Cal and I have eaten at the Trident Grill on a two occasions. Most recently we checked it out on a weeknight hoping to catch the first game of the World Series. It wasn’t too crowded but there was enough people to give it a decent ambiance. We sat underneath one of the bigger televisions so Kevin and Cal could get a good view of the game, I don’t really care who wins so I conceded the seats.
Omar’s Highway Chef Restaurant September 26, 2008
There’s just something about truck stops. Trucking culture is an inclusive society but lucky for the rest of us it fosters the existence of wildly non exclusive restaurants. Omar’s Highway Chef Restaurant is just such a place. I’ve heard legends over the years about how good their pie is, but had never checked it out for myself. For starters it seemed like it was so far away, it’s located off I-10 at exit 268, which I want to say is Craycroft but either way it didn’t take that long to get there. Secondly, though I like pie, it isn’t something I crave on a regular basis.
Zinburger July 28, 2008
Gourmet burgers. Do we really need them? I’m not so sure. While I can’t afford to drop 150 dollars on a hamburgers stuffed with a fucked up duck liver, I can spend fourteen on one that is supposedly made with Kobe beef at our local “Wine and Burger Bar,” Zinburger but I don’t know that I should. I’ve eaten many a standard burger that could top the one I had at Zinburger but that isn’t to say that Zinburger is without charms.
Cal and I went down on a Tuesday and the place was in full swing. We were lucky enough to find us deep within a happy hour that includes half of beers and sides. The happy hour makes Zinburger worth a trip to try some of their sweet potato chips or double truffle fries both of which made their appearance at our table. The sweet potato chips came with a nice yogurt dip. The truffle aioli that came with the fries leaned a little hard to the mayonnaise side. It sort of tasted like an almost turned mayo you found at the back of the fridge but, shit, they were only two fifty.
We tried none of these things.
The burgers were tasty but hardly worth fourteen dollars. I’d say they were perhaps eight or nine dollar burgers. I mistakingly got both avocado and tomato on my burger and it slid around like tectonic plates between the bun. I had to knife and fork it. In some cases this can be a compliment to your burger but to others it could be a serious problem. Here it was just my short sightedness of ordering the avocado and tomato together. Cal had no such problems and thoroughly enjoyed his.
I just have one other question about Zinburger, why the fuck is it so loud in there? Cal and I sat outside but when we walked through the dining area, it was a barrage of idiotic speak bouncing around the walls. It most be acoustically mapped out that way. Also, the bathroom was creepy. Really creepy in a Brave New World/1984 way, I loved it.
I have to say that Zinburger is probably my favorite of the Fox restaurants, a position that I previously awarded to Montana Avenue. I’d say it gets seven fries dipped in weird mayo.
Homeplate July 16, 2008
Cal, Mario, Eric and I went to Homeplate to watch the MLB All Star game and sample some hopefully decent bar food. Cal is a big champion of Homeplate but I had never been there, it being a bar and me being me. The bar patrons seemed to be mostly middle aged rummies and kids hitting up the batting cages located out back. It made for a nice enough mix, most everybody was on the minding my own business tip.
The menu at Homplate is basically what you’d expect, burgers sandwiches, and pizza plus a plethora of fried objects. We all had burgers. You know who should take a trip down to Homeplate to learn a thing or two about hamburger buns? Barrio, that’s who. The burgers were perfect bar burgers, greasy but with a bun thick enough and solid enough to soak up said grease. The bacon on my bacon cheeseburger was actual bacon, none of that microwaved pre cooked crap. The fries and onion rings were standard and pre frozen. However, the hot sauce that came with our boneless buffalo wings (chicken nuggets) was delicious.
For most of the meal I tried to figure out how old a girl sitting in the next booth was. It was impossible to tell, especially since she had braces. Maybe she was 23 or she was 13 I just couldn’t get a handle on it. I didn’t actually see her drink anything alcoholic but maybe she did. There were kids all over for the batting cages so she didn’t really seem too out of place. After she left I inquired to my brother how old he thought she was rather loudly before realizing the person who was sitting with her was still in the booth. Eric started to make a comment about her physical appearance but quickly caught himself with the ever casual, “I mean nevermind.” I shouldn’t have given a shit, the dude was wearing gym shorts out in public, he obviously didn’t.
