Bun Boy Eats LA
BUN BOY EATS LA - Archives for 2012 January

IL COVO

  • January 31, 2012 9:21 pm

The Back Patio. Sit in this section or just go home.

DineLA Week is a tricky SOB.

You think you’re getting a deal.

You get excited, make several reservations to snooty places and then end up spending the same, if not more, money than if it was any other week.

In a word, you’re dumb.

I added it up, in some cases (such as with Il Covo) you get about $10 off. You’re basically getting a free dessert. Which I do appreciate, not trying to sound like a cheapskate here.

However, if you’re broke ass is shelling out loot you don’t have for a $10 savings and then ends up ordering an extra drink, it doesn’t really make much sense, now does it?

All that being said, I LOVE Il Covo.

Super cute (romantic even), very friendly, great food. All the usual traits of a solid restaurant.

All THAT being said, DineLA has successfully raped my wallet and partially filled my belly. Welcome to the LA food scene.

Burrata alla Caprese with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Octopus Carpaccio with Celery, Radish, Olives

Porchetta and Mustard Crostini

Tagliatelle Bolognese with Braised Beef and Parmigiano

Jidori Brick Chicken with Broccoli Rabe and Polenta

Meyer Lemon Cannoli with Maraschino Cherries

Nutella Crostata with Salt and Vanilla Gelato

BELLA PITA

  • January 31, 2012 12:58 am

Falafel Pita

After eating my share of falafel, hummus and schwarmas in Israel, I didn’t think I would be eating Mediterranean food so soon. I’ve already had it twice since I’ve been back. It took me over a year to eat Indian again!

I escaped work for a quick lunch with some of my coworkers at a tiny hut on Westwood Blvd. You’d miss it if you blinked. So, don’t blink, idiot.

The five of us took over the place by taking the middle table, sorry the only table, there.

I had originally been craving a falafel until I layed my eyes on something called the “Wowshi”.

Fun name! Like a Sham-Wow or some other infomercial product being sold by an overly excited man (recently arrested for assaulting a prostitute) unnecessarily wearing a non-working headset.

It’s basically a Middle Eastern Calzone, a baked schwarma if you will. And you will. Idiot.

What sets this place apart is the do-it-yourself sauce bar!

Hummus in a squeeze bottle for the taking?? Yes!

Something called a “white sauce”?? Yes!

I mixed this mysterious sauce with sauces marked “herb sauce” and “spicy sauce” and made a heavenly combo.

But first, enjoy some fries.

All you can eat/drink sauces/hummus!

Making of the Wowshi

Merguez Wowshi - A Wowshi is like a Mediterranean Calzone. Didn't I already say that? Idiot.

A-FRAME

  • January 30, 2012 12:34 am

The Kitchen Fries were thick, crispy wedges of various potatoes (purple, sweet) with a tasty kimchi sour cream dipping sauce. They also look like mini painted tree trunks on their way to becoming a campfire

A-Frame is a place that Hollywood would ruin with douchebags/tourists and Silverlake would ruin with skinny jeans.

Located in a hollowed out, Brady Bunch shaped building (perhaps originally an IHOP), the vibe is bustling, noisy and fun. Equally a place to just grab drinks or enjoy some creative grub to share with strangers (or both).

That’s the one catch (perhaps down a drink before being seated to soften the blow) if you’re not a fan of communal seating, prepare to put up a wall of discontent as you nestle nice and cozy next to “friends you haven’t met yet”.

Luckily, we were in a festive mood and had no problem sharing our space and, besides, they turn up the music loud enough that conversations are not easily overheard (trust me, I tried).

Chef Roy Choi, famous for starting LA’s first majorly successful food truck (Kogi BBQ) and named Best New Chef by Food and Wine in 2010, is a tatted up bad ass who’s main objective is un-pretentious, creative Southeast Asian takes on some classic dishes.

A modern picnic, the website declares.

Pretty much everything we shoved down our gullets was delectable.

The Brussel Sprouts were coated in liquid heaven (bacon, apples).

The Beer Can Chicken had super crispy skin and moist meat underneath. Like a Florida Retiree.

