Spring has come and gone, the trials and tribulations of the semester are behind us, and the weather is warming up. Summer, you say? Beaches and daytime adventures, you say? No, I think I’ll just sit in a poorly lit office and struggle to find ways to pass 8 hours.
SPOILER ALERT: This is one of them.
I’ve compiled a fat little backlog of restaurants I’ve yet to post, so for the sake of efficiency and time and money (and time IS money, so efficiency and time/money AND money/time), I’ll be doing two-a-days for the next few posts. It’s just like working out!
Except it’s literally the exact opposite.
Square One Dining is a charming eatery in the heart of Hollywood, right under the looming shadow of the Scientology Center. In fact, when you’re eating outside, the hulking blue monstrosity is pretty much all you can see from beyond the orange umbrellas. But don’t let that deter you, friends! The food is quite worth it.
Once again, I hardly remember the details of each dish, so I’l keep it short. Here we have a Breakfast burrito with grilled cactus, scrambled eggs, avocado and roasted potatoes. It’s wrapped up in a flour tortilla and topped with gruyere, cilantro, sour cream, and salsa verde. Needless to say, it’s freakin delicious, and a nice hearty way to start off any day. The grilled cactus adds an interesting touch too.
The Chicken Sandwich has a buttermilk-marinated chicken breast with portabello mushroom confit, truffled aioli, gruyere cheese, arugala and shaved red onions on a baguette. I didn’t get to try this, but if you like chicken, it’s probably a safe bet.
Then there are theBaked Egg dishes. Sweet lord mother of CHRIST these are good. Once again, I’m a sucker for some baked eggs, and this hit the spot. I got mine with chorizo, gruyere, tomatoes, onions, tortillas, roasted red bell peppers and salsa roja. It was spicy, it was flavorful, it was pretty much heaven. Shucks that I didn’t get a picture of it all torn open. SHUCKS.
Can’t have brunch without french toast! Well, I guess you can technically, but you would really suck as a person if you did. ANYWAY, we got the Brioche French Toast w/ Season Warm Fruit (Apple Cinnamon) topping. The toast was perfectly cooked - a nice crust on the outside hid a warm, custardy interior, and the apples provided a nice textural contrast. Good show.
BLD (Breafast/Lunch/Dinner) (real creative, guys) sits on Beverly Boulevard, a stone’s throw away from the grove. They serve, appropriately, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though we usually end up going for brunch. We like to break the rules here at Faturdays. Rebel without a cause and whatnot.
Another baked egg dish of sorts, the Egg Florentine is a benedict served with wilted baby spinach, crispy fingerling potatoes, piquillo pepper hollandaise, house made english muffin. Once again, hard to mess something like this up. And when the yolk is done just right, it all comes together flawlessly.
What didn’t come together perfectly was another benedict I had, the Ode to Butterfield’s (NOT PICTURED ABOVE). Thinly sliced flat iron steak, poached eggs, english muffins, and house-made potatoes. Sounds good right? They then proceed to DROWN it in this disgusting sweet Cabernet Sauvignon Hollandaise sauce, which proceeded to murder any flavor in the meat. And when the yolk cracked, the entire thing got messy and disgusting and sloppy and gross. AVOID AVOID AVOID.
The Fresh Vegetable Salad came with edamame, fresh corn, jicama, haricots verts, red bell peppers, avocado, toasted cashews, hemp seeds, daikon sprouts, rosemary vinaigrette. Now I’m not normally one to order a bowl full of raw vegetables at a restaurant, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was bright, clean, and refreshing, and definitely a nice counterpoint to the heavier egg dishes.
And finally, the pancakes. Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes, to be precise. Unlike some other places that serve pathetic excuses for ricotta pancakes (COUGH LIL DOM’S COUGH), these pancakes were light, fluffy, with the perfect amount of sweetness and bite. Probably one of the best plates of pancakes I’ve had in quite some time.
Well, that’s it for now. More coming later, obviously. Now I just keep thinking about pancakes. Damn gurl, IMMA HAVE TO CALL YOU BACK.
You know what sucks?
If you are a cake and you are reading this, my apologies, but come on, you’re all talk and no walk. Few cakes aside (Alcove’s Princess Cake, looking at you), you are all terrible, terrible desserts, and have no place on this Earth besides Jimmy’s sixth birthday party.
You know what doesn’t suck?
