Bun Boy Eats LA
BUN BOY EATS LA – Bun Boy Eats LA

DOMINICK’S

  • November 28, 2014 5:06 am

Chicken Parmesan - Dissection

Chicken Parmesan – Dissection

Dominick’s is an old school Italian restaurant that’s been in LA since the late 40′s (right across the street from Cedars Sinai hospital) that hardly anyone I know has been to.

It’s kind of a forgotten little gem that it appears only Cedar’s patient’s families have been keeping in business.

There is a nice outside courtyard, so try to sit out there if it’s a nice day.

The Squash Blossoms and Rice Balls were both truly tasty starters. The Kale Salad was a bit boring.

It’s a red sauce joint, so order the Spaghetti and Meatballs or Chicken Parmesan.

Although, everyone seemed to truly love the Short Rib special, so take note haters of red sauce.

The service is prompt and friendly and the prices are actually very reasonable for the area and the portions. The chicken parmesan is literally TWO portions.

Sunday Suppers are perfect for the budget-conscious folks. $15 for 3 courses. And several $15 bottles of wine to choose from. They aren’t horrible, either.

8715 Beverly Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
(310) 652-2335
dominicksrestaurant.com

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Rice Balls w/ Mushrooms & Mozzarella

Rice Balls w/ Mushrooms & Mozzarella

Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Black Kale, Pecorino Sardo & 6 minute egg w/Balsamic Vinegar & Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Black Kale, Pecorino Sardo & 6 minute egg w/Balsamic Vinegar & Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Housemade Rigatoni w/ Crispy Eggplant, Fresh Mozzarella & Parmesan

Housemade Rigatoni w/ Crispy Eggplant, Fresh Mozzarella & Parmesan

Short Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Short Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Chicken Parmesan w/ Sauteed Zucchini & Squash

Chicken Parmesan w/ Sauteed Zucchini & Squash

Panna Cotta with apples and pecans

Panna Cotta with apples and pecans

TIKI INVASION! – Bahooka * Tonga Hut * Tiki Ti

  • November 27, 2014 5:32 am

Scorpion Bowl - Tonga Hut

Scorpion Bowl – Tonga Hut

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE ALL THINGS TIKI (so much I had to capitalize the sentence).

My very first apartment was an enormous, Hawaiian themed complex in Washington state called Kona Village, replete with two enormous tiki statues standing guard out front (see below). Click here to read about it’s eventual dramatic demise.

kona-bldg

I don’t know if I got into Tiki culture as a result of living there, but that is when I first started making vintage cocktails and getting into Exotica music from the 50′s.

When I eventually moved to California, birthplace of the movement, I had to seek out the remaining tiki establishments. Below are three of LA county’s best Tiki treasures.

BAHOOKA

Sadly, I was only able to visit Bahooka on it’s final weekend before demolition, so we weren’t able to snag a table to eat (the wait time was over 2 hours) but we did try a cocktail and wander around this incredible, historic Tiki symposium. Many of Bahooka’s artifacts are going to be displayed in the new Clifton’s Cafeteria. Whenever the hell that opens.

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The younger cell phone obsessed generation just doesn't get Tiki culture. Unless they're all currently Googling what the hell Tiki is.

The younger cell phone obsessed generation just doesn’t get Tiki culture. Unless they’re all currently Googling what the hell Tiki is.

Rufus the fish who eats carrots (and probably small children given the chance)

Rufus the fish who eats carrots (and probably small children given the chance)

TONGA HUT

I’ve only been to North Hollywood’s Tonga Hut once. But I had a blast!

The Scorpion Bowl (featured at the very top) made sure of that! It’s a share with your friends (or not, drunky) tropical cocktail that’s sure to pack a wallop.

The interior is all original late 50′s tiki, super dark (for making out or nursing a hangover) and the cocktails are more in the trendy, mixologist realm. They definitely still taste traditional and go down real quick.

12808 Victory Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91606
(818) 769-0708
tongahut.com

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TIKI TI

Tiki Ti holds a lot of great memories for me, since I’ve hung my fez hat there on quite a few occasions.

It’s a tiny place, the father and son bartenders are also the owners and every year they close the place down when they go on vacation. To an actual real tropical hideaway, hopefully.

It’s cash only, they ONLY serve tropical drinks (no beers or wine) and it gets packed in there. Every delicious drink is served with a wedge of pineapple and a maraschino cherry, in case you were worried about your day’s fruit intake.

