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!).
Could there be a more inviting name for a sausage spot than Bike Jim’s Gourmet Dogs? You’d be hard-pressed to find one, but that only partly explains the rise of this brick and mortar that began as a simple (and yet gourmet) hot dog cart. I went to the location in downtown Denver and struggled to find the right sausage for me.
Probably the best thing about The South is its food. And what’s even better is when that food leaves The South for the rest of the world. Such is Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, which has made its way to Los Angeles. Of course, some might say Los Angeles is south, but it sure isn’t The South, which make’s Gus’s all the more lovely in it’s little corner adjacent to Koreatown (fine, Crenshaw).
What is Montrose? For the first 6+ years I lived in LA I probably would have answered that it is some sort of mythical creature composed of combining a mongoose with an albatross. The fact is that it is neither. Instead, it is a town up near Pasadena, built into the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. And in that town is a restaurant called Zeke’s Smokehouse.
The Malibu Cafe might be one of the coolest places to hang out in LA. The sprawling grounds are like an Anthropologie fan’s orgasm, with box lights, upside down umbrellas, giant chess pieces and pillows with words on them. Plus, it’s super family friendly. After winning me over at the Burger Battle in Santa Monica earlier this year, I was eager to find out what the restaurant itself would be like.
BBQ. Those who don’t love it don’t love life. But you know where people love life? Eagle Rock. That’s where you’ll find Max City BBQ dishing out the goods. And this isn’t some Santa Maria-style BBQ that’s basically grilling, this is slow-smoked action. The only trouble is that the food comes in a limited quantity and if you show up too late the goods might be gone.
In many ways, Pasadena is like a suburb to Los Angeles, but that didn’t stop Urban Plates from opening up just a couple weeks ago, perhaps hoping to reacquaint the people of Pasadena with urban life. Of course, there turned out to be nothing urban about the place, which was more like a mix of Lemonade and Tender Greens than anything else, both of which have outposts a short walk from Urban Plates.
There’s been a tremendous growth in LA’s BBQ scene in the past couple of years and one of the restaurants that the growth has brought us is Maple Block in Culver City. Maple Block is definitely on the trendier side of BBQ, but the interior smelled like deliciously smoked meats and the guy that ran the place walked us through the menu to make recommendations.
I don’t know about other people, but when I tell someone I just went to Las Vegas, the first question is “Where did you stay?” The next question, though, is “Which buffet did you eat at?” Perhaps it’s because I’m a food blogger, but I tend to think it’s because the buffets are just so damn good that gluttony in Vegas is just a more interesting sin than gambling. Thus, on my most recent outing to Vegas the buffet of choice was Wicked Spoon in The Cosmopolitan.
South Pasadena is a unique place. As a wholly independent city, it’s often thought of as a more hoity toity part of the area. Yet, it retains a charm that is distinctly “main street.” The part of Fair Oaks that runs through town features a pharmacy straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, but more importantly it has Gus’s Bar-B-Q, which has been around since 1946.