Burnt Crumbs

I am a lover of cheese and a lover of carbs, in that order. I think that everything tastes better sandwiched between bread, but I also feel like pasta piled on bread is a little outrageous. Then again, I made a lasagna last week with over four pounds of cheese in it. It all evens out, I guess. This past weekend, I experienced the unholy carb bomb that is spaghetti grilled cheese from Burnt Crumbs.

As most of my food adventures start, I saw this thing on the internet. Spaghetti and IMG_1915meatball bits stuffed between two slices of bread with a delightful cheese pull. Skeptical but curious, I vowed that I would try Burnt Crumbs if I ever found myself near one of its distant locations.

We caught a ride to Burnt Crumbs and ended up on a half hour long journey trying to find it within an outdoor shopping plaza along the PCH. My GPS kept saying we were right there, but we just couldn’t find it. I went on to ask security, check a directory, the whole nine. Until finally, we found the hidden gem in Lot 579, which was essentially a hip food court. I thought Burnt Crumbs would be a sit-down, gastropub-type place, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a fast casual spot.

I was pumped to try the spaghetti grilled cheese, but I asked the girl behind the counter if there are any other sandwiches she’d suggest. She did not hesitate to suggest the fried IMG_1914chicken sandwich. I’ve been on a fried chicken kick lately too, so Sean and I went for both with the intention to split em’ 50/50.

The chicken sandwich consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and what I believe was a honey sriracha sauce sandwiched between a fluffy, warm biscuit. If you love comfort food, it tasted as amazing as it sounds. It was the ultimate comfort sandwich.

Onto the main event, the spaghetti grilled cheese delivered as well. It started to feel excessively carb-y in the final bites, so I’m glad we changed the plan to incorporate both sandwiches last minute. The cheese and side of warm marinara dipping sauce brought the sandwich together, but “the more the merrier” does not always apply to carbs. It was a pretty good sandwich, but anyone thinking of putting pasta on bread should take a page out of Pig Pen Delicacy’s book and replace the bread with deep fried pasta. Pig Pen’s Mac Daddy mac n cheeseburger is a thing out of your wildest dreams.

Where?: 21058 Pacific Coast Hwy Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Price Range: $9-13
Parking: Mall Lot

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Project Poke

You’ve probably seen videos of sushi donuts and spam fries on Facebook. Or maybe you haven’t and my Facebook feed is disproportionately flooded with videos of food. Maybe both! I saw these things in two separate videos and found out that they could both be found in one magical place: Project Poke!

IMG_1845So Sean and I are heading down to Orange County and I have a whole list of things to try, but I’ve been on a seafood and raw fish kick so Project Poke sounded like a pretty good options. The sushi donut and spam fries were must-trys, but since they were more snack-appropriate, the sushirrito was the main event.

Sean and I split an order of spam fries, a salmon sushi donut, and I had a deluxe sushirrito while he had a salmon and tuna one. I’m always on the hunt for a good sushirrito. The guy suggested that I go for the deluxe or salmon one and I definitely wanted tuna in the mix, so I went for the deluxe, which has tuna, avocado, seaweed salad, amongst a few other toppings. I asked for some spicy mayo in there because I’m me and I love sauce. Also, spicy mayo is the bomb.

The sushirrito was pretty good, but not the best I’ve ever had. I don’t feel like the sauces really came through, so a little on the drier side. The avocado added some creaminess to the mix, but it wasn’t life changing. I don’t know what it is about avocado that makes people consider something “deluxe”, but Sean’s img_1838.jpgsalmon and tuna was clearly superior. Avocado is a nice extra, but it doesn’t bring it for me. I will give this sushirrito credit for the seaweed salad. I love that shit and it definitely upped this sushirrito game.