Also of note, our waitress had a broken foot. It was in one of those boot things.
I’m going to give Homeplate seven and a half actual slices of bacon on a burger.
What the Hell Are You Eating in L.A. June 3, 2008
What the Hell Are You Eating? has been in L.A. for a long weekend at Book Expo America (or whatever the hell B.E.A. acutally stands for). Normally, a trip to the City of Angels would have ganered numerous trips to many fine dining establishments but we were sort of tied to one location and hampered by time so we did the best we could.
On our first evening in L.A. I was lured to a rooftop party at the Downtown Standard Hotel by the promise of dinner soon afterward at some restaurant called Pinot Bistro or Cafe Pinot or the Bistro Cafe, I can’t remember. The Standard had a really upscale lobby with lots of neon signs and marble pillars. There was a shitty DJ bumping old school rap hits so I figured there was going to be a lot of white people in the house (I was right). Once bypassing the lobby and reaching the top floor we realized that the Standard would be a really nice hotel. If it were in Chechnya. The sufficiently douchey security guard told us we needed wrist bands as soon as we got to the roof so we had to all the way back down and all the way back up before we could spend twenty eight dollars on three drinks (one of which was a Corona). We met up with the rep from Parragon hoping to head to the restaurant as soon as possible. She was pretty much in the bag but was still able to convey to us the fact that we wouldn’t be going to another restaurant and would be dining there at the bar. Fine, whatever, we were so hungry it didn’t matter plus it was on their tab.
At first we were sitting on weird low couches in which no one looked or felt comfortable. The Parragon rep tapped me on the shoulder and extended a finger slathered in chocolate sauce and asked me if I wanted to try it indicating that I should put her finger in my mouth and suck it off. The process by which I said no went like this in my head: 1. It’s chocolate. 2. I’ve only met this person four minutes ago. 3. Who else at this shitty party has licked her finger? 4. Not counting other people’s mouths where else might this finger have been?
Unfortunately the food at the Standard’s bar made me almost as uncomfortable. There were mini cheeseburgers which, after eating one, I thought might have just been decoration. The kabob plates fared a little better with the chicken skewers topping the steak if only because when you bit them they didn’t come off the skewer in one piece like the steak. The vegetable kabobs were by far the worst. I picked the top of the kabob off with my teeth and started to chew. My mouth rejected the vegetable like a wrinkled dollar in a vending machine. Upon further inspection, Heather and I were unable to determine which member of the vegetable family this piece of pseudo food was actually purporting to be. Strangely the winner of the night was the peanut butter, chocolate and marshmallow sandwich which came with the aforementioned chocolate sauce. The wait staff at the Standard was nice though they are forced to dress like rejects from a White Stripes cover band. Also we were a couple of months late for A Private Affair with Tyrese featuring Nick Cannon.
I give the Standard Hotel Bar 4 Kabobs of mystery vegetables.
Here’s what people in L.A. say about the Standard while killing time at work on the internet:
“You never know who your going to meet- a porn importer from Spain, a USC student, or just some business shmo. ” – Morgan D.
“Oh, I know, to wash our hands with the shared faucet in the restrooms. With those old creepy business guys. ” – Shauna D.
“Downtown Standard was a Debbie Downer.” – Kathy K.
Jessica’s Take on the Great American Steakburger May 19, 2008
The decor is of Great American Steakburger is a little bit creepy, kind of Old West Saloon meets Old Folks Home. Although, to be fair, my assessment may have been influenced by the fact that we were pretty much the only clientele without someone with white hair in our party. The seats were vinyl with little cowboys on them, and the table was vaguely sticky. There also seemed to be a bizarrely large staff for the small number of people seated. The menu seemed to offer a fairly big selection though (well, a big selection of meat. I don’t think there were any non-meat options), and was reasonably priced. Sneakily, however, you had to order sides separately–no fries to accompany burgers here. I ordered a side salad, and a well-done Steakburger Tampiquena (tampiquena apparently the Spanish word for jack cheese + onions + green chiles).
