Generous Friends: Food Sharin’ OG Style

On Saturday, Minty and I headed to two events put on by three very generous friends. The first event was hosted by one of my favorite Yelpers, Javier J., who took it upon himself to make free bacon wrapped hot dogs for all. There was no catch; he just wanted to feed everyone some dogs. The event was celebrating the first day of Spring, the start of the new season of Breaking Bad, and was also called the “SECOND Annual Montgomery Burns Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence BACON BBQ EVENT!” (Though I am not sure I understand that Simpsons reference). The event was held in Griffith Park, a place that holds a lot of memories for me from my first driving ticket when I failed to completely stop at a stop sign because I thought a serial killer in white suburban was following me when it was actually a park ranger that could give tickets to all the numerous weekends with my ex-boyfriend when we played Scrabble in the park. The site of this BBQ was in the Old Zoo, which was hard to find and harder to track down Javier and the Yelp crowd. The old cages and exhibits remain and we were eating right where I like to think all of the lions once lived.

Javier didn’t just keep it OG with grilled onions, he also had nori, ramen and kimchee for the more adventurous hot dog condiment connoisseurs. I am about to admit the cardinal foodie sin but I am not that big of a bacon fan. I’ll eat it in it’s thicker pork belly cut but I am much more of a sausage girl. For this afternoon I did the bacon wrapped hot dog and the onions and I kept it simple. It was a perfect lunch and better yet it was FREE!

After this event Minty and I headed to the March Madness Birthday Bash thrown by SauceLA and UniqueLA that share the same birthday. These are the two ladies that brought Los Angeles the LA Street Food Fest and are dual-handedly changing the event scene in LA. We arrived early to their free birthday bash which would feature food trucks, drink specials, an 80’s Jazzercise theme, and a rockin DJ. We got there early so we took a stroll down the side of Sunset Blvd. that not enough people walk through. We went into the Time Travel Mart where you can buy everything from dinosaur eggs to crazy milk bottles. Then we headed into the Gold Room at an hour when they still play Mariachi before all of the hipsters invade. I wish I would have known about a shot of tequila and a beer for $4 before I spent $7 on a mixed drink. We headed back to the Echoplex for the start of the the party. Sauce LA had cut her finger the night before so we helped her close the goodie bags in chinese takeout boxes.

The party was just getting started so we went outside and grabbed some food. The Greasy Weiner, Patty Wagon, and Cool Haus were there. Despite my hot dog lunch I grabbed another dog because, well, I loved their uncouth name. The jokes ensued and I ordered the original greasy wiener, which is a Jersey fried hot dog, and chili cheese fries.

The hot dog had the perfect bite to it and that is all I got because Kevin (aka ClimbinChiro) hit my arm and made my hot dog hit the floor….uncouth. I would have been much more angry but he was wearing tights and leg warmers. Who could get mad at a guy in such attire? Plus, the guy in the truck was so sweet when I explained the situation and he got me a replacement wiener (ClimbinChiro made a lot of dildo jokes regarding this) in a matter of seconds. I am now a Greasy Wiener convert and will happily sing their theme song. It’s is the most addictive song ever, if you go make sure they play that ditty for you. I was singing the song all night.

I didn’t eat anything at Patty Wagon but it sure did look good. And my Cool Haus was just a two biter but it was free, the girls put a coupon for a free ice cream sandwich in our gift box. I got the Meyer lemon ice cream in between ginger snaps. I thought ClimbinChiro was messing with me when he told me to eat the wrapper but it was in fact edible. I will return for a full sized architecturally inspired ice cream sandwich in the very near future.

When we got back inside, the dance floor was kickin and we were hittin it hard. We all had our $5 cocktails inspired by the two birthday girls and at one point there was even a White Guy/Girl dance off, which sadly ClimbinChiro did not win despite being the best dressed.

The birthday girls had a special cake by Cool Haus and they looked super fierce.

There is a lot of talk about friends in high places but I will tell you that there is nothing better than friends that are generous. Whether it is friends that make everyone bacon wrapped hot dogs or ones that share their birthday with you and introduce you to their favorite trucks, drinks, and nightclubs, you can’t ask for anything more. Thanks to all of you fantastic people and the UGs vow to return the favor!

Fast Food in the New Year & Rose Parade!

