foodie fridays

Rockbird: Fingerlickin’ Fresh

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Written by: Maylee Tan // @pixel.eats

Photos by: Maylee Tan

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Fried chicken is having a huge moment in the foodie spotlight! Many are flocking to the biggest joints in fried chicken fame for the satisfying crunch in a battered and deep-fried drumstick. But how many fried chicken places do you know about that can do it all? We’re talking chicken fried to perfection, incredible side dishes, and unique and refreshing drinks you’ll need to refill in seconds. Ah!

Rockbird is no one-trick chick; from exotic chicken sandwiches and juicy roasted hens to fresh and addicting sides, this neighborhood restaurant is a one-stop shop for all your cravings.
 

The Taste Test

Vacation-Inspired Chicken Sandwiches

Inspired by well-travelled flavors, these two sandwiches redefine the standard for chicken sandwiches with an exotic kick!

The Wok Bird: sriracha mayo, a sweet chili glaze, and fresh cali-slaw. Incredible crispy texture with a fiery but welcome kick to the tastebuds. A sriracha-lover’s dream come true!

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The Baja Bird: creamy cilantro aioli, bright citrus slaw, a glaze of chipotle sauce, and fresh tomatoes. My taste buds fled the coop and took a mini vacay. This tasted like sweet and citrusy met for the first time in history and I stood as a witness.

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Both sandwiches were flanked with two incredible plush and lightly glazed brioche buns. Y-U-M. Who needs a tropical getaway when you can tour the world in a chicken sandwich? Now that’s getting your money’s worth.

Hot-Off-The-Grill Roasted Cornish Hens

You know you’re in for a treat when you pull chicken apart with your hands and the meat falls off the bone! Incredibly tender and fresh, these cornish hens are portioned for sharing but you’ll want to keep it all to yourself. Rockbird provides an exciting selection of sauces for every personality: chipotle honey sauce, classic bbq, and a creamy garlic aioli. I loved the garlic aioli so much that I asked to take some home to slather on everything! It’s THAT good.

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Scrumptious Sides to Your Liking

The best part about the sides at Rockbird is that there’s something for everyone: roasted brussel sprouts for the veggie-lovers, kale tabbouleh for the fresh-seekers, and a 3-cheese mac’n’cheese for cheat days (or in my case, that’s everyday!)

The brussel sprouts come roasted and charred to perfection, topped with a tart glaze of balsamic. If you thought you hated brussel sprouts, these will make you think again. Hard. Did you say you hated kale, too? This fresh kale tabbouleh converted me on the spot; I realized it when I was reaching for a forkful after every bite of chicken. And do I need to talk about how incredibly creamy and cheesy the 3-cheese mac’n’cheese was? There are no words. The best things in life are often difficult to describe– I’ll let the cheese do all the talking.

I promise that if the chicken dishes don’t have you running back, you’ll be thinking about these sides for the next two weeks.

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Real Refreshing Drinks

Soda fountains are basic, so Rockbird kicks it up another notch with their craft refreshers. The Honeydew Mint carried the fresh flavors of summer, while the Jamaica refresher kept things cool and classic.

These were such a delight. Hey Rockbird, is there a way I can have these drinks on tap at my house? Thanks.

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Final Thoughts and The Future

Rockbird is the beautiful product of a collaborative effort between two brothers, Daniel and Chris Skaf.

 Chris (Left) Daniel (Right)

Chris (Left) Daniel (Right)

They started out by barbecuing cornish hens in their backyard for friends, which was their culinary specialty since 2005. Their humble beginnings took them from a small storefront in their home to their own bustling bizz in Glendale. Along with their head chef and creative culinary artist Javier, the team continues to add to their ever-growing menu to excite customers with each visit.

 Daniel (Left) Javier (Middle) Chris (Right)

Daniel (Left) Javier (Middle) Chris (Right)

 Culinary Chef Javier

Culinary Chef Javier

The restaurant celebrated their one-year anniversary this month and hopes to continue expanding. The trio is beaming with dreams of opening up new stores in other neighborhoods and some excited discussion about weekend brunch. What can’t Rockbird do?

Step aside, Applebee’s; the real neighborhood restaurant is in town.

 Daniel (left) Maylee (Middle) Javier (Middle) Chris (Right)

Daniel (left) Maylee (Middle) Javier (Middle) Chris (Right)

Visit Rockbirdla.com // @RockBirdLA

1147 E Colorado St
Glendale, CA 91205

(818) 484-7654

WATCH VIDEO: See what happens when Maylee does the TASTE TEST


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Tlayuda: The Freshest, Feel-Good Mexican Food You'll Ever Have

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Written by: Maylee Tan // @pixel.eats

Photos by: Maylee Tan

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Nestled in the bustling heart of Hollywood is a gleaming Oaxacan gem that dares to defy misconceptions about Mexican food while honoring tried and true traditional flavors. Tlayuda challenges the idea that Mexican food is greasy and unhealthy, and magically manages to deliver authentic, drool-worthy bites that attract visitors from far and wide.

