Category Archives: Los Feliz

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2021

What can I say about 2021? In many respects, it was a little better than 2020. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s to not take anything for granted and to not forget to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. And on the subject of simple pleasure, here is my annual list of the ten best things I consumed and posted about this year. I hope you enjoy. Happy New Year!

Crispy Ramen Egg from Afuri Ramen

10. Crispy Ramen Egg from Afuri Ramen. This is egg-ceptional.

“The Danny Boy” Porkstrami Sandwich from The Bad Jew stall at Smorgasburg

9. “The Danny Boy” Porkstrami Sandwich from The Bad Jew (at Smorgasburg). Some may say “oy vey” but I say “hooray” to this delicious pork pastrami that is certainly not kosher.

Chocolate Chess Pie from Goldburger

8. Chocolate Chess Pie from Goldburger. Checkmate!

Parmesan Crusted Halibut with Grilled Asparagus and Beurre Blanc from Porta Via

7. Parmesan Crusted Halibut from Porta Via. The math doesn’t always work, but in this case fish plus cheese equals awesome.

“The William Mae” Fried Chicken Tender Sandwich with HiHo Pickles, Organic Honey & Slaw Sauce and Purple Cabbage from HiHo Cheeseburger

6. “The Willie Mae” Fried Chicken Tender Sandwich from HiHo Cheeseburger. Who knew a chicken sandwich at one of LA’s top burger joints would be this amazing. HiHo is certainly no one trick pony.

Sticky Glazed Pork Shank with Shitake, Honeynut Squash, Hoison Mayo, Hot Mustard, Naan and Lettuce Cups from Girl & the Goat

5. Sticky Glazed Pork Shank from Girl & the Goat. Girl & the Goat is the best Chicago import since Cracker Jack, and this delectable take on on a Korean Ssam is my favorite dish on the menu.

Bacon-wrapped Dates stuffed with Parmesan from AOC

4. Bacon-wrapped Dates stuffed with Parmesan from AOC. Chef Suzanne Goin has been serving these incredibly addictive, salty and sweet morsels for almost two decades and I have been consuming them for just as long.

Zucchini Chips with Herbed Yogurt from Greekman’s

3. Zucchini Chips with Herbed Yogurt from Greekman’s. Q: What is a zucchini’s favorite sport? A: Squash. The Zucchini Chips at Greekman’s are significantly better than that joke. In fact, they’re pretty f-ing amazing! Easily the best vegetable dish I consumed this year.

Trout Almondine from Petit Trois

2. Trout Almondine from Petit Trois.  I’m nuts about this dish!

Strawberry Donut from The Donut Man

1. Strawberry Donut from The Donut Man. These are slightly tart, wonderfully sweet and perfectly glazed. And the good news is you don’t have to drive all the way to Glendora anymore as they are now also made and sold downtown in Grand Central Market. It’s my favorite thing that I consumed and posted about this year.

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Downtown, Glendora, Highland Park, Hollywood, Los Feliz, Marina del Rey, Mid-City, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2017


As we bid adieu to 2017, let’s just focus on the good stuff. And by “good stuff,” I mean the food we consumed to tantalize our taste buds, lift our spirits and provide a bit of pleasure in these ever-changing and uncertain times. Keeping with tradition, here is my annual list of the ten best things I ate and wrote about during the past year:

Shul Lung Tang (Korean bone broth) from Han Bat


10. Shul Lung Tang from Han Bat. Is bone broth a miracle elixir that will cure all your ailments, align your chakras and balance your chi? Probably not, but there’s nothing better than a hot bowl of this soup on a cold rainy day.

Pork Chop “Niman Ranch” from Salazar


9. Pork Chop “Niman Ranch” from Salazar. The penultimate dish on my top ten list is smoky, fatty and juicy. As excited as I am about this pork chop, I’m equally excited about using the word “penultimate” in my post.

Flaky Bread with Labneh, Preserved Lemon and Honey from Kismet


8. Flaky Bread from Kismet. The servers at Kismet are flaky and so is the hipstery restaurant’s best dish: a melt-in-your-mouth pan-fried bread served with labneh, preserved lemon and honey.

Banchan from Genwa


7. Banchan from Genwa. We all like free things, and the ridiculous amount of complimentary banchan (side dishes of fermented vegetables, fishcake, seasoned peanuts, braised beef, scallion pancakes and other Korean delicacies) at this Korean BBQ joint has the additional benefit of being exceptionally tasty.

