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

OSTERIA MOZZA

  • March 31, 2012 11:23 am

The meal of the century deserves better pictures, folks.

I’ve let Mozza down.

If you want overexposed, washed out food photos, you’ve come to the right place!

Am I even worthy of attempting a review??

Mozza is crazy popular and annoyingly hard to get a reservation at, for a reason.

Face it, haters (or poor people). It’s just that good.

I’ve never been one to follow trends, go with the flow or do what everyone else was doing.

If collars are being worn up, mine are going down. If everyone is listening to Adele, I will personally spearhead an Adele smear campaign. I’m sure there are subliminal satanic lyrics there somewhere. I shall find them, you voluptuous beast!

Eventually, just like with bad reality television, I could no longer resist Mozza’s siren-esque draw.

Are the items from the Mozzarella bar really that tasty?

Correct.

Does the famous Orecchiette pasta taste like you’re eating an amazing sausage pizza?

Huh? (The correct answer is yes, people).

Is the Porcini Rubbed Rib Eye the BEST DAMNED STEAK in existence?

For $78, it had better not be anything else.

Can I really describe the flavors going on?

It was like Mozza had invented this magical elixir simply called “YUM” and marinated the meat hunk in it for a full year.

Could I have done SO much better with this blog posting?

No. Because I’m still on cloud nine from this meal and it will be at least another 24 hours before I begin to self deprecate again.

P.S. – Note the snobby look of disappointment when people ask you to clarify WHICH Mozza you’ve been to? “OH, the Pizzeria….yeah, that’s good too.”

6602 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 297-0100
http://www.mozza-la.com

Grilled Octopus with Potatoes, Celery and Lemon

Burricotta with radicchio, spiced walnuts, honey and fried rosemary

Bufallo Mozzarella wrapped in Pancetta alla Pizzaiola

Orecchiette with Sausage and Swiss Chard

Porcini Rubbed Rib Eye Bistecca - AUTO

Porcini Rubbed Rib Eye Bistecca - MANUAL

Bombolini - huckleberry marmellata & lemon mascarpone

MAROUCH

  • March 29, 2012 9:31 pm

Halloum: Lebanese cheese. Served with tomato, cucumber, topped with olive oil.

LA has its fair share of pita joints.

I’m never quite sure what nationality they are. Israeli? Lebanese?

Pita must be the Wonder Bread of the Middle East.

But formal, sit down non-Persian Middle Eastern restaurants? I can only name a handful. Well, probably only two.

Marouch (Lebanese with a few Armenian menu items) is located in an unassuming (scary) section of Santa Monica Blvd. Technically Little Armenia, but I only see hispanic establishments in that part of town, so I’m not sure what mysterious Armenian exodus has occured. I should investigate it.

Captain ordered all the sides for the table (hummus, baba ganoush, caprese salad (what?)) and we also ordered the Yogurt Lamb Kabab.

KabAb? Um, ok I guess I’ll allow multiple spellings. At least they spelled hummus “correctly”, which is often spelled with an ‘o’. Perhaps the spelling is where you can tell nationality?

The yogurt kabOb was a delicious plate of almond rice topped with tender lamb chunks with yogurt dipping sections and little onion pita quesadillas.

Awesome. Best thing on the menu.

And the perfect antedote for a St. Patrick’s Day evening out. Screw the Irish bars, who needs the overpriced Guiness and police checkpoints!?

Faith and Begorrah! Allah and Akbar!

4905 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 662-9325
http://www.marouchrestaurant.com/

Hummus

Yogurt Lamb Kabob

RAMEN JINYA

  • March 28, 2012 10:56 pm

Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen

If you’ve been reading my blog at all (or have an ounce of intelligence), you know I love me some Ramen.

So much so, I’m capitalizing the word.

Througout the entire post. Feel free to comment if I miss one.

And if a Ramen house has the phrase “Your choice of hot, spicy or DEMONIC” on the menu, I will kiss the salty restaurant floor the chef walks on.

Before I moved to a city with more than one Japanese restaurant, I always equated Ramen with the delicious, sodium-rich lunch we’d enjoy once a week at school. A Cup ‘O Salt Lick, if you will.

The styrofoam container boasts more nutrients that it’s contents do. They should serve Ramen halfway through a marathon to avoid hyponatremia!

