Bun Boy Eats LA
BUN BOY EATS LA - Archives for 2009 May

ATCH-KOTCH

  • May 30, 2009 1:22 pm

No, this was NOT on the menu

No, this was NOT on the menu

So, I’m dogsitting for two separate owner’s dogs this week. The dog I just finished watched was an ancient Bull Terrier named Stella, currently featured above with the missing eyes. This retired Spuds MacKenzie is so old, I have to carry her back to the pool so she can pee. Poor thing.

The other dog I’m currently watching, Lucky, hates the male species. So, I have to always speak in a female voice and keep my body turned sideways as to avoid a potential lunge at the groin.

In order to avoid a mauling, I accepted my friend K.C.’s invitation last night to go to our local neighborhood noodle house, Atch-Kotch, for a nice bowl of ramen. I used to go here all the time when I first moved to LA. I love it.

For those of you who haven’t been to a Japanese noodle house, this is not a sushi restaurant. They do have some sushi here, but their focus are the soups and cooked items. Three cheers for cooked items! Also, the ramen is completely different from Cup o Noodles. A thousand times better. And perhaps containing 11,250 less grams of sodium.

This place is very basic, inexpensive, and quiet. I’ve never seen more than two tables filled with people. In fact, if you go and see the place hopping, feel free to email me, as I’ll surely die of shock. The theme here is black. 80’s black. Nagel beauty shop painting black.

I ordered the small bowl of miso ramen soup. ($5 bucks, people. Can’t beat that) Now, the small bowl is not like your small bowl of broccoli cheddar soup at Denny’s. This is a big ass bowl and I’ve NEVER been able to finish the large one. You don’t want to take leftover soup home with you, the next day it’s unrecognizable. We ordered an amazing veggie tempura cake (I don’t think it’s even on the menu) and some gyoza to go with it. Top it off with a great Japanese beer and you’ve got the perfect casual friday night.

Afterwards, my friend’s boyfriend (we’ll call him “S”) needed some sour candy, STAT! So, we swung by a liquor store to quench his odd thirst. Heroin junkies crave candy, right? Hmm…

1253 Vine St Ste 5 / and Fountain
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 467-5537

UPDATE: Here’s Lucky!

MADEO

  • May 29, 2009 1:17 am

This place is old school.

A school I was never granted acceptance into. And who’s tuition I could not afford.

However, this didn’t prevent me from devouring the best damn Spaghetti alla Bolognese I’ve ever had. Wow, was I impressed.

Animal lovers, don’t hate me. The sauce contained veal. I didn’t know! (a lie, I knew but thought the rich flavor was worth the suffering of an innocent….Not true at all!….I’m so torn!!)

OK, enough with the schizophrenia!

Madeo is filled with high rollers, head honcho’s, the wheeler’s and dealers. And this afternoon, my friend and I (my friend, the bread expert) were allowed access.

Now, I walk away from this slightly pretentious, good ole boys lunch with some high pasta praise. My friend, N.R. however, can only complain about the horrendous bread. I didn’t notice, I thought it was fine. My friend almost became visibly belligerent. I was ready to ask the 12 waitstaff on guard near our table for a blow dart sedative!

For the layman, at Madeo you’ll encounter a place for the rich folk, with very pleasant and plentiful waiters at your disposal, a nearly $30 plate of pasta (which only you will scoff at, as everyone else around you will be expensing theirs) and a basket of bread which you will probably like regardless what my semi-psychotic pal says.

8897 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(310) 859-0242

UPDATE: I just realized my picture portrays a tiny portion. This is not the case. I’m a big pig, and this was plenty. The plate was just the size of my car. It’s all relative, folks.

Susan Feniger’s STREET

  • May 28, 2009 1:21 pm

I LOVE YOU SUSAN FENIGER!!

First of all, I would like to comment on the fact that my food pictures do NOT seem to be improving. I apologize to you. All four of you.

Back to Susan. YEAH SUSAN!! This place, which is basically the hottest restaurant in LA right now, was INCREDIBLE. Even the one dish i didn’t absolutely fall in love with, I still quite enjoyed.

We arrived at our reservation time, Wednesday at 8:30. Our waitress apologized saying, basically, no one was getting their asses out of the joint, and that there would be a slight wait for our table.

We went to the bar for a drink, they have a limited wine menu (but a full bar), however, the wine and beer we got were both quite nice. Their beers can range from $6 to $24 for a large one however. Refreshingly, I did not see a “Miller Lite” hanging out on the menu.

