Friday, October 19, 2007

sorry folks..

been busy. i'm out of retirement and back on the job. but, listen to my audio podcast contributions on Eagle Rock Talk

Friday, February 23, 2007

Figaro Cafe

My grandfather was a butcher. He loved meat. He loved it so much that he used to smear fat across his toast instead of butter. I guess it comes as no surprise that he died of a heart attack.

I love meat too. It's in my genes. So, it was inevitable that I was one day going to consume the quintessential meat dish: Steak Tartare.

It was just my luck when the chef at Figaro Cafe (1802 N Vermont Ave.) prepared steak tartare as a special for their menu. I was going to give it a go. I also enjoyed the fact that I was dining with a table of vegetarians. The look on their faces when my entree arrived was fucking hilarious. They were horrified and repulsed.

There's no elegant way to plate Steak Tartare. It's a heap of blood red ground beef topped with a raw egg, seasoned with dressing and chopped onion. I kept taking small bites slowly waiting to be grossed out, but I wasn't. It's quite eating sashimi. My only thought was that Steak Tartare is a little too much to eat as an entree. It would probably work better as an appetizer. I prefer just a pinch of raw, bovine flesh before dinner. Eating it as an entree, made me feel too much like a elegant caveman though, as this is French restaurant.

Figaro Cafe is a beautiful restaurant. It looks like they imported the interior from an original 1920's French cafe, walls and everything. It's also quite a popular brunch spot. Many of my associates, however, feel that the dinner menu is overpriced for the quality of their food. I like it. But, when it comes to French food, I much prefer Cafe Stella.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pho Cafe

Ah, lovely. a big bowl of Pho. It's like medicine isn't it ? Perfect for when you're getting over a cold or dodging a hangover. It's nice on a cool summer evening with a beer. And, it's even better when it's cold and rainy outside...with a little bit of warm sake.

I like Pho Cafe (2841 Sunset Blvd.) even though it's Pho for white people. If you like the real authentic stuff, head over to Pho 79 in Alhambra. But, if you're more of the Prius-driving, Chai-Tea Latte drinking set, or if you have one of them vegetarians in your party, then Pho Cafe is for you.

Keep in mind, the hip factor is a little on the high side. It's in a downtrodden strip mall. The design is minimalist and chic. There's no sign on the building. It's populated with a young and cool Silverlake crowd and the tables are close together so you are forced to eavesdrop on your neighbors conversations, which has its good and bad points, I guess.

I love getting the pho with the meatballs. I toss in all the basil and sprouts, add a little hotsauce and go to town. delicious. I also recommend the vegetarian crepe to start. All very tasty. And don't forget, it's 'cash only'. The ATM at the neighboring liquor store charges a high fee.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


There's quite a large Fillipino population in Los Angeles. And there is a sizable population in the Eagle Rock area too. In fact, some leaders of the Fillipino community tried to get a section of Eagle Rock re-named 'Phillipine Village' in 2002. The effort failed, but the community is growing and with that growth, a few Fillipino restaurants have popped up in the area. The one you should try is Alejandros (4126 Verdugo Rd.)

When I first walked into Alejandros, I was a bit put off. The ambiance is unappealing. It feels like the space used to be a medical supply store. The design is pretty downmarket. There's a handful of booths and a makeshift bamboo bar where they concoct some of the most unusual smoothies with fruits like banana, mango, canataloupe and get this...corn. Yes, I ordered the corn smoothie. It was served with a huge Boba straw, so that I can suck up all the corn kernels. It was sweet and creamy. It reminded me of baby food. Ah, those were the days.

I've never tried Fillipino food so I needed a little help from the wait staff. I asked them to get me a bunch of different things. I sampled the Crispy Chicken, the Ginisang Sitaw (sauteed green beans with shrimp and pork) and the Beef Kaldereta, which were big chunks of beef with lots peppers and herbs. The food was good. The staff was friendly and helpful. I definitely want to come back and try some of the more adventurous things on the menu.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

House of Pies

It's 1:15am. My cell phone rings. It wakes me. I stumble off my bar stool, leave some coins on the bar and wobble outside to answer the phone. I hear a voice on the other end.

"Dude. Key Lime Pie"

I wipe the sleep from eyes trying to recognize the voice on the other end. It's my drinking associate Johnny and he needs a slice of Key Lime Pie.

"Come get me." I say with the most urgent tone in my voice.