Next order of business: spam fries. For the record, I do not like Spam. At least I don’t think I do The idea of it upsets me, it’s meat in a can. I may have tried it once and it img_1840-e1496266179776.jpgtasted exactly like that – meat in a can. Maybe I should have cooked it or something, but it’s just not something that calls to me. These fries, however, were great. I guess if you cut meat in a can up into small strips and deep fry them, the results are pretty great. I was pretty disappointed that they didn’t put spicy mayo on top of the fries like they did in the video, but it was still pretty good. It came with a sweet pineapple dipping sauce that had a mild kick. Pretty solid combo, overall.

IMG_1841Last but not least, the sushi donut. I decided to go with a salmon donut with spicy tuna filling. “Where does the spicy tuna go?” I asked curiously. Inside. The. Donut. I don’t know what magical machine they have back there, but behold – a perfectly sculpted donut ring stuffed with spicy tuna and topped with salmon strips, radishes, masago, and cucumbers. Amazing.

If you’re a sushi lover with a curiosity for spam fries and ever find yourself near Fountain Valley, I recommend checking this place out.

Where?: 16051 Brookhurst St Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Price Range: $10-15
Parking: Large lot

Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream

“I’m never eating sweet things again!” I exclaimed at least three times after my diabetes bomb from Birthdae Cake. Yet, alas, I found myself drunk and looking for ice cream in Huntington Beach. After a killer meal from Burnt Crumbs and some brews from Dude’s Bewing Co to chase it down, I found myself looking for a cold, creamy treat in Lot 579. Tucked away in a corner of this food hall, Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream had exactly what I was looking for.

Not at all hungry, I was going for a scoop, but after seeing all these flavors, I had to do two. There were so many choices!! I went with german chocolate cake and peanut butter oreo. I was going to go coffee oreo, but after a taste of Sean’s peanut butter oreo, I had a IMG_1919change of heart.

I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate ice cream. Although, as I’ve said over and over, I’m not the biggest fan of sweets in general, so I guess I’m just a big, fat hypocrite. Anyway, the german chocolate cake ice cream was chocolate ice cream with that delicious creamy coconut stuff. It was awesome! Creamy, delicious, choco coconut work really well together and this ice cream brought them together wonderfully.

The peanut butter oreo was on a different level. My scoop wasn’t overflowing with oreos like Sean’s was, but the peanut butter ice cream was so good, I didn’t even care. You know how peanut butter tastes really good but it’s just so heavy if you eat it by the spoonful? This ice cream flavor brought out the delicious flavor or peanut butter in a lightweight, refreshing scoop of ice cream. I would highly recommend for all peanut butter fans. At least sample it, you won’t regret it.

So the ice cream was great, but I also want to give a shout out to the scooper guy. Not only did he put up with my indecisiveness and many sample requests, but he asked us which flavor we wanted on the bottom. Do you realize how amazing that is?! You know you’ve been in this situation. You got two different scoops of ice cream and they just put one scoop on top of the other, but you liked one of the flavors a little more than the other and that’s the one that happened to be on top and then you’re stuck munching away on your waffle cone, wishing you got to enjoy that crunchy delight with the superior flavor. Maybe you got lucky and the superior flavor was on the bottom or maybe you asked your scooper to put it in that order, but has anyone asked you what order you want your scoops in? Because they should. They always should.

Where?: 21058 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Price Range: $5-7
Parking: Mall lot

 

Birthdae Cake

I’ve been on an ice cream kick lately. I know I really emphasized the whole “sweets aren’t my jam” thing, but good eats are good eats and there is so much great ice cream out there right now. Which brings me to my IMG_1856diabetic adventure at Birthdae Cake.

Sean and I took a trip down to Newport Beach over Memorial Day Weekend. I got a groupon on a beer fest down there so we decided to make a weekend out of it because YOLO. I have a whole roster of food in Orange County that’s been on my list, so what better time to try it out? One of the things on my list was Birthdae Cake. It was secondary to Project Poke, which is literally next door, but it made for a great lunch + dessert combo before checking into our AirBnb.

