Bonding Over Burgers & Beer: 8 oz

bonding over burgers and beer

It was Friday night, Fernando Lopez had just closed up shop at his restaurant and I was in dire need of calories after my Friday night fencing club session. The homie Eddie Hah had been wanting to hang out for a while now and he surprisingly wasn’t working the line tonight.

To bad we had to bring ’em back to his dear but rigorous avocation.

8 oz

8 oz Burger is the beefy pride of Govind Armstrong. A chef of Iron Chef fame who was once a a judge at top chef.

The place was mad cracking on a Friday night with a wait of half an hour to 45 minutes. We had to wait just like everyone else. Inside, the place was sprawling with the combined inaudible clamor of guys trying to impress girls and rambunctious dudes just having a trago. The bar stays open until 2 AM and they had done 600 covers in one day last weekend.

ambiance shot

To make time fly by, Eddie insisted on getting a classic Sazerac. His favorite, probably due to the unique complexities of the two different bitters used along with an absinthe rinse. And of course…we were seated shortly–I think–thereafter.

kobe corndoggies
Kobe Corn Doggies

The delicious onslaught was imminent. Our first conversation we had was a long and drunken conversation about how they made everything in-house. And the conversation was to continue as we each ordered a pint of California Telegraph White Ale to accompany our American Wagyu Corn Dogs. “The batter isn’t as sweet as the county fair’s and the violet mustard is made with white wine and purple mustard seeds, pretty complicated”. Well, I’m pretty sure that the fair’s wieners weren’t slightly game-y neither. Yum.

escarole ceasar
Escarole Caesar

I like to think that having every burger on the menu is ok before having some salad first. The Caesar is made with tender Escarole here with an acquired saltiness. I think the two thick anchovy fillets on the side of the plate have something to do with that.

haricot verts
Duck Prosciutto w/ Honey Truffle Vinaigrette
: A Table 8 Favorite

Eddie had told me that the dressing was a bit overwhelmingly sweet but the duck Prosciutto and toasted hazelnut duo just seemed to interesting to pass up. Well, it was sweet, but the truffle essence seemed to help it out. I wouldn’t mind getting this again.

grilled artichoke
Grilled Artichoke W/ Herbed Aioli

I’ve always seen Grilled Artichokes on endless food shows, I was always intrigued by how they pulled each petal and ate the meaty root part. I found the flavor to be somewhere close to a corn flavor. I basically ate this whole thing and saved the aioli for future use through out the meal.

grilled cheez
Grilled Cheese w/ Short Rib, Bel Paese and Onion Marmalade

A rec from blogger Mattatouille to Fernando, he wasn’t wrong. Utmost pleasure in every bite, oozing with that buttery Italian cheese, thin, crispy and meaty.

chicken pot pie croquettes
Chicken Pot Pie Croquettes

Tasted exactly like it sounds. Crispy and piping hot, I asked him if was gravy was roux based. He confirmed yes. This was served with a Paprika sour cream but I wasn’t able to taste the correlation between the pairing here other than just having something cold and creamy to dip hot fried stuff in.

hot wings
Hot Wings: Flaming Hot Flavored

The wings were wings, quite succulent with a nice spicy vinegary kick. Enjoyed a nibble or three.

stout battered onion rings
Stout Battered Rings

It was time for the official burger sides finally. Lately, I’ve been getting excited over onion rings whenever I see them on a non-franchise menu. I was a late bloomer with the stuff I guess. Here, they were not offensive but not amazing neither. They simply just did the job. “It could be worse” said Eddie, acknowledging this.

parm truffle fries extra crispy
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Kennebec Fries: Extra Crispy With Truffle Oil Glaze

Having just eaten some the overrated Pomme Frites at Wurstküche in the same week, I was vastly satisfied with this variety and preparation here, WAY better. Kennebec’s have a firm and bright potato flavor, and they stay firm and crispy a little longer than other spuds. Eddie goes on and rants about a couple of times when the purveyors accidentally bring Yukon Gold’s, getting mushier almost immediately even after the first blanch in oil. The truffle glaze and fried parsley specked papitas won the ring vs. fry battle this time around.

pork burger

It was finally time for the damn burgers. I’ll start off with my number one thing I look for: The Buns! Here, they alternate using a thick-skinned, buttery Brioche and a standard but indifferent sesame bun that they get from the nearby Melrose Bakery. We got pretty much every burger they had. The standouts being three only, the Pork Burger was the tables favorite. Juicy and the lightest tasting out of all the bunch actually. Topped with a kitschy coleslaw that added nice contrast.

