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Shamrocks And Shots: A St Patty's Food And Drink Crawl

Tanaya Ghosh |
March 17, 2012 | 12:07 p.m. PDT

Food Editor

Six Taste's Shamrocks & Shots took green food and drink to the next level (Tanaya Ghosh / Neon Tommy)
Six Taste's Shamrocks & Shots took green food and drink to the next level (Tanaya Ghosh / Neon Tommy)
Six Taste, the largest food tour company in Los Angeles, hosted a festive Shamrocks & Green Shots St. Patty's Eve food and drink crawl last night. For each ticket purchased, revelers had access to 10 green drinks or food items at participating bars and restaurants in the Little Tokyo and Arts District neighborhoods of Downtown LA.

Despite the rain today, you can still partake in the St. Patrick's Day festivities by following the crawl here:

Cafe Dulce

After meeting outside this popular bakery to get our 10 tickets and a postcard with a map, we tried this place first like most other crawlers. Since we were free to roam to each stop on our own, we came here first out of sheer convenience as well as an eagerness to taste their much-hyped green tea donut. Cutting it in half to reveal the custard (we were given 10 tickets between two of us so we wanted to use them wisely), we took our first bite into the pillowy soft donut halves. The thin, soft, and subtly flavored green tea dough complemented the silky custard inside, and the sugar and black sesame seeds sprinkled on the donut added a nice crunch.

It was so good that we debated getting a second one to share, but decided to hold off since there were so many other enticing places to try. However, later in the night, we would regret not using a second (and a third) ticket here. We had the freedom to use our 10 tickets in whatever way we wanted, but were restricted to the special item stated on the card (ie. only the green tea donut). Service was also outstanding here; they were very friendly and helpful.


Izakaya Fu-ga

Our next stop was farther away, and it's a good thing we wore comfy flats with all the walking we did that night. It was also quite chilly outside and drizzled a bit, but it was fun to cross paths with other crawlers and exchange thoughts about the experience.

Once we found Izakaya Fu-ga, we descended down the curbside stairs to a classy underground restaurant. Sitting at the bar, we had two glasses of green iced plum wine which were smooth and sweet. It was actually green food coloring added to the plum wine that made it a festive color, which was alright with us given it was St. Patty's Eve - the one time I don't feel so bad consuming absurd amounts of green food coloring. We also ordered off the regular menu: one order of pork rib tacos, which came in bright green tortillas, and one order of the pork belly wrapped asparagus, which were three asparagus spears wrapped in bacon, with a delicious umami-laden dipping sauce. 



Because the small map we were given warned us about this New Orleans restaurant only offering its green Sangria until 7pm, we rushed out of the last place. As we hurried to Nola's, we realized it was three-quarters of a mile away, which wasn't bad but walking through the dark and relatively empty streets to get there was quite interesting.

We came across some more wandering crawlers who were lost in search of Nola's, so they followed us as we tried to navigate to it by 7pm. We got there just in time, and it was well worth it. The bartender was super friendly and fun as he doled out the last of the barrel of special Sangria to us. The drink was very subtly green-ish, and contained grapes and raspberries which were fun to fish out and eat.



As we walked around trying to find it, we debated how to pronounce the name of this place. Even after discovering that it was a pizzeria, we still didn't get it until we asked our server how to say the name. Of course, it is pronounced "slice." As we laughed in the midst of our "d'oh!" moment, he told us that not many people have figured it out. That made us feel better as we sipped on the green beer. It was a pale and mellow, and quite good. The color was perfectly St. Patty's green, and the buttery garlic knot it came with was also very, very tasty. It was a small bread round, about the size of a large meatball, and it was super soft. After chatting with a few more crawlers while finishing out beer and bread, we buttoned up our coats and were on our way.



Although I've tried their delicious pita strips and hummus at the Taste of Downtown LA event twice on the USC campus, I'd never been to the actual restaurant and thus was happy to check it out. The place was packed, as a lot of St. Patty's Eve crawlers converged around the bar to mingle and sip on the "Green Beer Cocktail." The drink was sweet and tasted like apple, with a spicy kick of what seemed like Tabasco at the tail end of the sip.

The atmosphere was lively, and we exchanged inside information with other crawlers as to which places were worth using our tickets at. Sadly, this is where my dreams of trying the wasabi fries at Far Bar were crushed. Different groups told us that they were disappointed with the tiny sample size of the fries, and therefore we decided we would hold off until the end to see if we still had a ticket to spare to try them. Spitz, however, was pretty darn awesome.



Filling up on various green-tinged alcoholic beverages, we skipped the green Hite beer offered here. This decision was cemented by our lack of time, wanting to conserve some of our tickets for actual food, and the tip from a few different crawlers that the serving size was quite small. On to the next.


Fat Spoon

We had been warned of the slow service here that night, but we still wanted to try the pesto pasta at this popular spot. The waiters were friendly but definitely kept uswaiting a while; people who ordered off the regular menu got their food much quicker than us, and it's understandable except that time was ticking away, cutting into our time to try other places before 10pm.

We were hungry for some substantial food by this stop, and when the plate finally arrived it was extremely delicious. The fresh al dente pasta contained bits of soft smoked chicken and was coated generously with an aromatic, bright green basil pesto. The diced tomato sprinkled over as a garnish made the dish pop, and the sizable portion compared to any of the other food items on the crawl made us happy campers.


Aburiya Toranoko

We got great service here, as the night manager of the restaurant was friendly and inviting. Their green tea pudding was a creamy and decidedly matcha-flavored custard drizzled with caramel sauce and garnished with a mint leaf and raspberry. Set in a square glass with a mini wooden spoon to indulge with, it was a great treat. The service made the subtly sweet custard even sweeter, and this is a place I'd love to try again soon.


Far Bar

As we got out of the last stop nearing 10pm, we still had 2 tickets left so we decided to try the reportedly underwhelming tiny samples of wasabi fries. In fact, despite the comments from other crawlers we wanted to try it so badly that we had stopped by earlier. After walking down an alley to get to the hidden bar, we were sorely disappointed in the tiny dixie cups holding a few fries. The fries, we were told, were regular fries but the dipping sauce had a hint of wasabi. Maybe on other nights this place is great, but in agreement with other crawlers, sadly last night it wasn't.

We still decided to go back to use our last tickets on this place, but we were told that the manager stopped the offer at 10pm sharp. We were only a couple of minutes late, so I would have to say this was clearly the most disappointing stop of the night. On behalf of other crawlers, it seemed that no one was too thrilled with Far Bar that night. In fact, many crawlers I spoke with said they wished they could try more of the actual food items. Still they seemed to be having a blast at the other bars such as Spitz and Nola's.


Running around from one place to another, we still didn't make it to Oiwake in time to try their shrimp and green bean tempura, either. I hadn't heard any feedback from others who tried it that night, so there's not much to report on this one besides the fact that it is located in the Japanese Village Plaza, near Cafe Dulce and closes by 10pm.

We were still a bit hungry by the end of the crawl, so with 2 tickets still in hand we munched on the bacon donut and hazelnut crumble bread we bought earlier from Cafe Dulce, both of which had soft dough and lots of flavor.

In all, it was a wonderfully fun night of socializing and checking out the ambiance and the menus of different downtown spots on St. Patty's Eve courtesy of Six Taste. Having been on one of their food tours, I can say they do a great job organizing these events. Last night, they executed a great concept, and I will definitely be back for the next special event they host!


You can reach reporter Tanaya Ghosh here or follow her on Twitter here.



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