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

PINK’S – BUN BOY’S FINAL BLOG POST! (for now)…

  • December 31, 2014 5:00 am

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I moved to LA in the fall of 2000.

Young, chubby, poorly dressed, totally naïve and constantly hungry.

So much has changed!…..um…well…I’m no longer young!

I’ve watched LA transition from a restaurant wasteland to a foodie paradise. There was a time when it was only diners/delis/dives, archaic steakhouses or the snooty, celebs-only hot spots serving abysmal and overpriced cuisine. I’m talking to you, Il Sole.

Before I moved here, I only knew of two famous LA restaurants. Spago and Pink’s.

While I have since been to Spago multiple times and quite enjoy it, I always considered Pink’s a touristy cluster*** best avoided by locals. Who else but tourists would wait in a line that long for a meal that quite possible will send you straight to the toilet?

Truth be told, I have repeated this exact scenario on (drunken) occasion but Pink’s is never a destination visited on purpose. Call it accidental diarrhea.

Tonight would be different. It was my last week in LA. Finally making the move to the Big Apple after all these years. I wanted my very last blog to pay tribute to LA’s most famous food landmark.

Ok, here’s the thing. The hot dogs aren’t bad. Some of them are even good. Random celebrities like Martha Stewart and Rosie O’Donnell even have a bedazzled dog named after them, topped with various, only-sort-of-gross sounding ingredients.

Some of the hot dog specialties are kind of a joke, where the actual hot dog gets lost in the shuffle.

I ordered the Ozzy Spicy dog, which is covered in cheese sauce, guacamole, grilled onions and chopped tomatoes. Benign sounding enough but it came out looking like “after” not “before”, was the size of my big head and needed a knife and fork to eat.

If one orders a hot dog, one would assume one would want to taste the actual hot dog.

Which is why I never order a Chili Dog (or a chili anything) because the chili takes over.

Love can sometimes take over too, but it’s often less greasy.

Pink’s ghetto, pureed “chili” is no exception. I couldn’t fathom eating this glop on it’s own. It tastes like heirloom chili.

No, that sounds too fancy. How about Hand-Me-Down chili?

Chain letter chili that has been passed around for generations.

Antique chili, sitting in the pot since the 1920′s and the employees keep adding new chili to the mix. Vintage. But not in a good way.

What I do really enjoy about Pink’s is ordering a side of onion rings and a side of nacho cheese sauce in a sort of “Chips and Dip” scenario and going to town. Jalapenos are usually involved somehow. And unlike a threesome, no one is left out here.

We showed up on a Wednesday night, so the wait was only about 15 minutes. If you live in the area and are curious, don’t even bother coming to Pink’s on a weekend.

It’s too bad that you don’t care for hot dogs for breakfast, because that’s the ideal situation for the least amount of wait time.

My dining companions tonight were Thelma and Louise. Both having lived in LA over 25+ years and both never having eaten here. Did I mention they both live close enough to walk? I didn’t? Oh, because you don’t care where they live. You don’t know them. And if you do care, you’re an obsessive stalker.

Many Angelenos find themselves in a similar position, never having been here. And I’m not surprised.

Waiting an hour in a cramped line, surrounded by fanny packs in the blazing sun for a hot dog??

No thanks. I’d rather drink a lukewarm shellfish smoothie. Not even my own, but someone else’s leftover shellfish smoothie. Ok, I need a minute to recover from that.

Best leave Pink’s to the swarms of tourists who also think George Clooney and Julia Roberts are actually hanging out on Hollywood Boulevard. Taking selfies with fans next to their respective stars on the Walk of Fame.

If I were famous, I’d swing down to the Boulevard on occasion just to give the tourists a thrill. And unlike the aggressive Darth Vader or Captain Jack Sparrow who will sexually assault you if you don’t hand over $1 for that sneaky photo you just took, I wouldn’t charge you a dime.

Call it charity. Maybe I could write it off?

It’s been a swell ride eating LA with you, folks. Bun Boy has been my life and moniker for over 5 years. It’s given me a creative outlet and promoted my increasing waistline. I want to give a special thanks to Chesty Morgan, who was my dining companion during a majority of these meals. Chesty, I miss our 35 minute meals.

Another shout out to regular Bun Boy diners: Siegfried and Roy, Captain and Tennille, Sid and Nancy, Barnacle and Whale, and Bonnie and Clyde. And, of course, Thelma and Louise and Sonigram!

