New Mid-City Favorite: Top Round Roast Beef

Mid-City is full of great foodie destinations, and another one just opened last week: Top Round Roast Beef, brought to you by  a gaggle of male restauranteurs from popular LA restaurants like 800 Degrees, Red Medicine and XIV.

The pickings are slim, but in a good and delicious way: five versions of roast beef sandwiches, three curly fry options, sundaes, concretes (like a McFlurry), and a fancy soda fountain that allows you to mix up flavors if you like (Fanta + Mr. Pibb, anyone?). The  menu reminds me of In N Out— it’s not about doing a million things, it’s about doing a few things and executing them very well. The decor is no frills, too. Just a faux retro diner sittin’ on the corner of La Brea and Olympic.

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The latest and greatest in Mid-City.

I totally failed to take food photos this time around, as I was too busy scarfing down meat, bread, and cheese. It was SO good! I had a plain roast beef sandwich with au jus— to the point and yummy. Some folks on Chowhound liken it to what Arby’s sandwiches were like long ago. The cheesy fries were a great side, messy and fork-worthy. They’re also not unlike the amazing cheese fries one gets at Shake Shack. Do they sit like a rock in your belly? Sure. But every once in awhile I don’t mind carrying around a stomach rock.

Don’t fill up on sammys and fries, though. The dessert offerings shouldn’t be glossed over. We took the concrete path this time, ordering blueberry pie (literally tasted like obliterated, buttery pie crust in a cup) and the Elvis, a mixture of cookies, banana, and peanuts (a combo that The King supposedly adored). These were pricey at $5 each, but the perfect sweet treat to end the dinner.

Like you needed another indulgent, fatty cafe on your Mid-City hit list, right?

More photos after the jump!

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Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate

The other day these words actually crossed my lips: “I’m liking fruity desserts more than chocolatey ones lately.” Yikes! This is a big deal. The blueberry pie slice that my husband orders religiously at Sweet Lady Jane is somehow starting to taste better than the chocolate cheesecakes I tend to order, and I never thought I’d live to see the day where fruit conquered chocolate in my book.

That being said, I won’t swear off cocoa products entirely, of that I’m sure. And when I read about a new business opening to Culver City next week, Chocovivo, I got a little excited.

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Screenshot via Chocovivo.com

 Sipping chocolate, truffles, chocolate/cheese boards and more? Yum. Another place for my must-visit list. Soft opening is July 15, full opening a few weeks after that.

 

 

LA’s Grand Central Market: 4 New Eateries To Get Excited About

Though I’ve frequented only a fraction of the businesses and parks in the area, I’m totally in love with downtown LA.  A couple of weeks ago I checked off a few destinations on my hit list: Angeles Park (the one they make look so pretty in 500 Days of Summer), the Angels Flight Railway, and the Grand Central Market just across the street. This is a great trifecta, each just steps from the other and perfect for an easy, historic outing.

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The park isn’t as kept up as I’d hoped, and of course the cable car was under construction the day I went, but the market was awesome– it’s nearly 100 years old and has been in the news lately because of  a contentious facelift that’s still going on. Pricier, hipster-serving merchants are moving in and there’s legitimate concern that the new clientele they draw will push out the old-school, affordable vendors that have been there for years. My hope is that both the old and new businesses can have a place here; there are certainly just as many veteran stands I’d like to frequent as there are new tenants. Here are four newbies that are already moved in or are about to open… once the July heat subsides and you’re feeling a little hungry, a walk through the market will make for a great day, or at least a great lunch hour.

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Three Great Stops in The Original Farmers’ Market

Now that I’m rarely out and about alone anymore, I’m less inclined to drive very far to shop, grab a meal, or get some exercise in. If it’s not convenient or if the trip includes getting on the 405 at all, I try to make alternative plans. To that end, the Grove has become my go-to place for all things fun: coffee dates with friends, walking with O in the stroller, even daytime dates with the husband when a babysitter is available. It’s especially easy to while away time in the Farmers’ Market area, where there are enough food stalls to eat lunch everyday for weeks and not try the same place twice. It’s also rather baby friendly; most of the seating is outdoors (i.e. messy eater’s paradise) and it’s usually pretty busy (i.e. no one will notice if your baby is whining).

Here are my current FM’s favorites:

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1. Littlejohn’s Candies: Known for handmade batches of English toffee (pictured) and fudge, this is one of the oldest stands in the FM, moving in in 1946 (though they’ve been making candy since the 1920’s). Grab a free sample from the young ladies at the front counter, and look in the back room to see if anyone is prepping or baking fresh treats! Their toffee is so good– a great thought if you’re into the idea of giving locally-produced gifts that tell a little snippet of LA’s history.

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2. Short Cake:  Love or hate the burgers at Short Order (people get so riled up about burgers, don’t they?), Nancy Silverton and Amy Pressman’s adjacent bakery is a must-visit. I’m partial to the chocolate chip cookie and the mocha over ice– they make the latter with fancy TCHO chocolate. The perfect treat, IMO. If I’m feeling like the cookie is enough sugar for the day, I grab an iced tea instead.