Smoking IS allowed inside and everyone does it. Take note. Or take a face mask.

The most famous drink is called Ray’s Mistake. Ray Buhen opened the bar in 1961 (and his son and grandsons have taken over) and poured two wrong syrups into a cocktail, accidentally creating a delicious concoction. The exact recipe is unknown.

The upside to the super tiny space is that you get to (forcibly) meet people as you’re sucking down your Mai Tai a mere centimeters from them, so you really have no choice.

But I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night (or Sunday afternoon). You have my heart, Tiki Ti. And what’s left of my liver.

4427 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 669-9381
tiki-ti.com

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Making the infamous Ooga Booga cocktail

Making the infamous Ooga Booga cocktail

Ray's Mistake / Mai Tai

Ray’s Mistake / Mai Tai

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EL CHATO TACO TRUCK

  • November 26, 2014 5:08 am

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I’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news is of all the taco trucks I’ve been to, the lines here are the longest (I waited about 30 minutes in total) and the tacos here are the smallest and they don’t have a do-it-yourself salsa bar.

The wait was the worst, I can deal with the size and they give you a little salsa portion cup to go.

The good news is the tacos are amazing! I couldn’t believe how much flavor was crammed into literally the one bite it took me to finish each taco. Seriously, these are one bite tacos.

At a typical taco truck, I would say three tacos might suffice but here it’s definitely 4-5. They’re $1 each, so bring $6 so you can leave a tip. They’re really friendly here.

The crowd on Olympic and La Brea (across from the Arco gas station – parking is a bitch) was younger, many looking like college students. So, be prepared to witness a little tomfoolery whilst waiting for your food. When in doubt, keep your head down and just look at your food, grandpa!

The Pastor and the Chorizo were incredible while the Asada was just really good. Either way, you can’t really go wrong.

If you order tacos to-go, they kind of look like a disaster (see the madness which is my photo below), so perhaps get burritos if you’re transporting them elsewhere. Unless you want to piss off your friends. But they’re probably stoned anyway, so who cares.

5300 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(323) 947-3651

Tres Tacos - Asada, Pastor and Chorizo

Tres Tacos – Asada, Pastor and Chorizo

COOKS COUNTY – 2014

  • November 24, 2014 5:02 am

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The last time I went to Cook’s County, I gave it a solid B-. Three Buns, if you will.

The current situation is basically the same. Some items are great, some are just ok.

The best things tonight were the Kale salad and the César Chávez pie (they’ve always done amazing desserts).

The Avocado toast was just ok. I know this appetizer is all the trend now, but there’s an art to this dish.

You don’t just lay a few slices of avocado one some bland toast.

The toast must be delicious and amazing. Toast the sh*t out of it, I want it to appear to have been deep fried in a gallon of butter.

The avocado should be almost guacamole consistency. Add a little salt and flavor there. Drizzle it with olive oil. Do SOMETHING, for crying out loud!

Lemon cream, sadly, doesn’t count. It was a boring dish that was only satisfying because I like avocados and bread.

The Kale salad was excellent! Loved the tiny baby kale leaves that didn’t require hours of chewing like a cow chewing cud. Loved the crispy faro and squash. Huge portion, too!

The Lamb Ribs were truly disappointing. Difficult to eat and very gamey. I love lamb and I don’t think I’ve ever tried it gamey until tonight. Thanks CC.

Chesty Morgan’s fried chicken looked really excellent. She doesn’t do well with the adjectives, but I’m assuming her eating every bite was a good indication.

The mashed potatoes were SO good. Cole slaw and biscuit just so so.

The dessert was the star of the show. Like an apple turnover on crack. But since that’s a stupid expression, let’s just say the poor thing is on a sugar high. The dough was super flight and flakey, each bite covered in sugar. Filled with apples, raisins and a touch of awesome.

There were a half dozen servers milling about but somehow it seemed difficult to get someone’s attention when I actually wanted it. They were all super friendly. But flakey.

Just like that amazing dessert.

8009 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 653-8009
cookscountyrestaurant.com

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Bacon-Wrapped Potato

Bacon-Wrapped Potato

Black kale, butternut squash, farro, pepitas, parmesan & pumpkin seed vinaigrette

Black kale, butternut squash, farro, pepitas, parmesan & pumpkin seed vinaigrette

Avocado Toast with lemon cream

Avocado Toast with lemon cream

Lamb Ribs

Lamb Ribs

Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, cole slaw and biscuit

Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, cole slaw and biscuit

César Chávez pie

César Chávez pie

EL FLAMIN’ TACO TRUCK

  • November 21, 2014 5:55 am

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El Flamin’ is a taco truck near La Brea and Olympic and they have some pretty darn good tacos and mulitas.

