Tuesday, June 30, 2009

nak won won over hodori

Nak Won Korean Restaurant
1001 S Vermont Ave Ste 103
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 388-8889

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

at this particular strip mall, there's nak won, but two denny's style korean eateries. one is the infamous hodori fixture and then there's the next door competitor nak won. the formula is the same for both; be open 24 hours, have food pics on the walls, always, always serve galbi (korean bbq short ribs) because it's the shizz, banchan it up, quick service, and make it affordable. consequently, folks like me that don't have korean foodies to squirrel out better tasting korean food for them will go there because it's accessible and non threatening. well, that's how i ended up eating there anyways because i didn't know where to go and the last few places i've read off a fellow foodie's blog didn't stick in my head long enough to figure out where they may be located. next time, i will be better prepared!

the menu offers a lot of korean favorites.

but if you don't know what "yook gae jang" is and the english description isn't good enough for you to imagine what you'll be eating, then lucky for you, they have pictures for all you kll's (korean language learners) out there.

we started off with the typical banchan. depending on the korean joint of choice, the potato salad differs. this one is alright but i missed hodori's apple inspired one. you also have your spread of kimchee, radish kimchee, marinated bean sprouts, and this gelatinous savory "cake" of sorts with a soy sauce dressing. i'm assuming it's made of some type of bean. the entrees also come with a miso soup which was a good, clear, clean tasting broth (please don't destroy my dream and tell me it came from a dehydrated packet) which nicely accompanied the banchan as i waited for the meal.

we ordered bim bop to start. i really LOVE these rolled up korean styled california rolls! savory and compact. what a great way to eat on the run though i wasn't running anywhere at that point. i would have gladly stuffed a few in my bra to take home if there happened to be left overs.

of course there's the galbi, a must order at any korean restaurant says me. the sweet marinade on the steaming pile of meat made my stomach growl ferociously. the fat to meat ratio was just right and is far superior to what you get at hodori. though you don't get the thrill of cooking it yourself, it still allows for a satisfied belly.

the meal was well rounded with an order of yook gae jang (spicy beef soup). i love how the steam rose from the soup bowl like a rolling mist across a red swamp. the soup was spicy, but not killer and the beef was tender. glass noodles, green onions, and a broth scrambled egg made it a very delicious dish! i would definitely order this again.

hey, i'm not touting nak won as having the best tasting korean food ever, but not having a well developed palate for korean food due to kimchee deprivation till my college years, i say heck, it's pretty darn good for what you pay for. nak won is convienent and offers an array of dishes and is a better choice than hodori so if you are as clueless as i am about korean food, then i think you will enjoy nak won as well.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

oink goes bagnatic!

Granada Mexican Restaurant
1100 W Victory Blvd
Burbank, CA 91506
(818) 843-0313

price: $$
verdict: not worth my time

hungry, hungry, hungry. my belly sang these words to me over and over again so i stopped by granada because i was on my way to something else. what i can't eat there, i can take elsewhere was my thought. it was a belly emergency and it couldn't be denied.

the ordering process was grueling at best. bless the lady's heart that took down my order but she seriously had no idea what she was doing because a spicy meatball soup and a burrito in ranchera sauce to go ended up being $30. wtf? 11 plus 6 rounding up equals....HEY, wait a minute! she quickly fixed it though, but by then i had already started gnawing on my fingers because i was so hungry. my pinky was already consumed and i was working on my ring finger. the maddening hunger continued.

once the food came out all packed to go, i rushed to my destination, ripped off the packaging and discovered a trough. perhaps in the literal moment of being hungry like a pig, alfredo's granada interpreted my hunger with a trough-like to go container that had no borders which meant the beans and the rice and the ranchera sauce mixed itself up into a hot mess. it was unappetizing to look at and to top off this insult, the food was mediocre at best. the rice was tasteless and mushy (I WONDER WHY?! *cough, cough*) the burrito had a very sparse serving of meat and what WAS there was fatty. given the fact that the beans had already runneth over, i could not distinguish much of the taste between all the items. i was not enjoying my meal at all but i ate it like prison food, knowing my next meal won't be coming anytime soon.
the alfredo rachera burrito trough.