Five minutes later, Johnny collects me from the curb of Jumbo's Clown Room and ferries us both toward Los Feliz. We smoke a few stale cigars in the car and within minutes we arrive at House of Pies (1869 N. Vermont Ave.)

We stake our claim at the counter and order coffee. A cup of coffee tastes so god damned good at two o'clock in the morning. Within minutes we each had a gigantic slice of Key Lime Pie sitting in front of us.

The first bite is like tasting the clouds with its fluffy, meringue topping. Then comes the filling. It is SO wrong yet SO right at the same time. How can something so acidic like limes be cooked up with cream and milk ? I'll tell you how: The inventor of the key lime pie is a fucking genius. He went against the convention. He broke all the rules. But, comes the finale...the Crumble-y graham cracker base. heavenly. cosmic.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Canele (3219 Glendale Blvd.) is my new favorite restaurant. Located in the Atwater Village space formerly occupied by Osterio Nonni, Canele is the brain child of former Lucque chef, Corina Weibel.

Her California/Mediterranean cuisine is fantastic. The celery root salad is a must. I've never had celery root before and while I was gobbling down this salad, I was wondering why celery root wasn't more common. It was so crisp and fresh...a divine taste sensation.

My favorite entree is the beef tenderloin served sliced with a pan roasted broccoli rabe and yummy pommes anna. The broccoli is so incredible. It has a sweet, slightly carmelized texture. I love it so much that I have been inspired to try and re-create it in my own kitchen...sadly it doesn't always work out so well. Other highlights from the menu include the pork loin, an herb roasted chicken and a beef bourgignon with buttered noodles. All perfectly simple and executed flawlessly. The portions are perfect too. The entrees leave just enough room in your tummy to order one of their lovely desserts.

I love getting a seat at the counter overlooking the kitchen. You get to watch Corina and her crew in action. Please note that they don't take reservations, so you might have to wait for a table if you go on a weekend. I've never had to wait too long, though, so don't let that deter you.

When you leave, the front of house person gives you an actual 'Canele'. It's a bite sized pastry with a cake like center and a crusty, carmelized crust. Scrumptious!! A perfect way to end a perfect meal.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'm Back

hello my peoples. I'm back.

I've spent most of 2006 living in various hotels across Europe and South East Asia. I have tired of all the room service, the swanky, cocktail lounges and the endless poolside chats with supermodels. It's time to return to my beloved Eagle Rock and neighboring San Gabriel Valley to continue noshing away for the betterment of mankind.

I'm sorry I have let you all down. Your fan mail has kept me going even in my darkest hour as I bathed in the sun on a beach in Bora Bora sipping aged rum. I can assure all of you that your e-mails gave me comfort and helped get me through my travels.

So, check back shortly for some jazzy food reportin' !

In the meantime, you can hear an audio version of my blog on Eagle Rock Talk

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Casito Del Campo

It was a Tuesday night. I was sitting in a booth at Casito Del Campo (1920 Hyperion Ave.) staring down my third margarita. It never rains in Los Angeles, but tonight it was pissing down and the margaritas were like medicine. I had yesterday's Los Angeles Times with me. I wanted to catch up on a couple of opinion editorials that I had been meaning to read the day before. I haven't even gotten to today's paper yet. Don't know if I will. I popped outside for a quick smoke, but the rain was too much to bear, so I headed back to my quiet booth. The restaurant was pretty dead except for the sound of the television from the bar. I plowed through my basket of chips. The salsa was o.k. but the margaritas were just right.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mia Sushi

Mia Sushi (4741 Eagle Rock Blvd.) is the best thing that has happened in Eagle Rock in a long time. We, the peeps of the Rock, crave more quality restaurants and we are pleased to see a place like this in the 'hood! Kudos to owner, Rudy, who hasn't done this place on the cheap. The room's zen, modern design with buddhas and bamboo, pulses with chill out house music. On the weekends, they have a magician doing tricks (hey, can anyone figure out how he makes a card spin around the room like that ?!) And even though Mia Sushi is the hippest restaurant in Eagle Rock, it still has a great local vibe.

The food is marvelous. I loved the razor thin tuna sashimi. And the miso soup comes topped with cilantro...what a brilliant taste combo. They have many specialty sushi rolls with names like The Eagle Rock Roll, The Mount Washington Roll and The Oxy Roll. They might have gone a tad too far, though, with the "Council District 14 Roll", but hey, it's great to see a little North East Pride. I'm thrilled that the next time I get a craving for some great sushi, I don't have to go to Pasadena anymore. Get yourself over there, knock back some of their delicious, unfiltered sake and enjoy the best sushi in the North East.