I’m obsessed with mulitas right now (like a quesadilla except smaller and made with corn tortillas instead of flour) and not every taco truck has them, sadly. But they should. They should all have them.

The carne asada (chunks of steak) was not the most tender I’ve ever had but the Al Pastor (pork on a spit with pineapple) more than made up for it. Super tasty. Loved the selection of salsas too.

It was also fun to watch the dubbed over “Gone in 60 Seconds” while we consumed our food almost just as quickly.

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The Stoner Menu

The Stoner Menu

Buckets of Salsas!

Buckets of Salsas!

Al Pastor

Al Pastor

Asada Taco

Asada Taco

Pastor Mulita (like a quesadilla with corn tortillas)

Pastor Mulita (like a quesadilla with corn tortillas)

Inside the Mulita

Inside the Mulita

Tacos! - Lengua, Cabeza, Asada, Pastor (not in that order)

Tacos! – Lengua, Cabeza, Asada, Pastor (not in that order)

Veggie Burrito - NOT recommended.

Veggie Burrito – NOT recommended.

FIGUEROA PHILLY

  • November 19, 2014 5:06 am

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Figueroa is a perfectly acceptable Philly Cheesesteak if you live downtown or go to USC. I liked the quality of the meat and the cheese was tasty (wouldn’t mind a bit more). Would I make a road trip for it? No. Boo’s is LA’s best Philly (as Chesty Morgan can attest to) so there’s no need to deviate from perfection.

By the way, Chesty and I ate here AFTER eating a full meal at the nearby Chichen Itza. How gross are we?? Only one restaurant?? Boring!!

Why just eat tacos and a king’s serving of shredded pork when you can also eat a Philly Cheesesteak because your belly isn’t distended nearly enough.

I swear, Bun Boy is gonna be the death of me.

3844 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90037
(213) 748-9073
figueroaphilly.com

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Figueroa Philly Cheesesteak

Figueroa Philly Cheesesteak

CHICHEN ITZA

  • November 17, 2014 5:03 am

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Chichen Itza is a very popular Mexican restaurant (specializing in food from the Yucatan) located in the Mercado La Paloma, near USC downtown.

Mercado La Paloma is like a smaller, Hispanic version of the Grand Central Market. Food and shopping in a bustling atmosphere, all at your greasy fingertips.

Sometimes finding a seat can be difficult, so have a friend go and order (there are other establishments to choose from but Chichen Itza is your best bet) while you wait.

The day we went, there was a DJ playing very loud Tejano music, so take note if you’re planning on taking a date here. Or anyone you care to listen to when they speak. On second thought, this place could be an asset if you need to dine with nagging parents. Chesty, take note.

The Conchinita Pibil is the joint’s most popular dish and it is rich, spicy, satisfying and oh, very spicy. I really enjoyed it! It’s a very oily dish, in case you’re in the mood for something leaner.

The tacos were nice and big and flavorful. The way to go if you’re not as hungry.

If you’re a big fan of Mexican food and enjoy exploring variations of the cuisine, this is the place for you. And it’s near the Natural History Museum, in case you’re feeling like getting some culture up in ya, or just desire a really clean, judgment-free bathroom after all that oily food.

3655 S Grand Ave
Ste C6
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 741-1075
chichenitzarestaurant.com

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Conchinita Pibil

Conchinita Pibil

RAE’S

  • November 14, 2014 5:16 am

Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

Rae’s has been slingin’ slop in Santa Monica since 1958.

Just be careful what you order. The biscuits and gravy are very odd. Can’t put my finger on the weirdness but it’s kind of like a bowl of biscuit and gravy soup. Normally, I would like that situation. If the gravy wasn’t so….weird.

The burger was kind of, sort of (actually, really) BAD. I enjoyed everything about it til we got to the patty. I can appreciate a thin-as-communion-wafer patty but the “meat” was pretty awful. Every bite contained gristly bits. Like biting into the softened and barely seasoned sole of a vintage shoe from a ghetto thrift store. Overall, the meal grossed me out.