Pie is straight business. It doesn’t hide behind layers of the teeth melting, diabetes harbinger that is buttercream frosting. Its filling is actually worth eating, and the buttery, flaky pastry in which it hides is arguably as delicious as what’s inside. And you know where you can get some of the best pie in LA? Pie Hole, in downtown Los Angeles.
Located in the quaint arts district right across the street from Wurstkutche, Pie Hole is a fairly young restaurant serving, you guessed it, PIES, of both the sweet and savory variety. Started by an amiable group of friends, Pie Hole also offers an array of specialty coffee and tea beverages to complement their daily offerings.
The pie selection changes almost daily, so what follows is a collection of the pies I have tasted - some salty, some sweet, all mouthwatering. It begins..
Mac n’ Cheese Pie - Start off with one of my favorites, the Man n’ Cheese. A gooey, indulgent mixture of cheeses and macaroni baked into a pastry shell, it’s a nice satisfying snack that could easily be a light meal.
Brisket Pocket Pie - Filled with savory pieces of roast brisket, vegetables, and gravy, this one was definitely a winner. They also have another variation, with a Korean Short Rib, that’s also delicious.
Chicken Pot Pie - I think a picture speaks a thousand words here. Succulent chicken swimming in a bath of warm, savory gravy. MmmMmMmMmm. This is definitely a must have.
Chocolate Caramel Crostata - Now onto the sweet. This pie might look a little odd, but goddam, it is good. A crunchy pie crust topped with dark chocolate ganache and sprinkled with sea salt, it’s a keeper.
Lemon Meringue Pie - A classic, but a classic done well. As I’m sure you’ve had a Lemon Meringue pie before (if you haven’t… we need to reevaluate your life goals), I would save this for a second or third visit, as there are much more interesting pies that are worth your attention…
Thai Iced Tea Pie - Like this for example. You read that right. THAI ICED TEA. A coconut and rice krispies ( :O ) crust topped with nutella (:O) then smothered in thai iced tea flavored pie filling ( :O ), it tastes like you’re eating an Almond Joy and drinking a glass of iced tea at the same time. And it is GLORIOUS.
Strawberry Pie - Bright, clean, and to the point. It’s not like those store-bought strawberry pies that resemble a newly birthed alien. These are real, fresh fruits, and it really comes through in the taste.
Mexican Chocolate Pie - Saved the best for last. Mexican spiced chocolate ganache and house made whipped cream. Heaven on a plate. Mexican heaven on a plate.
Overall, Pie Hole is one of my favorite new establishments in the downtown area. Good food, friendly staff, and a charming set-up keep me coming back, and now that I’m done writing this post, I really want pie.
(EDIT: 4 Hams -> 4.5 Hams. You’re welcome, Shant.)
(You didn’t think those hams were gone, did ya?)
Also, bonus points for clever owners. Remember that stupid Occupy movement that lasted for like… a month? They took advantage of it:
So I’ve been hella lagging writing this last SF post (I’ve been to NorCal now I CAN USE THEIR LINGO), and I don’t particularly remember the exact details of our trip anymore, so I’ll keep it short and sweet.
Our last breakfast of the trip was supposed to be at Tartine Bakery. For whatever reason, we didn’t end up there, so we instead decided to wing it and find something along the way to wherever we were going (let’s get a round of applause for that amazing memory of mine, everybody).
We stumbled upon La Boulange, a charming little French bistro/cafe/bakery/
northkoreandictatorship, of which there are several littered about the city. They offer an array of breakfast and lunch items, as well as a wide assortment of pre-packaged to-go items, many of which I wanted to buy just because they were so damn cute.
I mean, come on. LOOK HOW PRECIOUS THOSE SANDWICHES ARE.
Anyway, we ordered our food, found a seat next to an awkward Asian girl from San Diego that was also here for Spring Break (we didn’t speak to her, we both just love eavesdropping), and Krista took some awkward pictures of me while we waited for our orders.
First up was the Open-faced Smoked Salmon Sandwich. Not exactly the prettiest plate around, but it was fairly dericious, so i’ll let it pass. Although I wish the bread they served it on was toasted. It needed a bit more in the texture department.
Breakfast Pizza. It wasn’t AMAZING, but by no means bad either. Scrambled eggs on some sort of flatbread with cheese, tomatoes, asparagus, and if I remember some sort of pork product, it was satisfying enough.
For lunch we headed over to the Ferry Building, which I believe to be every food-lover’s wet dream. Imagine a mall where EVERY STORE sold food. And not shitty mall food. REAL, beautiful, amazing, local gastronomic delights. We wandered around for a bit, taking in the sights and smells. I spent twenty minutes in a store that sold only dried pork. Is this what heaven is like?