a fork in a trough is like a pig in a blanket. it just makes NO sense.

so i went to sleep with this full stomach of mine...all mushy from a mushy dinner and dreamt about being a pig which crazily didn't seem too bad because i could sleep the whole day and take amazing mud baths for my skin. thanks alfredo. thanks for confirming what i had known all along. i am quite the pig. oink.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

the ice cream hunt

Coolhaus Ice Cream

price: $
verdict: it's aight

ah yes. the hunter and gatherer roots we had back when food use to run away from us is so passe. the thought of chasing after my food never ever crosses my mind. when i'm hungry, i go to a restaurant. if i'm highly motivated, i might go to a grocery store, buy the right ingredients, and then cook my own meals. i have never been denied a full belly just because i can't outrun my meal and then kill it dead. the hunting days are long gone....or is it?

for the past few months, the hottest kinds of eats are those that i term the "twitter trucks." the procedure is as follow:

1) you twitter their location
2) you find that they will be in your area
3) you get kinda excited because you like hyped up anything and hyped up food is all the rage right now.
4) you find them..but sometimes they don't get to the said location on time or change locations last minute, HENCE twitter is CRITICAL for the timing of it all lest you want to beat your head in frustration.
5) then you stand in a line for an hour
6) only to be able to buy one taco because they ran out of food.

this was not my experience with kogi, but for some of yous, it was....sucka! i mean awww....

why are so many people nowadays hunting their food? why has it spawned so many copy cats? after hunting down kogi, perhaps you now want to hunt down your dessert? hello, meet coolhaus ice cream truck. the dude hanging by the truck window isn't one of the founders. i think he's one of the amigos.

this one is. her name is freya estreller, the co-founder. she likes to say "fuck" a lot.

the coolhaus "hook" is selling all natural, homemade ice cream sammiches. no tacos or hot dogs...just straight up ice cream sammiches. i found out they were at barnsdall so i drove there to check them out. once you've successfully hunted them down, you:

1) choose your cookie. the choices are sugar, chocolate, chocolate chip, ginger, and oatmeal cookies. i got the oatmeal cookies...mmm.
2) choose the ice cream. the choices are strawberry, mint chip, vanilla, lemon, and cinnamon. i got the mint chip one.
3) decide whether you want the edible rice wrapper. i did because i'm a sucka.

an ice cream sammich is $3. if you include the rice wrapper, it goes up a whopping 50 cents. due to lack of change on their part, i told them to keep my $4 so the rest went towards tip.

the cookies were good, but not extraordinary. sweet, chewy, with some crunchy parts. the mint chip ice cream was sweet and smooth and pretty yummy. definitely better quality than what you might pick up at ralphs, but it is by no means awesome. and the size of this sammich is slightly bigger than a slider at a (insert fast food chain name) restaurant. but for $3 and the legwork you have to do to get it, i would not hunt this ice cream truck again. ...

the ice cream trucks you're used to chasing down back in da days when it meant running up or down the street to buy your pac man ice cream with the bubblegum eyes might seem outdated, BUT i still think that kind of ice cream truck is far cooler than this one. don't get me wrong, the sammich was tasty, but the price tag and the hassle to get it was not worth the effort. if you chance upon it, do try it, but don't go on a hunt for it you silly wabbit!

Friday, June 12, 2009

getting happy with rick

Rick's Drive In and Out
2400 Fletcher Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 660-5988

price: $
verdict: tasty, try it!

i must be turning into a granny. this gloomy weather makes my inner hermit come out. all i want to do is stick my head in the ground and come back up only when i feel the warm sun heating my butt. so my friday "happy hour" was nothing more than this, a white bag, cuz apparently, this granny can't party in this kind of weather.

i also woke up this morning thinking BURGER. do you guys ever wake up thinking BURGER? i do sometimes. that explains my muffin top. anyways, i worked the whole day thinking BURGER, BURGER, BURGER. when i left work, i headed to rick's in silverlake for a whaddya know, BURGER. my happy hour replacement....yes?