3. Singapore’s Banana Leaf: At lunch time this counter is one of the busiest in the market, and once you’ve tasted the mee goreng (fried noodles) you’ll understand why. Add chicken or tofu if you like, but with or without the protein the dish is pretty heavenly. The egg rolls weren’t thrilling (too doughy), but the green curry with chicken was another winning entree. Next time the line at the Brazilian weigh-your-plate place is too long, be sure to head here– or, just head here first.

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The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck Returns to LA in T-Minus 3 Days!

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Photo of Big Gay Ice Cream Truck in NYC by chill via Creative Commons

I was so sad last year when the Big Gay Ice Cream truck came to LA and left before I was able to sample its goods. All the photos that popped up on instagram and facebook had me drooling (though the lines looked pretty yuck), so imagine my excitement when I read this morning that it’s BACK!

What’s the big deal about The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck? I think people dig it because it’s a mishmash of old and new: old-school soft serve adorned with not-so-old-school toppings like sea salt, olive oil, and beyond. Better than the creations themselves are their names, I think. There’s the “Bea Arthur” (vanilla soft serve, dulce de leche syrup, and Nilla Wafer crumbs), the “Salty Pimp” (vanilla soft serve, dulce de leche syrup, sea salt, and a crispy chocolate shell), Cococone, Mermaid Sundae, and more. I also can’t help but love how the truck is decked out in rainbows and sparkly fringe. It feels so 80s, so very My Little Pony-esque.

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Photo of Salty Pimp by gsz via Creative Commons

Here’s the schedule, so mark your calendars and don’t miss out like I did last year!

Saturday, June 1: Outside of Health Ceramics from noon to 4pm

7525 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

Outside of Lindy and Grundy from 6pm to 10pm

801 N Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046

Sunday, June 2: TBD from noon to 4pm

Outside of Faultline Bar from 6pm to 10pm

4216 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90029

Monday, June 3: Next to the Ludo Truck at NBC Universal from noon to 4pm

Outside of Myung In Dumplings (of Anthony Bourdain’s K-Town episode) from 6pm to 10pm

3109 W Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006

Tuesday, June 4: Outside of Cakemix from noon to 4 pm

8302 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90069

Next to the Kogi BBQ truck (location TBD) from 6pm to 10pm

Sunday Morning News Bites

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View from Angels Knoll in DTLA

This week felt a little cuckoo, and if it flew by as fast for you as it did for me, you may have missed some local news stories worth a read. Here are a few that caught my attention or made me chuckle.

1. So. Cal Ralph’s stores are doing their part to turn waste into energy. I’m sure it’s just a small dent in a big problem, but it’s nice to hear they’re looking out for Mother Earth.

2. I don’t use Sriracha a lot myself, but I know how popular the stuff is. Check out this LA Times article about all the ways it’s moved into pop culture, like with these high-heeled shoes inspired by the bottle. I can totally see someone wearing these in LA, can’t you?! And did you know the company hails from Rosemead?

3. My fabulous fellow book club members have big plans to see the new Gatsby movie (can’t wait, ladies!), and though reviews are mixed (ok, they’re mostly bad), people think some of the styles in the film (hair pieces, scarves, etc) may be replicated very soon. How romantic to dress like them! I’d love it.

4. For those in or near my part of Mid-City, rumor has it that Midtown Crossing is about to explode with new retailers: Carter’s Baby, Ross, Chipotle, ULTA, and more. I’d rather have a new Lemonade branch, but I guess I can’t be choosey.

5. They’ve added another CicLaVia to the 2013 calendar! I participated in the March event by passing out copies on my neighborhood paper at the Mid-City hub, and I felt a little sad to not be on my own bicycle. We need to get one of those tag-a-long carts so O can come with!

Saturday Morning News Bites

Another week gone by, and there was even some rain in the mix! If you’re up Saturday morning and looking for some light weekend reading, here are a few locally-focused links that caught my attention this week. Hopefully you’re alert and ready for the day, unlike Benny here.

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The Ritzy Dispatch launched this week, a satirical take our city and news related to it. It never really occurred to me that there was THIS much about LA to poke fun at. Add them to your reader for a great laugh daily.

The debate on LA neighborhood pronunciations raged high this week. Once the LA Times covered it, dozens of other local news outlets drafted their own versions. I say Los Angeles the anglicized way, for sure. But I don’t say “Los FEE-lez,” I go with the Spanish “Los Feh-LEEZ.” So there. I can’t be labeled.

I found LA Weekly’s piece about the revitalization of DTLA’s Arts District so fascinating. It’s amazing what one dude with a vision (and some serious influence) can do for an area that was basically no-mans land just awhile back. I predict a Cafe Gratitude moves in next. (I can’t WAIT until this happens in my ‘hood. Perhaps I’ll be the Tyler Stonebreaker of Mid-City one day.)

Food GPS posted a Top 16 Cookies in LA list, yum. I don’t think I’ve tried ONE SINGLE COOKIE on there– totally bonkers. Now we all have a quick reference when we’re in the mood for something sweet.

There are too many pot shops in LA  in my opinion. I read this KCRW piece about the relevant propositions to be voted on in the upcoming election; Prop D limits the number of shops (t0 135), but I see how this could lead to Wal-Mart sized pot shops and having  few people control the whole market (a situation bound to go sour). Prop F doesn’t limit the number, but says it will keep the shops away from parks, schools, etc. More research needed before I vote for either, I guess.

Happy reading (and thinking)!