There’s something about state fairs that brings out the best America has to offer in terms of food creativity. Screw molecular gastronomy, I want to know what the latest in fried, bacon-wrapped and Flaming Hot Cheetos is in the world. And while the Arizona State Fair isn’t known as well as some others, there was still room for some interesting bites. One thing I didn’t bite, by the way, was a turkey leg, because, well, booooring.
My wise wife once said, “You can take the man out of Detroit, but you can’t take the Detroit out of the man.” When I was living in LA, one of the most exciting things to happen was the opening of Coney Dog, a Detroit-style chili dog spot. Due to probably a number of circumstances, that business failed. In Phoenix, however, a spot called Detroit Coney Grill seems to have made all the right decisions because it now has THREE locations in the area. And for some reason the Tempe location closes at 7:00, so I made my way out to Mesa to try it out for myself.
Restaurants come and restaurants go. But I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a restaurant come and go as fast as TLT in Pasadena’s Playhouse District. Fortunately, there was almost no delay in replacing it with The Stand, a burger concept that already had a few locations around LA and Orange County. The burger options were pretty unique and at a reasonable price, so I had a hard time choosing.
Did you know that May is Burger Month? Well, in all my burgerness it slipped me by, but fortunately Burger City Grill was there to remind me and to invite me out to try a burger, fries and a drink. I decided to take them up on the offer and headed to the location in Downey to see what Burger City Grill was all about.
What I found was a fast casual sort of burger spot along the lines of a Smashburger, Hook Burger and Burger Lounge (sorry, but Shake Shack is in a class of its own). There were some interesting takes on burgers, fries and the required milkshakes and beers. After much thought, I chose the Miami Spice Burger and Sloppy Fries.
When you’re in New York, it’s probably not the best idea to decide where you are eating based on the proximity to your hotel. Yet, when I walked by Black Iron Burger, right around the corner from my hotel in Chelsea I was immediately drawn in. The place claimed to have been voted as one of the best burgers in New York, and I was in no position to disagree.
As a good unvegan, I pretty much refuse to eat at True Food. I say that having paid them a visit before, and knowing nothing good could come of a repeat. Thus, when I found out we had lunch plans at True Food in Scottsdale Quarter I immediately made moves to incite a revolution and head to Zinburger instead. It was successful enough to get a buddy to join me and so it began.
Growing up in the Detroit area, it was pretty easy to take Greek food for granted. There is literally a Greektown in Detroit and Greek food can be found in every suburb. LA, however, is not so fortunate in this Mediterranean fare. Thus, I was pretty excited when I was invited out to the Good Greek Grill‘s new location in Hollywood for a free sampling of their food.
Part of me feels like the whole fusion fad is behind us, but that just means that when a new fusion spot appears on the scene and gets good reviews it’s probably worth going to. Thus, the world has Humble Potato in Westchester (and Culver City), which merges Japanese and American food. Fortunately, they offer a whole lot more than potatoes.
Nonetheless, we ordered some regular fries and sweet potato fries just to see how humble they would be. Turned out they were pretty humble. Seriously, there was nothing extravagant about either potato as they both put up some solid flavor without trying to do too much.
As for my meal, though, I ordered the Katsu Sando, which is Japanese for chicken cutlet sandwich. It’s typically topped with HP and tonkatsu sauce, as well as some slaw, but I got the slaw on the side for the ladies at dinner with me. I also ordered a fried egg on the top along with some curry on the side for good measure.
The sandwich was more than just humble, which is good because it was not a potato. The cutlet was perfectly fried, there was just enough sauce on top and the egg was nice and runny. The curry was even pretty good, but not anything special, plus it was packed with veggies for no good reason. Nonetheless, I had never thought to eat chicken katsu as a sandwich and now I can’t comprehend not having that as an option. In that sense, Humble Potato did me good and I would love to get back and take down one of their Hambagas.
It seems like every day brings the world a new food festival. Some may say there are too many, but I say that is crazy talk and then go on my way to eating at another. The LA Food Fest is one of the biggies and took place this past weekend in Exposition Park – right next to USC making it easy for Metro-goers. As media I got in an hour early and took the time to figure out what looked good, with the help of my trusty assistant.
Throughout the LA area are places called Tom’s, Tommy’s and any other variety of that name. They all specialize in chili-covered food and while Tommy’s is supposedly the original, Tom’s has done pretty well for itself. Tom’s just opened up a Pasadena outpost that is pretty much a diner, but also claims to have Greek roots. Thus, I was hoping this could be like the Coney Islands of Detroit in my youth.