Seoul Sausage Company – Little Osaka

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So It’s called Seoul Sausage Company and I start off with a piece of chicken? That’s because it’s not any old chicken. You all know Koreans love to take food that is already awesome and make it even more awesome. Da KFC (so succulently pictured above) stacks atop Korean B.B.Q.’s take on fried chicken. Korean fried chicken is known for being extra crisp, lighter on the batter and having that certain kick only Koreans know how to concoct. Seoul Sausage’s rendition calls for chunks of white meat with a softer fry, sprinkled with magic dust. I don’t know what this dust is. All I know is every time I undo that takeout box, dusty nuggets and a L7 of cornbread shimmer like gold! The cubes of pickled daikon, chives and sweet chili glaze coating the nuggets with a fork full of that cornbread is a bite of foodie love to be had. Only mistake I made is I wasn’t sitting down. It’ll knock you off your ass.

ImageUp next…Sausage? No. Try Seoul Sausage completely ripping Arancini a new one. The Lil’ Osaka, Flaming and Spam Musubi balls consists of seasoned Kimchi fried rice core and a flaky outer fritter. Topped with some provocative sauces for $3 a pop. The Lil’ Osaka (pictured right) is a homage to Seoul Sausage’s home on Mississippi and Sawtelle, AKA “Tiny Tokyo”. The recently launched Spam Musubi ball is salt cured beefy goodness. Seoul Sausage’s menu may be small, but their Korean remixes on foodie culture make you want to devour everything. Make some room.

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I would love to see the expression on a Montrealer’s face after eating the Galbi Poutine! The French Canadian specialty usually consists of not so amazing fries, gravy and cheese curds. Seoul Sausage’s remix: Galbi (Korean braised short rib), twice fried fresh sliced potatoes, chives, that damn good kimchi onion and a homemade crema. The braised short rib is made with time, love and perfection. I can’t really imagine finding a more unique way to eat a french fry in Los Angeles (no one tops the Dutch & Belgians!).

ImageWhen I asked for a takeout menu, they said take a picture!

seoul sausage edited-12My Lunchaimers, don’t get perturbed. There is no sausage in this glowing review. Blame it on this gang of Koreans for diving into their foodie lab and coming out with some incredible items to accompany their sausage and balls! The Galbi Poutine and DaKFC are two dish renditions I have not seen or tasted heretofore. Seoul Sausage has me hooked and I will be back to try their Korean B.B.Q. sausages incredibly soon. Much love to Yong, Ted and Kim for making sausages, not war!

Chego – Palms/West LA

ImageChego means “the best” in Korean slang. I assume its more like an onomatopoeia for a noise you make when you taste something downright delicious. Executive Chef Roy Choi creates and isn’t afraid to recreate dishes with his LA-OG-Korean-Mexican-Hawaiian goodness. Chego takes Bibimbap (Korean rice bowls) and goes all Bi-Bim-Bap on them bitches. Scoops of rice provide a canvas for Choi’s flavor palette as he paints the city of LA with food. The Chubby Pork Belly (pictured above) is the menu’s anchor. Its straight up Korean but Chego adds a Mexi-spin with some cojita cheese and sweetness along with radish, peanuts, spinach, basil, fried shallots. And don’t forget the piggy. The marinade creates a camralized char around the diced chunks of pork belly.

ImageI could go on writing about Chego’s rice bowls for days. I suggest losing all inhibitions you may have about food and dive in. Now to Exhibit A (pictured left). When Chego unveiled a burger on the specials menu, they tinkered with different toppings/sauces on a weekly basis and locked in on this meat wad. Half pound grass fed burger, cheese, mayo, chili sauce, fried shallots, wild arugula, Thai basil. The bun is grilled with a slight char. The burger has dimension…They call it a patty. Its more like a beef puck. Sweet, spicy, creamy, peppery herbs, caramelization and texture. Its a perfect picture and a ride down to flavor country.

ImageSo here’s the thing. Chego did have a dine-in restaurant, but there were some kitchen limitations and renovations needed. As we know it today, Chego indefinitely lives out of this truck parked out in front of Chego’s bones (pictured above). True OG! They still have seats and benches in front of the restaurant outside to enjoy a slightly down-sized menu. The staple items are still on the board, including interesting snacks like the Beehive Brussels Sprouts (pictured bottom right). Caramelized and deglazed w/ soy vinaigrette over yogurt curd and honeycomb, crowned w/ salsa ensalada, fried shallots and sesame. The sweetness of the dish combined with the salsa roja and sharp taste of the sprouts is a must try. If your were a Brussels Sprouts hater like me going in, you will be reintroduced to the veggie that once reminded you of steamed gym sock stench.

