Tropicalia Brazilian Grill

Quick, Top 5 restaurants in LA!

Yeah. right. This question is pretty much impossible to answer. Anyone who’s lived in or visited LA knows the massively large selection and variety of food here. Skimming through Jonathan Gold’s 2013 list of 101 Best Restaurants gives you a good sense of that. “If you take into account Los Angeles’ superb produce, its breathtaking diversity and its imagination, it can be one of the most pleasurable places to eat on Earth.” – L.A. Times. 

ON EARTH!! Indeed.

Regardless, if I absolutely HAD to make a Top 5 list, like someone was FORCING me (honestly, in what situation would this ever happen?! Just humor me -_-), I would probably choose not restaurants, but specific dishes. Likeeeeee the ‘Bife Tropicalia’ at Tropicalia Brazilian Grill in Los Feliz.

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It’s tucked away in a small space diagonally across the street from The Alcove (a better-recognized restaurant in Los Feliz), and has authentic (to my knowledge?) Brazilian dishes. Like the Bife Tropicalia, above  (get it with rice & beans, not french fries!).

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A Korean-Brazilian friend first brought me here a few years ago (so there’s gotta be some level of legit-ness to the place), and I’ve come back over and over to order the same dish. I honestly can’t speak for the rest of the dishes, so Yelp might be more helpful (a solid 4 stars). Oh, except for the sangria. The sangria is also dangerously delicious.

Cute place, nice ambience, and usually no problem getting seated. Top 5 fo’ sho.

Kayaks & Crabs

Last Wednesday, I cancelled all of my plans for the day to take a spontaneous day ‘trip’ (<1 hour away) with my girlfriends to Redondo Beach. On the agenda: kayaks + crabs (of the edible sort).

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The four of us rented 2 double kayaks from Rocky Point, a company in a secluded area of R.B. (away from the touristy pier). Rentals were $35 per double kayak for 2 hours, though the guy manning the store said “take your time” as if he didn’t really care (he didn’t). There was also an option to do stand-up paddleboarding, but we decided to save that for another time. For me, a time when I wouldn’t mind possibly falling in the water. -_-

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Though hot in L.A., the weather was PERFECT in the South Bay. As it was a weekday afternoon, we were the only ones on the water, sans a lone paddleboarder. I love that I have fellow unemployed/flexible-work-schedule friends. Yeee.

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I don’t think we even lasted the full two hours. Man, kayaking is a work-out. Our arms were super sore after an hour or so. The website says, “An hour’s workout will burn about 400 calories, builds upper body muscles including pects and lats.” Guess I better come more often…

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There were a bunch of seals we kayaked around. They were smelly. And very loud. They made sounds like… dying dinosaurs. Or what I would imagine dying dinosaurs to sound like. Still, pretty cute, in a weird not-objectively-cute-but-they’re-SEALS kind of way.

After kayaking, we headed over to the pier to have an early dinner at Pacific Fish Center & Restaurant. You know, that really famous Korean restaurant that serves ginormous crabs with mallets and paper plates and bibs. Okay, well if you’re Asian or have lived in a 50 mile vicinity of R.B., you know what I’m talking about. SO.RIDIC.DELICIOUS.

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Before we had our crab, we had these steamed baby octopi. I know what half of you are thinking. SO GROSS. The other half… SO GOOD.

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Left: A baby baby-octopus and potentially it’s mother. Or father. So tragic. Right: bottoms up! They taste a lot better than they look. Just close your eyes.

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YUM. So much deliciousness to be had. We devoured this. And then, we walked along the pier and had churros with caramel sauce, at a place that claimed to have the WORLD’S-BEST-CHURROS. They were not the world’s best. False advertising. But they were good. AND then we had mint chocolate chip and cookies and cream gelato. Fatties for the win!

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A perfect summer day! I love SoCal. 🙂 [[PS- My Cal hat was borrowed from Renee. Go Bruins. ;)]]

The Stocking Frame

You guys. There’s this pretty awesome new restaurant-bar that opened in DTLA and I kind of don’t even want to post about it because it will get super crowded once everyone finds out and then and thennnn that would be not cool.

But I will. Because a friend introduced it to me first, and you guys are my friends… even you strangers. You’re very welcome.

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Anyway, it’s called The Stocking Frame, and my friend Sunghee hosted her birthday party here a few weeks ago. She literally just stumbled upon it one day while walking to another restaurant. It opened a little over a month ago and I went back 2 days ago because… I wanted to. The space is huge with an amazeballs interior– exposed brick walls, high ceilings, wood frames, a fireplace, strands of white lights, and an open patio. As a reviewer on Yelp stated, it looks “like you can take at least ten Instagram photos with it looking like you’re always in a different place”– such truth from a clear Instagram addict.

I was able to take tons of pictures because the place is still pretty unknown to the DTLA crowd (and thus the restaurant was empty-ish both times I went). I’m sure that will change in a few months but until then, I will selfishly enjoy the quiet emptiness of the place.

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I went for dinner but apparently they have a decent brunch menu as well. Food is trendy-new-American, if that makes sense. You know… roasted marrow bones, spiced octopus + pork belly tacos, butcher nachos with pork butt– that sort of thing. Their menus do change frequently, which is kinda cool.. except.. I REALLY wanted the pork butt nachos the second time I went (they were frickin’ delicious the first time) but had to settle for beef cheek nachos (pictured above)… they were almost as good.

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The bar had some creative and unusual cocktail options as well as foreign wines and beers. I tried the “chihuaha” which had tequila with serrano chiles and citrus. Pretty good….I think (Shrug. I don’t have the most refined palette when it comes to alcohol.).

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The above-mentioned Yelp reviewer was totally right. Instagram for dayzzz here.

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My favorite part of the restaurant is the space next to the bar that opens up into the patio (pictured above right). There’s tons of seating with a small garden plot full of plants surrounded on four sides by wooden benches. It’s perfect for a warm summer night.

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Some more random decor details– a sweet stained glass window. And a large flag at the entrance.

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Anyway, I’ll definitely be back here again soon– if not for the food/drinks then for the atmosphere/cool space. The food was decent (probably 3.5-4 stars for everything I tried, minus the bone marrow, which was like.. a 2.5.) Worth checking out fo’sho.

The Stocking Frame
911 S Hill St.
Los Angeles, CA 90015