My Bucket List of L.A.’s Best Sandwiches

When Thrillist asked me to make a Bucket List of L.A. sandwiches I took the task very seriously.  Some would say, dead serious.  (Apologies for that. I knew it was terrible the minute I started typing it.) To keep things concise I disqualified pita sandwiches (sorry Dune and Baco Mercat!) and burgers- except for one that’s really a sandwich and not a burger (more on that later).   In the end I keep it to sandwiches I feel like you really need to eat before you die, and in certain cases, only if you want to die.  There are some notable omissions like Mendocino Farms, which I love but couldn’t pick one stand out sandwich you need to eat.  And Larchmont Wine & Cheese, which is a great sandwich shop but also doesn’t compel me to excitement.  After all, it’s not a list of really good L.A. sandwiches.  It’s a list of sandwiches everybody should try at least once if they live here in L.A.

So, there it is… my disclamatory attempt to curb the anger that comes naturally when somebody leaves your favorite sandwich in the universe off of their arbitrary list of favorite sandwiches.  Enjoy!!!


Asked + Answered: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Halal Guys’ New Costa Mesa Storefront

At the beginning of last year something magical happened. A wish, that New York transplants like myself have been making to the stars for years, finally came true.  L.A. got its own street meat cart, serving chicken and “lamb” over rice with white sauce and hot sauce.  The New York street staple known as “halal” was finally available on the west coast.  And it was pretty good.  But that was just a facsimile. A drill, if you will.  This, my friends, is the real deal.  The “Famous” Halal Guys who have the cart in Midtown Manhattan (on 53rd Street & 6th Avenue) with the super long lines, have started opening brick and mortar franchises. And one of them is opening in Costa Mesa on October 2nd.  Yesterday I drove 50 minutes down the 405 to get a sneak peak at the new location, and will now answer every question you have about what I saw and ate.


So first things first.  What’s the place called?   The Halal Guys

And this is the same exact same “Famous Halal Guys” with the long lines in Midtown on 53rd & 6th?  Didn’t you read the intro?  (If you don’t know who the Halal Guys are, it might be worth reading this. If you want to know about the history of this food in L.A., you’ll want to read this.)

But how did this happen?  Aren’t they just a street meat cart?  How are they now opening brick and mortars all the way across the country?  Last year Fransmart, the company behind Five Guys and Qdoba’s expansion, cut a deal with the Halal Guys to take them international.   The New York Times wrote all about it. 

So is this the first location?  Nope.  Two brick and mortars have already opened in New York City.  And a Chicago location opened last month. Read more »


East Side Food Fest is Back (And Weds is The Last Day For Early Bird Tickets)

In case you missed it, the East Side Food Fest is back for a second year… and this year it’s going to be bigger and better.  It all goes down October 18th at Mack Sennett Studios, and will feature over 30 local vendors including restaurants, celebrity chefs, caterers, locally owned brands, and more (which I helped to curate.) And just like last year there will be a second stage featuring demos and a live recording of the Food is the New Rock podcast, featuring musicians and chefs who live and work on the East side of L.A. Some of the vendors have already been announced, including Dune, Ohana Poke Co, Alimento, Jeni’s Ice Cream, Alexander’s Greek and more. And the best part is, the event benefits PATH- a non-profit organization with local programs benefitting homeless individuals and families in the Silver Lake and surrounding EastSide areas of Los Angeles.

Tomorrow (Wednesday September 16th) is the last day to score cheaper early bird tickets, so don’t want. Get more info and buy your tickets now over

5 Reasons Why Krispy Krunchy Chicken is My New Obsession (Sorry Popeye’s)


If you were at FYF Fest this year you likely noticed that the food options were the best they’ve ever been at the L.A. based music festival.  Thanks to Nic Adler and Goldenvoice a handful of well known L.A. restaurants (like Dune, Top Round, Donut Friend and Free Range LA) set up alongside music festival mainstays (like Spicy Pie, arepas, corn dogs and crab fries).  But one fried chicken vendor I stumbled upon that weekend was neither of those things.  They were set up in the shadows of the L.A. Colisseum, at the very very end of a long line of nameless stands selling random stuff like aguas frescas and meat on a stick.  The makeshift booth looked like it could have been dropped in from a church fund raiser, but they had boxes with logos on them that seemed to indicate a real business.  Their name?  Krispy Krunchy Chicken.

