T Boyle’s Tavern: Your New Neighborhood Pub

Before the long holiday weekend a friend on Twitter recommended we try out a new Pasadena bar. The UGs are suckers for a cold pint and seeing anything new in the neighborhood, so we happily obliged. This pub had an added bonus with a somewhat hidden location, who doesn’t like that?  T Boyle’s Tavern is in Pasadena and hidden in the alley behind the Ice House Comedy Club or slightly more accessible through Catalina Ave. We like the more hidden route and walked in off Mentor. The bar itself had hardly a free stool but you immediately notice that this is a very large space. The brick interior and stage reminded me of Old Towne Pub, one of our favorites also conviently hidden down an alley way. The main difference is that this place was much larger and equipped with 2 stories, 2 pool tables, 2 shuffle boards, Golden Tee, a Juke Box, many TVs, a moose head, and serves some grub.

Every table gets a thing of peanuts and, as you all know, if you put food in front of the UGs they will be happy and eat it. We made a mess out of the table in a matter of seconds. Josie also ended up getting 2 $1 hot dogs and was impressed saying that they aren’t even that cheap on the street. Were they great? Well hell, they were just a buck. Continue reading

Advertisements

Downtown Adventure with the Pub Crawl Crew

As the Thanksgiving weekend is coming to an end and reality is creeping in, I find it necessary to reflect on a great and bizarre night that happened last week. Arun, the UG nominated mayor of LA and his friends have become our favorite downtowners and people to have amazing adventures with. Last Saturday was no exception as the gang once again threw a great a night of stops. The last pub crawl they had was the legendary one on the Party Bus so the bar was set very high. Arun is one of the most efficient people I know and the stops and times for the event were as followed:

6:00 PM
Dinner at Clifton’s Cafeteria
NOTE: We’ll likely gather to eat on the 2nd floor.

7:15 PM
Ice Skating at Pershing Square
NOTE: Wear socks. And if you’re really not gonna get on the Blades of Steel, you could cross the street and get a drink at the Gallery Bar in the Biltmore.

8:45 PM
Redwood Bar
NOTE: Wear eyepatch.

10:30 PM
Kut From A Different Cloth Runway Fashion Show
Vibiana’s
NOTE: Please RVSP!!!

Bonus Round???
The Gorbals
NOTE: Some dude named Ilan from Top Chef’s place and it’s open until 2am. He describes his cooking as “old Jewish food date-raped by bacon.” Yum!

Now, if you are a female and reading this you are most likely terrified by one very important question: WTF do you wear? This became such a big question for me that I made a mess of my closet and was completely unsure. You want to be warm and casual for the cafeteria and skating but yet still fashionable for the fashion show. I dressed down as I was pretty sure I had no interest in the fashion show, plus I had a super busy week and my mellow Friday, the night before, turned in to me driving to the Sunset Strip for a boy. Let’s just say I didn’t get home until 3pm the following day. All of this clothing indecision made me miss the secret party for the lovely Dawson of Sauce LA. Oh well, two hours late for one party means perfectly on time for another.

I had heard of Clifton’s Cafeteria before but  I always imagined it like that cafeteria in NYC that is shown on Sex & the City; very stylish, colorful and hip. Clifton’s is many things but those words it is not. It is quirky, another world, and like nothing you would ever expect to see in LA. It is set up like a camp site with the cafeteria line on the bottom floor, dining on the first and second with the occasional raccoon or bear in sight, and the third floor has red velvet walls and is out of place as just about everyone that walks in. Who belongs in a place like this? No one and Continue reading

Thanksgiving: Not A Good Day To Be Our Pants

A few selfish things that we are oh so thankful for this year. Here’s our list:

  • To Al Gore for the internet and thus catapulting our popularity.
  • Imported beer & cheap champagne.
  • Helvetica font.
  • The Spork. You give us funny catchphrases: We don’t Spoon. We Spork. Plus, you combine our two favorite utensils.
  • Pasadena: conveniently located near Downtown, Highland Park, and San Gabriel.
  • La Estrella taco truck in Highland Park for keeping it OG and providing substance to our bellies at 2am when the alcohol must be absorbed.
  • A very recent Pastrami Sandwich that has ruined us for all other sandwiches.
  • Our 1060 Twits
  • Our friends on Facebook for enduring our constant linkage and declarations of love to one another.
  • Larry David and Curb for allowing us quotable lines that make us laugh at every meal.
  • Our various dates: the good, the bad, and the ugly. You provide us constant entertainment and trust me, we have nicknames for all of you. Also, if you were nice, you provided us with free meals when our wallets were extra thin.
  • An office space to work out of (ok, less working and more eating) – Thanks, Chuck!
  • A plump and precious swan, I mean turkey, which we plan on devouring this Thursday.
  • I swear we’re like 15-year old boys, but we are thankful for – SEX. It occupies 85% of our thoughts and close to 0% of our nighttime activities.

And in particular, a special thanks to the people who have changed and/or touched our lives this year (in no particular order):

  • Claire Best, our agent and Hollywood confidant
  • Arun and the downtown crew: For introducing us to so many new people and places.
  • My Last Bite: For always being so warm and inviting us into your home – twice! We don’t get invited over twice anywhere.
  • SinoSoul: We’ve now met a different caliber of blogger. We are mere hacks in comparison. Thank you for always allowing us to tag along and constantly shooting it straight.
  • Dawson aka Miss Sauce LA for keeping us in the loop and being our Angeleno know-it-all. We look forward to working with you on upcoming projects.
  • The Delicious: You’re kind of our idol. Thanks for all your advice this year. We want to be you one day!
  • Dan Silberstein of Drink: Eat: Play for so many cool post opportunities  and events.
  • Barrett of MusicUnion for being our business and religious mentor and always providing us a Friday Shabbat dinner.
  • Our interns Young Jin and Wendy from USC. You guys are special to us on so many levels. Drink on, interns (on the UG tab, of course)

What are you thankful for? Please feel free to add to this list, that is, in UG fashion.

Jewtina: Savoring my Culinary Roots

My mom is Jewish and my dad’s Salvadorean, that combo makes me a Jewtina. Thankfully, there is a clothing line for people like me but there isn’t a special restaurant that combines the two cuisines. Fortunately, this last week I had the best Jewish deli sandwich of my life and some great Salvadorean food.

There are some iconic LA restaurants that I am simply in no rush to try. For instance, it took me 5 years to try a Father’s Office burger. The reason for my hesitation is normally anticipated and then actual disappointment. That is not the case with Langer’s Deli. I have wanted to go for the last 5 years but their hours, never open past 4pm and closed on Sundays, have been a barrier for me. When Josie called and said that she was so sorry she missed roller disco and asked how she could make it up to me, I immediately had a resolution. I had to get my car serviced and suggested that she pick me up at Toyota and that we grab lunch at Langer’s. She was totally game and we arrived with rather large appetites. The location of Langer’s, in the heart of MacArthur Park, brings to mind smells of urine and memories of purchasing my first fake ID. We are tough girls and walked in to a packed lunch crowd. The hostess took down my name and said it would be a 20 minute wait. I spotted a seat at the counter and there was a second that appeared to be opening up quickly. A nice Jewish man was in the middle of the two empty seats offered to scoot down for us. He ended up chatting with the cute younger woman, soon to be seatmate, all about her upcoming wedding. Josie and I were thrilled and I told her that all of our Twitter friends said we must stick to the Number 19. We didn’t stray. Josie, not a huge rye fan, asked for sourdough and we decided to split an order of fries. The waitress was quick talking and clearly a New Yorker. When Josie asked me if we needed to clarify to the waitress about the order, since she didn’t write anything down, I stopped her. I could tell this woman has been doing this for years and had the order perfect and with no confusion. I was correct.