Sisters Laura and Anna run the vivid and artistically decorated shop with bright smiles, serving tasty dishes with a cheery charm that is reminiscent of your childhood friends' mom's homestyle cooking.

The Taste Test

 Classic Supreme Tlayuda

Classic Supreme Tlayuda

The Famous Classic Supreme Tlayuda

Apart from being the restaurant's namesake, a tlayuda is a crisp, toasted tortilla adorned with a sure smear of bean puree, a generous sprinkle of Oaxacan cheese, and crowned with three types of meat: tassajo beef, cesina pork, and chorizo.

This sent my tastebuds on a texture trip that I never wanted to return from! The creamy bean puree and the crunchy tortilla sang a duet that voiced a smokey, crispy tune. The fresh Oaxacan cheese layered thick above went straight to my head but was grounded by bits of fine, shredded lettuce. Depending on which piece of meat hit your tongue first, each bite was a new, flavorful experience. How's that for dimensional?

Despite it's many components, the dish was incredibly balanced and would have me running back. Because of the large portions, I'll bring a friend or two with me the next time I visit– if I can get myself to share, that is ;)

 Enchiladas de Mole

Enchiladas de Mole

Sweet and Savory Enchiladas de Mole

If you want a flavor experience that keeps you on your toes, this dish is "The One". The chicken tucked away in the enchiladas was incredibly fresh and tender and was heavily drenched in a glossy glaze of mole negro. Settled softly in the mole was queso fresco, and the enchiladas were brilliantly paired with a generous heap of rice. The rice might seem plain, but looks can be deceiving– it was light and almost buttery, which provided a striking contrast to the rich texture of the mole. It was a true yin-and-yang experience.

 Chicken Tacos

Chicken Tacos

Not Your Average Chicken Tacos

I thought I knew what a good taco was and didn't expect to be wow'd by something I could find anywhere in Los Angeles. Tlayuda proved me wrong and I couldn't be happier about it. The sheer quality of the chicken was something else– it was slightly fattier than the chicken you'd find in a dry taco de pollo which helped the tacos deliver more flavor. But what made these tacos much more unique than your average taco was that bean puree. Yup. Like the bean puree in their supersized tlayuda. It brought another dimension of texture and another layer of flavor that no one thought was needed in a taco.

This one's for the skeptics. Let these tacos prove you wrong.

 Tlayuda LA Drinks

Tlayuda LA Drinks

The Colorful and Delicious Drinks

To wash all the goodness down was an equally amazing selection of drinks. All brightly colored and unique, it was tough to pick a favorite! Here's a rundown of the flight:

  • Brewchata: I consider myself a coffee connoisseur, so when I learned that they chose (local) Bicycle Coffee for their roasters, I was ecstatic. Paired with their homemade horchata, this made my caffeinated heart sing!

  • Horchata: Homemade and smooth. The bits of cinnamon floating at the top did not allude to a chalky texture– this was light, refreshing, and perfectly balanced. It's everything you'd want in a glass of horchata.

  • Tamarindo: my Filipino heritage naturally draws me to tamarind, and this lived up to my expectations with it's subtle sour flavor.

  • Jamaica: this bright purple drink tasted as beautiful as it looked with light floral notes and a soft sweetness.

No matter which drink you choose, you won't be disappointed!

 Cheesecake

Cheesecake

A Slice of (Cheesecake) Heaven

And to think, we almost left without dessert! Mascarpone cheese. I needn't say more, but I will: a fine, delicate almond crust. This cheesecake does all the work; each bite melts when it hits your tongue and not once is it ever too sweet. I'm sure you're wondering, "but what about that ridiculously sexy dulce de leche glaze?" It's perfect. All proper dining etiquette out the window, I wiped the plate clean.

Be prepared to think twice about your current favorite cheesecake.

Final Thoughts and The Future

I would be so bold as to call Tlayuda a revolution in American-based Mexican food. After eating everything I felt incredible, as though I've been on a healthy, green, no-carb diet all year. Food that makes you feel as good as it tastes is a rare find and it's one that I'll keep coming back to.

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Laura and Anna have been running Tlayuda for the last three years and have a beautiful and bright future ahead of them. Customers have already begged for more locations and travel from all over just for a taste of authentic, Oaxacan cuisine. These two women, along with their all-female staff, break boundaries with a smile, proving that Mexican food can be "clean, simple, and tasty."

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Visit Tlayudala.com // @tlayudala

5450 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029

 (213) 261-4667

WATCH VIDEO: See what happens when Maylee does the TASTE TEST


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