A lot can happen in 7 years. You could meet a woman, call her your girlfriend for a while, then fiancee, then wife and then mother of your child. You could move from LA to Pittsburgh to and then to Pasadena, with a brief sojourn into Buffalo. Or you could, you know, start a meat-centric food blog and keep it going for as long as Brad Pitt spent in Tibet.
As some of you loyal followers of mine may or may not know, I recently took a stroll to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The trip included a cook who made some pretty impressive camping food, considering porters were carrying everything. Inevitably, some of the food didn’t fit into my unvegan eating habits, but I ate them anyway, because this was not about eating what I wanted, but about survival in a sense. These were things like cucumber soup, zucchini soup and veggie sauce on pasta. No, they didn’t make we want to eat veggies, but they did hammer home the lesson that hunger truly is the best spice.
Over the weekend, I was invited to the St. Felix in Hollywood for a free Bloody Mary brunch. Ordinarily, I would have dismissed such a notion. After all, Bloody Marys consist of many of the things I hate most in the world in drink form. But something caught my eye and pulled me in: Bacon Vodka. I figured if anything was going to get me to try a veggie-based drink, bacon would be it. Some say it makes everything better, and this would be quite the test.
A while back, I wrote a glowing review of Langer’s Deli and their legendary pastrami. Well, it seems they are having themselves a bit of a 65th birthday! Situated in MacArthur Park, it is truly a testament to their pastrami that they have survived. But while turning 65 is usually time for retirement, Langer’s is going a different route and offering their famous pastrami sandwich for free!
A couple of weeks ago, The Backyard Bite invited me to The Burger Culture Clash, sponsored by Stussy (which apparently still exists) and Plan Check. Plan Check, by the way, is a sort of new (since February) restaurant in West LA with Chef Ernesto Uchimura of Umami Burger fame. As my love of burgers, especially those of the umami variety, I jumped at the opportunity.
Although I arrived alone, I was not the only lone eater. Just next to where I was seated, I met e*star LA and we decided to share a meal called loneliness, because it’s better than eating alone. We made quick friends over our respective blogs and Midwestern roots, then got to work at dissecting the special menu, which Plan Check will be featuring for the next month if anything tickles your fancy.
Don’t think I’m a qualified food blogger? Think my reviews suck? I know you naysayers are out there, but that didn’t stop Eat Street (a program airing on the Canadian Food Network and American Cooking Channel) from contacting me about appearing on their show. Not only did they want me on the show, they even referred to me as a “Food Expert.” Boo-yah!
So I answered the call and a few months ago I headed out to the Grill ‘Em All truck to give Eat Street my opinion of their burgers. I had tried them once before and delighted in their Behemoth, so I was excited to experience Grill ‘Em All again. At the truck I met fellow burger lover, Rev, and we instantly bonded over our disdain for pickles and our mighty Michigan roots. Rev not only manages Grill ‘Em All, but is always conquering burgers for his blog, Burger Conquest.
I also got to meet Chef Ryan, his burger partner, Matt, and the rest of the crew working for Grill ‘Em All and Eat Street. They were all fans of Unvegan (obviously) and they were all cool to hang out with. When it came down to eating, I wound up with their Molly Hatchet. Made with seared fennel sausage gravy, maple syrup and bacon, it was a perfect unvegan burger that didn’t even require a special order. But how was it?
Tune into the Cooking Channel at 8:00 on July 5th to find out!
By now you may be wondering why I’m posting all about food in China. First and foremost, it was for vacation, but it was also to check out the Shanghai World Expo. If you don’t know what the Expo (formerly known as the World’s Fair) is, it’s basically a huge event lasting a few months where countries are given the opportunity to build pavilions to show off their nations. Some create beautiful works of architecture (remnants of past fairs include the Eiffel Tower and Ferris Wheel), some show off aspects of their culture and some simply use their pavilion to sell products from their country. Some even had local foods to eat, and that interested me the most.
It was a perfect day on July 18th, 2010, the kind of day on which the Manifest Destiny that led us to Southern California seemed determined to fulfill its promise, unfurling a crisp blue sky unmarred by cloud or haze. There was heat, sure, from the brilliant sun lighting every corner of the sprawling pitch, fresh and newly restored green after an early-summer blight brought on by prolonged dog-sitting, but it was tempered by a cool breeze bearing that distinctively salty sea air.
It was a day made for joy, for leisure, for flying a kite or laying out on a brightly-colored towel along with that Victorian-era novel you always meant to read but for which you could never quite find the time until now. But today was not a day for joy. It was a day for battle.
As everyone knows, almost two weeks ago, Haiti was hit with a devastating earthquake. Other than donating by text message or contributing in other small ways, a bunch of the food trucks of LA banded together for a huge fundraiser at T-Lofts in West LA. I headed out there with a buddy on Saturday to check them all out and to do our part to help the Haitian cause.
Guest blog courtesy of Joel Danto and Bacon.
December 4th was a very momentous day. You may be wondering, just as my people do during Passover, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Well, friendos, prepare to be shocked and possibly appalled, as I have done something completely reprehensible. I…ate…bacon. And I didn’t just eat bacon, I threw a BACON BASH — complete with a six course menu. Yes, if it existed, I would probably be going to Jewish Hell, which likely consists of strapping me to a chair and making me watch Joan Rivers television shows on repeat with a bagel, cream cheese and lox slightly out of reach. Hopefully this is a Hell that few will ever have to experience.