EDIT: Irv’s has relocated, so the address here has as well. Hopefully not too much has changed.
Legend tells of a burger shack in West Hollywood. This legend says that this burger place has been around since 1950, but retains everything that made it great in that bygone era, with at least one great enhancement. This place is Irv’s Burgers and the enhancement is a little something special for every customer. This something special is that rather than giving you a number, the people behind Irv’s draw a little picture of you on your plate so they know who to bring each burger out to. This makes Irv’s a refreshing gem in the middle of the fast-paced cafes and generic boutiques of West Hollywood.
We Detroiters (or metro-Detroiters in my case) are adamantly defensive and passionate about our Detroit roots. Ask one of the thousands of Detroit expats what they miss most about their homeland and they will give you answers ranging from the lakes to the sports to awesome summers. But there is one thing just about all of us can agree upon: we miss coney. In LA, we are about as far from Detroit as possible in the lower 48 and absence truly makes the heart grow fonder. Just about every conversation I’ve had with a former Detroiter in the 3-plus years I’ve lived in LA has led to a “wouldn’t it be awesome if we opened a coney restaurant out here?” moment. Yet, while all these conversations were taking place, a few people were making it happen.
Countless times I have driven through West Hollywood and passed Astro Burger. In just about all of these situations, I have muttered to myself or to anyone in my car that I just need to try that place. Finally, after one of my rare drinking nights in West Hollywood, I had a golden opportunity to see what was inside Astro Burger.
About a year ago, a coworker of mine walked up to my desk, slapped a golden matchbook on it and told me I had to go to this restaurant. The restaurant he spoke of was called Gardens of Taxco in West Hollywood and despite the strange-sounding name, he told me it was amazing. One year later he is no longer a coworker of mine, but a Living Social deal popped up for the place and I took it as a sign from the tax gods that it was time for me to pay the Gardens a visit.
Katana (warning: turn down your speakers because their retarded site automatically plays loud bass) in West Hollywood is about as trendy as you can get for Japanese food. Yet, to my surprise, when I was sent their DineLA Restaurant Week menu for a possible dinner, I saw only one sushi option. With this in mind, I thought that perhaps the $34 fixed price would actually be worth it, so off we went to Katana. Showing up last, I was greeted with a rousing “irasshai” (although I was a bit disappointed they didn’t go for the more formal “irasshaimase”) and found that some chicken gyoza (potstickers) had already been ordered. This struck me as strange since we were about to order a fixed price meal, but I decided to roll with it.
Ordinarily, I am pretty bothered when a place takes a word as simple as “basics” and turns it into “basix.” This kind of goes against being called “basic” because it has overcomplicated a basic word. So, with these overcomplicated thoughts in my mind, I headed into Basix Cafe in West Hollywood, not knowing if should expect something basic or otherwise. What I found was a nice mid-sized cafe with a nice variety of menu items ranging from pizza and pasta to fried chicken and sandwiches. They also had unvegan unfriendly salads and other such dishes, but there were certainly enough vegetable-free dishes to make me like the menu.
Ever since I learned of the existence of the Juicy Lucy, my life goal has been to chomp down on one myself. Just to tear it open with my teeth until the insides flowed out was something I thought would give me great pleasure. You see, a Juicy Lucy is something special and not-surprisingly comes from the Midwest. Minnesota to be exact. Rather than being content with the old ways of the cheeseburger, the innovative Minnesoootans decided to stuff their burgers with cheese, giving the burger a molten core of cheese just waiting to be unleashed. That is the essence of the Juicy Lucy and although I assumed I would have to make one on my own because I live far from Minnesota, I managed to find it on the menu at Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood.
On of the big perks of running a meat blog is the number of restaurants people recommend to me. I always do my best to check these places out, but no restaurant has been recommended to me quite as voraciously as Animal Restaurant. But Animal is not the kind of restaurant you visit every day. It resides in that level of restaurants deemed “For Special Occasion Only.” But last week a special occasion rolled around: my birthday. And to celebrate the fact that I have remarkably survived on this planet for 26 years, my perfect girlfriend wanted to celebrate by taking me to dinner at Animal. Like I said, perfect.
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.
It was a night for delivery and looking through LAbite, we found a good-looking Mediterranean place to order from it was called Best of Mediterranean (BOM), which is quite a boast to be put in a name, even for a place in West Hollywood. Obviously a place by that name had to be checked out. I was too hungry for a schwarma sandwich, so I ordered the chicken schwarma dinner plate. This came with hummos, tabouli, rice and garlic sauce. Knowing that tabouli is some strange mix of greens, I tried to order without it, but the website wouldn’t allow me. This was a big fail on the part of both LAbite and BOM, because many other restaurants allow you to customize dishes. Unfortunately, I knew that vegetables would be dying for my sake that night and wouldn’t even have the pleasure of being digested.