The number 19 has thick pieces of pastrami, swiss cheese, coleslaw, and russian dressing. In the words of Joe Jackson, “Nineteen Forever!” It was so OMG! Anyone that knows me knows that I am a huge bread snob and this rye was fresh and perfect. I think Josie ended up regretting her sourdough choice. I would normally be the quintessential Jew and complain about paying nearly $14 for a sandwich, but not here. It was so worth it. Those complaints can be saved for the always disappointing and overpriced Jerry’s Deli. I do not necessarily heart New York but I do love a good NYC deli where people come from all walks of life and chat over a good sandwich. That is what happened at Langer’s and it was all delectable! If you live in LA and have not been, this is a place that is not to be missed.

Josie and I share some Salvadorean blood but rarely do we eat the food together. We are far more likely to head to Highland Park together for huaraches and tacos or to San Gabriel for Chinese food (the other food of the Jewish people) than to seek out some pupusas. Although, we were asked at one point if we like to bump pupusas together. It’s on tape, in case you don’t believe us. Anyway, Josie is now on her 11th iPhone and while she was at the Apple store, or as she like to call it the home of her saviors, I handed her my BlackBerry (I am only on my 2nd) and told her to use the Yelp app and find us somewhere for dinner. She chose La Caravana, which is pretty far up Lake in Pasadena, nearly at the Altadena border. I agreed but walked in with very low expectations. After my first sip of the ensalada, a fresh fruit drink, I was sold. Never have I had such a refreshingly delicious beverage. As soon as I saw the menu I knew that I needed the Plato Tipico Loco, which translates to the typical crazy plate. We are Uncouth Gourmands how could we not order that? It came with your choice of pupusa, a sweet corn tamale, fried yucca, plantain, mixed rice and beans, a slice of queso fresco, and sour cream. I went with the chicken and cheese pupusa and Josie was torn between the zucchini and cheese and the loroco. Despite the vast amount of food, she ordered both. All the food was delicious and the plate was only ten dollars, which is a good deal considering an individual pupusa is $3. I know that it isn’t that much but I have a hard time justifying more than a $1.50 for a taco and more than $2.50 for a pupusa. All of the food was superb and Josie and I were screaming at each other to try this or try that. We had identical plates but that didn’t stop us from sharing.

Whatever your cultural background may be, might I suggest that you partake in gobbling its culinary roots. You will feel proud, satiated, and it is a good thing to be on the hunt for. Everyone loves finding the “Best” something and it might as well be something that your ancestors have loved and enjoyed.

Epic Thursday with The Intern

I had been planning our epic Thursday since last week and even invited you all to join us in an earlier post. Things were right on schedule until Miss Josie stayed late at work and decided to call it an early night. The first thing on the schedule, which Josie was going to be unable to attend anyway because of work, was a Tweet-up with TheMinty and AKesq at Cole’s French Dip downtown. A.K. is a public defender with a feisty personality and a wicked sense of humor. Our intern, Young Jin, most notorious for his article on eating dog joined us and I am pretty sure that A.K. and her colleague were the best part of his night. They were telling him jokes all night and when he got in my car all he could say was that they were the two coolest lawyers he ever met and that he had no idea that lawyers were so funny. Since I am a foodie first, I was most impressed by not just my french dip but by the mac and cheese there. It was so good and it rivals my other favorites in the city: Cube LA, Magnolia on Lake, and one new place that I will be talking about in an upcoming post. I love the crunch factor on my mac n cheese and Cole’s delivered. They also have a slew of great bartenders and some specialty cocktails.

Young Jin and I had a tight schedule to adhere to and rushed to the Good Luck Bar’s 15th year anniversary party for what I called 10 minutes and 1 drink. We split a $2 beer and ran in to another blogger. I thought I spotted EstarLA from a far but I wasn’t sure and as soon as I told Young Jin that I might know that girl he took off and poked her on the shoulder. He asked if she was a food blogger, what a good intern he is. As soon as she turned I knew it was her and find it hilarious that we now have “people”. He even wrote down his email address intern@uncouthgourmands.com to share with all of his new friends.

