Malibu—> Opera—> Yelp Party

And Malibu traps me yet again! As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted with a shriek by a girl whom I had never met before. Apparently, it was the K from FinerthingsLA and she yelled, “You’re going to think I am such a nerd, but you’re Josie from Uncouth Gourmands! I recognize your hair!” In total disbelief that my hair was more popular than I was, I replied with a ‘yes’ and we poured ourselves a drink. We talked about blogs, boys, and friends. K is co-author to Finer Things LA, which she and her bestie have been operating for about three months now. Their motto is: A Classy Guide on Getting Drunk and Fat in Los Angeles. I dig this girl’s uncouth ways, and surely, we’re bound to collaborate soon.

The night wore on and we got, what else? Hungry. Next to the Minty, our newest and freshest UG face has been Ms. Veronica in LA. The girl knows far more about what’s hip in LA than I do, and she’s been my tour guide for the past few weeks. As you can see, I showed her my appreciation up above. Anyone that knows me, can vouche that I’m a total carnivore. In fact, I kind of hate vegetarians. I’ve been debating doing a 30-day expose into the life of a vegetarian and documenting it on the blog. However, I’m not sure if I have the discipline for that. Below you can see my last meal – A medium rare piece of pork loin of tenderness – Oops! I mean tenderloin. I think the vegetarian expose will have to wait… I’m not promising anything, either.

See above: It is perhaps the most uncouth moment of the night. Liking her fingers wet after a rare piece of meat, Miss. Veronica is now an official UG.

Speaking of UG staples, Miss Minty, invited me to the opera on Sunday and being the dilettante that I am, I jumped all over the invite on Facebook. I rushed from Malibu to downtown and headed over to see the matinee showing. It was a weird show, but we liked it anyway. From there, we headed to Eagle Rock.

Minty has over 2,000 quality reviews on Yelp, so she had a special invite to the Yelp Elite party in Eagle Rock (and a plus one). Since the show ran late, we missed the first party and met up with everyone at the Black Boar in Eagle Rock. Before we could hit up drinks, we had to tend to more important orders and since food always goes before liquor for this UG, we headed the Vietnamese place on Colorado, Lemongrass. Minty was on camera duty there, so I’ll write about that one soon.

We met up with the rest of the Yelp bunch and partied like rock stars for the rest of the night. We met up with Javier from WeirdTV and I talked him up about beer, OK Cupid, and his new favorite restaurant, Mac and Cheeza in downtown on 8th. M & C comes from the guys that brought you Larkin’s. Apparently, they mix in whatever ingredients to want into your mac and cheese. Anywhere from tomatoes to wild mushrooms. I must check this place out soon. Anyone want to join me?

I got to finally meet Carina’s gay boyfriend, Paul, and I think she may have some competition. Move over, Carina! Josie’s the new gay girlfriend in town. We stayed for a long time, actually and I got to know some of the fabulous people that make up the Yelp Elite mix. I joked at the party that I married into Yelp and when asked who my husband was — I pointed to Minty. See you at the next Yelp party… Or maybe CitySearch…


Brunchin’ with the Girls in Pasadena

It’s a mix of insomnia, hypomania, and a lot of love that gets me up in the morning to build this little thing we often refer to as UG. But on this particular morning, I woke up in a bunk bed in Malibu! The problem, however, was that I was supposed to meet Carina, Roni, and her bud Caroline who was in town from Sweden for brunch at Central Park in Pasadena!

We’ve been there only once before. Funny thing about that place is that when we went last time, Carina’s then-boyfriend said this of the pic of us: “Dude, you guys look so hungover!” Don’t be quick to judge – we were and he was right. Therefore, our memory of this place was a little fuzzy. It wasn’t a first choice place. The non-UGs were coming from the monthly Rose Bowl flea market and we were looking for a brunch spot in Pasadena. Carina wanted to try Maison Akira’s $38 French-Japanese buffet brunch. Caroline wanted something a bit more traditional and I, being jobless, didn’t want to spent that much on eggs. Go figure, right? If I could have yolky eggs on everything, I’d be a satisfied woman. But since there aren’t many brunch places in Pasadena, we opted for Central Park.

