The Corner Door is the most recent snazzy new restaurant to help make a once-strange corridor of Culver City one of LA’s best food hotspots. But with the likes of A-Frame, the Alibi Room and Waterloo & City, the competition is undoubtedly intense. To find out if The Corner Door could stand up to its competition, I had to check it out for myself and see if it could handle the unvegan.
The first thing I noticed was that the place was packed. But not packed with diners, rather it was full of people hanging out for an after work drink. I was a bit surprised, but despite all these people we were seated immediately. I also noticed that the acoustics weren’t especially good. As our awesome waiter told us, the space had previously been a law office, so the walls weren’t really made for drunken yuppies.
Every time I go shopping at Mitsuwa, a Japanese grocery store in Mar Vista, I can’t help but notice a crazy long line in the adjacent Japanese food court. This line always sprouts from Santouka, a ramen place with roots going back to the real Japan. So, out of curiosity for that crazy line, Joel and I finally decided to give Santouka a go.
In the search for something light to eat after an afternoon of consuming delicious snacks at work, I found a Japanese place called Fresh in the Box in Culver City. Now let’s be realistic, who doesn’t want to get fresh…in a box? And if I told you I was going to some Asian place called Fresh in the Box, you’d probably think I was in for more than just a bite to eat. Yet, there I found myself at a pretty legit Japanese restaurant.
Although it seems like the last Dine LA Restaurant Week ended a couple months ago, it seems that it has returned, which means a lot of food and some difficult choices for the unvegan. These difficult choices usually stem from the fact that it is tough to find a veggie-free prix fixe menu. Fortunately, Culver City has a relatively new restaurant called Waterloo & City with an unvegan-friendly restaurant week menu.
Waterloo & City is named after a Tube line in London that consists of two stops – one called Waterloo and the other called…Village. Wait, no, it’s called City. As you may be able to guess by the name, the restaurant serves English food. That’s right, English food, also known as the worst international food ever. The kind of food where when people go to England, the favorite thing they ate was Indian. Well somehow the English food at Waterloo & City had garnered the place accolades for being one of the best new restaurants in LA, so despite the ancestry of their food, they had to be doing something right.
Once upon a time I was totally on top of the food blogging world. Not so much that I was a good food blogger, but that I knew everything that was going on with food in LA. New restaurants, restaurants closing, new Taco Bell items. You name it, I knew it. But then I got busy with my real job and fell out of the loop. So when my buddy invited me out to dinner at A-Frame in Culver City, I really had no idea why he wanted me to go. But then with a little research I found out it was Ray Choi’s (the Man behind Kogi and Chego) newest restaurant escapade and was not to be missed. The old unvegan might have gone opening day, but the new unvegan let this restaurant opening get away from him, but was plenty excited to try it out.
Although I work like literally right next door to the Pitfire Pizza in North Hollywood, I was somehow compelled to pay a visit to the newer Culver City location. The set up of the place is actually pretty cool and somewhat industrial-looking. Orders are taken at a counter that has a nice blackboard behind it showing off the current specials. None of these looked too interesting to me, so I took a look at the regular menu and found something interesting.
Once Little Caesars abandoned their “Pizza Pizza” slogan, they seemed to fall off the face of the earth. A few years later, though, they were reborn with the $5 Hot-N-Ready large pizza. The idea behind this is that pizza has become too complicated. Choosing a topping can be a pain in the ass, then finding the right coupon to go along with your purchase can be even more difficult. With the Hot-N-Ready pizza, you can walk right into as Little Caesars at any time, throw down five bucks and walk out with either a large cheese or large pepperoni. It’s a genius idea, because who really wants a different topping on their pizza? But it only works if the product still tastes good. I recently paid a visit back to Little Caesars to see if their Hot-N-Ready was just like I remembered.
A while back, many of you may recall, I visited the Kogi BBQ taco truck at The Brig. I guess this was before they got big, because I ordered in two minutes and only waited another two to get the food. Soon after, I began hearing stories about how people would be waiting in line for 45 minutes to get in on that Kogi and there was even an article written about them in the New York Times! In response, they added a second truck, and finally expanded into the kitchen at the Alibi Room.
Eager for another piece of that Kogi, I went to the Alibi Room to see the new offerings. Everything was slightly more expensive, as I suspected it would be. In addition, Kogi expanded their menu to include such unvegan no-nos as kimchee quesadillas and the vegan sesame leaf taco platter. I was mildly intrigued by some of the new unvegan offerings like the sliders, but in the end settled on the burrito.
When eating at a taco truck, I am typically drunk and there are few demands that have to be met. One of those demands is that my food have no vegetables, the other is that the food is edible. When I recently ventured out to the Taco Truck at Venice and Centinela, I was in for a rude surprise.
I stumbled up to the window to place my order. When I inquired about the ingredients in the chicken quesadilla, I was told that there were no vegetables. Then, I asked about the carne asada taco, which I was told came with onions. I asked the lady for no onions, and to make it offensively clear, I also said, “no cebollas” (cebolla being the spanish word for onion).
The mere fact that a place called Fatburger is able to survive in today’s world is a testament to it’s culinary goodness. In a city dominated by “organic,” “whole” and “vegetarian,” it is a beacon of hope. At the entrance there is a sign that reads “Man did not claw his way to the top of the food chain to eat tofu,” but it is more than just a sign. It is a message, a message that you have arrived at a safe haven in a world gone health-mad.