Category Archives: Mid-City

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 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, it’s time to wax poetic on my 10 favorite things that I ate and wrote about this year. Here are the winners:

Mashed Avocado with Watermelon Radish, Sprouts, Grape Seed Oil, Red Pepper Flakes and Lemon on Pumpernickel from Alfred Coffee (it’s only served in the Silver Lake location)

10. Avocado Toast from Alfred Coffee. Although usually referred to as a vegetable, an avocado is actually a fruit. This fruit and bread combo is the best in the City.

Brown Butter Mochi from Porridge + Puffs

9. Brown Butter Mochi from Porridge and Puffs. “Aloha” is Hawaiian for hello, goodbye and love. I aloha this dessert.

Focaccia from Triple Beam Pizza (and served at Hippo)

8. Focaccia from Triple Beam Pizza. Saying that a delicious, can’t-get-enough-of-it food is “like crack” is the most overused expression in food bloggerdom. This focaccia bread is like heroin.

Sweet Corn Cappellacci with Funghi Misti and Fresh Thyme from Hippo

7. Sweet Corn Cappellacci from Hippo. Q: What does corn say when it receives a compliment? A: Aw, shucks. The Corn Cappellacci at Hippo is much better than this joke.

Iceberg Salad with Grilled Thick Cut Smoke Bacon and Danish Blue Cheese from APL

6. Iceberg Salad from APL. This is the first time a salad has made my annual list. But in all fairness, it’s basically a giant, thick slice of smoked bacon and gobs of incredible Danish blue cheese, accompanied by some lettuce.

Fried Chicken from Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

4 (tie). Fried Chicken from Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. Three words: Finger. Lickin’. Great.

Smokey Frid Chicken from Plan Check Kitchen + Bar

4. (tie). Smokey Fried Chicken from Plan Check Kitchen + Bar. Also finger lickin’ great.

Morning Bun from Tartine Sycamore

3. Morning Bun from Tartine Sycamore. I agree with Ellen Degeneres who said “I don’t think I really need buns of steel; I’d be happy with buns of cinnamon.” While Tartine Manufactory closed this month, these awesome buns of cinnamon, caramelized sugar and orange zest can still be found in LA at sister restaurant Tartine Sycamore.

Pastrami Reuben from Freedman’s

2. Pastrami Rueben from Freedman’s. I love Ruebens so much that I married one (although technically my wife’s maiden name is spelled Rubin). This Pastrami Rueben is not as good as my wife, but is pretty awesome nonetheless.

Dry Aged Tomahawk Chop from APL

1 . Dry Aged Tomahawk Chop from APL. Smells like foie gras. Tastes like truffles. Costs a fortune but worth every penny. It’s the best thing that I consumed and wrote about in 2019.

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Filed under Downtown, Echo Park, Highland Park, HIstoric Filipino Town, Hollywood, Mid-City, Santa Monica, Silverlake, West LA

10 Best Fried Chicken Joints in LA


There is no better comfort food than fried chicken. Crispy and unctuous on the outside and hot and juicy on the inside, it makes you forget your troubles with every bite.

However, all fried chicken is not created equal. In our sprawling metropolis, there are several blue-ribbon eateries producing truly exceptional finger-lickin’-goodness that stands out from the rest. After conducting years of extensive research on the topic, here are my top 10 favorites:

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken

#1 (tie) Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (1262 Crenshaw Blvd in Mid-City Los Angeles, 509 S Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, and 2580 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach). Gus’s, a small chain originating in Tennesee, serves Memphis-style spicy fried chicken which is perfect in every way. Served atop a slice of white bread, these insanely amazing drumsticks, wings, thighs and breasts are accompanied by traditional Southern sides such as mac n cheese, greens and baked beans.

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar

#1 (tie) Plan Check Kitchen + Bar (1800 Sawtelle Blvd in West LA, 351 N Fairfax Ave in Mid-City LA, 1401 Ocean Ave #104 in Santa Monica, and 1111 Wilshire Blvd in the Westlake district adjacent to Downtown). While Gus’s fried chicken is a traditional Southern type, the other top winner on my list, the Smokey Fried Chicken at Plan Check, is the opposite. It’s an elevated gourmet version of the dish marinated in buttermilk brine, fried in beef tallow and severed with Smoked Milk Gravy, Yam Preserves and Spicy Pickled Okra. It’s my favorite dish on the menu and real show-stopper.

