Tasting LA

Viscera flies at 435 North Fairfax Avenue. On a Monday night at 7 pm, every table except one is filled, and plates of loco moco are coming out of the kitchen too fast for the young sommelier to pour chasers.

Anyone who knows “Two Dudes, One Pan,” knows the flavor the kitchen at Animal churns out. If you’re a ‘carniwhore,’ a recent backlash to the pro-vegetarian movement, then this is where you need to be (why can’t vegetables taste as good as bacon?). Might be hard to find though. There’s no sign at 435 North Fairfax to let you know you’re visiting one of the most buzzed about restaurants in the United States. You’ll likely need a reservation to get in, and once you’re in, sit down, read the menu and see what everyone is chit-chatting about. It’s one of the most imaginative restaurants around.

Mike visited Animal last year at the recommendation of one of his LA-based co-workers, and after reading Dana Goodyear’s New Yorker article, I couldn’t wait. I wasn’t up for the quail’s egg and spam–their signature dish, which is a myocardial infarction on a crisp, white nine-inch plate. I did inhale my Texas caviar, shaved muscat and melon, and lemon basil raviloi. The folks running Animal are smart and they use words on their menus that we had to look up on the iPhone before we ordered so that we wouldn’t end up with a plate of steaming offal smothered in teriyaki. ‘Muscat’ was one of those words. ‘Melted petit basque’ were some others. Bacon is a word I know and know well and it appears more than once on the menu. We capped the gorging with a chocolate-bacon bar.

Not sure how this trip to LA turned into a foodie trip, but it did. Our first stop after landing at LAX is always In-n-Out Burger, which is tasty, though you’re not as “out” as quickly as the name suggests. You’re in, and you’re in for a while, so be prepared. Bring a crossword puzzle. The food is fresh, cheap, and delish, but I admit I’m a Five Guys gal. (Why do all these burger joints feature bright bloody beef red? McDonald’s does, too. That’s another blog for another day, but wanted to throw that out there.)

We’ve also been exploring Mexican food and sipping horchata on Olvera Street, searching for Korean taco trucks, sampling vegan, gluten-free cupcakes in downtown, eating matzoh balls wrapped in bacon, and tonight we’re checking out The Gorbals. And we do all this with a six-year-old in tow who still insists on plain pasta with butter for dinner (though she raved about Animal’s buttered pasta; apparently they do it better than anyone else).

We’re burning off all these extra, juicy calories by hitting the pool every day, sometimes twice a day, and we’re renting bikes this weekend to cruise along the beach. Beats cruising the Pacific Coast Highway by car, which is a stunning drive, but it’s very busy and it’s too hard to take in the view while watching the road. Somehow with biking, it’s easier to enjoy the view while watching the road and avoiding other bikers. Plus, cops and insurance companies aren’t involved if there’s a minor accident. Bikers just apologize, brush things off and move on. I like that.

2 thoughts on “Tasting LA

  1. Ashby

    A “loco moco” in Hawaii– while sharing the ingredients featured in your link– is way more down home. A greasy burger, “two scoop rice,” a fried egg… all drenched in watery gravy and served for breakfast.

    While we’re “carniwhores” now, I’m glad we were veg-heads back then!

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