26 Beach Restaurant

IMG_7041

Something I really suck at is making decisions. If I showed up to 26 Beach on a whim, especially as hungover as I was, I would have probably ended up crying under the table. Luckily, I was informed that I’d be brunching here a day in advance. I was also informed that we had to be here, on the west side, from the east side, at 10 o’clock in the morning. After a full day of heavy bar hopping. Looks like Sean ordered for me – a big, fat helping of NOPE.

Before our bar hopping adventure on Saturday, I took to Yelp to prepare. After a few photos, it became clear that I was either gonna go with Chef Katsu’s Original California Roll Sushi Burger or the crab scramble. It looked like those were a hit, and also everything I’ve ever wanted.

So Sunday came around and I woke up at my regular waking hour of 7am anyway. I spent the next 2.5 hours whining until it was finally time to leave and Sean decided that he absolutely needed coffee. I hopped out at Dunkin’ Donuts (that was the compromise), and grabbed two iced coffees, putting us 15 minutes behind. We show up 20 minutes late and are handed two books, nay, menus and I am relieved that I came prepared. I decided to go with the Sushi Burger and sipped on my mimosa in hopes of hair of the dogging this hangover while engaging in conversation. Spoiler alert: the mimosa did nothing for my hangover, but was delicious and refreshing, with a fresh orange slice and everything.

So this sushi burger showed up and I wanted to cry, mostly because I was thinking about the amount of energy I would need to put into opening my mouth wide enough to eat it. I got the burger medium rare and it was topped with snow crab salad, avocado, sushi ginger, lettuce, tomato, and wasabi-shoyu mayonnaise. All sandwiched between a brioche bun. Everything about this was yes.

IMG_7042 copyIt’s the sushi-burger hybrid you didn’t know was missing from your life. There were so many different flavors! The burger patty was perfectly juicy and tender and the crab salad on top of it was creamy and delicious and complimented the meat very well. I feel like avocado is overused and overrated a lot of the time, but it was a fantastic addition to this burger. It was fresh and creamy and contributed a neutralizing flavor to the rest of the goods.

The burger was juicy with enough flavor that sauce wasn’t the main attraction, but I love me some good sauce. The wasabi mayo had all the great flavor of wasabi without the intensity, which probably would have been too overwhelming in this situation. As I mentioned before, this burger was a huge tower of deliciousness. I ended up eating most of it with a fork and knife (sue me). About halfway through, I spotted some ginger and realized I hadn’t experienced that flavor yet. Normally, I’m not big on pickled ginger, but I am all about trying new things, so I wasn’t gonna pass on it. Good thing I didn’t, because when I added a piece of ginger to a forkful of angus beef, crab salad, and avocado, I think I saw God. It’s like the burger goddess fucked the sushi god and this came out of the kitchen. Next Level.

I would absolutely recommend this place to anyone. It’s totally worth waking up early for after a day/night of heavy drinking. I am in love with the CA roll sushi burger, but there’s so much on this menu that anyone could find a plethora of things they’d like for breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner. If you’re anything like me, do yourself a favor and check the menu beforehand so you don’t end up crying under the table.

 

Where? 3100 Washington Blvd Venice, CA 90291
Price Range: $15-20
Parking: Street and I hear there’s a small lot in the back

Birthday Weekend Bar Hop – DTLA

DTLA is one of my favorite spots in LA. It’s nothing like New York or any other city I’ve ever been to, but it’s just like other big city spots because there’s so much to do and everything is walkable! I always take the train down there because it’s the last place I wanna fuck with parking. Meters where a quarter buys you 4 minutes, $10 lots, $35 parking garages…no thank you.

DTLA shenanigans

This day was gonna be filled with day drinking anyway, so Sean and I ditched our cars and hopped on the red line. 40 minutes after our departure we arrived at our first spot and walked everywhere from there. Throughout the day, we stopped at seven different places. Follow these links to check out our adventure and read about some solid DTLA spots.

 

Angel City Brewery

angel city dub dub

After a long adventurous day, we head over to our final destination. Last but not least, Angel City Brewery. This has always been a go to, so it was nice to end up somewhere familiar after all these new spots.

Sean planned this as our last stop because he knows I love beer and read about this thing that they do on Saturdays. They put a special beer on a cask for one night only. Literally a one of kind beer every week. It’s available at 8:30 and runs out pretty quickly. So we get there a couple of minutes after 8:30 and ask for the special beer and the bartender said they weren’t doing it tonight. What a buzzkill, that would’ve been really cool. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to come back another Saturday night.

Instead, we went with the Dub Dub. Yet another IPA! I didn’t sample it, but it looked like fun. It was hoppy, strong, and delicious. At this point, I was starting to get pretty lit. Angel City was packed, but we took over someone’s table as they were leaving. Our friend Sammi joined us soon after and we stayed for one more beer. Sean picked out a lager for me to finish off the day. It was the LAger and I certainly enjoyed my third non-IPA and last beer of the day. I don’t think I’ve had an Angel City beer I didn’t like.

