Sunday, July 24, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Tony Burger - Big T w/ Bacon
When I belly up to a burger and start to whale away, I never really give much thought of the makeups of the meat in the patty. In some cases ignorance is bliss, but for Tony Burger, they take pride in their secret “tri-beef” blend. I must say that they are doing something right because it is a delicious burger. They also deep fry their fries twice for extra crispiness. Once you’ve had fries that have been double dipped in the frier, you will not want to go back to the silly single fried fries. Utah is also the land Mormon's, snow, and Karl Malone. But it also the home of 'fry sauce', which to my understanding is one part catsup, two parts mayonnaise, with seasonings too. Good stuff indeed. The unassuming eatery is just a great place to feast on burgers and fries. Tony Burger with its “triple-beef” blend, double-fried fries, is a single standout on the SLC burger scene.
Portillo's - Italian Beef / Hot Dog
There are many great Italian Beef joints in Chicago, but Portillo’s is undisputedly the most successful. Portillo’s does everything well, but the Beef Sandwich is what put them on the map, and is their flagship sandwich. This sandwich is as great as it looks. The same goes for their hoy dogs too.
Sonny Bryans - Frito Pie / BBQ Po Boy
This being my first time to Texas I thought I’d try to take in as much delicious Texas BBQ that I could shove down my throat. Being there for work I was pretty much confined to anything close to the hotel, which in my case was Sonny Bryan’s BBQ. Pulled pork one night, a BBQ po-boy the next and of course the Frito Pie. A bowl filled with Fritos, baked beans, beef brisket, cheese, sour cream, and onions, is the workings of one of my favorite things to eat.. slop. And good slop at that. Despite my limited trip to Dallas, I felt like I got my BBQ fix as I did some serious damage at Sonny Bryan's.
Air Tahiti - In Flight Meal
There are many wonderful foods in the South Pacific, but on a flight from Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands, to Papaete, Tahiti, one meal caught my attention... the inflight meal. It was a club sandwich, crusts cut off, and a meat with a magenta hue which I have never seen the likes of. It was interesting to say the least, and the fact that I was so hungry made it a very memorable meal. Probably the best in-flight meal across the South Pacific that I have ever had in my life.
Taco Bell is probably the best fast food chain when it comes to concocting crazy food creations. The XXL Chalupa was advertised as a fried little beef bucket that stood on its own. However it kind of fell flat. While fast food never looks as advertised, the XXL Chalupa greatly stressed that point. Being so cheap and the fried dough-like shell were two attributes making up for its meager appearance.
Chipotle - Beef Barbacoa Burrito
As far as fast food places go Chipotle is pretty solid. I enjoyed the Beef Barbacoa Burrito which had a nice kick to it. You never have to worry about side orders, when eating one of these burritos, it is one and done. I had a lunch order to go for three people and I was astonished on how heavy the take out bag was with three burritos. It seriously felt like there was a hand weight in the bag. Pound for pound it is a good deal, it’s fresh, and one burrito is a gazillion calories, so it’s good fuel for the bike. Not the most clean burning fuel, and we’ll just leave it at that.
Thai Patio - Crispy Mango Trout - 5273 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA
Anyone who knows Thai Town knows that the best restaurants are in a little mini-mall on Hollywood Blvd between Western and Normandie Ave. My personal favorite is the Thai Patio. I’ve always had very good meals here, but this time around was an epic feast for sure. It’s been loads of work making videos for Greaseweek, but one great by-product of all the work, is my editing buddy and myself have been going on some late night binges. The feast at the Thai Patio was glorious. We started with the seafood fried rice, which two people could have, split, eaten, and called it a night. We paired up the rice with some Rad Nar with beef. Rad Nar is smoked, pan fried noodles with beef, broccoli, and gravy. We finished off the feast with the crown jewel, a deep fried trout with mango and cashews. If you love Thai food you really cannot go wrong with Thai Patio.
Pho 21 - Oxtail Pho Soup - 705 South Western Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90005-3113
With its clear broth and fresh array of leafy greens, sprouts, and onions, Pho soup can be considered kind of healthy and lacking major grease. But add a bowl of flavor filled, rendered down oxtails into the mix and now you have a giant bowl of greasy goodness. Plus you still have all the fresh stuff that you started out with, so it’s a good balance. And a place like Pho 21 serves it up good and cheap 24 hours a day. Oxtail Pho is one of my favorite soups and Pho 21 does it right.
Leo’s Catering - Taco plate - Corner of LaBrea and Venice
Since I have been making videos for the website I have been hanging out with a group of night editors working on cutting various projects for the web and T.V. The one thing that editors working the graveyard shift know how to do best, is seek out great late night eating joints. Leo’s Catering fits the bill for sure. While my city wide taco knowledge still needs improvement, I know when I am upon greatness. Leo’s tacos have that rare ability to make me crave them at any given moment. While the editors and myself try to mix it up with other restaurants, we frequently come back the the bread and butter of Leo’s. Among us, the taco eating record used to be 11. When I decided to break that record I did it with relative ease due to the fact that the tacos are so darn delicious. I ate 12, but I probably could of went up to 15 before trouble would happen. Everything is great, but they are known for their pastor, and they bust out a giant spit of it on the weekends. While I’m a hard shell guy, soft shell tacos are the real deal, and it sure seems like it doesn’t get much better than Leo’s.
