Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mayura Amrit

1277 West Jefferson Blvd, 90007
323 766 9775
See the updated post above
On the north side of the street, in a mini mall very close to USC, this new Indian place showed up a couple of weeks ago. I noticed it when I was riding past, and I dragged Louis and Adam over to check it out for lunch. Turns out it's the new venture from the folks who run Mayura restaurant over in Culver City. We've been there before, and it's pretty good, so very nice to have a branch nearby.
The restaurant was furnished in China-style, since it had taken over the premises of China Bowl. A lot of buddhas everywhere. There was a steam table with a fewIndian entrees, and a kitchen could make other items.
Louis and Adam had some premade food, which they said was delicious. There weren't very many choices for vegetarians that were there, so I had a big pancakey thing from the kitchen which was pretty good, but I think I ordered the wrong thing. It wasn't really spicy enough for me.
I rode by the other day and the place was already closed. I was disappointed until I got closer and saw the small taped sign which said the restaurant was closed for remodeling until August 2. I'm hoping the steam table will be fuller with veg options when they reopen- perhaps they were just testing the waters when we were there.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


3500 Figueroa Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 743-1843

Louis, Adam and I visited The Lab last Saturday evening. We are too old or out of touch to realize that Saturday was the second night of the Electric Daisy Carnival. We'd never even heard of the EDC, even though it's been happening at the Coliseum for something like 13 years. The streets around USC were full of scantily clad ladies and their gentleman escorts and the traffic was a mess. Anyhow, we did manage to finally get to The Lab for dinner after sitting in traffic for longer than it would have taken to get there on foot.

The Lab is a gastropub style restaurant across the street from USC and next to the Galen Center. It's interor is "science-classroom chic" a la 1950's, with clean white tiled walls, chalkboards and big community tables for experiments and more. Unlike any other science classroom I've been in, The Lab also has an outdoor patio complete with couches, heat lamps, and fire pits.

The Lab is owned and operated by USC, which is sort of a bummer if you want to get away from the large conglomerate that is the university, but also pretty great because it's doubtful anything like this could exist without them making it happen. We got an earful about the how, what, and why of the USC/The Lab relationship from the guy in charge of the establishment, but we will spare blog-readers the details and go instead to the important stuff.

Those in the 90018 know what happens if you're hungry after 9pm. The options aren't pretty. So for that reason alone, The Lab is a great addition to the neighborhood. The kitchen is open until 11pm!

The food is pretty good. Big portions of "gastopub" fare like steak sandwiches, fish and chips, and burgers. There are a few vegetarian options on the menu, but not an abundant selection. The beer and wine menu is impressive, and The Lab would be a good place to go to get a drink and some appetizers.

Adam had the steak sandwich, which came adorned with onion rings. He reports that the onion rings are yummier than the fries, which came in huge portions and were good but not great. They are shoestring variety, which I usually love, so not sure what was wrong with them. Something about the flavor. I had a flat bread thing, which I thought would be cold, but it was like a big pizza. It was prettty good, but not what I expected. I think I'd try something else next time. Louis had fish and chips and he claimed it was really good, that the fish was very "light."

We will definitely go back to The Lab and if anyone reading this wants to go get a beer, I'm in.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

8 oz. Burger Bar

"Bloody burgers," Luis exclaimed joyously as the serving commenced.
He had chosen the house blend, a burger crafted of sirloin, tri-tip, short rib and chuck; whereas, I opted for the Estancia Grass Fed. The burgers can be a bit customized, with various extras, a choice of cheese, condiments, sauces. A fillet of fish, turkey and veggie burger is offered as well, along with small snacks, a couple sandwiches, tempting shakes & malts, and basic salads.

The burgers were served on slightly crunchy rolls, a welcome upgrade over the usual limp bun, without overt seasoning or taste modifying additives. The sides were terrific as well, sweet potato chips and broccolini.

8 oz. Burger Bar is located amidst the small boutiques of hustle-bustle Melrose in a dual storefront that, on this night at least, seemed cavernous and energy dissipating. Whereas we secured a metered space, parking is likely a frustration at most times.

The burgers run $8 - $10, and can be paired, in various specials, with different micro brews.