Monday, April 17, 2006


You can never judge a book by its cover especially when comes to restaurants in Los Angeles. Aroma (2903 W. Sunset Blvd.) looks like a shit hole from the outside, but it just so happens to be one Silverlake's best restaurants. Former Valentino chef, Edin Marroquin, opened this place about a year ago and has been showcasing his mastery in the kitchen with a variety pastas, seafood, and steaks.

The mozarella, tomato and basil appetizer is yum-o-licious. For my entree, I had the t-bone steak served with a fresh herb sauce. The service was amiable and I was quite impressed with the food. My lady friend and I shared a fantastic bottle of wine and all in all, we had a brilliant night out when I wasn't expecting to.

So, don't be put off by the location. This place is great. And if you have to do some A&R schmoozing at The Silverlake Lounge with your record label's new signing, get yourself a nice meal at Aroma first.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Spitz (2506 Colorado Blvd.) hasn't even been open a week and already the news has spread through Eagle Rock like wildfire. It's been so popular, I've heard they've been selling out of all their food. Who would have thought ?! doner kebabs ?! I just had to make my way over there today to try one. The doner kebab is the kind of food that drunk college students in Europe shovel down their gobs after a night of drinking at the pub, so I was a bit skeptical about it at first.

I arrived at Spitz at 12:15 and there was already a line of wide-eyed, hungry customers. I ordered the "Classic" which is Spitz's signature sandwich. I was reminded of Arby's a little bit as I watched them shave paper thin strips of meat from the vertical rotisserie. They also do a chicken version which appeared to be the more popular option with customers. I had to wonder, though, as this place is so popular, are we really getting the full doner kebab experience ? I mean, doesn't that thick slab of minced Beef and Lamb have to spin around the doner rotisserie for weeks and weeks to get all goey and burnt ? You pot heads know what I'm talking about. If you are a stoner with a bad case of the munchies, eating that stuff is a transcendental experience.

Anyway, they put the shaved meat onto a toasted focaccia bread with lettuce, tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce and it was absolutely delicious. Halfway through my meal, I got the courage to pour on the hot chili we're talkin! damned good. The sweet potato fries are amazing too. i even started dipping them in the chili sauce, too. fucking good stuff, my friends. Highly recommended. And I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but damn, those sandwiches would go down nicely with a couple o' icy cold ones, perhaps a couple bottles of San Miguel out on the patio. C'mon boys, let's get that beer and wine license in for the summer time.

Friday, March 03, 2006


It must be Friday 'cause another French restaurant opened up in Los Angeles. The latest Bistro on the block is Dusty's (3200 W. Sunset Blvd.), a spacious room with dark wood panneling serving an assortment of French cuisine.

The first time I went here, I thought this place would make for a fine alternative to the overly crowded Cafe Stella up the street, but then I made the mistake of trying this place again. It was a towering letdown, made even worse by the fact that I brought guests here.

You see, I was entertaining a couple of models who just flew in from Paris last Friday and I took them here for dinner. (It wasn't my first choice. We were in the neighborhood and we had a real hankerin' for champagne.) Anyway, they had run out of their Moulles Frites. My girls were not impressed. We ordered the Steak Frites. The steak was fatty and the fries were dry and a little cold. And though he meant well, our waiter was inattentive and run off his feet. I hear Dusty's is popular for breakfast. Maybe I should give that a whirl. The atmosphere is great. When it's crowded it has a lively bistro vibe. Maybe we just hit it on an off night.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Silverlake isn't just all vintage eyewear and indie rock. Even the elder hipsters need a place to get some casual Italian food. That place is Giannino's (2630 Hyperion Ave.) You'll need reservations to get a table at this tiny, neighborhood Italian, located in a strip-mall off Hyperion. It's not fancy, but it's popular. The clientele is an eclectic mixture of gay couples, grey-haired retirees, extended families and "we-met-at-the-office" first dates. And they all seem to know each other. I thought we happened upon a private party, but we didn't...Everyone just happened to know each other and say hi. Giannino's is like that. It's friendly. Maybe a little too friendly.

