The Unvegan

Featured Posts

Loving Meat at Good Greek Grill
A Torta at Tortugas
Birria at Burritos La Palma
A Touch of Canada at The Kroft

Noodling at Mian

Ugh green stuff.
Ugh green stuff.

It’s a good thing most people in LA don’t realize that the word “mian” simply means “noodle(s)” in Mandarin, or else they might just write off the restaurant Mian in San Gabriel as some sort of Noodle World or Noodle and Company knockoff. Fortunately, Mian is anything but. Like Chengdu Taste before it, Mian represents the Sichuan (or Szechuan or Szechwan) region of Chinese cuisine.

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).

Morning Glory at The Original Tops

Classic!
Classic!

The Original Tops is a classic countertop-style diner in Pasadena that would probably evoke nostalgic memories if you were from the area. As someone who is not from Pasadena, I at least get excited over the prospect of a new burger spot, especially a no-frills type of place that has stood the test of time like The Original Tops.

Charred to a Crisp at Charcoal

Charred wings.
Charred wings.

When it comes to grilling (as opposed to generating energy), charcoal is king. Somewhere along the way, someone realized that this would translate into a great restaurant concept. Thus, the world was given Charcoal in Venice. Charcoal, like most BBQs, is pretty meat-centric and great for unvegans. Nonetheless, there were definitely veggie options for those who prefer not to enjoy life as much.

Plattered Up at Zeke’s Smokehouse

All the things, please.
All the things, please.

What is Montrose? For the first 6+ years I lived in LA I probably would have answered that it is some sort of mythical creature composed of combining a mongoose with an albatross. The fact is that it is neither. Instead, it is a town up near Pasadena, built into the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. And in that town is a restaurant called Zeke’s Smokehouse.

Greasy Like a Spoon at Bonnie Lu’s

Bird's eye view.
Bird’s eye view.

Greasy spoons are some of the greatest restaurants in the country – giving people access to hearty food and the gamut of surly to humorous waitstaff. One place you may not expect to find such a place is Ojai, California – which is more known for a level of spiritual pretentiousness than greasy food, yet I found myself at Bonnie Lu’s – a quintessential greasy spoon right on the main drag. Of course, it was next door to a paleo-vegan-gluten-free vomit factory, so I knew I was still in Ojai.

An Heirloom Breakfast at Dawn Patrol

But what's inside?
But what’s inside?

As with most breakfast places in Southern California, there has to be some sort of Mexican influence. Dawn Patrol in Santa Barbara is no different. So as I stood in line waiting to place my order, I had plenty of time to think about what to get. Like many breakfasts before, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the Breakfast Burrito.

Chowing on Some Ugly Drum Pastrami

Slicing up.
Slicing up.

In a city filled with all kinds of fun events, one event (aside from a plethora of farmer’s markets) can be counted on every week. It’s Smorgasburg, which originally started over in Brooklyn, and it’s kind of like a miniaturized, hipster version of 626 Night Market. On my first venture, I made my way to Ugly Drum Pastrami.