Wednesday, April 22, 2009

First Annual Foodapalooza Official Recap

Well it is officially over. I have officially been able to move without wanting to die from fullness for a good few days. Let me tell you something about eating at 10 places over a 7 hour period, it's a lot harder than it sounds. There is no rhyme or reason why we thought we could do it and have it be a piece of cake, pun intended, but we did. We were so cocky that we even ordered our own slices of pizza instead of splitting one early on in the trip. If it wasn't for a snag at The Belmont and a long ass commute between our places in the valley I am not sure we would have finished. 

So let's get started, keep in mind that we chose all of these places because either I or Dana loved them. Assume that they are all amazing and that you should eat there. 

Bloom Cafe was our first stop and one of the only place open early enough to make this whole day plausible. 
We ordered the Salmon Tartine, it's pretty much like eating lox on a bagel but it was on a piece of wheat toast. The Salmon was delicious and the whole meal was a great light start to the day. For the money you get a great amount of fish and also they have cucumber water there. I never had cucumber water but it's pretty freaking refreshing. 

Second stop was the ever famous Village Pizzeria on Larchmont. If you don't know about it, then I guess it's not that famous but it should be.

We had to get a Garlic Knot. Why? Because it was a garlic knot that uses real garlic. What more do you want? You want more? Move to Little Italy. Other than the fact that ours was cold in the middle the thing was great. Perfect mix of real garlic and deliciousness. I also enjoyed the sidecar of marinara. I believe it is different than that sauce on the pizza but it was tasty.

Possibly the highlight of my day. I finally found an amazing, east coast esc, heart cloggin and terrific slice of pizza. I was talking to Dana about how I loved back at the Hofbrau how the pepperonis would curl up and create little cups of heart clogging heaven. I kept yapping on about it and Dana stayed completely quiet. I waited on my well done piece of pizza; always remember to get the thin crust slices cooked well done, I literally almost started crying when the slice arrived with pepperonis curled up like saucers.  And after I took my first bite it was not a dream. Pretty much the slice was perfect, and I mean that in all aspects of that word from price to execution. Thank you LA! Finally!
Off to Cobra's and Matadors following my high of finally getting a good slice in LA. Dana decided to scare me with Tapas. 

Now don't get me wrong I LOVE tapas. But we were at Cob & Mat for one thing and one thing only. Bacon Wrapped Dates. Yes you can gasp if you want, I did. The name alone has amazingness and scariness all in one. Yes I was scared. But it turned out pretty good. Really rich actually. I felt like I needed a glass of milk afterwards, but that might have just been weird.

Time for a little Mexican flavor! Los Tacos in WeHo was next and one of my favorite local spots in LA. I literally went to Los Tacos every Sunday for the first 2 years that I lived in CA. They are open really really late so I definitely recommend trying it when you can.
We got 2 different tacos here. The first was a chicken soft taco. I really feel that it is a great execution on the simple taco. The shredded chicken and mix of lettuce, tomatoes and melted cheese are so good. My favorite thing is the hot sauce next to the register. I soak my tacos in the stuff. It is definitely not for the faint of heart but even the tiniest bit will amp up the tacos flavor. 
Here's where a lot of you may be shocked. Los Tacos uses tortillas to make their hard shell tacos. They take it and do something awesome to it and bam; you have a hard shell taco. Perfectly crispy not like the ones you get at other Taco joints that completely break when you take a bite. Shits good son, real good.
One of my old favorite cheap sushi spots was next on the menu. Omi Sushi has gone through its fair share of new owners but the menu has always been consistent along with the choice and quality which is pretty good as well.
My friend April and I used to always get a baked lobster roll and it was one of our favorites. I was hoping that it would still be good since I have not been to Omi in forever. I was pleased to find out that other than adding a few new ingredients the California Roll topped with Langoustine and special sauce was still pretty delightful. It is a rich roll and has a slight sweet taste to it. Take a little bath in soy and wasabi and you are set to go.
The Belmont you crazy no sense making establishment. This is where we hit a snag. Being the organizer of this event I checked everything for ALMOST every place, from hours of operation, cost, dress code, need for reservations etc. But I failed in one aspect. Finding out if the Belmont sold Mac & Cheese at lunch time. Well they don't. Who would have thought right? Seriously the Belmont and McDonalds need to take cues from Jack in the Box and sell all their food at all hours of the day. This was the whole reason this day was conceived. To remedy this we had to go back later, but I will talk about it now.
Mac & Cheese, something about it just makes you feel safe. No matter what kind you get, be it shells and cheese from Ralph's or gourmet from a restaurant I always get a slight tingle. In my opinion The Belmont has one of the best M & C's I have ever had. I have heard people say no and give me places that are better but they never offer why they do not like it. This is why it's amazing, it has bacon in it, bacon, I mean seriously did you just not read about me eating a date wrapped in bacon? Also there is crab in it. Fucking crab I mean that alone should get the snobby people involved. The top is also crispy and delicious. It's pretty damn near perfect. Only thing that makes it even better you may ask? Salt. Yes salt. Dana can confirm that the M & C is not only good when plain, it is damn near fantastically amazing once you add some salt. It is almost like a different dish was placed in front of you. 
Time to get back to my (pseudo) roots. In West Philadelphia born and raised...

