7 Reasons to Hate L.A. (Lunching, That Is)

I try to be positive here on Midtown Lunch… and I freakin’ love this city.  The food is amazing, and there’s no better place to be a “Midtown Lunch’er”.    But as much as I love much of the food in L.A. (and will defend it to the death against any outsiders, or natives with an inferiority complex) there are some things about lunching in this town that really piss me off. (And more often than not it’s not the food but the people eating it… or not eating it, as is often the case here.) Here are 7 of them, LAist style, for your enjoyment…


1. People who get excited about a place where you have to pay by the pound. I love buffets, but pay by the pound? It’s like a tax that takes advantage of fat people. You put me in front of a buffet, and I can’t be held responsible for what happens next. Putting my plate on a scale after I ravage the steam tables? That’s just cruel. Thankfully yogurt and candy don’t weigh a lot- so my few trips to Yogurtland have been relatively cheap. But Brazilian meats? At $10 a pound? Even my guide to beating the by the pound buffets isn’t going to work in that situation (especially when the place charges you more for taking *all* meat.)

2. Seeing a guy walk by Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop in Beverly Hills with a bag from Subway. That just does not compute.

3. The existence of Chipotle. New Yorkers have an excuse for liking Chipotle (i.e. they don’t know any better, and in most neighborhoods, it’s all they’ve got.) Los Angeles should know better.

Why don’t you like me?

4. Hearing a guy at Versailles, clearly dragged there for the first time by his co-workers, ask what the fried plantains were. He received an answer (“they’re like fried bananas”) and then I watched him scrape them off his plate into the bread basket without even trying them. Cuban food without plantains is just wrong.  And it’s a fruit!  That’s healthy, right?

5. The fact that the Buttermilk Truck has to ask people if they mind the egg being runny on their buttermilk biscuit breakfast sandwich. Who doesn’t like runny eggs!? Embrace the mess people.  It’s what street food is all about.

6. Getting to Huckleberry just after they sold of out of their famous Friday fried chicken, and then watching two girls sitting behind me not even finish their order- WHICH THEY WERE SHARING BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM! Fried chicken that is called one of the ten best in the country by Bon Appetit is not meant to be shared. It’s meant to be hoarded. But if you do happen to share it with somebody else, at least have the courtesy of finishing it! There’s two of you. If you can’t finish it, you don’t deserve it in the first place. (At the very least, offer your leftovers to the fat guy behind you that spent his entire lunch staring lovingly at your chicken.)


7.  The fact that Chego isn’t open for lunch.  Dying to eat one of Roy’s under $10 rice bowls during lunchtime.  You’re killing me guys.  Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilling me.

In the next installment of 7 Reasons to Hate Lunch in L.A… choosing salad over french fries as a side dish, and The Cookie Diet (WTF!?) Now back to the regularly scheduled L.A. lunch lovefest.



  • Haven’t Blondie and Brownie fully validated the (nearly) all-sweets diet? (I mean diet here in the generic sense of ‘the entirety of what one eats’)

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    I’ve lived in L.A. for four years now (NYC expat here), so this is just what I’ve observed:

    -I haven’t seen “by the pound” restaurants be that big of a thing here. I think it’s an anomaly (Brazilian buffets and the like).

    -It’s possible the guy didn’t know Capriotti’s existed? People in Beverly Hills can be pretty oblivious to whatever’s happening outside of their heads. I used to make weekly trips to BH and this is the first time I’ve heard of this shop, but since I *love* a good sandwich, my interest is piqued.

    -Fried plantains are fucking brilliant, and I’d wager that most of the Versailles diners would agree. Not wanting anything to do with “ethnic” food is not strictly an L.A. problem though; it’s why you see all those Olive Gardens and TGIFs in big cities with lots of tourists.

    -I like Chipotle fine. I adore authentic Mexican food in all its regional styles, but when I’m hungry and need something convenient, authenticity isn’t always the order of the day. Chipotle is bland, but it’s good *enough* and it’s very affordable.

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    Re choosing salad over french fries:

    Most restaurant french fries are mediocre, so I don’t bother. Also, if they come with a sandwich (and sandwiches have gotten HUGE), that’s a lot of starch on one plate. I’m not a dieter, but I’m not a spring chicken anymore and I need to watch these things. I enjoy healthful foods and try to fit them in wherever I can, so if greens are a side option I’m totally there. But if I know that the fries at a particular restaurant are *great*, I’m all over them.

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    Watch what you say about “Dr. Siegel’s Cookie Diet”. Dr. Siegel is from Miami and lives at Kendalltown and has known Zach Brooks since he was 5 years old. He will know where to find you and come after you if you keep trashing him.

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    Sorry, trashing his cookies, not him.

  • Beautifully posted, Zach. I remember your original salad bar cheats from ‘way back.

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    If the fries are better than the salad, get the fries.
    If the salad is better than the fries, get the salad.
    If they’re both mediocre, choose at random because you’re not going to eat either.

    It’s pretty much that simple. At some places, the salad is really great. At other places, the fries are really great. *shrug*

    Also, with regard to Chipotle, they do have a couple things that are difficult to find (but before you beat me over the head with reminders of locations, keep in mind that “difficult” means “not highly visible citywide”): good black bean burritos, and vegan mexican food. Neither of those are particularly “authentic” by the standard of the sort of mexican food that’s prevalent throughout Los Angeles, but they do have their appeal.

    And yes, I wholly expect you to launch into the painfully predictable anti-vegan rant so many foodies are so fond of, so go right ahead and get it off your chest.

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    The picture of the plantains is making me drool. Freakin’ LOVE fried plantains.

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    To further expound on your reason #2:

    I do not for the life of me understand why there is a living soul inside the Starbuck’s located directly next door to Susina’s on Beverly. But yet there always are. Seriously????

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