there is something absolutely amazing about being able to satisfy a craving, especially one that started at 7:30 in the morning. though it's not THE BEST burger i've tasted by far, the well executed, greasy burger type joints like rick's can be quite tasty too when the context is right. this cheeseburger came with well toasted buns, a thin meat patty (it could have been thicker and more flavorful, but for $3.81, what the heck right?), smothered in a thousand island-esque dressing, tomato slices, and tons of shredded iceburg lettuce....mmmm....

my first bite was quickly followed by a second, a third, and so on until it was all gone. *burp* here's to my friday happy hour with rick!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

fancy pancy dogs

Let's Be Frank

price: $
verdict: it's aight

in our world of material excess, it is inevitable that the glorification of mundane things become a profitable fad. bougie burgers and haughty hot dogs are created to justify an inflated price for a common item. do they always taste better? not really, but the masses continue to buy these elite products even though after you strip away all the fancy shmancy truffle oils and kobe beef, it is still but a burger or a dog. woof. i am too practical to be blown away by some of the fancy pants tom foolery when it comes to my belly.

while at the barnsdall wine tasting event, my insides churned from being uber hungry and slightly queasy after drinking on an empty stomache. as the hot dog gods would have it, there parked a lovely hot dog truck. by no means did i think "danger dog" because it obviously looked too fancy for that, but i did proceed with caution because i'm not a cash carrying gal and 5 bucks can hardly get you a good meal nowadays. besides, it's a truck with fancy graphics and logos which screamed out "eellliiiiiiiittte." i was not expecting much other than wallet rapes.

the wallet raping was done by this nice looking lady sue moore. she is a co-founder of this dog on wheels. very friendly, chatty, and it's obvious that she's use to food bloggers. when i asked her for a pic, she quickly bent down for a vogue shot. just as quickly, she went back to filling out hot diggity dog orders.

for your $5, there are 3 dogs to choose from; the regular dog, the brat dog, and the "spicy" dog. i ended up choosing this albino looking brat dog served with sweetened butter pickles and grilled onions. i can only offer you a sigh as i bid farewell to $5 and got an ok tasting hot dog in return. there is a snap, but the brat dog was too thin, the pickles were too sweet, and the buns weren't toasted enough. i felt bamboozled!

i was also able to try the "spicy" dog. the good thing about hanging out with folks that don't have cooties is the option of trying their food as well. my friend ordered that so i was able to take a few huge bites short of consuming the whole thing. i thought this dog was slightly tastier than the brat one and if you REALLY want to try let's be frank, this is definitely the better choice.

so let me be frank with you. i understand grass fed, all natural beef commands a premium price, but i also eat spam on occasion a la spam musubi so i'm clearly driven by taste and not err, other things (though i appreciate the folks that do). i won't knock your stance on healthy food choices, but to tell you this is the best hot dog i've tasted in my life is a lie. other than getting tipsy from my wine and enjoying a kickass evening at barnsdall, the hot dog didn't do much for me. will it for you?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

friday buzz at the park

Barnsdall Park
4814 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

price: $$
verdict: tasty, try it!

the reason why i love silverlake (other than hipster viewing) is the fact that it's so close to so many cool things, barnsdall park being one of them. if you've never been here for a visit, it's a great little space for all things artistic; art exhibits, art classes, film festivals, the hollyhock house, as well as home to the best little piece o' lawn in l.a. to enjoy a beautiful hollywood sunset. it is as close as you can get to the hollywood sign without being close to it at all.

my lovely friend alicia sent me an email about their friday wine tasting events with silverlake wine. ooohhhh....i've always meant to give slw a try especially because of their kickass reputation for housing an array of artisanal wines. now i get a sneak preview of it woot! so we ordered our tickets online for a $15 tasting which was sooooo worth it. when i went on friday, all four wines hailed from argentina (wines will vary weekly). they were pretty generous too when they poured (YES).

here's the slw crew dispensing fruity fire water. one white and 3 reds for the tasting.

take heed though that this event is TINY. if you think you will be socializing up a storm and meeting many people...well, probably not. there's no food served here either, though i did spot a sad loaf of complimentary bread on a side table for you to pick at if you want. it SEEMS ok for you to bring a small picnic basket of food to the venue but outside beverages aren't allowed.