So, it seemed odd to enjoy this $.69 cent meal at a restaurant. The markup alone is just too outrageous.

Ramen Jinya, sister restaurant of Robata Jinya, is one of five locations. Clyde and I ventured to the tiny spot located on Wilshire.

Truth be told, I didn’t even eat much of the meat that came with my ultry spicy order. I just bathed in that amazing, rich broth. Until I was drenched in sweat…

Clyde, I apologize for what I must of looked like. Napkin stuck to forehead. Futile attempts at fanning myself. Grotesque slurping.

Cheers to you for maintaining your appetite.

5174 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 549-0188
http://www.jinya-la.com/ramen/index.html

THE HABIT

  • March 27, 2012 11:26 am

Double Charburger

The Habit is a chain restaurant that Nancy insists serves her favorite burger in LA. While this burger does kick some butt, I try to refrain from reviewing chains so I’ll just tell a personal story.

When I first moved to LA, I became obsessed with being perceived as wealthy.

Now, this may have stemmed from my desire to always blend in and appear like a local…

…or I’m just shallow and pretentious.

Whenever I travel somewhere, I try to avoid fanny packs and Hawaiian shirts like Billy Bob Bumf*ck on vacation. I do some exhaustive language studies so that I at least seem like a hip, British Ex-Patriot.

I was so paranoid about sticking out like a sore thumb in Egypt, I even took an expensive Arabic language course.

(I now know how to write the word “book”….and that’s about it).

Yeah…I’m sure no one suspected I wasn’t from the Middle East.

While living in Seattle, I had just purchased a brand new Toyota Corolla.

6 months later, while helping Nancy car shop, I impetuously traded it in for a used Mercedes.

I had NO business buying this car, I couldn’t really afford it’s upkeep.

It was like a baby that could only survive on gold infused formula.

In LA, everyone flashes their wealth via cars, clothes, jewelry and designer dogs.

You don’t have to be rich to look rich.

What the average passersby don’t see is that ghetto studio apartment you live in with four other roommates.

Seattle is different. They don’t waste their wealth on stupid sh*t. They buy things like investment properties and high quality outdoor gear and things that actually increase in value.

Fancy cars are something you don’t often see.

Which is why I felt cool driving my Mercedes around, parking it in front of trendy coffee shops.

“Who’s that??” I’d hope they’d be thinking, looks of jealousy beaming from their plastic surgery-free faces.

Until the day I crammed everything I owned in that money pit and moved to LA.

I became one of a thousand, in the land where everyone loves to stick your nose in their diamond-encrusted business.

There’s no such thing as subtlety here…

But at least I felt I was embraced as one of their own, not looked down upon like the lower classes.

I could drive to work without being pulled over by the police for clearly being a transient.

“Sir, ALL signs point to you living in your car”.

My obsession didn’t stop there.

I purchased a Beverly Hills post office box and had all my mail go there.

“Send it to my Beverly Hills address, my 2nd assistant will fetch it upon arrival!”

I haven’t wanted to be rich my entire life, I think something just clicked when I bought that Mercedes. That damned car delivered to me straight from the Devil!

It didn’t stop there.

The city of BH held events at Greystone Mansion, a 55 bedroom house on a 16 acre estate that became a city park in the 80’s.

Only Beverly Hills residents were able to attend and since my BH post office address looked like a street address, I was in!

I felt so fancy taking my friends to classical concerts and plays inside the mansion (which was only open during these special events).

I became a regular at Greystone happenings, started to see all the same socialites.

It was like me speaking Arabic in Egypt. NO one bought that I lived in Beverly Hills. My Mercedes was older than most of the others in the parking lot.

I once attended an afternoon tea at Greystone hosted by the Penninsula hotel.

I must have looked like such white trash in my Target wardrobe sitting and videotaping the whole thing like a tourist while the Mayor of Beverly Hills sat at the table next to me.

After that, the gig was up.

When I received my next Greystone newsletter, someone had hand-written “We’re so glad you were able to enjoy the tea, now could you please provide us with your real home address?”

Mortified.

I have never been to Greystone since.

I got rid of the post office box.

I guess I sort of grew up.

But I ended up trading my Mercedes in for a nicer BMW 7 series. Hey, the love of cars runs in my family, that will never change!

Onion Rings

TABERNA

  • March 25, 2012 4:24 pm

Guacamole - Tasted like...avocado...and...well, it looks pretty!

