tart Cherry Pie (¡Bang Bang! Pie and Biscuits)
mulled tart cherries, leaf lard pastry crust, pecan crumble

They swapped out their Chocolate Pecan Pie, which I was stoked to try, a few days before I arrived in Chicago. [grumbling]

Chicharrones (Dos Urban Cantina)
french onion yogurt

Pork rinds in French onion dip.

Chips and Dips (Dos Urban Cantina)
guacamole, guajillo salsa, pumpkin seed hummus

The pepitas hummus tasted peculiar.

Shrimp Taquitos (Dos Urban Cantina)
tomato broth, avocado, pickled vegetables

The broth is sensational.

Raw Scallops (Dos Urban Cantina)
spicy lime aguachile, chia seeds, roasted sweet potato

I'm not keen on raw scallops, but these were good.

Sweet Corn Tamal (Dos Urban Cantina)
charred parmesan, tomato salsa

Piloncillo Sugar Pie (Dos Urban Cantina)
malted whipped cream, pecan toffee

Doughnut (Pub Royale)
chai dolce de leche

Deep-fried naan dough with a dulce de leche glaze spiked with chai spice.

Cheeseburger (Au Cheval)

People queue for hours to eat this cheeseburger, the cheese in which is Kraft American Singles. Maybe it's the optional thick-cut peppered bacon?

Food Network named it the best burger in America last summer.

It has a very creamy mouthfeel.

Pompazo Sandwich (Panes Bread Cafe)
spicy chicken breast, homemade pesto, tomato, and provolone cheese

Falafel Sandwich (Sultan's Market)
a warm pita lined with hummus, stuffed with falafel, tomatoes, topped with jerusalem salad

Favourites from my time living in Chicago. Still tasty after all these years.

B-Boys makin' with the lentils and rice.

Duck Fat Dog (The Duck Inn)
chicago style, instant pickle

Shrimp and Duck Lumpia (The Duck Inn)
Sweet Chili Sauce

The Duck Inn was Eater's 2015 Chicago Restaurant of the Year.

Fried Cheese Curds (The Duck Inn)
bloody mary ketchup, hoppy mayo

[fingertip kissing Italian chef]

Rotisserie Duck (The Duck Inn)
salad of duck drippings, potatoes, fall greens, roasted pears and apples, gooseberry vinaigrette

You have to order this in advance, and restaurant staff note your special order with a rubber ducky.

The duck breast was dismayingly tough. The salad stole the show.


Sea-cuterie (Travelle)
—"A seafood-inspired take on charcuterie – whitefish rillettes, thinly-sliced octopus carpaccio, a 'bouillabaisse' aspic bombe in which bits of shellfish are suspended…"

Pastrami Croquettes (Boeufhaus)
rye panko, tallegio, mustard aioli

Sunbutter Sandwich (Wyler Road)
sunflower seed butter, honey jam, toasted sunflower seed, whole wheat
—A variation on a PB-and-J?

Chicken Salad Sandwich (Wyler Road)
chicken breast, fried chicken skin, chimichurri, sour grape jam, whole wheat

Goatsnake Burger (Kuma's Corner)
herbed goat cheese, poblano corn relish, cholula lemon vinaigrette, buttermilk breaded frizzled read onion

Ice Cream Float (Dusek's)
cafe racer coffee soda, espresso tapioca, salted rum condensed milk, ginger beer ice cream
—This has since been replaced by Fried Stout [!!!].

Dressed Hamm's (Pub Royale)
hot sauce, spiced salt, lime

(Pork and Mindy's)
—The Sandwich King's restaurant.


Eater's Digest: Des Moines, IA

January 2016
alba / zombie burger / tacopocalypyse / buzzard billy's / fong's pizza / palmer's deli and market

Chorizo Fries (Alba)
grana padano, pickled jalapenos

I didn't think I liked chorizo, but these smothered fries were scrumptious.

Crispy Pig Ears (Alba)
cornbread and buttermilk, house hot sauce, coleslaw

These pig ears à la fried chicken were pretty good too.

Bulgogi Masa Fries (Tacopocalypse)
As approved by Guy Fieri. I prefer the masa fries at Otto's Tacos in New York City, and the bulgogi was tough.

Bacon Parfait (Tacopocalypse)
bacon chorizo sundae [bacon chorizo, adobo crema, sour cream, candied bacon] with fried whole jalapeno poppers, fresh corn chips

This, however… Another delectable chorizo dish! Chips and dip of the gods.

The Tacopocalypse Burrito of the Day when I visited was "braised pork, fry bread, greens, and strawberry jam, topped with thyme gravy" – fry bread inside the burrito.

Zombie Burger is a zombie-themed "burger and drink lab."

Tallahassee Shake (Zombie Burger)
vanilla ice cream, twinkie, blended cherries, cherry kool aid powder

The blended Twinkie in this shake, named after Woody Harrelson's character in Zombieland, adds texture.

Fong's Pizza tops pizza with Asian food – Hunan Pork, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Teriyaki Beef, Kung Pao Chicken.