My Warm Cornbread and Chicken Salad with pickled onions seemed like an odd combo but totally worked and was like enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers.

Deep fried pound cake churros with a bowl of vanilla ice cream swimming in a malted chocolate milk bath to dip them in.

However, the star of the show was the dessert, aptly titled “Chu Don’t Know Mang”. Have an elderly dining companion place the order and enjoy their verbalization.

It’s like they have someone in the back who’s sole job it is to fry those delicious sticks repeatedly, robotically, until someone places an order. Then rolling those sticks up a cinnamon sugar hill over and over like Sisyphus, the condemned Greek king.

I’m guessing he’s not exactly there of his own free will. And I’m almost positive a ball gag is involved, not sure why.

SALT’S CURE

  • January 27, 2012 11:20 am

Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche

Salt’s Cure opened up a few blocks from me about a year ago. I think just knowing it was so close bumped it further down my restaurant list.

I’m a lazy muthafather.

But when Sonigram suggested we check it out for brunch, I figured why the hell not.

Brunch usually doesn’t appeal to me. Brunch means 11 o’clock.

Do you know how many meals I’ve consumed and errands I’ve run by then??

I need to eat as soon as I wake up, people.

Brunch was invented to cure hangovers. There’s a reason everyone is eating so late and wearing sunglasses.

Salt’s Cure (they cure their own meats!) is a simple, quaint, neighborhoody spot with a tiny, somewhat random menu.

They have some traditional morning fare such as quiche (very light and fluffy), pork chops and eggs (perfectly seasoned but a bit fatty) but then also offer burgers and a cheese plate (didn’t order them, I’m not a pig!)

California Brick Toast - Like a sweet cornbread

They hand grind their coffee beans

STRAWBERRY 7-UP CAKE

  • January 25, 2012 6:46 pm

I was feeling retro trashy today and made this super easy cake using 7-up, strawberry jello and the cheapest strawberry cake mix I could find. Delish!

Before I made my big move to Seattle, I had a few options for work there.

My friend, SnakeFace, was working at Blockbuster Music and offered to get me a job there.

Trouble was, the pay would barely afford me my new Seattle apartment (preferably in the illustrious Queen Anne neighborhood) and I would essentially be broke for God knows how long.

Luckily, I didn’t have to worry as my friend was shortly fired.

She was an expert thief and would stuff her backpack full of stolen CDs to later sell at a rival music store.

She did this on many occasions.

She would sell her CDs to get me money to take the ferry back home from Seattle when I would visit her.

She would sell her CDs when we needed a late night Jack in the Box dinner.

Problem was, as she was leaving Blockbuster for the day, she forgot to take the security tag off of one of them and set off the alarm.

She spun a gossamer thin explanation to her boss who let her keep the CDs but kindly asked she not return to work.

My friend Nancy was working at a fresh pasta deli and managed to get me a job selling pretentious Spanish olive oils, Morrocan tagines, overpriced French chickens and some pretty tasty fresh Italian foodstuffs.

I’ll go more into that job in another post, but I eventually got greedy and wanted to get a second job. My friend at the pasta shop told me about her second job. Data Entry.

I didn’t really realize what this meant. All I saw were dollar signs (they paid $10 an hour) as they were paying more than my pasta job.

I have never been more bored in my entire life.

The job was at a cancer research center, entering data for a prostate cancer drug trial.

All I did, all day long, was transcribe written words such as “heavy stream” or “constipation”, which popped up on thousands of patient’s reports, from one screen to the other screen.

My brain went to sleep 8 hours a day.

I began to surf the web to alleviate the boredom. I surfed a LOT.

I downloaded songs illegally from Napster. I downloaded a LOT.

One day my boss came in, sat down, and showed me a progress report of my work.

I was averaging about 40 hours of actual work on the transcribing computer program. 40 hours A MONTH.

She said she realized this type of work was dreadfully boring and that taking multiple breaks was expected.

But perhaps a few more hours spent actually working might be recommended.

I only lasted nine months before I packed up everything I owned in my car and drove to LA.

Never having set foot there before.