Cheese Steaks. Another item that has been elusive. Yes I have eaten here before and it was even the reason I started this blog. Yes I just admitted this is a blog, man I hate blogs. This cheese steak is still one of the best I have had in LA. This time around we got American with or wit for those of you in the know. Our cashier was not in the know. SO American with onions please. God how fake Philly can you be? Make sure when you go no matter what cheese you get (I still recommend wiz) you have them mix it into the meat. All in all it was good, washed down with a birch beer and we were set to head further into the valley. Yes we were in the valley, god its hot there.
Now it's time for my favorite place EVER. The only reason I currently drive into the valley with out hesitation. Ladies and Gentleman I introduce you to... the Pita Kitchen!!! I LOVE THE PITA KITCHEN! It's saved and speed dialed in my mobile device. God I love it so.
For sharing purposes we got the Lamb Shawarma Pita. You can also get it as a wrap or a plate. I really love ordering plates, but you then have to make it yourself. All I can say is that I love the Pita Kitchen, other than being cash only (they remedied this by getting an ATM) I have nothing to say negative or even positive because my love is so intense I can't think of words to express myself. Lamb Shawarma, Lamb Kabobs, Chicken Schnitzel, hummus, Greek salad and rice. My saliva glands are going crazy right now. MMMM. I've never had their fries though, maybe they suck, BUT I DOUBT IT!
Now we journey back again to my early years in LA. Drunken nights stumbling into La Cabana. The good old days when Tall, me and OM would leave the bars in SM or wherever, and eat before walking the 3 or so blocks back to OM's place to snuggle up with Dixie. La Cabana is open until 3am which is pretty great to find in a sit down restaurant that is not iHop or some other sort of diner. 
Empanadas.  I love empanadas. These little deep friend envelopes of chicken and awesomeness are seriously one of the best things you can ever have the pleasure of eating. Great when you are drunk, hung-over, or sober. Perfect blend of ingredients and it also comes with a cup of what I think is a spicy cheese type sauce. Throw some salsa on it from the chips that they give you and man you are set. Such a great little treat.
The last bite of our day of gluttony was a local favorite (local in the sense that my office is down the street). You cannot have a day of eating without ending on a dessert. Did we do Sprinkles? No, fuck sprinkles and their stupid line and $33 a dozen. Vanilla bakery was where we went. 
I am not sure how much Vanilla Bakery charges for a dozen cupcakes and I could care less. They offer one thing that other dessert places do not. Mini Cupcakes. I am not the hugest fan of dessert items, I like them but I do not love them by any means. Hell, I could even do without them, but in a small dose like these little bastards and you have a great little topper to your day, meal or occasion. I am a huge fan of their mini chocolate cupcakes topped with a raspberry, unfortunately they did not have it on this day of gluttony, but the others were fantastic also.
Final Bite: Foodapalooza was a ridiculous idea and no one should ever attempt do recreate these events in 7 hours. Keep in mind Dana and I are trained professionals. Please try these places and let us know if you feel the same.

