Bun Boy Eats LA
BUN BOY EATS LA – Bun Boy Eats LA

BEIJING PIE HOUSE

  • December 17, 2014 5:05 am

Lamb and Green Onion Pie (and some spilled food on the table, Chesty Morgan's pet peeve)

Lamb and Green Onion Pie (and some spilled food on the table, Chesty Morgan’s pet peeve)

As a meat pie lover, I knew I had to check out Beijing Pie House before leaving LA.

My review: Meh….

BPH reminded me a bit of Dean Sin World, another Chinese bakery and pastry shop nearby. Many of the dishes tasted stale and the entire place needed a good hose down.

Don’t get me wrong, the Lamb and Green Onion pie was pretty good, actually. But it was like a big dumpling in super thick casing. It kind of sat there, like a lead anvil in my stomach. Traditional dumplings in wonton wrappers are much more satisfying and less intense of a dining experience.

I would have liked a BBQ pork options instead of the steamed, bland meats or some better variety of pies so I really can’t recommend this place over any of the great dumpling spots out there.

Best to just move on and avoid any bathroom issues later on.

I’m assuming Chesty Morgan will leave a comment below stating her dislike for this place. Check below to see if she takes the bait!

846 E Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
(626) 288-3818

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Some food tastes better when you don't have to smell it.

Some food tastes better when you don’t have to smell it.

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Mixed Vegetable Pie

Mixed Vegetable Pie

Juicy Pork Dumplings

Juicy Pork Dumplings

MAMA LU’S DUMPLING HOUSE

  • December 15, 2014 5:56 am

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Because food crawls are one of my very favorite things to do, I decided to enlist my friends for one last trip to the San Gabriel Valley for visits to 3 Chinese restaurants. Because I’m a big ‘ole pig and want others to help deflect the said pigginess.

Mama Lu’s was the first on our list. Specializing in dumplings, of course. Soup Dumplings (Xiao Long Bao) more specifically.

These were quite delicious. I think we all agreed that Wang Xing Ji was slightly better, these were pretty awesome too. Flavors and wonton skins were all spot on. Watch out, they WILL burn your mouth straight off your face. Wait a few seconds before devouring.

The Beef Roll was probably the favorite dish. Loved the mysterious sweetness which offsets the beef and cilantro wrapped in a delicious fried pancake. What’s not to love?

The Fried Pork Buns were great but not as good as the dumplings or beef rolls.

The Beef Chow Fun was a little too simple in flavor, I would have liked more seasoning or a spicy element. It was just a huge plate of soy sauce noodles. Which I still ate a ton of.

Mama Lu’s is a more upscale, very clean spot for some very tasty Chinese food….our next stop would be a slight downgrade….

501 W Garvey Ave
Ste 101-103
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 282-2256

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 Fried Pork Buns

Fried Pork Buns

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Beef Roll

Beef Roll

Vegetable Dumplings

Vegetable Dumplings

Xiao Long Bao - Juicy Pork Dumplings

Xiao Long Bao – Pork Soup Dumplings

Beef Chow Fun

Beef Chow Fun

TOI ON SUNSET

  • December 11, 2014 5:07 am

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Toi was another one of the first restaurants I was a regular at when I first moved to LA. Before I started this whole Bun Boy thang and stopped visiting the same restaurant twice.

It’s basically traditional Thai in a rock ‘n roll setting. Its grungy décor, including tons of posters of rock and punk bands, seems like something one would see in Seattle or Portland.

It was my last week in LA before my big move to NYC so I wanted to experience Toi one last time. As well as see my good friend and fellow apartment building resident, J3, who was one of my first LA friends when I moved here 14 years ago. When our building was more like Melrose Place and I had hair.

I love that Toi is still here after all these years. Like an old, sort of smelly friend. Who may or may not be occasionally homeless. But who also happens to make you incredible Thai food and the best black rice you’ll ever have (they call it brown, but it’s clearly not). Not sure where this homeless friend gets their ingredients, but best not to think about that.

They have a top notch Red Curry, definitely a must order. That’s the best way to experience that heavenly black rice.

Their noodles are also amazing. I found the Pad Thai and the Thai Spaghetti to be very similar in flavor, either one will not disappoint. Perhaps the Thai Spaghetti is a bit more unique.