EVA RESTAURANT

  • January 24, 2012 8:14 pm

Schaner Farm Duck Egg, Potato Mousseline, Reduced Chicken Jus

Eva is probably the smallest restaurant in Los Angeles.

It’s adorable.

Like a puppy.

A puppy that takes over 20 minutes to bring you your drink.

Our waiter appeared to be the only one servicing the entire restaurant although there were plenty of eager bus boys.

All that being said, the food was excellent. While I bitched and moaned a bit about the price and subsequent size of the egg dish above (they ended up charging us less on the bill) the Chicken Milanese was simple and fantastic.

Pounded flat within an inch of its life, the chicken was perfectly breaded with just a touch of lemon and capers.

The best part was getting 30% off our meal due to some deal we got on OpenTable.

It more than made up for finding the adorable cockroach in the bathroom.

Chicken Milanese with Roasted Green Zucchini, Lemon, Capers & Garlic

Butterscotch Budino with Toasted Hazelnuts

PULLED PORK SLIDERS

  • January 22, 2012 9:54 pm

My first foray into crock pot cooking seemed to belie common sense.

Seal a hunk of raw meat in a pot in a pool of Root Beer and let it sit all day??

I kept worrying there wouldn’t be enough liquid or that it was under seasoned.

Truth is, it couldn’t have come out more perfectly.

Crock Pot Cooking couldn’t be easier. It’s almost too easy. Watch your cat doesn’t crawl in there in the morning and become a hearty stew by the time you get home from work.

The only mistake I made beforehand was, while soaking the ceramic ‘crock’ in hot water, I seemed to have forgotten it even existed or was necessary so plopped down my hunk of pork butt right into the metallic crock pot base.

Hmmm…is this right?

I didn’t even realize the error for a while…

Anyhoo, I made my own BBQ sauce and spicy cole slaw as well and together they made the perfect threesome.

Oh, I put them on Hawaiian buns, so make that a foursome.

VERA BROWNING – REST IN PEACE

  • January 18, 2012 10:15 pm

When most people hear the word “Grandma”, they picture a nice (or mean) old lady sitting in her doiley-ridden chair, scolding you for only visiting on holidays and buying you awful presents at Christmas.

My Grandmother was only the latter.

Vera Browning, who passed away on Sunday, was kind of like a second mother to me. During my childhood summers, she was the one who watched my sister and I while our parents were at work.

I’d spend many weekends at my grandparent’s house, even into my teens. A typical schedule would be Grandma admonishing Grandpa for having ready for me an ENORMOUS bar of Hershey’s chocolate. We’d watch Golden Girls, Empty Nest and Amen before Grandma would head off to bed and Grandpa would let me watch some awful horror movie.

The next morning we’d be off “garage saling” before beginning our thrift store/junk shop pub crawl. “If you wash it a few times, it’ll be good as new!”

For a treat, we’d go to McDonald’s and she’d make sure to stain her lipstick on the bun of her Filet ‘o’ Fish sandwich. If we were at home, she’d fix me tuna or braunschweiger on toast.

She always adored a bargain, she never paid full price for anything.

She was also a germaphobe and a neat freak. Dust was the enemy. Our hands were probably dry and cracked due to our being forced to wash them more often than a surgeon. Touching doorhandles was forbidden.

She loved to tell tales of her childhood in England, during the war.

“We only had one egg a week!”

When most parents were sending their kids out of London during the Blitz, Grandma’s parents inadvertently sent her INTO London.

I recall stories of Grandma and her sister running from snipers hiding behind trees and bomb shrapnel falling from the sky and crashing into her baby doll carriage as she was pushing it.

Grandma was social to the point of embarrasment. She’d talk to anybody, much to my teenage chagrin. She’d call across the store “Bryan, isn’t this the acne cream you said works the best!?”

Grandma would be my movie buddy where the embarrasment would continue as she attempted to ‘whisper’ questions about the movie to which she was constantly hushed.

If Grandma didn’t like a movie, she’d ask for her money back. Even after viewing the entire film!

If the movie was too loud, she’d ask the projectionist to turn it down.