Sesame Chicken Pizza (Fong's Pizza)
sesame sauce, diced chicken, mirepoix, mushroom, and red pepper tossed stir-fry style with mozzarella, topped with green onions and toasted sesame seed

Disappointingly bland.

Despite being Fong's' most popular pizza, I couldn't bring myself to order its Crab Rangoon pizza, featuring surimi.

Raspberry Cheesecake Egg Rolls (Fong's Pizza)
two delicious rolls sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with chocolate syrup

The chocolate syrup was [gak!] Hershey's.


The Walking Ched (Zombie Burger)
breaded and deep fried macaroni and cheese bun, bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized and raw onion, macaroni and cheese, mayo

Deep-fried mac and cheese bun – with mayo.

The Boomstick (Zombie Burger)
deep fried chili, american cheese, onion, pickle

Deep-fried chili.

Ecto-Muler (Zombie Burger)
24 oz. copper mug, 3 olives rang tang, orange, simple syrup, ginger beer

Goat Cheese and Jalapeño Poppers (Zombie Burger)
with raspberry chipotle sauce

Chinese Cheesesticks (Fong's Pizza)
five mozzarella sticks, in egg roll wrappers, served with marinara

Wasabi Brisket Taco (Tacopocalypse)
Seitan Andouille Taco (Tacopocalypse)


Eater's Digest: Vancouver, BC 2

Previously on Adam Riff™: Eater's Digest: Vancouver, BC

October 2015
tacofino commissary / papparoti / terra breads / laurelle's fine foods / hawksworth / bella gelateria / purebread / phnom penh / tuc craft kitchen / ask for luigi / meat and bread

Crispy Chicken Taco (Tacofino Commissary)
black chili mayo, brussels sprout kimchi, radish sprouts, radish, green onion

Chicken karaage, to be exact.

Tuna Taco (Tacofino Commissary)
soy, sesame, wakame, ginger, wasabi mayo

This taco can't decide if it wants to be a taco or poke, and suffers as a result.

Pork Jowl Taco (Tacofino Commissary)
cabbage, fried shallot, pineapple, sriracha

Banana Churros (Tacofino Commissary)
ibarra chocolate, banana sriracha ice cream

Grape Bread (Terra Breads)
pine nuts, walnuts

Grapes are an underused pastry ingredient. Why do we settle for raisins?

Hawksworth was named the best restaurant in Vancouver, and the second best restaurant in all of Canada.

Chef Hawksworth loves green apple.

Yellowfin Tuna (Hawksworth)
kombu pickled cucumber, yuzu soda

A seemingly seamless sphere of tuna.

Hamachi Sashimi (Hawksworth)
yuzu kosho, tangerine, kohlrabi, shiso, crispy potato

Raw fish and curly fries? Delicious, actually.

Foie Gras Crème Brûlée (Hawksworth)
beet, orange, gingerbread

This ain't no crème brûlée I've ever seen.

Scallops Baked in Bone Marrow (Hawksworth)
parsley, brioche, lemon

Faloodeh Sorbetto (Bella Gelateria)
—Rose water sorbet with rice noodles mixed in – a play on one of the earliest known frozen desserts.

Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Gelato (Bella Gelateria)
Banana Bread Gelato (Bella Gelateria)

Adults Only Cookie (Purebread)
dark chocolate, sea salt, rosemary

The rosemary adds a mint flavour. It's a mint chocolate cookie without mint.

Lemon Chèvre Brownie (Purebread)
—Lemon-flavoured goat cheese in a brownie is odd, but works.

Chocolate Coconut Cream Bundt Cake (Purebread)
—Not the Nanaimo bar in cake form that I thought it might be.

Raspberry Mocha Loaf (Purebread)

Marinated Butter Beef (Phnom Penh)
—Vietnamese carpaccio. A tad too sweet for me.

Beef Brisket and Pork Crackling Sandwich (Tuc Craft Kitchen)
double r ranch brisket, sourdough bread, dijon mustard, assorted pickles, salsa verde, served with smashed potato fries

Its parts are better than the sum.

Crispy Bucantini and Fontina Crocchette (Ask For Luigi)
—Classier deep-fried mac and cheese.


Matcha and Dark Chocolate Butter (Churn)
—That's butter flavoured with matcha and dark chocolate.

Nanaimo Bar Spring Roll (Noodlebox)
coconut dipping sauce

Deep-Fried Nanaimo Bar (Pirate Chips)


Eater's Digest: Seattle 3

Previously on Adam Riff™:

October 2015
eden hill / crumble and flake / li'l woody's / kraken congee / mammoth / hot cakes / pie bar / joule / nue / slab sandwiches and pie / salumi / pizzeria gabbiano

—What is a hydro-ceramic technician?

[googles "hydro-ceramic technician"]

—Oh. He's a dishwasher.