8 oz with "Melrose" setup

Per Eddie’s recommendation, we got the house special 8 oz with the “Melrose setup”. Basically, this meant getting arugula, garlic roasted tomatoes and red onion jam instead of the “special sauced” house burger. The patty consisted of sirloin, tri-tip, short rib and chuck. The beef itself had a chunky texture in the mouth but came together when you bit the whole thing.

veggie burger

My favorite though was the Estancia. Grass fed beef with heirloom tomato ketchup, charred escarole and roasted mushrooms. We got this baby rare and still bloody. I enjoyed the most bites from this one. Perhaps because it was the leanest and most cleanest tasting out of all the beef, and I always like that minute gamieness that grass beef has. An honorable mention also goes out to the lamb burger, with harissa and a cool raita. But at that point I was burger’ed the hell out.

house made sorbets

Don’t worry, this hedonistic meal is almost over. A few scoops of their house made sorbets couldn’t had tasted fresher after eating everything off the menu. A cool, Mint Julep flavor and coconut ginger flavor being the ones I devoured. Yes, I still devoured this.

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding w: Espresso Whip
Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding Anyone?

But of course, this is the Glutster. And the meal would not be complete without a whole serving of bread pudding made out of a ton of krispy kreme donuts made into a dessert. Served with an espresso whipped cream, this tasted exactly like a breakfast of donuts and coffee.

We capped off the night with a nice Hennepin, a medium bodied fruity British golden ale. Why not?

Hennepin Eddy
Thanks Eddie

Now if everyone excuses me, I think I’m gong to go eat some sprouts and iceberg lettuce for dinner.

8 oz.

www.8ozburgerbar.com

7661 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046-7442
(323) 852-0008


Judging At The 2010 Los Angeles Vendy Awards

line 'em up
Line “Em Up!

Last Saturday marked the battle of the greasiest, as both worlds of L.A street food duked it out for the title of the first annual Los Angeles Vendy Awards. The coveted event has become a cult favorite in the East Coast, where more than 660 New Yorkers gathered for it last year to eat street foods of all kinds.

The event was held in the nicas (and day street food) capital of Los Angeles: Macarthur Park. And I could not had thought of a better place.

vendy front

It was to be The Grilled Cheese Truck, India Jones Truck, The Hot Dog Kings, Ninas Food, Bigmista’s Barbecue and Tacos El Galuzo Truck duking it out for the Vendy Gold.

grilled cheez duo
Grilled Cheese Truck: Keepin’ It Cheezay

delectable franky and paratha
India Jones: Representin’ That Indian Spice And Swoon

The Hot Dog King
Hot Dog Kings: Bacon Wrapped And Guacamole Topped…Ayy Guey!

ninas pambazitos
Nina’s Food: Griddling Up D.F Deliciuosness

big mistas bbq
Bigmistas Barbecue: Smokin’ Up A Little Somethin’, Somethin’

bland ass tacos
Tacos El Galuzo: Taco’s Are A Way Of Life

I was lucky enough to be among the few judges at this historic event, along with Street Gourmet L.A, John Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal Restaurant and the one and only Evan Kleiman of Good Food. Along with the smoooooth Emceeing of Jeff Miller of Thrillist.

bill, john and jeff working hard

But it was one taste that prevailed amongst all of us: Nina’s Quesadillas and Pambasos. It was an instant unanimous decision.

judging sheets
No Need For Judging Sheets

nina this ones for ya
Nina, This One’s For You!

The Mad Greek: Debauchery-Driven Deliciousness

the og mad greeks
The O.G Mad Greeks

There is something about eating a freshly baked, flaky Spanakopita in the middle of nowhere to help assuage your passage back to reality after a weekend in Vegas. The clanking sounds of the leftover bottles of alcohol as you speed in the car makes your stomach swish, and all of a sudden…all-you-can-eat crab legs don’t sound appetizing anymore.

the mad greek signage
The Mad Greek: Mirage?

You see faded billboards a few miles before the exit to the The Mad Greek bearing “OPEN 24 HOURS” and you are befuddled–is this really a Greek Restaurant? Well, it is still a long drive back home and only fast food surrounds you…oh what the hell. Let’s try it.

the mad greek

It is 1AM, there is only a Filipino family eating a club sandwich and ritz crackers that they brought themselves, uh-oh.

the mad greek ambiance
Ambiance: Dead

A barrage of menu items hit you as you approach to order. Things like Dolmades and Zaziki Pita are cloaked with Tuna Melts and Chili Cheese Fries but they are there.

the mad greek deli display case
The Greek Goods:

But what’s that I see? A Spanakopita could it be? Its late and the consequences of eating heavy could already be felt through the redolent aroma of spit-roasted shawarma. Fuck it…a Spanakopita it is. I’ll just take some bites of my friends “Va-gyro” as they called it. They also wanted me ask the cashier if they had any “Cream of Mushroom Tip Soup”. Ok, maybe we weren’t completely sober still.