She could also be quite critical, mostly with my mother. She was famous for what I call the Terminator Scan when she would greet you. As she said her hellos, she’d also subtlely examine you up and down, stop what she was saying and insult you in the nicest possible way such as “Oh, are we in need of a new pair of jeans then?” or “Don’t worry Bryan, those pounds will drop right off ya!”

She always had a lesson to teach or wisdom to impart.

“Always do something every day”, she could not tolerate laziness.

“Do a little as you go” about tidying up.

When someone was being cruel, “Take no notice”.

If it was cold, “pop it in the radar range!”

Or when I was doing something gross, I would be hit with “Gag a maggot!”, “Swine” or “Snot Swallower!”

This would always make me burst out laughing.

Grandma was a talker.

At dinner, she’d balance the perfect bite on her fork and as soon as she was done critiquing her friend Joan’s rude tone earlier that day, the fork would have been shaken empty.

Even when I visited her for the last time this past Christmas, and she was fading and bed-ridden, she couldn’t stop talking.

“Don’t ever grow old Bryan, shoot yourself first”.

I always pictured Grandma as someone disappointed with her life and full of regrets.

She once played a record of her singing for me. She had recorded a demo in England and was keen on pursuing a singing career.

But in those days, most women gave up careers for family and my grandfather whisked her away to the states after the war.

I could sense a lot of bitterness there growing up, and while I’m not sure she was always the world’s greatest mother, she made a fantastic grandmother.

Because of this, she always encouraged me to follow my dreams, take advantage of every opportunity and seemed excited for my world travels.

She was the one that took me to meet with my eventual acting agent.

Up until the end of her 79 years on this planet, we were very close. We’d email or talk on the phone pretty much every week. I haven’t deleted a single email from her in almost 8 years.

Grandma was a beautiful, proud, fiesty lady (“Growing old SUCKS!”) who was always the hippest gal on the block. Many people mistook her for my mother.

Her last days were filled with a lot of pain and suffering, sadly, and so it was a bittersweet relief when she passed away in a coma, peacefully.

I love you and will never forget everything you’ve taught me, Grandma! You’ve helped shape who I am today and I am forever grateful.

At her 60th Wedding Anniversary in 2010

FUKU BURGER

  • January 17, 2012 8:42 pm

Buta Burger - with Applewood Smoked Bacon, Pickled Red Onions and Ginger with Japanese BBQ sauce & Wasabi Mayo

UNFUNNY REVIEW ALERT!

I really dig Fuku Burger.

Finally, a gourmet LA burger I could actually bite into without unhinging my jaw.

No boring lettuce and tomato (at least not on the burgers we chose)

Just unique enough to make things interesting yet still able to satisfy that specific burger craving.

The meat patty was juicy, well marinated and thin – which I prefer.

The bun was brioche but didn’t disintegrate when it came in contact with sauce/burger juice.

I really enjoyed the combo of pickled ginger and crispy bacon on the Pig Burger.

The Spicy Burger was actually spicy.

The fries were tasty but the sauce could have had more oomph to it.

Fuku Burger also boasts a full bar so instead of hunting down a greasy burger to soak up a night of booze, you can just come here first and save yourself a step.

Karai Burger - with Pickled cucumbers, Avocado cream and Habanero Kabyaki

Jazz Fries - with gravy and crack sauce.

MEZZE

  • January 16, 2012 8:40 am

Shawarma, Brisket, Amba, House Pickles

Places like Mezze infuriate me because they give me nothing to write about.

(Besides the fact that most of the photos turned out blurry)

Nothing was dreadful.

I didn’t have any boughts of diarrhea (am I the only one that has to constantly look up the spelling of that word??), my car wasn’t towed and there were no weirdo patrons to make fun of.

The food and service were both great.

Boring!

So, if you’re like me and prefer being surprised by foreign objects in your food and enjoy the unpredictability of the waitstaff, do NOT go here.

You’ll only get a good, friendly meal, which is just unacceptable.

Duck Pate...I think. Some kind of pate, that I know.

Flatbread: Merguez Sausage, Tomato Jam, Aleppo Pepper

Hashweh Risotto, Lamb, Burnt Onion, Lemon

Brussels Sprouts

Nantes Carrot, Harissa, Lebne

Date and Amaretti Parfait with Marscapone