We bought a peach. Obviously this warrants a picture. Granted, it was a damn good peach. Organic, too. We’re all about that saving the environment shit.
We ended up having lunch at Out the Door, the smaller, quicker little brother of The Slanted Door. Think ink. to ink.sac, same deal. We ordered a Vietnamese pork meatball sandwich. Although I’ve heard mixed things about The Slanted Door, the food at Out the Door was pretty darn good.
I ran over to the pork store to buy cucumber soda, which by the way, is FREAKING AMAZING.
We inhaled our sandwich, and were about to leave, when a couple pulled up next to us and started to tear into a steamed pork bun. It took less than one glance at their food and then at each other, and we were back in line to get one of our own. I’m pretty sure that couple judged us, but whatever. YOLO, amirite? #okayrelax
So that was our SF trip. We had Jitlada for dinner that night (previously reviewed on Faturdays) and diner food in Berkeley the next morning. Overall, it was one of the best (and possibly only) (so far) food-based vacations I’ve ever taken. And hopefully not the last.
(Is Ryan Seacrest even relevant anymore?)
We started off our first full day in SF with a stop at Blue Bottle Coffee Co. You can find Blue Bottles scattered all across the city, but only a few (only one? Not sure) offer a full breakfast/brunch menu. Outfitted with high ceilings, ample natural light, and enough hipsters to shake a stick at, the restaurant was a nice respite from the rain.
A strangely elfish looking barista had us put in our drink orders first. Krista went with a more conventional Cappuccino, while I opted to go for the slightly weirder Espresso con Panna. Pretty much espresso loaded with the most DELICIOUS [SALTED] WHIPPED CREAM EVER, it was a nice surprise. I could
eat inhale that whipped cream by the desk-load. The elf barista had like…eight spoons of it herself.
For breakfast we ordered Soft poached eggs over cornbread, w/Prather Ranch Spicy Italian Sausage, Mixed Greens, and Jalapenos. I’m a sucker for a good yolk, and I have an unhealthy obsession with cornbread, so needless to say this was demolished pretty quickly. [Note: If you don’t like runny yolks, you don’t deserve to eat. Ever.]
We finished up breakfast with a Belgian-Style Waffle, w/ Shady Farms Maple Syrup and Whipped Butter. Either this was really good maple syrup, or it was just butter masquerading as maple syrup, but regardless, it was dee-ricious.
We ended up at Haight-Ashbury later in the afternoon, and had lunch at the unfortunately named Squat&Gobble. I don’t even remember what we had… some sort of forgettable turkey club. It wasn’t BAD, but I didn’t take a picture of it, so…sorry bout it.
This was also the day for our big, “formal” dinner (aka THREE MONIES ON YELP). We were debating between NOPA (too conventional), Commonwealth (too weird), and finally settled on Wayfare Tavern, Tyler Florence’s gem of a restaurant tucked away in the financial district.
Every meal starts with a basket of “pop-overs,” the glorious lovechild between croissants and biscuits. Light, buttery, and flaky, these were the perfect instrument to whet the appetite for the massive feast that was to come.
We ordered a few sides for the table: Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Shisito Peppers. The peppers had a nice bite to them, tossed with roasted garlic and white anchovy. The brussel sprouts were surprisingly delicious, layered with the smoky flavors of bacon and whole grain mustard.
We also got some Baked Macaroni and Cheese to share. Topped with smoked olive oil, it was a decadent, super-rich bowl of heaven.
Krista and I split the Grilled Bone-In Pork Chop, w/ Black Pepper Speatzle, Braised Cabbage, Spiced Apple Pulp, and Grained Mustard Cream. Un-FUCKING-real. The pork chop was thick, juicy, and perfectly cooked. The supporting flavors and textures from the cabbage, apple, and spaetzle complimented the pork perfectly, and the whole dish was one perfect, cohesive package.
Nick and Amanda split the Organic Fried Chicken, which is one of their most popular and signature dishes. While I only got to snag a bite, it seemed pretty good from what I tasted.
We topped off our feast of kings with two desserts: the Wayfare Tavern Chocolate Cream Pie, and the Huckleberrry & Meyer Lemon Cream Puffs. The cream puffs were especially delicious, as they weren’t overly sweet like some cream puffs can get. Overall, it was probably the best meal I had in SF, and one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time.
After our meal had transpired, we proceeded to trudge back to the hotel and pass the fuck out. Food coma FTW!