Archive for February 2012

Bud Namu Proves That the Best $10 AYCE Korean BBQ Deal is the Newest AYCE Korean BBQ Deal

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When most people in L.A. talk about loving Korean food, they’re usually talking about Korean BBQ.  And even more specifically than that, all you can eat Korean BBQ.  But not all ayce Korean BBQ lovers are created equal, and opinions can range from the wildly enthusiastic (“I am a fatso… let’s do it!”) to the mildly exuberant (“You know all you can eat Korean BBQ isn’t even that popular in Korea.  It’s totally an American thing.”  ”So you don’t want to go?”  ”What are you talking about!?  Of course I want to go!”) to the reluctantly excited (“I’ll go… but I’m totally not going to eat that much.”) And within that group there is even a smaller subsect of ayce Korean BBQ lovers who will only eat at $9.99 all you can eat Korean BBQ places for lunch. And that’s where you’ll find me.  After all, why pay $16-25 for something you can get during lunch for just $10.  Added bonus?  You have the rest of the day to recover.

My journey to find the best $10 all you can eat Korean BBQ restaurant has taken me through many body sacrificing lunches… from Tahoe Galbi (which now features Brazilian BBQ!?), to the always reliable Choi Gah Neh, which were both blown away by newcomer Don Day, which I raved about back in June.  But after a return visit to Don Day last month left me a bit disappointed, my search for the best $10 ayce Korean BBQ lunch deal began again.  So when I read that a new Korean BBQ place had opened on Ardmore and 8th called Bud Namu, and they were offering a $10 all you can eat lunch option for a limited time only, it wasn’t long before I made it over there to stuff my face.

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PROFILE: L.A. Lunch’er “John”

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 it’s John, a media strategist in West L.A. who loves bacon, and delis hidden in gas stations.

Name: John

Age: 25

Occupation: Media Strategist

Where in L.A. do you Work?: MBMG, West LA

Favorite Kind of Food: Bacon (if that’s unacceptable, anything with bacon on it: bacon pizza, bacon wrapped hot dogs, bacon bacon)

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Soup (what’s the point? If I wanted to drink a meal, I’d have a Guinness)

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: Corner Deli (1660 South Sepulveda Boulevard) which is a deli inside a gas station. Weird I know, but fantastic. I love the classic chicken breast sandwich and the ultimate breakfast burrito is great in the morning , but the truly great thing about Corner Deli is that the food is consistent. I think that’s an important factor for any restaurant. Don’t be a Michelin 3 star on Monday but then KFC on Tuesday. Also, Chutney’s (2406 South Barrington Avenue) for their great chicken tikka masala lunch special, 800 Degrees (10889 Lindbrook Drive, Westwood), and Eduardo’s (1830 Westwood Boulevard), which has the best nachos.

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7 Reasons to Hate L.A. (Lunch’ing 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 most 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 annoy me.  Here are 7 of them, LAist style, for your enjoyment…

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1. So your orange peel chicken and honey glazed shrimp (aka slippery shrimp) are the best of all time?  Ok… you’ve got my attention.  They’re $14 and $15 respectively?  Uh… ok… but how much is the lunch special version?  THERE ISN’T A LUNCH SPECIAL VERSION!?!?  I’ve never heard of such a thing. You are a Chinese food restaurant, right?   There must be some sort of General Tso’s chicken treaty that this violates…

2. Speaking of “Chinese” food, New York is getting a branch of Mission Chinese Food before we do?  That is beyond f’d up.  These people know that L.A. is only 400 miles away from S.F. right?  So much for the whole”local” thing.

$13 street food, inexplicably popular sandwiches, Sunny Spot, and more feel my wrath after the jump…

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Lunch Links (The “Do You Think This is a Sandwich?” Edition)

Baco Mercat: The Toron
One of the best things I’ve eaten this year, but is it the best “sandwich”?
Photo courtesy of Guzzle and Nosh/Squid Ink.

Mateo’s Ice Cream & Fruit Bars is Good For More Than Just Paletas and Shakes

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Mexican smoothies, shakes, and paletas might be ubiquitous in some parts of Los Angeles, but in Culver City if you want a mamey shake, watermelon liquida, or mezcal & walnut ice cream there’s only one place you’ll ever need to go: Mateo’s Ice Cream & Fruit Bars.  Nestled in the corner of a strip mall on Sepulveda between Jefferson and Culver, Mateo’s is well known for their fruit juices, Mexican popsicles, milk shakes, and ice cream.  (And apparently their coffee ice cream is especially good.) But did you know they also serve sandwiches?

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Shaka Shack is Surprisingly Good (And their Veggie Burger is Downright Great)

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I don’t know if it’s because I moved here from New York, but I had to do a double take the first time I read about Shaka Shack- a new burger joint that just opened on Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica.  Change one letter and you’ve got, arguably, the most popular burger place in New York City.  A chain that has not only expanded to Miami, Washington DC and Dubai, but was also big enough to get one star in the New York Times yesterday. What were these Shaka Shack people thinking!?  Could this be west coast payback for the overt In N Out Burger rip off that opened in Manhattan two years ago?  And how did they expect to get away with this? At least McDowell’s was owned by a guy with the last name McDowell.

The answer?  Shaka Shack is nothing like the Shake Shack.  It’s a tiki bar’esque, surfer themed hangout, with a beach bum owner who could argue that he had never heard of the New York chain and you just might believe them (even though his ex wife used to work for Wolfgang Puck and they appeared  on the NBC show Chopping block together).

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So You Want To Stuff Your Face With Meat Before Lent…

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If you’re anything like me (fat and getting fatter) than you probably don’t like to see any holidays go to waste. I mean, I’m not Catholic. Nor do I live in New Orleans. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Fat Tuesday come and go without using it as an excuse to stuff my face. I could go the normal route, and find some mediocre po’boy, or pathetic excuse for jamabalaya. But I think this year I might go a different route. All you can eat meat! Don’t people give up meat for lent? Only on Fridays? Whatever. That’s good enough for me.

For all you can eat meat, Korean BBQ is obviously the way to go.  If you want to keep it around $10, Choi Ga Neh and Don Day are my two cheap standbys.  Although I’m hearing that newly open Bud Namu is very good, and is doing a $10 lunchtime ayce for a limited time only.   Not in the mood for Korean BBQ?  There’s always Libra in Culver City for some all you can eat Brazilian meat. Of course you’ll want to get there before Noon to score the $15 special lunch price.