The Unvegan

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Breakfast in Abundance at 丰盛号
Street Food Spotlight: Cheesy Scallion Pancake
Feasting at Y Thao Garden Restaurant
Street Food Spotlight: Oyster Noodle Soup

General Thoughts

The Best of 2016

unvegan squeeze inn 1We can probably agree that 2016 was a really bad year. Not like 1939, 1968 or 2001 bad. But certainly bad. Through it all, though, the food has been good. It’s good every year, but it’s something you can count on no matter what the year is. Sure, not every year is going to be filled with steaks, but some of America’s best culinary traditions were borne of the Great Depression. The point is: no matter how bad things get, good food can always be found. And since I lived in one place for the entirety of 2016, this year’s Best of solely features the food of the Los Angeles Area. I did travel a fair amount (including finally getting to The Squeeze Inn in Sacramento), though, so if you’re looking for that kind of food you can check it out here. Alas, here are the best places I ate food at in LA in 2016. And if you just want to see them all on a map, make your way down to the bottom.

Meatsgiving!

Thankful.
Thankful.

Thanksgiving is nigh, and I have a lot to be thankful for this year. You see, one of the perks of being a meat blogger is getting free meats! This year I have been graced with free meats from a number of sources, and there is no better time than now to go through them all and point out a few great meals I’ve put together with them. Plus, if you’re looking for a gift for the meat lover in your life look no further! I swear I don’t get any kickbacks.

The Best of 2015

This happened somewhere between Pittsburgh and Pasadena, so check out my travels and don't miss out!
This happened somewhere between Pittsburgh and Pasadena, so check out my travels and don’t miss out!

Once again, the year has brought many changes in my life, which means you loyal readers have seen food from exotic places like MoroccoPuerto Rico and Montreal, plus Middle American places like Hays, Kansas. Sadly, these won’t make it into my best of, as I’m only including places that are new to me and in the places I’ve lived in this year – Pittsburgh and the LA area. Oh and before you jump to the conclusion that Pittsburgh places won’t stand a chance, you’ll probably want to check out Zagat’s Top 17 Food Cities of 2015. I’ll give you a hint – LA isn’t #1. As with every year, there is so much good food so please don’t limit yourselves to just these fantastic places and be sure to check out the Travel page for everything in-between and beyond.

The Best of 2014

Just one thing you'll miss if you don't check out my travels!
Just one thing you’ll miss if you don’t check out my travels!

In a year that was split between Pittsburgh and Buffalo, The Best of 2014 is kind of like a best of the rust belt. One thing is for sure, though: these two places have a whole lot of delicious food to offer. Rules for entry are reverting back to 2012, meaning if you want the best I have eaten outside of the two places I called my home this year, you’ll have to do so in the Travel section. There’s a lot there to enjoy. Once again, without further ado, here is The Best of 2014:

The Best of 2013

Trying to make the cut.
Trying to make the cut.

2014 is here, but my 2013 may have been the best year of eating in the history of the world, so it’s time for another Unvegan Best of. The past year included a honeymoon, an epic month-long road trip and a move from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh, so my list has broadened beyond LA and narrowing down the awesome was quite the process. Nonetheless, I encourage you all to go back through my Reviews section to see what didn’t quite make the cut. Remember that the list only includes places new to The Unvegan and bear in mind that Honorable Nods this year would probably be winners any other year. Without further ado:

The Best of 2012

Just one of the best.
Just one of the best.

Well, we survived the apocalypse, which means you get a recap of my favorite stops of 2012. This year, I’m changing things up a bit, so instead of a Top 20, I bring you a Best of. Just like last year, this isn’t just for new restaurants, but restaurants I tried for the first time and only in LA. To check out my food from travels to places like Tanzania, Colorado, Michigan or Arizona, click on one of those places or see them all and more here. And before I get this thing started, I need to give a special shout out to the Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco for possibly being the greatest food creation of all time.

Charlito’s Way with Sausage

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Anthrax for sure

Last week, an unexpected parcel arrived. I immediately suspected anthrax and was ready to detonate it in the street when I noticed it was from my future brother-in-law. For some, this may be further reason to suspect anthrax, but Dustin has never me reason to believe he’d want me dead. I opened it up and found a pair of sausages with an awesome letter welcoming me to the family. Truth be told, had I known sausages were in the mix, I’d have popped the question long ago.

The letter also informed me the sausages came from a friend of a friend of his in New York who had recently started up a sausage company called Charlito’s Cocina. I was excited to try them and although it took me a few days to get to it, I was safe knowing the dry-cured sausages could handle it. But aside from being dry-cured, what kind of sausages were these? The answer is Trufa Seca, which means they were full of black truffle. Aside from that, these were pork through and through with sea salt as the final flavoring ingredient. According to the website, the pork was a heritage breed and pasture-raised, which made me feel even better as I sliced off my first bit.

Unvegan Top 20 for 2011

‘Tis the season for “Best of the Year” lists, so I thought I would join the party and put in my top 20 new restaurants from 2011. By the way, this means the restaurants were new to me, not new to LA. Please note that I am only including meals in the Los Angeles area. As much as I loved the food on my travels, you can check any of those places out pretty quickly by clicking here. So, without further caveat, here’s the best that 2011 had to offer for the unvegan:

20. Cobras and Matadors-

This tapas place in Mid-City is everything tapas should be. From bacon-wrapped dates to a variety of cheeses, there is really something for anyone looking for a delicious meal. Just beware, while tapas can be kept to a moderate price, when you throw a big group in with small plates, there are bound to be some people who don’t get their money’s worth. But keep the group small and Cobras and Matadors will send you home full and happy.

-19. Steingarten

Dishing out delicious sausages, including a few of the exotic variety, Steingarten also offers up a pretty stellar beer selection. If you’ve ever wanted to eat alligator in sausage form, Steingarten won’t disappoint, but they also serve a wider range of foods, including some pretty delicious burgers. Their sausage execution, though, could use a bit of improvement, which pushed another sausage joint further up on the list.

Selling My Soul for Juice

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I got juiced.

While you all know I have a vast hatred for vegetables and strong love of meat, you may not realize that I am also a huge fan of fruit. I know, it doesn’t exactly fit into the meaty mentality, but fruit is simply delicious. So when a fruit juice company called Juiceology contacted me to try their products and write a review, I figured it was worth a try. And it didn’t hurt that they were going to send me free samples.

Digesting Your Vitamin B12 (and Other Goodies)

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Mmm delicious B12.

There are more than a few things lacking from a vegetarian diet, many of which are more essential than tastiness. Needless to say, carnivores who enjoy a balanced diet not only benefit from all the pleasures only a medium rare rib-eye with all the trimmings can bring, but by proxy we don’t need to worry about the nutrition we could be missing out on by having selective diets.

Of course, the science behind it all is fairly fascinating. For instance, vegetarians are always taking pills to top up their vitamin B12 levels”¦but why do we need vitamin B12? What the heck is B12, anyway?