8 OZ. Burger Bar
7661 Melrose Ave
M-Sat 11:30 am - midnight
Sun 11:30 am - 10 pm

Friday, February 6, 2009

House of Dimes

1815 W Jefferson Blvd

This tiny restaurant has tiny hours, only three days per week: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11-7pm. Inside there's a small counter and a limited menu of yumminess. The only veggie item available is the vegetarian taco, so I had two. I think the tortillas might have been fried first or something. Unlike tacos I've eaten before, but delicious nonetheless. My dining partner ordered a turkey burger, which he devoured voraciously and claimed was excellent. Then one of our neighbors came in for a turkey burger. It's the kind of place you might run into someone you know in, so be prepared. Super friendly, just tacos, burgers and chili on the menu, and drinks in cans from the fridge.

House of Dimes is still run by the same family who opened it 39 years ago. It's near the corner of Western and Jefferson, on the northwest side. You've probably driven by a hundred times and wondered what's up with that place. Now go try it out!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Harold and Belles

2920 W. Jefferson Blvd, around 10th Ave
(323) 735-9023
Very local and absolutely the best - Harold and Belles should be visited and celebrated by all 90018 locals.
After living here almost 8 years, I finally went to H and Bs and then I had to go again almost immediately. Anybody want to go check it out, I will be glad to join you.
Yes, the food will kill you. But what a great way to go.
The food is Louisiana/New Orleans/Southern. Crawfish and shrimp and gumbo and oysters (and chicken and steak) in many delicious dishes.
I heartily recommend the popcorn crawfish as an appetizer. Entrees? Especially, the crawfish etouffee.
Nice bar, too.
Good service and comfortable tables - easy to have a relaxing dinner and talk and talk and talk.
Expensive - entrees are $25 -$30 and you will probably want to have drinks and apppetizers and the ammazing bread pudding with hard sauce for dessert, so the bill will be high.

Laissez Les Bon Temp Roule

El Parian

El Parian offers the most spartan of menus: birria, carne asada, and carnitas, in orders full and half, in tacos or burritos. A long, dimly-lit space, divided by arches, with streaked yellow walls, its Pico-Union location resembles convincingly the taco halls of Mexico, complete with picnic tables and benches. Hailed for their Jalisco style Birria, roasted goat stewed in a chilied broth, El Parian also serves a mean carne asada, sweet, garlicky strips, nearly blackened.

The restaurant appears to be the refuge of men, often unaccompanied, each to a table, quiet, intent, imbibing cold cervezas and giantic rounds of meat, occasionally consulting a folded copy of Hoy or Novedades. The sole females work the register or pat the thick, hand-built tortillas, whilst el cocinero rips into giantic sides of meat with glistening cleavers, unleashing a staccato like soundtrack, the ambience of simple toil and blunt purpose. How wonderful.

The burritos con todo may be a bit overstuffed with rice, though a "solo carne" version is offered. Phone orders are welcome and a parking lot is located in the rear off Toberman.

El Parian
1528 W. Pico Blvd.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


3888 Crenshaw Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

Crenshaw Live opened on Inauguration Night, Jan 20, 2009. We went for beers, but saw that they have a sushi bar and a fishtank in the floor. There were good-looking plates of fried food. Definitely worth further investigation.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Balle Oaxaqueno

2318 West Jefferson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90018
323 766-1727

The old Two Star Bakery on Jefferson has been renamed, but it doesn't look much different inside, except that now they seem to have things like baggies of cocao beans and some rough looking chocolate, perhaps to use to make molé or other Oaxacan delicacies. There is a small supermarket here too, selling pantry staples, vegetables, fruits, and spices.
Everyone who works there is very friendly, and the place smells sweet and yummy. One room is lined with pastry cases full of sweets and bread. Sometimes I go by to get a Mexican Coke or Pepsi, made with real sugar, instead of corn syrup like the stuff made in the U.S. They also have an ice maker and will sell you bags of ice for a party (unlike the corner liquor store, where people are rude and they don't sell ice and won't tell you where you can find it, but that's another story).
I finally tried the restaurant today, and as usual, I probably ordered the wrong thing. Not much vegetarian food, so I got the veg burrito, which was OK, not great. My friend had the carne asada burrito and she was also lukewarm about it. They didn't give us any salsa, which was part of the problem, but also the ingredients seemed uninspired.
I still think the best burritos around here are at La Taquiza, which is a bit of a schep.