On my way home from the bar one night, I was unsurprisingly jonesing for some grub. The trouble was that I was driving through the area of Pico and Robertson, which isn’t exactly known to be a late-night food hub. But just when I thought my snack options were going to be limited to whatever leftovers I could find in my fridge, I saw a shiny beacon of hope that seemed to be a food truck. When I pulled over to explore, I found that although not exactly a truck, I had stumbled upon some sort of mobile food purveyor. It was called Kosher Grill on Wheels and a schwarma sounded like heaven to me (and with any luck, eating Kosher would bring me one step closer to that heaven).
Heading into Noho Royal Garden in North Hollywood, I kind of expected to find myself in a typical Middle-Eastern style restaurant. But no, there were no rugs on the wall, no decorative lamps or beads. Instead, it felt like I had just walked into a Mexican cabana. Part outside, part inside, with umbrellas, trees and stones, this was a perfect place to escape from work…well as long as the food was any good.
EDIT: This building got knocked way down, but you can find other Mezzas.
Since my buddy wanted to eat something healthy (foolish, I know), we thought we would try out some Mediterranean food nearby. Since I’ve already hit up a few of the local places, we looked to Yelp to find something new and discovered a place called Mezza Grill in Culver City. We sat down inside and were greeted by a mildly friendly waitress with bells hanging by her waist that must have some Mediterranean significance. But considering she was blond and likely of some sort of Germanic or Scandinavian descent, the bell thingies came off as somewhat gimmicky. Oh well, gimmick or not, I was ready to eat.
About a year ago, a new Turkish restaurant opened down the street from me in Palms. I was overjoyed at this and especially happy when I saw that they were open late on weekends. Unfortunately, I went pretty soon after they opened and was kind of disappointed with the results. Lucky for them, this was before I started a meat blog, so when I finally got around to paying them another visit recently, it was my first chance to give them an unvegan review. The restaurant is called Sofra Kabab Express and although “express” is typically applied to fast food restaurants in airports, this is nothing like one of those, even encouraging people to hang around and smoke hookah (nargile in Turkish).
It was a night for delivery and looking through LAbite, we found a good-looking Mediterranean place to order from it was called Best of Mediterranean (BOM), which is quite a boast to be put in a name, even for a place in West Hollywood. Obviously a place by that name had to be checked out. I was too hungry for a schwarma sandwich, so I ordered the chicken schwarma dinner plate. This came with hummos, tabouli, rice and garlic sauce. Knowing that tabouli is some strange mix of greens, I tried to order without it, but the website wouldn’t allow me. This was a big fail on the part of both LAbite and BOM, because many other restaurants allow you to customize dishes. Unfortunately, I knew that vegetables would be dying for my sake that night and wouldn’t even have the pleasure of being digested.
In the quest to finally find some good schwarma in LA, I made my way to a little Lebanese place called Sunnin Cafe. I have fond memories of delicious Lebanese food back in Michigan, so I hoped that this place would be at least a little awesome. Getting there was a little confusing, though, as it appeared as though there were two Sunnins, right across the street from each other. On further inspection, it looked like the larger of the two is unopened and the small place will be moving in there soon.
The inside of the little cafe gave the appearance of a generic diner. There were seats
at a counter and no more than ten small tables. The big difference, though, was the strong smell of the Middle East and the rotating spool of meat where a deep-fryer might typically belong. I also loved that they made no effort to hide the fact that the cooks were Hispanic. It’s a pretty widely known fact that kitchens of ethnic restaurants all over LA are filled with Hispanics, despite the fact that waiters and such fit into the ethnicity. It was refreshing to see that Sunnin didn’t hide that aspect of their business.
We ordered some “hommos” (love the spelling) to start things off.