And the food? Well, it's pretty good. I had a chicken breast sauteed in lemon with artichoke hearts and olives. Good stuff, my friends. But, it's the garlic bread which keeps me and the rest of the neighborhood coming back. Served on Italian bread toast, it's slightly burned, buttered up and piled on with tiny flakes of fresh garlic and herbs. It's so delicious. It's so simple. It's a house specialty, too. Everyone gets the garlic bread. Don't come here and not get the garlic bread. You will appear unfriendly. This is a friendly place. Also, don't come if you are trying to stay on your diet!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I was having lunch with a friend of mine last week. It was Wednesday, so we were having Martinis at Colombo's. We were discussing the riots in Paris. We debated for about an hour on France's economy, the need for more jobs, etc. Then at some point, the discussion turned to this little food blog of mine. My friend turned to me and he said in all seriousness "You should check out Houston's in Pasadena." I suddenly spit out a mouthful of gin "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!". The bartender warned us again to be quiet (Earlier, we were gettin' worked up about the war in Iraq). Anyway, I couldn't believe someone would suggest I go to a place like Houston's (320 S. Arroyo Parkway). "Perhaps I should go to Denny's too" I grumbled.

You should know right away that my perception of Houston's was bang out of order. I did a little research (a little google action, mind you) and I arrived at the conclusion that I should give this joint a fair shake. It appears to be a well respected chain restaurant, so we'll give it a go. I have to admit that I was still quite the doubting Thomas when I read that Houston's serves both Prime Rib and Sushi. I mean, really, what the fuck is that?

But, you see, I got it all wrong. Basically, the person who invented Houston's was a fricking mad genius. A visionary, I tell you! He sat down in front of a drawing board and proclaimed "I'm going to make the coolest fucking restaurant ever!" "First," he shouted, "I want all boothes and they should be all red leather." He wrote this on his board with his dry erase marker. "Secondly, the bar has to have a decent single malt scotch selection." He paced around the office and said "You know what? It's my restaurant, and dammit, I want Prime Rib and Sushi."

His dream came true. And so did mine. This place rules. Go ahead, heap your scorn. I can take your jibes. Go on, post them! But, hey, last night, I had a slab of delicious USDA prime rib, with a Lagavulin on the rocks and a spicy tuna roll. That's right! You know you want that too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


You must come to Malo (4326 Sunset Blvd.) and sample the Del Maguey Single Village Mezcals from the tequila menu. The San Luis Del Rio, in particular, rivals the finest single malt scotch in the world. Sometimes it pays to order the most expensive thing on the menu. I was astonished. I've actually never even tried a mezcal before. Tequila has always struck me as a little too provincial. Images of spring break lugheads knocking back shots with a wedge of lime come to mind. But, mezcal, a member of the tequila family, has altered my perception forever.

And last night, after having a few Mezcals at the bar, I stumbled into the restaurant to order the beef and pickle tacos. They were quite a treat. In fact, the food here is generally pretty good. Created by Steve Arroyo (of Cobras and Matadors fame), Malo dishes up a contemporary spin on home-cooked mexican food. The portions are small and you don't get served a massive plate of refried greasy beans and dried out rice like you do at el cholo or el chavo or el whatever. You know where I'm talking about. I'm not the biggest fan of Mexican food so I was pleased to see a different approach on the familiar. You sure as hell wouldn't see Rose Petal and Chocolate Grilled Chicken at Acapulco. Next time you want to take the family out for tacos, it doesn't have to be a shit hole like Chi-Chi's. Head on down to Malo and for Christ's sake, order a mezcal. You will thank me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Kitchen

Have you ever ordered something so delicious from a restaurant that you refuse to ever try anything else on the menu when you come back ? I've been to The Kitchen (4348 Fountain Ave.) a handful of times and the only thing I want to eat is the Fried Chicken. It's the best! Served with mashed potatos and veggies, it's amazing. I actually wake up in the middle of the night and crave it. I roll out of bed and crawl toward my car keys...must get to The Kitchen, now!

The Kitchen serves up modern day comfort food. It's a 21st Century twist on the kind of meals mom used to make. I can only eat the fried chicken, because it's too good, but I have been told by a reliable source that the mac and cheese and beef stew are just as delicious. The cornbread they start you out with tastes like it was cooked with jalapenos. yumola!

They don't serve booze, so make sure you bring a couple bottles of wine. They are open until midnight. So, while you endure a set of crap, indie bands at the Silverlake Lounge, you can relax in the knowledge that a plate of home cooked food at The Kitchen will be available when the gig is over.

Monday, November 07, 2005


My biggest pet peeve at restaurants is when the waiter or waitress chooses to demonstrate their fine memorization skills by not writing down your order. Occasionally, when it's just the two of us, I expect it but tonight there was a large party of us at Gingergrass (2396 Glendale Blvd.) and the waiter didn't write anything down as we ordered. This shit makes me anxious. Something always gets screwed up.

