Archive for November 2012

Lunch Links (The “Get Excited For Japadog” Edition)

The Oroshi from Japadog in Vancouver

  • NEWS Japadog is coming to Los Angeles!!! [Grub Street]
  • CULVER CITY Good Brazilian food is now available at El Camaguay [LAMag Digest]
  • DTLA R.I.P. Fat Spoon. We will miss you. [Eater]
  • KTOWN This black sesame pooridge looks super tasty [Squid Ink]
  • WESTLAKE Good Cuban food in L.A.?  Yes please. [LAMag Digest]
  • WEHO Gaucho Chicken looks like our kind of place [Eater]
  • WESTWOOD It’s taken 2 yrs but somebody else finally noticed Attari Grill! [Food GPS]
  • WESTWOOD Chick Fil A is coming to Westwood [LAist]
  • LUNCH Hollywood writers fight over where to order lunch from [THR]

Bread Lounge Serves Up Great Sandwiches on What Could Be L.A.’s Best Bread


Is it really that shocking that it’s a chore to find amazing bread in Los Angeles?  Anytime there is a portion of your restaurant-going population who pretends to have celiac to avoid eating carbs, I’m pretty sure you cede your right to being a hub for great gluten. What makes it even harder for me is that I lived around the corner from the Sullivan St. Bakery factory in NYC for 5 years before moving to L.A.  Not only did they supply bread to well known restaurants all over the city, but they also had a small takeout counter where they peddled sandwiches, breads, and pastries in a relatively industrial part of Hell’s Kitchen.  I miss it.

Or I should say, I missed it.  Bread Lounge in Downtown L.A. has filled my void, serving up sandwiches, breads, and pastries in an industrial part of Downtown (sound familiar?) And the best part is, their sandwiches make it a perfect lunching destination.

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3 New Roast Beef Sandwiches I’d Eat Today

Sick of turkey?  Me too.  But you’ve still got to eat lunch today, so can we recommend… a roast beef sandwich?  Here are 3 new ones that have surfaced in L.A. over the past few months. 


Situated in the shadow of Brentwood’s branch of Lemonade, I probably wouldn’t have ever thought to eat at Roast if it wasn’t for this post on Unemployed Eater.  Despite how good it sounds in theory (deli and meat market FTW!), in actuality it’s kind of a strange lunch place for the neighborhood; with an aesthetic that could only be described as bush league or DIY- depending on how generous you were feeling that day.  In other words, don’t look for Roast to take too much business away from their neighbor anytime soon, or expand into some kind of local chain.  That being said, their roast beef sandwich- which comes in slider or sandwich form- was surprisingly good.  Perfectly rare, and deliciously tender and moist, it only gets better when you use their horseradish sauce and au jus. Not something I’d drive out of my way for, but it’s one of the better lunch options in Brentwood.  The only downside?  The french dip is $12.  Roast, 147 S Barrington. Brentwood Village. 310-476-1100

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U-Mini is Less Burger For Less Money w/ Less Stomach Ache


If there was a scale created for restaurant inevitability, U-Mini would probably rank towards the top. It was clearly only a matter of time before Umami Burger would attempt to turn their hugely popular mini-chain of sit down burger restaurants into something a bit more fast-food’ish. The idea was as unavoidable as the post Umami Burger stomach ache- that pain in your about-to-explode gut that would normally be considered a deal breaker if the damn burger didn’t taste so good going down.

Something cheaper and quicker would be nice.  Something to compete with Five Guys, In N Out Burger, or (insert feigned surprise here) New York’s Shake Shack. And U-Mini, the fast food tech-heavy burger place that just opened in Westwood by the owners of Umami is pretty much just that.   It’s literally just a smaller, quicker, streamlined version of Umami Burger. In other words, if you’re not a fan of Umami Burger to begin with, don’t bother.  This place probably won’t change your mind.

But Umami fans will find a lot to like about U-Mini, especially those of us whose days are dictated by lunch.  Not only is it almost half the price of a lunch at a regular Umami Burger, the burger is a bit smaller by an ounce or two- meaning that patented Umami stomach ache is mercifully smaller as well.

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Lunch Links (The “Pitfire’s Been Around For 15 Years!?” Edition)

Pitfire Pizza’s Tuscan Pie. Photo courtesy of Gourmet Pigs
  • PIZZA Pitfire is celebrating 15 years by offering their Tuscan pie for $8 all month [Gourmet Pigs]
  • DTLA The NY style pizza is better than the margarita at Urbano [Slice]
  • DTLA Shekarchi looks like a pretty great Persian food option [The Minty]
  • HWOOD Dine in at Hollywood Pies soon (but will they be open for lunch!?) [Eater
  • HWOOD House of Tacos is now open, and everything is 2 for 1 [Grub Street]
  • HWOOD Vim Thai is now open next to Mario’s Peruvian [Grub Street]
  • WEST LA A soba place is taking over Orris on Sawtelle [Grub Street]
  • WEST LA Hole in the Wall Burger is moving to Santa Monica [Grub Street]
  • WESTWOOD Your first look inside U-Mini… [Eater]
  • WESTWOOD … and here’s a look at the food [Unemployed Eater]
  • WESTWOOD The Lime Truck’s brick and mortar is now open [Squid Ink]
  • LISTS 5 must try food truck burgers [Zagat]
  • PODCAST This week’s Food is the New Rock guest is Rick Bayless… and we get him to talk about the criticism he faced when he opened Red O [FITNR]

5 New Things I Learned About Korean Food in L.A. This Month

If you’ve been disgusted by the amount of Korean BBQ in my Instagram feed recently (I’m looking about you, people who care about my health) I assure you there has been a good reason for it.  Well, maybe “good” is a strong word.  But there has been a reason.  I’ve been participating in a project that required me to eat at 10 assigned Korean restaurants in L.A. in about 15 days.  It’s a tough life, I know.  Some were great Midtown Lunch spots that I know well, others I had never been to.  But there were 5 things I learned that would be useful next time you’re looking for a good Korean food lunch in L.A.

Galbi Jim ($15) w/ lunch special banchan

1. Over the past few months Kang Ho Dong Baekjong has assumed the mantle of hottest Korean BBQ spot in L.A., starting with this review in the L.A. Weekly and culminating in The Guru’s review last week. Sadly, it’s really tough to get out of there for under $20 if you want to grill your own meat, and their lunch specials are all of the non-BBQ variety (which is what the place is known for.)  That being said, their Shaken Dosirak ($8) lunch box is starting to make a name for itself, and they have a completely different set of banchan for those people who order lunch specials! (Including a pretty great marinated squid dish.)

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Murakami: Hollywood’s Surprising Sushi Gem


Inspired by Nate Silver, I wondered this week if the same principles could be used to decide whether or not a restaurant is good before going.  Some combination, perhaps, of Yelp reviews and Foursquare check ins, with bonus points for pretty Instagram photos and deductions for Groupon offerings and the number of free meals the restaurant gave out to bloggers when they first opened (because, quite frankly, if you have to give out free food to a bunch of shameless white fatsos and cute Asian girls to drum up business, how good could your restaurant possibly be?)

My buddy Brandon thought he had cracked the code a few weeks back, proclaiming that if a restaurant got 4 1/2 stars or higher on Yelp, and had over 100 reviews it was guaranteed to be good.  The model is not exactly foolproof yet (we probably need to add a few more exceptions to the algorithm) but one place the method works unaided is Murakami.  4 1/2 stars on Yelp. 280+ reviews.  And it’s hands down my new favorite cheap lunch sushi place in Hollywood.

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