Ford’s Filling Station

Restaurant: Ford’s Filling Station

Location:  9531 Culver Blvd, Culver City. 310-202-1470

Date: April 28, 2011

Cuisine: Gastropub

Rating: Always great for lunch.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

It was a gorgeous day (again) in LA, so I headed out to find another good lunch spot with outside dining. We ended up in Culver City with its rather large selection of good lunch spots and specifically at Ford’s Filling Station, which is run by Benjamin Ford, son of Han Solo. The place has been around awhile but before this he had another place in Beverly Hills which was very good — but I can’t remember the name.


Notice the “pig country” sign. They offer on the menu a 8 person minimum whole pig dinner with a whole roast pig!


Outside, there are two different patios. In general, Culver city has a lot of outside dining which is nice. For some mysterious reason LA restaurants often lack al fresco. This makes no sense given our weather.


The menu.


“Bacon wrapped dates, stuffed with cheese.” Um yum! I love this dish, and I’ve had it at many places (like recently at Upstairs 2). These were as good as any, showing off the sweet and salty.


“Shrimp Curry, jasmine rice, marash pepper and applewood smoked bacon.” Also a really great dish. Very similar to the one I had at Gladstones. The bacon made it even better.


Sliced serrano peppers in has you want to spice it up.

Pulled Pork Panini, melted gouda and spicy pepper relish.” The beans were awesome too, with a nice smoky porcine flavor.


A close up of the sandwich itself. I had expected something like a North Carolina pulled pork sandwich. That’s kinda tangy. This was more the succulent roast pork with cheese. Yum.


The dessert menu.


“Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich, chocolate chip cookie and mint chocolate-chip ice cream.” The ice cream was great, very similar to the mint ice cream I had at Sweet Rose Creamery, tasting as it did of fresh mint leaves. The fudge was good too. The cookie needed more butter, it was a little dry. Not bad, and the overall dessert was still very good, but with a really awesome cookie, it could have been… really awesome.


Inside, the stripped down old-school culver city building provides a nice deconstructed interior. I’ve never been here at night but I bet it’s a good watering hole.

Another good Culver City place is Fraiche, here for review.

The New American – Gjelina

Restaurant: Gjelina [1, 2, 3]

Location: 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, CA 90291. (310) 250-1429

Date: December 16, 2010

Cuisine: New Californian

Rating: Everything just tastes great!

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My parents flew into town but their flight was four hours late so we needed to find dinner after 10pm. This can actually be a problem on the westside, but it turns out that Gjelina serves until midnight! Now Gjelina has gotten lots of rave reviews, and for good reason. It’s also one of our favorite lunch spots. They serve fairly casual fare, American with all sorts of influences, and most things are farmer’s market driven. The kitchen is just really good — so everything tastes great. The menu changes constantly.

“Squash-Farro-Kale Soup with Grilled Bread.”


“Charred Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Vinegar.” One of the things about Gjelina is that they can make even vegetables incredibly delicious — yes I’m a bit of a carnivore. These brussel sprouts aren’t bitter at all, and the thick chunks of smokey bacon (more pancetta really) are incredible.

“Lamb Sausage, Confit Tomato, Rapini, Pecorino & Asiago Pizza.” They make great pizzas too. These are very thin neo-neo Neapolitan pizzas baked very fast in a wood wire oven. The crust is very crispy, and there is a strong charcoal grill taste. This one has a nice cheesy, herby flavor offset with the very yummy lamb sausage.

“Wood Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Chili & Vinegar.” Another example of the unusually yummy vegetables. This cauliflower has a nice double tang, vinegar and chili. Crunch Zing!

“Grilled Radicchio, Bacon, Fontina & Tomato Confit Pizza.” Another great pizza. The bacon makes it of course.

“Potato Gnocchi with a Short Rib Ragout & Pecorino.” Melt in your mouth.

“Charred Niman Hanger Steak with Watercress-Horseradish Pesto, Red Onion & Piquillo.”

Inside they have both regular and communal tables, and outside they have a fantastic patio. It was pretty crowded at 11pm, with down tempo blaring on the speakers. Even on a chilly December LA night (roughly 50 degrees) the fire pit and heat lamp made me take off my jacket. Serious LA ambiance — and food!

Quick Eats: Mon Ami Gabi

Restaurant: Mon Ami Gabi

Location: 7239 Woodmont Ave.  Bethesda, MD 20814. 301.654.1234

Date: Nov 29, 2010

Cuisine: French Bistro

 

Out with friends in Bethesda we checked out this small chain French Bistro.  After 10-20 years out of favor the bistro seems to have returned in spades.

An “Amuse” of marinated carrots, quite nice.

The menu.

Parker gives this a 92, “Potentially the finest Gigondas made here since their sublime 1978 (still going strong, by the way), the 2007 exhibits gorgeously sweet black currant, kirsch, and mineral notes intermixed with hints of cigar box and forest floor. Full-bodied with elegance married to considerable substance and power, a beautifully textured mouthfeel, and a long, heady finish, this will be a long-lived Gigondas. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring and enjoy it over the following 15 years.”

The classic goat cheese salad.

Steak Bernaise for a young carnivore.

An excellent lump crabmeat cake. I don’t get enough of these out west.

My two-year-old’s grilled cheese and fries. He seemed to enjoy it.

French onion soup.

Steak frites. Lots of frites.

Bacon wrapped pork, with dijon mustard coated potatoes.

Breaded cod.

With frites.

This was a solid place. Not blow-you-away, but good.