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“Chiliiiiiiiiiii dogggggggggsssssss wooooooo”.
That’s the text I got from my brother the morning of our planned trip to Coney Dog, the new “Detroit Style” chili dog mecca on the Sunset Strip. Being long-time chili dog devotees, we were excited to say the least. So excited that we were willing to venture into the vicinity of the Viper Room, so you know this was serious.
Coney Dog takes its cue from the traditional Coney Island, a popular type of restaurant in Michigan. Coney Islands are ubiquitous in Michigan, in the same way that char-broiled joints are to LA. They’re usually owned by Greek families, and in addition to Coney Islands (chili dogs with mustard and onions) you’ll find gyros, Greek salads, burgers and, of course, Faygo soda on their menus.
Sometimes nostalgia makes food taste better—and Mid-Century Modern décor doesn’t hurt either. My friend Yolanda had been gunning for lunch at Rae’s Restaurant on Pico Blvd. for months now, and on a rainy Friday, I finally obliged. It’s a good thing I had my camera because Rae’s is the real deal. Plus, it was featured in the coolest movie ever, True Romance.
Like the décor, the menu at Rae’s is very 1950s greasy spoon. Breakfast is served all day with options like Bacon Tid Bit Waffles (bacon is crumbled into the batter) and the Hobo Breakfast, perhaps designed to soothe some scruffy tramp’s hangover with a meal of tomato juice, hotcakes, eggs, ham, bacon and sausage. You can also get old-timey sides like prunes, Bartlett pears, and applesauce with cinnamon and sugar.
Whoopie pies from G-ma’s Bakery
I was lucky enough to be a part of the 3rd Eat My Blog Charity Bake Sale this past weekend. It’s a great event that raises money for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, and I had a fun time baking and volunteering for it.
I was pretty amazed at the tons of inventive and irresistible treats that fellow food bloggers and local businesses donated for the cause–to the tune of $3,700 raised. I bought a bunch of stuff, including bacon caramel popcorn with cashews from Chow Balla, holiday bark from Pardon my Crumbs, and vanilla marshmallows from Dishing up Delights. I shared them with my family at the UCLA/USC game that night, and they were pretty stoked.
Kudos to the Eat My Blog committee (Cathy Chaplin of Gastronomy Blog, Amy Luu from the Roaming Belly, Laurie Hartzell from G-Ma’s Bakery, and Diana Hossfeld of Diana Takes a Bite) for pulling off such a awesome event.
Here are some yummy sights from the bake sale. Just click on any photo you want to expand:
You can read a big roundup on Gastronomy Blog.
Things to Do This Weekend in LA: Pie & Beer, Eat My Blog Bake Sale, Holiday Cocktails and More IdeasDec 03 2010
My Candy Cane Cream Faux-reos for the Eat My Blog Charity Bake Sale this weekend.
There’s lots of stuff to do this weekend around LA—a few things on the Eastside and a few that require driving:
Maybe after, you can walk over to Xoia for some Bunrria, a new dish they’re debuting this weekend. Chunks of beef are marinated birria style and served in a rich beef broth with Bun noodles. You can garnish with onions, cilantro and salsa. They’ll even add a tortilla if you’re so inclined.
Downtown LA: Taste of Mexico is hosting a celebration of 200 Years of Mexico’s Cuisine at the Cathedral of Saint Vibiana on Saturday from 5-10pm. They’ll be food from the likes of Guelaguetza, tequila, mariachis and Oaxacan dance performance. Tickets are $100 at the door or $75 presale.
Hollywood: LA Street Food is teaming up with MAMA to host Less Mall More Melrose. Food trucks like Lobsta Truck and Me So Hungry will feed you while you shop for deals on Melrose, between Fairfax and La Brea.
West Hollywood: LA food bloggers and restaurants will be selling their baked goods in front of Tender Greens on Saturday from 10am-4pm. Menu includes: eggnog muffins, candy cane mashmallows, whoopie pies, bacon brownies and tons more. Plus, there’ll be dog treats! Proceeds go to Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.
Have a great weekend, and eat good stuff!
While it does fall a little short of the grand scrumptiousness that Huckleberry captures with aplomb, Thyme Cafe is a worthy lunch spot. The cafe/bakery/market concept isn’t exactly unexplored ground in Santa Monica, but caterer-turned-restauranteur Maire Byrne offers her own brand of formidable sandwiches, salads, sweets, soups and gourmet goods.
