L.A.'s Must Eats
The Travel Channel recently aired a mini-series called The 101 Tastiest Places to Chowdown. At the number two spot is a place called Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Now, in full disclosure, I'll admit that this was not the first time I'd heard about Roscoe's, not by a long shot. Roscoe's is a Los Angeles must eat for locals and tourists alike. I'm writing about it here because venturing out and trying new and exciting eateries are adventures in and of themselves. With television networks such as The Travel Channel, Discovery and The Food Network there is a bombardment of eatery profiles and restaurant features. If you pay enough attention, new and exciting dining opportunities will continually present themselves. Here are six of Los Angeles must eats of which, all but one, took a long time of hemming and hawing for me to get to.
ROSCOE'S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES
It took the Travel Channel to get me off my couch and into their restaurant. There are three Roscoe's in the Los Angeles area with the original being up on Gower street. There was a Roscoe's a little closer on Pico so that was where we set our sites. Rule of thumb for anyone wanting to dine at one of Los Angeles's most popular restaurants, prepare to wait. Roscoe's is no exception as we hovered, under a tarmac, to avoid the never ending god forsaken rain (I know! Rain in L.A.). My buddy and I were eventually seated and began to peruse the menu, which was a mere formality. The sign said chicken and waffles and that's what I was having. The waitress came over to take our order and as much as the giblet's as well as liver and onions screamed 'ORDER ME!' I stuck to my guns and requested the Scoe's two piece chicken accompanied with two waffles. I feel that I am reducing the quality of this post by using a teenage text term but OMG! Those waffles were amazing! They were by far the best waffles I've ever had. The chicken was good but it was the waffles that launched it out of the stratosphere. So to all future tourists and Los Angelino procrastinators such as myself, you will be doing yourself a disservice by neglecting this amazing joint!
In New York there is a pizzeria called Joe's. If you visit it you'll find the walls lined with autographed celebrity portraits claiming that, out of all the pizzerias in New York, Joe's is the best. You can also see it in the movie Spiderman because Joe's is where Peter Parker worked.
One summer evening I met my buddy, Raphael, for a night out and he looked like it was Christmas. "Dude! Joe's here in Santa Monica and he opened a joint just around the corner." So off we went, to Joe's. I want to detour this story for a brief moment because, to be honest, I'm the biggest pizza fan on the planet but New York (Los Angeles made only) pies are towards the bottom of my list. In my opinion, they're to thin, they have bland sauce and minimal toppings. I'm from the west coast and I just don't consider that a pizza. I like a good crust, a flavorful sauce and lots of toppings! If you're ever in Seattle, Alfy's is the best pizza you'll ever eat. I know people that schedule destination layovers just be able to hit an Alfy's. I digress. Raphy takes me to Joe's and there's quite the long line, par for the course. What's unusual about this line is that, save myself, it's all New Yorkers. I got lessons about slices, squares and basil. I even had a four foot woman tell me how she was going to devour a whole pie, these are big pizzas, because she missed it that much.
We get to the front and I'll be damned but Joe remembers Raphael from New York! Those small town reunions always bring a tear to my eye. Raphy orders for me, awkward, and I end up with a square, a slice and a proper example of what New York Pizza is supposed to be like. It was an amazing pie! Trust me when I say that I have eaten at more pizzerias in L.A. than should be allowed and Joe's is the real deal.
My son and I are Food Network junkies! Prime time programing is the best. Diners Drive-ins and Dives, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Kitchen Impossible and of course Throwdown with Bobby Flay rules them all. Nick and I were taking an XBox break at around two a.m. when Throwdown came on. We watched this episode about an amazing chef, who had a place here in L.A., and Bobby was to best him at Sushi. While Nick and I are watching something hit me, Sushi Central was literally right around the corner from where I live! Needless to say Nick and I had lunch arrangements the following day.
Sushi Central rocks! Not only is the fish fresh as all get up but the service made us feel like family. They asked how we had heard about them and we told them our Throwdown tale. Within minutes Chef Phillip Yi came out and talked to us. Chef Yi answered all of our questions about him, Morimoto, Bobby Flay and Throwdown. He couldn't have been more humble and gracious. The food itself was absolutely amazing. This is an L.A. must eat for all of you sushi fans.
Every magazine, newspaper, television station and website will tell you that the absolute number one burger in L.A. is the Fathers Office Burger. It's been ranked number one by any and every ranking system for the eight years that I've been here. Now you would think that I would've been all over it like nobody's business, but, alas, it fell to the 'when I get around to it' pile. Five years of being beaten by the Fathers Office accolades me and a couple of buddies sucked it up, and embarked on the ultimate burger adventure. I won't lie, I had major concerns. First of all, we all know that when something is built up so much then there can only be room for a letdown, you know what I'm talking about. Second, have you ever seen Seinfeld? The Soup Nazi episode? This is no different, you may not modify or request alterations to your burger in any way. You will eat it as it is given to you and god forgive you should ketchup be requested!
With that said, I must borrow from my sons text language again. OMG! That is by far the most amazing burger that has ever graced my palate and I cannot recommend this place enough. Fathers Office is a trendy social environment with nothing but micro brews and flavorful foods. Just like the other places on this list, don't believe for one second that you can just show up after nine o'clock and find a seat, you'll be waiting at least an hour.
BABY BLUES BAR-B-Q
This place is a godsend to BBQ fans such as myself. I hate to say it but, again, Baby Blues is another restaurant that I let linger in the back of my mind without patronage. I have missed out on this place for eight years! Baby Blues is a Memphis Style St. Louis cut rib with a North Carolina sauce, which means it's not sweet but it is oh-so delicious. Baby Blues is also known for something else here in Los Angeles, and that's having the best mac and cheese. Now personally being a connoisseur of mac and cheese I will confirm that claim. Baby Blues mac and cheese is out of this world. So when the BBQ craving erupts than make Santa Monica your destination and have an unbelievable Baby Blues experience.
Now you had to know that Pinks was going to be on the list. This is our landmark. This is where Bruce Willis proposed to Demi Moore. This is where celebrities will wait the hour in line because to bypass it diminishes the Pinks experience. I won't lie, it only took three years for me to get around to eating here. Since I have no respect for my cholesterol I will boast from the highest mountain 'I Love Pinks!' Where else can you order The TODAY Show Dog - 2 hot dogs in one bun, mustard, onions, chili, cheese & guacamole or the L.A. Philharmonic Conductor Gustavo Dudamel Dog - Stretch hot dog, guacamole, American & Swiss cheese, fajitasmix, jalapeno slice, topped with tortilla chips. If you only hit one restaurant on this list than Pinks must be it.
There are many known and unknown restaurants in your neighborhood, the key is just get out and give them a try. Now, I know, there are many eateries not mentioned here and I can only imagine the emails heading my way informing me of joints that I missed. To all of you, let's just call this part one and go from there. In the mean time, here's to finding that amazing place of your own and if you're in Los Angeles try one of ours!