Lick the Bowl (Eden Hill)
foie gras cake batter, strawberry chips, vanilla, salted pound cake

Baby Beets (Eden Hill)
balsamic honey emulsion, sharp cheddar dust, farro, pumpkin yogurt, harissa

Pig Belly Confit Salad (Eden Hill)
pickled grape, horseradish, celeriac, honey cayenne cashew

Sugar Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi (Eden Hill)
crispy kale sprouts, sage creme fraiche, manchego, pepita

Ricotta Donut (Eden Hill)
buttered popcorn, salted goat milk caramel, marcona almond, orange peel


Crispy Pig Head Candybar (Eden Hill)
merlot cabbage, serrano, pear and champagne soup

It's a croquette.

Walnut Prawns
miso cured broccoli, fir tip syrup, candied walnut sponge cake

Fancy Chinese food.

Peach and Goat Cheese Danish (Crumble and Flake)
I will eat anything that contains goat cheese.

Crack Fries (Li'l Woody's)
hand cut fries with a bit of milkshake to dip in

I learned after the fact that dipping fries in a milkshake is something people do at Wendy's?

I assumed that the crack fries would be a tried-and-true pairing, but was asked to select a milkshake flavour.

—Mint chip?!

I selected Sub Pop (coffee, chocolate espresso beans, caramel).

Bang Bang Shrimp Pinch Buns (Kraken Congee)
cucumber, peppers, chives

Never mind the congee*, it's all about these buns filled with trash Chinese food.

Jon: What does your housemade five-spice soda taste like?
Server: It's like five-spice broth, but carbonated.
Jon: [winces]

* as seen on CNBC's Restaurant Startup

Hash (Joule)
potato hash, chili remoulade, smoked mackerel salad

Joule's brunch is interesting. Your order an entrée and supplement it at a modest buffet that rotates themes monthly. At my brunch, the buffet was a Persian buffet.

Nue: Food of the world.

Balut – Vietnamese Hot Vit Lon (Nue)
developed duck egg, assorted herbs, salt, pepper, lime juice

My first balut. I braced for the worst, but was served was a much less developed duck embryo than ones I've seen on Survivor. It was also overcooked, so it was like eating a liver-y hard-boiled egg with unusual textures.

Korean Bibam Naengmyeon (Nue)
spicy, chilled buckwheat and sweet potato noodles; lotus root, shiitake mushroom, daikon, carrot, cucumber, egg, toasted sesame, scallion, fried shallot, pineapple gochujang sauce

The best thing I ate in Seattle this trip.

Maracas Shark and Bake (Nue)
pacific cod, green seasoning, fry bread, cabbage slaw, tamarind and habanero chili sauces, coconut corn cobette

A fish sandwich with stunning bread.

Grilled Barbados Pig Tails (Nue)
jerk glaze, cilantro

Stick to your teeth.

Mexican Street Corn-Flavoured Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream (Nue)
Carried by its crunchy corn topping.

Pineapple Cornbread (Nue)
pineapple, coconut, butter

Tony: These chips I bought are really spicy. You want to try one?
Jon: Sure. [grabs chip from bowl]
Tony: Erm, not that one. I took a bite of it and couldn't… It was really spicy.
Jon: Oh. Yeah, this is really spicy.

In my search for pie, I stumbled upon Slab, whose dessert pies are sandwiches. And, like ice cream cookie sandwiches, they are difficult to eat without squeezing filling out.

Seasonal Fruit Slab Pie with Turbinado Sugar (Slab Sandwiches and Pie)
peaches, blueberries, vanilla, golden corn crusts

Smore Slab (Slab Sandwiches and Pie)
smoked marshmallow, chocolate ganache

PB Chicha (Slab Sandwiches and Pie)
peanut butter cookies, peanut butter mousse, chicharrones

Peanut butter and pig skin sandwich cookies.


Geoduck Crudo (Eden Hill)
sorbet of cucumber, celery, and gin; evergreen huckleberry and umeboshi relish, red shiso, radish, chive

Ebbets Field Burger (Li'l Woody's)
honey mustard, cracker jacks, swiss, bacon, ⅓ lb. patty, pretzel bun

Beer and Peanuts Milkshake (Li'l Woody's)


Eater's Digest: Toronto 3

Previously on Adam Riff™:

September 2015
peoples eatery / my market bakery / dailo / kekou gelato house / banh mi boys / lucky red / r&d / bar fancy / chantecler / electric mud / grand electric / smoke's burritorie / sweet jesus / momofuku daishō / otto's berlin döner / nomnomnom crepes / little nicky's coffee / jelly modern doughnuts / rasa / junked food co. / alo / seventh sister bakery / fresco's fish and chips / moonbeam coffee / burrito boyz / kanpai snack bar

Fried Watermelon (Dailo)
bean sprouts, basil leaves, pickled melon rind, pork floss

Yeah… Not a fan of hot watermelon. Interesting mix of Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese flavours, though.

Mapo "Doufu" Halloumi (Dailo)
montforte halloumi, ground pork, grilled scallions, black bean chili sauce, fried chillies, garlic

Mapo tofu with cheese in place of tofu.

Roasted Oolong Tea Gelato (Kekou Gelato House)
Whiskey Green Tea Gelato (Kekou Gelato House)

Asian gelato? Asian gelato.


Nacho Koreano (Lucky Red)
pork dumpling, kimchi salsa

Each chip is a deep-fried pork dumpling.

