Summer out in San Gabriel means 626 Night Market. It’s easily one of the greatest events LA has to offer and there are only a few chances to visit. I popped in for the August 2016 iteration and came out so full and so happy. Below were my highlights.
Bacon and Avocado Musubi – What Floats UR Boat
This place specializes in literally only 3 musubi options and they are all nothing like what you would expect from “sushi.” If you get all three they come in a boat, but I needed to conserve stomach space and stuck with one filled with chipotle caramelized bacon and avocado. The avocado was insanely creamy and the bacon was insanely perfect. The rice and seaweed added perfect balance to an already great mix of food.
There was a time when Diners, Drive-ins and Dives was pretty much the best food-related alliteration. Then came Los Angeles Magazine’s Burgers, Bourbon + Beer, laying out some of the best consumable things in the world. The event took place in Santa Monica at The Victorian and showcased a number of bite-sized burgers (no, not sliders), a few bourbons and beers from Golden Road. Oh, and there was ice cream, chocolate and music as well. But you’re at Unvegan.com, which means everything took a back stage to the burgers. Better yet, this was a competition, so instead of just mass-producing burgers, these were all cooked to perfection. Not even I could eat all of them, but I did my damnedest.
In my mind, LA is the burger capital of the world, churning out delicious burger after delicious burger. Thus, it is no surprise that Burgerim, a place with its roots in Israel and a global presence decided to have a go at Hollywood. I was fortunate to be invited to its Grand Opening to try out the goods.
It seems like every day brings the world a new food festival. Some may say there are too many, but I say that is crazy talk and then go on my way to eating at another. The LA Food Fest is one of the biggies and took place this past weekend in Exposition Park – right next to USC making it easy for Metro-goers. As media I got in an hour early and took the time to figure out what looked good, with the help of my trusty assistant.
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?