Howlin’ Ray’s

#3 Howlin’ Ray’s (727 N Broadway #128, Los Angeles in Chinatown/Downtown). Located amid the souvenir shops and Chinese herb merchants in the Far East Plaza in Chinatown, Howlin’ Rays serves Nashville-style Hot Chicken. This place is so popular — and so incredibly good — that the wait in line can often take two hours or more. I don’t love waiting in lines, but this place is definitely worth it.

OB Bear

#4 OB Bear (3002 W 7th St, Los Angeles in Koreatown). This tavern in K-town serves the most awesome Korean fried chicken. Enjoy it with pickled radish, cabbage salad, a seafood leek pancake and a couple of nice cold Korean beers.

Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken

#5 Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken (9537 Culver Blvd, Culver City). This Culver City mainstay serves expertly cooked and super yummy Southern-style fried chicken made with high-end ingredients. I order mine with biscuits, honey, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Dave’s Hot Chicken

#5 Dave’s Hot Chicken (970 N Western Ave, Los Angeles in East Hollywood). Spice is the name of the game at Dave’s and if you love your chicken eye-tearing, lip-burning, brow-sweating spicy, then this is the place for you. But even if you wimp out and order your bird mild, you will be impressed with the deliciously seasoned Nashville-style chicken.

Golden Bird

#7 Golden Bird (8300 S Western Ave in Inglewood, 2847 Crenshaw Blvd in West Adams, and 13501 S Avalon Blvd in Gardena). This Southern fried chicken chain in South LA is a sentimental favorite of many Angelenos and has been serving delicious fried chicken and soul food sides and desserts (including Sweet Potato Pie and 7-Up Cake!) since 1953. The mouth-watering batter here reminds me of my personal childhood favorite, Pioneer Chicken.

Pikunico

#8 Pikunico (767 S Alameda St Suite 122, Los Angeles in Downtown). Newly opened in the uber-hot Row DTLA complex, Pikunico serves excellent gourmet Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken) which is free range, gluten-free and made with locally sources ingredients. It’s served with house-made assorted pickles, three gourmet sauces (Daikon Ponzu Oroshi, Lemon Aioli, and Parsley Sesame Sauce) and your choice of Ginger Onigiri or Fingerling Fries.

Dinah’s Family Restaurant

#9 Dinah’s Family Restaurant (6521 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles in Westchester). This old school diner is an LA institution famous for their fried chicken (as well as their giant German pancakes). It’s perfect for a meal of fried chicken and waffles or as your first stop after landing at nearby LAX.

Anzu Japanese Gourmet

#10 Anzu Japanese Gourmet (11270 La Grange Ave in West LA) Even if you are a frequent visitor to the Japanese restaurants and shops on Sawtelle, you may not be aware of Anzu. Located just off of the main drag, it’s simply a tiny window with very limited seating outside where you can purchase some of the best Japanese fried chicken in the city.

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Filed under Burbank, Chinatown, Culver City, Downtown, East Hollywood, Gardena, Inglewood, Koreatown, Long Beach, Mid-City, Santa Monica, West Adams, West LA, Westchester, Westlake

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2018


It’s that time of year for blogs to make predictions, present year-end wrap-ups and bestow awards. In keeping with the custom, here’s my annual list of the ten best things I ate and wrote about during the past year.

Deep Fried Fluffer Nutter with Fresh Bananas from Black Market Liquor Bar


10. Deep Fried Fluffer Nutter with Fresh Bananas from Black Market Liquor Bar. More chefs need to find ways to incorporate marshmallow fluff into their food.

Hamachi in Monochrome, Sweet Pea in Pastel from Dialogue


9. Hamachi in Monochrome, Sweet Pea in Pastel from Dialouge. Three words: Off. The. Hook.

Pappardelle with Ragu Bolognese “Vecchia Scuola” and Parmigiano Reggiano from Felix


8. Pappardelle with Ragu Bolognese “Vecchia Scuola” and Parmigiano Reggiano from Felix. Q: What do you call a fake noodle? A: An impasta. The Pappardelle at Felix is incredible and deserves better than that joke.

Black Barley “Risotto” with Fermented Black Garlic Tea, Wheat Grass and Fiscalini Cheese Crisp from Kali


7. Black Barley “Risotto” with Fermented Black Garlic Tea, Wheat Grass and Fiscalini Cheese Crisp from Kali. Fermented garlic tea and wheat grass aren’t ingredients that usually come to mind when reminiscing about the best things you’ve eaten during the past year. Surprise!