The last time I was at roller disco there was quite a line so I was sure that we were there on time. The line this time wasn’t too bad. Enough for Young Jin to have a cigarette and we gave Josie 15 minutes to get in line with us. However, we heard nothing from the lady. It was fine. I had Young Jin and we were both a few drinks in. He told me he hadn’t skated since he was 12 but he bought wristbands and headbands to atleast look the part. I had my own skates and consider myself a roller disco queen. Young Jin rented skates and was amazed that he wasn’t falling, although he was skating like a robot. I kept instructing him to get low, stick his butt out, and move his arms, but he wasn’t having it. He thought that the best plan was to drink more and that would help him skate better. That seemed to be everyone’s plan. Let me just say that a lot of falls were had by not only Young Jin but by other intoxicated skaters. The end of the night became like dodging bullets on the floor. People and drinks were falling but I was laughing and having a great time. This has really become my favorite event in LA and I plan on attending every month.

I heard from my other half, Josie, when I was dropping Young Jin off at home and he had just pronounced quesadilla “kasa-dill-a” I was hysterical. Josie got to laugh with us on speaker phone but it wasn’t the same. Oh well, Young Jin was a great date for the night and filled in perfectly. On my drive home, Josie and I were still chatting and she asked if I was hungry. I told her I last ate at 6 and then she said, “Oh, well, then you must be starving”. That was all of the convincing I needed and I met her at the Ihop in Pasadena for a post midnight snack. She got a philly cheese steak sandwich and onion rings. I had the international passport with my favorite, swedish pancakes. We are constantly on a budget and once again we missed an affordable opportunity, their late night special that is $3.99. When will the UGs learn how to catch a deal?

Not on Top: Learning to Lose

Chuck always says to us, “Ladies, you have to lose in order to really appreciate the good.” This was one of those losing times for the UG girls. Here’s a recap of lunch at The Jonathan Club Beach and our entry for this year’s Tabletop Shootout.

It is without fail that every time we visit the JC Beach, Chef Benjamin always prepares a memorable meal for the UG girls. To throw a little surprise twist to the story, I met Chuck there on time. Anyone that knows me knows that on time for Josie usually means 15 minutes late, but this time I was early. Chuck summoned me in to the facilities and I got a private tour of the kitchen, which Chef Ben uses to experiment on us with new flavor combinations that never fail.

 

As always the meal started off with the JC’s famous zucchini muffins, bread, madeleines and, of course, fresh butter. From there we moved on to the first course which consisted of baby beets on top of heirloom tomatoes and two neat formation packets of coagulated yogurt and cranberry goat cheese served with a beet vinaigrette. The first course was light and airy. If any heaviness, whatsoever, could be identified it came from inherent qualities of the goat cheese and yogurt which delicately teetered on masterful. For the second course heaviness exploded, but only in that good way that can only be fully appreciated when you only have a few bites to savour and the fullness doesn’t leave you over satiated but rather, longing for more. We had a small piece of  veal osso bucco over polenta which was paired with a single wagyu beef ravioli over braised carrots. Beyond that, I, Josie did not get to try any of the desserts because this is where the plot was foiled. Apparently, our competition at our next stop, The Girari Tabletop Shootout, was not what we expected and our partner there said we would need more time than we anticipated. We were nervous! I left lunch early to assure our victory (maybe not so much victory). I heard that the girls at lunch: Dawson aka Miss SauceLA and Carina helped themselves to chai creme brulee and an assorted berry Bavarian cream florentine. The Jonathan Club Beach and Chef Benjamin delivered just like they have on our previous visits.