I heard Birthdae Cake was an edible cookie dough joint, but either I was wrong, or I got overwhelmed by the colorful ice cream flavors to get more details about my options. I was too busy sampling the many ice cream flavors and holding up the line, so I just went for it. So there may or may not be edible cookie dough, but unfortunately, I didn’t get to try it. What I ended up landing on was a scoop of Monster’s Inc. ice cream sandwiched between two fruity pebble rice krispies.

IMG_1858I was torn between the beautiful, purple Ubae Ube and the striking blue Monster’s Inc, but blue is my favorite color and Monster’s Inc came with brownie and cookie dough chunks in it, so I was sold. I was also between a specialty cone and these fruity diabetes pebbles but I don’t know, I was under a lot of pressure, so I just went with what felt right.

This thing was beautiful. Bursting with color and way too much sugar. Looking back on the situation, I was very excited about the whole experience at the time but I think the fruity pebble thing was just way too sweet, to the point that it overpowered the ice cream and I can’t really give you a solid description of what it tasted like. That being said, this is a sugar lover’s paradise. They also have custom drinks and, who knows, possibly edible cookie dough? I’d come back a little more prepared next time and definitely skip the diabetic sandwich, but it was fun the first time around! Except for the sugar coma.

Where?: 16051 Brookhurst St Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Price Range: $5-7
Parking: Large lot

 

Donut Friend

I don’t have a big sweet tooth, but who could say no to a scrumptious donut? I heard of Donut Friend, but I never went out of my way to find out where it is. All I knew is that if someone brings a box of donuts from Donut Friend, they are a good friend to have.

There are good donuts and there are great donuts. I’m no snob, a classic Krispy Kreme donut is one of the best donuts I could think of. My enthusiasm for extensive and exciting flavors stays with savory food. When it comes to sweets, I like em’ simple. For example, I do not want my cheeseburger sandwiched between donuts and I definitely don’t want peanut butter on it.

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Donut Friend delivers exciting combinations in donut form. They have plenty of flavors of donuts, custard, frosting and toppings to go with it. It appears that there’s ice cream as well, but the donut ice cream sandwiches were a very last minute observation. Guess I have to go back.

IMG_4093You can either pick from their extensive menu of creatively crafted donuts, or make your own. I’m normally a make your own kinda gal, but I let the dessert gurus take the wheel on this one. There were SO MANY to choose from! Normally, I’d say fuck it, let’s get two each. But there is such thing as too much sugar and I’m not about it.

Sean and I split the popular S’Morrisey and less popular, but also delicious, Youth Brulee donuts. The Green Teagan & Sara donut really stood out to me but I guess it stood out to everyone else too because it was sold out. Yet another reason to come back!

The S’Morrisey was essentially a s’mores donut. A chocolate cake donut cut in half to make room for toasted marshmallows and topped with chocolate glaze and graham cracker crumbs. You know, I’ve seen this one around a lot, but when I finally had it in front of me, I really wasn’t thrilled. I’m not big on cake donuts because they’re so dry and that was my least favorite part of it. The flavors were good, but I couldn’t get past the cakeIMG_1240. Still, the concept was exciting, and I was excited to finally get my hands on it.

The Youth Brulee was a treat. In a last minute decision, switching from the samoa donut because it was another cake donut I didn’t have high hopes for, it was a great last minute decision. It was a really simple donut – glazed and filled with bavarian cream, but also topped with bruleed sugar and orange zest. And it was awesome! I thought it was just going to be a brulee flavored glazed donut, but the top was actually bruleed and had that crunch when you bit into it. I’m glad I waited to eat this one second. Would get again.

In the end, I would highly recommend donut friend. Although I liked one of the two donuts, I’ve tried at least half a dozen of these before I even got to the magical place itself and it was always a treat. I will definitely be coming back for the Green Teagan and Sara donut and maybe even put ice cream in between it??? Sounds like a dream.

