Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Spring Break Part I: Eating LA ~ BaLe, Fritto Misto, Sushi Komasa

It's finally Spring Break and I am loving every moment away from my five and six year olds! I don't have anything extravagent going on this week. All I want to do is eat and sleep. Tomorrow, my dad and I are driving up to SF to deliver my brother's bougie sofa. So expect more good SF eats later this week. Oh, and Napa too. I forgot, we're going to Napa on Saturday. Very excited!

On Monday, I decided to be nice to my dear mom and take her out for lunch. We headed to BaLe, one of our favorite Vietnamese hole-in-the-wall joints in the Valley. BaLe is located in Canoga Park, deep in the center of the Valley. I know most of you will never trek down to Canoga Park, it's definitely not a destination city. But I have two words for you...OYSTER CHICKEN. This place is famous amongst Canoga Parkians and people living in West Valley. It's the Zankou's of Vietnamese cuisine, umm, but a lot more low key, and without the yellow Zankou shirts. Also, Ba Le, is runned by a sometimes sweet, sometimes cranky Vietnamese mama. She's nice to me and my mama. Actually, she usually sits down at our table to gossip with my mom. Don't be intimidated by her frown, she usually doesn't smile, but she does when she gossips. :) Oh, and my mom will warn you not to use too many napkins. The BaLe mama's has told my mom how she doesn't like when people use too many napkins. My mom usually hides all her used napkins in her purse. Strange? Yes, Vietnamese mama's are strange.

Ok...back to the chicken. The chicken, well, more like the cornish hen, has been baked and then fried, according my mama sources. It's served over Vietnamese broken rice with nuoc mum. It's a simple, but chicken smacking dish all for $6.25.
I will tolerate Vietnamese gossip in exchange for Oyster Chicken anytime.

BaLe also serves up yummy noodle soups. If you're tired of pho, try banh canh. Bahn cahn, large Vietnamese rice noodles are served with large shrimps and real crab meat. Sooo yum!

Later Monday night, several of us from our grad school program got together for another social justice education/alum reunion/eat at our favorite Italian bistro night. Can I tell you how much I love Fritto Misto??? It's just so cozy and simple. And the food has always been really really yummy.

My friend Jenn introduced me to something new at Fritto Misto. Along with their yummy bread, you can ask for a dish of fresh garlic, with olive oil and basalmic vinegar. Yes, you are setting yourself up for offensive garlic breath, but that garlic mix beats butter anyday. (Ohh...I never thought anything could beat butter!)

The ultimate "killer breath" bread dip.

This was the first time I ordered the Jumbo Ravioli. I think I might be stuck on this dish for a while.
These big babies are stuffed with proscuitto, mortadella, and chicken and tossed with a garlic cream sauced with carmalized onions, pancetta, and a lot of sun-dried tomatoes.

Moving on...Tuesday night was time for sushi. Darn you Kirk (mmm-yoso!!!), Pam (Daily Gluttony) and Colleen (Colleen's Cuisine). There has been way too much sushi talk going on in the LA foodblogging arena.

Tuesday night, my buddy Mark (remember the Cole's P.E. Buffet guy), well we both were craving sushi. Sushi Nozawa or Sushi Komasa??? At first we were ready to splurge omakase style at Nozawa, then we realized that we're just teachers and we need to start saving up for our financially dry summer months. Reasonable Komasa was decided...and we were excited!

Komasa in action.

Mark's Ankimo...monkfish liver. MMM!

Seared shiro maguro

The albacore head-shot

Maguro and hamachi were on point.

I love unagi!

Mark's uni. I never liked uni in Nihon, I don't like it here. NEVER.

The amaebi's. So kawaii~!

Three reasons I love being a teacher: Winter, Spring, and Summer Break!

BaLe Valley Restaurant
7223 De Soto Ave
Canoga Park, CA 91303
(818) 348-8578
8am-9pm Daily

Fritto Misto
601 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90407
(310) 458-2829
11:30am-10pm Mon-Thurs
11:30am-10:30pm Fri-Sat
11:30am-9:30pm Sun

Sushi Komasa
351 E. 2nd Street
Los Angeles, Ca 90012
(213) 680-1792
opens after 5:30pm


rick james said...

3 in 1... you're always so efficient jeni... that's a good concept for 5 and 6 year olds, especially these days..

uni is pretty nasty... but i like it..

Kirk said...

Jeni - Its so funny, there I am minding your business, and then BAM, three sudden posts in one!!!!! Now why do I get the feeling we'll never get seats at Komasa again! Hopefully when we're there on Friday(maybe) we'll be able to get in! BTW, there's nothing like fresh, live uni......

Jeni said...

DCCF...I'm trying to crank all these reviews out before they pile up and before I head out for SF! Uni reminds me of swallowing sea water when I go surfing. Blehhh!'re going on Friday. It was so funny, when I walked in, I was wondering, "OOOhhh..maybe I'll see Mmm-Yoso and the Misses." Not that I even know what you guys look like, but I was hoping to bump into you guys during one of your LA Sushi road trip. Maybe next time! My friend and I got there at 6pm and there was no wait. It started getting crowded by 630pm. You'll get seats. Don't blame the crowds on me! haha. Ohh...I try to like uni...but I just can't do it. No like! :)


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