The Unvegan

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Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame 2017
One and Another Citizen Public House

‘Fried Chicken’

Flying from Union Street Gastropub

Sure, I guess it’s Korean.

In the past few years, airports have made some real attempts to up their food games. Some have brought in popular local restaurants, while others have commissioned celebrity chefs to bring new restaurants into the airports. Gone are the days of Chili’s 2 Go being the only option, which meant that with a whole lot of spare time at San Francisco International Airport, I was able to make my way to Union Street Gastropub to grab a beer and a sandwich.

Frying Hard and Flat at Monga

Never big enough.

One thing that the Shilin Night Market is especially known for is giant flattened fried chicken. And there is not just one place that offers such chicken, but many. Having already had the chicken from Hot Star in Pasadena, I decided to try something else. One spot had an insane line that I simply could not handle, so I headed to Monga, a place that my friend had recommended.

My Wings at My Banh Mi

Mine all mine.

I have a confession to make: I don’t understand why people love banh mis so much. Maybe it’s because they are one of the only options out there where people can eat Asian food and sandwiches at the same time. Thus, when I took a stroll over to My Banh Mi in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon), I opted for something a little different instead.

Upgrading Tradition at San Da Gen Kopitiam

Classic take.

While there is undoubtedly a confluence of cultures in Sandakan, classic Malaysian cuisine seems a little hard to find, especially when you can only eat so much street food. San Da Gen Kopitiam offers just that. The look and feel is clean and resembles a coffee shop much more than a restaurant. Yet, on a blackboard there is a menu filled with all kinds of foods to order.

The Sandakan Ramadan Market

In-tents.

You know what’s great about being Jewish? No Lent. No Ramadan. Sure, there’s been thousands of years of persecution and an annual fast or two, but nothing that compares to the longevity of the institutionalized pain of those two holidays. Worse still, sometimes Ramadan falls in the summer and you can’t even drink water. With all of these thoughts in mind, I found myself in Malaysia in the summer in the middle of Ramadan. And in Sandakan in Borneo, this meant the nightly Ramadan Market. The most impressive part about it is that observant Muslims somehow manage to walk up and down the market and order food without eating a bite of it until the sun goes down. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait.

Damn Near Perfection at Tokyo Fried Chicken

Bears and chicken.

You don’t really associate Japan with fried chicken. I mean, sure, if you’ve spent enough time in Japan or with Japanese food you have undoubtedly discovered karaage and more, but those aren’t exactly Earth-shattering compared to the fried chicken of the American South or even the fried chicken of Japan’s neighbor buddy (kind of), Korea. But Tokyo Fried Chicken in Monterey Park is doing its best to change that perception. So when it came down to choosing new restaurants or eating at old favorites before making the move to Phoenix, Tokyo Fried Chicken is where I found myself eating my last reviewable meal as a resident of Southern California (at least for now!).

Digging a Toad Hole at Artisan House

Fire in the hole(s)!

It’s not easy to go across town for breakfast or brunch. Especially if you’re like me and consider noon to be the beginning of the day on a weekend. But, I managed to pull myself out of bed for brunch downtown at a place called Artisan House. Surprisingly, it didn’t just have the kind of upscale brunch items I have grown used to, but a couple items I hadn’t seen before.

Flat Chicken at Hot Star

Object in photo is larger than it appears.

When I found out that a Taiwanese fried chicken place had opened next door to my office, I knew I had to stop by, especially because I would soon be paying a visit to Taiwan. It’s called Hot Star, and for some reason it specializes in flattening the fried chicken to make it look massive. I don’t know if this is meant to make it taste or look better, but I was ready to find out.

Blind Ordering at Olde Blind Dog Pub

Fried up good.

Sometimes when I go to a restaurant I get pretty torn on what to order. In times like these I lean on the professionals (aka waitstaff) to help me out. Such was the case at the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub in Brookhaven, a suburb of Atlanta. The pub serves much of what you would expect from pub food, and I love that stuff so much that I’m inclined to eat it all up.

Semi-South at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern

Oh so shiny.

A short time ago, Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern opened up a location in Santa Monica. On it’s own, this can be seen as a good thing, but an even better thing is that I was invited out to check the place out and give it a review. I happily accepted and set off for the place where the land meets the sea (well almost, Jimmy’s is a few blocks inland).