After the ill-fated sojourn to Koji BBQ Buffet, I was in need of some good Korean BBQ to wash the bad taste out of my mouth. Fortunately, my friends were more than willing to join me and we ended up at Star BBQ in Koreatown, partly because we had heard great things, but also because it was the easiest place to pronounce. Upon arrival the place was empty, which meant we got personal service that meant not only faster meat, but a waitress to help us with the cooking of it.
A with most entertainment, things are not always as they appear. Reality TV isn’t always reality, “based on a true story” is typically nothing like the truth and Guy Fieri doesn’t actually drive that red convertible to every diner, drive-in and dive. Likewise, food almost always looks better in ads and on TV than in real life. Nonetheless, after watching Seoul Sausage on the last season of The Great Food Truck Race and subsequently learning that the winning crew had put up a bick-and-mortar shop, I knew I had to get some of their sausages in my mouth.
Sometimes the craving for Korean BBQ is so strong it doesn’t matter that you are in Torrance and not Koreatown. When this happens you find yourself at Koji BBQ Buffet, a Korean BBQ unlike any I had ever been to before. Here, the meat seemed to sit out rather than sitting in a fridge or freezer waiting to be served.
In one of my favorite parts of town, Little Little Tokyo (or Little Osaka if you swing that way), there is a Korean restaurant called Tofu Ya. Certainly, the existence of the word “tofu” within a restaurant’s name is a red flag for an unvegan, but while perusing the area one day, I found myself inside checking out the menu. It turned out that it wasn’t simply a vegetarian place and it smelled damn good, so we gave it a spin.
The food court at Century City mall is one of the best. It may have some chains, but it is a long way from the fast food filled food courts of the world. Strangely, there is some turnover in restaurants, but they always seem to be replaced by a similar restaurant with the same name. Case in point: Sorabal, a Korean place, was replaced by Bibigo, a – you guessed it – Korean place. Sure, Bibigo is a different concept from Sorabal, but my point still stands.
EDIT: This spot is gone, but that amazing fried chicken can be found in one of KyoChon’s other locations.
While fried chicken is often considered the domain of Southern cooking and Buffalo wings, it is certainly not exclusive to those cuisines. In fact, some of the best fried chicken I’ve had can be found Asian dishes like the Japanese chicken karaage. But Japan is not alone in this, as a Korean place called KyoChon just may have created the best chicken wings ever. Did I overstate that? I don’t think so.
Once upon a time, Koreatown boasted an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ joint called Manna and long before I had my own meat blog, I made my way to Manna for a protein-fest. The memory of this visit stuck with me as I visited the inferior Manna outpost in the Fox Hills mall. Granted, I wasn’t too disappointed, because you can’t really be disappointed with so much meat, but I knew there was something better out there. By the time I made it back to Manna in Koreatown, it was no longer Manna, but had become Meat, which is a far more appropriate name.
On a one-night bender, I found myself facing down three strange taco trucks on Main Street in Santa Monica. None looked familiar and none looked particularly amazing. But it was 2 am in Los Angeles, when food options are usually limited to subpar diners and…well…taco trucks. The trucks here seemed to be some sort of missing link between gourmet and roach coaches and so after much circling we wound up at TnB BBQ.
Once upon a time I was totally on top of the food blogging world. Not so much that I was a good food blogger, but that I knew everything that was going on with food in LA. New restaurants, restaurants closing, new Taco Bell items. You name it, I knew it. But then I got busy with my real job and fell out of the loop. So when my buddy invited me out to dinner at A-Frame in Culver City, I really had no idea why he wanted me to go. But then with a little research I found out it was Ray Choi’s (the Man behind Kogi and Chego) newest restaurant escapade and was not to be missed. The old unvegan might have gone opening day, but the new unvegan let this restaurant opening get away from him, but was plenty excited to try it out.
I think we can all agree that there are not enough places in the world that offer unlimited food. And the places that do are usually pretty bogged down by endless salad bars and other assorted vegetables. Manna Korean BBQ in Culver City is not one of those places. Instead of concentrating on veggies, they have decided to concentrate on meats. For only 16.99, you get all you can eat meats. And these aren’t just generic grade D meats, these are a collection of short rib, brisket, pork belly, pork, chicken, spicy chicken and beef.