While we started off our evening with a couple bottles of wine (hooray! Gingergrass finally has a liquor license), I kept waiting for the waiter to come back and double check something. I don't need this kind of pressure when I'm dining out people! Anyway, everything worked out o.k. and the food at Gingergrass was as good as always.

Gingergrass is the creation of Chef Mako Antonishek. You may remember his trendy little place in West Hollywood called Le Colonial. Well, now, he's bringing his fresh, Vietnamese cuisine to us workin' class peeps on the East Side. I've eaten here dozens of times and I am always happy with the Fresh Tofu Summer Rolls, The delicious Shaking Beef, the Lemongrass Chicken, the Bo Sate and yummy noodle soup. I do, however, think this place is slightly overrated. Everyone I know thinks Gingergrass is the shit. It's not. It's o.k. It's always crowded with local hipsters. I saw Chloe Sevigny here one time---You can't get more "happenin'" than that! One good thing about Gingergrass is that after you get totally tanked at the Silverlake Wine Store's evening tasting, you can dodge the dangerous traffic on Glendale Blvd. and walk over to Gingergrass. That's a good night out.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

La Cabanita

It's quite possible that the best Mexican restaurant in all of Los Angeles is located in Montrose. Our fave foodie friends introduced us to La Cabanita (3447 N Verdugo Rd.) last week and we were quite impressed. I dare someone to find a better chicken mole dish in all of Southern California. It was divine as were the chile rellenos which were tasty, declious and not too heavy. The atmosphere is a little on the bright side and the bar doesn't feel like somewhere you want to have to wait for a table, but the food is world class, home cooked Mexican food. After eating here, I wondered when I was going to get the chance to come back.

I guess this place is technically in Glendale, but it's so close the Montrose border, it feels like Montrose. Note: The maragaritas are lethal especially when you get a double shot of tequila. Careful not to have too many... It's a long cab ride back down the 2 freeway.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Weekend Trip: San Diego

You don't realize just how great we have it in Los Angeles until you actually go out of town. We have so many amazing restaurants in this city and I am a little guilty of taking them for granted.

This past weekend, my wife and I drove the mini cooper down the 5 freeway to San Diego. We wanted to take in the sights, visit the world famous zoo and try some new restaurants. We stayed at the W Hotel which was comfortable but the place was trying painfully to be fashionable and hip...the two things San Diego definitely is not. We needed a wrist band to get into the hotel bar after hours and the clientele was a bit on the jocky guy/midriff girl side.

Upon our arrival at the hotel, we made reservations at a place called Chive, but when we arrived, there was no one eating there and it was gone 7:30pm. Not a good sign. We abruptly left and wandered around the gaslamp district which we soon discovered was not the place for fine cuisine. We happened upon a place called Osteria Panevino which we recalled was recommened by our bartender at the hotel. Osteria Panevino serves a nice mix of homemade Italian dishes. I had the chicken parmesean which was served with a layer of eggplant. My wife tried the homemade spinich ravioli dish. The food wasn't spectacular, but it was decent and we were pleased to be eating in a place where other people were.

On Saturday, we drove up to La Jolla. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we could smell the sea air and the money. La Jolla feels very GOP. We wanted to try the best of San Diego, so we hot footed it over to a French restaurant called Tapenade, a very impressive establishment created by renowned chef Jean-Michel Diot. We didn't have reservations, so they plunked us at a table between the bar and the hostess desk. As soon as we were seated I ordered a bottle champagne (It was Saturday night after all). We shared an ounce of Russian Ossetra Caviar and then ordered our entrees. I had the filet migion topped with a layer foie gras while my wife tried the lobster risotta. Her risotta was cooked with Vanilla. Stimulating. Our meal was great. We skipped dessert, but we still spent well over $200. I was please with Tapenade and would highly recommend it. But, having said that, I've paid far less for much better at many places Los Angeles. My wife even commented that she much prefers the lobster risotta at Blair's in Silverlake.

Other highlights from our trip. We had brunch at the Hotel Del Coronado which is definitely a place you should visit. Oh, and that's me with a giraffe in the picture. If you closely, you'll see that I'm saying the word "GIRAFFE."

Saturday, October 01, 2005


This morning we drove into posh San Marino to check out a French Cafe called Julienne (2649 Mission St.). We arrived around noon at the end of their breakfast seating. We had come to have some lunch and a glass of wine, but when we saw how amazing the breakfast dishes looked, we were wondering if we made a mistake not to come earlier. We were soon seated on the sidewalk patio which is really, really nice. If the weather is right, sit outside.

