Archive for April 2011

Lunch Links (The “Fried Chicken Sandwich” Edition)

Photo courtesy of Katie Robbins/Serious Eats

  • MULTIPLE 8 Great L.A. fried chicken sandwiches [Serious Eats]
  • DTLA Garage Pizza is opening on 7th & Main [Squid Ink]
  • DTLA Great hidden lunches of Downtown L.A. [LA Times]
  • H’WOOD Josh Lurie is a huge fan of Pa Ord’s pad thai [Food GPS]
  • WEST LA A new okonomoyaki place is opening on Sawtelle [Grub Street]
  • MOBILE The Grilled Cheese Truck serves a chx and waffle sandwich!? [LAist]

Five Guys vs In N Out: Is the Grass Always Greener?


I still remember when the first Five Guys opened in NYC.  As an avid In N Out fan I was pretty excited, because as different as the two places are Five Guys was the closest thing that we were going to get to having an In N Out.  Fresh cut fries, free grilled onions, and most importantly fast food that tasted like real food- not some kind of lab experiment (I’m looking at you Mcwendysking.)  But In N Out replacement it was not.  I still pined for a double double, and anytime I found myself far enough west I actively sought out the closest In N Out, not just for my own enjoyment but to induce jealousy in all the other east coast In N Out disciples I was friends with.  Then something happened…  I moved back to L.A.  All of sudden In N Out was available all the time, and while I still love it, it obviously doesn’t stir up that same excitement.  And when I hear old friends from back east get excited for In N Out it makes me laugh.  “Oh, that old place?”

Of course it’s still my go to fast food burger place, and a road trip essential.  So on my way down to Coachella two weeks ago it was my lunch stop off the 10.  What could be better than that?  I’ll tell you what.  Spotting a Five Guys at Midnight between Indio and my hotel in Palm Springs.  I actually surprised myself with how excited I got.

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Angelica’s Cemita Truck is a Westside Gem


If you live and/or work in Culver City you’ve likely noticed the new Westside Food Truck Central lot on Washington and Culver.  In fact it’s become such a popular lunchtime destination that they’ve extended their lunchtime schedule to 5 days a week, 11am to 2:30pm (they also have trucks out there for dinner on Mondays and Wednesdays.)   I’m a huge fan, and whenever I’m in the mood for some gourmet food truck action, near where I live, I now know where to go without even checking twitter (although they do have a twitter account to let you know their daily schedule.)  But that’s not the only place for a truck lunch in the area, and if old school loncheros is more your thing  it turns out one of the best trucks in the city parks on Venice and Jasmine (right in front of Smart & Final.)

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PROFILE: L.A. Lunch’er “Jen”

As is customary on Midtown Lunch, every Tuesday we profile a random reader to get their recommendations for the best spots to lunch near their work. This week its Jen, the director of PRISM Gallery in West Hollywood. Tonight they’re having a benefit cocktail gathering in conjunction with the blog Umamimart at 6pm to raise money for Second Harvest Japan. The event will feature highballs provided by Yamazaki Whiskey, hors d’oeuvres by Eveleigh and desserts by Fruit & Flour. And the entire ticket price goes to Second Harvest Japan.

Name: Jen

Age: 34

Occupation: Gallery Director

Where in L.A. do you Work?: PRISM, near Sunset Plaza

Favorite Kind of Food: A well made salad and a good steak

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Anything drowning in oil

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: The homemade daily menu at Dialog Cafe (8766 Holloway Dr), The Lemon Chicken Soup at Mirabelle (8768 W Sunset Blvd) that comes with a side of fresh olive tapenade and bread.

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Spice Table Open For Lunch; Already Serving Best Banh Mi in L.A.


Last month Spice Table launched for dinner in Little Tokyo to a modest bit of hype.  Opened by a former Mozza sous chef, the Vietnamese/Singaporean inspired restaurant seems to share DNA with current popular new places like A-Frame, Lukshon, Night + Market, and Red Medicine, offering up a high quality, Asian-inspired menu in a hip Downtown environment.  The dinner menu, a smallish affair featuring noodle bowls, satay, vegetables and seafood dishes, was reasonable enough to give me hope that their long awaited lunch menu just might be within the ML price range (aka under $10).  So when Brand X announced on Friday that they had finally opened for lunch, I rushed right over.

And not only was everything under $10, from day one Spice Table is already one of the best lunches in Downtown L.A.

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Lunch Links (The “Greatest Buffet News I’ve Ever Heard” Edition)

Photo courtesy of Grub Street

  • WEST L.A. Hoakkaido Seafood Buffet is coming to my hood!! [Grub Street]
  • CULVER CITY Gloria’s carne adobada is great [CoC]
  • DTLA Sarita’s has an off the menu basil pupusa [Squid Ink]
  • HWOOD I still haven’t been to Ruen Pair! [Grub Street]
  • KTOWN Jangchung-Dong Wong Jokbal has $10 lunch specials!?! [LAT]
  • KTOWN Bon Chon vs Kyochon [Squid Ink]
  • MID CITY Charlie’s burger is better than Phil’s [AHT
  • MOBILE Papaya King is coming to Los Angeles [Eater]
  • EVENT There are a few tix left for Good Food’s Global Street Food event next sunday [KCRW]
  • EVENT The Grilled Cheese Invitational is this wekeend and the winning ‘wich will be sold at Mendocino Farms [Squid Ink]

Brooklyn Water Bagel Co: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly


When Brooklyn Water Bagel Company, which is partly owned by Larry King, opened its first west coast franchise in Beverly Hills last month a ton of red flags went up. First and most obvious is the Larry King thing. Seriously… that’s your selling point? (Can that guy’s dentures even cut through a real bagel?) Then there was the whole “Brooklyn water” thing, which anybody who has ever been to a New York style pizza place in L.A. should be familiar with. (Really? You pay to have water flown in from New York City to make that pizza? You’re an idiot.) Oh, but don’t worry. Brooklyn Water Bagel Company doesn’t use actual Brooklyn water. They’ve developed a “proprietary water treatment technology system” to create the ideal water for making bagels. (Idiots as well.)

And yet something about their nonsense worked. Maybe it was my one and only soul crushing experience at Noah’s, or the impending Passover holiday, but something willed me to go and check out the bagel that Larry King claims transported him back to Brooklyn with one bite.

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