Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beach Cities Doughnuts

This place is amazing!! Great product amazing flavors and killer packaging.
They have great flavored baked doughnuts. Earl grey, sweet potato,honey dipped and many more. Ace was very clean and the owner helped me (great service with super

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Local 1205 Venice

So I needed to energize my system after a long night. Saw Local 1205 and the signage read cold pressed juices. I tried the Dark shadow. It was so delicious even for 9$. Drip coffee sucked but I love the look and the layout. Locally sourced products and furniture imported from Paris,very cool indeed. 1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
This "cold pressed juice" rocked my world. Beet,carrot,parsley,and lemon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bay Cities Deli

As I push past the crowds of people waiting in line to pay I instantly am filled with excitement to explore the bustling aisles in Bay Cities Deli which has been a tradition in Santa Monica since 1925. They are the home of the Godmother , genoa salami, mortadella, coppacola, ham, prosciutto, and provolone. I tempted my stomach by ordering a large godmother, knowing I was getting the works on it (mayo, mustard, onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, Italian dressing and mild or hot peppers). I would devour half of the sandwich minutes after leaving the deli, but wanted to save the other half to marinate in all of it’s yumminess and let the flavors bleed together in the perfectly crunchy Italian roll. This sandwich is a Santa Monica favorite for a reason. I also ordered the small tri tip. Of the tri-tip sandwiches I have had this one is definitely in my top five. The same amazing bread and some really nice pink ,tender meat sliced oh so thin. The sandwiches are filling, delicious and worth the effort to fight for a tiny parking spot and push through the crowded aisles, but for me the very best part of bay cities are the endless deli options. They can satisfy any deli needs for Italian, Argentine, Greek, French and Middle Eastern delights. If you’re in a hurry make sure to call in a sandwich order since they can take up to an hour on a busy day. If you have the time spend it roaming and exploring all of the ultimate foodie treats. Walk in, discover the rows and rows of canned goods, cheeses and meat. After a hard day there’s nothing better than grabbing bread, cheese, meat deli accoutrements, a bottle of wine and heading home to put my feet up and enjoy every little bite.


Hello friends. My name is Vince Howard. I have been working as a Chef for most of my days and have a strong passion for food and drink. Since I was young I have loved the romance that occurs around food and the gathering of family around the table. I have often said that food is one of the most romantic things that humans do. I am rethinking that old slogan. I believe that the romance is more than just food it’s the whole experience. The path that leads us to the tasty bites and the love that pushes us to find new exiting flavors and techniques. I also think that there are so many gems and well kept secrets just waiting to be discovered. With” Friend or Pho” I will share my findings from farm to table and, nose to tail. I come from the Midwest so I am still amazed every day by the food culture that I see on the west coast. While I’m finding my way around the local haunts, food trucks, farmers markets, and white table cloth eateries I will use my voice to tell the truth about these wonderful discoveries. I hope you will share these discoveries and find many details to share as well. All the timing and the flavors that I feel make the journey sweet and memorable will be included in my posts. If our time and dollars are well spent I feel that success has been achieved. Yours Truly Vince