ImageYou can always tell when you spot a first-time Chego-er. Their eyes bulge a little, trying to get every element of Choi’s creation in focus. Then upon first chemical reaction of taste from tongue to brain, there is this inexplicable look on the face, as if they can’t believe this late in life they are now experiencing a new dimension of flavor. Chego will reinvigorate your soul and won’t even charge you more than $10 for a wild culinary ride through Korea Town, Little Tokyo, Mexi-Cali and the Pacific Islands.

ImageMuch love to the entire Chego crew!

Vitals:

  • where to find us

    3300 Overland Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90034
    323.380.8680

    CHEGO TRUCK LUNCH
    Tues-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm
    Take-Out, Order Online

    CHEGO TRUCK DINNER
    Tues-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm
    Take-Out, Order Online

  • our team

    GM: Jose Cervantes
    Sous Chef: Micko Ortiz
    Pastry Chef: Beth Kellerhals
    Executive Chef: Roy Choi

Hollywood Pies – West LA

ImageThat pie looks legit, don’t it? You’re probably thinking packed restaurant, lines out the door and tons of overhype. Think again Lunchaimers, Hollywood Pies of West LA is a seemingly untapped gem.

ImageI know plenty of Chi-Town folk who go on and on about there not being a good deep dish pie in Los Angeles. Either they really haven’t been looking, or Hollywood Pies could care less about being found. This is the epitome of a hole in the wall establishment.

ImageChoose from over 10 deep dish toppings (Spinach and Ricotta pictured) All pies are topped with their sweet chunky style sauce and pecorino romano cheese. Underneath the layer of sauce is their whole milk mozzarella and toppings of choice. Pies range between $13-$16 for small, $19-$27 for large (a large pie feeds 3 people, easy).

The deep dish cornmealish crust is baked to perfection. Nice crunch on the outside, soft fluff within. The sauce topped with pecorino cheese is a savory blend; sweet sauce and salty melted pecorino go great together. Spinach is sandwiched with ricotta cheese. I cannot say enough about what a great slice of pizza this was. What a treat to finally find an incredible pie on the West Side!

A few rules before you head out on your deep dish journey:

  • Hours – 4:30-9:30 (Tue-Sat); 3:30-7:30 (Sun); Closed Monday’s (DinnerHaim!) 
  • At the moment, take out and delivery only (Dine in coming soon)
  • Expect to wait near an hour for pickup, over an hour delivery

These crazy Chicago people I know, they mail order frozen pizzas from deep dish moguls like Lou Malnottis across the country. You can thank LuncHaim my dear ChicAngelino’s! Look no further than the West Side.Image

Earl’s Gourmet Grub – Mar Vista

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What better place for #LuncHaim to exploit than a spot that focuses on one thing: Lunch!

ImageMy trusty Lunch disciple Ben Liebenberg and I set off a mile down the road to Earl’s Gourmet Grub in Mar Vista. They sling a few staple breakfast items that can be altered (check out their Order of the Week!) here and there all day, starting at 8am (coffee served next door @ Venice Grind). Lunch is broken down into four sections: hot & cold sandwiches, burgers & salads. LA is a burger mecca, and my heart will forever belong to The Apple Pan, but Earl’s Cowsciutto is a flavor-filled wrecking ball of sweet and pungent juiciness. A half lb. Niman Ranch patty (If you want to go lean and gamey, they also have Bison patties), crispy Prosciutto di Parma, Fig Hash, a Maytag Bleu Cheese blob, fresh bed of Arugula and Aioli on a Brioche bun. Served with a small mixed green side salad and very light cabbage slaw. Is it the best burger in LA? No, but worth being devoured for consideration. I will go as far as saying it is the best burger within the district of Mar Vista!

ImageThe word Gourmet is thrown around so cheaply now-a-days. Earl’s elevates the noun back to its root meaning with their salad menu. Ahi Tuna, Grilled Prawns, and Blue Crab are the headlining mains for these savory salads. All are plated with Mixed Greens or Arugula and very light yet immensely flavorful dressings; perfect accoutrements! My go to has always been the Ahi Tuna Niçoise: Green Beans, Fingerling Potato, Hard Boiled Egg, Olives, Tomato, Mixed Greens, Lemon Herb Vinaigrette. That is up until I found you can pretty much order any sandwich and have it made as a salad. In which case I had Earl’s Grub Experts doctor up their NEW Sushi Sammy (Seared Sushi-Grade Ahi, Asian Slaw, Avocado, Cucumber, Spicy Mayo on Brioche Bun) in salad form (*Pictured above). 

ImageIf you venture to Earl’s for Lunch, you will be pleasantly surprised as you stroll back to the punch clock. It all burns clean. Its because they don’t slack on the quality of their ingredients. The prices are slightly higher than the norm for that reason, but they are not ludicrous. There are a handful of lunch spots in the area I will leave unmentioned that charge in upwards of $15 for the same fare. Every item at Earl’s ranges from $7-$12. Not cheap, not exorbitant, but worth every ounce of love put into their Grub.