A lot of people don’t get the point of upscale Mexican restaurants.

Why should we have to pay $16 for what we could pay $2 for.

(Grade D Beef, people…@TacoBell)

Well, besides the fact that you’re paying for a nice place to sit, you’re paying for some high quality ingredients and a modicum of cleanliness.

One can only speculate the level of depravity going on in Taco Bell’s “kitchen”…

All that aside, I didn’t even order any tacos. So, why are we arguing??

My friend L.H. and I ordered the most incredible sliders I’ve ever consumed.

They passed all three criteria.

1. Can fit in mouth

2. Juicy

3. Saucy

Previously, I had NEVER met a Turkey Burger that I’ve wanted to be friends with.

“Dry and Flavorless” is what it would boast on it’s Match.com profile.

This is honestly the first (mini) turkey burger I’ve ever loved. Congrats, Taberna! Thanks, in advance, for not pissing me off.

And thanks L.H. for lunch, the best one yet!

369 N Bedford Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 858-7070
http://tabernamexicana.com

Tortilla Soup - Tasty with the perfect amount of heat.

Taberna Sliders - Turkey, Chorizo and Fajita - SO GOOD.

MILO AND OLIVE

  • March 22, 2012 6:36 pm

Butternut Squash Pizza, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onion, sage, brown butter, farm egg

Milo and Otis (or whatever) is some damn good ‘za.

I’m still thinking about it, like a long lost lover. Smothered in cream sauce.

It’s communal seating which I just love to death (I HATE HUMANS) but they seat you in a fashion where you’re not within breathing distance of scary strangers who could potentially overhear your evil plotting or contaminate your pizza.

The place is tiny and cute. But tiny. But cute.

You decide if the combo is worth a mild wait and covering your pizza with your greasy hands so weirdos aren’t salivating on it because they’re green with envy. An archaic expression which, perhaps, should be retired.

A bonus: the crust remained amazing even the next day. Even microwaved!

GASP!

A few serious pizza notes:

Pizzas only come personal size but very large. Two portions for sure. A little bit on the pricey side. Crust was very thin in the center, not very crispy but very thick and crispy on the edges. The toppings could have come further towards the edge but still all very delicious and I’m not complaining.

2723 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 453-6776
www.miloandolive.com/

Roasted Potato Pizza with Rosemary Cream

A Carb-Filled Wonderland

Sweet Cream Brioche

SHORT RIB HASH WITH POACHED EGGS

  • March 21, 2012 6:59 pm

Recipe courtesy of:

http://www.rusticgardenbistro.com/braised-short-rib-hash/

A delicous way to deal with leftovers. Leftovers that took you FAR too long to make in the first place. So, you’d damn well better believe I’m going to attempt something equally delicious because my time is precious, people!

FLYING LESSON!

Last weekend, I decided to check something off the ‘ole bucket list and go fly a plane. Not at all similar to driving a car. Texting while flying is not advised. But taking cell phone pics is!

A Cessna or whatever. I'll call it whatever it wants if it doesn't chop my hands and eyes off!

I had arrived at Encore Flight Academy on a beautiful Saturday morning, located at Van Nuys Aiport, the busiest general aviation airport in the world!

Now, the main reason I decided to do this now was there was a half off deal, normally this two hour session is almost $400 bucks!

This did have me nervous I would be getting less than ideal attention and they’d just wrangle me with some newbie kid pilot with a thriving pot-selling, side business.

After doing much online research, I came to the conclusion that ALL of these private flight schools are kind of ghetto and I was just going to accept that I’d be flying an antique.

Luckily, my flight instructor was an older guy with 6000 hours of flight experience who used to fly in the army. Phew! My chances of survival just increased 50%!

He sat me in this tiny “classroom” while he held up a tiny toy airplane and gave me a aeronautic vocabulary lesson.

I tried desperately to remember everything he said in case he suddenly became deceased whilst in flight and I was left to land the thing. Sorry, I mean plane or whatever.

“I’m getting too old for this sh*t!” Is what I would say if this were an action movie and I were Clint Eastwood.

I, sadly, recall NONE of his instruction except something about a fuselage, a term I mostly hear during news reports of plane crashes.

Now, even though my pilot had experience, it was his first day on the job. I overheard the receptionist telling him what to do. “First you give him 20 minutes classroom, then 20 minutes flight simulator..”

