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Night + Market ~ Los Angeles CA

Asian, Los Angeles, West Coast By June 6, 2019 Tags: , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Night + Market 2533 Lincoln Blvd Venice CA 90291
the eats: Pretty much whatever you want on the menu – GET THE CLAMS!!!
the bucks: Plan on spending about $35 a head on food
the full nelson: A hyped Thai spot that satisfies with an respectable level of Bang for your Thai Food Buck

It’s not every night that you get to dine with the likes of Sterling K. Brown and Slash(framed pic) but in Los Angeles, anything is possible. Beyond gloating that an old high school comrade is now one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and keeps it real with the old homeys like George Clooney(or so I’ve heard) I had the pleasure of checking out the much hyped Night + Market and when the dust settled . .  . the bill was . .  . surprisingly not that bad . . .

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Birrieria Gonzalez ~ Los Angeles CA

Los Angeles, Tacos/ Mexican, West Coast By May 29, 2019 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Birrieria Gonzalez multiple locations in Los Angeles, tested and approved in Compton CA
the eats: everything, tacos de birria de res, dorado tacos, mulitas, basically whatever you feel with birria de res
the bucks: $2 a taco and the tacos are fat(for LA street tacos), plan on spending $7-$10 to be stuffed
the full nelson: my first run at birria de res and it lived up to the hype

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Cassel’s Hamburgers

Burgers, Los Angeles By August 31, 2018 Tags: , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Cassel’s Hamburgers 3600 W. 6th St Los Angeles CA 90020
the eats: Cheeseburger featuring 1/3lb Meyer Angus Beef with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and Thousand Island dressing
the bucks: $11.75
the full nelson: A burger sequel that is better than the original

Once upon a time hamburgers were a simple affair. The very best ones were anointed so mostly because of the size and quality of the beef. Cassel’s Hamburgers was such a place, especially in its first four decades of service(1948-1998), when it was considered the best in town by the likes of Pulitzer Prize winning author Jonathan Gold, legendary food writer Calvin Trillin, Jane and Michael Stern among other luminaries. By the time I came around to visiting Cassel’s in the early 2000s I suspect the glory days were in the rearview mirror. Though sold by original owner Al Cassel in the 1990s, the torch was supposedly passed to good people. Sadly my experience was less Los Angeles Burger icon and more “I think I just died and went to Fuddruckers”. By the time I tried Cassel’s, Los Angeles was in the early stages of a burger Renaissance and Cassel’s Hamburgers seemed like a fading burger relic.

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On Air with Ryan Seacrest featuring my favorite Cheap Eats in LA!

Cheap Eats, Los Angeles By July 26, 2017 Tags: , , No Comments

I’m gonna be so real right now: I was straight STAR STRUCK to call into Ryan Seacrest. The adrenaline was flowing and I just went with it – I think it worked!

If you watch Cheap Eats, read this blog or peep my Instagram you know tacos and burgers are going to be in the mix. Well we also found love for a creamy cake, Italian cold cuts and hey – listening is better than reading so check out my picks for Cheap Eats in Los Angeles via On Air with Ryan Seacrest here!

 

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Burgerlords – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By February 25, 2016 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: two patties of a custom triple cut grass fed beef blend, on a sponge bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and thousand island dressing and american cheese
the bucks: $7
the coordinates: Los Angeles, CA

Last night I dreamt about Zankou Chicken. For those of you who are ignorant to the work of Beck, or happened to have never called LA home, Zankou Chicken is one of those dirty bird chains blessed from the Gods. A Lebanese-Armenian take on the typical fare one finds in a fast casual Middle Eastern/Mediterranean, order at the counter kinda spot. The place not only fed me for my 20s and some of my 30s, but it also served as my first introduction to cheap eats staples like shawerma, falafel and hummus. When you eat at a place for a decade, you can catch off days. And truth be told there were better(albeit pricier) renditions of Lebanese Armenian throughout LA, but I always kept coming back. Now I’m 8 months away from Zankou Chicken and the city that chicken shack calls home, and it doesn’t take Sigmund Freud to tell me that my belly is a little homesick. Which brings me to the burger at hand: a straight outta Los Angeles, in the style of In-N-Out, flat top griddled stackable burger. Fast food in design but not in the ingredients. A burger style that is the standard-bearer of burgers in SoCal. A brilliant design whose appeal to youth certainly carries over into the kind of adult who responds to questions like “Is In-N-Out good?” with a “oh dude, you just don’t know . . .” When I arrived in Los Angeles some 20 years ago I tried In-N-Out and just never got what all the fuss was about. But now, 8 months removed from a 20 year sentence in Southern California, I look back with fondness on the style, and in the case of Burgerlords, I have my own version of In-N-Out that is worthy of some pontification. And pontificate I shall.

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Belcampo Meat Company – Los Angeles, CA

Burgers, Los Angeles, West Coast By August 19, 2015 No Comments

The Vitals:
the burger: Double Fast Burger: two 3oz patties of enlightened grass fed beef, house made American cheese, custom burger sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion
the bucks: $8
the coordinates: Los Angeles, CA

One of the most compelling debates on how to make great food erupted perfectly on Twitter a few years ago between Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert over which factor was more significant: technique or ingredient. Bourdain’s argument for technique sort of “won”, as he pointed out that whole cuisines developed around humbling circumstance thereby elevating “lesser” ingredient into what we now know as American Soul Food or Countryside French. Ripert’s retorts for the case of ingredient highlighted the fact that in the food world of today, Chef’s who demonstrate good technique have an almost unparalleled access to fine ingredient, making the debate somewhat moot: Technique and Ingredient are equally significant though don’t always exist in perfect harmony.

The debate haunts my mind with every great meal I encounter. Few times is there true balance between technique and ingredient, and when it comes to Bang for your Burger Buck, often it is technique that is taking the spotlight. Perhaps I’m oversimplifying this fine debate but ingredient comes down to bucks, and saving a few means technique has to step up. There are loads of excellent burgers that I don’t cover and the reason is price. Though I don’t want to think of Bang for your Burger Buck as a “$10 and under club”, it kind of is. Because of this journey that is driven by value, of feeling compelled to make “the find”, I have deprived both you and I, the pleasure of encountering and documenting an “ingredient” driven burger. Until now. After visiting many a burger joint, primarily in Los Angeles, I have come to a place where I am overwhelmed to make the following declaration: the Fastburger at Belcampo Meat Company is the best Bang for your Burger Buck in Los Angeles. Yup, I said it. I don’t do the stars thing – every burger in here is a case for value, but the Belcampo Fastburger is the best deal in town and this is because the burger embodies the balance of excellent technique and superb ingredient. Even crazier than making that kind of contentious “throw down the gauntlet” kind of statement is that the sheer greatness of this burger, the Bang for your Burger Buck, does not stem from the quest of making a great burger but rather from the philosophy of sustainable food. Ethical farming seldom enters the forum of Bang for your Burger Buck but exemptions are made when a burger tastes this good. Add to that an asking price of $8, and this double cheeseburger is an exception welcomed with jaws and wallets, wide open.

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