Is it a nut? Is it a fruit? Is the question of whether or not it’s a nut qualify to make the lychee a strange fruit? I sure think so, but if that’s not enough for you, consider that the lychee is the only member of the litchi genus. That’s right, it’s an orphan, which automatically makes it strange. While canned lychees can be found pretty much everywhere, they really don’t do the fruit justice. It must be eaten fresh to truly appreciate its strangeness and flavor.
Indonesian food is one of those peripheral Asian varieties like Burmese or Khmer. Unlike the Japanese, Chinese, Korean or Thai restaurants that dot nearly every corner in the city, you have to work to find these more unique options. Of course if you are of Indonesian descent, you likely know where to get the best Indonesian food, but for someone like me it isn’t so easy. As it happens, though, I heard from the mouth of an Indonesian that Simpang Asia was awesome and I knew I had to try it out.
A while back, Sang Yoon opened up a place called Lukshon in Culver City. For some, this was a time to rejoice, as this was the man behind the Father’s Office burger. But for me, it was a time to…well…consider trying out Lukshon. You see, if you know me, you know my disdain for the Father’s Office burger. So it took until dineLA’s Restaurant Week to get me out to Lukshon. I went with a sizable crowd, collectively known as the Suppah Club, and we had ourselves a seat at a massive table on Lukshon’s patio in Culver City.
A month or so ago, Thrillist Rewards made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. For $29, it included one half-pound burger, unlimited wasabi fries, unlimited wings and two flights of delicious beers at a place called Far Bar in Little Tokyo. A few of us capitalized on this deal and finally made our way there to indulge. But finding it wasn’t exactly easy, as it required a walk through a strange alley. In fact, I walked into the restaurant next door by accident, but a guy there walked me over to the actual bar. Upon arrival, my friends who had gotten there first thrust a basket of fries and wings in my face and I knew I was home.
In the continuing story of trying to find new and interesting food in the Valley, a coworker suggested trying out a place called Summer Canteen. Not knowing what sort of food a place named Summer Canteen would have, I opened up the menu online to find that it served none other than Thai. Wait, Thai? Really? I thought the rule of Thai restaurant naming was that it had to have “Thai” in its name (Thai Boom, Thai Smile, Natalee Thai, etc.) or use words from the Thai language (Jitlada). Summer Canteen broke these two rules, and would go on to break one more.
A long long time ago, I managed to get myself into the Komodo Truck launch party. It was a good time for all, and apparently the truck has been pretty successful. So successful, in fact, that they recently opened a storefront at Pico-Robertson. I wasn’t there for the debut of this one, which may be a good thing. While the debut of the truck was plagued with long lines, when I walked into the restaurant I found myself the only patron. The friendly cashier made sure to tell me that although things seemed pretty grim, the restaurant doubled as a prep kitchen for the truck. So although I was the only one giving money to the restaurant that night, the place was indirectly earning them some money wherever the truck may be.
In my continuing quest to find the greatest buffet in Las Vegas (and eventually the world!), I may have found one to stand toe to toe with Rio’s Carnival World Buffet. Situated in Planet Hollywood, the Spice Market Buffet doesn’t fit into the Hollywood theme, at least in name. It also doesn’t bear any resemblance to a Spice Market. Nonetheless, it does use spices and the walls are adorned with food-related movie posters like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (two very similar movies). The lunch buffet cost 25 bucks, but as soon as I looked around, I knew it was going to be well worth the price.
For a while now, I have been a devout member of Blackboard Eats, an email list that sends out some cool deals for restaurants like 30% off, a free dessert, a free bottle of wine, etc. One deal they sent out recently, though, caught my eye. It was 30% off for a place called Gobi Mongolian BBQ in Silver Lake. I’ve always loved me some Mongolian BBQ because you get to decide everything you want in your food, so if you don’t want any vegetables like a smart little unvegan, you don;t have to pick up any. Plus, they are all-you-can-eat; a big bonus for this guy. Or are they?
I’m not totally sure how it happened, but at some point in the last year I heard about a place called Jasmine Market in Culver City. Unfortunately, life happened and it took me until recently to finally get to pay the place a visit. Jasmine Market is unique because it is both a market and a restaurant, but even more interesting than that is that they serve Burmese food. Never heard of a Burmese restaurant? Well neither had I. In general I’ve avoided things related to Burma (Myanmar) for fear that anything I did would seem like I support the military junta there. But you don’t find a Burmese restaurant too often, so I knew I had to try it out.
Down the street from my new office in North Hollywood sits a little chili burger stand called Crown Burger. I saw the place from a distance and wanted so badly for this to be a place to fall in love with. I walked five minutes to the place and walked right up to the counter to make my order. The place was run by a group of Asians (likely of the Korean variety), which was surprising since hamburgers aren’t ordinarily associated with people from the east, but I was still excited at the prospect of this burger.