The Verdict:

Food: Thumbs-up

Service: Thumbs-up

Character: Thumbs-up

Ambiance: Thumbs-up

Uncertain of how to pull all of it together, I arrived panicked only to find out our team mate had already left because she was too embarrassed and didn’t want us to embarrass ourselves. We thought defeat without trying was more embarrassing, so we forged on. We decided to go ad hoc decorating and put together what you above. Constructed with less than $40, we used paper, paint, Taco Bell sporks, and recycled paper cups to build our display.  We aptly positioned it as an Andy Warhol inspiration and which we topped with what else, Campbell’s Soup and the new coke bottles. Much like Warol changed the way people saw art, we wanted to change the way people perceived the dining table experience. We wanted the people sitting at the table to be challenged and stimulated. We also find it necessary to mix high brow and low brow food and bring it to the masses.

The evening was great. We got to munch on snacks, drink fancy lattes, and mingle with some very talented party planners. Were the other designs better? The other designs were more traditional and showy and it was definitely apparent that we were by far the most “avant garde” competitor, but we were proud of our design because it fully encapsulated us as a young, modern, and uncouth brand. To some people the other pieces might’ve been better, but we were by no means, embarrased with anything we produced. If anything, we would’ve been embarrassed to produce something that didn’t fully represent us. This was us!

So I suppose it was one of those losing nights for these girls. We left the Luxe Hotel with a mix of emotions. We were happy, sad, disappointed, and proud all at once. Our lawyer once told us that we were the most persistent and relentless girls he’d ever met. With that said, the UG journey continues. That is, one meal at a time.

A New Line of Coke…Bottles

Josie and I both went to B school and are fascinated by branding and the study of strategic planning of corporations. We study mission statements and vision statements for days and prefer that to figuring out how we are going to make money, which may be responsible for why we have brought in $0 dollars. Anyway, not the point, one company that has always particularly intrigued us was Coca-Cola and their mission statement is the absolute best we have ever seen.

  • To refresh the world…
  • To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…
  • To create value and make a difference.

Josie and I attended a party at Hotel Erwin introducing Coke’s new aluminum bottles. The benefits of these new bottles is that they are resealable, unbreakable, stay colder longer, environmental and, more importantly, they look super cool. In fact, in an upcoming post you can see we that we used them to make a Warhol inspired table for a tabletop decorating contest last night. It was a great evening and one that pushed the bounds of what we thought we already knew and experienced. We were fortunate enough to have already been sent the bottles a few months ago, but the drinks served that night included a UGs favorite, alcohol. Josie is a classic Coca-Cola so she got her drink with rum, grenadine, and sugar. I, Carina, am a Diet Coke head and my coke cocktail had vodka and lemonade. We spent the night on the roof, talking to other bloggers, drinking coke cocktails that they mixed and put back in the aluminum bottles and eating yummy food. Another way the evening pushed the bounds of what I already thought I knew is that I am from the Bay Area and am very familiar with the Joie de Vivre hotels but this was my first time in the Hotel Erwin and I loved the space. In the same way that the alcohol added a little extra to the coke, Venice Beach offered something a little extra to the Joie de Vivre hotel experience.

They were serving meatballs with a Coca-Cola bbq sauce and mini corndogs with a Coca-Cola ketchup. Both were awesome, but leave it to us to be completely uncouth. Right after arriving we ran into are blogger friend Christina of Hot Pink Manolos and as I grabbed tuna tartare on a wonton, Josie was talking, hit my arm, and all of my tuna and guac fell to the ground. Uncouth! I am pretty sure Christina expects these types of shenanigans from us because she just laughs and says, “The UG girls have arrived” and tweets the story for all to see.

It was a great night and we want to thank Hotel Erwin, Formula PR -Kat, in particular, Coca-Cola LA, and this one lady who works at High lounge on the rooftop of the hotel and let Josie and I take more than our fair share of food. She came straight to us and when we politely (unbelievable, I know) only took one dog, ball, or crostini she always let us know that it was ok to take as many as we wanted. We were getting three balls and dogs at a time and were very grateful! Way to go, Coke! You accomplished your mission: we were refreshed, optimistic, happy and were touched by the experience!

***By the way, watch out for when the UG Girls take on Coke Vs. Diet Coke coming to a UG YouTube channel near you…think: Mac vs. PC