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.