We had met Roni a couple times before through Arun, the Mayor of Downtown, and she has always intrigued me. She’s from Tel Aviv, a Harvard grad, runs a math club, is a blogette peer, and fronts a band (which she just fired everyone from). Only two words can describe this girl: F-in awesome. When talking to her, you get this feeling that this girl is running her own one-man pirate ship; she is no marginal character. We learned a lot from her and chitchatted about everything from books, movies, music, dating, and life in general. The place was packed so we talked for a bit, and well, we could’ve talked for hours more. It was nice.

Here at UG, you get a more playful and, often times, less sophisticated worldview of food. Admittedly, our blogosphere buds do this just as passionately, but more beautifully and probably a lot more couthly than we do. I’ll try my best to explain. We sat down and were all super hungry. After indecisively narrowing my entree down to waffles and eggs, an impulsive urge for a turkey club came upon me as I coveted my table neighbor’s food. Carina ordered the eggs sardu, Roni the croissant french toast, and Caroline ordered the shrimp pasta.

The meals got to us and they looked edible enough to tickle our pickle. We dove in. I try to write as honest and true as possible so that anyone sitting at the same table before me, at the same establishment, about to eat the same food can relate on some level – albeit without the company. And perhaps it was our excitement, our hunger, or the lack of Pasadena brunch spots – but these butter loving babes didn’t melt.

In fact, it sucked. I mean it was only a slight notch above typical diner fare for probably double the price.

But fear not. Like any loyal dater, we’ll just have to give it another shot. Plus, this brunch place does impress more with a hungover body…so I am sure this can continue to be a morning after place. However, after a whirlwind weekend in Malibu, it just simply didn’t stack up.

Euro Pane: Bringing the BEST Egg Salad to the People

“I live in Pasadena, which is home to your favorite egg salad sandwich.” That was the first thing I said when I met Ruth Reichl. She is now my idol, however, then I was just beginning to learn her story. I read that fun fact on one of her tweets, before I read the heartbreaking ones and learned that Gourmet magazine went under. My fellow food bloggers and friends, Gastronomy Blog and Teenage Glutster, were in line with me to meet Ruth after the celebration and talk for Gourmet magazine. They both told me that Ruth Reichl’s book Garlic and Sapphires changed their lives. After meeting her and hearing their vetting, I knew this was a book that I must read. For the last few years, thanks to B School and coming into womanhood, I have been strictly reading business, economics, and feminist books. Since I finished school I have moved on to read nothing but Erica Jong, once you find a writer and character (Isadora Wing) that share your exact voice it is impossible to let go. On my recent trip home I finally picked up Ruth’s book and once again my life was changed. Ruth Reichl has the career, personality, palate, and writing ability that I aspire to hold. I finished the book in only a few days and now feel a new vigor to transform my life and really get great at writing about food. Color me inspired.

After returning back to LA after a great time in Nor Cal, I came home to discover that my bathroom sink overflowed. It was a nightmare. I escaped to my favorite bakery, home of the best egg salad, with the last couple of chapters of her book to savor. When I first moved to Pasadena, nearly 3 years ago, it was Lovebirds Cafe across the street that I was most excited about. I loved the name of the cafe and the interesting sandwich menu with crisp green apples and sharp cheddar on a turkey sandwich. Unfortunately, the place was awful. However, it is because of those bakery failures that I traveled across the street to Euro Pane. It was not the egg salad that first stole my heart there; it was the caramel sea salt french macaron. My boyfriend at the time was an emotional eater, who felt the exact same way about food that I did, and we got this cookies the morning after every sleepover. My next boyfriend, who was much more of a drinker than an eater, didn’t get food at all and said it was the “total chick’s cookie” for those times when us girlies crave the sweet and salty. I later described this particular cookie as “the essence of femininity.” I find the term to be much more feminist approved and accurate. On this emotional day when I came in, while my sink was being fixed and the tiles on my bathroom floor were scrubbed, I needed a cookie. At the cash register they were giving samples of the caramel sea salt macaron. This quarter of a cookie filled my salty/sweet quote but I still needed more sugar. I ordered the berry macaroon. The consistency and complexity was just as delicious but in the words of Sinead O’Connor and my Yelp review “Nothing Compares 2 U, my sweet and savory cookie.”