The next Foodapalooza has been discussed during the last Foodapalooza. We are thinking at least biannually possibly, more if it comes together quickly. Anyone who is interested please join us for "The Foodapalooza Meal". The event will consist of a 6 course meal starting with an appetizer and ending on a dessert. Each course will be at a different restaurant. Stay tuned for details.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Crazy Rockin' Sushi

There has been a request to refrain from using corny questions as post titles. I am going to try it, yes it is less fun but sometimes I just don't feel clever and the titles keep me from posting fast enough.

Anyway Crazy Rockin' Sushi is possibly the craziest sushi place I have ever been. There are fire jugglers and geisha girls ready to help you with anything you need. Ok that was a lie. They are crazy because of what they charge for sushi. They have this crazy happy hour that lasts pretty much all day. Everything is half off and with the amount of sushi I can put down this is a blessing. Or is it a curse... I guess it depends on how you look at it. 

I ordered 5 items; salmon sushi, albacore sushi, yellowtail sushi, spicy salmon roll, and a spicy scallop roll. Was it amazing? Not in the slightest. It was all well and good but you will have had better sushi in your life. But I did spend $20 on 5 orders of sushi. That my friend is pretty awesome, and I would like to see you do that and be satiated at NoBu or Katsuya.

Final Bite: Crazy Rockin' Sushi is not the greatest sushi in Los Angeles BUT for what you pay for it, it is definitely worth eating. Not a place you would go for a celebration of good fortune, but more of a place to grub out when you don't want to spend a fortune.

Crazy Rockin' Sushi
7100 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 882-8247

Saturday, April 18, 2009

7 Hours Later...

Dana Smith and I just finished our marathon of eating. Foodapalooza went off with only one hitch, and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The Belmont, god love them, does not offer Mac and Cheese until 4pm. Apparently it's like trying to order a Big Mac at McDonalds before 11:30am. So when we rolled in there today at 1pm we were turned away. The whole reason we got on this eating kick was when I was shocked that Dana never had the Belmont Mac and Cheese. We moved it to the end and it was all good, served as a nice little bookend to the whole ordeal. 

We traveled nearly 45 miles over 7 hours and ate an amazing amount of food. I can barely move. But I just wanted to thank Dana for co-founding and coming with me on this event. It will possibly be a reoccurring thing we do throughout the year, no more than 4 times. We will definitely do fewer places. I cannot move, but its amazing.

I will post my review after I have had time to digest the food and the awesomeness that was the first annual Foodapalooza 08 (09).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Don't Vampires Hate Crying Tiger Stakes?

Yes I am asian-ish and yes I love a good Thai food joint so all bias aside I truly do enjoy Pink Pepper. From what I recall they do have a 'B' rating in the window. Yes this is not good and would turn many people away from any establishment. But hell how often do you even remember the rating of a place you went to anyway. Do you know how easy it is to slip up and get a B? No? Neither do I, but I'm sure it's not that big of a deal. A 'C' on the other hand, that place better have the best thing I've ever eaten for me to even considering walking in let alone consuming. 

So Thai soup, specifically Tom Yum is my favorite. And to get even more specific Tom Yum Koong with Shrimp is the bee's knees. I love the stuff. The almost sour broth and the veggies mixed with some delicious shrimp is just perfect in my eyes. They also have just chicken or just veggies if you'd rather. The Tom Yum has a light tasting dish that really warms you up and can be filling once you eat everything in the pot. I always get the huge fire bowl thing you see below. Yes it is a lot of soup, great for sharing, but seriously isn't soup good for you or something? Something about the common cold and whatnot. I'm not a doctor I just play one on the weekends, so don't take my word for it. 
Now the Crying Tiger Stake. Yes Stake. Read the menu and you will laugh just as hard as I did. The Crying Tiger Steak is great. It is on the pricey side but I truly did not mind footing it once I had my first bite. Ordered medium rare and eaten with veggies and rice was the perfect combination. The spicy crushed tomato sauce on the side is amazing on the steak and anything else you dip into it. My mouth literally just started watering again thinking about it. 

Final Bite: Can they spell? No. Do they have good food? Yes, and the combination of all of it together, in my eyes is boarding on a perfect execution. But what do I know, I'm just Dr. Justin. 

