As some of you loyal followers of mine may or may not know, I recently took a stroll to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The trip included a cook who made some pretty impressive camping food, considering porters were carrying everything. Inevitably, some of the food didn’t fit into my unvegan eating habits, but I ate them anyway, because this was not about eating what I wanted, but about survival in a sense. These were things like cucumber soup, zucchini soup and veggie sauce on pasta. No, they didn’t make we want to eat veggies, but they did hammer home the lesson that hunger truly is the best spice.
EDIT: This Grand Lux is dead, but you can find others in different states serving the same old thang.
Sometimes you are so hungry you’ll eat anywhere. Well not just anywhere, but the place closest to you that seems to have good food. Such was the case when I found myself eating at the Grand Lux Cafe in Beverly Hills. This is not meant to knock the place, but simply to say that this place has never been on my to-eat list and I probably never would have sought it out. To tell you the truth, the name simply sounded like an overpriced fancy restaurant and not what it truly is – a Cheesecake Factory with a different name.
Two of the things I love most in this world are beer and my belly. No, I don’t have a beer belly…much, but when a gastropub in Koreatown called Beer Belly opened up, I figured I had to try it out. I was meeting a group of people, and arrived to find the place packed. And this was not a big place. Like about 8 tables and a few bar stools big, and all of them were loaded. Plus, it was first come, first served, so we got to hang around the tables like vultures surrounding a wounded gazelle. It was the tail end of happy hour, though, so I ordered a beer and hoped a table would clear out soon. Fast forward thirty minutes and we’re still waiting when a woman working the place asks if we’re waiting for a table. Uh, no, lady, we’re just standing here awkwardly for the hell of it. She then proceeded to ask us if we wanted to be on the list. This “list” was new to us, and apparently also new to her, as she told us she had just started it. Well, at least we wouldn’t have to stand awkwardly any longer.
Right around when I first moved to LA, essentially broke, I made a trip to Bottle Rock. Having little to no disposable income, I wrote the place off as overpriced and didn’t return until this past weekend. What I found was a restaurant and wine bar that was not only well-priced, but also delicious. Was I wrong the first time I went? Have I become jaded by the prices of LA? Did Bottle Rock simply change things up? These answers may never be known, but what is known is my experience there. Let’s start from the beginning.
On a beautiful morning, I got a call from my buddy who wanted to grab some brunch. He suggested Dougboys over in Mid-City. From what I’ve heard of Doughboys, I expected there to be a huge line, so I wasn’t too into the idea, but we still decided check it out with the intention to go somewhere else if the line was long. Fortunately, we found a manageable line and the fact that there were only two of us made the wait just about 5 minutes.
Every once in a while, my girlfriend likes to say how much she wants to go to Campanile for grilled cheese night. Of course, this night is only on Thursdays and whenever I ask what she wants to eat on a Thursday, she has no opinion. Finally, after talking about it so much, the two thought processes finally collided and we made our way to Campanile on an actual Thursday for their grilled cheese night.
EDIT: While the truck is off the street, there is a Grill ‘Em All does have a brick and mortar spot in Alhambra these days.
It seems like just yesterday that I was totally caught up in the craze of Gourmet Food Trucks. Within a few months of the launch of Kogi, it seemed like there was a new truck to try every week, serving everything you could imagine. I did my best to try all that I could, but although I predicted the fad would die out quickly, my desire to try every one of them died out even quicker. Some trucks failed, but new trucks kept coming out. And sadly, in the time that I was burned out on trucks, some pretty cool ones began to emerge. These were no longer trucks with one little idea out to make a quick buck to capitalize on the success of Kogi. No, instead, these were carefully crafted culinary machines. One of these was the Grill ‘Em All burger truck.
A long long time ago, the girlfriend and I went on a binge of buying up restaurant gift certificates. They would have specials like $20 for $10 and other such things that seemed like no-brainers. Fast forward to six months later and loads of these gift certificates are sitting around collecting dust. We could take it no more and decided to use one at a restaurant called Food Fair by Diego. It is in the strange area that is sort of West Hollywood or Beverly Hills or Melrose or something like that, so even though the name sounded like it would be a pretentious joint (how many typical restaurants put the chef’s name in the restaurant name, it actually turned out to be in a one of those corner strips and was kind of a hole in the wall.
I’ve been meaning to head to The Foundry on Melrose for a while. Not only have I heard good things about the food in general, but I also heard that once upon a time The Foundry challenged Father’s Office to a burger taste test. I’m not sure who ended up winning that particular taste test, but I was happy to know that someone had the balls to challenge the pretentious Father’s Office. Finally, a 30% coupon from Blackboard Eats pushed me over the edge to finally visit The Foundry.
For her birthday, my roommate decided she wanted to turn one year older in a big, gay fashion. And what gayer place to go than to Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood? Unfortunately her day of birth didn’t fall on a Wednesday night for Drag Queen Bingo, so instead we settled for their Tuesday night all-you-can-eat Latino heat tacos. The prospect of unlimited tacos for eight bucks sounded great to me, but the place was called Hamburger Mary’s and I felt as though I needed some sort of burger.