Of course, I ordered the egg salad that I have been raving about for the last two years. I had Ruth Reichl’s book in my hand and I really tried hard to concentrate on the way in which an expert would eat this. I felt as though I had all of her words and shared experiences at my disposal and I closed my eyes to enjoy and enhance the taste. This sandwich is open faced, which for a non-UG may mean a knife and fork. The eggs themselves are soft boiled and are right at the perfect line of very delicate and not oozy (technical term). The fresh baked bread has a sun dried tomato spread that perfectly sweetens the sandwich and some fresh baby greens for texture, color, and taste. The sandwich then has the final cracking of black pepper and sliced chives on top and it is served. It is a sandwich of renewal and despite being Jewish and always despising Easter this would be the epitome of an Easter sandwich. Let’s just say I wasn’t worried about my bathroom sink after eating this sandwich. I often say that 80% of my life is the quest for a good sandwich and this, my friends, is it.

I know Pasadena gets a bad rap for food, but we truly hold one of the greatest sandwiches and we are about to get even luckier. The rumors are on the blogosphere (from Cafe Pasadena and Brigham Yen) that we are are getting a brand new Euro Pane. Whether it is a relocation or a second location, I am thrilled! We will be sure to let you know, when we know more, but for now grab an egg salad sandwich and a cookie because your life just got so much more delicious.

Santa Cruz: A Meal and A View from the Crow’s Nest

My mom is a woman that is not one bit of a fool, even though she shares her birthday with April Fool’s Day. It hasn’t been an easy birthday to have, especially when you are a woman as sensitive as my mother. My uncle once wrapped her up a dead bird when she was 13 and I tried to top that by giving her a dead fish when I was 10. I have since realized that this behavior is simply not funny. My mama is the kindest person I have ever known and on her last birthday she flew us to Costa Rica. She allowed me and my little bro to zip-line the rain forest, sit in mineral baths at a resort, get pina coladas IN the pool bar, and so much more. I decided that this year I would drive home to see her. I drove to Santa Cruz on Wednesday night and arrived only minutes before it was about to become her birthday. She managed to bypass most pranks on her birthday this year, except for one. At the home where my grandpa lives, a place filled with seniors, there is one young guy in his 40s who lives there because he had a stroke. He was wearing a shirt that said, “Keep Staring- I might do a trick” and as he was walking down the stairs my mom said, “I like your shirt!” He was on step number 5 and tumbled down the rest of them causing all of the nurses to run in a frenzy, my mom was terrified that she distracted him and caused him to fall. The man went from his tumbling position to standing straight up and saying, “April Fools!” Nursing homes are simply NOT the place for practical jokes. After all this, my mom decided that she wanted her birthday dinner to be at the Crow’s Nest despite already being there earlier in the week. I suggested she let me pick the restaurant and she said I needed to stop being bossy. She’s much tougher since she started martial arts and told me she could put me in a headlock. I obliged. We headed off to dinner and were later joined by our favorite neighbor, Buzz, who has been a regular at our meals and is now part of the family.

There are some things that Nor Cal (if you wanna be technical, Central Coast) does better than most and that is sourdough bread and calamari. I once learned at Disney California what makes San Francisco Sourdough bread better than everyone else’s, but I forget. Ok, I will admit it, I only have done those tours for the free bread and tortilla samples. Of course, a ton of places do breaded and lightly fried calamari, but it just brings back so many memories of my childhood when I eat it in Santa Cruz. I remember being at the Boardwalk (if you’ve seen the Lost Boys, then you have seen it) and eating it on the Sky Gliders and walking the wharf with a basket and being so impressed that I, at age 7, was eating and loving squid. Anyway, calamari up in SC is personal for me and at the Crow’s Nest they made it perfectly. For the main course, I had the swordfish with truffle oil and I had them substitute artichoke risotto for the mashed potatoes because I heart artichokes. The swordfish was a tad too dry but it is not my job to complain, it was my mom’s special day. She, who chose a seafood restaurant and is not even a vegetarian, ordered the vegetable stir-fry. It was an odd choice because my mom makes the best stir-frys and makes them all of the time. Oh well, it was her special day and I won’t get on her ordering style. Buzz and my brother, Cody, had the hamburger and french fries and Cody even shot the burger picture himself.