After about 25 minutes or so, we were seated. The service was excellent. Susan Feniger was there racing around, completely in the mix. Always smiling. Serving customers, making sure everyone was all right, making everyone felt like a VIP. Susan is part of the chef team behind Border Grill and Ciudad, both highly acclaimed latin-tinged restaurants.

Street’s basic concept is upscale street vendor food from around the world. Mostly India, Thailand, Korea, and Egypt. Most of the available dishes are appetizer portions, so you go there to get a bunch of smaller dishes and share.

We ordered the famous Kaya Toast. Wow, what an odd, kooky thing to taste so insanely good. It’s basically mini toasted sandwiches filled with coconut jam served alongside a fried egg topped with soy and pepper which you dip the sandwich in. Sounds weird but SO good.

WHY DID THE FONT TURN ORANGE?? I HATE COMPUTERS!!

We also got the Moldavian meatballs (order these when you go, or else), the Cantonese white radish cakes (these were good but not amazing – get the Cuban stuffed potato cake instead which my waiter said would be too rich. Too rich? I LOVE too rich, jerk. Kidding) and the mung bean pancakes.

The latter was my favorite. God knows what the hell a mung bean is, but I’m the first to tell ya, I like my mung beans well mung*. Which these were and more! Especially since it was slathered in pork product!

*Pun courtesy of D.M.

We split the Egyptian fish, so many flavors going on. They all meld together excellently. The portion was large for the $26 price tag, it was definitely plenty for two. So we had enough room for the Egyptian Basbousa cake, which is this lime soaked cake topped with lime curd and cream (three cheers for lime) and topped with raspberries and blackberries. My guest, M.D. does not like blackberries. Darn, I was forced to finish the desert myself.

Now, this place isn’t cheap. You’re probably not gonna walk out of there under $50 a person, unless you don’t drink. But if you don’t drink, you might not like waiting for your table. Even if you don’t drink, maybe you should just have one. I’m sure that’s an AA mantra, right?

742 N. Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 203-0500
www.eatatstreet.com

Bloggers Choice Awards – Vote for me!

  • May 28, 2009 1:43 am

Just as an experiment, I want to see if I can win in this category.

My site was nominated for Best Food Blog!

Pleas sign up and vote for me. If I win, I’ll mail you $20 bucks*

*a lie

(Joke courtesy of G.P.)

LE SAIGON

  • May 27, 2009 2:23 pm

Here we go. This is the stuff. This is the joint.

This is my favorite restaurant in Los Angeles.

I’ve been here at least 75 times over the past few years. I used to go at least once a week, I was almost in need of a Vietnamese intervention.

Now, I could live solely on Asian cuisine. Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean and Japanese. In that order. Write that down. You’ll be tested.

I’ve only been to four Vietnamese restaurants in LA. I’ve not branched out, I admit. I just hate being disappointed. There is no Pho broth like Le Saigon’s.

You don’t want to be around me when I eat Pho. It’s a bit stomach turning. Let’s just say, I perspire. A lot. The table will soon be covered in damp napkins, like snow on a field. I get hot at the drop of a hat, as it is. I keep a fan blowing on my face all day at work. I sleep with a fan on me. Pho would not be my ideal meal to eat on a date.

What I ate yesterday was the make your own spring roll platter, if you will. You get all the meat, veggies, lettuce and herbs and the moistened rice paper and you roll your own. Nice. It always is enough for two meals.

However, usually I alternate between the Pho and the noodle dishes (Bun) when I go. The fresh herbs and julienne vegetables are flavorful and usually pristine.

I did see a microscopic wriggling worm on my mint leaf today. That did not stop me from continuing to consume at a rapid pace. I just discarded the leaf without a second thought.

Is that a deal breaker for you guys? Come on! It was so tiny. If we only knew all the woodland creatures that were hanging out in our salads!

11611 Santa Monica BLVD
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 312-2929

FIESTA HERMOSA – Arts and Crafts Fair

  • May 27, 2009 12:56 am

RANDOM TANGENT ALERT!

I love to drive fast. There’s no other semi-legal feeling like it.

Except maybe being the first one to use toilet at work in the morning. Ah, seeing that pristine, unused toilet seat perched joyfully upwards…

I’m only bringing this up because I just got to work, having done so, and am still riding the wave of exhilaration.

