In all my time living in LA I had one major failure. Well maybe more than one failure, but one of them is not making a trip to Daikokuya. Fortunately, that ramen spot set up an outpost over in Little Little Tokyo. It has a crazy wait, but when you step inside it feels like you’ve really stepped onto a street in Japan (as evidenced by that picture to the left inside the place).
We all like The Counter, that quintessential custom burger place that has spread its beefy goodness around the nation. And although it isn’t the most inspired of places, it gets things done. Well, the guy who started the place decided it was time for some more inspirational food and cooked up a gastropub-esque (no burgers!) place called Freddy Smalls in West LA.
After my team posted a huge victory in our rec basketball league, we decided to grab some burgers to celebrate. This led me to San Francisco Saloon, which is not located in San Francisco at all, but rather in West LA and has been serving LA since 1934. The place is more sport bar than saloon and actually has a good sports bar vibe. The burgers are named for LA and San Francisco sports teams like the Giants and the Trojan, with a few non-sports names like Hickory to join them.
Over in West LA, there is a burger place called Hamburger Habit. As I habitually consume burgers, the place sounded just perfect for me. The exterior of the joint loudly displays an award given to it by KABC as the best burger in Southern California. The interior is also full of awards, but unfortunately the most recent date back to the Clinton Administration. Still, I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. Did Hambuger Habit start churning out terrible burgers or did they just get left in the dust by newer LA burgers?
You know what’s great? Sausage. You know what goes great with sausage? Beer. So what does Steingarten, a recently opened restaurant/bar in West LA, have to offer? That’s right, sausage and beer. But not just any sausage and beer, sure they have your generic bratwurst, buckwurst, Polish and Italian sausages, but similar to Wurstkuche, they like to get exotic. With rabbit, venison, alligator and elk, these are truly some sausages to be reckoned with and not for those with a weak stomach.
After a long trip abroad, full of dumplings, rice and steamed buns (which were all delicious), all I wanted to eat upon my return was a burger. But not just some fast food burger, I could get that anywhere. No, I wanted the kind of gourmet burger you can’t really find outside of LA. Fortunately, my prayers were answered as we went to dinner at The Six Restaurant in West LA. Named after The Society of Six, some crazy California painters, The Six has a pretty simple gastropub style interior with some pretty good beers on tap. Fighting jet lag, I opted out of the beer and set my eyes on the burger.
So in the middle of dineLA’s Restaurant Week, we decided to pay a visit to Upstairs 2 for some dinner. This little restaurant hangs out above the Wine House in West LA and if you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would probably never find it. Luckily, we knew what we were looking for and found it just fine. After parking on the roof, I found the restaurant to have a pretty swanky atmosphere that was just light enough to read the menus.
So for my final truck on the Haiti Fundraiser day, I decided to visit an old truck that I still haven’t gotten the chance to try out. This was Barbie’s Q, “A Rollin’ BBQ Joint.” The idea of getting BBQ from a truck has always sounded kind of suspect, but my buddy told me it was pretty good, so I trusted him. I also trusted the looks of the man taking orders outside the truck that looked like he had just walked out of a Willie Nelson concert or a shootout at the OK Corral. Or both.
Joining the flashy and stylish trucks at the Haiti Fundraiser was an old-fashioned looking truck called Kabob Express. Fusion is a pretty big part of these trucks and Kabob Express has embraced that with their Mexi-Terranean fusion. Mexican and Mediterranean food is kind of a fusion match made in food heaven. Schwarma is awesome and that succulent meat can be thrown in pretty much anything to make it taste better. Kabob Express knew that and took advantage of it by offering schwarma in tacos and burritos. Hoping to save room for more food, I ordered myself a Mexi-Terranean taco.
So first off, I had never even heard of a food truck called Vesuvio. Aside from raising money, this Haiti fundraiser at T-Lofts was awesome for introducing me to some new trucks like this one. I decided to try this place out first, since my buddy was grabbing some pizza from the Slice truck right next door. The Vesuvio truck offered some Italian-style sandwiches, but I was looking for something less filling so I could eat from more trucks. Luckily, they had a solution, called Arancini.