Duck Gravy Poutine (Lucky Red)
kimchi, duck skin crackling

Ram n' Cheese (Lucky Red)
gruyere, aged cheddar, panko

I wasn't sure what this was. A variation on a croque monsieur? A: Mac and cheese with ramen in place of macaroni.

S'mores Bao (Lucky Red)

Shiitake Polenta Fries (R&D)
mushroom ketchup

True 8 Toasties (R&D)
tomato confit, 5-spice goat cheese, hk iconic vinegar, candied yuzu
—Like bruschetta.

Poutine (R&D)
mapo style bean curd

Banana Split (R&D)
crispy banana fritter; sour cherry, condensed milk and peanut butter, malted milk ice creams; coconut cream, macerated strawberries

While I dug the mushroom ketchup and malted milk ice cream, this was some disappointing neo-Asian fare. The potatoes in the poutine were off-puttingly firm.


Red Star Punch (R&D)
oolong infused beefeater gin, hawthorn, mandarin, lemon, shanghai rhubarb bitters

Oolong-infused gin. Okay…

5 Spice Dark 'n Stormy Cocktail (Dailo)
chinese 5 spice infused gosling's rum, lime, ginger beer

Ichi-Go Ichi-E (Dailo)
nori infused bowmore 12 whisky, lillet, roasted barley tea

Chinese five spice-infused rum? Nori-infused whisky?

510 Caesar (R&D)
black garlic and chinese mushroom infused absolut vodka, r&d chili sauce, hoisin infused worcestershire, lapsang tincture, mott's clamato

Black garlic and chinese mushroom-infused vodka with hoisin-infused Worcestershire sauce!

Sichuan Maple Old Fashioned (R&D)
roast duck infused lot no. 40 whisky, shishito bitters, sichuan maple syrup, orange zest


The vodka in the 510 Caesar is now infused with black truffle too.

Trying too hard.

Veal and Lamb Döner (Otto's Berlin Döner)

Fish and Chips – Extra Crisp Batter (Fresco's Fish and Chips)
Fish battered in Miss Vickie's sea salt and malt vinegar chips.

Buttermilk Biscuits (Momofuku Daishō)
black pepper butter, chili honey

The best thing that I have ever eaten at one of David Chang's restaurants is…biscuits.

Everything Bun (Momofuku Daishō)
smoked whitefish, crème fraiche, horseradish, red onion, fried capers

Yet another Asian spin on a Jewish deli bagel.

Nanaimo Bar Doughnut (Jelly Modern Doughnuts)
raised doughnut, dark chocolate ganache dip, nanaimo bar fill, nanaimo crust crumble

I wanted to love it, Nanaimo bar fiend that I am, but it just tasted like a chocolate doughnut.

Mini Doughnuts (Little Nicky's Coffee)
Made fresh-to-order and covered in a blend of powdered sugar and cinnamon.

The Chopped Salad (Rasa)
vegetables, quinoa, jalapeño feta, harissa chickpeas

Caprese Fish (Rasa)
albacore tuna, tomato confit, basil sauce, dehydrated olive, crispy padano

Both spoke softly but carried a big stick.

"Popcorn Chicken" (Rasa)
= sweetbreads.

Whack Mac (Junked Food Co.)
white chocolate, brie, mozzarella, doritos, sage, macaroni, kentucky ketchup

I braced for the worst, but it didn't taste like anything.

Pulled Pork Smash (Junked Food Co.)
lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar, olives, jalapeño, sour cream, chili sauce, dr. pepper pulled pork, jolly rancher bbq sauce, slaw, pickle

I wasn't prepared for a base of COOL RANCH Doritos, and its Dr. Pepper pulled pork + Jolly Rancher BBQ sauce was too sweet for me.

Frozen Doughnut (Junked Food Co.)
With random toppings. Mine was topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Nerds, and chocolate drizzle.

Crispy Crunch and Nutella Pizza (Junked Food Co.)

Presidential Sweet Specialty Soft Serve Cone (Sweet Jesus)
sour green apple, caramel sauce, salted pretzel, toffee bits, vanilla ice cream

The queue for Sweet Jesus always stretched out the door when I passed by.

Low-Fat Superhero Ice Cream (Some place in the Eaton Centre)

Play-Doh Man.

Alo is reportedly the best restaurant in Toronto, and the best new restaurant in Canada. Tasting menu only.

As I did not have a reservation, the maître d' refused to let me try the tasting menu, so I sat down at the bar and ordered the entire bar menu.

The bar menu was hit or miss, highlighted by:

Complimentary Bar Snack (Alo)
Various nuts (peanuts, almonds, et cetera) candied and each variety seasoned with a different spice (fennel, coriander, et cetera), then tossed with popcorn, puffed wild rice, quinoa, and buckwheat in glucose, and baked.

Tartare (Alo)
jalapeño, radishes

and a stainless steel spoon-straw in my drink. All drinks should be served with stainless steel straws.

Taiwanese Fried Chicken (Kanpai Snack Bar)
deep-fried chicken smothered in taiwanese spices with a mix of fresh toppings

This fried chicken takes a while to arrive, but it is totally worth the wait. The crispiest fried chicken that I have ever eaten.