Of course, there’s a mild humiliation when the snail-paced drivers you’ve previously passed end up right next to you at the stop light. So when people scoff “Well well, jerk. Where did driving like that get you??” I reply “Who gives a shit? Even if a blaring red light lies before me only 300 feet, as long as the street is bare, I’m gonna gun it. It’s fun. Old ladies and squirrels beware. Actually, I would rather cause a 15 car pile up before hitting an animal. The old ladies, however…”

MY RANT IS OVER, NOW BACK TO THE FAIR. (oops, sorry to yell)

We went to Fiesta Hermosa on Memorial Day. It’s toted as the largest arts and crafts fair in Southern California. (and, perhaps, the only one?)

There was a strange mix of folks there. Beach thugs, hippies, preppies, homeless, the perpetually sun burned bar flies, and us. Our friend, M.S. made an audible comment along the lines of “This sure is a weird crowd” to which some pseudo hippy chic in front of us rebuffed “Thanks. I’ll take that as a compliment”

We weren’t referring to her, of course. For, if we were, we would have used the words “nosey” and “annoying” instead.

Basically, it was like an enormous street party, filled with stands selling clothing, jewelry, food, and the obligatory beer garden and Bon Jovi cover band. Oh and a petting zoo. Of course.

I ate a polish sausage. It was tasty but the picture turned out crappy. The hot dog was ginormous, but it now appears to be hiding. The funnel cake pic looked much better so I lovingly placed it on the top of this blog.

Some strange guy sat at our table, as if he knew us. He had rolled up his polyester pants up, as it was a bit muggy out. After all, polyester is the best material for the beach. Thinking back, thank god he was there, if only to finish our last bite of hot dog. He probably would have finished the last bite of our fish taco if we hadn’t put all of our trash on top of it. I swear I could see him wince when we did that.

CUBA LIBRE

  • May 25, 2009 6:36 pm

It’s been a long weekend. A long weekend of drinking, that is. Sorry, Mom.

I’m gonna make this short.

We went here on Friday night, knowing only that we wanted to go somewhere in the Los Feliz area. We were kind of wandering aimlessly until we found a good place. Making eyes with actresses Kristen Bell and Kelly Lynch on the way. I.H. was pissed she did not see Kristen. Almost a night ruiner for her. In fact, I should check in with her. She may still be pissed.

Cuba Libre was dead. Not a good sign. Across the street, Figaro Cafe was jam packed and jelly tight as my friend J.B. says.

The folks inside Cuba Libre were very nice, they almost begged us to come in. We did. The all night happy hour enticed us.

I ordered the Mango Avocado Jicama salad and Chicken Empanadas. Both were excellent. J.B. and D.M. split some pork dish which was also quite tasty. The meat was very tender. I.H. ordered the popcorn shrimp and plantains.

Too make a long story boring, everything we ordered was great. Not life changing, but I would go back if I had nothing better to do. Plus, I feel bad they never seem to have many customers. Of course, I’m basing this on the ONE time I’ve been there and not knowing anyone who’s ever been there.

1745 N. Vermont
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 661-5900

BLOSSOM

  • May 22, 2009 6:14 am

There was a period recently when I was going to a particular Vietnamese restaurant (Le Saigon) at least once a week. I rarely venture out to new Vietnamese places partly because this joint is so good! I’m usually disappointed in the newbies.

Blossom is located downtown on a nice strip of Main street. Now, the funny thing about downtown is that one block can be filled with cool restaurants, fun bars and people not clearly out of their gourd on drugs. Then, you turn a corner and it’s Shanty Town Avenue.

This is unfortunate because downtown Los Angeles has so much potential and contains some of the coolest bars I’ve ever been to. If you ever have a chance to visit the Golden Gopher, please do so.

Anyhow, I ordered the Pho (beef noodle soup). I always have to get this at new Vietnamese places, as this is their signature dish. If they screw it up, it does not bode well for their other menu items. Well, this was a good soup. It was not as good as Le Saigon in West LA, which is my go to place. The broth was a bit blander. With Pho, the broth is almost everything.

Two of the peeps I was with (coming directly from the Lakers playoff game) ordered a Bun dish, a dry rice noodle entree with meat and veggies which you pour a sweet fish sauce over. This was very good (but not as good as..you guessed it, Le Saigon).

The Asian beer selection was fantastic and most of them were only $4 a piece.

I love Asian beers. They remind me of my first night in Bangkok, the day after the 2004 Tsunami struck. I drank about 5 Singha’s, chatting everyone up at the rooftop pool, passed out, then woke up in a chair; the pool deserted.