Lemongrass Beef Sandwich - Banh Mi Bo Xao
Lemongrass is a popular Vietnamese restaurant in Eagle Rock. It also must be noted that the Vietnamese are some of the most underrated sandwich makers in the world. A former French colony, Vietnam has adopted the baguette, and the Vietnamese have filled it with their local flare. A great fusion of east and west. Take that Kogi Taco truck! With it’s pretty appearance and seemingly fresh and healthy ingredients, the sandwich was still very fulfilling, delicious, and cheap. Good Stuff indeed.
D.K.'s Donuts - Bacon Maple Log - 1614 Santa Monica Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90404
The Bacon Maple Log seems like a no brainer. Bacon on a donut? Why didn’t they think of this years ago? However, the actual offering did not seem to live up to such an avant-garde idea. The bacon was a bit chewy and did not work well with the soft donut. Perhaps if the bacon was hot and greasy I would be singing a different story. This particular log had no cohesion with it’s meaty counterpart. Bacon and maple logs do not exactly meld like macaroni and cheese but then again bacon can really do not wrong. How about a Breakfast Sausage infused Bear Claw? Hmmmmm......
Daikokuya - Ramen Combo - 327 E 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Daikokuya is thee L.A. hotspot when it comes to Ramen. For those who don’t know, real Japanese Ramen is so much more than those 10 cent packages that you get at the supermarket. Real Japanese Ramen is a giant bowl full of flavor, goodness, and culinary surprises. While Daikokuya’s popularity comes at the price of waiting 30-40 minutes for a table, once you’re in there’s no better feeling. Unlike Pho soup which has a clear broth, Ramen soups are very rich and extremely filling. Loaded with al dente noodles, green onion, slices of pork belly and a whole boiled egg, Daikokuya filled me up fast. One great surprise was the fried rice that came with my combo. While it was totally unnecessary, it turned out to one of the best fried rices I have ever had. The giant bowl of soup sloshing around in my stomach induced me into one of the more major food comas that I have been in recent memory.
Bay Cities - The Godmother -1517 Lincoln Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90401
The Godmother may be the best Italian Sub in L.A. This is an extra special treat since there are not that many good second options around town. The meats are great, the giardinera spread gives the sandwich its own identity, and the ciabata bread is fresh yet has a resistance upon biting. Hold this sandwich with a firm grip because things tend to slide around with such a hearty bread. But rest assure that your sandwich is made fresh because there is such a high demand. If you go during the lunch rush you will see exactly what I mean.
Willie’s Grille - 929 S Victory Blvd. Burbank, CA 91502 (Alameda and Victory)
Willies Grill prepares their breakfast burritos like they prepare their pastrami, Big Willies style! What I’m talking about is they chop everything up on the griddle in a medley of breakfast staples; bacon, eggs, cheese, and hash browns. Everything is mixed together so every bite is as consistent as the last. The service is as good as it gets as far as I’m concerned because at Willies they go the extra mile. If you request the cook to throw the burrito back on the griddle to give it a nice toasted outside not only does he comply, but he does it with enthusiasm. “You want it toasted? Yeah man I can toast that bad boy for you!” I love Willies because they are as passionate about making their breakfast burrito as I am eating them. Solidarity Baby! Big Willie’s style.
Whole Foods Market - 12905 Riverside Dr Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Whole Foods is known for having organic, fresh, and overall very good food. However, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put humpty dumpty back together again. The lady behind the service counter went to the breakfast bar, gathered all the items (eggs, salsa, bacon, etc), came back to the counter, and rolled it into a tortilla. There was no mixing, melding, and or marrying of ingredients. Sports franchises often make the same mistake. Franchise owners can pay a ton of money for high profile free agents, but if they don’t gel together as a team, ultimately they are not going to win. This breakfast burrito contained all good stuff, but everything was clashing, instead of working together as a cohesive unit. The kicker was the lady rolled up the tortilla like a kid rolls up a clay snake, terrible! Or maybe the kicker was the $9 price tag. Yikes! I must note the Whole Foods breakfast burrito dining experience was graded a bit tough because it was my second breakfast burrito of the morning.
Twin Castle - 4400 Vineland Ave. North Hollywood, CA 91602 (Moorpark and Vineland)
The Twin Castle Burrito was alright. Nothing special. They didn’t do anything wrong either. It came with that rooster sauce on the side. It was the first time I had it on a burrito. It gave it a nice bite. Despite my bad attitude, the breakfast burrito was better than I expected. The atmosphere on the other hand was depressing. A laundry mat on one side, Monday morning traffic on the other, and power lines festooning the skies above is not exactly God’s country, but rather a sobering reminder that you are in The Valley. It was not helping with the overall experience. There was a scraggly looking fellow sitting on the neighboring bench who seemed not to be all there. He was probably thinking the same thing about me. I was glad to get on with my day. That’s all.