The Unvegan

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10 Years of Unvegan
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Twerks and Burritos at Casa Amigos

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Bibigo for It

Some things change slightly.

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.

Mozzarella Time at Obika

Lotsa mozza!

While the Century City food court is always a winner, there is another restaurant within that mall that has been intriguing me for a while. It’s called Obika and calls itself a mozzarella bar. While I love me some mozzarella, I think I’ve stayed away simply because I didn’t think mozzarella alone was cheese enough to sustain a bar. But now that Obika has been around for a while, it has proven its staying power and I knew it was worth checking out.

A Green Torta at Pink Taco

Neither pink nor taco.

The name Pink Taco is something of a shock. You’d think you were walking into a strip club or something, but lo and behold, you end up walking into a restaurant. The Pink Taco in LA is at the Century City mall and although it’s not part of their glorious food court, it was still a place worth checking out. As you would expect, once you realize Pink Taco is actually a restaurant, the place serves up Mexican food in a trendy way.

Currying Favor at Ajisen Ramen

Curry in a hurry.

Not too long ago (at least in my head), Ajisen Ramen opened its doors at the Century City food court. I’m not sure where else this Japanese ramen chain exists in the US, but I do know it is a pretty popular and slightly upscale chain in the land of Asia. I decided to check it out to see how it held up against its Asian brethren and found that the menu was pretty similar to what I remembered from Asia. It had a variety of ramen options and some tasty-looking Japanese appetizers.

Food Courting at Lawry’s Carvery (CLOSED)

Not too Asian.

EDIT: The Century City location is gone, but Lawry’s continues to carve elsewhere.

After a year or so of flirting around with the Asian options at the Century City food court, I finally decided to take the plunge into some of their meatier food. This is not to say that I wasn’t eating meat all along, but few restaurants exude meatiness more than Lawry’s Carvery, the food court version of Lawry’s Prime Rib steakhouse. I took to browsing their menu and even though there was a ton of meat, a few of the good-looking dishes included vegetables.

Crunchy Beef from Sorabol (CLOSED)

Does this look good to you? Why?

EDIT: This location is closed, but miraculously Sorabol lives on elsewhere.

Since Korean BBQ has never let me down and the Century City food court has also never let me down, I decided to check out Sorabol, the Korean BBQ place in the Century City food court. At the time it seemed like a great idea. I walked up to their stand and saw a few different food items hanging out in heating trays, so I chose their beef short ribs. They looked a bit dry, but the woman behind the counter ladled some sort of Korean sauce over them. They came with noodles, rice and some vegetable sides. I dismissed the vegetable sides and paid my 10 bucks, which I thought was a pretty good deal. I was wrong.

Sampling My Way to Rotisserie Works (CLOSED)

I love it when sides are bigger than the main course.
I love it when sides are bigger than the main course.

For a pre-movie dinner, I found myself at the Century City food court once again and looking for something new. Some of the competitors in the food court have found the best way to bring in new customers: sampling.

I will sample almost anything put in front of me, as long as it has no vegetable qualities. You wouldn’t buy a car without giving it a test drive, so why buy a meal without knowing how it will taste? Well obviously, this isn’t always possible, but when it is I think it’s great to take advantage.

The Rotisserie Works offered me a sample of their Hawaiian BBQ chicken and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It had a nice sweet BBQ taste with the hint of some pineapple-like fruit. After a few other tastes, I decided the Hawaiian chicken would be filling my belly that evening. The order of chicken came with two sides, and I looked at the menu with mild distaste. All but two of the sides had words like “squash,” and “spinach,” so I ordered their mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.

Avoiding Toppings at Fuddrucker’s (CLOSED)

Condiments done right.
Condiments done right.

EDIT: This location is closed, but I mean, you can find one of these elsewhere and they’re all the same.

Though rare in Southern California, Fuddrucker’s is a pretty common burger chain with an uncanny name. The Fuddrucker’s I found was in the Century City mall’s food court, sandwiched among many fancier looking places. After a short perusal of the other restaurants, Fuddrucker’s became my top unvegan option.

One thing that is unique to Fuddrucker’s is that that they put no toppings or condiments on your burger. I ordered the bacon cheeseburger knowing that they wouldn’t be putting any terrible vegetables on it. Rather, once the burger is served, there is a virtual cornucopia of toppings to add to the burger. Sadly, most of these were vegetables and no good to me.

An Unfortunate Meal at Mr. Hana (CLOSED)

There is just too much green for one plate to take.
There is just too much green for one plate to take.

I had heard a lot about the Century City food court, which really surprised me considering most food courts I’ve been to don’t get any fancier than S’barro. As I was going there for a movie already, it was finally time to check out the food court.

I was actually very surprised with what I found. This was no ordinary food court with Panda Express and McDonald’s. Instead, it was filled with upscale places that made me feel like I entered an international marketplace with prepared foods. After a long walk around and a little sampling, I decided to order from Mr. Hana, a Japanese place. They had a great looking platter with spicy chicken, gyoza (dumplings), shrimp tempura and rice that I decided to get. It also came with mixed vegetables, which I was sure to order without. I also ordered a Japanese Melon Soda, which is one of the greatest drinks ever created. No, seriously, next time you see it, you must get it, you can thank me later.