As someone who enjoys Taco Bell, I don’t say that often.

On the other hand, the BLT that Grace Slick ordered, was pretty amazing and the steak fries that come with it are quite nice. I know there are a lot of steak fry haters out there and ya’ll can S an F. Maybe 2-3 times a year, steak fries are all I can think about. I dare you to tell me that’s wrong, to my face.

Service is friendly and the setting is cute yet dumpy retro vintage. Cash only but prices are cheap.

In this case, I see why.

In summary, stick with ordering breakfast items (except the biscuit soup) or the BLT and you’ll walk away with a (thousand island dressing covered) smile.

2901 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone number (310) 828-7937

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Biscuits and Gravy - Side order

Biscuits and Gravy – Side order

BLT with Avocado

BLT with Avocado

Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

ATCH-KOTCH

  • November 12, 2014 5:55 am

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I’ve tried most of the ramen in LA, so you’d think I’d have become a ramen snob at this point.

This is not the case.

Atch-Kotch doesn’t get very good reviews on Yelp but it’s been my neighborhood ramen spot for over 10 years. Well, it’s one of Hollywood’s ONLY ramen spots.

During one of my fine few weeks of living in LA, after not having been to AK in years, I wanted to pay one last visit to one of my old haunts.

I know some of the Yelp reviews mention the spotty service but mine was not only super friendly but super fast. I was in and out in record time!

The menu has been updated since I was there all those years ago. They’ve definitely stepped up their ramen game.

They do their own version of Tonkotsu finally and it is really fantastic. The #2 South Sea style ramen is a spicy miso broth that has just the right amount of porky goodness while not disguising the miso. I drank every drop of the amazing, not-too-spicy broth.

The noodles are thick and curly and perfectly cooked. And you get a ton of them.

The chasyu pork is awesome, not too fatty but still melts in your mouth.

I love Atch-Kotch because there’s never anyone eating there. For many, this would be a red flag. But for me, it’s a welcome respite from the hoards of hungry Angelenos out in the real world, crowding for a table at all the trendy new hotspots.

I’m perfectly happy slurping my ramen in peace and quite in my favorite, outdated little strip mall ramen spot with 80′s décor (they’ve finally gotten rid of the Nagel paintings) with only a crappy little radio in the corner playing Richard Marx to keep me company.

“Hold onto the night…” Richard, you said a mouthful.

1253 Vine St
Ste 5
Hollywood, CA 90038
(323) 467-5537

Strip mall on Fountain and Vine

Strip mall on Fountain and Vine

Not a customer was stirring, (and hopefully) not even a mouse.

Not a customer was stirring, (and hopefully) not even a mouse.

South Sea Ramen

South Sea Ramen

La Cabaña

  • November 10, 2014 5:41 am

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La Cabaña has been getting Venice residents drunk and fat since 1963. I’m not a Venice resident but that didn’t stop me from enjoying both food and drink on multiple occasions at this kitchy, fun Mexican restaurant.

The food is perhaps a half-step up from the typical, old-school, molten lava dipped platter filled with beans, rice and mystery meat of your choice before you cram everything into a tortilla and render it unrecognizable as being a foodstuff after you douse it with sour cream and guac.

I mean, you can get that situation here also. But they seem to have a few actual unique recipes that aren’t necessarily drowning in the typical Mexican accoutrements.

The Chile Relleno with chicken is actually on the healthier side. It’s not stuffed with cheese but rather shredded chicken and black beans, sprinkled with just a touch of cotija cheese. It’s also not breaded for those suffering from gluten panic.

The tortillas are definitely hand made and delicious and while the chips and salsa aren’t the best I’ve ever had, that didn’t stop me from consuming far too many.

The Bread Guy’s shrimp fajitas looked great and he loved them but I find fajitas boring (no sauce or cheese!!) so you’ll have to take his word for it.

Margaritas were solid but would have liked a bit less sour mix.

Unless you’re a vampire (the inside is so dark, you’ll spot plenty of (not just elderly) diners holding up their phone lights to view the menu), make sure you sit in the back courtyard. It’s really cute and quaintly decorated in bright murals and strewn with beer ad streamers.

738 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 392-6161
lacabanavenice.com

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Cadilac Margarita

Cadilac Margarita

Shrimp Fajitas

Shrimp Fajitas

Chile Rellenos de Pollo en Tinga

Chile Rellenos de Pollo en Tinga

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