Pink Pepper
1638 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 461-2462

Well You're Just a Stone's Throw Away, Aren't Ya?

MMMM pizza. Wait strike that because this is bordering on misrepresentation. MMMM pizza margarita. That's better. I am a huge fan of pizza margarita's or margarita pizza's. Which ever gets you to where you need to be I guess. And apparently that is the only pizza that LA can do correctly. Not exactly sure why but for some reason as long as the crust is paper thin and they can put weird CA fancy things on it they knock it out of the park. Strange.

The pepperoni is great, crust is super thin and breaks when you fold it. The other toppings also live up to their crispy crust counter part. 
Now here is something that you won't usually find me saying. I like the following pizza. I am not often a huge fan of the fancy things California does to its food. Example: putting strawberries and feta cheese in a salad. Even though I do enjoy it, the concept still weirds me out, must be an East coast thing. But for some reason the No Name pizza is freaking awesome. The mixture of the ingredients together placed on top of the paper thin crust works perfectly. And I hate sausage. My only problem is that the pizza is super rich. It's like eating a triple chocolate cookie and having no milk to wash it down. Other than that, nice job Stone fire. Hell you didn't even do anything wrong I'm just ridiculous. 

Final Bite: Stone Fire Pizza has a great happy hour special and is great if you want a pizza margarita. If you do not like margarita pizzas why the hell are you at Stone Fire then? Go across the street to Vito's and get a slice there, jeez. 

Stone Fire Pizza
829 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(310) 659-8848

What's Jack Know That Jill Doesn't?

Jack and Jill went up a hill and disappointment is what begot them. I have officially decided to stop listening to people after they suggest a place. Mind you by listen to them I mean eaves drop while they discuss an eatery. As I look back at my experience at Jack N' Jill I remember at the time liking it, but it has been a few days and now I am completely underwhelmed and my food that I ordered was not memorable in the slightest since I am struggling to find great things about it. 

I ordered the Chili because hell a good chili is something that can warm the souls of the undead. The chili was thicker and better than the chili I had at Blue Plate but still it was more of a thin stew than a chili. I was looking for punch and heartiness. But I did get cheese, onions and sour cream on the side unlike at Blue Plate. I did not really understand the sour cream but once I put it in the chili I was pleasantly surprised. The chili on its own left me wanting, but adding some pepper, and the other accessories made it pop to a level of actual enjoyment. 

BBQ Chicken salad. Usually a safe bet and often times very enjoyable. I've overheard many people talk about how Jack N' Jill's has amazing salads. It was a great assortment of delicious veggies etc., but amazing it was not. It was a good salad by all means. It felt safe and generic though. It had what you wanted and in the amounts that you expected, but for the price of everything and the build up that I came in with, Jack N' Jill's  just did not live up to it. Final Bite: My hunt for amazing chili continues. Salad was good but I ruined the experience by listening to people hype it up. Will I go back? Most-likely but I will be getting a different salad. Suggestions are welcomed but don't say it's amazing.

Jack N' Jill
510 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 656-1501

Hugo 2 Brunch Wit?

Hugo's is a little place down the street that seems to be too fancy for its own good. The script on the name, the glass door, the rude hostesses, they all scream pretension. Screaming at you while you stand there on an early Saturday, half out of it and most likely still intoxicated. Oh brunch the things we endure. You evil temptress. 

Don't get me wrong it's a nice place and all. Definitely not one of my favorites i.e.: the menu contains something on it that I MUST eat and incessantly tell people about even though they could give two shits. But it is still a nice eatery. 

Today on the plate are two dishes, one un-expectant and executed perfectly, and the First off the pumpkin pancakes are amazing. I have never had a pumpkin pancake in the past and I had no real desire to try the pumpkin pancake, but let me tell you something about the pumpkin pancake. It's amazing. It is hard to describe it correctly without making it sound like a pumpkin pie mistake that turned into some sort of amazing breakfast treat. All I can say is that it is done well, and if you like pancakes you will be pleasantly surprised. 

