Monday, May 16, 2011

Wildwood Ovens & BBQ’s

I was recently invited to a free hosted event at Wildwood Ovens & BBQ’s, a laid back spot in Eagle Rock where you can do a lot of things: buy a wood fired oven or Brazilian barbeque grill, take a cooking class or throw a party for you and yours to enjoy pizza or churrasco (grilled meat). We got to sample more than a few items from the owner, Michael Gerard, and his team.

roast pork
Roast pork. There was some beautiful fat, which is the best way to enjoy pork in my opinion.

Asparagus is magical when prepared properly. I could have eaten the whole plate.

mushroom pizza
Mushroom pizza straight from the (heat) source. Life would be better if every time I reached for frozen pizza, a pie from their wood fired oven would appear instead.

I can easily imagine spending a summer afternoon on the their patio with friends, consuming a lot of pizza dough, grilled meat and cold beverages. I really dug the very Californian vibe at Wildwood and think it'd be a great spot for a party, especially for those who want good grub.

Wildwood Ovens & BBQ's
5020 Eagle Rock Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90041

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Wako Donkasu

Koreans love donkatsu (Japanese fried pork cutlet), and I am no exception. Most of the donkatsu I've eaten has been prepared by my mom and enjoyed in my parents' kitchen with rice, shredded cabbage and kimchi. But, out here in LA, I must fend for myself (yes, I can make it, but I loathe frying food in my apartment as the smell insists on lingering).

Enter Wako Donkasu, a tucked away spot in Koreatown, where the main attraction is their pork cutlet, but with various riffs offered as well, such as steak, curry and even cheese. I find it difficult to resist combination sets at Asian restaurants, so I ordered the udon and pork katsu duo ($12.95).

wako pork and udon combo

The pork was juicy, but the breading wasn't as crisp as I had hoped and even falling off a little on the bottom of a couple pieces. The dipping sauce was tonkatsu sauce and ground sesame seeds. (Note: after you order, the server brings sesame seeds for you to grind up with a mortar and pestle of sorts. I wasn't sure what to do really, so I asked my server about it when she dropped off my food and she did it for me.)

The dressing on the cabbage was like the slightly sweeter version of the carrot and ginger version found in Japanese restaurants here in the U.S. I liked that it was a departure from the blob of ketchup and mayo found in so many Korean restaurants.

wako udon

The udon broth was flavorful enough, but it lacked the special touch that makes addicts out of people who just came here for the katsu in the first place (I love when restaurants have that supporting cast dish or side that unexpectedly becomes habit-forming); the noodles were standard and did not stand out.

Wako Donkasu did not take the pork cutlet to new heights for me, but my meal was more than satisfactory. I'm willing to see if everything is a little better next time around.

Wako Donkasu
3377 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 112
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 381-9256

*Other location:
2904 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 387-9256