For dessert, the waiter was kind enough to bring out a mud pie for my mom. Did I think the food was stellar? Not quite. Did I think the service was out of this world? Not in the slightest. However, our busboy Shane was fantastic and he was my mom’s preschool student many years ago and someone I went to high school with. I was also told that my brother’s babysitter, Justine, is the hostess here and that my mom is good friend’s with a waiter who is the brother-in-law to one of our neighbors. It was a community meal that made my mom happy and that made me happy. For my birthday, she was kind enough to take me to the expensive and two Michelin starred restaurant, Manresa, in Los Gatos for perhaps the best meal of my life. While I prefer the seafood from Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing, this was my mom’s choice and it was a good one. This is a family restaurant and represents so much of our extended family in Santa Cruz, not to mention the view is gorgeous. Without being too obvious, it is called the Crow’s Nest and it has the view to match. If you wanna see where Santa Cruzans eat and work, then come here! I guarantee you will run into people we know.

Girls Night Out and a Happy Birthday to Yxta in Dwtn LA!

Monday night was GNO and the UGs were in full-force. There were five girls, one boy, and one birthday. Jesse’s baby, Yxta, in downtown turned one on Monday and the gals thought it would be a great night to paint the town red. We all showed up at around 6:30 and Jesse had provided free apps and $5 margaritas. Jesse, despite being a Princeton grad, decided that his life’s calling was to be a restaurateur. He’s a native Angelino and, in fact, his family owns El Arco Iris in Highland Park. I’ve been to El Arco once before, but my good friend, Krissy, has been going there since age 10 and loves it. We were Yxta’s first customers a year ago at their soft opening, so when I heard about the birthday party, I had to round-up my ladies and trek off to 6th and Central for a drink.

It was a great GNO. I won’t disclose any names but one chickadee referred to her vagina as a Skittles bag because she discriminates against no color skin. Veronica, a bit drunky and as foul-mouthed as ever, commented by stating “It’s a small world… in your vagina.”

FYI – It looks like these urbanites will be starting a Podcast with stories detailing dates, restaurants, and uncouth moments. You may just have to listen for it. Not to mention that our TV teaser should be out sometime next week. Holler at me if you’d like to be a part of the focus group. It will take place next week over what else? Cocktails.

Yxta, uncouth gourmands, guacamole

Yxta is off the beaten path in downtown and all my local downtowners really enjoy it. There’s always ample parking and the bartenders are always super cute and super nice. We got there right on time and met with our newest bestie. She was already at the bar, had ordered a drink, received a complimentary appetizer, and had guacamole ready for us. We LOVE her! The place was packed like I’d never seen in before and the staff was busily maneuvering through crowds and filling glasses. We decided that the gang of girls were not going to fit inside so we moved our stuff and relocated outside. It was a beautiful day and we decided that picture quality and space would be best suited outdoors.

The rest of the girls arrived and we ordered a round of drinks. We waited quite sometime for drinks but were laughing and being merry so it wasn’t a huge deal. (I assume they were not anticipating the large crowd.) Jesse was sweet though. He apologized and sent over some more guacamole to make amends. Food and kind words were exchanged and he was forgiven. A boy I used to date and I often frequented Yxta together and it was always like clockwork: He’d always order the same enchiladas and I the Pollo al Pastor. However, this time I changed it up and ordered the calabasitas platter, which was delicious. I was left secretly craving the Pollo al Pastor, but I suppose old habits have to die at some point. Carina and Ashley ordered the Albondigas soup . Veronica in LA ordered the potato tacos, an a Mayor Arun fav, which could be a very viable vegetarian option. We shared a taco platter, which I recommend because it was delicious!

