Not long after paying a visit to the hot pots at Element, I went to essentially the opposite sort of hot pot at Lu Gi. Now when I say opposite, I don’t mean in terms of the food itself, but the general setting. Here, the stoves weren’t built into the tables, but were portable and brought out to each table after ordering. It felt like eating hot pot in someone’s home, except for the whole paying of money and whatnot.
It’s really hard to get enough of hot pot, especially when you live in a place with a ton of hot pot options. Element is a shiny and semi-new spot in Alhambra that offers all-you-can-eat and the divided hot pot that almost always seems necessary when I am eating with people who can’t handle heat.
Just like last fall, Los Angeles Magazine decided the world needed Burgers, Bourbon + Beer and thus brought some purveyors of these delicious “B” digestibles to the Victorian in Santa Monica to determine who could win the Burger Battle. Many of the players from the previous edition had changed, and those who hadn’t changed up their burgers anyway, so I dove headfirst into the burgers, with a quick can of beer from Golden Road to lubricate my senses. Highlights below!
Did you know that May is Burger Month? Well, in all my burgerness it slipped me by, but fortunately Burger City Grill was there to remind me and to invite me out to try a burger, fries and a drink. I decided to take them up on the offer and headed to the location in Downey to see what Burger City Grill was all about.
What I found was a fast casual sort of burger spot along the lines of a Smashburger, Hook Burger and Burger Lounge (sorry, but Shake Shack is in a class of its own). There were some interesting takes on burgers, fries and the required milkshakes and beers. After much thought, I chose the Miami Spice Burger and Sloppy Fries.
Hotels aren’t exactly known for their food. Yet, there has been a trend to try to get better restaurants into hotels and I give those hotels major props for trying. In Pasadena the dusitD2 Constance Hotel has a spot called Constance Perry’s. It’s kind of Asian, kind of American, but definitely not fusion because those dishes kind of stand out on their own.
Could there be a more inviting name for a sausage spot than Bike Jim’s Gourmet Dogs? You’d be hard-pressed to find one, but that only partly explains the rise of this brick and mortar that began as a simple (and yet gourmet) hot dog cart. I went to the location in downtown Denver and struggled to find the right sausage for me.
While in Denver, I found myself at a trendy spot downtown called Hearth and Dram. It’s unquestionably the kind of name that was pulled out of the random trendy restaurant name handbook, but that didn’t change the fact that the menu looked like an unvegan dream. Sure, there were vegetables, but I liked to think they were an afterthought compared to the real food.
What do you do when combine Chipotle and Brazilian food in the city of Denver? Apparently a spot called Five on Black. It has the element of walking down the line to make an order, puts it all in a bowl instead of tortillas. Seeing as I and the world seem pretty bored of Chipotle these days, this seemed like a nice change of pace.
Ever since I started going to the South Pasadena Farmer’s Market I have been intrigued by a restaurant lurking behind the stalls, going by the name of Communal. It seemed to be the type of neighborhood spot with solid food that would keep locals coming back for more. Obviously, though, I didn’t want to judge book by it’s cover and had to find out for myself.
The Hyperion sounds like sci-fi movie from the nineties that spawned a moderately successful TV series. Well, that or a moderately successful mythology-based TV series that spawned a terrible movie. It turns out that it is neither, and instead a gastropub in Silverlake. Plus, its full name is Hyperion Public. In any case, it might actually be a book series. But I digress, this is about the Hyperion Public’s food.