I crave sandwiches on an hourly basis, and I was pretty satisfied by the options at Thyme. The selection is seasonal and heavy on comfort: Turkey Meatloaf, Egg Salad with Olive Tapenade, Albacore Tuna with Currants, and this Steak with Watercress & Caramelized Onions. The crusty baguette was a little sharp and stabby, but the steak was tender. The horseradish aioli, which was thankfully glopped on with abandon, gave it personality.
I just found out that Monday was National Taco Day, so I figured better late than never. I first heard about Tacomiendo on a The Great Taco Hunt’s top 10 Westside tacos list and was intrigued. We’re privy to some pretty outstanding tacos on this side of town, so most of my forages on the westside tend to lean toward “ladies who lunch” establishments, where I can get a fancy sandwich, an Arnold Palmer and some sort of outrageous baked good. But Tacomiendo does, indeed, make a good carne asada taco.
And by good I mean the tortillas are handmade and super fluffy, the meat has the crispy-tender thing going on, and the salsa bar leaves little to be desired. The tacos are served barebones and garnished with a green onion. I ordered a side of guacamole to dress them up and went for smoky salsa roja on one and verde on the other because that’s the way I do it.
My lunch companions ordered combo plates, which looked only so-so to me, so I think I’ll stick with Tacos Por Favor for my non-taco Mexican fast food cravings, but these tacos are a treat.
11462 Gateway Blvd (Map It)
Los Angeles, CA 90064
LA is so huge that, even if you grow up here, you might never venture into some of its many nooks and niches. Case in point for me: Brentwood. Aside from the repeated news footage of the Mezzaluna restaurant during the OJ Simpson trial, I never set eyes on the neighborhood until this very weekend.
My maiden voyage landed me in the Brentwood Country Mart. I’m not judging the whole neighborhood by one little shopping district, but this probably wasn’t the best entrée. While it’s a perfectly beautiful place—very peaceful, with lots of greenery and pony rides to boot—it just wasn’t my scene, and I quickly felt like a stranger in a strange land. The stores were frightfully out of my price range, and the closest thing I could relate to was the taqueria in the middle of the shopping center.
Earl’s Gourmet Grub is one of my favorite new places in LA. The Mar Vista sandwich shop offers everything I love—fresh ingredients, uncommon flavor combinations, and unabashed passion.
Take the Tuna Sandwich (pictured above) for instance. It’s an unexpected mix of tuna with layers of thinly sliced gruyere, fig hash and pepperoncini between two slices nutty bread. Sounds like overkill, but somehow the flavors stay distinct and, well, super yummy. Co-owner Yvonne McDonald (her partner is Dean Harada) says that’s all part of the plan: “We put a lot of thought and experimentation into the sandwiches, every element is meant to create the perfect balance for your eating experience.”
The Earl’s concept took shape in a popular farmer’s market stall, where their Pig n’ Fig (Prosciutto, blue cheese, fig hash and arugala) became a hit—it’s still their most popular. Now, in their new brick and mortar digs, they’re keeping it real, making everything from scratch while using mostly organic/local ingredients and all natural meat.
Here’s the Heartichoke Sandwich, so named for its chunks of marinated artichoke and hearts of palm. The cheese is goat, which works well texture-wise with the veggies. Plus, the mildness of the chevre didn’t mess with the tang of the artichokes and pickled onions. There’s also an artichoke-jalapeno spread that I really didn’t notice much, but I did like the addition of nutty-flavored mache.
The Who Dat Crab Po-Boy doesn’t boast the traditional fried filling, but it’s still marked by richness—the baguette is spread with melted parsley butter that mixes with the Canjun mayo and a hefty lump of snow crab. The cabbage adds a cool crunch.
I don’t do all my chomping on the eastside. I sometimes venture out—despite the horrors of the 10 freeway—to enjoy the eats on the westside.
My latest journey was to Bite Bar & Bakery in Santa Monica. It’s on Pico Blvd., which is still such a quaint area compared to the hustle and bustle (i.e. zero parking) of more popular SM eat streets. The décor of the space is very succinct with a chalkboard menu, cookbooks and cooking utensils lining the walls. Cute.
Bite’s menu is seasonal and changes daily. When I was there, there were about 8 options, including a pulled-pork sandwich, a zucchini quiche, and a chickpea sandwich on naan (cleverly named a “naan-which”). We ordered the Toasted Crab Sandwich on sourdough with paprika aioli and watercress salad along with the Afterschool Special, a.k.a grilled cheese paired with a cup of cream of asparagus soup.
Both sandwiches were grilled Panini style. The grilled cheese included a tasty cheddar cheese blend, but the bread was a little too greasy for my sensibilities. I blame the oil from the cheese mixing with the oil (or butter) used to grease the Panini press. Still, though a little overwhelming, this sandwich fell on the side of delicious decadence.