Since the beginning of time (presumably), there has been one ruler on the throne of sandwiches in LA. This, of course, is Bay Cities. Yet, the rise of Mendocino Farms and success of Fat Sal’s proved LA is open to alternatives. Now, a successful sandwich shop called Ike’s Place has set up shop in Westwood and during my short time in town I felt I should try it out.
Before attending an event in Westwood, my woman and I decided to see what the college town had to offer in terms of dinner. Sure, I had eaten in Westwood many times before, but typically with specific places in mind. This time, it was about walking around and picking dinner based on our gut, which led us to Noodle World. I had expected something like Noodles & Company, which makes dishes from all sorts of noodles, but Noodle World has a lot more options, while keeping its noodles Asian. No mac and cheese here.
Sometimes you find a restaurant that seems like it was made just for you. I don’t mean that everything tastes good, or you go there regularly. No, I mean that you look at the menu and get the impression that the chef was thinking of you when they came up with every dish on it. That’s the feeling Fat Sal’s Deli (which isn’t really a deli) gave me when I first looked upon their menu.
As the Umami Empire continued to grow, to me it seemed only inevitable that it would eventually take on pizza. Enter 800 Degrees in Westwood, a Neapolitan style pizza place where customized pizza is king. They offer specialty pizzas, but the key to the place in my mind was to order a basic pizza (between 5.15 and 6.45) and load on the toppings for $1 each. This was the route I took.
Greek mythology tells the tale of Damon and Pythias. It is a tale of friendship that has withstood the ages and while I won’t get into the details, calling a restaurant Damon and Pythias is kind of like saying, “you’re gonna be best friends with this place.” It is quite a claim and one that I was ready to test. Located in the heart of Westwood, Damon and Pythias serves mostly sandwiches and salads, but with some more normal entrees and even some hot dogs. The food is priced a little bit high for college students in the area, but for a working man like myself, the prices looked amazing.
In yet another night that I was made to eat sushi, I was brought to Yamato Restaurant in Westwood. Catering to the college crowd, their sushi is always half off, which is great, except that it makes you wonder why they wouldn’t simply print prices that are low. Is it some way to confuse people into ordering more or to make them think they are there at a special half off time? Either way, it is weird, but good for the wallet. When I arrived, some food had already been ordered, which was slightly bothersome, but I decided to roll with it (pun!).
Finding ourselves in Westwood without any idea where to eat, my roommates and I walked into Ambala Dhaba. None of us had looked the place up online, nor had it been recommended, but we were feeling risky.
A look at the menu revealed a whole lot of vegetarian dishes, but also some meaty Indian dishes I had never heard of and was excited to try. Tucked under the glass on the table was their beer special, Bell beer from Uganda for only $3 a glass. I wasn’t sure why Ugandan beer had found itself at an Indian restaurant, but it would definitely be something new for me.
In the quest to finally find some good schwarma in LA, I made my way to a little Lebanese place called Sunnin Cafe. I have fond memories of delicious Lebanese food back in Michigan, so I hoped that this place would be at least a little awesome. Getting there was a little confusing, though, as it appeared as though there were two Sunnins, right across the street from each other. On further inspection, it looked like the larger of the two is unopened and the small place will be moving in there soon.
The inside of the little cafe gave the appearance of a generic diner. There were seats
at a counter and no more than ten small tables. The big difference, though, was the strong smell of the Middle East and the rotating spool of meat where a deep-fryer might typically belong. I also loved that they made no effort to hide the fact that the cooks were Hispanic. It’s a pretty widely known fact that kitchens of ethnic restaurants all over LA are filled with Hispanics, despite the fact that waiters and such fit into the ethnicity. It was refreshing to see that Sunnin didn’t hide that aspect of their business.
We ordered some “hommos” (love the spelling) to start things off.