The Unvegan

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Feeling South Beach at Burger City Grill
Back in Black at Constance Perry’s
Exotic Tube Meats at Biker Jim’s Gourmet Sausages
Short and Ribbed at Hearth and Dram

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Fried and Cheesed at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

Perfection in red checkers.
Perfection in red checkers.

Probably the best thing about The South is its food. And what’s even better is when that food leaves The South for the rest of the world. Such is Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, which has made its way to Los Angeles. Of course, some might say Los Angeles is south, but it sure isn’t The South, which make’s Gus’s all the more lovely in it’s little corner adjacent to Koreatown (fine, Crenshaw).

Beef & Cheese at Top Round

I'm the new top of the round.
I’m the new top of the round.

Having kids must be tough. You raise them, do the best you can and at some point you let them go and hope for the best. Such was the feeling I had when leaving LA, knowing that I had played a vital role in the emergence of a pretty amazing food culture in just under five years of food blogging. But when I left, I have to admit I feared at least a small amount of anarchy to foment. Upon my return, however, I learned there was nothing to fear and I had clearly done a good job of setting the city up for the future. Case in point: Top Round.

Master Al Pastor at Leo’s Taco Truck

Love them spools of meat.
Love them spools of meat.

If you could have one final meal in LA that truly represents the city, what would you choose? Umami Burger? Korean BBQ? Some sort of Asian fusion? Anything with avocado in it? Seeing as I had eaten Umami the night before, for me it was a taco truck. You see, taco trucks just might represent LA better than any other food purveyor. Their mobility is all-important in a city that relies so much on cars. Their Mexican dishes feel perfectly at home in a place that was once Mexico and is chock-full of Mexican heritage. And their relatively low barrier to entry provides a great opportunity in a city that brings new opportunists in every day. For my last meal in LA, I chose Leo’s Taco Truck.

Entering the Wings World

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Them’s some high claims.

Just about every restaurant claims to be the best at something, but they typically have to have a track record before making such claims. That’s why I was pretty surprised when I drove by Venice and saw a brand new sign claiming the “Best Wings in Town” and an equally new, but slightly smaller sign that said Wings World. I decided the place was worth a try, if only laugh at the outrageous claims of a new restaurant.

Meet me at Meat (CLOSED)

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All to ourselves!

Once upon a time, Koreatown boasted an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ joint called Manna and long before I had my own meat blog, I made my way to Manna for a protein-fest. The memory of this visit stuck with me as I visited the inferior Manna outpost in the Fox Hills mall. Granted, I wasn’t too disappointed, because you can’t really be disappointed with so much meat, but I knew there was something better out there. By the time I made it back to Manna in Koreatown, it was no longer Manna, but had become Meat, which is a far more appropriate name.

Too Much Creativity at Sky’s Gourmet Tacos

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A great namesake.

Over and over again, a friend of mine has told me that I just have to go to Sky’s Gourmet Tacos. Considering I live so close, it took me a long time to finally make it there, but when I did I was expecting something pretty special. Before fusion taco truck became the coolest thing in LA, Sky’s was already serving up their own kind of fusion. In their case, the fusion is Mexican “with a splash of soul.” Since I’m a big fan of soul food, Mexican food and general food creativity, I was sure I would love Sky’s.

The Oki Dog of Destiny

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Doesn’t look like much…

From the moment my buddy told me about Oki Dog months ago, I knew that this incredible hot dog concoction would make its way into my belly. After months of driving by the sketchy part of the west side (so close to West Hollywood, yet a world away) in which Oki Dog resides, I finally got my opportunity to consume this behemoth. It happened on one fateful night when an old pal of mine decided he was going to eat his way through Jonathan Gold’s 99 Things to Eat in LA Before You Die. Eating through that list is likely to cause death anyway, especially if it is populated by foods like Oki Dog.

Getting Handsy at Meals By Genet

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Here is my beer, short and stout.

As someone who has never eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant (insert politically incorrect joke about Ethiopians not actually being able to eat here), I decided to have my first time in style on a date night with the girlfriend. In the terribly trafficked part of Fairfax called Little Ethiopia, I found the perfect place, called Meals By Genet. This upscale Ethiopian joint would be my first dive into that crazy finger food so I hoped it would set me on a good path.

We were greeted by an incredibly passionate waitress as soon as we took our seats. Although clearly not Ethiopian, she really knew what she was talking about. She recommended a beer for me called Hakim Stout, which turned out to be pretty great and didn’t have the nasty coffee-like taste that some stouts tend to have. This was slightly ironic considering coffee is originally from from Ethiopia. See, you learn something new every day!

Food for the Soul at Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles

A morning delight.
A morning delight.

I’d been waiting for a very long time to finally make my trip to Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. It took the right combination of alcohol and lack of sleep from the night before to finally propel me to the location in Mid City.

My buddy and I walked in around noon and there was a short wait before we took our seats. The menu was loaded with so many varieties of chicken and waffles, without a vegetable to be found, that I really couldn’t figure out what to order. I decided to wait until the waitress arrived to make sure I ordered the right thing. Unfortunately, service wasn’t exactly the strong suit of Roscoe’s. I didn’t mind though, I wasn’t there for service, just for chicken and waffles. Finally the waitress came and told us to get combo #1, which was 1/4 fried chicken and two waffles. We happily complied.

Lucy’s Drive In

What's with the greens?
What’s with the greens?

On a late-night drive back from a party, the glowing fluorescence of Lucy’s Drive In lured me inside.

While standing in line, I had plenty of time to check out the menu on the wall. I was temporarily distracted by the burgers on the menu, which I decided were only there so they could put “American Food” on their sign. Brushing this distraction aside, I chose the chicken taquitos with guacamole platter. The menu said it came with rice and beans, but I asked the ingredients of the taquitos to ensure that I wouldn’t end up with any unfortunate vegetables inside. The woman told me there weren’t any, so I felt confident as I waited for my grub.