Angel City is a sweet place with good beers and three other hot spots you can walk to in 5 minutes or less. Definitely recommend.

Where? 216 S Alameda St Los Angeles, CA 90012
Price Range: $7-9
Parking: Street parking if you try hard and believe

Arts District Brewing

arts brewing quote

A while back, I discovered the perfect DTLA drinking triangle. You can stop at Wurstküche for a beer and unique sausage you’ve probably never tried, cross the street to EightyTwo and enjoy a beer with arcade games and all the pinball you can dream of. Just wanna chill? Cool, snag some outdoor seating in between the barcade and pinball rooms. Wanna keep chillin’, cross the street to Angel City Brewery get a beer flight and kick it with your friends. On Saturday, my drinking triangle became a square.

I recently came across Arts District Brewing on the internet. What caught my attention and put it at the top of my LA bucket list is the games. I’ve been to barcades and they’re great, but this huge brewery has other games to offer! There’s more skee ball than any chuck e cheese I’ve ever been to. Three dart boards, a ping pong table, foosball, and corn hole. By the time Sean and I got here, it was around 7:30 on a Saturday night and it was pretty packed. We played one game of skee ball and tried some new brews.

arts brewing aleAfter some samples, I went with the Stolen Valor. An IPA I enjoyed quite a bit. Sean made a beer mistake and got a 3.5% Stumblin Dublin. It was a nitro brew and I can see the appeal in just going for it, but if there’s ever a reason to sample beers on tap before you get them, it’s to avoid mistakes like this. It was very dark with a heavy coffee taste and practically non carbonated. We live and we learn I guess.

For our second beer, he let me pick for him, so I got us both a Busy Bee Honey Golden Ale. Everything about this sounded great and it was. I didn’t even sample this one before getting it. Mostly because I’d already taken advantage of sampling beers and the bar was getting even more crowded now. But I made a great call and we were both satisfied.

I’m excited about the new addition to my now arts district bar square. I’d love to come back here during the day or on a weeknight to experience the vibe and games with a smaller crowd.

Where? 828 Traction Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90013
Price Range: $7-12
Parking: There’s a lot, not sure what the money situation is for it

The Black Sheep

black sheep decor

The clock struck 6 and finally, it was time for tots! Sean and I tried to start our day here around 1:30, only to approach closed doors and learn that The Black Sheep opens at 6pm. So we waited.

I don’t know what it was about loaded tater tots that put this at the top of our bucket list for the day, but we were on a mission. We roll in here a little after six and quickly agree on splitting the cheese truffle tots. There was a beer float on the menu that caught my attention, but apparently they were out of ice cream. This concoction would have been a scoop of ice cream in a porter. I’m not into porters, but I feel like the ice cream would have been a game changer. Definitely coming back to try this in the future. And more tots. It’s like this black sheep is scheming to get me to chase it. It’s working.

black sheep beersThis place had the hibiscus gose I tried earlier so I asked to try it again next to the Avery IPA. I was almost gonna get it this time around but I was still torn and ended up going with the IPA. Mostly because an IPA would taste better with cheese. And it did. Sean got the Eel River Blonde because he’s into that kinda thing, and it was good too.

So the main event. The tots. Finally here, covered in cheese. They did not disappoint. Maybe if we were black sheep totshungrier, we would’ve went for the carne asada or pastrami chili cheese tots, but the cheese truffle tots were perfect in that moment. Bronze, fresh, and crispy potato bites covered in melted cheese. What more could you ask for?

I’d highly recommend this place, just don’t come before 6. I’ll be back for some burgers, tots, and a beer float.

Where? 126 E 6th St Los Angeles, CA 90013
Price Range: $7-12
Parking: Haha, good luck

Little Easy

Sometimes, you find yourself in a situation in which you found some spots you wanna hit up but have some time to kill before the main event. In anticipation of tots and hookah, Sean and I swung by The Little Easy for a drink.

We got here around 3:30 and it was pretty packed. You walk into a small, dimly-lit bar with an elaborate decor and mardi gras beads scattered throughout. Emphasis on the “Little” in Little Easy, the front room is small. I didn’t see what was in the next room, but I assume a larger seating area for all the tasty southern/creole food they have on the menu. It’s fairly pricey, but if you’re craving some New Orleans eats and vibes, this place is worth checking out.

Anyway, Sean and I just stopped in for a beer and found two seats at the bar. We both ordered the Old World Hefeweizen (and loved it!). My first non-IPA of the day and it did not disappoint. Once we finished up our beers, it was hookah time, so we asked to close out. The bartender asked what we were drinking and poured us half a pint each on the house. I liked this place already, but this kind notion brought me to love it. Maybe I will come back for some southern bites.