I’m not sure how I rank with other food bloggers (or just general fat asses) but I would say I pretty much ate the city of angels UP! With a healthy squirt of Sriracha sauce.

If you want to see what I’m up to in the Big Manzana, feel free to look me up on Instagram as @BunBoyEats or check out my NYC blog: www.bunboyeatsnyc.com which I should start updating more regularly in 2015.

HUGS AND SLOPPY (JOE) KISSES,

BUN BOY

PLEASE NOTE:

I will be keeping this website active indefinitely, as a restaurant reference guide, enjoy!

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Onion Rings

Onion Rings

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Rosie O'Donnell Dog without Chili

Rosie O’Donnell Dog without Chili

Chili Dog

Chili Dog

Chicago Polish Dog

Chicago Polish Dog

Ozzy Spicy Dog

Ozzy Spicy Dog

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EL COMPADRE

  • December 29, 2014 5:02 am

Flaming Margarita

Flaming Margarita

Wanting to continue to revisit old haunts before the move to NYC, I thought it necessary to pay tribute to one of my favorite old school Mexican restaurants in LA, El Compadre.

One of the best things about El Compadre (besides the flaming margaritas and the fact that it’s so dark inside you need your cell phone light to see the menu) is the fact it’s only blocks from my apartment. That’s always a bonus when you can stumble home after a good meal.

The food is traditional fare. Hot ass plate (which you still cannot resist touching) filled like a swimming pool with beans, rice and whatever your entrée is. Tacos, enchiladas, fajitas or burritos. Most likely.

Their Mole Enchiladas are really quite fantastic, they’re enormous, flavorful and the meat is high quality.

As for everything else….well, I didn’t try everything else. But I’m sure it’s great!

The Flaming Margaritas are also a must order. Don’t even bother coming here if you’re in a diet coke mood. They might not even let you in?

If you want kitchy, divey, old school Mexican restaurant décor, a stiff margarita that could also set your hair on fire (literally) and food that’s actualy really good, El Compadre is the place for you.

This place makes another LA favorite, El Coyote, seem like the worst place ever. Bad margaritas, even worse food. El Coyote wishes it could be El Compadre. El Coyote is like the dumpier, sluttier, jealous sister.

El Compadre has been my haunt for 14 years, I now pass it on to you.

7408 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 874-7924
elcompadrerestaurant.com

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Crispy Beef Tacos with rice and beans

Crispy Beef Tacos with rice and beans

God knows what this is.

God knows what this is.

Shrimp Fajitas

Shrimp Fajitas

Mole Enchiladas

Mole Enchiladas

Carnitas

Carnitas

Gonna miss these guys...

Gonna miss these guys…

MUSSO AND FRANK’S

  • December 24, 2014 5:02 am

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Musso and Frank’s is Hollywood’s oldest restaurant.

And I don’t think the menu has changed since they opened. In terms of nostalgia and decor, that’s a good thing.

In terms of the food, not so much.

The food here isn’t great, let’s be honest folks.

In fact, the Welsh Rarebit was one of the grossest dishes I’ve ever paid for. It tasted like rotten cheesey wine soup. Sour and awful. I made myself eat most of it cuz I’m a sadomasochistic cheapskate.

The fact that they offered stuffed celery on the menu amused me so much I had to order it. BLUE CHEESE ALERT! It’s an apocalypse of blue cheese, it’s way too intense to actually be consumed. They also used the palest innards of the celery bunch, not the nice, crisp green stalks. It reminded me of something my grandmother would have noshed on, during the War. When rations were tight. (Except for her blue cheese rations, she probably acquired some extra on the black market).

The Chicken Pot Pie, on the other hand (the daily special) was excellent. Purely by accident, I would assume.

The French Onion soup was also pretty good. It’s because of these two items (and the place is charming, that I was generous to give it two Buns).

The waiters are old as Methuselah (but nicer. I think Methuselah was a real b*tch) so the dining process may take a tad longer than average.

Come here for cocktails and the pot pie and call it a day. Let’s face it, if you’re coming here, you’re probably a tourist and more likely to drink during the afternoon anyhow. So, welcome to Hollywood, folks! This place is what it’s all about.

Musso and Frank’s IS Hollywood.

Pretty old, a little gross and a little dirty but a good time can still be found here. As long as you’re drinking.