Now the Cuban sandwich. I had such high hopes for it. I was just whelmed at best. There were these cardboard like chips on the thing, I think they were sundried tomatoes, but it's been a minute since I actually ate this meal (last weekend) and I even if I just ate it I would forget about it the second I left. Sorry. The only good part about the sandwich was the blend of goat cheese and chicken in each bite. If and only if you did not get a cardboard chip. Not the hugest fan of constancy changes. I of course put Tabasco sauce on each bite, A: because I like Tabasco on everything 2: Figured it would deaden my taste buds when I was attached by cardboard. It did look great though.

Final Bite: Pass on the Cuban, ponder perhaps partaking in the perfectly prepared pumpkin pancake. I like alliteration .

8401 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(323) 654-3993

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Would You Like Your Fingers Tender, Or Your Nacho's Irish?

Barney's again? Yes I went there again. Did I get the same items? No I am not completely devoid of common sense. Only partially. I figured I'd expand my palate and be worldly, chicken fingers and Irish Nachos should do it.

Let me tell you something about the chicken fingers, well they are pretty perfect. I am not going to lie to you, pretty damn perfect. Cooked and breaded perfectly and I really enjoy Barney's BBQ sauce. The sauce is tangy and a bit sweet but not too much, a great complement to the tender chicken. Also the honey mustard is tasty too, if you are into that kind of fancy shit.

My only gripe is that you do not get that many chicken tenders. Yes they are pretty decent size but 3, seriously? I mean at least 4, come on Barney's you charge $14 for a pitcher of beer. Crazy.

Irish Nachos, what the hell is an Irish Nacho you ask. Well it's like home fries but not crispy with a ton of cheese on it and chili and guac on the side. That's really it. It really couldn't be seen as a nacho. Its like homefries and cheese. Which would probably be better because I like my home fries thin and crispy. If it was more nacho like, I feel it might be better. Throw all the ingredients together like if it had tortilla chips on a plate and see what happens, maybe some black olives, possibly some jalapenos? Have the potatoes crispy also, then my friend you might have a tasty treat. But hell what do I know?

Final Bite: Chicken Tenders are tender and delicious, Irish Nachos can stay in Ireland or Mexico or wherever will have them.

Barney's Beanery
8447 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Miso Hungry, What About You?

Sushi is one of my favorite things in the world. I could probably eat it everyday if I could afford it, but in LA who can really afford to do anything everyday? The really good places give you too little and charge you too much and the cheap places quality is not that great. So finding a happy medium is hard. Especially when you have the ability to eat the equivalent of 18 hand cut rolls if you do not restrain yourself. 

A restaurant I really enjoy is in Santa Monica called, Sushi Mon, well it used to be called Sushi Mon. Like most sushi places it changes hands more than dollar bills at a strip club, or street corners, whatever you are into I guess. But the menu has stayed the same and they still have a good lunch special.

I am a huge fan of free and when its delicious also, that makes me smile extra big. At Sushi Mon you get a free bowl of Miso soup. It is mostly just broth but it is still really tasty and warms you up. And apparently per Dani a good bowl of Miso is the foundation for a good sushi spot.

Now on to the lunch special. You get 5 pieces of fresh delicious sushi and your choice of one other item off a huge selection. I usually get the sashimi salad. Now here's the rub. The old owners gave you a huge bowl with a huge amount of veggies and an even huger amount of fish. Possibly why they are no longer the owners. That's a lot of food to be giving away at a really low price. So the new bowl is as it appears below. Mind you it is not small by any means, but when you are used to almost not being able to finish to being only just satisfied its slightly upsetting. 

Final Bite: Sushi Mon or whatever it is called now is a great lunch place if you want sushi. Yes their portion size has fallen since they have changed hands, but it is still a very good value and the quality is top notch. And you wouldn't know that the sizes changed unless I told you if you've never been. I am sure you will be fine.

Sushi Mon
401 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 576-7011‎

Monday, April 6, 2009

F Q, Where Do You Go To Brunch?

Things you need for a successful brunch location. 

1: Out door seating
2: Good Food
3: Great Company
4: Arnold Palmer's (or mimosa's or some sort of liquor)

All of which were in place for my brunch with my friend Janey. Janey is awesome and she says trousers which I love. 