We got our menus and had a few moments of sheer panic when we thought they didn't serve wine. But, luckily for us, they did and we each got a glass of Pinot Noir. I ordered the croque monsier while my wife opted for the herb roasted half chicken served with very large and very delicious french fries (the fries came with a homemade dijion mustard which is fabulous!) Our lunch was amazing however, I'd have to say that my dish resembled nothing like an authentic, French croque monsier. It was all jazzed up..kind of a poncey, California version (basil pesto ? ĂȘtes-vous fou!) It was good though. But, I saw the waiter bringing a sirloin burger to the table next us and I was pretty jealous I didn't order that. Next time! It was a pretty leisurely and filling lunch. Julienne is definitely a "ladies-who-lunch" kind of restaurant.

After we ate, we went into the gourmet market next door which served some snazzy prepared foods. We walked around and came up with loads of dinner ideas. We'll be back for sure.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Cafe Stella

Last Summer, my wife and I were in Paris. It was late and we were walking around the darkly lit, cobblestone streets of St. Germain. The city felt deserted until we rounded a corner and happened upon a little French bistro that was alive with people. We got ourselves a table, a bottle of wine and enjoyed a fantastic meal in a room teeming with energy and cigarette smoke.

It was such a great Parisian experience and I am reminded of that night everytime I come to Cafe Stella (3932 W. Sunset Blvd.) We have been coming here since it has opened. They have changed for the better, especially when it comes to the service. We used to have to wait an hour for a table (reservation or not!). Thankfully the restaurant has expanded and the food has gotten better and better. In fact, I think I'd have to go out on a limb and profess that Cafe Stella is one my favorite restaurants. The steak au poivre and the moulles frites are world class. The wine selection is great and the ambience is so Parisian it makes me want to light up a cigarette even though I don't smoke.

When we are having a quiet weekend, sometimes we'll head over to Cafe Stella around five thirty and sit up at the bar. We'll split the charcuterie plate and share a delicious bottle of wine and then see where the night takes us.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Capri

I love the idea of The Capri (4604 Eagle Rock Blvd.) more than I actually like going to The Capri. In theory, there is nothing better than a casual, family run, Italian restaurant that serves homemade pasta dishes (all within walking distance from my house!) I keep coming back here despite the fact that the pasta is usually overcooked, the wine is terrible and the food is just plain average. Why do I keep coming back ? Well, there's no place quite like it in all of Los Angeles. The Capri is a genuine small town America experience. While you sit in one of the red leather booths and chow down some lasagna, you'd swear you were hundreds of miles away in Baltimore, Maryland, Springfield, Illinois or Mars, Pennsylvania.

The Capri is a bit like the twilight zone. I imagined that a little league baseball team was going to walk in any minute and then it happened...a little league baseball team walked in and filled up half of the restaurant. They just had a big game apparently. I suddenly felt the urge to poke my head outside and make sure I was still in Eagle Rock. And on top of this, two of the waiters are twins. When one of them served me a glass of Budweiser, I said to him very slowly "How can you be here, when you are actually over there." I pointed to his twin.

The Capri is great fun. It's usually packed with Oxy kids, LAPD, big families, bowling teams, Eagle Rock locals and the occasional hipster who misses being a big fish in a small pond. It's too bad the food is really average.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Cliff's Edge

It was such a nice, warm day today. My wife and I wanted to have dinner where we could be sitting outside, so we thought we'd give Cliff's Edge (3626 Sunset Blvd) a try, since we've heard many great things about it.

Finding this restaurant was quite a task. It's literally a doorway in a parking lot next to a 99 cent store (hence the pretty crap picture of me on the sidewalk). But, when you walk through the doorway, you find yourself in the most charming of outdoor settings. The atmoshphere of Cliff's Edge is unparalleled. It's an outdoor deck with trees, bamboo and plush pillows. As we sipped on our wine, we forgot that we were only a hundred feet away from the bustling traffic of Sunset Blvd.