It’s a new year and you know what that means, silly resolutions. I am sure that atleast 80% of these have something to do with fitness and weight loss. In fact, I find it perfectly fitting that on NYE before I went out I saw a commercial for the new Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet. For this venture they have a spokeswoman named Christine, who lost weight from eating the new fresco menu at T. Bell. She is the equivalent to Jared of Subway fame. I, for one, like the concept. I am a strong proponent that fast food isn’t bad as long as you know calorie content and most restaurants that you and I dine at are far worse for you. I think that McDonald’s has an unneccesarily bad wrap, and I am not talking about that snack wrap. My favorite thing, a chicken nugget happy meal (with a Diet Coke), clocks in at only 420 calories. If you know me, than you know I love boot shaped chicken nuggets with sweet & sour sauce so add an extra 50 calories for the sauce. Anyway, I am excited to try the new Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet menu and I was stunned when my whole New Year’s Day was visited by fast food spokespeople, mascots, and more. I am nuts and despite getting home from NYE at 3:30A I was up at 7:30A to walk to the Rose Parade. I live only two blocks away and I am still new enough to Pasadena to love it. One of the first floats had the lovely Jack of Jack in The Box. I love him and that bowl haircut commercial was one of my favorites of 2009.

I was never a kid that was scared of clowns and seeing Ronald McDonald on the float elicited nothing but happiness. The float actually stopped right in front of me and I got to see him, the Original Gangsta Ginger, take a sip of water…scandalous.

The last of the fast food spokespeople I saw was Jared. I love Jared but I absolutely detest Subway. I like the calorie content and price but I have never been able to eat more than 2 bites of any Subway sandwich. As far as chain fast food delis go I am a Togo’s  and Jeresy Mike’s kind of a girl.

Anyway, as we are in the new year and you may or may not be 4 days in to your resolution remember that fast food eateries and their likeness are everywhere. You need to not fear it but rather embrace it and make smart decisions so your diet can handle the drive-thru’s of life. In case, you are interested in some Rose Parade pictures that don’t contain fast food personalities here are some for you. The Grand Marshal was the heroic Captain Sully. Although, the people in hazmat suits that were designated pooper scoopers for the day received a heroes welcome in my section as they walked behind all of the horses, ponies, and donkeys.

My favorite float of the day was the snowboarding bulldogs and if they are interested they can be the UG Girls mascot for 2010. Not to boast but I think they can be bigger than the old Taco Bell mascot, the “Yo quiero Taco Bell” Chihuahua.

Happy New Year! Your UG Girls Love You!

New Year’s Eve is one of those super tough nights where you think that you have to be doing something spectacular. After all, it is the end of one year and the start of a new one; it’s kind of a big deal. Due to this pressure, NYE is cursed with the disability that wherever you are you always think you can be doing something better. It is a night of options but no certainty. We read on FB that our Downtown Jew Crew was doing a pub crawl with mustaches. The last time we got to wear mustaches was the Yelp Taco Truck Crawl. It sounded perfect for the night. We were off to a late start but we  took the metro, which was free and running all night, to Broadway Bar. It is rare for these UGs to walk so we were a little disoriented without our cars and began to walk the wrong direction. We turned back, walking an extra 6 blocks in heels, and feeling defeated. It was now 11:35 and we were nervous about the course of the night, we felt like tourists in our own city. We dealt with a doorman that didn’t believe we were with the party perhaps because we were mustache-less.  Luckily, we made it in about 15 minutes before the big countdown. Not enough time to get a drink in the crowded bar. We got our mustaches on and felt far too sober for the occasion. We sat next to our wittiest friend, Laura, and clapped and cheered to welcome the New Year in.

It wasn’t necessarily bad but we didn’t kiss anyone at midnight, we were starving, and our pre-party drinks had worn off. We went to grab a drink at the bar but after being groped we decided to leave. As we were walking, I remembered that the Grilled Cheese Truck was going to be outside of the Golden Gopher. I like that bar and I knew it would be chill and have no cover. Out front was not only the Grilled Cheese Truck but also Frysmith. It was like finding our mecca. We ate a huge lunch but that was from 12:30-3 and it was now past midnight and we were starving. I recommended we go to both but start with grilled cheese. Let me preface by saying, I was expecting very little. Josie and I are both OG when it comes to food on wheels. We like Highland Park taco trucks and haven’t been in on the novelty food truck craze. I knew from their twitter that they had lobster truffle mac n cheese for their New Year’s special and that sounded incredible but we are trying to stick to a budget in the new year and that was $15. Instead we decided to try the grilled cheese. I got the caprese and Josie got the harvest. We were going to get fries from down the curb but we got talked in to getting tomato soup and mac n cheese as our sides all from the GCT. I am glad we did because it was so good. We are food girls and this curbside meal made our night and new year better than any party, open bar, or midnight kiss could do. Josie’s sandwich had butternut squash and leeks. She proclaimed that hers was better, I rolled my eyes, but it in all honesty it was delicious and a little better. That’s saying a lot because mine was also delicious. The tomato soup was chunky and flavorful and the mac n cheese packed a spicy kick that Josie and I couldn’t identify.