We went to the French Quarter Market Place, aka the French Market for those who aren't jerks, there is no need to say the whole thing. We were patrons, 1 because Janey has never been and B it is close to my apartment and from previous posts you know that I am quite lazy. The service is always great and the food there is really tasty. 

I ordered a buffalo chicken sandwich and seasoned french fries. The fries were cooked perfectly and seasoned well and served as a perfect complement to my buff chic samy. The only complaint I had was that the French Market no longer sells shrimp SO they no long have cocktail sauce (I like cocktail sauce on my fries) so I had to make it myself with creamy horseradish and Heinz. Not that I cared, it's just that it's wack that they don't have cocktail sauce. 

The sandwich is great. You receive what I can only surmise as 3 lightly breaded chicken fingers with delicious buff sauce on them. I always get extra sauce because, well you can never have too much buff sauce. I did remember that I do not like bleu cheese on my sandwiches but I forgot that there is coleslaw on the thing so I had to slide that off which I felt bad about wasting. But who really likes coleslaw, and if you do, why?

Final Bite: The French Market is a great brunch place. They have really good food and I think it's not terribly pricey. As an aside, they have really good Pomosa's (pomegranate juice and champagne) shit will put you on your ass if you aren't careful. 

French Quarter Market Place
7985 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 656-0874

Sunday, April 5, 2009

First Annual Foodapalooza Schedule is Set!!

On Saturday April 18th Dana Smith and I (and whoever else is interested) will be attempting the simple feat of eating. Eating at 10 food establishments and consuming 10+ food items. Below please find the schedule of what can only be described as a marathon of gluttony. Will we finish? I am not sure, but hell we will sure give it the college try. The day will start at 11am and will continue until we are finished or we perforate our stomachs and have to go to the ER. Either way I know one thing. It is going to be awesome. Really, really awesome. 

Let the eating begin!

Bloom Cafe - Smoked Salmon Tartine - $12
5544 Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 934-6900
Hours: 11am - 10pm

Village Pizzeria - Pizza - $11
131 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(323) 465-5566
Hours: 11:30am - 10pm

Cobra's & Matadors - Bacon wrapped dates - $10
7615 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 932-6178‎
Hours: 11:30am - 11:30pm

Los Tacos - Chicken hard/soft taco - $5, $5
7954 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 848-9141
24 hours

Omi Sushi - Baked Lobster Roll
8163 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 654-1056‎
Hours: 12pm - 12am

Belmont - Mac N Cheese - $14
747 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(310) 659-8871
Hours: 9am - 2am

Phillies Best - Cheesesteak, Tastycakes, Birch Beer
1419 W Olive Ave
Burbank, CA 91506
(818) 840-8700
Hours: 11am - 9pm

Pita Kitchen - Lamb Shawarma, Greek Salad - $6, $5
14500 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(818) 990-7006
Hours: 11am - 11pm

La Cabana - Empanada - $8
738 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 392-6161
Hours: 11am - 3am

Vanilla Bake Shop - Mini Cupcakes - $10
512 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-6644
Hours: 9am - 7pm

Vito That, Can I Just Get Two Slices?

Along with everything else I've been hunting down to eat, pizza has been one of the most elusive little buggers of them all. There are tons of pizza joints out here and there is always something not just right. Either the crust, cheese, size, price and anything else you can fathom is off in some way. 

Vito's is no exception. I had a borderline perfect slice of pizza at their fine establishment. The crust was thin and cooked perfectly. The cheese was well placed and melted to almost perfect perfection, and the pepperoni was a great topping. I usually like my pepperoni thicker and to curl up like a little cup containing heart stopping goodness, but as pepperoni's go it was normal. 

The sauce on the pizza was just not doing it for me. I am not saying it was bad. I was just not wow'd. Maybe I've been on the west coast too long and the image I have in my mind and what my taste buds remember has just hyped up everything so much. Putting everything on a pedestal so high that even the food I remember eating back home cannot even compare. 

Final Bite: Vito's Pizza is definitely one of the better traditional slices of pizza I have had since living in LALA land. The cost is not terribly high but this is coming from a guy used to buy $1 slices. I will be going back because yes it is still a really good slice but is also a block away, which me being lazy is awesome.