Cliff's Edge serves an agreeable assortment of country Italian dishes. We shared a beet and horseradish salad to start. It was light and delicious. I had the grilled filet of beef, topped with gorgonzola while my wife opted for the pumpkin ravioli in a butter & sage sauce. I adored my dish, but my wife thought the chard, which accompanied her entree, didn't go so well with the ravioli. All in all, Cliff's Edge is the hidden gem of Silverlake. It's a fantastic place to host an event like a birthday party or bridal shower. recommended!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Original Tommy's

Things have gotten a bit ghetto around here. A few weeks ago, I was raving about Blair's and Cafe Beaujolais. Now, I'm writing about shitholes like Tommy's (1717 Colorado Blvd.) But, I have good reason. I am somewhat intrigued by the curious phenomenon of appreciating genuinely bad food under the influence of many cocktails. Now, this might offend the fans of Tommy's who claim their burgers are great. And to them, I have this one thing to say: I'm very sorry you were born with such bad taste.

It was a typical Monday night. I was at The Chalet and I was pretty well sauced. I must have been ripsnortin' drunk, 'cause I think I bought a round of drinks for everybody in the room...or, at least, those in my immediate vicinity. Anyway, I ended up in the back seat of some lady's BMW with about six other people who I'd just met. I was getting a lift home and while we were heading west on Colorado Blvd., I suddenly demanded that we all go to Tommy's. They insisted I was crazy, but within seconds, I was ordering a double chili cheesburger & fries. It didn't take much to convince a car load of drunk people to order the same exact thing. We consumed our burgers like it was the last supper. I mean this literally, by the way. We re-enacted The Last Supper while we ate our chili cheese burgers. I was Jesus, while my friend Kurt pretended to be Judas. He's a veggie. He's kraaaaazy.

Each bite was magnificent. This was extraordinary, because I've eaten burgers from Tommy's before and thought they'd tasted like ass. But, after a night of boozin', there was something magical about that chili. It was the quintessential pairing to the half bottle of scotch tossing around my stomach. For most people, the perfect drunken food is a greasy taco or perhaps a freezer-burnt Tombstone Pizza. For others, it might be a $300 dinner at Pacific Dining Car. But, for me, it's a crappy ass chili cheese burger from Tommy's. What's your favorite ?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sushi Bar Yoshida

I'm gonna just come clean and admit that I'm not the world's greatest sushi expert. In fact, I only really started eating sushi about 5 or 6 years ago. But, I've been eating it long enough to appreciate a good sushi bar like Yoshida (2026 Huntington Drive). Apparently, this place used to be located in a Pasadena strip now. Now, it has moved to this new location in San Marino, which as far as I can tell, is the Beverly Hills of the San Gabriel valley.

Yoshi, the head chef, selects the freshest fish every day to serve a stunning array of sushi. People come here in droves, week after week, to get their fix of white tuna, pompano, oyster sundae, philadephia roll and the chef's very own Yoshida Roll (crab, avocado, tuna and yellowtail). We've only ever sat at the sushi bar here, but they serve tables as well. Yoshida is very small and it's very popular. The room has a fantastic energy and there's usually a crowd waiting to be seated outside. Get there early. It opens at 5pm. And don't forget to order the Sorbet Sake!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Pho 79

Pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup, is a delicious dish and there are many fantastic places in Los Angeles that serve it. Today, we cruised over into neighboring Alhambra, to give Pho 79 (29 S. Garfield Ave.) a try. The best thing about Pho, is the plate of accompanying herbs. I ordered the Pho with a combination of well cooked beef and very rare beef (It's all about the beef at Pho 79). When it arrived, I immediately grabbed my plate of herbs and I piled them on top of the soup. I through them all in..big gobs of basil, hot peppers and sprouts. The now very fragrant soup was absolutely delicious. And when you add the right amount of hot sauce, Pho is a divine, gastronomical experience. Fresh and delicious.

Since we were first timers to Pho 79, we tried to ask our waiter for another menu recommendation; perhaps something that would go well with our Pho. He pointed out the fried egg rolls in the menu. I was hoping for something a little more adventurous, but the egg rolls turned out to be a delicious addition to our soups. We wrapped the egg rolls in a lettuce leaf and dipped them into the sauce. Ah, lovely. All this and a couple of Tsing Taos and our bill was barely twenty dollars.

I'd recommend coming here, but if you prefer more vegetarian options, try the fancier Pho Cafe in Silverlake, which is just as good in my opinion. Actually, the meatballs are much better at Pho Cafe, too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Italiano's Pizza

I love Highland Park. York Boulevard is a lovely avenue full of trees and old storefronts. It's primed for a gentrification invasion. It's already happening on Figueroa, the other main drag of Highland Park. And, if you were to be a smart real estate investor and buy one of those lovely old craftsmen houses just off York Blvd., you would soon discover that Italiano's Pizza (5101 York Blvd.) is your first call for Pizza delivery.