Ceviche Tostada from Holbox


6. Ceviche Tostada from Holbox. How do you make an octopus laugh? With ten-tickles. The Ceviche Tostada at Holbox is a lot better than that joke.

Macarons from Ladurée


5. Macarons from Ladurée. The French know a thing or two about creating incredible baked confections. I know a thing or two about eating them.

Marinated Short Ribs from Chosun Galbee


4. Marinated Short Ribs from Chosun Galbee. I know what you’re thinking: Where’s the beef? It’s right here at #4 and it’s amazing.

Fresh Uni in the Shell from Jolly Oyster


3. Fresh Uni in the Shell from Jolly Oyster. Fun fact: uni is actually a sea urchin’s gonads. These gonads are especially delicious when eaten right out of the shell at the Jolly Oyster stall at DTLA’s weekly Smorgasburg.

Pastrami Sandwich from Ugly Drum


2. Pastrami Sandwich from Ugly Drum. “Oy gevalt!”…is something you will not be saying when you eat this pastrami masterpiece (which is also found at Smorgasburg).

Carrot Mole Enchiladas from Trois Familia


1. Carrot Mole Enchiladas from Trois Familia. You haven’t really had carrot mole enchiladas until you’ve had the ones from Trois Familia. They are insanely good and the best thing that I consumed and wrote about in 2017.

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Frogtown, Koreatown, Los Feliz, Mid-City, Silverlake, South Los Angeles

The New Cruelty

Kismet, a newish hipster hot spot in Los Feliz, does a couple things right and couple things horribly wrong. On the bright side, their Mediterranean fusion fare is pretty awesome. Their melt-in-your-mouth “Flaky Bread” (similar to Roti) is phenomenal, especially when dipped in a combo of labneh, preserved lemon and honey. Their Shakshuka (poached eggs in a tomato stew) which you sop up with chewy seeded Barbari Bread is also a winner. Their signature daytime dish, called the “Turkish-ish Breakfast,” is the best of all with little tastes of different yummy things such as olives, dates, persian cucumber salad, marinated feta and a spiced soft-boiled egg.

However, as good as the food is, a dining experience is always going to leave a bad taste in your mouth if the service is bad, and unfortunately the service at Kismet is surprisingly disappointing. Vanishing servers, hour long waits to get your food after ordering, and an air of indifference from the front of house staff are major buzzkills. Adding insult to injury is the fact that Kismet adds a non-discretionary 20% service charge to all bills, which might contribute to the lack of hospitality of the serving staff who take home generous tips regardless of satisfied patrons.

The other thing to be wary of at Kismet is the food is quite overpriced. That “Turkish-ish Breakfast,” for example, costs a whopping $24 and if you want more than the couple pieces of bread they include with the dish (which you probably will), you will get charged extra for that. It’s expensive to be an Eastside hipster foodie.

Kismet is located at 4648 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles in Los Feliz.

Turkish-ish Breakfast

Marinated Feta with Tomato, White Grapefruit and Marigold

Soft-boiled Eggs

Flaky Bread with Labneh, Preserved Lemon and Honey

Sesame Walnut Granola with Fruit and Yogurt

Lemon Verbena Custard with Apple with Strawberries and Salt & Pepper Tuile

Located in Hipsterville

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Filed under Los Feliz

The 10 Best Burger Joints in Los Angeles

Cassell's Hamburgers
If there’s one food that we excel at in Los Angeles, it’s hamburgers. There are no shortage of excellent eateries in this city at which to celebrate the holy marriage of grilled meat patty and bun, preferably with a thick slice of melted cheese, a whole mess of sautéed onions and a couple strips of bacon in between. It has been a life-long mission of mine to identify the very best of these local burger establishments. Here are my top ten favorites:

"The Burger" from Golden State with Harris Ranch Beef, Fiscalini Farms Cheddar,  Applewood Smoked Bacon, Arugula and Ketchup

“The Burger” from Golden State with Harris Ranch Beef, Fiscalini Farms Cheddar, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Arugula and Ketchup

10. The Golden State (426 N. Fairfax, Los Angeles) This little gem lies in the middle of all the hip hop shops and Jewish bakeries on Fairfax. All ingredients in their awesome burgers and other menu items are locally sourced from California including high-end Harris Ranch beef and award-winning Fiscalini cheddar.