Where?: 5107 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Price Range: $4-7
Parking: Street, but the gentrification of Highland Park hasn’t made this difficult yet!

Tabula Rasa

IMG_4004.JPGWine bars aren’t normally my jam, but when I heard a hot new wine bar called Tabula Rasa just opened less than a mile away from me, I was determined to check it out. The philosophy nerd in me was sold on the name alone, but going to a wine bar sounds classy as hell, so I was into it.

I dropped by with some friends on a Sunday evening and happened to catch the beginning of happy hour. I wasn’t expecting to stumble across a happy hour on a Sunday, but it was 5pm, the sun was shining, and all wines and draft beers were $2 off. I started with aIMG_4007.JPG.jpeg house red ($6 happy hour price) and ordered the Cuban sandwich I read so much about on Yelp.


I was into the wine. I’m just growing out of my boxed wine phase and sipping on red wine at the bar was very pleasant. I stretched my first glass out until they brought our Cubans to the table and opted for a blackberry IPA (also $6 for happy hour) for my second round. The beer was cool and refreshing, but I think I might do wine again when I come back.

The sandwich was alright, but the food is not the IMG_4002.JPGmain attraction at Tabula Rasa. Food options are pretty much limited to a burger or Cuban that are made on a george foreman grill behind the bar. I was only slightly disappointed because Yelpers were raving about this sandwich. The flavors were good, but there wasn’t a lot of substance and it was completely flattened out on the grill.

Overall, this is a great spot to hang out over some wine. The ambiance is awesome and would probably be even better at night. If you’re into working on stuff with a glass of wine instead of a latte, this seems like a chill spot to bring your laptop and do your thing too. There were a couple of people typing away on their laptops with glasses of wine at the table.

Where?: 5125 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027
Price Range: $8 – 12
Parking: Street

Reno Room

Early on a Saturday afternoon, Sean and I were looking to kill some time on East Broadway St. in Long Beach while waiting for a table at The Attic. St. Paddy’s day being the night before, I thought all the drink specials and fun ended there, but Reno Room swooped in and proved me wrong.

With tinted windows and drink specials on the boards outside, we weren’t sure if this bar would be open so IMG_4056early but we crept up to the door and hallelujah, it was! My attention was immediately drawn to the all month long drink special menu, which advertised Guinness, Jameson shots, and Irish coffee and car bombs for a discounted price. I was just gonna get a plain ol’ Guinness, but I wondered aloud about the Irish car bomb. “You’ve never had one?!” Sean shrieked in surprise. As a 20 something who graduated from four lokos and shots to boxed wine to craft beer, I understand where his surprise is rooted. Before my craft beer days though, I was drinking on a college kids/interns non-existent budget, so I had not experienced the joys of an Irish car bomb. Until this blessed Saturday afternoon post-St. Paddy’s day.

So we got these Irish car bombs and they were the bomb.com. How have I never had one of these before?? It was like this refreshing, boozy iced coffee you had to chug. I would have chugged five on the spot they were so delicious, what a delight! But no, we followed these with a couple of Guinnesses and both remembered that we don’t like Guinness very much. I’m not a stout girl. We finished up our Guinnesses, closed out, and headed back across the street to have lunch at The Attic. We passed some nacho and taco plates on our way out and almost wanted to say “screw The Attic” and stay, but we came all the way to Long Beach to try the Attic’s Bloody Marys and Mac n Cheetos, so we had to follow through.

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After lunch, we just couldn’t stop thinking about this chill spot and the Irish car bombs, so we went back and had another. Just as amazing as the first! This place was a total dive and everyone in there was just doing their own thing, getting drunk and merry. The vibe was great so we stuck around for a couple of beers. In a 5 drink deep lapse of judgement, I followed Sean’s lead and got a Coors Light. I am ashamed, but good times were had by all.