Now there's nothing special about either of the locations (There's one on Figueroa, as well). It's not the kind of place you want to eat in, but the Pizza is decent and it's a welcome substitute to all the local chains that suck: Dominoes, Pizza Hut, etc. So, while your living in Highland Park and waiting for the Super-A-Foods to become a Gelson's, you can, at least, take comfort in knowing there's a place to get a good slice of pizza. Now, don't get me wrong. The Pizza is good relatively speaking. It's still much better to pop over the hill into Eagle Rock and pick up a pie from the best pizza West of the Mississippi: Casa Bianca Pizza Pie.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Armon's Restaurant

I've been a little busy lately so I apologize for all the low rent restaurant reviews. Gonna go somewhere nice this weekend for sure! I'm also sorry for not living up to the "daily" part of the "daily nosh". Contrary to my profile, I'm not really retired. In fact, I'm busy as all hell. However, I did find time this morning to get me a good breakfast. Armon's (5056 Eagle Rock Blvd.) is the closest thing to a diner in Eagle Rock. They've got booths, a nice long counter and CNN is playing on the TV. They also happen to serve a mighty fine breakfast. I really rate the Italian Sausage and Eggs here. And the service is good. I've only been here twice and they already recognize me.

"Italian sausage and Eggs ?" the waitress asks.
"Why, yes." I reply, as she fills my coffee cup.

I used to hate when my coffee cup would be filled every five minutes. I would take such great care to get the perfect balance of cream and sugar only to have it spoiled by heater after heater. But, that was when I was a younger. Nowadays, I'm a risk taker. I like my coffee black now most of time.

Armon's has a lot of old folks who've probably been coming here all their lives. The interior looks like it was last updated the year I was born. This morning, I sat across from an elderly lady who was eating a full-on meatloaf dinner. It put me off my appetite a bit, as it was only 7:30 in the morning. Quite bizarre. There were also Mom's with babies and a few college student types. It's never crowded. It's always reliable. It's Armon's.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Camilo's Restaurant

Camillo's (2128 Colorado Blvd.) is a reliable, neighborhood joint that is trying very hard to be a sophisticated, high end bistro. The prices are a little high and the presentation of the food is a little on the showy side. I was deceived at first, but then I ordered an appetizer called 'The Tower'. Yes folks, it's called 'The Tower'. It's layer after layer of feta, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers. Basically, it's a Greek salad/upside down cake. The gig was up. This is not A.O.C. This is not West Hollywood. This is Eagle Rock, where the idea of a posh appetizer is something called 'The Tower'.

Now having said that, I like this place. I come here often 'cause I crave the 'Camilo's Chicken'. It's a chicken breast stuffed with nuts and spinach and then covered in a sauce which, to me, tastes like a curry. When I close my eyes and take a bite, I feel like I'm in some Central London pub eating a hearty, working class man's lunch, but when I open my eyes, I'm looking at a decorative dish presented so flamboyantly, I had to look over my shoulder to see if Charlie Palmer was working the hot plate. It's a little confusing. But, that's the charm of Camilo's.

All of the entrees are good. The filet topped with a blue cheese is delicious. The pasta dishes are good. For a brilliant Friday night, I would suggest coming down to the Eagle Rock Farmer's Market. You can wander around for a few minutes and watch the Elvis impersonator (Or rather, watch the people WATCHING the Elvis impersonator.) Then head on over to the Colorado Wine Company for their brilliant Friday night wine tastings. Afterward, you can finish out evening with a nice, long dinner at Camilo's. And between you and me, "The Tower" tastes fucking great after a few glasses of wine.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Sicha Siam

I'm going to just get straight to the point. Don't bother coming here. The food is not good. It's not bad either, but everything on the menu seems like it's coated in some kinda a bad chinese restaurant. everything is hot and soggy. The only thing I liked here was the Thai Iced Tea. It was yummy. There must be two thousand calories in it, though, so basically don't bother.

Another reason to avoid this place is the location and the atmosphere. The restaurant is in a strip mall in a space that feels like a dry cleaners or mini mart. The lights are too bright. When we popped in for our quick, cheap dinner, we were the only customers for dinner on a Thursday night at 8pm. Depressing. What the fuck was I doing here? Who eats here? Maybe I'm being a snob. Maybe my idea of a shithole is someone else's idea of classy joint. Who am I to judge? Anyway, I'm gonna just leave this one for the poor Occidental College kids and the locals with bad taste.