While we were waiting for our delayed friends, my friend I.H. and I ordered the beef spring rolls. These, however, were excellent. Lettuce, cucumbers, herbs and lean lemongrass beef wrapped in rice paper and a terrific spicy peanut sauce to dip it in. I.H. found it, perhaps, too spicy. So I tossed it directly into her eye. That shut her up. I’m kidding. I would not want to waste such a delicious sauce.

426 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 623-1973
www.blossomrestaurant.com

THE CELLAR

  • May 21, 2009 2:33 am

Let’s be honest. For those of you who know where and what The Cellar is, you know it’s kind of a dump.

But if you work in Century City, as I do, it’s close. It’s in the basement of my building. And that’s exactly what it looks like. A basement. Your grandfathers basement. Not your current grandfather. But whichever grandfather you had 20 years ago. No windows, mismatched grandfather type chairs, random paintings. I’m not sure if it’s wood panelling, but it’s definitely very…brown. If only this place realized the existing kitch factor.

I ordered the special. The chicken salad sandwich and the tortilla soup. Let me break it down for you.

The chicken salad was 75% mayo. This may be the kiss of death to some. I happen to love it. The soup was tasty although, I would have liked less grease. I don’t prefer to feel the need to scrape grease off the top of my soups as I would the leaves off the top of a swimming pool.

Only the corporate denizens of Century City would eat here. Or would even have reason to come to Century City, for that matter.

Wow, this review sounds really bitter. I really don’t hate this place. I’ve been many, many times. Even to Karaoke night. Oh boy, just picture that wild and raucous night! Ties accidentally dipped in martinis. Blouses beneath power suits unbuttoned brazenly. Hump day and TGIF jokes being thrown around ad nauseam. On second thought, you may want to avoid this night all together. If only for your own personal safety.

UPDATE: There is INDEED wood panneling! AND faux brick walls, to boot!

TAVERN

  • May 20, 2009 5:05 am

Why do all my pictures get cut off?? I'm no good at this!

Why do all my pictures get cut off?? I'm no good at this!

OK, I’ll admit, I don’t always take the best food pics, this one’s pretty bad. I was in a hurry as not to embarrass myself and appear like a visiting tourist taking a snapshot of my fancy meal. The picture is both blurry and washed out. You’re welcome.

However…. I love this place! It passed all the tests! Food, decor, service, overall vibe. All get excellent grades.

Tavern is the new joint from Suzanne Goin and Caroline Styne, the chics who also opened A.O.C. and Lucques, both of which I’ve been to and loved. Had my birthday dinner at A.O.C. Apologies again for all who paid for the meal that night. It was definitely not a “cheap eat”.

Tavern also replaces the ghetto and outdated Hamburger Hamlet in Brentwood. After you eat at Tavern, you won’t even remember the old place existed. The interior is a complete refreshing 180 from the prior’s wood panelling motif.

The friend I went with made the comment, “This reminds me of an upscale nursing home” But wait! Don’t be alarmed. He just meant the patrons, not the decor. This is a beautiful pad, folks. The “nursing home” residents were definitely upscale (we are in Brentwood after all). At least in their choice of plastic surgeons and designer, ill-fitting frocks. We were definitely amoung the youngest of the crowd.

I knew what I was ordering earlier this afternoon, thanks to the wonderful world of online menus. The Devil’s chicken with leeks and mustard bread crumbs. I never order chicken in restaurants. Too dullsville. This chicken, however, was cooked to perfection. It’s juices mixing with the plentiful mustard soaked bread crumbs, creating a wonderful mustardy stuffing. I’m shocked I took half of it home, since it was so damn good.

I have to admit, unlike my Craft experience yesterday, the portions at this joint were never in question. Even our appetizer, the asparagus with polenta, fried egg (the egg was breaded, nice!) and some kind of cheese (look it up, I forget and am too tired to do it my self) was surely enough for two.

My friend, an ex-bread maker, said the bread was terrific and almost wouldn’t stop talking about it. Dude, if you’re reading this, you’re a little obsessed.

I always tend to like a restaurant with a brief but focused menu. This menu was definitely not all over the place, and it was hard to choose what to order, every item looked so tasty and not in competition with one another.

If you go, make a reservation. I was unable to get in this weekend at a decent hour, hence my going on a Tuesday night at early bird special time.

11648 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 806-6464
www.tavernla.com