Charles, our only male bestie that evening, was mortified by all the girl talk. Frankly, I can’t blame him. I imagine we are worse than the boys when talking about “girl stuff.” He went to the bathroom and when he sat down Carina started talking about menopause. He shook his head and was a good sport the whole night. For God’s sake, truffle making is his hobby – He must possess a lot of patience.

Yxta – Good food and a great place to take your ladies to have a drink and a laugh.

Yxta Mexican Cocina
601 South Central Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021-1050
(213) 622-5540

Gays & Dolls: A Magical Bar/Club Crawl through WeHo

A couple of Fridays ago was the Minty’s Gays & Dolls Crawl. It was the event I was most looking forward to all of March. Josie was out of town and I was having a fantastic ceviche filled day with the girls. I bought a large ring, which I heard would help me attract a gay boyfriend. Apparently, the bigger the accessory the higher the rate of attracting the attention of a gay male. It was getting close to the time to head out for the crawl when it suddenly dawned on me: If I have a huge ring that is the attractor, then I need to have my nails in top form. I knew what I needed to do, get my nails done. Like any good gay men, I chose beauty over promptness. I was late for the crawl because my nails were drying.

The Abbey is unquestionable the most famous gay bar in Los Angeles and it was the first stop on the crawl. It takes a lot to get me nervous. No straight man, potential lover, CEO, or celebrity has made me feel as nervous as I was when I began this crawl. I think it is because I have wanted a gay boyfriend for so long. When I was a senior in high school, I began spending my weekends in the Castro and I would come home and tell my mom, “I wish I was a gay man.” My mom would nod and smile and say that she wanted the exact same thing when she was my age. She was waitressing in the city at the time and was in awe of all the beautiful, sophisticated, and worldly gay men around her. Anyway, I arrived fashionable late and the first person I saw was the Minty’s gay boyfriend, Ed, who had been calling me to check in and make sure I was on my way and parking. I grabbed a small drink at the Abbey because I knew the crawlers wanted to progress to their next stop.

After a long talk at the bar with a guy about apple martinis, the only drink he has ever ordered, I headed back to the group. The group of crawlers was smaller than most of the Minty’s crawls and I loved it. There were 3 dolls, 5 gays, and Joe and I found it to be a perfect and intimate mix of people. I drank my drink quickly and continued on.

Mother Lode was the second stop and they made enormous drinks. I requested a small one after I saw how big everyone’s glasses of mixed drinks were. However, even that small one still had a ton of whiskey. We all made jokes that involved “mothers” and “loads” but this was definitely the first time I have been in a dive gay bar. A dive gay bar is a very interesting place. The men were more rugged and there was a group of lesbians playing pool that made me a little nervous. Minty’s gbf (gay boyfriend) kept egging me on to play with them but I was scared. These women could kick my ass and not just at pool. However, it was at this stop when I really started talking to one of the gays. His name was Paul and he lived in Pasadena and he was fantastic. He was a foodie, a yelper, a guy that spent every summer in my hometown of Santa Cruz, and everything a straight girl could hope for. At one point he even said the magic words, “deep fried artichoke hearts.” How come straight men don’t know that the key to my heart is artichoke hearts?!? I was in love but I tried to not let it show. He had my eye and I was smitten. Minty’s gbf was telling everyone that it was Minty’s bday and he made me drop in comments about his boyfriend when other men were getting too close. The night had begun and it was fantastic.

Fiesta Cantina was the third place on the crawl and as soon as we arrived, I knew I was right where I wanted to be. I was walking with Ed who happens to have a beard and a table of men outside began to yell, “Hey Beard, come here and meet your destiny.” I laughed first and then melted later, why can’t straight men talk that? If they did it would just be the cheesiest worst pick-up line ever but this was actually cute, they were cute, and I was jealous. Fiesta is famous for two things: cheap 2 for 1 drinks and a rooftop that is packed with a ton of men. Minty who has an entire gay posse was the person that knew exactly what to order here and it was delicious, vanilla vodka and orange juice. I would say it was a creamsicle in your mouth but that may be too vulgar. The rooftop was claustrophobic, hot, and the fantasy of women and gay men everywhere.

