South Africa is a meaty place. So meaty, in fact, that when I departed for the place, I was told I had to get myself some biltong. Biltong (not to be confused with binturong, a mammal from Southeast Asia) is basically South African jerky.
Buffalo is still considered an exotic meat in the USA. Never mind the fact that bison are native to these lands and the cattle we chow on come from Europe and Asia. And because it is “exotic” it often fetches a high price at restaurants and is given the gourmet treatment. This is not the case at Billy’s Grill, a tiny diner-style joint in Sherman Oaks.
Smokehouse in Burbank is old school Hollywood. Opened in 1946, it’s the kind of place you could picture Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman or Audrey Hepburn eating a steak. New Hollywood has embraced it as well, and apparently it is a regular stomping ground for George Clooney. I don’t fit into old or new Hollywood, but Smokehouse is a steakhouse and I certainly fit into that crowd.
You can’t throw a stone* in LA without hitting a Mexican place that someone happens to call their favorite. It could be a shack, a hole in the wall or even an old-fashioned sit down restaurant. The variety seems only limited by the amount of physical space in LA and those damn zoning laws. As I’ve eaten my way through the city, I’ve creativity galore and more Mexican foods than I knew existed growing up on Taco Bell in Michigan. Some have been delicious, while others have failed me. On my latest foray into someone’s favorite Mexican place, I ended up at El Abajeno in Culver City.
Apparently some place called The Lazy Ox downtown is a big deal or something. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t been, but supposedly the guy behind it,Â Michael Cardenas, is also a big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that he took it upon himself to open another restaurant, called Fat Spoon. The new place is down in Little Tokyo and is conceptually a Japanese curry house. As a man with a fair amount of Japanese curry experience, I definitely wanted to check the place out, and it didn’t hurt that I had one of those Blackboard Eats 30% off printouts either.
Deep in the heart of the Hollywood Strip is a burger that rivals Umami Burger. Or so a coworker told me once upon a time. That once upon a time may have been over a year ago, but I never forgot, so when I had the chance to meet some buddies for dinner in Hollywood, Lucky Devils crept into my mind (and it didn’t hurt that it has been sitting on my to-eat list). What we found was a neat space with a great and enthusiastic server who was happy to tell us of their current specials, some awesome beers on tap and help us out with anything on the menu. Even though I had sworn not to drink, his description of their special black IPA on tap almost had my mouth watering enough to break the promise I made to myself.
In the windy town of Titikaveka, there is a restaurant called Little Polynesian, that also doubles as a hotel. Just like nearly every spot on Rarotonga, Little Polynesian offers amazing views of the ocean and numerous palm trees. While fine views are usually followed by only decent dining, Little Polynesian was supposed to be quite good, and we hoped the meal would be half as good as the view.
Just as we had done at Windjammer, a quick look at the menu made us realize that this was a meal for splitting. We ordered two dishes and an appetizer, then sit back, relaxed and soaked up our evening of Little Polynesian.
About 10 or so years ago, the world began to see commercials for a fast food burger place called Sonic. These commercials were often both funny and hunger-inducing. Unfortunately, though, Sonics were only in select locations throughout the country. Yes it was annoying, but it was also genius, because it whet the appetite for Sonic with people who had never even seen the place. The idea was that when they would finally see one, whether in travel or with a new one being built, they would want nothing more than to devour their burgers. And it worked, at least on me. When I saw my first Sonic years ago while driving through Independence, Missouri, I just had to try it. I remember it being good, but this was pre-meat blog and in the middle of a cross-country road trip, so the memory is mostly blur filled with the knowledge that the meal kept my internal fuel running just as long as I needed it to.
After seeing the frontrunner for Most Gratuitously Violent Movie of the Year (Drive, which is great by the way), some people might not have much of an appetite. Those people, though, are not unvegan and the sight of so much blood made me crave some meat. As we had seen the movie in the Sherman Oaks Galleria, my local valley friends took me to a place called Townhouse Kitchen + Bar. I knew little of what to expect, except that football would be on TV and this was a good start.
Once upon a time, Paul Revere rode through the streets of Boston, warning all patriots by shouting, “The redcoats are coming!” These redcoats, of course, were the British soldiers and the Americans knew that danger was coming. But when Redcoat Tavern came to West Bloomfield, Michigan, the people did not sense danger. No, they embraced it. That’s because the original Redcoat Tavern in Royal Oak had been serving up some of the most delicious food in metro Detroit for years. Yet, while I embraced the branching out of Redcoat Tavern, like the Founding Fathers, I also prepared to do battle against its famous burger.