Service is very friendly and very casual, your server will look like he/she is in a band. He/She probably is.

They have a great happy hour from 4-7 pm where tasty Asian beers and sake are only $3 bucks.

Toi is a must see LA staple, no matter where you live. Even if you live in Seattle or Portland, you should still consider a road trip. And maybe a good dose of sunshine wouldn’t kill you either, you craft-beer loving vampire.

7505 1/2 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 874-8062
toirockinthaifood.com

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Special Brown Rice

Special Brown Rice

Red Duck Curry

Red Duck Curry

Thai Spaghetti

Thai Spaghetti

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

ASTRO BURGER

  • December 10, 2014 5:29 am

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I’m not sure if Astro Burger was my very first meal in LA, but it was one of the first.

Being a mere blocks from my West Hollywood apartment, Astro Burger felt my presence on many occasions. Often times, without my recollection.

I always order the same thing. Cheeseburger and Onion Rings. They have the best O-Rings in LA. Hands down.

It’s supposed to be a 50′s throwback diner but the mini jukeboxes next to each table are untouched. It’s always deathly silent inside. Almost depressing.

But I rarely eat there. I take my sh*t TO-GO! I don’t need to hear the horrific sounds of my own chewing.

Astro’s burgers are a thin patty with shredded lettuce and thousand island. Old school. Just how I like it.

They also have incredible chocolate milkshakes.

Even when I’m moved far away from Weho, Astro Burger will always have a little place in my overweight heart.

7475 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 874-8041

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Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

Onion Rings

Onion Rings

SPAGO

  • December 8, 2014 4:16 am

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Before I moved to LA, I know about the existence of Spago.

That was a time when LA’s restaurant scene was kind of pathetic. We had our historic dives like El Coyote or Miceli’s and we had our exclusive hot spots for the celebs or the rich.

Fine dining was not yet for the masses.

Over the past 7 or 8 years, things have dramatically changed. LA’s restaurant scene exploded. We had a ton of new chefs open a ton of great restaurants. And best of all. You didn’t need to be sport an ascot or a trust fund to take part.

Spago may still think of itself as a snooty establishment but I know better. I’ve been to pretty much every nice restaurant and I know better. I belong here just as much as I belong at a burger joint.

And I don’t care one bit that you seat me at the sh*ttiest table because I’m not famous. I love the sound of crashing dishes coming from the kitchen.

Ok, diatribe over.

Spago is Wolfgang’s most famous restaurant and often times he’s there, saying hi to everyone. Tonight was NOT one of those nights, sadly.

I’ve been personally served by Chef Ludo and Chef Curtis Stone but Mr. Puck thought he was too good to bring me my delicious Salmon or the incredible Stuffed Squash Blossoms. Sorry I’m not Brad Pitt, sir but I’m spending just as much money.

Service started out really efficient but then things kind of slowed down as the evening progressed. Getting our check ended up being a daunting task.

The total cost of our meal was $100 a person and we only drank tap water. So bring your shekels and your flasks.

Overall, dining at Spago is a fabulous, must-do experience if you’re ready for it. Hopefully I’ve done my part to help you. The rest is up to you.

176 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 385-0880
http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/3635

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Table Bread

Table Bread

Potato-Bacon Terrine, Comte Cheese, Mushroom Puree

Potato-Bacon Terrine, Comte Cheese, Mushroom Puree

Crispy Squash Blossoms, goat cheese, basil

Crispy Squash Blossoms, goat cheese, basil

Braised Beef Short Rib Tortellini, red wine mushroom reduction, pecorino

Braised Beef Short Rib Tortellini, red wine mushroom reduction, pecorino

Homemade Agnolotti, English peas, Marscapone, parmesan

Homemade Agnolotti, English peas, Marscapone, parmesan

Grilled Lamb Rack, Eggplant Caviar, Falafel Macaroons, Harissa Aioli, cucumber raita

Grilled Lamb Rack, Eggplant Caviar, Falafel Macaroons, Harissa Aioli, cucumber raita

Seared Scottish Salmon, Sweet English Peas, Bacon, Wild Ramps, Yellow-Foot Mushrooms

Seared Scottish Salmon, Sweet English Peas, Bacon, Wild Ramps, Yellow-Foot Mushrooms

Black and White Souffle

Black and White Souffle

NICK’S

  • December 6, 2014 5:08 am

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Nick’s is an old coffee shop on Pico near La Cienega that’s been in LA since the dawn of time (1948. We’re talking LA time, so that’s pretty old).