My anxiety levels soared as I wondered if she had remembered to tell him “It’s your job to fill up the gas tank, we don’t do that for you like at those fancy schools!” Such attitude, that receptionist.

I sat in a fake cockpit surrounded by 6 enormous flatscreens and began my simulator training. It was like a video game with really bad graphics.

And all of my controls were shown on a monitor who’s light panels had mostly died. It was like deciphering the Shroud of Turin.

“Oh sh*t”, he said as he looked over to see why I couldn’t answer his question of what my altitude was.

“Well…your system seems to be dying…” I responded calmly.

I was flying blind. Taking off and landing without knowing any of the stuff I should be knowing.

But I got the hang of how the steering and foot pedals worked and that was the important thing. I figured he’d be up there with me, he do the rest.

Flying over Malibu

We walked outside to the smallest plane I’d ever seen. It was like flying a kayak. And it was not a new plane…

I followed him as he did his inspection, looking for lose bolts and frayed wires that would result in us hurling to our deaths.

I was satisfied so we entered the plane and he started the engines, the deadly propeller only feet in front of me.

I felt relatively safe but maybe .5% of me wondered if that propeller was still going to find a way to chop my head off, or at least a finger.

Wearing our professional head gear (“Sorry, can you get another picture? For Facebook?”) we navigated through the queue of other pilots and eventually took off.

Him doing most of the work.

I was FINE with that. My fear of heights began to get the best of me and was relieved when he said “I can fly this the entire time, it happens a lot”.

When we got safely over the hills, he let me fly the rest of the way to Malibu. Whenever he touched the wheel, I could feel it on mine so I knew he wasn’t helping me.

But it was nervewracking. You can’t take your hands off the wheel at all.

And when you’re NOT flying, grabbing the wheel (I know, people, it’s not called a wheel) causing the plane to pitch into a nose dive is frowned upon.

I had to grab the flimsy dashboard for dear life during the frequent periods of turbulence.

Flying over the ocean was incredible, the whole experience was exhilirating.

He even said I was a natural. That only about 20 out of the 600 students he’s had in his life get it on the first try. He said most people would need about 15 hours training to get to my level. I chose to believe him.

After we headed back and landed safely, he gave me his business card. He sells prepaid legal fees on the side. I was thankful he didn’t give me this beforehand.

Searching for Amelia...

COOKS COUNTY

  • March 19, 2012 8:59 pm

Fat Delta Asparagus, sheep's milk ricotta, pounded hazelnuts & lemon zest

Cooks County is a solid attempt.

Like my single childhood third place trophy representing my five years in Karate when my 10 year old sister was kicking butt and getting 1st place ones left and right!

A few odd dishes exist which boast the chef’s creativity, we had the waitress give us a vocabulary lesson. “What the hell is a cardoon??”

Yet, Cooks County falls into a typical trap.

What stands out about this place?

It looks all right, the food is ok and the service is great.

Nothing for Bun Boy to talk about, which really pisses him off, as we all know.

The menu is just too random and nothing really leaps off the page, slaps you in the face and says “Order me, b*tch!

Sure, I ate lamb’s tongue for the first time.

I kissed a lamb and I liked it.

The spelt pretzel was ok.

The garbanzo and squash pancake was good. But kind of didn’t belong here. “Oh crap, we need to appease those damned vegetarians!”

The desserts actually looked awesome, but we didn’t feel up to any of them.

The restaurant housed at this location just last year was a solid attempt too. As was the one before….

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

Spretzel, mustard dipping sauce (Spelt Pretzel)

Fried Cardoons, parmesan and sage (Cardoons are thistles that taste similar to artichokes)

Grilled Lamb's Tongue, poached farm egg, chicories & parsley vinaigrette

Chickpea and Squash Pancake, spicy carrot salad, toasted almonds and marinated feta

MERCATO DI VETRO

  • March 19, 2012 8:25 am

Fried Olives, italian sausage, aioli

Rule #1 when visiting a restaurant.

Go there somewhat hungry.

Don’t gorge yourself on TWO sandwiches just hours before simply because they were each half price and your coupon ends today and why not get two cuz you’re a little piggy.

“Show me how the little piggys eat!”

Mercato is fine. Just fine.

The kale crostini was the standout. Really great flavors.