After the booze and staring at all of these hot men, I was a little hot and bothered. I needed to, in the words of Lady Gaga, “Just Dance.” We all decided we were ready for the club portion of the night so we headed to the final destination.

Micky’s was the best kind of dance club. Fun tunes, men that you aren’t worried about touching you, hot bartenders, and go-go dancers that can keep you going all night. I was warned early in the night that Mintys gbf can become very straight when he got drunk. I was very fortunate. We got some dirty dancing on and from there on out I didn’t need another drink besides a Diet Coke. I was having a blast. Here is an idea of the caliber of men I was surrounded by, don’t be too jealous.

The week of the crawl had been a supa stressful week for me and this night was exactly what I needed. I have a (straight) guy in WeHo that I sometimes see and I had texted much earlier in the night and I let one of the guys leave a vulgar message on his voicemail. As soon as I got my car from the valet, he had responded to see if I was gonna come over and my response was: “I just danced with and looked at a ton of gorgeous men. I’m good. I am going to head home now.” I also had at some point in the night wrote on my FB status that I was in search of my very own gay boyfriend. By the time I awoke in the morning, I had a friend request from my Pasadena crush and he commented, “Did I at least make it to the semi-finals?” under my status. I was giddy. Minty consistently throws the most fantastic events and I am so grateful that I am her friend and get to share her gay posse with her. Also if you are impressed by the photo quality, it wasn’t the pictures I took. Thanks Joe, for being our paparazzi for the night and buying me a few drinks. Between this crawl and our Checkers dinner, I think I have some very exciting prospects in the gay boyfriend category!

Beef Roll Crawl: A Variety of Friends and A Variety of Rolls

I have just returned from the Beef Roll Crawl and I have a lot to report back. First of all, the goal was 5 places in 4 hours. We ended up hitting the 5 places with a slight variation (see Kings Cup section) in just shy of 6 hours. The day was an absolute blast and the best part of all was that each roll was totally different. Not to mention that everyone on the crawl spent less than $20 for the entire day, average price per place was under $4.  Minty is an expert crawl leader and when us, UG girls, started to become close friends with her we asked her if she could do a special UG crawl for us and this is what she came up. The beef roll was perfect as it had the delicate couth pastry side stuffed with uncouth beef and cilantro. The whole thing is rolled up into deliciousness and while you can use your chopstick, it is the perfect thing to just grab with your hands. On this Sunday morning, I found myself crawling with more than 15 foodie friends and while we were all surprised by the variation of rolls, I received a very personal surprise (see Mandarin Noodle Deli section.)

Doe Jon Station in Arcadia was the first stop for the day. I woke up with hardly a voice, which I discovered when I made a morning phone call and then realized I could not speak. That did not stop me, I may be loud and a chatterbox, but my main goal for the day was just simply to eat. As soon as I arrived, I realized that I had been there once before with SinoSoul and FoodIsMyNish. I remembered that they have good dumplings, big buns, and a delicious oyster soup. This time around we were joined by The Minty,  Ian (our web guy), Nicola and her friend Jenny, Shemuell, and Derek Thomas (who I have only ever met at my infamous birthday dinner) and his girlfriend Catherine. We ordered the beef roll, small steamed buns, pork dumplings, and a twisted cruller.

The dumplings were still delicious but the beef roll was like something I have never had. The pastry part tasted identical to sesame bun and I liked that but the beef was dry and not fresh; and I am not sure the two went together. It also was more of a sandwich then a roll. I kept assuring the group of crawlers that rolls are way bigger and better than this. At the end of the day this was probably most people’s least favorite. However, it was Josie that insisted on the cruller after she saw everyone eat this monstrous churro looking thing with their porridge. She went nuts over this fried dough sans powered sugar and I will always like this place for dumplings, soup, and big ole buns.

