It’s not often that a fancy restaurant like Via Veneto invites you to check them out as a blogger. But alas, I found myself a few tables away from Zach Galifianakis ready to take down some of the fanciest Italian food in Santa Monica. It began with a couple of glasses of champagne and then we moved on to the real deal.
The Palm Springs area isn’t exactly known for its culinary prowess. You see, septuagenarians don’t really care how their food tastes as long as they can be done with dinner by 6:00. Nonetheless, there are a few places willing to take some risks and offer unique eats (even if they do sport an early bird special to boot). One of these is Catalan in Rancho Mirage, a Mediterranean restaurant in the sense of the European parts of the Mediterranean at least.
One of my favorite books of all time is The Catcher in the Rye, so when I heard there was a new restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh (as of November 2013) calling itself Butcher and the Rye, I was immediately interested. The place does take its name from the book, but rather than be some sort of gimmick, the restaurant is essentially devoted to meat and whiskey. And it’s from the people behind Meat and Potatoes. So, yeah, this was my kind of place and a perfect spot to take my wife for her birthday.
Essentially the day I arrived in Pittsburgh, a buddy of mine told me I had to get to Meat & Potatoes in downtown. With an unvegan name like that, I didn’t exactly need convincing. Yet, when I took a look at the menu and prices I quickly realized this was a destination for when parents came to town. After all, that whole being a student thing can make eating out tough. But the parents did come, and to Meat & Potatoes we went.
A couple of years ago, some dude named Ilan Hall from Top Chef opened a restaurant in downtown LA called The Gorbals. The food scene of LA was pretty excited, and so was I, but downtown is a bitch to get to. So I waited. And waited. Until finally, a 30% off deal came to me from Blackboard Eats and I realized I had a golden opportunity to brave the nighttime downtown traffic.
Although it seems like the last Dine LA Restaurant Week ended a couple months ago, it seems that it has returned, which means a lot of food and some difficult choices for the unvegan. These difficult choices usually stem from the fact that it is tough to find a veggie-free prix fixe menu. Fortunately, Culver City has a relatively new restaurant called Waterloo & City with an unvegan-friendly restaurant week menu.
Waterloo & City is named after a Tube line in London that consists of two stops – one called Waterloo and the other called…Village. Wait, no, it’s called City. As you may be able to guess by the name, the restaurant serves English food. That’s right, English food, also known as the worst international food ever. The kind of food where when people go to England, the favorite thing they ate was Indian. Well somehow the English food at Waterloo & City had garnered the place accolades for being one of the best new restaurants in LA, so despite the ancestry of their food, they had to be doing something right.
On of the big perks of running a meat blog is the number of restaurants people recommend to me. I always do my best to check these places out, but no restaurant has been recommended to me quite as voraciously as Animal Restaurant. But Animal is not the kind of restaurant you visit every day. It resides in that level of restaurants deemed “For Special Occasion Only.” But last week a special occasion rolled around: my birthday. And to celebrate the fact that I have remarkably survived on this planet for 26 years, my perfect girlfriend wanted to celebrate by taking me to dinner at Animal. Like I said, perfect.