Vito's Pizza
846 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
(310) 652-6859

Friday, April 3, 2009

Can you wing it?? Yes we can...

On historical route 66 lies Barney's Beanery, home of $14 dollar pitchers and a 'decent happy hour' at a not so decent time. Seriously who on god's green earth is off and can get to Barney's before 7pm during the week and really take advantage of this 'happy hour'? If you can I hate you...lucky bastards.

Barney's has an amazingly large menu with tons of choice for everyone. The salads are good all the way up to the burgers but this isn't a story about those. On Thursday for the PSU vs. Baylor NIT Championship game I ate some typical bar foods and would like to let you know that if you are going to eat wings Barney's is top notch. 

Yes I lived in NY State for a year, and yes I've been to buffalo, and yes I am spoiled with the wings back east. BUT if you are going to eat a wing, Barney's is very good. I get mine crispy with extra sauce and blue cheese, which I feel is the only proper way to do it. You do not have to worry about ordering drums only like you do at Hooters (which is really only good for their 9-1-1 Chicken sandwiches and well...Hooters) because all they give you is drumlettes, very large drumlettes at that. Which is the only fault I find. Yes I LOVE getting my moneys worth like the next man, and with this recession you gotta get as much as you can, but if they DON'T make them crispy for you they just turn out like big too chewy slaps of salmonella. If they were slightly smaller than they would be money all the time. This is not my first time but when they are busy they tend to not care about how crispy they make them for you.

I also despite always being disappointed ordered the mozzarella sticks. Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment but I never like them. Not that there is anything wrong with the actual stick, they are just NEVER cooked enough. I want a molten bite of stringy cheese when I eat the thing. I want to burn my mouth and have a piece of melted cheese not break away from its self and swing back and  burn my face. But nope, never happens.

Final Bite: The wings are good and depending on your wing palate they can be great. Definitely something to order if you want some good bar food. The mozzarella sticks should be passed on, but I am sure I will order them again in hopes of cooked to perfectioness.

Barney's Beanery
8447 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Can I smell Your Aroma (coffee & tea co.)?

One thing you learn and learn quick in Lost Angeles is how the people here LOVE brunches. It's borderline ridiculous on how much we love brunch, but oh my god do we love brunch. Its pretty insane. Bring up brunch to a person here and they can talk to you for hours about their favorite places and what is great there. Damn brunch people.

Well let me tell you about the Aroma Coffee & Tea Co. in The Valley, yes I said The Valley, take your Bayside Tiger hatred of The Valley and leave it at the other blogs. (yes I am not a fan of The Valley but some of the food there is amazing)

I went to Aroma Coffee & Tea Co. with some friends and experienced what could only be put like this, It was pretty much the same experience as the Urth Cafe but you feel less pretentious. Not saying that the Urth Cafe has any pretension BUT there is none at Aroma. Same ordering and food vibe but just less "look at me, look at me." I would advise you to take the same care in arriving early that you do at Urth, damn lines, I hate lines.  

What I delighted my palate with was something I have had before but never talked about. Salmon salad. Thing is amazing. It is a perfect size and has everything you want in a salmon salad. Make sure you go towards the bottom where the jems of deliciousness lie. Capers are down at the bottom along with some red onions and other great treats. You get a hearty fork full in your mouth and you can thank me later.

Yes I am sure I could say it needs heat and needs maybe some other salad item, but you can always say something needs to be spicy etc. I was raised with spice so unless it definitely needs it I will try not to cloud your thoughts and let you find out for yourself.

Also if you like arnold palmers Aroma Coffee & Tea Co. has one of the best in the city. Like I said it's pretty much like going to Urth Cafe, so take that amount of drink options and put it The Valley. For all I know Urth owns Aroma and if they don't I wonder who came first and who stole from who.

Final bite: Definitely a great brunch place. Would I drive all the way into The Valley for it? Not unless my friend lived in The Valley and suggested it. Why? I live in West Hollywood, shits far man.

Aroma Coffee & Tea Co.
4360 Tujunga Ave
Studio City, CA 91604