101 Noodle Express was our second stop. For me and Josie it is was the first place we ever tried a beef roll, so it the measuring stick for how we judge all other beef rolls. This Arcadia location of 101 was much larger and fancier than the Alhambra one. We were spoiled by air conditioning and Mayo4You waiting for us at a large table. We ordered the combo plate of appetizers, beef noodle soup, hand cut wok fried noodles, steamed pork and celery dumpling, fried dumplings, and the beef roll.

I loved the soups and, of course, this beef roll was perfect. It was rolled tightly, the beef was moist, and there is a sweetness that I loved but Minty found to be too sweet. It was a full meal and OliveJina and Limer35 both made cameos at this stop. We ordered the most here and also dropped the most cash, a whopping $6 a person with tax and a 20% tip included. I think that this was most people’s favorite including my own.

Mandarin Noodle Deli was the third stop and we had several crawlers waiting for us including Kane, Matt, and Jessica. Later our favorite Yelpers Jenny, Allen, and Virgina joined in on the rolls. Josie has a ton of memories at MND with her ex so it holds a special place in her heart but when I have been here before to eat I haven’t been impressed. We were stuffed by this point so we just stuck to the beef roll and got three orders. It was loosely put together and this one contained green onion, a lot of green onion. It may have been a good addition if it was a small amount but it was just so much. It was definitely overpowered with onion but we all liked the hoisin sauce that accompanied it.

I was sitting at the other end of the table from Josie and at one point during beef rollin’ she said that an anonymous person she was sitting next to was roommates with the long term girlfriend of a guy I saw briefly. This guy was my grad school crush and someone that was a brief rebound after my boyfriend. At first I said, “That’s impossible” but after a few facts were confirmed like MBA student, job, and car driven I was sure that it was the same guy. I have dated a married man years ago, so I really can’t get angry but it just put a bad taste in my mouth. One of my new friends at the table is as big of a Will & Grace fanatic as me and he kept doing the Jack, “I WOULD DIE, I WOULD JUST DIE” line. In reality, I really don’t care but it was definitely one of those awkward turtle moments. I thought this was a good responsible guy, who could have that an MBA grad student could be such a sleaze bag? Anyway, on to the next stop and roll…

Michelle’s Pancake was stop number four and it was a pleasant surprise. This beef roll had no oil. The pastry tasted just like a thicker mushu pancake. They were totally light and were a favorite of mine. The cilantro was fresh and this one also had some leek thrown in, which I loved. Not only was the roll great but they also had the strongest garlic dipping sauce.

Kings Cup was a surprise in all aspects. We thought we were heading to Mama’s Kitchen, a beef roll hotspot. At the previous stop, I even made an announcement saying that Mama’s Kitchen was supposed to be a kind of disgusting place with no bathrooms and where the only food to order was the beef roll and that dish was supposed to be amazing. However, when we made our way to the last stop we didn’t find Mama but we did find Kings Cup. Different person and different thing. We were all tired and full, so we checked the menu, saw beef rolls and sat down and ordered. The menu had frog fried rice and duck feet and other interesting items but my table stuck with the beef roll while the other table ordered some dumpling and soup standards. This roll was very fried, the antithesis of the last roll. I liked the meat inside but not the roll. The whole dish just didn’t seem cohesive to me, there was just meat and cilantro thrown in. However, Josie really liked this one and said it was a favorite of hers. I could see that as the whole time it kind of reminded me of a flauta (something she also enjoys.)

It was a long day, but it was a fantastic day! I saw some old friends, met new ones, and each roll and restaurant had something totally different to offer. I want to thank all of you that joined us and, especially, The Minty for all of her planning. I hate to say it but…if you haven’t been on a Minty Crawl then you haven’t been on a crawl. She prints outs notes and maps and makes it so everything is close enough together and driving/parking is not an issue. You are free as a crawler to just enjoy the food, delve in, and explore your beautiful city. Crawl on folks and continue to Rock and Beef Roll!