Archive for 'Santa Monica'

BBQ Garden’s “Oriental Cuisine” is the Best Cheap Korean Lunch West of the 405


When I visited Hungry Pocket for a falafel back in September, I remember staring lovingly at BBQ Garden- a cheap looking Asian fast food dive in the same strip mall across from Santa Monica College.  I love me some cheap and dirty Asian food, but this place looked like it could go either way.  The words “Oriental Cuisine” never inspire confidence, and to make things worse the menu had a strange mix of seemingly Korean and Japanese dishes (including sushi?)  But when a Korean friend told me that it was probably the best fast food Korean place on the west side, that was all I needed to hear to head back.

Read more »

Il Forno’s $6 Take Out Special is Carbtacular!


A few weeks ago I couldn’t help but notice profiled L.A. lunch’er Himanshu’s go-to lunch recommendation in Santa Monica.  Usually a go-to lunch is the place you hit up when you’re feeling lazy and unadventurous- but this one stood out as a tiny bit awesome:  “Lunch specials at Il Forno (2901 Ocean Park Blvd) $6 for pasta + excellent bread”.  $6?  And you get “excellent bread”?   How could I not?

Read more »

Westside Bun Battle: Tiato vs. Le Saigon


A few weeks ago I shared my… uh… unique guide to what I consider a “healthy” lunch in Los Angeles. Because as much of a fatso as I am, there are occasionally days when this “job” catches up with me.  And for those days, I try and eat something “light”.  (Sorry, a side effect of writing about food that isn’t dripping in fat is the overuse of quotation marks.)  I mentioned how much I like Vietnamese bun, and posted a photo of the ok version at Tiato- an Asian’ish lunch spot in Santa Monica.  It’s the kind of place I would never go out of my for, but if I worked in the building (or anywhere in a 5 minute vicinity of Colorado & Stewart) I might eat there once or twice a week.

Lunch’er Jake W. was nice enough to let me know in the comments that Le Saigon (on Santa Monica Blvd. near Barrington) made a much better bun than Tiato.  And since I was feeling a little gross the other day (possibly because of Reddi Check and Greek doughnuts) I decided to put this theory to the test.

Read more »

The Hidden Delicious Mysteries of the Santa Monica Place Food Court


When the brand new Santa Monica Place opened up back in August everybody seemed pretty focused on all the new restaurants.  Not me, though.  I’m strictly a food court man.  Sure, I’d sneak a dinner in at Pizza Antica, and I guess I’m mildly intrigued by the dim sum at Xino.  But for lunch, if I’m anywhere near a mall I find it hard to avoid the food court.  In fact, food courts are kind of the perfect group lunch- a fact I discovered as a child when my brother, father and I used to spend Tuesday nights at the Dadeland Mall Court in Miami.  No arguing over where we were going to eat dinner when the food court was the destination.  I could have my lo mein (made to order in a wok behind the counter!) from the random Chinese restaurant whose name I can’t remember, my brother could get his matzoh ball soup from Bain’s Deli, and my dad could get whatever he wanted (I can’t really remember what was in his rotation.)

I’m all growns up now, but the same theory still applies. Food court with co-workers is the perfect compromise.  Sally from accounting can enjoy her boring salad or sandwich, while you decide between crappy Chinese food, crappy Japanese stir fry, or Hot Dog on a Stick.  (Fresh squeezed lemonade and a corn dog FTW!) So last week, when I decided to meet a chicken loving friend in Santa Monica for lunch, there was one perfect option that stood out from the rest:  the Santa Monica Place Food Court.  And even though I usually go straight for the cheap Chinese food (old habits die hard), we managed to discover a few hidden secrets that aren’t obvious from an intial walk-around.

Read more »

Tacos Por Favor is a Loveable West Side Institution

Tacos Por Favor

Buying this month’s issue of Los Angeles Magazine just shot to the top of my to-do list! It features The Ultimate Guide to Mexican Food in L.A., and from the sound of things it’s not a completely whitewashed list either.  They enlisted Mexican food hype man Bill Esparza (from the website Street Gourmet L.A.) for a number of the features, ensuring that it will be immune to criticism from hyper critical bloggers and food writers.  Only bits and pieces of the guide are online (LAMag still believes they can get people to buy magazines!) but I think it’s pretty safe to say that Tacos Por Favor, the popular Santa Monica lunch spot on Olympic, probably didn’t make the list.

But after four different profiled Lunchers mentioned it, I thought it might be time to check the place out.

Read more »

Why Does Anybody Get Cold Sandwiches at Bay Cities!?


Clearly there is nothing I can’t write about Bay Cities that hasn’t been written before. If you want a sandwich, and you’re anywhere near Santa Monica, it’s pretty much the only spot that anybody and everybody will send you to. On my first visit I learned that waiting in line was for suckers. Ordering online saves a ton of time, but I get it. Sometimes you’re driving around, you didn’t plan for the visit, the craving comes all of a sudden- and boom. What are you going to do? I’ll tell you what you’re going to do… go for the hot foods! The bread at Bay Cities is unbelievably good. But the cold cuts they put in the Godmother? It’s just Boar’s Head. On my first visit the chicken parm sandwich blew away the Godmother, and last week I headed back for the meatloaf sandwich- a recommendation from Lunch’er “Jeff”.

Just a warning… it’s about to get super messy in here!

Read more »

Hungry Pocket Wants to Teach You How To Eat Falafel


This sign should have been a premonition.  Not all falafel sandwiches require this kind of attention to spillage, but the ones at Hungry Pocket certainly do… a fact I discovered the hard way yesterday.  Situated right across the street from Santa Monica College, HP was first brought to my attention by KCRW producer (and Profiled Midtown Lunch’er) Harriet Els, who listed it as one of her go-to lunches.  Her endorsement was less than enthusiastic (she called the falafel “decent”), but when this week’s Profiled Lunch’er Steven called it the best falafel he’s found in L.A. I knew it was time for a visit to this college student hang out.

Read more »