Monday, August 27, 2012

Vince’s Burger Update Lets talk Hamburgers for a bit. I realize what makes a good burger is for the most part relative to the consumer. Some love the classic back yard burger with the grill flavor. Choose your grill type and method of wood or charcoal. Foodies like the smaller size with artisan cheeses and various uptown garnishes. We can dance that dance. It is my belief that this American icon and favorite of all is as simple as its quality meat and its quality bread. I am prone to make my judgments based on these two items being properly prepped and executed. A tender succulent patty whatever grind you are using, and a proper temperature. This is done through methods of cooking, resting, and patty construction. Then we have our bread, which should never be an after thought. The bun should have classic shape and lend itself to the portability of that sacred patty. How does the bun hold up, how does it absorb toppings, am I making a mess of my clothes while enjoying? These are all topics I use to determine a great hamburger. There are so many different aspects of this I am approaching from a simple perspective since chefs have been hitting this homerun for the masses a long time now. We are going to focus on the elevated hamburger. Food trends often take swings at overturning classics and redefining them with new technique. It is exiting for us to see something we loved growing up grow up with us as the American hamburger has. So where do we go to find this type of hamburger? I will most defiantly take you and your colleagues to The Tripel @ 333 Culver Blvd. Playa del Rey CA, which is the perfect spot for some “burger research” I have made my way through this diverse menu, hamburgers as well as its salads and elevated bar snacks. This little spot does several different patty to bread combos. The tripel burger is a combination of ground pork, duck confit, and angus beef. To get this little gem to a perfect Medium is tricky given the different fat contents of those proteins. They nail it. Resting the burger by half the cooking time, it comes out on its hearty yet soft brioche bun. So the soft bun perfectly cradling the juicy patty and that’s a new twist on the old favorite. The flagship burger on this menu is defiantly the lamb burger. I know everyone’s had a lamb burger but this one takes the cake. This square patty is delicately constructed with out over working the ground lamb.
It is easy to make the finished product tough by doing so. By doing the same resting as before and finishing in the oven this burger really is a work of art. Its served w mazzuna greens, cucumber and taziki . I am a lover of the burgers at Tripel but they have so many great offerings besides burgers. Fresh locally sourced ingredients and a seasonal menu are a must in this market. This pub has the best of both worlds with an exiting beer and wine list. Lots of local brews and kraft beers are found here as well as unique seasonal cocktails. This local haunt is a great casual place to take guests for drinks as well as high-end cuisine. Lots of small details you appreciate like the house made pickles and friendly yet subtle service. This place just feels like home.
My sister who is a retired chef and professional diner comes to town. She says she wants to eat lots of different items and “snack” and catch up. No bar food, pizza or sushi she says. I automatically think cheese boards, pates, charcuterie this type of upgraded picnic if you will. I steer us to a place I come to love Waterloo & City 12517 West Washington Blvd Culver City CA. This exiting food venue is the brainchild of Brendan Collins and partner Carlos Tamazos. These two brilliant restaurateurs have put together a great feeling for your dining out in style. Besides the fact that this place is extremely bustling they put up exquisite and tantalizing food and drink. The atmosphere is relaxed yet serious. Waitrons have impeccable food knowledge and are quick w guidelines and changing menu offerings. Chef Collins is steeped in the art of charcuterie. His pates, cured meats and pickling techniques are flawless. His attention to detail shows in every plate you see going out into the dining room. He uses a very large army in his virtually open kitchen and he is averaging around two hundred covers on a weeknight. Not an easy task. Much of the prep that goes into charcuterie service is done months before and requires years of training to procure. So when you are getting Salmon terrine or pate of pig trotters and sweetbreads you know that a lot of time and technique went into this food. My favorite was the chicken liver mousse while my sister fell deeply for the Rabbit and Pistachio terrine. So you want the Wild boar terrine and the smoked tongue, carrot terrine, who can decide? We are in luck; they offer a few options so everyone is happy. You may choose from Commoner, Prince, or King size selection and mix and match all you want with pickled onions, cornichons and various cured meats. We could stop there but what about dinner? These are the most amazing plate presentations I have seen so far. Beautiful, quant yet not too fussy was the classic Ceasar salad. This retro dish is held to its highest peak as its delivered with anchovy filets, farm to table Romaine and a perfect 60 degree egg all encompassed in a circular crouton. The vinaigrette was smooth and sophisticated; this is by far the most memorable salad Iv had in quite some time. Next we tried the chilled Thai Gazpacho with Peekytoe Crab and Coconut. This was a very well executed melding of flavors to my surprise and I don’t usually order crab. This evening I was glad I did.
The soup was spectacular and the crab so fresh it was breathtaking. So we’ve been sharing so is there a need to press on into this fortress of a menu? Of coarse when I peek into entrées I am quick to select the Short Rib Ravioli and the Indian Butter Chicken pizza for the table. We share and all find the dishes to far exceed expectation. The pizza had curry spiced chicken and a cucumber ribbon salad in the middle so you could dress each slice w the yogurt and cucumber mixture. The Ravioli was rich and wonderful, complete w a note of truffle in the sauce complementing the spinach and Cipollini onion. I’m so looking forward to my next culinary adventure at WC. I will defiantly have the Fish and Chips in this gastonamique haven of merry gluttony. The cooks in Bowler hats all toiling to ‘London calling’ by the Clash and a passionate chef putting his heart into the “gastopub” food of his Brit heritage. That is the picture in this burgeoning Culver City eatery.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Food Porn: 06/25/12