6667 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 467-7788
mussoandfrank.com

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French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

Stuffed Celery

Stuffed Celery

Chicken Pot Pie - Thursday's Special

Chicken Pot Pie – Thursday’s Special

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit

Flannel Cakes with Strawberries and Cream

Flannel Cakes with Strawberries and Cream

GJELINA

  • December 22, 2014 5:11 am

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Gjelina is most certainly in my top 10 LA restaurants. I’ve been here 3 times for crying out loud, and I just don’t do that.

If I’m sacrificing a new Bun Boy blog entry for a repeat restaurant visit, the place better be damn good.

And Gjelina, thankfully, is not just damn good, but effing good. Sorry mom, but harsh language was vital in making my important point.

I never branch out here, I don’t ever explore the menu. I always get a pizza. The pizzas are some of the best in LA.

Super thin, airy crust, a nice char on the outer edges. Excellent, tasty toppings. The kind of pizza you could demonically devour in minutes while feverishly slapping away anyone’s attempts at grabbing a slice. Gjelina’s pizza turns you into an starving animal, it’s a fact.

The last time I was here I also ordered two other necessary dishes that I ended up ordering again this time.

The Kale salad is simple and very tasty and sorta kinda makes up for the fact that you’re about to shove an entire pizza down your gross gullet.

However, you’re going to throw all that down the tubes when you finish your meal at Gjelina (I do have a few, tiny issues with the name) with the absolutely crucial Butterscotch Pot de crème.

It’s even better than Mozza’s Butterscotch Budino! Honest! (It’s slightly thicker, so takes longer to eat).

I firmly believe it’s my favorite dessert in LA. After careful consideration. Seriously, folks. Also, don’t forget to ask for the incredible olive table bread. It’s…well…incredible.

This Venice hotspot is still one of the busiest, trendiest restaurants in LA and please don’t be dissuaded when Gwyneth Paltrow say’s its one of her favs.

Just make sure you don’t show up without a reservation (annoying wait) and maybe even say you’re John or Jane Paltrow and see if that gets you a better table.

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 450-1429
gjelina.com

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Olive Bread

Olive Bread

Tuscan Kale, shaved fennel, radish, lemon, ricotta salata and breadcrumbs

Tuscan Kale, shaved fennel, radish, lemon, ricotta salata and breadcrumbs

Grilled Bok Choy, white wine, shallots, garlic and bottarga

Grilled Bok Choy, white wine, shallots, garlic and bottarga

Roasted Fennel, blood orange, chili and fennel pollen

Roasted Fennel, blood orange, chili and fennel pollen

Guanciale Pizza, green olive, fresno chili, mozzarella

Guanciale Pizza, green olive, fresno chili, mozzarella

Pizza condiments

Pizza condiments

Butterscotch Pot de Crème

Butterscotch Pot de Crème

CHENGDU TASTE

  • December 19, 2014 5:24 am

If this sight frightens you, don't come here.

If this sight frightens you, don’t come here.

Chengdu Taste is just too popular for it’s own good.

If you’re tired of the traditional SGV Chinese fare and looking to take a walk on the wild (entrails) side, than Chengdu is for you.

But you’re gonna wait HOURS for it. No joke.

As this was our third restaurant of the afternoon, the 5 of us only ordered 3 dishes, some of their most popular Szechuan items.

The best dish of the day was the Toothpick Lamb. Small chunks of spicy cumin lamb skewered on toothpicks for easy snacking. This would be a great appetizer for a dinner party. If you had 17 hours to prepare it.

It was super tasty and perfectly spiced. But you have to like lamb. Obvi.

We ordered the Spicy Mung Bean Noodle dish, which was slimy as hell but had a nice spicy kick. If you don’t mind the texture, this fairly inexpensive dish is good for sharing with your adventurous friends.

We ended our meal and our day with a crazy looking dish.

Fish Soup would be the simple way of describing it (the menu calls it Boiled Fish in Green Sauce) but it’s a ginormous vat of fish in a somewhat oily broth absolutely blanketed with peppercorns and sliced chilies. It’s quite the sight!

The fish (just push aside the fins and fish heads if you’re not interested) is quite tasty and perfectly cooked and the broth has a wonderful flavor. Don’t let it’s appearance frighten you.

FYI, only one of us liked the Plum Juice. It tasted like BBQ sauce.

All in all, I would say this place is fun if you’re in the mood for inventive and spicy and if you don’t mind waiting as long as we did (1.5 hours and we got there after 2 pm on a Saturday). Seriously, the line for this place is out of control. Take note.