The food was good but it was the owner, Dave, that made our night. He was laughing as Josie and I bickered and called each other “Frenemies” and about how I was convinced I knew every single person walking by. We asked him if were his favorite food bloggers he ever met and he responded, “You are the only ones that block the pick-up window.” Uncouth. Our moods and spirits were completely lifted and we walked in to the Golden Gopher for a few drinks. We saw old friends, went in the photobooth, and it quickly became a night worth remembering. It is one for the scrapbook…wedding album. We hope you all had a great end to 2009 and start of 2010. We love you all and this year we will strive to bring you a new website, awesome products, good food advice, and hopefully some laughs (with us, not at us).

Like your Sandwich Like you Like your UG Girls? Stacked

I agree wholeheartedly with my TV foodie icon Liz Lemon that, “All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich.” In fact, I believe that one of my greatest quests in life is to find the perfect sandwich. Some of my local favorites are the No. 19 from Langers, egg salad at Euro Pane, the chicken toscano with artichoke hearts added in at Porta Via, the BBQ tri tip from Handy Market that you can only get on Saturday and I am always looking for the best tuna melt. Well, like on most Mondays, I find myself in Monrovia in the mid afternoon starving. I looked up “sandwich” near my current location on my Yelp App and was guided to Stacked Sandwich in Arcadia. It only had 5 reviews but all were 5 stars. That is unheard of on several levels.  First, yelpers love to be unusual so if everyone is giving a place 5 stars they want to give it 2.  Secondly, if it is really THAT good there should be a million reviews. I drove straight there and missed it the first time as the pizza sign still remains in their location. I attempted to walk in but there was a group of men at the door. The open kitchen area is very large but there is only a counter with maybe 6 seats. The menu was extensive and I had a hard time choosing a sandwich.

All the employees were too busy making sandwiches to take orders, but it was perfect because I wasn’t sure what I wanted anyway. In the meantime, I watched them carefully scoop and slice avocado for sandwiches and add bacon to tuna melts. I almost had to laugh because everyone in the place was a walking endorsement. One women left the counter said, “Thanks again for another spectacular lunch.” I then heard the cook say, “Nothing good ever comes out of cookbooks.” That statement made me love the place, actually my expectations were now unreasonably high. Everyone on Yelp said that “Rev Pablo Pastor” was their favorite with chicken breast seasoned with Mexican 5 chili spice, topped with grilled pineapple, bacon, melted jack, lettuce, tomato and chipotle-mayo. However, they also all warned that it was quite spicy. I knew if Josie was with me she would order it so I thought I would wait to have a bite of hers in the future. Instead I ordered the “Sweet Southern Swine” with BBQ pork smothered in a sweet/spicy BBQ sauce and topped with a cilantro slaw. I consider over $8 for a sandwich expensive and unacceptable and this one clocked in at $7.25 so I was happy. However, as a major bonus, it is under $8 and it includes fries or salad. Of course, I got fries. I headed to the office and ate the entire thing of fries in the car. They were perfect, and while I enjoy limp fries, these were crispy and correctly seasoned. I kept trying to save some so I could atleast take a picture but, well, I have never been known for my self-control. I walked in the office and as I passed Chuck I said, “I think I might have a truly great sandwich in my hands.” I sat at my conference table and opened up the white paper to get to my favorite present, the sandwich.

It says on their website that their sandwiches aren’t pretty, but taste bloody good. In my humble UG opinion, this is the most beautiful sandwich. It was delicious and I loved the tangy slaw. It will probably be on my top sandwiches list but the truly amazing thing about Stacked Sandwich is that I am positive that any sandwich I ordered here would be incredible. Perhaps it is because of their open kitchen but you see an amount of care and precision that just isn’t present by the everyday sandwich artist. I will definitely go back and I will make Josie, who can handle the spicy, try the Pablo Pastor. This place has only been open 3 months and I recommend you go now before it completely blows up, stack the odds in your favor!