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12226 Venice Boulevard, Mar Vista, CA 90066
Hours:
8-4 Seven Days a Week

Guisados – Echo Park

ImageBrand new to Echo Park is Guisados. I’m not from LA, so I am not going to sit here and write that I have any legitimacy in decreeing  a taco the best. But, Guisados‘ gots a grip on me.

Shall we start with the tortilla? Why thank you: Image Look at this mama makin’ masa tortillas one at a time. The result is a truly fresh and unique tortilla that is both pillowy fluff and an altered state of chew.

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What if Arnold Palmer was Mexican, you asked? Behold, a Jamaica (Hibiscus) + Lemon Limeade half&half: Armando Palmero

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Guisados‘ cocina cooks homestyle recipes. The meat and veggies are braised (I cannot stress the word braise enough) with care, seasoned and sautéed with exploding Mexican spice and flavor. Calabistas headlines one of five veggie tacos on the menu. Mole Poblano Chicken tacos are braised in mole, topped with sesame and roasted pepitas…Absolutely incredible (pictured right). ImageIf you are not a spice person, stay far far away from the Cochinita Pibil taco. You can get a spice level ranging from 1-10. Don’t think you can order a 2 and be safe. I am a spice lover and was dripping in Habanero sweat munching on a 2!

Get to Guisados. They are located in Echo Park and neighboring Boyle Heights, with a location soon opening in DTLA. This will be one of the most simple but extravagant taquerias you will ever visit. Image

Bottega Louie – Downtown Los Angeles

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If you’re a transplant resident Angelino, there are two questions you have undoubtedly asked yourself. 1) Why do these people lose all requisite knowledge of operating an automobile as soon as the first drop of precipitation falls from the sky? 2) Why is there no good pizza in Los Angeles?

Question number 1 will never have an answer. Number two, however, that can be answered as soon as you shed your fear of traveling east on the 10. Bottega Louie is a marvelous structure etched out of a dilapidated building in the heart of DTLA. 20 ft. high ceilings, endless slabs of marble and countless servers, bakers and cooks slinging some of the most legit Italian/French recipes in the city. Half restaurant/half bakery, Bottega Louie is no joke and it’s clearly visible as you walk through their doors.

The menu is just as massive as the edifice. Sample here and there, but you must make sure you order one or more of their pizza’s. They have their staple margherita pizza, fennel sausage pizza, white mushroom pizza with fontina cheese and crème fraîche, roasted artichoke with chèvre & mozz. But my heart is set on one pie in particular that I pretty much order every time I visit: Burrata, Grana parmesan, rapini, garlic, extra virgin olive oil & prosciutto di Parma (pictured above). The rapini gets me every time. Its crisp and spicy, the burrata and parm is a salty creamy mess. The pie is drizzled with olive oil and topped by waving folds of freshly sliced prosciutto di parma and roasted garlic. I’ve never been to Italy, but I’d imagine everything looks, smells and tastes as good as this.

As LuncHaim uncovers more and more lunchy LA goodness, Bottega Louie will no doubt rest near or at the top of the lunch stack.

Oh, and save room for a french macaron!

macaroon

Red Hill – Echo Park

Its BruncHaim down at Red Hill in Echo Park, folks. The fine people at Red Hill have finally done it! Fancy foodie fare at bargain prices. Red Hill 100% competes with many of the niche foodie restaurants popping up around Venice and Santa Monica, but you’ll be hard pressed to find an entree over $18 (for dinner, $14 for brunch).

I stumbled upon this eatery for dinner one evening and was so in love with their menu, that I asked my server for a glance at the brunch menu. After I picked my salivating jaw up off the ground, I glanced at my lady lover and told her “we be breakin’ fast here!”

Red Hill breaks down their menu pretty efficiently between First (appetizers), Second (tapas style plates) and Third (entree) courses. Their dishes do not have conventional names, but rather a simple yet tantalizing list of ingredients. And that is where they get you. Ingredients! The spectrum is just about covered with all types of dishes. You can nosh on something simple like CINNAMON RAISIN FRENCH TOAST, FRESH FRUIT or take your tastebuds for a culinary dance chowing down on MUSSELS & FRIES, SPICY SAUSAGE, WHITE WINE, CRÈME FRAÎCHE, THYME, SPICY AIOLI. 

Trying to explain Red Hill is like attempting to crack some wicked analogy on your SAT. Red Hill is simple, yet extravagant food for thought. Or as Kramer would have put it, “an orgiastic feast for the senses.”

Even if you’re a west sider, I highly recommend you trek your ass on down to Echo Park and feast at Red Hill. If you’re not satisfied, I’ll reimburse your gas money! 

Happy Noshing.

*pictured below YAM BISCUIT, EGG, BACON, AVOCADO, TOMATO, PICKLED CABBAGE, CHILE MOLE, HOME FRIES & POTATO PANCAKES, CRÈME FRAÎCHE, MOLEImageImage