828 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 588-2284

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Plum Juice

Plum Juice

Spicy Mung Bean Noodles

Spicy Mung Bean Noodles

Toothpick Lamb

Toothpick Lamb

Boiled Fresh Fish

Boiled Fresh Fish

Thems fish guts in there, FYI.

Thems fish guts in there, FYI.

BEIJING PIE HOUSE

  • December 17, 2014 5:05 am

Lamb and Green Onion Pie (and some spilled food on the table, Chesty Morgan's pet peeve)

Lamb and Green Onion Pie (and some spilled food on the table, Chesty Morgan’s pet peeve)

As a meat pie lover, I knew I had to check out Beijing Pie House before leaving LA.

My review: Meh….

BPH reminded me a bit of Dean Sin World, another Chinese bakery and pastry shop nearby. Many of the dishes tasted stale and the entire place needed a good hose down.

Don’t get me wrong, the Lamb and Green Onion pie was pretty good, actually. But it was like a big dumpling in super thick casing. It kind of sat there, like a lead anvil in my stomach. Traditional dumplings in wonton wrappers are much more satisfying and less intense of a dining experience.

I would have liked a BBQ pork options instead of the steamed, bland meats or some better variety of pies so I really can’t recommend this place over any of the great dumpling spots out there.

Best to just move on and avoid any bathroom issues later on.

I’m assuming Chesty Morgan will leave a comment below stating her dislike for this place. Check below to see if she takes the bait!

846 E Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
(626) 288-3818

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Some food tastes better when you don't have to smell it.

Some food tastes better when you don’t have to smell it.

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Mixed Vegetable Pie

Mixed Vegetable Pie

Juicy Pork Dumplings

Juicy Pork Dumplings

MAMA LU’S DUMPLING HOUSE

  • December 15, 2014 5:56 am

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Because food crawls are one of my very favorite things to do, I decided to enlist my friends for one last trip to the San Gabriel Valley for visits to 3 Chinese restaurants. Because I’m a big ‘ole pig and want others to help deflect the said pigginess.

Mama Lu’s was the first on our list. Specializing in dumplings, of course. Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) more specifically.

These were quite delicious. I think we all agreed that Wang Xing Ji was slightly better, these were pretty awesome too. Flavors and wonton skins were all spot on. Watch out, they WILL burn your mouth straight off your face. Wait a few seconds before devouring.

The Beef Roll was probably the favorite dish. Loved the mysterious sweetness which offsets the beef and cilantro wrapped in a delicious fried pancake. What’s not to love?

The Fried Pork Buns were great but not as good as the dumplings or beef rolls.

The Beef Chow Fun was a little too simple in flavor, I would have liked more seasoning or a spicy element. It was just a huge plate of soy sauce noodles. Which I still ate a ton of.

Mama Lu’s is a more upscale, very clean spot for some very tasty Chinese food….our next stop would be a slight downgrade….

501 W Garvey Ave
Ste 101-103
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 282-2256

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 Fried Pork Buns

Fried Pork Buns

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Beef Roll

Beef Roll

Vegetable Dumplings

Vegetable Dumplings

Xiao Long Bao - Juicy Pork Dumplings

Xiao Long Bao – Pork Soup Dumplings

Beef Chow Fun

Beef Chow Fun

TOI ON SUNSET

  • December 11, 2014 5:07 am

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Toi was another one of the first restaurants I was a regular at when I first moved to LA. Before I started this whole Bun Boy thang and stopped visiting the same restaurant twice.

It’s basically traditional Thai in a rock ‘n roll setting. Its grungy décor, including tons of posters of rock and punk bands, seems like something one would see in Seattle or Portland.

It was my last week in LA before my big move to NYC so I wanted to experience Toi one last time. As well as see my good friend and fellow apartment building resident, J3, who was one of my first LA friends when I moved here 14 years ago. When our building was more like Melrose Place and I had hair.

I love that Toi is still here after all these years. Like an old, sort of smelly friend. Who may or may not be occasionally homeless. But who also happens to make you incredible Thai food and the best black rice you’ll ever have (they call it brown, but it’s clearly not). Not sure where this homeless friend gets their ingredients, but best not to think about that.

They have a top notch Red Curry, definitely a must order. That’s the best way to experience that heavenly black rice.

