Sometimes life beats the crap out of you. Other times, it gives you exactly what you want. So when what I wanted was some good new food in Pasadena, Spudds suddenly appeared and fulfilled the latter. You see, Spudds specializes in poutine and I am a man who loves his fries with gravy and cheese curds. Plus, as far as I know, Spudds is the only original (unlike Smoke’s Poutinerie in Hollywood, which as you probably know from reading up here has a number of outposts in Canada) poutine spot in all of the LA area.
A lot changed in Downtown LA while I was gone for two years. The Arts District, which is adjacent to Little Tokyo, had already had a bit of a resurgence that has kinda blown up. On top of that, Chef Neal Fraser, who is behind BLD, has popped out a couple new spots. When you combine these, you get Fritzi, which is like an affordably upscale fast-casual concept (yeah, I said it).
You don’t typically associate a brewery with breakfast. But then, Eagle Rock Brewery Public House is less of a brewery than a quaint brunch spot that also happens to serve up a bunch of Eagle Rock Brewery’s beers (the real brewery is located elsewhere in Eagle Rock and is foodless save for the occasional food truck). Thus, after downing a beer I settled on the subject of food.
There is a saying attributed to Jonathan Gold that goes something like “‘A’ is for ‘American’ Chinese food, ‘B’ is for ‘Better’ Chinese food and ‘C’ is for ‘Chinese’ Chinese food.” The letters, of course, are in reference to the health code and if you’ve ever been to China, you would know this to be true. Thus, when I heard great things about the dumplings at Emperor Noodles in San Gabriel and then found out it had a “B” rating, I got pretty excited to try it out.
It’s amazing that the sight of a new burger still excites me. It’s even more exciting when you consider that I had eaten burgers for my two prior meals before setting my sights on Belcampo at the Grand Central Market. Yet, the Belcampo Burger drew me in and the inevitability of another burger meal became apparent.
I had little idea of what I was getting into when I agreed to grab dinner at Raffi’s Place in Glendale. Glendale hosts, of course, the biggest population of Armenians outside of the Middle East, but I was meeting my Persian friends and knew that Raffi’s had to have at least some Persian touches. This turned out to be true, as Raffi’s Place served up Armenian food with a Persian twist because a bunch of ethnic Armenians come from the land formerly known as Persia. But enough about ethnicities and whatnot, let’s get on with the food.
Bludso’s in Compton is very often hailed as the best BBQ in LA. Yet, for some reason, a number of people find it difficult to make it to that part of town. Thus, Bludso’s spun off into Hollywood with a bar and que concept that creatively includes a bar along with BBQ. In other words, my long-awaited trip to BBQ heaven (and possibly like real heaven) in Compton was put on hold to make the trip to Hollywood.
Sitting by the pool and soaking up the sun is pretty much what you do in Las Vegas in between gambling, buffets and whatnot. But what the hell do you do when you get hungry and don’t want to give up your prime seat? It’s a real issue and Vegas knows it, which is why they offer food at insane prices. The Bamboo Pool at the Cosmopolitan was no different.
Many people wake up in the morning craving breakfast food. Not me. Just like any other time of the day I crave burgers. It could have something to do with the fact that I try to wake up more around lunch time than breakfast time, but that’s beside the point. Thus, I found myself at Blondies in Las Vegas’s Planet Hollywood ordering a burger as my first meal of the day.
When it comes to late-night snacking, it can be tough to find a good spot after 1 am in Las Vegas. It’s surprising, because I would assume places would make bank with the after-club crowd, but alas, Gordon Ramsay’s BurGR (see what they did with the G and R there?) was one of the few spots open near my hotel. I had never given much thought to visiting a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, but I supposed there was no better time than the middle of the night.