Wednesday, May 19, 2010

LA Food Tours Part One-Mendocino Farms and LooHoo's

If you haven't already figured out from my previous posts, I love to eat. A lot of my previous posts are dedicated to my trying to get in shape. Yes I want to be healthy, but the main reason I want to exercise is so I can burn calories in order to eat more. Is this wrong? I feel like most of the first year of my life here in LA was spent in a cave; I didn't go out much because R was so young. The foodie highlight of that year was probably my one and only lunch at The Ivy--seriously the best fried chicken I've had in my life. I've slowly been going out more in search of Good Eats (sorry Alton Brown, if I'm infringing some trademark there) during R's second year. Some major Good Eats were found at Kogi, Flossie's Southern Cuisine, Gyenari, Il Fornaio and a Taiwanese place near Walnut I can't even write the name of in English. I've also had the chance to taste some DEE-licious food at blogger events. Two events in the past month stand out especially in my food memory, both focused on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. After the second event, some of the bloggers decided we should embark on an LA Food Tour and I realized that we had already started! We have some ideas brewing so this is just the beginning of my LA food blogs.

 Mendocino Farms

If you live or work in downtown LA or in Marina Del Rey, you have a new favorite sandwich shop. I developed a love of sandwiches when I did my junior year abroad in England. The first time I bit into a Coronation Chicken Salad sandwich with mango chutney, the flavor combination blew me away. When I lived in New York, I had a pretty good version of  this sandwich at least once a month at Pret A Manger. I was so excited when I went to the Mendocino Farms Grand Opening blogger event at Waterside, Marina Del Rey and saw the Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich on the menu. If it's anything like all the other items I tried that day, I know it will be bursting with umami! Mendocino Farms sources all of their ingredients locally so the salads of the day depend on what was available at the local farmers markets that day.

H is a very picky eater so it said a lot about the food that he ate over 10 meatballs. He will reject meatballs if they aren't just right and Mendocino Farms passed the test! R, on the other hand, is a eating fanatic and was eating everything the entire time, stopping only for a few jam sessions. I can't really describe how great the food is, so I'll let the photos speak for themselves. The drinks are awesome too--when was the last time you went to a sandwich shop with Boylan's soda on tap? I can't wait to go back. Currently the kid's menu is only available at the Marina Del Rey location. Mendocino Farms also celebrated opening of their new location by hosting the inaugural kids club meeting at Waterside Marina Del Rey. The children's band Rhythm Child was there--the boys had a blast after H accepted he couldn't go up on the stage and perform with them. The band puts it out there that children can appreciate real music and they do! My Gym was also there with a fun obstacle course.

 LooHoo's-Asian Comfort Food

Cindy Liu has the exact right idea of what makes comfort food--carbs, carbs, and more carbs. Noodles, dumplings and noodle soups are all things that are go-to foods for me whenever I'm indulging myself in emotional eating or when I'm sick. Cindy recently hosted a food tasting for bloggers from the LA Moms Blog. I trekked to the tasting in Ventura County, partly so I could finally say I've been there and know where it is! We started off with yummy Lychee Martinis, then gorged ourselves on dumplings. I didn't know how I could eat more but I did manage a couple of helpings each of the summer cold noodle salad and the Thai red curry noodles. I didn't have any room for the mango sticky rice but had a taste of the decadent coconut sauce anyway. It was a good thing I drank two diet cokes during the dinner, otherwise I might have fallen asleep on the way back to the South Bay from all those carbs!

Loo Hoo's sources its ingredients from local farmers and producers to ensure fresh, high quality ingredients. It uses natural, farm raised meats that have been humanely raised with no growth hormones, antibiotics or animal by-product feeds. If you live in Ventura County or the Santa Clarita Valley, you can find Loo Hoo's at your local farmer's market:
THURS: Thousand Oaks Farmer's Market, at the Oaks Mall (1:30-6:30pm)
SUNDAY: College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Lot 8 (8am-noon).
If you live farther away in the Los Angeles area, Loo Hoo's is available to cater your next event. You can pick from their current products listed below, or let them design a special Asian Comfort Food® themed menu for your next event!

  • LooHoo's ® Original (Cindy's family recipe)
  • The Mondu Twist (a Korean style dumpling inspired by a trip to Korea)
  • The Veggie - (Another LooHoo’s® creation, 'cause everyone needs their veggies!)
  • Fresh Ramen Noodles
  • Soba Noodles
  • Thai Red Curry Noodles
  • Mabo Ramen
  • LooHoo's ® Magic Dumpling Dipping Sauce™ (Original and Spicy)
  • Hot n' Sour
  • Chinese Beef Noodle Soup
  • LooHoo's® 'Shroom-Tastic Veggie Noodle Soup™
I really enjoyed meeting Cindy and learning about the genesis of her company. She had always been interested in food but had chosen the safer corporate route, even getting an MBA along the way. Finally, one day Cindy decided to follow her passion and give her dreams a chance to come true. I really admire that. People who are passionate about what they do are few and far between these days. So many things like paying for student loans and health insurance get in the way. I really hope that Cindy will achieve her dream of LooHoo's becoming the Asian Buitoni. Keep an eye out for it in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket!

I did not receive compensation for this post. I was fortunate enough to taste the food from Mendocino Farms and Loohoos for review purposes.


Rachel said...

I've gained weight just reading this post.

Amy Anderson said...

Oh man, I need to go to the gym right now. I'm still working off those dumplings!!