Where? 216 W 5th St Los Angeles, CA 90013
Price Range: $15-20
Parking: Haha, good luck

Hookah Place

hookah place sign-2Scrolling through FourSquare for nearby suggestions, I came across Hookah Place. It had one dollar sign and great reviews, how could this possibly go wrong? Back in high school, I used to frequent one hookah lounge on the Lower East Side and another one on Staten Island. I don’t think I’ve went out for hookah in over 4 years, but when in Rome. Well, when having a super awesome birthday weekend funday in DTLA.

So we walk over to Hookah Place from Mumford Brewing to find that it’s closed. This was becoming a pattern. But just like the tots at The Black Sheep, we weren’t giving up on this. It was around 3:20 when we got there and it opened at 4 with a $10 house hookah for happy hour deal until 5, so we didn’t want to wander far. We went a couple of blocks over to Little Easy for  a drink, and came back around 4:30.

This lounge is awesome. Another pretty typical DTLA spot with a homey vibe. It has high ceilings with exposed pipes and warm white string lights. There are colorful vintage style couches and chairs set up around wooden tables so you can hang out with your friends around the hookah. There are a couple of reclining chairs facing a TV in the back for a low key hookah movie date. And a giant projector on the wall for everyone to watch.

hookah place bar

We made happy hour and went with a grapefruit mint hookah. It took a while to set up because they just opened, but the one guy working there was super nice about it. He kept apologizing for the wait and offered us free tea. When we finally got the hookah, it was great. Loved our flavor choice. And the hookah itself was colorful and unique.

We spent 1-2 hours here and it was legit. If you’re in the mood for some hookah, I would highly recommend this place. If you’re looking for a night out drinking though, this isn’t it. There’s no alcohol, just tea and free stickers, but it’s perfect for a chill night.

Where? 120 E 5th Street Los Angeles, CA 90013
Price Range: $10-20
Parking: Haha, good luck

Mumford Brewing

mumford brew flight

Conveniently next door to The Escondite, we came in here ready to start some day drinking festivities. Super hip place, very open and bright with a minimalist style. Your typical DTLA spot.

Sean and I decided to get a flight to make the most of this fun day of trying new things. Somehow, we ended up with all IPAs. Surprise! We got: Make Hops Great Again, Hunky Dory, Mindclouder 2.0, and Fast Friends.

We obviously got Make Hops Great Again because of the name. I mean, come on. It was a solid IPA though. Great hops and all. I’m not very good at reviewing beer, I’m just really good at drinking it. So you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Hunky Dory was hands down the best one we tried. Sean picked this one and I am proud. Even if it was also because of the name, but it was a damn good IPA. Hoppy and sharp and goes down real smooth. Definitely getting a Hunky Dory in a souvenir pint glass when we go back (sweet deal for 10 bucks).

Mindclouder 2.0 and Fast friends were pretty similar and alright. No complaints. I hardly have complaints about IPAs unless they’re not hoppy enough. #HopHead.

We had our fun here and decided it was time to move on to hookah. Off to Hookah Place we go!

Where? 416 Boyd St Los Angeles, CA 90013
Price Range: $7-10
Parking: Haha, good luck

The Escondite

escondite food

Sean and I decided to start at The Black Sheep. We fantasized about burgers and loaded tater tots on the train ride/walk over, only to walk up to closed doors. It opens at 6. The tots were definitely happening later, but for the time being, we headed over to our second choice for lunch – The Escondite.

It was early afternoon on Saturday, so the Escondite was pretty empty. The outside was fun and colorful, inside was dark and pretty aged. The seats in the booths have definitely been around for a while. The Addams Family pinball machine at the entrance has probably spent some time there too. Pretty chill vibe overall.

We started with a couple of beers. I sampled a few and landed on the Grape Ape IPA. I sampled a hibiscus gose and a lemon ginger radler. I wanted to love em, but they were just too sweet for me. I always fall back on IPAs. I tried 12 different beers this day and 9 of them were IPAs. #NoRegrets. I thought this one was grape-based and would be horrible, but the waiter recommended it and I was into it. Mildly hoppy and didn’t taste like grapes. Sean went with the Blood Orange Wit. I’ve had this one before and would highly recommend it. It’s light with a refreshing blood orange flavor.

