Near Century City there is a building that only houses restaurants with five letter names that have two of the same letters in a row. It is there that my friends and I dined at Sotto, which finds itself below Picca. ‘Twas a night of the first ever Summer Restaurant Week by DineLA, but these plans had been made without Restaurant Week in mind, so that kind of just turned out to be a bonus…for some people, because I decided to stick to the real menu.
Who doesn’t love a good pun? Or even better, who doesn’t love an awesome compound word. Combining giant and enormous gave us ginormous. Combining lion and tiger gave us liger. And combining terrible and institution gave us Ohio State University (yes, I know that is technically three words, but I stand by it). Now joining the ever-growing list of compound words is a restaurant named MexiKosher in (surprisingly) Pico-Robertson. I love a good compound word as much as the next guy, but could this new Kosher Mexican restaurant make a happy unvegan? I intended to find out.
Not knowing what I was in for, and being led to believe that I was heading out for a night of cheap cocktails and free food, I headed to Picca Cantina on Pico. Unfortunately, although I had been promised free food, a miscommunication led to food being regularly priced. But this regularly-priced food still looked quite good and the bartender gave us our first round of drinks for free to apologize for the confusion. The menu consisted of some great-looking Peruvian dishes with a bit of a tapas flair. I ordered myself a Cusquena beer and then we got busy with ordering food.
About a five minute walk from the apartment of my special lady friend at Pico-Robertson is a restaurant called Cafe Bella Roma. In the five years that she has lived there, she has never set foot in said restaurant, and since she is leaving the location next month, I was able to convince her to check it out. So if it sucked she could be like, “Good thing I’m getting out of here,” but if it was awesome she could be like, “That’s worth returning to my old stomping grounds for.” Which one would it be?
A long long time ago, I managed to get myself into the Komodo Truck launch party. It was a good time for all, and apparently the truck has been pretty successful. So successful, in fact, that they recently opened a storefront at Pico-Robertson. I wasn’t there for the debut of this one, which may be a good thing. While the debut of the truck was plagued with long lines, when I walked into the restaurant I found myself the only patron. The friendly cashier made sure to tell me that although things seemed pretty grim, the restaurant doubled as a prep kitchen for the truck. So although I was the only one giving money to the restaurant that night, the place was indirectly earning them some money wherever the truck may be.
On a stretch of Pico right in the middle of Jew Central, there happens to be a crazy amount of Chinese restaurants. I know my people love Chinese food on Christmas, but the fact that these places are able to stay in business beyond that holiday must surely mean they have good food. To test out this theory, we headed to Twin Dragon one morning to see what they could offer. Twin Dragon claims to have Shanghainese food, so I was especially interested in seeing how it could hold up to the Chinese food I know the best.
On my way home from the bar one night, I was unsurprisingly jonesing for some grub. The trouble was that I was driving through the area of Pico and Robertson, which isn’t exactly known to be a late-night food hub. But just when I thought my snack options were going to be limited to whatever leftovers I could find in my fridge, I saw a shiny beacon of hope that seemed to be a food truck. When I pulled over to explore, I found that although not exactly a truck, I had stumbled upon some sort of mobile food purveyor. It was called Kosher Grill on Wheels and a schwarma sounded like heaven to me (and with any luck, eating Kosher would bring me one step closer to that heaven).
As a man spoiled by Buffalo Wild Wings, it is often difficult to try out new wing places. But going to a place where 50% of the name is Wings and the other 50% is Hoagies seems like a recipe for success. So even if Hoagies and Wings isn’t the most creatively named restaurant, it certainly makes clear what you will be offered. To be fair, they do offer some burgers and sides, but other than that, the menu is pretty much limited to the name.
In an attempt to try out some new pizza while at the girlfriend’s place, we looked into a little place in West LA called Brooklyn Pizza. Knowing that we were not actually in Brooklyn, I thought this might have been some sort of a misnomer. But misnomer it was not. Instead, it seemed as though they were trying to create the sort of pizza that you could get in Brooklyn and seemed very excited to tell us over the phone that their tomatoes and cheese came from New York. This seemed nice, but are the cheese and tomatoes really the things people love about New York pizza? I thought it was the dough, but perhaps I am wrong. Nonetheless, I checked out the menu and found their Double Pepperoni looked appealing.
With a name like Al Gelato, you kind of expect to be walking into a gelato shop. This is not the case with Al Gelato in Beverly Hills. Sure, the place has gelato, but it is also a full-on Italian restaurant. Aside from realizing that it wasn’t just a gelato place, I also found that Al Gelato didn’t carry a lot of the pretension that Italian restaurants seem to have. There was no mood lighting, no fancy table cloths and no people with strange accents that weren’t quite Italian. Despite this, I found that the prices still fell into what you would expect in Beverly Hills, with very little under 10 bucks and pasta prices jumping up to 15 if you wanted any meat.