Taipei Tater Slaw (Kanpai Snack Bar)
julienned potato tossed in a spicy szechuan peppercorn dressing

An odd, but addictive raw potato dish.

Wow Bao (Kanpai Snack Bar)
deep fried bao bullion with yin yang of spicy nutella and pop rock condensed milk


Piggie Smalls (Kanpai Snack Bar)
small chunks of pork belly, deep fried and tossed with secret spices

Edamame Said Knock You Out (Kanpai Snack Bar)
flash fried edamame tossed with sweet soy, butter, and garlic chips

Skee-Lo Salad (Kanpai Snack Bar)
shrimp and avocado in a taiwanese honey vinaigrette, topped with crushed peanuts

Colonel Tso's Chicken and Waffle (R&D)
hong kong egg waffle, kung pao sauce, sichuan maple syrup

Corndog Muffins (The Dock Ellis Sports Bar)
cheese, andouille sausage, honey, smokey mustard

Tipsy Oreos (Junked Food Co.)
Alcohol-infused cookies.

(Chippy's Fish and Chips)


Eater's Digest: Washington, D.C.

Previously on Adam Riff™:

I didn't chronicle my last trip to D.C. (Jan 2014). Just know that the frites at Granville Moore's are compulsively edible.

August 2015
the partisan / thomas foolery / captain cookie and the milkman / board room / bethesda bagels / sundevich / thip khao / gbd / nando's / woodward takeout food / compass rose / daikaya / red apron butcher at union market / ice cream jubilee / maketto

Duck French Toast Panini (The Partisan)
duck confit, foie gras, red wine duck jus, fried egg

K.F.P. (The Partisan)
korean fried pig foot, valentina hot sauce butter, blue cheese

Rotissi-fried Chicken (The Partisan)
half fried, half roasted, honey hot sauce

Snickers Terrine (The Partisan)
peanut butter cheesecake, milk chocolate and peanut caramel, chocolate glaze

Fernet Ice Cream Float (The Partisan)
ginger beer, lime zest, fernet-branca ice cream, ginger-molasses cookies

My kind of menu.

Stand-outs at The Partisan were: its Tigelle, served as complimentary bread, its extensive Charcuterie, and its

Beef Fat Fries (The Partisan)
roasted garlic, rosemary, ranch aioli

which Matt could not stop eating.

Red Tree Ant Egg Laab Salad (Thip Khao)

"I call it Laos caviar," says chef Seng Luangrath. A commonly eaten protein in the Southeast Asian country and neighboring Thailand, the ova are hand-harvested from nests often built on the leaves of mango trees. Texturally, the eggs are like caviar, but splooshier. [source]

I couldn't discern the ant eggs. This salad was just sour.

Duck Laab (Thip Khao)
duck, minced salad, toasted rice, garlic, scallion, cilantro, mint
—The stand-out dish of our meal.

Avocado Sticky Rice (Thip Khao)

For dessert!

MarionBerry Ice Cream (Ice Cream Jubilee)
ripe marionberries from oregon blended with sweet cream ice cream and graham cracker crumbs

Passionfruit Guava Sorbet (Ice Cream Jubilee)
passionfruit and guava mingle with a touch of orange and hibiscus

Scrumptious ice cream. Beside the till was a container of crushed sugar cone that you could sprinkle on your ice cream gratis.

Maketto is a retail store, coffee shop, and Asian restaurant in one from the owner and chef of Toki Underground.

Restaurant stand-outs:
Taiwanese Fried Chicken (Maketto)
Scallion Pancake (Maketto)

Et Cetera

Kingston Sandwich (Sundevich)
jerk chicken, pineapple salsa, greens, spicy slaw, garlic mayo

Khachapuri (Compass Rose)
cheese-filled bread, organic egg, local butter

The egg and butter are mixed with the cheese at your table.

Missed Connections

"Chicken and Waffles" (Daikaya)
chicken kara-age, red bean taiyaki, wasabi butter, maple syrup

Ice Cream Luge (Pop's SeaBar)
mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich, amaro

The ice cream sandwich is a luge for liqueur.

Face Bacon (The Pig)
jowl, smoked, slow roasted, maple

Fried Duck Heads (Thip Khao)


Now off to the other Washington.

I am extremely bummed that SMASH PUTT! closed.

Eater's Digest: Philadelphia 3

Previously on Adam Riff™:

I regret pacing myself drink-wise and only taking a sip of Drew's Narragansett Shandy.

August 2015

beiler's bakery / tommy dinic's / la divisa meats / scratch biscuits / bing bing dim sum / green aisle grocery / weckerly's / abe fisher / american sardine bar / ocf coffee house / john's roast pork


Erin: Why are you going to Philadelphia?
Jon: Heh. I ate an apple fritter in Philadelphia last summer that… I have been craving this apple fritter ever since.
Erin: I feel you. I think about the doughnuts at Top Pot.


Apple Fritter (Beiler's Bakery)
Blueberry Fritter (Beiler's Bakery)

The fritters at Beiler's Bakery are, when warm, the best goddamn fritters in the world.