Piku "Fig" Burger from Pono Burger with Housemade Drunken Caramelized Fig Jam, Organic Beef Patty, Fermier Brie Cheese, Niman Ranch Bacon and Crushed Hazelnuts

Piku “Fig” Burger from Pono Burger with Housemade Drunken Caramelized Fig Jam, Organic Beef Patty, Fermier Brie Cheese, Niman Ranch Bacon and Crushed Hazelnuts

9. Pono Burger (829 Broadway, Santa Monica) The funky looking metal structure that houses this joint (it looks like a mini airplane hanger) will draw you in. The Hawaiian-style burgers, sweet potato fries and salted caramel shakes will keep you coming back.

Chef Katsu's Original California Roll Hamburger with Snow Crab Salad, Avocado, Sushi Ginger, Boston Lettuce, Tomato, Nori, and Wasabi-Shoyu-Mayonnaise

Chef Katsu’s Original California Roll Hamburger with Snow Crab Salad, Avocado, Sushi Ginger, Boston Lettuce, Tomato, Nori, and Wasabi-Shoyu-Mayonnaise

8. 26 Beach Restaurant (3100 W. Washington Blvd in Venice) There are several places that have an extensive menu of over-the-top themed burgers such as a Peanut Butter & Jelly Burger. 26 Beach is the best of that lot. They are especially known for their “Sushi Burgers” including a California Roll Burger, and Spicy Tuna Burger and a Mori Eel Burger.

Cheese Burger from Pie 'n Burger with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing, Pickles and Lettuce

Cheese Burger from Pie ‘n Burger with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing, Pickles and Lettuce

7. Pie ‘n Burger (913 E. California Blvd, Pasadena) This old school diner with a long winding counter is a mandatory stop for me when I go to the Rose Bowl or am otherwise in Pasadena. As you can glean from the restaurant’s name, you’re missing out if you don’t order both a hamburger and a slice of one of their amazing pies.

Griddled Cheese Burger from Ledlow with American and Cheddar Cheeses, Red Onion, Dill Pickle, Dijon and Garlic Aioli

Griddled Cheeseburger from Ledlow with American and Cheddar Cheeses, Red Onion, Dill Pickle, Dijon and Garlic Aioli

6. Ledlow (400 S. Main St in Downtown) The newest restaurant of local superstar chef Josef Centeno (Baco Mercat, Bar Ama, Orsa & Winston), Ledlow is more than just a burger joint. However, their Griddled Cheeseburger seems to be the speciality of the house and has quickly drawn much-deserved acclaim from LA foodies.

Double Double from In-N-Out Burger

Double Double from In-N-Out Burger

5. In-N-Out (all over Los Angeles) Yes, it’s a fast food chain, but don’t hold that against it. At $3.60, the Double Double is the best deal in town and is better than most of the pricey burgers at nice restaurants. I like to add toppings from their secret menu, including chilies, grilled onions and pickles.

Hickory Burger from The Apple Pan

Hickory Burger from The Apple Pan

4. The Apple Pan (10801 W. Pico Blvd in Westwood) This 68-year-old diner is an LA landmark. All seating is at a U-shaped counter, where you’re served by uber-efficient grumpy old men. It’s super fun, especially late at night, and their Hickory Burgers are awesome.

Cheeseburger from Belcampo with Dry Aged Grass Fed Beef with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Cheeseburger from Belcampo with Dry Aged Grass Fed Beef with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

3. Belcampo Meat Co (317 S Broadway in Downtown; also 1026 Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica) It’s perhaps more of a gourmet butcher shop than a burger joint, but the cheeseburgers sold at this stall in Grand Central Market are phenomenal. They’re made with a special Wagyu-Angus meat blend and are served on fresh sesame seed buns. Belcampo just opened a fancier restaurant in Santa Monica where you can also get a burger, but I’m partial to the ones served downtown.

The Hatch Burger from Umami Burger with Roasted Hatch Chilies, House Cali Cheese and Roasted Garlic Aioli

The Hatch Burger from Umami Burger with Roasted Hatch Chilies, House Cali Cheese and Roasted Garlic Aioli

2. Umami Burger (multiple locations) In a short period of time, this revolutionary burger restaurant has expanded into a ubiquitous chain throughout Los Angeles and has been widely emulated. Their burgers are made from specially seasoned meat blends and their Portuguese-style buns are sweetened with milk and honey. It’s a toss up for me as to which of their burgers is the best: the decedent truffle burger or the spicy hatch burger made with four types of green chilies.

Cheese Burger from Cassell's Hamburgers with House Ground Prime Beef Patty and Cheddar Cheese on a Parker House Bun.

Cheeseburger from Cassell’s Hamburgers with House Ground Prime Beef Patty and Cheddar Cheese on a Parker House Bun.