Their noodles are also amazing. I found the Pad Thai and the Thai Spaghetti to be very similar in flavor, either one will not disappoint. Perhaps the Thai Spaghetti is a bit more unique.

Service is very friendly and very casual, your server will look like he/she is in a band. He/She probably is.

They have a great happy hour from 4-7 pm where tasty Asian beers and sake are only $3 bucks.

Toi is a must see LA staple, no matter where you live. Even if you live in Seattle or Portland, you should still consider a road trip. And maybe a good dose of sunshine wouldn’t kill you either, you craft-beer loving vampire.

7505 1/2 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 874-8062
toirockinthaifood.com

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Special Brown Rice

Special Brown Rice

Red Duck Curry

Red Duck Curry

Thai Spaghetti

Thai Spaghetti

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

ASTRO BURGER

  • December 10, 2014 5:29 am

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I’m not sure if Astro Burger was my very first meal in LA, but it was one of the first.

Being a mere blocks from my West Hollywood apartment, Astro Burger felt my presence on many occasions. Often times, without my recollection.

I always order the same thing. Cheeseburger and Onion Rings. They have the best O-Rings in LA. Hands down.

It’s supposed to be a 50′s throwback diner but the mini jukeboxes next to each table are untouched. It’s always deathly silent inside. Almost depressing.

But I rarely eat there. I take my sh*t TO-GO! I don’t need to hear the horrific sounds of my own chewing.

Astro’s burgers are a thin patty with shredded lettuce and thousand island. Old school. Just how I like it.

They also have incredible chocolate milkshakes.

Even when I’m moved far away from Weho, Astro Burger will always have a little place in my overweight heart.

7475 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 874-8041

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Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

Onion Rings

Onion Rings

SPAGO

  • December 8, 2014 4:16 am

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Before I moved to LA, I know about the existence of Spago.

That was a time when LA’s restaurant scene was kind of pathetic. We had our historic dives like El Coyote or Miceli’s and we had our exclusive hot spots for the celebs or the rich.

Fine dining was not yet for the masses.

Over the past 7 or 8 years, things have dramatically changed. LA’s restaurant scene exploded. We had a ton of new chefs open a ton of great restaurants. And best of all. You didn’t need to be sport an ascot or a trust fund to take part.

Spago may still think of itself as a snooty establishment but I know better. I’ve been to pretty much every nice restaurant and I know better. I belong here just as much as I belong at a burger joint.

And I don’t care one bit that you seat me at the sh*ttiest table because I’m not famous. I love the sound of crashing dishes coming from the kitchen.

Ok, diatribe over.

Spago is Wolfgang’s most famous restaurant and often times he’s there, saying hi to everyone. Tonight was NOT one of those nights, sadly.

I’ve been personally served by Chef Ludo and Chef Curtis Stone but Mr. Puck thought he was too good to bring me my delicious Salmon or the incredible Stuffed Squash Blossoms. Sorry I’m not Brad Pitt, sir but I’m spending just as much money.

Service started out really efficient but then things kind of slowed down as the evening progressed. Getting our check ended up being a daunting task.

The total cost of our meal was $100 a person and we only drank tap water. So bring your shekels and your flasks.

Overall, dining at Spago is a fabulous, must-do experience if you’re ready for it. Hopefully I’ve done my part to help you. The rest is up to you.

176 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 385-0880
http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3635

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Table Bread

Table Bread

Potato-Bacon Terrine, Comte Cheese, Mushroom Puree

Potato-Bacon Terrine, Comte Cheese, Mushroom Puree

Crispy Squash Blossoms, goat cheese, basil

Crispy Squash Blossoms, goat cheese, basil

Braised Beef Short Rib Tortellini, red wine mushroom reduction, pecorino

Braised Beef Short Rib Tortellini, red wine mushroom reduction, pecorino

Homemade Agnolotti, English peas, Marscapone, parmesan

Homemade Agnolotti, English peas, Marscapone, parmesan

Grilled Lamb Rack, Eggplant Caviar, Falafel Macaroons, Harissa Aioli, cucumber raita

Grilled Lamb Rack, Eggplant Caviar, Falafel Macaroons, Harissa Aioli, cucumber raita

Seared Scottish Salmon, Sweet English Peas, Bacon, Wild Ramps, Yellow-Foot Mushrooms

Seared Scottish Salmon, Sweet English Peas, Bacon, Wild Ramps, Yellow-Foot Mushrooms

Black and White Souffle

Black and White Souffle