A McRib, a McDate and a McNight with DoubleDEntendre

It’s no big secret (i.e., our Twitter account) that we’ve been wanting to try the McRib sandwich from McDonalds (which, by the way, only sees the light of day every few years). My interest was first peaked years ago when Homer Simpson abandoned his family to tour the country with a cult devotee “Krusty Ribwich” following that was later paralleled to the very committed “Deadheads.” A mysterious interest gnawed at me and I needed to try it this time around. So I posted the invite to join us on Twitter and within minutes DoubleDEntendre returned an interest in joining the UG girls for this first.

Despite never working on Friday’s (we work it in to all my contracts), I, Josie, sadly report that I had to go in this particular Friday. All day I was looking forward to ravenously devouring the infamous burger. I must note, that the night before I posted something on Twitter about sampling this urban legend and by Friday afternoon there were several coworkers that advised me against it. One said that it was like eating a salisbury steak and another said it was like eating spoiled custard. I thought to myself, “F***, what have I gotten us into?” With that said, I couldn’t disappoint my dining public (that means you), so I took one for the team. I showed up about a half hour late and Carina and Nadia (DoubleDEntendre) were already seated and chatting up a storm. We decided to order one McRib for us all, and the girls opted for two happy meals. I lost my appetite the minute I was advised against the McRib, so I ordered nothing in addition.

Having been forewarned by my colleagues, I was dreading the lonely bite I had to take for the sake of journalism. 😉 Our meal arrived and the girls first ate their happy meals and then, like the sound of a beating drum, the box that contained the McRib was opened. At that point, I had never been on a blind date (and little did I know I’d be on one soon thereafter), but I imagine it was like expecting the person you’ve developed an online repertoire with to show up and then, as if in slow motion, being dropped on your head. It looked dreadful. Carina and Nadia happily chowed down on the first bites of the McRib and I, in hopes they ate all of it before noticing, avoided the pain by making small talk. They were smart and they caught on to my shenanigans. They saved a few bites for the host. I almost puked when I looked down at the grim reality that I was about to face. I looked up and saw both of them staring at me and at that moment I knew I wasn’t getting out of this one.  I tried to take the first bite for the camera, but I could not bite down. The girls reassured me it wasn’t that bad, but I was already convinced. After minutes of pleading to not eat it, I was forced to try it so I bit down.

I’d love to admit that I was wrong, but I wasn’t. It was horrible, even more horrible than I imagined. I pictured the McRib to be a robust and boneless rib sandwich. I thought to myself, “A boneless rib sandwich? Sounds like a miracle! What will they think of next?” It seems I was the only one offended by the anemic McRib sandwich and in fact, Carina and Nadia ate it no problem. Ms. DoubleDEntendre finished the last bites off and dare I say, even enjoyed it. My one bite left me no desire to ever try it again. (There goes my endorsement. I can feel Tiger Woods’ pain) I will, however, continue to enjoy their beautifully crisp fries and warm apple pies. Nothing, not even the McRib, could ruin McDonalds for this uncouthie.

From there we opted to go to the new agave bar in Los Feliz, called surprisingly enough, Agave Tequila House Y Cantina. Carina had a mojito and Ms. DoubleDEntendre and I had the sangria. It was made fresh for just us and there was an ample amount of brandy in it. It was magnificent. We didn’t try anything to eat but the scent coming from the table behind us enticed our palate. We are surely coming back for more soon. Ladies, the bartenders are cute – just ask Nadia. 🙂

Like destiny while we were at Agave talking about Mr.Fig, I got a text from my match.com suitor to see if I wanted to meet up for drinks at the Cha Cha Lounge. I had never been on a blind date so I pleaded for the girls to come with me. I met with “Todd in the Esca-lad.” Truth be told, he doesn’t drive an Escalade but Carina likes mnemonics for remembering people’s names and this was what she was calling him all night. Todd, there’s your pseudonym. A good time was had by all and perhaps if I approached the McRib with a more open attitude I would have enjoyed it just as much.

