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.


Anonymous said...

(standing Ovation) Job well done!

Dana said...

Next time, we are totally weighing in before AND after. Everyone kept asking me how much weight I gained throughout the day. Truth be told, I stepped on the scale on Monday...gave it a day and a half...and I didn't weigh any more or less!

Can't wait for the progressive dinner!

Jessica said...

I'm no professional but I can eat... let me know when you guys decide on the next one and count me in...I can be the san diego correspondent


Rich said...

Now that I make money again, let me know when the next one is. I'm totally down.

Have you ever heard of Banh Mi? This is your next task: Find a good one.

Natasha said...

mmmm the mac and cheese looked AMAZING. i am so hungry reading your blog!

April said...

I show up in a bra and leave comments on others peoples FOOD blog. Come on I dont want to loose my lunch. Here's the deal: OMI, yes, good old days, Phillys Best, yes but wheres the wawa bacon egg cheese sizzly?