Oof. Save for a seductive salted molasses butter, the food here was dire – a dry ass biscuit, clumsy jam housemade preserves (blackberries?), and this abomination:

Biscuit Tots (Scratch Biscuits)
mississippi comeback sauce

Imagine if a Magic Eraser mated with a falafel.

As I exited—

Young Black Female Employee: [smiling] How is everything?
Middle-Aged White Male Customer: The fries are terrible.

His bluntness took me aback.

Young Black Female Employee: I can uhh…I can refund you for the fries…

Drew: I just read that they began using a re-formulated biscuit recipe today.
Jon: Re-formulated with even less butter?

Jon: And I tried Travel Channel's "best sandwich in America."
Drew: DiNic's roast pork?
Jon: Yup. I think I should've ordered it with broccoli rabe and provolone?

Jon: If broccoli rabe and provolone are so vital to this sandwich, why sell them separately? [grumbling]

Jon: Can we visit the grocery of your friends on Food Network?


In its freezer, I spotted an ice cream sandwich that I saw on Eater.

Blueberry the Pirate (Weckerly's)
blueberry ice cream on cardamom grahams

That the grahams were crunchy pleasantly surprised me.


From the owners of Cheu Noodle Bar, which I patronized last year.

Jon: "Everything Pac-Man Buns – Lox, furikake cream cheese, cucumber." That's an everything bagel with lox and cream cheese in bun form, right?

While I dig Ben and Shawn's creative takes on Asian food, they gotta season more aggressively. Their food at both restaurants tasted…not bland, but…tame.

Bing Bing Washroom

Jesse: This BBQ Pork Caterpillar Bread rules.
Jon: I thought it would be, like, pulled pork. Is char siu pork that foreign to Philadelphians that it has to be called "BBQ pork"?


The kitchen kept sending out food, so I tried almost all of Abe's menu: Salmon Gravlax, Chopped Liver, Pickled Mackerel, Corned Pork Belly Reuben, Matzo Brei, Broccoli Kugel, Veal Schnitzel Tacos

What stood out most were the beginning and end of our meal.

The beginning: Savoury rugelach served out of a cigar box.

And the end:

Bacon and Egg Cream (Abe Fisher)
maple custard, chocolate foam

Is there are more unappealing name for a treat than "egg cream"? I think of Cadbury Creme Eggs and shudder. An egg cream sounds like how a German chocolate cake looks.

That the chocolate part was fluffy and not thick was a relief, as was the judicious use of bacon, masked by chocolate cookie.


Bartender: I'm drinking one of these when I get off work.

With Narragansett Del's Shandys on my mind, I asked for a shandy, and the bartender whipped up a sensational one.

I will be craving his shandy for the next year.


Lo, the best sandwich I tried at John's Roast Pork was its cheesesteak.

While eating both DiNic's and John's roast pork sandwiches, I wished I was eating porchetta sandwiches instead. I wanted more fat and a crunchy element.

Missed Connections

Italian Roast Pork Bao (Bing Bing Dim Sum)
Idea: Porchetta Bao, or "porchetta-filled steamed bun" for Philadelphians.

Dry-Aged Ribeye Poutine (Abe Fisher)
Jesse raved about this, but alas, ordering it was unfeasible.


Eater's Digest: Billings, MT

Previously on Adam Riff™ [July 2008]:

Adam Robot informed me about a restaurant in his city that offers sandwiches that look like Fleshlights.

—they cook the bread in a can
—they pull the middle out and stuff all the goods in it
—then you can buy the "guts" in a bag, use for soup or with chili

Among the "Clubfoot sandwich" selections:

Imitation crab, dill pickle, and bacon bits?

July 2015
[the travelogue]

montana brewing company / the fieldhouse / überbrew / nara / pub station / caramel cookie waffles / big dipper ice cream / lilac / ten / tiny's tavern / pepper's bar and grill / red lodge ales brewing company / pie guys pizzeria / cafe zydeco / harper and madison / staggering ox / taco john's / pickle barrel

Gold Stars

Angry Bird Baked Sammy (Red Lodge Ales Brewing Company)
turkey, havarti, four-pepper relish, brown mustard, chopped greens, red onion, roma tomato, on a grilled hoagie

A deeply satisfying sandwich. I'm still thinking about it.

Braised Short Rib (Lilac)
potato gnocchi, caramelized onion

The gnocchi had a pleasing pan-fried crisp exterior.

Garlic Bread (Cafe Zydeco)

Unlike any other garlic bread I've eaten.

Poutine (Ten)
house cut fries, smothered in bison gravy and cheese curds

Nanaimo Bar (Caramel Cookie Waffles)
Nanaimo Bar (Harper and Madison)

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Fish Tacos (The Fieldhouse)
wild halibut, cabbage, kiwi salsa, cotija, ginger crema

Pictured: The restaurant's photo, which doesn't do the tacos we were served justice. Our fish fillets were massive – easily nine inches long.

After eating a fish taco with kiwi salsa, I wonder why all fish tacos aren't topped with kiwi salsa.

