My cousins were visiting from out of town (San Francisco and Vancouver respectively) and I was able to join them for dinner at A-Frame Modern Picnic. I was pretty excited about finally trying A-Frame, another Roy Choi eatery, since they debuted onto the LA food scene a few months ago. Located in Culver City, you can’t miss the “A frame” building that A-Frame Modern Picnic calls home.
What is A-Frame all about? According to Papi Chulo and quoted on A-Frame’s menu, “A-Frame is a place that came from the feeling I used to get when cracking crabs on Redondo Beach Pier as a youth. The salt year, the cement benches. Newspapers and wooden mallets. Family and friends. The kind of food that you wanted to eat then and there is re-imagined here and now. Eat with your hands, reach across the table, lick your plates clean and share food with some strangers. Walk around, talk with your mouth full and get ready to get dirty. We know what your spirit’s hungry for. So bring it on over and let us feed it already.”
And feed it they did. The food began to arrive shortly after I did (all the way from Pasadena) so it was perfect timing on my part. It was served family-style and allowed us to try a little bit of everything. We started off with Island Farmer’s Market Salad, a savory salad with shaved Maui onion, tofu, fried garlic, seasonal fruit, ginger shoyu vinaigrette ($7). What followed was a veritable collection of diverse flavors that were pleasurable to the palate and comforting to the soul:
CLAM CHOWDER – My favorite of the bunch ($9). This chowder was packed with flavor: green curry, lemongrass, pancetta, and coconut milk and served with toasted sourdough for dipping and sopping up that wonderful broth. Absolutely YUM!
BABY BACK RIBS – Lip smacking and finger licking good, air dried and hoisin-chili glazed with sesame ($10).
BLUE CRAB CAKES – Lovingly packed by hand, blue crab cakes were served atop butter lettuce cups and perilla leaf wrap with a drizzle of ginger lemongrass creme fraiche ($12).
CRACKLIN BEER CAN CHICKEN – Prepared Peruvian-style with kimchees, served alongside with century egg, salsa roja and verde (1/2 Chicken: $11; Whole Chicken: $19).
BARBECUED LAMB CHOPS – Prepared Korean-style with citrus gremolata and salsa verde ($19).
KITCHEN FRIES – A variety of potatoes were used for this dish: purple Okinawan sweet potato, yam, and Korean sweet potato with kimchi sour cream and sea salt ($6).
CHU-DON’T-KNOW-MANG was the dessert of choice: pound cake churros, cinnamon, with malted chocolate milk and vanilla ice cream for dipping. This was an awesome dessert and the pound cake churros were the true stars of this dish ($6)!
My cocktail of choice was the CHRISTOPHER OAXACAN. I loved the play on the name and this was recommended by my cousin’s friend Cathy. The Christopher Oaxacan was a blend of Mezcal, habanero agave, lime and orange ($10). Super smooth, citrusy with a little bite. Refreshing!
I loved this restaurant and was surprised at the wide variety of inventive and clever menu items, cocktails, beers on tap and wines that were offered. The menu was organized with whimsical headings such as “to munch on”, “to pass around”, “to get your hands dirty”, “to bring it all together”, “cavities”, “from the tap”, “from the vineyard”, “bottles and cans”, and “warm your soul”. With the menu items, there definitely were Asian influences throughout and it made for a very enjoyable meal. Special thanks to my cousin Gina for organizing such a wonderful evening!
A-FRAME MODERN PICNIC
12565 Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90066