If you take 2nd street a few blocks north west out of Downtown L.A. you’ll find an amazing little stretch of Glendale Boulevard on the border of Westlake and Echo Park. It’s mostly deserted, save for two unassuming restaurants who both serve amazing chicken. I found myself over there on Friday with Nastassia Johnson, the founder of the Manila Machine Truck (R.I.P.), to continue my Filipino food education at a place called Bernie’s Teriyaki. But once I saw that the popular Haitian rotisserie chicken place Tigeorges was right across the street, I knew a double lunch was in order!
Archive for 'Rotisserie Chicken'
If cities had official birds (do cities have official birds?) is there any doubt that Los Angeles’s would be the chicken. The people in this city looooove chicken, or maybe they just hate pigs and cows? Or… maybe they love pigs and cows, and want to spare them. Not likely. I suspect the real reason people in L.A. prefer chicken so much is because pigs and cows don’t have boneless white meat breasts, that can be grilled and served in sandwich or salad form inevitably topped with avocado. Sometimes it makes me angry. But there are benefits to this city’s obsession with chicken, namely the obscene amount of amazing rotisserie (and rotisserie’ish) chicken options at our disposable. There’s the garlic sauce goodness of Zankou, Al Wazir, RoRo’s and Gaby’s. The red chicken juice topped french fries you get at Dino’s. And of course there’s the smokey wood fired Peruvian rotisserie chicken. I found a pretty great version at El Dorado (on Vine just north of Melrose), but everybody knows that the industry standard is Polla ala Brasa, a 20+ year old shack on Western & 8th.
A year ago Squid Ink reported that Pollo ala Brasa would be moving into a larger space, and it looks like they’re getting real close to being finished. Clearly it was time to go say goodbye to the original…
If you haven’t been to the Brentwood Country Mart to try Sweet Rose Creamery, the ice cream shop from the owners of Rustic Canyon and Huckleberry, you are really missing out. Seriously, it is absolutely amazing- and if you need further proof, here it is: even though I don’t live or work or find myself anywhere near Brentwood, ever, I have subjected myself to lunch in the hood a few times just to have an excuse to stop by Sweet Rose. Brentwood is not exactly an under $10 lunch paradise (some of the stuff at the newly opened FarmShop is laugh out loud expensive) but most of the options at the Country Mart “food court” come in at under $10, and the one that gets recommended the most is Reddi Chick.
I had first heard about Reddi Chick a few months ago from the site Savory Hunter. Rotisserie chicken and fried stuff for under $10? In an upscale neighborhood shopping area? It sounded positively charming!
I know I spend a lot of time railing against chicken (comma Los Angeles’ love of) here on Midtown Lunch… but I can’t help it. Choosing white meat chicken breast over pork, lamb, goat, and even dark meat chicken is a crime against all that is holy and good about eating. It’s a cop out. That being said, not all chicken is bad. For example, rotisserie chicken = good chicken. White or dark meat… if you allow the liquid fat from other chickens to drop onto your chicken while you cook it, getting the skin all crispy and greasy, that makes an acceptable chicken. And lucky for me, there is no shortage of rotisserie chicken in Los Angeles.
Family issues aside, Zankou is the undisputed king of chicken (if not in taste, certainly in popularity) but if you work near Hollywood and Vine, there are a few other worthwhile (and more importantly, cheaper) options. Certainly you could drive East to Zankou (there’s one on Sunset and Normandie), but Al Wazir and Ro Ro are close as well. Can you tell the difference between the three? Let’s find out…