House-Cut Fries (The Fieldhouse)
house ketchup

Tremendous fries – definitely not Sysco – with an addictive smoky ketchup.

Nacho Styx (Pie Guys Pizzeria)
taco beef, jalapeños, baked corn chips, cheddar, served with salsa and sour cream

A surprisingly delicious breadstick pizza.

Deep-Fried Bread Pudding (Cafe Zydeco)
acadian style bread pudding, topped with praline sauce and chantilly cream

Can't get the stink off
It's been hanging 'round for days
Comes like a comet
Suckered you, but not your friends

You do it to yourself, you do
And that's what really hurts
Is that you do it to yourself, just you
You and no one else

The bread pudding wasn't so much topped with praline sauce as it was neck-deep in a bowl of praline sauce.

Pub Station is a bus station turned music venue and tap room. Macauley Culkin's pizza-themed Velvet Underground cover band reportedly christened it.

Our sushi chef has a lip ring and knuckle tattoos.

I cringe when he opens a packet of Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

Oh, bollocks! I forgot to request no cream cheese.

I will vote for whichever presidential candidate will get cream cheese the fuck out of sushi in America.

On my way to the washroom, I see a flyer for a contest to win a gun.

The Rollin' Red Specialty Roll (NaRa)
spicy tuna, cream cheese, jalapeños inside; avocado, sesame seeds out; topped with tempura lobster pieces, bacon, scallions, volcano sauce, spicy teriyaki, sriracha

A far cry from the nigiri I typically order when I eat sushi, but undeniably tasty, despite whatever cream cheese I could not extract.

Food/Travel Show Idea: Extreme Sushi Rolls. Document Taco Town Jiro nightmares like this:

Dos Eggies Specialty Roll (NaRa)
spicy tuna, jalapeño, cream cheese inside; avocado, sesame seeds out; topped with cheddar cheese, fried red onion, bacon bits, two over easy eggs, spicy teriyaki, volcano sauce

We meet at last.

Turkey and Cheese Clubfoot Sandwich (Staggering Ox)
turkey, provolone, lettuce, garlic ranch sauce

It was…better than what Adam Robot made them out to be – fine, even.

Staggering Ox's sandwiches with gyro meat are named after Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, and its tzatziki sauce is called "camel spit."


Walking Taco (Taco John's)

Evokes a Frito pie, but eats like food waste.

A taco is inherently portable. You can eat a taco while walking. Stuff a specialty sushi roll in a bag instead – The Walkin' Red.

Missed Connections


Aaaand the recent re-brand:

From Little Lord Foxworthy to Larry the Cable Guy.

Steak/Chop Salt Flight (Stacked)
truffle salt, black smoked sea salt, red hawaiian salt

Flying Saucer (King's Hat Drive-In)

King's Hat is a fast food drive-through known for its sealed burgers.

You can also add rum flavouring or a hint of cinnamon to any beverage on its menu.


Eater's Digest: Las Vegas

Previously on Adam Riff™:

Oh that "Beef Wellington" looks good. How much is it?


Then I saw the price of the king crab.

Greetings from Las Vegas.

March 2015

yusho / bacchanal buffet at caesars palace / sweets raku / the buffet at wynn / du-par's / district one / o face doughnuts / carson kitchen / bazaar meat / bachi burger / culinary dropout / public house (the venetian) / the buffet at wynn / rose. rabbit. lie. / cravings buffet at the mirage

Gold Stars

Pretzel Bar (The Buffet at Wynn)
—The best buffet item in all of Las Vegas – confectionery crack.

Boneless Chicken Wings Skewer (Yusho)
thai chile, bonito salt, lime

12 oz. Ribeye Skewer (Yusho)
wagyu, mushroom ragout, aonori

Hamachi Kama (Yusho)
thai peanut sauce, coconut slaw, lime

Orange Beer Sorbet (Bacchanal Buffet)

Stella [Strawberry Tiramisu] (Sweets Raku)

Buttermilk Hotcakes (Du-par's)

Root Beer Float Doughnut (O Face Doughnuts)
vanilla pudding, root beer caramel, chocolate covered pop rocks

Cotton Candy Foie Gras (Bazaar Meat)
crispy amaranth

A smidge of fatty liver in a cotton candy cocoon. Not bad, but not worth $8 a pop.

Beef and Parmesan Grissini Carpaccio (Bazaar Meat)
washugyu beef, espuma, caramelized onion purée

Sublime raw meat batons. Totally worth $26.

Cravings To-Go! (Cravings Buffet)
—VEGAS BUFFET TAKE-OUT. All you can fit into a container for $16. I wonder if anyone has done it.

Bacon Jam (Carson Kitchen)
baked brie, toasted baguette

A hot jam, with indiscernible Brie.

Crispy Chicken Skins (Carson Kitchen)
smoked honey

Order this instead.

Pizza Doughnut (O Face Doughnuts)
pepperoni, marinara, fresh mozzarella

Made to order and just wretched. Like a clumsy Hot Pocket.

