Archive for March 2012

Lunch Links (The “Better Than Bay Cities!?” Edition)


Meatball Sub from All About the Bread. Photo by Unemployed Eater.

  • BEV HILLS A look inside the new location of Bibigo [Eater;Squid Ink]
  • DTLA More praise for Mexicali Taco [Eater LA]
  • KTOWN The 10 best Korean BBQ restaurants in L.A. [Squid Ink]
  • MID CITY All About the Bread’s meatball sub is better than Bay Cities [Unemployed Eater]
  • TACOS Taco Madness is down to the final four! [LA Taco]

My Quest to Make Starry Kitchen’s Friday Fish & Chips A Permanent Menu Item Starts Today

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I know this will sound crazy to anybody who works near 4th & Grand, but I wish I worked near 4th & Grand!  And the reason is simple. It’s been way too long since the last time I ate at Starry Kitchen, the apartment restaurant turned Downtown lunch mecca in the California Plaza whose homey Asian dishes cycle through the menu like Bruce Willis movies on AMC.  At one time their green crisped rice covered tofu balls, which incidentally are now a permanent option on the menu, were a personal obsession of mine.  But they have now been replaced by Starry Kitchen’s Friday only fish and taro chips special. Presumably they’ll only be offering this special through the end of Lent, but it has now become my personal mission to get it added to the rest of the year rotation. At the very least they should start putting those addictive taro sticks on top of sandwiches (Starry Kitchen frita, anyone!?) If it worked for the tofu balls, there’s no reason it can’t work for this.

But wait. There’s more…

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Park’s Finest Filipino BBQ Finally Open For Lunch!

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I can’t remember when exactly I first heard about Park’s Finest, the neighborhood BBQ outfit turned professional caterer turned brick and mortar that’s been cooking up their brand of Filipino BBQ since the 80s.  But I do remember the disappointment I felt when I discovered that their brand new restaurant, on Temple just outside of Downtown L.A., was only open on Friday nights for dinner!  Thankfully this setback was purely temporary, because last week (after a brief flirtation with random Tuesday lunches) they started a new Thursday-Sunday lunch and dinner schedule.

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PROFILE: L.A. Lunch’er “Lindsay”

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 Lindsay, a bartender who doesn’t like Chinese food (what!?!?) but loves La Cevicheria (minor redemption!)

Name: Lindsay

Age: 27

Occupation: Bartender, Writer

Where in L.A. do you Work?: Pour Vous in Hollywood; thenader.com; Los Angeles Magazine “Hey Barkeep” column

Favorite Kind of Food: Veggies and Fish

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Chinese

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: Pho Cafe (aka hipster pho) in Silverlake. I always order the no.14, which is a vegetarian pho. I douse it heavily with fish sauce and sriracha.

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L.A.’s 5 Most Genius Hamburger Toppings

I was once told that when attempting to judge the greatness of a hamburger the only acceptable toppings are cheese and maybe ketchup.  Being a fat man who loves throwing shit on top of stuff or stuffing stuff in other shit, I kind of scoffed.  But since then I’ve come to appreciate the burger in its most simple form.  Lettuce and tomato is rabbit food.  Bacon is so 2009.  And a runny fried egg?!  Actually, don’t fuck with the fried egg.  A fried egg makes everything better.  And so does grilled onions, and onion rings, and blue cheese.  Even pastrami. Oh, who am I kidding, I love burgers with tons of stuff on them.  And while at one time topping a burger with any one of those things might have been unique, now burger chefs have to get a little bit crazier with their ideas to really get noticed. Here are my 5 favorite, most crazily genius, individual burger toppings in Los Angeles…

KETCHUP LEATHER – PLAN CHECK

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Pay no attention to the stuff on top, the real genius is underneath.

Did you seriously think that the chef who helped to build Umami Burger would open a restaurant in West L.A. specializing in hamburgers, and *not* have some crazy trick up his sleeve? It looks like a fruit roll up. It feels like a fruit roll up. But it tastes like ketchup, and as you eat the thing the gooey sweetness starts to melt into the burger.  It’s almost like the chef came up with this while working at UB, and thought “hmmm… I think I’m going to keep this one for myself.” Genius. Will it cause Heinz apologists to suddenly embrace the idea of house made ketchups?  Probably not.  But fruit roll up enthusiasts now have a burger topping to get super excited about. 1800 Sawtelle Boulevard. 310-288-6500

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Lunch Links (The “Filipino BBQ’d Beef” Edition)


Coconut beef from Park’s Finest BBQ. Photo by Anne Fishbein/LAW

  • DTLA Park’s Finest BBQ is now open for Thurs & Friday lunch! [Squid Ink]
  • DTLA 7th & Fig is getting a Loteria, Lamill & Park’s BBQ [Eater;LAT]
  • DTLA Spice Table makes a perfectly fine cheeseburger [AHT]
  • MARINA DEL REY Jersey Mike’s is opening on Lincoln [Grub Street]
  • MID CITY Pitfire Pizza is now open on Fairfax [Eater]
  • WESTWOOD A mini Umamiburger called U-Mini is coming soon [LAT;GS]
  • WEST LA Spaghetti by Orris is on the market [Eater]
  • WEST LA Your first look at Miyata Menji’s ramen [The Minty]
  • DEALS Get 50% off Kogi, Buttermilk Truck, Frysmith, Grilled Cheese Truck & Grill ‘em All [Google Offers]

Robata-Ya’s Off the Menu Bento Substitution is a Big Time Winner

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I’ve been spending way too much time in Little Osaka these days. I can’t help it. The tsukemen from Tsujita is enough to make me consider a trip to Sawtelle at least once a week, but once you throw in all the new lunch options that seem to be popping up one after another, the pull is just too much for me to resist. Gottsui just started serving a surprisingly tasty lunchtime ramen, a new Korean soondubu place just opened in the same strip mall, and apparently another ramen place is on the way!  There’s also the newly converted Spaghetti by Orris (although word is that place is up for sale) and if you haven’t tried the ketchup leather topped burger at Plan Check, I’d highly recommend it.  And of course there’s Miyata Menji, which opens today- although I’m going to give them a little time to get settled in.  (Plus, word is the famous-in-Japan comedian who owns the place is supposed to be there today, and I don’t want none of that.)

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And yet in the midst of all this craziness, last week I found myself sidling up to the counter at Robata Ya- a 4 year old yakitori place that is solid if uninspiring.  The reason?  My buddy Dylan had told me that they do a bento box with salad, soup, rice, tempura (including one piece of shrimp!), gyoza, half a spicy tuna roll, and 3 pieces of yakitori.  All that food for just $10?!  How could I not.

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