As a meat blogger, I am often asked what my favorite steak or steakhouse in LA is. My usual answer is, “I’m not freakin’ rich, back off of me,” but usually I’m able to come up with a place that has served me a good steak. Smokehouse in Burbank and Fleming’s have both treated me pretty well, but as much as I love me some steaks, it is simply not economically feasible for me to eat them as much as I want. Enter my wife’s bosses, who decided to take us and her dad to Mastro’s in Beverly Hills as a wedding gift. Well, my friends, we have a new winner.
In my continuing quest to find the perfect beer for every occasion, I happened Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve. Further research has taught me that Henry Weinhard’s has a history even older than my beloved Leinenkugel’s. I also learned that the beer is affectionately called Henry’s (as though you could call a beer anything not affectionate). Described as a Classic Northwest Lager on the label, I hoped the Private Reserve would be good for the situation I was in – namely, I wanted good beer, but I was pretty full for dinner. I had no desire for a Coors Light-esque beer, but don’t get me wrong, I know the Silver Bullet has its place. At $9.99 for a twelve pack, Henry’s was definitely worth a try.
For my birthday, my lovely girlfriend got me something called a beer class at L’Epicerie Market [EDIT: Now Closed] in Culver City. This was exciting as it turned out to be a multi-course set meal with a glass of beer per dish. Yet, as exciting and delicious as the beer and meals were, there was a particular course worth its own blog. It was one of the strangest meats I had ever eaten: frog legs.
Ordinarily, I avoid the stouts. Why, you ask? Well it’s not only because they come with ridiculous names like Karl Strauss 22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout (you don’t exactly see bock or ambers like that). No, the real reason is that I consider beer a sort of refreshment. And being a refreshment, there should be something inherently refreshing about the beer. Sorry, stouts, you are not exactly refreshing, and it’s not just because some of your subtypes are Oatmeal, Chocolate and Coffee.
But refreshing or not, when I was offered some 22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout, I had a hard time turning it down. Why? The vanilla. Like I said earlier, Chocolate Stout is a pretty common stout choice and I have no need for chocolate in my beer or otherwise. But vanilla is a completely different story. I claim Cream Soda as one of my favorite non-alcoholic beverages and the chance to drink that flavor combined with a high ABV percentage was too good to pass up. But first I had to get in the bottle.
For a nice little Sunday brunch with the grandparents in Beverly Hills, we headed to an LA icon. This icon is Nate ‘n Al and it’s been hanging out in Beverly Hills since before the hillbillies. Started in 1945 by two good old fashioned Detroiters named Al Mendelson and Nate Reimers, Nate ‘n Al brings the comfort of Detroit delis to Southern California. Supposedly. But I would be the judge of that.
Everyone knows The Cheesecake Factory for their namesake. And those people are also probably aware that The Cheesecake Factory is a full-on restaurant with a restaurant about as massive its portions. Sadly, when I went to Cheesecake in Beverly Hills, my stomach wasn’t treating me as well as it usually does. So naturally, as an unvegan, I turned to fried chicken. Yeah, that’s right.
A lot of people visit China and are completely blown away by how different the food there is than the Chinese food they get back in the USA. Some are disappointed, some are overwhelmed, and some even like it. I am one of the latter, because while I lived in China, I couldn’t get enough of their food. I liked it so much that when I returned to my homeland, I avoided Chinese food for months, knowing that it just wouldn’t be the same. When I finally got up the courage to eat Chinese food again, I did it with the mindset that the Chinese food here just wasn’t the same as in the actual Middle Kingdom.
In the Hills of Beverly, there lies a restaurant called Silk Thai Cuisine. A friend of mine recommended it, so I went with a couple friends of mine. Despite the initial trauma of trying to find the restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard when there are somehow two Santa Monica Boulevards, we arrived in one piece.
The menu was littered with all sort of Thai goodies, and my eyes immediately went to the Panang Curry, which is Thai curry mixed with coconut milk, peanuts, basil and kaffir leaves. There was also a choice of vegetables, tofu, chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, calamari, salmon, seafood or scallop. Despite the initial setback of vegetables and tofu, they offered a nice array of unvegan additions. I decided to keep it simple and went with the beef. Because we were in a group, though, we decided to get our food “family style,” so we each ordered a dish to split. This was unfortunate for my lifestyle, because I have no other friends with a diet that excludes vegetables. My “friends” chose to order the Pad Thai with Chicken and Basil Chicken. On top of that, we each got our own little bowls of rice.