A Lox and Cream Cheese Doughnut is also available. [shudders]

Caviar Tacos (Rose. Rabbit. Lie.)
wild caviar, yukon gold potato shell, hamachi

The name is misleading. They are petite raw fish tacos topped with caviar.

Fish Tacos (District One)
yellow tail, avocado, cilantro, cherry tomato, serrano pepper

Same raw fish. No caviar. Just as tasty.

Also, you order off an edible menu that, when I visited, was served with an apricot dipping sauce.

Pot au Pho (Rose. Rabbit. Lie.)
filet mignon, beef brisket, foie gras, thai basil nage

A mash-up of pot-au-feu, a French boiled dinner of meat and vegetables, and pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup. No noodles, to my dismay. Just a pho-flavoured pot-au-feu.

Chocolate Terrarium (Rose. Rabbit. Lie.)
chocolate pudding, chocolate buttermilk cake, chocolate "soil," puffed wild rice, crispy chocolate tuile, hazelnut ice cream

Everything under the dome is edible, including the flowers, should you want to eat real flowers.

The puffed rice larvae are a fun touch.

Missed Connections

[$27.77] Golden Jackpot Pancakes (The Pantry)
seven pancakes, seven types of chocolate [milk, white, caramelized white, dolce white, caramel, 64% dark, 66% dark], orange marmalade, whipped cream, 23-karat gold flakes

Live Whole Maine Lobster Pho (District One)
lobster, rice noodle soup

Croquetas de Pollo (Bazaar Meat)
chicken-bechamel fritters

Served in a glass sneaker designed by Salma Hayek's brother.

Eater's Digest: Portland, OR

Previously on Adam Riff™:
I trekked out to a bakery in northeast Portland, and it had closed early so that the staff could go apple picking, because of course.

October 2014

nong's khao man gai / pacific pie company / salt and straw / le pigeon / cool moon ice cream / lardo sandwiches / lauretta jean's / bunk sandwiches / veritable quandary / ox / blue star donuts / the people's pig / i heart this cart

Gold Stars

Five Chilled Seafood Preparations (Ox)
oregon bay shrimp ceviche, dungeness crab cocktail, octopus poke, scallop salad "dynamite," salmon gravlax tartare

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
"everything" bagel seasoning, chive mascarpone, smoked salmon roe

Avocado and Cantaloupe (Le Pigeon)
fluke, saffron, ginger, chilies

Chicken and Oxtail (Le Pigeon)
semolina gnocchi, taleggio, green beans, tomato crema

Foie Gras Profiterole[s] (Le Pigeon)
caramel sauce, sea salt

Apple Sour Cream Streusel Pie (Pacific Pie Company)

Khao Man Gai [Chicken and Rice] (Nong's Khao Man Gai)

I saw Nong on Chopped and sought out her food cart. Served in butcher paper, her khao man gai puts Hainanese chicken rice to shame.

I effort to try a chocolate pecan pie in every city I visit.

Chocolate Bourbon Hazelnut Pie (Pacific Pie Company)

Looks like a chocolate pecan pie, tastes like a Ferrero Rocher. I dug it.

Passion Fruit and Cocoa Nib Donut (Blue Star Donuts)
Blueberry Bourbon Basil Donut (Blue Star Donuts)

Foie Gras Terrine (Ox)
pear prosciutto, pickled chanterelles, malted white chocolate, salted pear reduction, croutons

Foie gras and malted white chocolate? I had to try it.

It confirmed my distaste for creamy foie gras. Seared foie gras? Delicious. Creamy foie gras? NOPE.

Pigeon Noodles (Le Pigeon)
parmesan, black pepper, strawberry, turnip
—Not noodles made of pigeon, just a pasta dish. Wish it was better.

[Dracula's] Blood Pudding Ice Cream (Salt and Straw)

It tasted like spumoni.

Salt Cod Sandwich (Bunk)
olympic provisions spanish chorizo, oil cured olives, italian parsley

I'm done with salt cod. Its intriguing name tricks you into ordering a bland and texturally off-putting fish. Won't get fooled again.

Pork Belly Gyro (Lardo)
feta, cucumber, tzatziki, tomato, aardvark sauce

Dirty Fries (Lardo)
pork scraps, marinated peppers, fried herbs, parmesan

Missed Connections

Fried Chicken Donut (Blue Star Donuts)
a glazed doughnut topped with a fried chicken breast chunks tossed with honey butter, with a packet of frank's red hot

[sigh] They sold out just as I walked in.

Clam Chowder (Ox)
smoked marrow bone, green onion, jalapeño

Duck Confit Spring Rolls (Veritable Quandary)
wasabi ginger sauce

Chinese Sausage Corn Dog (Expatriate)
hot mustard, xxx death sauce

Hot and Sour Indian Spiced Fries (Expatriate)
cilantro-raita aioli, house curry ketchup, sumac ranch

Expatriate Nacho[s] (Expatriate)
fried wonton chips, thai chili cheese sauce, spicy lemongrass beef, crema, kaffir lime, tomato salsa, herbs

PB and J Fries (Potato Champion)
fries topped with satay sauce and a smokey chipotle raspberry jam