The salad came first, and was ok; fresh, but nothing spectacular. Pretty much the same ingredients that would appear in any bagged salad. My biggest irritation with the salad is that it was a medium-sized salad in a ridiculously small bowl. Every time I attempted to stab a piece of lettuce or carrot with my ginormous and tine-lacking fork a different piece of tomato or lettuce would take a dive out of the other side of the bowl onto the aforementioned vaguely sticky table. Since I wasn’t about to eat anything that had touched the table, that meant that part of my salad ended up being inedible, but it may have added to the entertainment factor for Marshall and Noel, not sure, I didn’t ask.
The burger was decent, but totally tasted like it was just a frozen patty with some good grill seasoning on it, and the “tampiquena” topping. Upon further reflection I think that probably all the burgers at the restaurant were the same frozen patty, with various different toppings. I did like the tampiquena part though, it added a nice little kick to the burger, and the bun was pretty good, although it was of the very squish-able variety, meaning that it was nice and thick my first few bites, but by the time I got to the end of my burger it was about 1/8 of an inch thick. My biggest complaint with the burger is that I ordered it well-done, and it was definitely pink in the middle, which is completely annoying. I hate pink meat, so I nibbled around the edges of the burger, and left the middle icky part.
All in all I’d probably have to agree with Marshall and give Great American Steakburger (whose initials are GAS by the way) a five. Noel said he would’ve given the food a six (he got a burger with bacon and cheese, and a side of beans) but he agreed that the ambience of the restaurant was a little strange, so that probably an all-around five is a good assessment.
Jessica accused me recently of under representing the East Side so I journeyed out toward whichever mountains those are (I can never remember, the Catalinas?) to meet her and Noel at the Great American Steaks and Burgers Co. Apparently she has been driving by it, intrigued, for months. Short story shorter, I consented and drove out to where I thought the restaurant was only to realize it wasn’t there anymore. I had to call my brother and have him look on the internet to find out where it really was which made me late, rendering the Saveur magazine I brought with me useless and condemning it to a lifetime of riding in the passenger seat of my car.
Jessica and Noel were waiting for me outside the restaurant, still not sure if they wanted to eat there or go somewhere else. Noel and I decided we were already here so why not give it a whirl? The inside of the Cattle and Great Americans Co. of Steakburgers is decked out with the usual Western motif, covered wagon wall paper, lots of really old people and weird metal cow head wall hangings. The menu was pretty obvious as well, I think I already knew I was ordering a chicken sandwich. It was a pretty standard sandwich, the chicken was well prepared with some mild “south westy” spices but the sweet potato fries were a surprise. I’d do almost anything for some hot, crispy sweet potato fries. These were pretty fair, they were thin and floppy with a few extra fried fries at the bottom. We all pretend these aren’t the best fries in any order but let’s just stop kidding ourselves.
If you can make these for me, let’s get married.
Noel and Jessica both ordered burgers. Neither of them had much positive to say and Jessica’s was undercooked. The highlight of the meal was definitely the sheer amount of meat that the two elderly couples seated behind us ordered. I’m guestimating about eleven pounds for the four of them, all in ribs and sausages. After they were finished one of the oddest shaped women I’ve ever seen produced toothpicks for the table, yet the other woman declined. How could she not need a toothpick? I saw her gnawing on a rib bone.
Anyway, I give The Company of Cattle and Steak Burger America five floppy sweet potato fries. Though I commend Jessica’s sense of adventure. Hopefully, she can root out some decent East Side locations for me to try.
Here’s what everyone on the ‘net sez:
“The burgers and fish sandwichs are excellant as is the steaks..” – Anonymous.
“Ever since this restaurant moved to their new location the service and food went from good to right down the tubes.” – liddiebug
“We felt we were eating good old corn feed beef!” – RaybAZ