Butterscotch Budino with Sea Salt and Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies from Pizzeria Mozza/Chi Spacca


6. Butterscotch Budino with Sea Salt and Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies from Pizzeria Mozza/Chi Spacca. Fun fact: the word “Budino” originally referred to a type of medieval sausage. Now it’s just the Italian word for what we Americans call pudding.

Grilled Heritage Pork in Koji, Pickled Daikon and Leek from Shibumi


5. Grilled Heritage Pork in Koji, Pickled Daikon and Leek from Shibumi. Those familiar with this blog knew there was going to be something Japanese on this list and also something on this list which is primarily pork. The exciting news this year is that these two things are combined!

Beef & Bone Marrow Pie from Chi Spacca


4. Beef & Bone Marrow Pie from Chi Spacca. Think about the best pot pie you’ve ever eaten and how much you enjoyed it. Now multiply that feeling by ten.

Momotaro Tomato with Bagna Cauda, Lap Xuong and Creme Fraiche from Here’s Looking at You


3. Momotaro Tomato with Bagna Cauda, Lap Xuong and Creme Fraiche from Here’s Looking at You. A lot of people don’t know that a tomato is actually not a vegetable, but a fruit. This is the best fruit dish in LA.

Peanut Butter Meringue Pie from Pie ‘n Burger


2. Peanut Butter Meringue Pie from Pie ‘n Burger. I have nothing against apple, cherry or pumpkin, but it’s amazing to me that peanut butter is not the most popular pie flavor.

Foie Gras Halva with Creamy Pâté, Date Paste, Black Sesame and Buckwheat Loaf from Bavel


1. Foie Gras Halva with Creamy Pâté, Date Paste, Black Sesame and Buckwheat Loaf from Bavel. This dish combines the flavors of two of my favorite things: fatty goose liver and the the candy you buy at the cashier counter when you leave a Jewish deli. It’s the best thing I consumed and wrote about in 2018.

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Filed under Downtown, Hollywood, Koreatown, Mid-City, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Studio City, Venice

The Post Where I Use a Jewish Holiday Song to Describe a Pork Chop


Every Passover, we Jews sing a thousand-year-old song called “Dayenu,” which roughly translates to “It Would Have Been Enough.” It’s a song of appreciation for all the many gifts granted to us by God, and we sing that just one of such gifts alone would have been enough. Sorry Rabbi, but whenever I dine at Chi Spacca, I think of this song.

Chi Spacca is an upscale Italian steakhouse and their charcuterie plate (called Affettati Misti) is the best in town. All the meats (often including coppa, salami, speck, pancetta and/or lardo) are cured in-house and served with butcher’s pâté and trotter fritti. I recommend dining at Chi Spacca for this salumi board alone. However, my love for the Affettati Misti is nothing compared to my obsessive passion for the Focaccia di Recco. This cripy-edged flatbread is stuffed with salted and fermented mozzarella and baked and served in a special pan imported from Piedmont, Italy. It’s unbelievably amazing.

But I’m just getting started here folks. Chi Spacca serves a Beef and Bone Marrow Pie that is to die for. It’s a rich, golden-crusted beef pot pie with a baked marrow bone coming out of the top. If you go to Chi Spacca and just have the charcuterie, focaccia and pot pie, it would be one your best meals ever. But you would be sorely missing out if you didn’t also get the Tomahawk Pork Chop. This giant chop is rubbed with fennel pollen and then grilled to perfection. It’s easily one of the best pieces of meat I have ever consumed.

And even if you ordered none of the above, a trip to Chi Spacca would be well worth it if you just ordered the Butterscotch Budino with Sea Salt and Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies, a dessert which Chi SPACCA shares with its sister restaurants Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza. This pudding is one of my favorite desserts in the City. Thank you Chi Spacca. DAYENU!

Chi Spacca is located at 6610 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles (on the border between Hollywood and Hancock Park).

Toasted Pane Bianco with Beillevaire Butter

Warm Medjool Dates

Affettati Misti

Razor Clams

Focaccia di Recco

Insalata Primavera with Artichokes, Fennel, Asparagus, Hearts of Palm, Olio Nuovo and Pecorino Toscano

Tomahawk Pork Chop

Butterscotch Budino with Sea Salt and Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies

It’s an intimate restaurant with an open kitchen.

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Filed under Hancock Park, Hollywood, Mid-City