My dining companion and I had two very different experiences with our food.

Hers was terrible and mine was delicious.

If you don’t count my flattened, dried-out side of Polish Sausage that looked as if it had been scraped off the road outside.

But my Sloppy Joes were pretty awesome all around. And the potato salad is top notch. None of this vinegary, grocery store sh*t.

But R.D.’s Club Sandwich was so bad it made her bleed.

Literally.

Let me elaborate. The bread was toasted within an inch of her life. Bruschetta style. The parts of the bread she was actually able to place in her mouth ended up doing her bodily harm.

The French fries were awful. They appeared to have been deep fried at 6 a.m. Then deep fried again a few hours later when a customer ordered them but that customer probably changed their mind, the fries went back to the community pile and then fried for a third time when R.D. placed her lunch order.

The servers are so friendly that you feel bad for complaining (so we didn’t) but really take your time and scour the Yelp reviews and photos before you place your innocent mouth in harm’s way.

No meal is worth a tetanus shot.

8536 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
(310) 652-3567

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Club Sandwich

Club Sandwich

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Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

Road Kill, I mean Polish Sausage

Road Kill, I mean Polish Sausage

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EMPENADA’S PLACE

  • December 5, 2014 5:25 am

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Empenada’s Place is a cute little (CASH ONLY) Argentinian pastry shop located on a dumpy section of Venice and Sawtelle.

I love any kind of meat pie, no matter the nationality. EP does not disappoint.

My favorite was the Cheese and Onion but I also liked the Criolla, which is the traditional beef and raisin one.

The pies ore on the bigger side, so two should be plenty. The hot sauce they give you is watery and not very flavorful. Take note.

For dessert, they offer a few lightly sweet pastries that are delicious. You’ll probably be full from lunch, but try at least one.

3811 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 391-0888
empanadasplace.com

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Argentinian Chicken Tamal

Argentinian Chicken Tamal

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Cheese and Onion

Cheese and Onion

Criolla

Criolla

Spicy Chicken

Spicy Chicken

Spicy Chicken

Spicy Chicken

Caramel Cannoli

Caramel Cannoli

LUKSHON

  • December 1, 2014 5:56 am

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Lukshon has one of those menus I drool and pine and torment over and then half of the things kind of fall flat. Basically, Lukshon is a place where you need to know what to order.

There’s a very sleek, sexy, modern vibe to the interior. Like being in a futuristic Chinese airport lounge.

The menu prices are surprisingly low, considering your upscale surroundings. I guess we are in Culver City, however. $100 a person is what I was expecting to walk out of here with. Instead it was only $42 pp and that includes tip.

But let’s not chat about money, shall we? We’re better than that. Or, at least, I am.

HIGHLIGHTS:

HAWAIIAN BUTTERFISH – We couldn’t tell at first if this fish was cooked or not because it had a slightly fishy undertaste (usually signifying that it’s cooked) but it was a very nice, light start to the meal. The fish is, indeed, quite buttery.

OKRA AND POTATO – This simple yet effective dish really wowed us. The okra tasted slightly pickled (which did it justice) and the roasted potatoes held tons of flavor.

CHINESE EGGPLANT: I do not like eggplant. But I loved this dish and the combo of crispy and roasted eggplant. Flavors were Indian in nature, in case you don’t like that kind of thing. In which case, I don’t like you.

SPICY CHICKEN POPS: Probably the highlight of the meal. YUM! I don’t know their technique of placing this delicious ball of chicken at the end of some miscellaneous bone, but they’re fun, tasty and you will probably order another round.

BHUTANESE RED RICE: This race is on the crispier side and packed with a soy sauce flavor. Didn’t really taste the lamb bacon much but overall, it was quite enjoyed by all.

HOT AND SOUR GIMLET: A must order cocktail. This tastes like Thai food. Spicy, citrus, basil, all in a cocktail. Really fun and goes down quick.

