It’s not hard to appreciate a burger. And like many fine restaurants before it, The Herb Box in Scottsdale’s DC Ranch made the wise decision to include a burger on its menu surrounded by dishes like steak and free-range chicken. Often, the burger represents a cheaper alternative, but with the burger running $17 at The Herb Box one could hardly be called cheap for ordering it.
Salt. It’s a substance that inherently makes other substances taste better. Sow. It’s lady pig that, well, tastes good regardless. Combine the two and you have Salty Sow, a gastropub in Phoenix looking to bring some very gastropubby fare, drawing upon all sorts of classic American food, to the desert.
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.
Ever since I started going to the South Pasadena Farmer’s Market I have been intrigued by a restaurant lurking behind the stalls, going by the name of Communal. It seemed to be the type of neighborhood spot with solid food that would keep locals coming back for more. Obviously, though, I didn’t want to judge book by it’s cover and had to find out for myself.
The Hyperion sounds like sci-fi movie from the nineties that spawned a moderately successful TV series. Well, that or a moderately successful mythology-based TV series that spawned a terrible movie. It turns out that it is neither, and instead a gastropub in Silverlake. Plus, its full name is Hyperion Public. In any case, it might actually be a book series. But I digress, this is about the Hyperion Public’s food.
San Clemente is a quaint little town on the California coast that is definitely worth a visit. And if you make it down there, you could do a whole lot worse than a visit to H.H. Cotton’s, a gastropub right in the middle of town. We wound up there completely by accident, but then isn’t that the way many great stories begin?
While the little one was distracted by football, I went ahead and ordered The Longhorn, based on my waitress’s recommendation. The Longhorn, by the way, is a burger topped with bacon, chopped brisket, crispy shallots, cheddar and BBQ sauce. As for my side, I opted for fries.
Mohawk Bend in Echo Park is a scary place. No, it’s not in a bad neighborhood or perched precariously upon a cliff along a fault line. It’s scary because its menu defaults to vegan. Yes, you read that right. If you don’t want to eat vegan you have to find something on the menu with (NV) after the name of the dish. That presumably stands for Not Vegan and they were the only menu items worth looking at.
In my short visit to LA, I made my way to just about every corner of the city. This inevitably took me to The Valley and a newish gastropub called The Woodman in Sherman Oaks. The place is known for a good happy hour (with prices that are still higher than Pittsburgh), but I couldn’t quite make it in time for that. Instead, I paid for full-price beer and food like some sort of normal human.
Once in a blue moon (or every Thursday night), The Yard in Shadyside has a burger and beer special in which you can get a Juicy Lucy (yeah I know it’s spelled wrong) and a beer for $10. This is a good deal even by Pittsburgh standards despite the fact that the burger doesn’t come with any sides and the beer selection is somewhat limited.
From the people that brought you Bar Bill in East Aurora, comes 189 Public House literally right next door (with the address of 189 Main Street). This Southern-influenced jazzy gastropub is a far cry from its neighbor, which might be ill-advised considering the perpetually long lines for tables at Bar Bill. On the other hand, it’s perfectly positioned to pick off those who don’t want to wait so long and want something a little bit different.