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

‘Beef’

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.

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.

Birria at Burritos La Palma

Platillo!
Platillo!

A lot of the time, a burrito is just a burrito. Fillings vary in quality and variety, but they are generally the same basic thing. Not so much at Burritos La Palma in El Monte. These burritos came straight from Jerez, Mexico and if you didn’t know any better you might think of them as enchiladas. Burritos La Palma specializes in birria and so that’s what I got.

The Food Event 2016

Decent scenery.
Decent scenery.

There is, perhaps, no prettier place in the world to host a food event than the Saddlerock Ranch. LA Magazine knows this and that’s why I found myself at Saddlerock in Malibu for The Food Event on October 16th, 2016. I arrived a bit late so a few stalls were already out of food, but I immediately set to work on eating and drinking.

Below are the highlights:

A Step Up at Oo Kook

A fair welcome.
A fair welcome.

All you can eat Korean BBQ is one of the greatest things (not just food things) ever created. It’s meaty, it’s flamey and it is interactive-y. Yet, not all KBBQ spots are created equally, with some charging a bit more than others. Oo Kook in Koreatown is one of those places that goes beyond the $20 mark, but I was hoping it would be worth it.

Solidly Passable Food at Central Park Cafe

If it weren't for those veggies...
If it weren’t for those veggies…

It’s pretty rare for me to turn to Yelp in the city in which I live, yet, when my step-mom was coming off of an intense battle with the stomach flu and was in need of simple meal, I had little choice. Thus, we found ourselves at Central Park Cafe in Old Town Pasadena and immediately learned that dinner not only did not include the omelet she was looking for, it was actually kind of a fancy place.

Rocking Brisket at Rocklands Barbeque

Plate of joy.
Plate of joy.

While essentially a part of The South, Washington, DC has always seemed much more like a northern city to me. Nonetheless, its southern roots can sometimes be found in a number of places. Rocklands Barbeque in Glover Park is one of those places, because obviously The South is chock-full of great BBQ.

Down South at Squealers Barbeque

Squealing for Indianapolis!
Squealing for Indianapolis!

A quick look at a map may make you think that Indianapolis is a part of The North. You know, the part of the country that won the Civil War. But just a weekend in the city made me think otherwise. When we went to restaurants, we were lambasted for wearing Michigan shirts, because everyone (even the locals) seemed to be Kentucky fans. Yet, there are benefits to The South. Like BBQ. And Indianapolis had a spot called Squealers Barbeque that I just had to try.

No Beans About It Chili Recipe

Core chili ingredients.
Core chili ingredients.

I am a man of strong principles and one of these is that beans have no place in chili. Sorry, that’s not how we did it where I’m from and I intend to keep it that way. To see how this would fly, I recently put together a chili recipe to participate in a chili cookoff and took home the grand prize. So here it is, the Award Winning Unvegan Original No Beans About It Chili Recipe.