You say it’s your…Earth Day

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Well it’s Free Cone Day too! Happy Earth Day and more importantly Happy Free Cone Day! On a super hot day and in a bad economy we recommend you all make the trek to a Ben & Jerry’s for a refreshing and free ice cream/fro-yo cone.

I will indulge in Cherry Garcia and I am positive my lacto-semi-intolerant tummy will kill me for it later but it will be well worth it.

Oh one more thing, Earth please forgive me for the “I hate the environment” shirt I wore the other day, I just wanted to join the ironic t-shirt club.

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Girls Weekend

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Every weekend has become a girls weekend, filled with GNOs (Girls’ Night Outs), as we realize that we are in a dating desert. As Josie so poignantly pointed out, “Wake up and smell the brush off- we’ve been dumped.” Our Friday night began at Barcelona with 7 ladies ready for a night on the town. Josie and I are not big fans of Barcelona, because there is a cover that we can’t flirt our way past and the drinks are so pricey and their dance floor is pretty underutilized. We convinced the other girls to go to The Menage, using our famous, “It’s so bad…it’s good” line. After that, the night picked up, we pushed boys aside, and had a silly time. Note: That picture that looks like Josie is kissing that girl is actually not so. Their lips never touched.

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The next morning, we woke up at my place hungover and Josie and I were, of course, starving. She was supposed to go to Coachella but we decided to get brunch before she left. We headed to Old Town where we got Princess Parking right in front of Barnes & Noble and I noticed hot Chef Curtis Stone on the cover of a new book in the window display. I recommended we go in and ask if he was going to do a book tour and they said he was going to be at Sur La Table, right up the street, in 15 minutes. We held out on our hunger and ran in line. I have long been a fan of Chef Curtis and even used to have a code with my ex boyfriend in case I ran into the Take Home Chef at a Pasadena grocery store. The plan is that I would refer to my bf as Matthew on the phone when I invited him to dinner instead of Matt, which I always called him. Matt would then have to come over and pretend that all of the food that Curtis and I picked out was his favorite and his dream meal (even though it was really mine). Josie had a more realistic experience with him which she always likes to throw in my face. I guess they met at the Standard Downtown and some guy she was on a date with ruined the moment. Anyway, we were very happy to see him. He signed our book, “To the Uncouth Gourmands- Josie and Carina”. We then proceeded to hand him a post-it with “uncouthgourmands.com – Hypertext me” written on it.

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We were then thrilled and headed to fill our tummies. We went to to the new Argentinan restaurant 1810. Josie had the Milanese sandwich with fries and I had the special spinach salad with grilled chicken and mushrooms. It was exactly what I wanted. The sangria-I should have done without. When I gave Josie a sip she said, “This is what murky tastes like”. Also wasn’t loving the stale bread that came out before our meal but I am a bread snob. I’d go back but am not close to blown away…my meal was no Chef Curtis.

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During our meal Josie’s friend, who she was supposed to go to Coachella, called and said she wasn’t really feeling it and asked if I wanted the ticket. I was hesitant as I had a ton of schoolwork to complete but thankfully I obliged. We stopped for Happy Meals and beer and made it to Coachella around 4 but then spent an hour in traffic. Although it was fun to tweet with a fellow LA foodie BakeSpace that we follow on Twitter and compare traffic notes. For Josie and I, it was both of our first times and we were excited despite the heat, the traffic, and the hike to the stages. Looking at the line-up I wish I would have gone Friday as I am a huge Leonard Cohen and Hold Steady fan but Saturday also had a ton of offerings. We saw TV on the Radio, Thievery Corporation, MIA, Band of Horses, Jenny Lewis (our favorite of the day-but we are also both huge Rilo Kiley fans), and the Killers (whose songs were indistinguishable but good, not headliner material but we liked the fireworks). Our favorite moment was Jenny Lewis singing “Silver Lining“. I also liked sporking my ceviche tostada, and Josie liked forking her beef tenderloin caesar salad. The awkward turtle moment was really just the things we overheard. I heard two girls in bikinis go up to security and say that someone bit them. When the guard asked who it was, she responded, “I don’t know. She is the only 7 foot tall girl here.” During the Killers, there was a teenage girl behind me saying “OMG he is so hot. I love Brandon Flowers. I want to have his babies.” She then proceeded to scream, “Impregnate me! Impregnate me!”

We left at 1 and did another Mickey D’s run and got back at 3am. Josie and I had another sleepover. An excellent and exciting Friday and Saturday.
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