LOWLIGHTS:

BRUSSELS SPROUTS SALAD: As this dish came to the table, we were overwhelmed by the smell of the sea. In essence, lots of dead fish. I would have liked a sweet component to this dish but instead it was just bitter Brussels sprout leaves and bitter fish sauce.

SPICY CHINESE RAMEN: Being an unofficial ramen expert, this was simply odd tasting and not enjoyable. The noodles were nice but the broth was bitter and weird.

DANDAN NOODLES: These were not bad. They were just the least good dan dan noodles I’ve ever had. Bad grammar aside, the sauce was missing something but the noodles were cooked perfectly.

SINGAPORE SLING: As Roy pointed out, “It tastes like a flat Mai Tai”. I would have liked a bit more cherry flavor or something to offset the pineapple. It wasn’t very tasty.

On a scale from 1-10, all four of us voted that the meal was a 7 (I might even say 6.5). Service was attentive and friendly, I loved the plush booths and open floor plan but just order wisely. That’s all I’m saying.

That and all the other crap I already just said, too.

UPDATE:

Several of our party has gotten the sh*ts following our meal. Take note. Take strong note.

3239 Helms Ave
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 202-6808
lukshon.com

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Hot and Sour Gimlet - monopolowa vodka, dragon chile, lime, thai basil, kinh gioi

Hot and Sour Gimlet – monopolowa vodka, dragon chile, lime, thai basil, kinh gioi

Singapore Sling - Plymouth gin, cherry herring, Benedictine, combier orange, pineapple, bitters

Singapore Sling – Plymouth gin, cherry herring, Benedictine, combier orange, pineapple, bitters

Hawaiian Butterfish - pickled watermelon radish, daikon, nahm jim, rau ram

Hawaiian Butterfish – pickled watermelon radish, daikon, nahm jim, rau ram

Brussels Sprouts Salad - carrots, peanuts, nam pla vinaigrette, taro chips

Brussels Sprouts Salad – carrots, peanuts, nam pla vinaigrette, taro chips

Spicy Chicken Pops - shelton farms’ drumettes, garlic, kecap manis, spicy sichuan salt

Spicy Chicken Pops – shelton farms’ drumettes, garlic, kecap manis, spicy sichuan salt

Okra & Potato - sambal goreng, kecap manis

Okra & Potato – sambal goreng, kecap manis

Chinese Eggplant - fennel raita, tomato sambal, eggplant “fries”

Chinese Eggplant – fennel raita, tomato sambal, eggplant “fries”

Kurobuta Pork Ribs - spicy chicory coffee bbq sauce

Kurobuta Pork Ribs – spicy chicory coffee bbq sauce

Bhutanese Red Rice lamb bacon, maitake mushroom, egg, scallion, chinese celery

Bhutanese Red Rice lamb bacon, maitake mushroom, egg, scallion, chinese celery

Spicy Chinese Ramen - ma la bamboo, pork belly, crispy ear

Spicy Chinese Ramen – ma la bamboo, pork belly, crispy ear

Dandan Noodles - kurobuta pork, sesame, preserved mustard greens, sichuan peppercorns, peanuts

Dandan Noodles – kurobuta pork, sesame, preserved mustard greens, sichuan peppercorns, peanuts

Mignardises

Mignardises

DOMINICK’S

  • November 28, 2014 5:06 am

Chicken Parmesan - Dissection

Chicken Parmesan – Dissection

Dominick’s is an old school Italian restaurant that’s been in LA since the late 40′s. It was the watering hole for Frank Sinatra and the rat pack (right across the street from Cedars Sinai hospital) that hardly anyone I know has been to.

It’s kind of a forgotten little gem and it appears only the hospital has been keeping in business.

There is a nice outside courtyard, so try to sit out there if it’s a nice day.

The Squash Blossoms and Rice Balls were both truly tasty starters. The Kale Salad was a bit boring.

It’s a red sauce joint, so order the Spaghetti and Meatballs or Chicken Parmesan.

Although, everyone seemed to truly love the Short Rib special, so take note haters of red sauce.

The service is prompt and friendly and the prices are actually very reasonable for the area and the portions. The chicken parmesan is literally TWO portions.