Onto the food. I came planning to get the Godzilla – one of the maybe three sandwiches I saw all over Yelp. Sean was considering that one too, so we decided to split it and get another thing to split. Against my recommendations, he picked the Boss Hog burger.

escondite gorillaThe Godzilla had strip steak, provolone, mushrooms, and grilled onions. No regrets on this one. Yelpers made it sound more epic than it was, but it was a good sandwich. If you’ve had a good strip steak sandwich, The Godzilla is just like any other. The other two popular ones, which are actually unique, are Captain Kangaroo – a breakfast burger, and the Fat Albert, which is a burger sandwiched between donut buns. I personally wasn’t eager to try either of these because I tend to avoid breakfast foods when I can and if I’m gonna have a heart attack, I don’t want the donut burger to be the way I go. Too sweet.

escondite boss hogNext up, the Boss Hog. I had low expectations for this and they were met. I pretty much knew I wasn’t gonna like it, but I’m trying to be a better person by opening myself up to other people’s ideas and opinions, which means I have to compromise. We got the Boss Hog cooked medium rare. It was topped with cheddar, chili, sour cream, and fritos. I’m not in love with any of those things on a burger, except the cheese, of course. It’s just nothing to write home about. What I liked least about it was the lack of vegetables. Something as simple as a piece of lettuce or a tomato may have made me like this a little better. Only a little bit, though. I wouldn’t recommend it. If you want a chili cheese burger, go to Tommy’s. Better than this one for a third of the price.

We got a side salad with the Godzilla and fries with the Boss Hog. The side salad was the winner here and I think it was mostly because it had cheese cubes. I wasn’t a fan of the fries because I don’t like potato-heavy fries. I know, fries are potatoes, but I’m picky about my potatoes. I like em crispy, mashed, or whatever magic happens in a tater tot. Sean likes potatoes though and also wasn’t a huge fan of the fries. They weren’t very well seasoned, just kind of meh.

Overall, solid experience and a good start to the day. On to the next one, which happened to be right next door – Mumford Brewing!

Where? 410 Boyd St Los Angeles, CA 90013
Price Range: $13-17
Parking: Haha, good luck. Just kidding, I think they have a lot with valet.

Dha Rae Oak

IMG_7002

Let’s get fancy for a minute.

My boyfriend spent all week trying to figure out where to take me for my birthday. He had this one cute idea where we’d split a french dip at Philippe’s and walk over to Cole’s and split theirs and then get drunk at the bar there. Cute idea except he forgot that I was a sandwich queen and and up to date with the LA food scene, so I’ve definitely tried both. Anyway, Thursday was the big day and I was not disappointed.

All I was told was that we had an 8pm reservation in Koreatown. I was like, shit, a reservation? Sounds fancy. He dropped a cheesecake off at my place around 7:30 and we drove down to Dha Rae Oak.

We show up to what looks like your average Korean BBQ joint. Not the greatest ambience in ktown, the place could use a renovation, but hey, it’s all about the food and they’ve got something the other guys on the block don’t. A clay oven. That they roast a duck in for four hours.

So we show up at 8 and are led to a table and set up with Korean appetizers. As we munch on a variety of pickled Korean treats, which I, a Korean food enthusiast of almost 7 years, just now learned from the internet is called banchan, they prep for the main event. The appetizers were alright, certainly not the greatest I’ve had at a Korean BBQ joint, but also not the worst. I didn’t catch what the tea was called, but that was delicious. Very floral, yet not sweet. Two thumbs up, would drink again. We also got some Hite. It’s a pretty solid go-to Korean beer to have with a meal. It’s light and thirst quenching, which goes very well with a flavorful meal.

A waiter closes the BBQ grill and brings out a duck. A waitress cuts up some tender pieces of duck, sweet potato, and scoops a purple sticky rice garnished with nuts and fruits and hands us our first plates and an empty plate for bones. Then they poured a vinegary chili sauce over a scoop of garlic into one side of a little sauce bowl, and sprinkled a salt and pepper blend into the other side.

IMG_7003

The main event here is the duck and it did not disappoint. It was juicy and tender and I don’t know what kind of magic happens when a chunk of this duck is dipped in the garlic chili sauce, but it is on another level. I asked them to refill my sauce dish twice. The potato, rice, nut, dried fruit garnishing were exciting as well. Since I had no idea what exactly we were eating, every chopstick-full was a fun adventure for my tastebuds. It also made for some good dinner conversation trying to figure out what everything was. It was all pretty good, but I didn’t go for any refills with this stuff because there was so much delicious duck to get through!

Things got a little weird for a minute. As we’re well into the meal, a waitress brought out an onion soup. It looked like it was just broth and onions, but it smelled and tasted strongly of feet. I love soup, so it kind of grew on me for a brief moment until it cooled down and probably tasted like putting a sweaty gym sock in your mouth.

By the end, we were really full. Two people, one duck and a sea of sides; it was a lot of food. But overall, I was very satisfied with my birthday dinner and very impressed by my boyfriend’s unique choice. I wouldn’t come back for Korean BBQ, although I hear they have a popular duck option, but I had an excellent experience. In conclusion, I’d only recommend this place to anyone looking for some bomb ass duck.

Where? 1106 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90006
Price Range: $25-40
Parking: Valet available, Meters until 8PM, Street Parking