Everything else was…fine.

Tuna tartare was great except for the gallon of salt someone used.

Perhaps an army of slugs had just attacked the kitchen staff and our meal was in the crossfires?

The burrata with roasted grapes was tasty but there was nothing to bind the dish together.

There was some burrata.

And there was some grapes.

And they just happened to be hanging out at the same playground together.

“Don’t look at us” they say “We don’t really know each other that well”

The discontinued speaking because my acid trip wore off.

The BBQ Quail was disappointing. For $16 bucks, I’d love to have more than one bite of meat per person. That was, once we found the meat on our little roasted sparrow.

Our server was awesome, I hope he isn’t pissed at the review.

“Dude, it’s not my restaurant and no one knows who the eff you are, anyways.”

Wow, that’s harsh. Way harsh, Ty.

Oh, one more thing before you go. The only available reservation was at 6:00 pm.

Fine, we’ll play old for the night.

So, they lead us to the tiny corner seats and apparently two other couples had also been banished to the 6:00 punishment corner as well.

While sitting in Time Out, we notice that very few folks seem to arrive to dine at Mercato for a good hour and a half.

Why on earth are they cramming us next to strangers when there are a half dozen empty seats right next to us where we would happily sit and not be privy to awkard first dates or riveting conversations about allergies.

We all confided in each other about the 6:00 reservation time thing. “Yeah, I thought that was weird!” one gal said.

In the end, we had all arrived strangers and departed…still strangers (having no desire to speak to one another again) but having bonded over our mutual love of complaining about stuff.

9077 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 859-8369
www.sbe.com/mercatodivetro

Kale Crostini, ricotta, pine nuts currants

Burrata and Roasted Grapes

Tuna Tartare, mustard, oven-roasted tomato, crostini

BBQ Quail with Brussel sprouts and Hazelnuts. It appears the sprouts have fallend and crushed the poor baby bird, like an anvil in a Road Runner cartoon.

PLAYA

  • March 15, 2012 7:29 pm

Maize Cake Mediterranean - lamb meatballs, spiced yogurt, capers, kalamata olives, feta

Playa is from the folks behind my very favorite restaurant downtown, Rivera.

So, it had high expectations to meet.

Phew! It made all of them.

“Oh sh*t, another boring review!” you say?

Yes. So sit down and shut up, you son of a…

Playa is one of those establishments that is just as much lounge as it is restaurant. Everyone knows it’s the booze that makes or breaks a restaurant (when else do you gladly pay 100% markup??)

Maybe the airport…and that ain’t gladly…

It was a Wednesday night though, and I don’t normally imbibe on a school night, so Playa thankfully didn’t rob me blind.

Only my friend Clyde decided to imbibe. (I put that rhyme in there for him!)

Most of the plates here are tapas style (where in LA is that NOT the case anymore??) so there we see another sneaky way for Playa to make some greenbacks.

Charging $9 for a few dwarf roasted red peppers stuffed with the amount of cheese a mouse might be hiding in his cheeks is muy intelligente.

I have no problems with tiny portions. Just shove some incredible flavors en mi boca….

….Which they did!

Double Phew!

I said earlier this was going to be a positive review, ya’ll!

The tamale with reduced mushrooms and filet minion was the star of the show, fo sho. When do mushrooms and beef not marry well?? Vegetarians, shut it.

The maize cakes were fun and gorgeously presented.

The Cauliflower cake reminded me of a surreal, Lord of the Rings meal.

While, I may not have loved them to death, I was grateful for some new, unique flavors and some great camera fodder!

Ok, I’m tired now. I’m cutting this review short. Can’t keep my ojos open.

P.S., I’m assuming everyone loves the spanglish I’ve been throwing in. If not, feel free to callate.

7360 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 933-5300
www.playarivera.com

Fun Furry Lights!

Maize Cake Cauliflower x - puree, caramelized, oven-dried, and hibiscus-pickled cauliflower, oven-dried jalapeño, curry cocktail vinegreta

Ensalada Quemada - wood-grilled endive, haricot verts, citrus filets, cumin vinagreta, piñones, arugula, idiazabal cheese

Tamale Chipotle - wild-mushroom duxelles dumpling, filet mignon, chipotle béarnaise

Piquillos Rellenos - Spanish Piquillo Peppers, Gruyere, Golden Raisins, Chorizo