clusters of wine tasters in a chillaxin environment.

so from 5:30-7:30 you can have a quiet friday evening tasting 4 great wines with the good company you bring. what a great way to reward yourself for a week of good work. cheers!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

come here comer

Las Glorias Del Buen Comer
620 Silver Lake Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 484-9090

price: $
verdict: it's aight

like every other busy person in this world, the idea of consistently stocking my fridge or cooking after a long day does not appeal to me though i claim that i can cook and i do get hungry a lot. even though i can take care of myself without the help of the golden arches, the truth is that motivation to cook every meal diminishes with a busy schedule and grocery shopping during the weekend just plain blows. last night, i looked in my fridge and couldn't find anything but a moldy lemon wedge, a small bottle of partially consumed champagne, and a stick of butter. i'll give you $2 if you can make something edible out of that. come on now, can ya feel me?

racking my brain for some close by eats, i decided to give las glorias a try. it is a rather classy looking taco stand if i must say so myself.

do you see the rocking foliage, lime green walls, and water fountain hidden in the corner? it makes this under $10 eating experience rather pleasant doncha think? besides, the foliage provides nice blockage of the rushing traffic on busy silver lake blvd.

the menu is typical with the usual burritos, enchiladas, tacos....blah, blah, blah. they also have a vegetarian menu to the delight of all the hipsters living in the neighborhood. i opted for the green sauce enchilada. the meal came with three enchiladas so i tried the chicken, beef, and cheese. they were alright...*shrug* the green sauce was tart and tangy, but this was not a mind blowing foodie experience by any means. it's just a cheap way to fill yourself with food when you are hongry and live close by.

i also ordered a side of taquitos which meant one lonely taquito. somewhere in the bible, it must be blasphemous to serve only one taquito. isn't it more natural to serve taquitos in pairs like chopsticks? mexican chopsticks in this case. anyways, this beef filled tube was nicely fried up and gave a good crunch when you chomped it. it was also flavorful with a dollop of creamy guac as garnish. i would order this again if i ever find myself facing a moldy lemon wedge, a small bottle of partially consumed champagne, and a stick of butter for dinner.

though i would never expect this place to be zagat rated because it's just not one of THOSE places, for the strict purpose of quick and cheap eating, it most certainly fits the bill.

Monday, June 1, 2009

tough torta

Cook's Tortas
1944 S Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(323) 278-3536

price: $
verdict: it's aight

there are probably two types of eateries you will find in monterey park. chinese or chinese. yes, those are your choices so you either deal with it or you roll out. since i was too hungry to roll out especially after some mad grocery shopping at a few of my favorite FOBolicious supermarkets and m.p. bakeries, i thought cook's tortas was a godsend when i chanced upon it. ooooh, sammiches? not usually my favorite thing to eat, but it was either that or drop by nbc, vip, pcp, std (you know, one of those randomly lettered chinese places) to eat. ack, not right now was my thought.

once you step in, a huge blackboard menu greets your hungry eyes. their choices seem delectable enough; mojito, ahogada, cubana, and co. the only problem was trying to decide on THE torta since i have only one belly. what to choose, what to choose....

after some hemming and hawing, i decided on the carne asada torta. you usually can't go wrong with the carne asada choice right? ohhh, hell yes you can. this beef was tougher than my dried up heels. it was hard to choke down so i ate only half and my asianess was soooo sad that i had to waste the food. the bread itself was alright though it reminded me of a sponge. i don't know if i caught cook's on an off day, but the torta was no bueno that day!

the order comes with a choice of strawberries and cream or sweet potato fries. hell must have frozen over

because i opted for the strawberries instead of the fries. if you know me at all, you KNOW that was a crazy move! the strawberries were fresh and plump, but unfortunately, they were also drowned in a vat of watery sweetened cream which did nothing for it. it's like a natural beauty painted up to look like a whore. stop it already!

i was able to try their frescas...ack, the strawberry one tasted too sweet! mother nature did not pump a pound of refined sugar into her delightful strawberries so pray tell cook why your fresca tastes soooooooo sweet? i was glad to have had a taste and did not commit myself to a cup of sugar flavored water. the whole experience can be summed up in one word: sucka!

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