Archive for September 2015

Asked + Answered: Everything You Wanted to Know About the Halal Guys’ New Costa Mesa Storefront

At the beginning of last year something magical happened. A wish, that New York transplants like myself have been making to the stars for years, finally came true.  L.A. got its own street meat cart, serving chicken and “lamb” over rice with white sauce and hot sauce.  The New York street staple known as “halal” was finally available on the west coast.  And it was pretty good.  But that was just a facsimile. A drill, if you will.  This, my friends, is the real deal.  The “Famous” Halal Guys who have the cart in Midtown Manhattan (on 53rd Street & 6th Avenue) with the super long lines, have started opening brick and mortar franchises. And one of them is opening in Costa Mesa on October 2nd.  Yesterday I drove 50 minutes down the 405 to get a sneak peak at the new location, and will now answer every question you have about what I saw and ate.

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So first things first.  What’s the place called?   The Halal Guys

And this is the same exact same “Famous Halal Guys” with the long lines in Midtown on 53rd & 6th?  Didn’t you read the intro?  (If you don’t know who the Halal Guys are, it might be worth reading this. If you want to know about the history of this food in L.A., you’ll want to read this.)

But how did this happen?  Aren’t they just a street meat cart?  How are they now opening brick and mortars all the way across the country?  Last year Fransmart, the company behind Five Guys and Qdoba’s expansion, cut a deal with the Halal Guys to take them international.   The New York Times wrote all about it. 

So is this the first location?  Nope.  Two brick and mortars have already opened in New York City.  And a Chicago location opened last month. Read more »

East Side Food Fest is Back (And Weds is The Last Day For Early Bird Tickets)

In case you missed it, the East Side Food Fest is back for a second year… and this year it’s going to be bigger and better.  It all goes down October 18th at Mack Sennett Studios, and will feature over 30 local vendors including restaurants, celebrity chefs, caterers, locally owned brands, and more (which I helped to curate.) And just like last year there will be a second stage featuring demos and a live recording of the Food is the New Rock podcast, featuring musicians and chefs who live and work on the East side of L.A. Some of the vendors have already been announced, including Dune, Ohana Poke Co, Alimento, Jeni’s Ice Cream, Alexander’s Greek and more. And the best part is, the event benefits PATH- a non-profit organization with local programs benefitting homeless individuals and families in the Silver Lake and surrounding EastSide areas of Los Angeles.

Tomorrow (Wednesday September 16th) is the last day to score cheaper early bird tickets, so don’t want. Get more info and buy your tickets now over http://eastsidefoodfest.com/

5 Reasons Why Krispy Krunchy Chicken is My New Obsession (Sorry Popeye’s)

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If you were at FYF Fest this year you likely noticed that the food options were the best they’ve ever been at the L.A. based music festival.  Thanks to Nic Adler and Goldenvoice a handful of well known L.A. restaurants (like Dune, Top Round, Donut Friend and Free Range LA) set up alongside music festival mainstays (like Spicy Pie, arepas, corn dogs and crab fries).  But one fried chicken vendor I stumbled upon that weekend was neither of those things.  They were set up in the shadows of the L.A. Colisseum, at the very very end of a long line of nameless stands selling random stuff like aguas frescas and meat on a stick.  The makeshift booth looked like it could have been dropped in from a church fund raiser, but they had boxes with logos on them that seemed to indicate a real business.  Their name?  Krispy Krunchy Chicken.

To say I was intrigued would be a severe understatement. The whole thing felt like a Los Pollos Hermanos situation.  That thing where you see a fast food brand that looks so real, so good, it has to be an actual thing- but not understanding why you’ve never heard of it before. I found out from the guy in charge of the booth that it was a franchise of a fried chicken company you see all over the south (mostly in gas stations.)  I asked so many questions he accused me of being a narc from the corporate office checking up on them.  That sounds like the best job ever.

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