Where? 3400 E Broadway Long Beach, CA 90803
Price Range: $7-10
Parking: Street parking

The Attic

The thing I love most about LA is the thing I hate most about it too: it’s so goddamn BIG. It’s shitty when you need to commute from the east side to the west side for work and incorporate the costs of having a car into your budget, but when it comes to wining and dining, you will literally never run out of things to try. I actually mean literally. Even if you made a career out of trying everything LA has to offer, there will be new rounds of restaurants, breweries, and pop ups every step of the way.

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This past Saturday, Sean and I decided to venture to the southernmost tip of LA county for some crazy Bloody Marys and Mac n Cheetos at The Attic in Long Beach. We read that there’d be a wait and indeed there was. About 45 minutes to kill before we got to get our hands on some cold Bloodies and grub. We miscalculated the part of Long Beach we were going out in and the beach down the road ended up being an overlook to the beach that was more complicated to get to than we had time for. We decided to get some drinking done to make up for staying in on St. Paddy’s day (I lied, I hit up a couple of spots in El IMG_4040Segundo, courtesy of work). Luckily, there was this fab dive bar across the street called Reno Room.

After pounding a couple of drinks, we crossed back over to the Attic and were seated in a half inside half outside table by the bar. We started off with Meaty Man Bloodies, mostly for the pulled pork slider garnish, but the bacon, slim jim stuffed olives, and jalapeno infused vodka also helped sway my decision. The slider was delicious, we both agreed that it was the best part of the drink. I like a good Bloody Mary, but my standards may be high. I felt like this one was ice and garnish heavy. With celery salt! Who actually likes celery and why would anyone coat the rim of a glass with it?? Anyway, it was worth a try, no regrets there.

IMG_4030.JPGWe were already sold on the mac n cheetos before we arrived, so we scanned the menu for a second dish to split. We ended up going with the Hey Shorty mac n cheetos and the My Boy Blue Burger.

Hey Shorty consisted of a cheesy helping of mac n cheese with pulled pork topped with hot cheetos. It was everything we dreamed of, we wished we’d gotten two. On one hand, it was a $12 bowl of mac n cheese but on the other hand, 10 boxes of Kraft mac n cheese, some pulled pork, and a bag of hot cheetos would not have hit the same spot. It was a perfect level of cheesy and, as we learned from our Bloody Marys, The Attic could whip up some killer pulled pork. The cheetos were stale, but I think they’re IMG_1185.JPGmore for aesthetic appeal and the wow factor that hipsters go gaga for.     

My Boy Blue Burger was not a winning pick for us. Described as a cajun spiced bison patty with blue cheese, fried shallots, bourbon BBQ sauce, and candied cayenne bacon on an onion brioche bun, I don’t feel like it delivered all that. And for a whopping $16, I feel like it should have. The bleu cheese was intense. It was creamy and present but, in my opinion, too present and I am a huge fan of all cheeses, including bleu. I didn’t dig the onion brioche bun either, too sweet for my taste. The meat and bacon were alright, but the cheese and bun overpowered all of that. Overall, I wasn’t thrilled with the burger or its hefty price tag, but I drowned it out with a couple more bites of mac and washed it down with a cool Pizza Port IMG_1186.JPGIPA.

For newcomers, I would suggest trying one of the unique cocktails with a hearty bowl of mac n cheetos. I also recommend finding a way to incorporate the pulled pork. The menu is exciting enough that it’s worth experimenting with, but be prepared to throw down some serious dough.

Would I come back? You wouldn’t have to drag me here, but I don’t think I’d trek out of my way. I’ve read up on a lot of great stuff in Long Beach and most definitely plan on venturing out again to try some new spots. Maybe SteelCraft, the food lot made of converted shipping containers or some of the many places that showcase Long Beach’s booming craft beer scene.

Where? 3441 E Broadway Long Beach, CA 90803
Price Range: $15-20
Parking: Street parking

26 Beach Restaurant

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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.