The Unvegan

Recent Posts

Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame 2017
One and Another Citizen Public House
Media Night at SanTan Brewing Company
Spicy at Sauce

‘Downtown LA’

A Mexi-Sandwich at Torta Company

Oh that's how you say sandwich in Mexican.
Oh that’s how you say sandwich in Mexican.

Sandwiches are not all created equal. Sometimes they aren’t even called sandwiches. Take the torta, for instance, which is Mexican for sandwich and is different from your normal sandwich because of the flatbread they use. At the Fig at 7th shopping center in Downtown LA the whole food court has been revamped in the past couple years and one of the new places is the Torta Company, from the makers of Loteria Grill.

A Solid Bowl at Orochon Ramen

View from the top.
View from the top.

It’s pretty well-known that Little Tokyo is now home to some of the best restaurants in LA. One of these is better-known for their spicy ramen challenge perhaps moreso than how good their ramen actually is. This place is Orochon Ramen, which can be found in one of Little Tokyo’s mini malls and I set out to try their non-crazy-spicy ramen to see how it held up.

A Mistake of a Zip

Mistakes were made.
Mistakes were made.

One thing I miss greatly about life in LA is the great Chicken Katsu Curry. So when a friend suggested we meet in Little Tokyo for lunch, I was excited by the prospect of getting some of that which I love. She suggested Zip Sushi and Izakaya and while I usually hate the prospect of sushi, the izakaya part intrigued me. Plus the izakaya part included Chicken Katsu Curry.

On the Lamb at Philippe the Original

Since 1908, eh?
Since 1908, eh?

A long, long time ago, some friend of mine told me of Cole’s (click this link only if you want to see how awesomely bad my writing was in 2008). At the time, they were having a 100th anniversary/reopening party and dishing out French Dips for 100 cents. They also claimed to be the “originator of the French Dip,” which is no small claim. Shortly after, however, I learned that this claim might not be true. As is often the case with something wildly successful, more than one entity claims to be first (ever see The Social Network?). It seemed that Philippe the Original felt they were the…achem…original and I was inclined to decide for myself.

A Slap of Awesome at Mexicali

Look for this sign. Now.
Look for this sign. Now.

Once upon a time there was a little taco stand in downtown LA called Mexicali. For unknown reasons, they had to shut down, which was very upsetting to me considering I hadn’t yet tried their supposedly amazing food. Yet, after some time they opened up a brick and mortar near Chinatown that I just had to get to. And now that I’ve been, I can safely say that anyone who hasn’t been needs to go. Like as soon as possible.

Choices, Choices, Choices at Freebirds (CLOSED)

So many colors to choose from.
So many colors to choose from.

EDIT: This location is gone, but you can find Freebirds elsewhere, man.

Beginning in Santa Barbara back in the day, Freebirds World Burrito has recently been expanding all over the place. With a hippe/biker vibe (no, I have no idea how that came to be), Freebirds has taken Henry Ford’s assembly line to burritos, but offers more colors than just black. In fact, the options are kind of mind blowing. Multiple tortilla, meat, rice and bean choices, as well as a plethora of salsas and other add-ins.

Burgerless at Umamicatessen (REBRANDED)

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Where the burgers at?

EDIT: Umamicatessen has become Umami Broadway and is more or less now just a glorified Umami Burger from what I hear.

The word “Umamicatessen” is quite a mouthful. And I’m pretty sure that’s what the people behind Umami Burger were thinking when they put together a deli in downtown LA. They were thinking, “We want to fill mouths with delicious deli food, while preserving the Umami name.” To me, that’s quite the name to maintain, because Umami is still my favorite burger in LA. Plus, while LA doesn’t have the big name delis of New York, there is still some stiff competition from the likes of Langer’s.

Alpaca in Style at Mo-Chica (CLOSED)

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Mo egg.

Originally situated near USC, Mo-Chica was a place I’d been wanting to get to for a while. The only trouble was that…well…why would I ever hang out around USC? Fortunately, earlier this year they moved to central Downtown LA to bring their Peruvian delights to a more cultured audience. I found my way to Mo-Chica for lunch and quickly found out they had themselves an interesting lunch special. And by interesting I mean that you couldn’t order any entrees without getting the lunch special. The lunch special included two sides and a dessert, which were different every day. In truth, they could have said all entrees come with two side items and a dessert, but for some reason the wording made me feel like I was somehow being cheated.

On Top of LA at WP24

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Sitting on top, top of the world.

For my first outing to LA Live, my lady and I headed to WP24, a restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton created by that famous chef with a name like a prodigious hockey item, Wolfgang Puck. We were out celebrating, but didn’t call ahead to make plans. This meant we couldn’t get a table, because apparently WP24 has no room for walk-ins, but it also meant we weren’t locked into an $80 or $110 fixed price dinner. Instead, we were offered the lounge, which served sushi and appetizers.

Opening the Expo with The Lazy Ox Canteen (CLOSED)

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Egg and pasta as one.

Sometimes a restaurant sounds incredible, but is in a difficult part of town to get to. It lingers on your to-eat list for what seems like ages until a golden opportunity comes around to seize it. For me, this restaurant was The Lazy Ox Canteen and the opportunity was twofold. First, the Expo Line from Culver City to Downtown LA was finally opening opening and second, Blackboard Eats sent me a 30% off coupon for the place. It was the perfect storm and I rode the newly opened Metro train to Little Tokyo for a piece of The Lazy Ox.