1. Cassell’s Hamburgers (3600 W 6th St in Koreatown) This is my new favorite burger joint in LA. First established in 1948, this restaurant recently reopened in a cool retro space in the historic Hotel Normandie. Now under new ownership, their burgers have some similarities to the ones which made Cassell’s an LA institution, but are significantly improved. They are now the perfect combination of gourmet excellence and classic style.

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Filed under Burbank, Canoga Park, Downtown, Fairfax, Glendale, Hermosa Beach, Hollywood, Inglewood, Koreatown, Los Feliz, Marina del Rey, Mid-City, North Hollywood, Northridge, Panorama City, Pasadena, Porter Ranch, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Tujunga, Van Nuys, Venice, West LA, Westlake Village, Westwood, Woodland Hills

Not Your Routine Poutine

canada
Canada is the home of gold medal winning female bobsledders, an incorrigible rapscallion/pop star known as “J-Biebs,” and a corpulent crack-smoking mayor that bears a striking resemblance to the late great Chris Farley. But foodwise, the greatest achievement of our neighbor to the north is poutine.

For the uninitiated, poutine is Canadian fast food that originated in Quebec. It’s fries with a brown gravy-like sauce and cheese curds. A good plate of poutine is salty and unctuous, and perfect for late night binging, noshing at a hockey game, and consuming while listening to the song stylings of French-Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion.

LA chefs, especially those at local gastropubs, have been obsessed lately with poutine and have lovingly put their own spin the dish. Below are some of my favorite non-traditional poutines served around town, with a couple of more classic ones thrown in for good measure.

Chicken Tikka Poutine

Chicken Tikka Poutine

1. Chicken Tikka Poutine from Badmaash (108 W. 2nd Street in Downtown Los Angeles).

Bahn Mi Poutine

Bahn Mi Poutine

2. Bahn Mi Poutine from The Gorbals (501 So. Spring St. in Downtown Los Angeles)

Galbi Poutine with Pickled Kimchi Onions

Galbi Poutine with Pickled Kimchi Onions

3. Galbi Poutine with Pickled Kimchi Onions from Seoul Sausage (11313 Mississippi Ave, Los Angeles in West LA)

Pastrami Gravy Fries with Beef Tallow Fries, Pastrami Bits Pastrami Gravy, Melted Swiss Cheese and Chopped Pickles

Pastrami Gravy Fries (with Beef Tallow Fries, Pastrami Bits Pastrami Gravy, Melted Swiss Cheese and Chopped Pickles)

4. Pastrami Gravy Fries (with Beef Tallow Fries, Pastrami Bits Pastrami Gravy, Melted Swiss Cheese and Chopped Pickles) from Plan Check Kitchen + Bar (1800 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles in West LA and 352 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles in Mid-City)

Truffled Poutine Burger

Truffled Poutine Burger

5. Truffled Poutine Burger from Umami Burger (Locations in Santa Monica, Studio City, Los Feliz, Mid-City, Hermosa Beach, Downtown, Burbank, Hollywood, Thousand Oaks and Pasadena)

Gravy Fried with Roast Brisket and Cheddar

Gravy Fries with Roast Brisket and Cheddar

6. Gravy Fries with Roast Brisket and Cheddar from The Bowery (6268 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles in Hollywood)

Poutine with Ground Beef and Sauteed Onions, Peppers & Mushrooms

Poutine with Ground Beef and Sauteed Onions, Peppers & Mushrooms

7. Build your own Poutine (this one has Ground Beef and Sauteed Onions, Peppers and Mushrooms) at Jay’s Bar (4321 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles in Silverlake)

Smoked Meats Poutine with curds and gravy

Smoked Meats Poutine with Curds and Gravy

8. Smoked Meats Poutine with Curds and Gravy from Little Fork (1600 Wilcox Ave., Los Angeles in Hollywood)

Poutine, Oxtail Gravy, Cheddar

Poutine, Oxtail Gravy, Cheddar

9. Poutine, Oxtail Gravy, Cheddar from Animal (435 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles in Mid-City)

Poutine Île-du-Prince-Édouard with mussels au gratin

Poutine Île-du-Prince-Édouard with Mussels au Gratin

10. Poutine ÃŽle-du-Prince-Édouard with Mussels au Gratin from Soleil Westwood and P’tit Soleil (1386 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles in Westwood)

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Filed under Burbank, Downtown, Hermosa Beach, Hollywood, Los Feliz, Mid-City, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Silverlake, Studio City, Thousand Oaks, West LA, Westwood