Sunday Suppers are perfect for the budget-conscious folks. $15 for 3 courses. And several $15 bottles of wine to choose from. They aren’t horrible, either.

8715 Beverly Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
(310) 652-2335
dominicksrestaurant.com

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Rice Balls w/ Mushrooms & Mozzarella

Rice Balls w/ Mushrooms & Mozzarella

Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms

Black Kale, Pecorino Sardo & 6 minute egg w/Balsamic Vinegar & Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Black Kale, Pecorino Sardo & 6 minute egg w/Balsamic Vinegar & Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Housemade Rigatoni w/ Crispy Eggplant, Fresh Mozzarella & Parmesan

Housemade Rigatoni w/ Crispy Eggplant, Fresh Mozzarella & Parmesan

Short Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Short Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Chicken Parmesan w/ Sauteed Zucchini & Squash

Chicken Parmesan w/ Sauteed Zucchini & Squash

Panna Cotta with apples and pecans

Panna Cotta with apples and pecans

TIKI INVASION! – Bahooka * Tonga Hut * Tiki Ti

  • November 27, 2014 5:32 am

Scorpion Bowl - Tonga Hut

Scorpion Bowl – Tonga Hut

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE ALL THINGS TIKI (so much I had to capitalize the sentence).

My very first apartment was an enormous, Hawaiian themed complex in Washington state called Kona Village, replete with two enormous tiki statues standing guard out front (see below). Click here to read about it’s eventual dramatic demise.

kona-bldg

I don’t know if I got into Tiki culture as a result of living there, but that is when I first started making vintage cocktails and getting into Exotica music from the 50′s.

When I eventually moved to California, birthplace of the movement, I had to seek out the remaining tiki establishments. Below are three of LA county’s best Tiki treasures.

BAHOOKA

Sadly, I was only able to visit Bahooka on it’s final weekend before demolition, so we weren’t able to snag a table to eat (the wait time was over 2 hours) but we did try a cocktail and wander around this incredible, historic Tiki symposium. Many of Bahooka’s artifacts are going to be displayed in the new Clifton’s Cafeteria. Whenever the hell that opens.

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The younger cell phone obsessed generation just doesn't get Tiki culture. Unless they're all currently Googling what the hell Tiki is.

The younger cell phone obsessed generation just doesn’t get Tiki culture. Unless they’re all currently Googling what the hell Tiki is.

Rufus the fish who eats carrots (and probably small children given the chance)

Rufus the fish who eats carrots (and probably small children given the chance)

TONGA HUT

I’ve only been to North Hollywood’s Tonga Hut once. But I had a blast!

The Scorpion Bowl (featured at the very top) made sure of that! It’s a share with your friends (or not, drunky) tropical cocktail that’s sure to pack a wallop.

The interior is all original late 50′s tiki, super dark (for making out or nursing a hangover) and the cocktails are more in the trendy, mixologist realm. They definitely still taste traditional and go down real quick.

12808 Victory Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91606
(818) 769-0708
tongahut.com

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TIKI TI

Tiki Ti holds a lot of great memories for me, since I’ve hung my fez hat there on quite a few occasions.

It’s a tiny place, the father and son bartenders are also the owners and every year they close the place down when they go on vacation. To an actual real tropical hideaway, hopefully.

It’s cash only, they ONLY serve tropical drinks (no beers or wine) and it gets packed in there. Every delicious drink is served with a wedge of pineapple and a maraschino cherry, in case you were worried about your day’s fruit intake.

Smoking IS allowed inside and everyone does it. Take note. Or take a face mask.

The most famous drink is called Ray’s Mistake. Ray Buhen opened the bar in 1961 (and his son and grandsons have taken over) and poured two wrong syrups into a cocktail, accidentally creating a delicious concoction. The exact recipe is unknown.

The upside to the super tiny space is that you get to (forcibly) meet people as you’re sucking down your Mai Tai a mere centimeters from them, so you really have no choice.

But I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night (or Sunday afternoon). You have my heart, Tiki Ti. And what’s left of my liver.

4427 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 669-9381
tiki-ti.com

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Making the infamous Ooga Booga cocktail

Making the infamous Ooga Booga cocktail

Ray's Mistake / Mai Tai

Ray’s Mistake / Mai Tai

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