To say I was intrigued would be a severe understatement. The whole thing felt like a Los Pollos Hermanos situation.  That thing where you see a fast food brand that looks so real, so good, it has to be an actual thing- but not understanding why you’ve never heard of it before. I found out from the guy in charge of the booth that it was a franchise of a fried chicken company you see all over the south (mostly in gas stations.)  I asked so many questions he accused me of being a narc from the corporate office checking up on them.  That sounds like the best job ever.

Read more »

How to Get Two Chipotle Burritos For the Price of One on Every Visit (An Addendum to the Now Famous ‘Apartment List’ Hack)


There is nothing more I love than a good Chipotle hack.  Sure, I’ve had problems in the past with their burrito construction, and called bullshit on their calorie counts, and their off the menu “quesarito”. But I also see a lot of the good in Chipotle, and none of my past run-ins have deterred me from wanting to find a personal go-to order. Aka, the perfect combination of items that will finally get me to embrace Chipotle, with no caveats.  And this week, I’m proud to say, I think I’ve finally found that order. It started with this incredible Chipotle hack article by my new hero Dylan Grosz on a website called Apartment List.  In it he details, with a FiveThirtyEight level of scientific analysis, how to get Chipotle to give you 86% more food than you would get in a normal burrito for the same price as a normal burrito.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a read… but the gist of it is this: get half and half of everything in a bowl (half black beans/half pinto beans, half white rice/half brown rice, half chicken/half steak) plus all the free add ons, including corn and fajita vegetables, and you end up getting way more food than what goes into a normal burrito.  And the best part is, they’ll give you a tortilla (in fact two tortillas) for free so you can roll your own burrito. I went to check this out for myself, with one major change at the end that solidifies this as not only the best Chipotle hack in the history of Chipotle hacks.  But possibly the best fast food hack ever invented. (Can you see where I’m going with this?)

Read more »

SGV Dumpling Crawl Now Available in Audio Form

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Been waiting awhile to announce this big news… super excited to be a part of HOWL, the new premium audio content service from the folks behind Earwolf & Wolfpop.  The service, which launches today, features access to old Earwolf, Wolfpop, and Marc Maron’s WTF podcasts plus new original shows from Paul F. Tomkins, Lauren Lapkus, Jermaine Clement, Joel Stein, Comedy Central, AV club, and little old us!  Jason Stewart (aka DJ Themjeans) and I turned that Lucky Peach dumpling crawl of the SGV from a few months back into a fun show about dumplings that doubles as an audio guide that you can use as you do the crawl.  It features writers Lucas Peterson and Clarissa Wei, plus a mini episode of “Yo, Is This Racist” w/ Andrew Ti.

The service costs $4.99 a month, but use the promo code CRAWL and you can get one month free. Download the HOWL App on iTunes or sign up here to listen online>>

My 10 Favorite Grand Central Market Mash Ups

If you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve recently been obsessed with mashing up stuff at Grand Central Market in Downtown L.A.  Think: adding GnB espresso shots to horchata from Ana Maria, or stuffing Belcampo fries into Madcapra’s falafel sandwich.  If you’re interested in getting a full window into my grossness, all 10 of my creations are can be found on Thrillist.  Warning there is a grand finale featuring smoked salmon from Wexler’s, brisket from Horse Thief, a pizza from Olio, a carnitas taco and a sandwich from Egg Slut.  Aka, you’ll probably want to go with friends.

Oh, and you prefer hearing the sound of my voice rather than reading my words, I’ll be on KCRW’s Good Food this Saturday at 11am PST going over the list with Evan Kleiman.

THRILLIST: 10 Ways to Hack LA’s Grand Central Market