Red Velvet Cupcake from Milk on Beverly Blvd. - Los Angeles


Croque-Monsieur from Joan's on Third - Los Angeles


Braised Short Rib from F Bar - Montreal, Qubec


Beef Hash and Eggs from The Tavern - Los Angeles


Monday, May 28, 2012

Food Porn: 05/28/12

While there may have been a lack of content on Friend or Pho? as of late, there sure hasn't been a lack of eating. With summer upon us, we're getting back into the swing of things here at camp FOP?. We're going to start a new weekly segment called "Food Porn." This will be shots of amazing and delicious things that came across out plates for the week, and the places they were consumed. And just for the record, the money shots we're going to show you here are completely SWF! :)

Lukshon > 3239 Helms Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

Spicy Chicken Pops

Short Rib Rendang

Nobu 903 North La Cienega Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA

Black Cod

Chez de Ruiz Hidden Location in the Fairfax District

A Summer Spread: A Watermelon, Basil & Feta Salad (The "Welcome Summer Salad"), Baked Salmon w/Japanese Breadcrumbs and vegetable plate (Thanks to The Chef, who also happens to be my beautiful wife!)

Monday, February 6, 2012

The fatest way to a man's heart in Paris Pt. 1

Editor's note: This entry was originally written in early November, 2011. With the number of events that have taken place, including marrying Ms. Annabel Manners in a wonderfully sparse Napa Valley vino infused elopement, I've had very little time to dedicate to my blog. I'm making up for that now. Thanks, -Ed.

As we sit in our abode, both earnestly typing away on our laptops on an early Monday morning, Ms. Annabel Manners and I are recounting our epic nine-day trip to Paris through different lenses. While Paris is known as a city of romance, (full disclosure here, Ms. Annabel Manners and I got engaged while in the City of Lights, so the romance of the city is clearly not lost on me), for me it was the cuisine I fell in love with.

Dear reader, there are so many incredible things to eat in Paris! In fact, this is such an epic entry, it will be split into multiple entries, so thanks for sticking with us in advance!

Our first few days in Paris were spent attending the Pitchfork Music Festival, in a relatively suburban and uninteresting culinary location where our meals came mostly from the hotel. By our third day in the City of Lights, we had moved into a quaint little place on Rue Du Faubourge St. Honore, which as it turns out is a block from the Presidential Palace. Needless to say, our prospects for a food adventure were becoming much better!

Our first real Parisian meal was lunch at Un Zèbre à Montmartre. It was an amazing place that we ran into while wondering around in the Montmartre district. Our meal there was genuinely the first amazing meal we had in Paris. A favorite drinking establishment for locals in the the late evening, earlier in the day it serves as one of the best places in the neighborhood to grab a quick lunch. The warm Camembert, topped with honey, then served with baby greens was amazing, and a personal favorite. We also shared a prosciutto and goat cheese plate that was simple, but extremely flavorful and delicious. This was by far my favorite meal in the Montmartre.

L'as du Falafel, loosely translated in Engligh "The Ace of Falafel," has established itself as the falafel destination in Paris, and with good reason. It is, hands down, the best falafel I've ever had. Located on Rue des Rosiers in the "Pletzl" Jewish quarter of the Le Marais neighborhood, L'as du Falafel is situated in a vibrant area of open air street vendors, as well as other falafel vendors of lesser repute. To compensate, they try to lure in unsuspecting tourists in. Luckily we managed to find the real deal, and it changed our falafel lives forever!

While there were many culinary experiences we had, and as this will stretch our Parisian culinay experience into a few different entries, I simply cannot document everything here. Instead, I'll leave you with some distinct food-related photos I took during our trip. à votre santé...

(Tantalizing pastries from Laduree)

(A fabulous cheese shop in Saint-Louis)