A small order of hommos would also aid in detoxing my body and reversing this weekends ‘drunken-munchies’ debauchery. It was surprisingly chunky actually, not as smooth as I’ve had before. Also not as heavy with in the bitter, sour Tahini sauce, but still drizzled with super fruity olive oil and a little paprika, that kalamata olive and parsley sprig for greens would would have to do for now.

the mad greek combo shot
Another Favorite Triangle Shaped Thing Of Mine

Good thing the homie Angel–or “Gay-ngel” as we referred him in the trip–honored his High School food roots and ordered an order of Fried Zucchini. With a crunchy, breadcrumb batter, it beat the pants of off pita bread as a dipper for the hommos.

the mad greek fried zucchinni
Honoring Our High School Diet

As we left, we couldn’t help but simply admire some fine Greek Wisdom that sat hanging on the bathroom hallway wall.

the mad greek wisdom
Behold Greek Wisdom

Opa Guey!!

The Mad Greek
72112 Baker Blvd
Baker, CA 92309
(760) 733-4354

24 HOURS

$5-12 per person kinda

Ask The Glutster: Ideas For O.G Mexican Mothers Day?

Hola Javier,

We met once at a talk that Daniel Hernandez did for Zocalo at MOMA. We were supposed to check out barbacoa de contrabando…sorry i did not get back to you, man.
Hope it was good.

Oye, question?

Where should we take our Mom for Mother’s Day?
She is og mexican, so we need smoething that tastes good, and is a little special for Mother’s Day, tal vez un mariachi? no se? Que recomiendas?

Hope you are doing well.

francisco

Sup’ Panchito?

There is a great Mexican proverb out there that says: “Madre no hay más que una” (Mother there is, but only one).

And well, for all the times she would not eat to make sure you do, for all those times she made you lunch when you were running late to school, for all those times she picked you up no matter where were you were at, regardless of the time or what she was doing. And for being the only woman to love you as unconditionally as she does…

I think she deserves absolutely nothing short but the best all day on this magnificent day, hell if not every day for that matter. And since she is “o.g Mexican” and happens to reside here in the good ol’ El Norte, she will most likely get spoiled twice. One on the American Mother’s Day followed by Dia De Las Madres, as she should!

For an enticing but still traditional breakfast, why not try the Chilaquiles at Guelaguetza? This leftover tortilla breakfast of champions gets the Southern Oaxacan treatment here, being made from the heftier daily tortilla known as Clayudas that Oaxacans take pride in. And I just called up the homie–owner of the Olympic location–confirmed that they will have live music all day Sunday and dinner Monday.

Another awesome brunch spot would be the Vallarta prided Pescado Zarandeado over at Mariscos Martin in El Monte. The adobo-rubbed, charred whole fish is legit and ranks in my top 3 Mexican in L.A, and am pretty sure you can give a couple of dollars to the roaming musicians in return for a heartfelt performance of “Por El Amor De Mi Madre”.

And last but not definitely least, I am willing to put my word that La Casita Mexicana will not disappoint. There might not be live music, but there will be the deftly prepared northern Mexican antojitos classics and the two most genuine, lovable Mexican chefs in the world probably. Jaime and Ramiro do not have their own weekly segment on Univision’s Despierta American for nothing. And they just informed me that they will have 4 additional special dishes on both Sunday and Monday, including their juicy Cochinita Pibil, a Chamorro (braised beef shank) dish, and the elusive Mole Blanco. And of course their crack filled churritos!

If you’re really down, why not bond over a fine drink together at Las Perlas Tequila/Mezcal bar in downtown. I know it was considered disrespectful in old times to drink with your parents but “pero no mas una copita mami, andale!”

buen provecho and mucho love to your mom.

Glutster
(El O.G “Hijo Desobediente”)

mommy and me

Guelaguetza
Olympic
3014 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213)427-0608

Mariscos Martin
13430 Valley Blvd
La Puente, CA 91746
(626) 330-5722

La Casita Mexicana
4030 Gage Ave Bell,
CA 90201
(323) 773-1898

Las Perlas
103 East 6th Street
Los Angeles
CA 90014
(213) 988-8355

Ask The Glutster: Taco Arabes In The Hood!

Hey Mr. Glutster,

I was just wondering if you know of any places for Tacos Arabes? I have only had them at a truck on Olympic Blvd near the 5 freeway. I was told they have them at Cemitas Y Clayudas Pal Cabron but haven’t been there yet. Know of any other places??
Any chance you know the recipe??!!

Btw I thought you did a really good job on the Bizarre foods episode. That host is kind of goofy though…lol…

Thanks in advance,

Tom M.
Santa Monica

Yo!

Yeeeah. If the folded, flat bread stuffed with Chipotle-dominated Adobo pork (known as Tacos Arabes) is what you want, then come on down to the ‘hood homes. Its the only place you’ll find this Shawarma-cut, Poblano cousin of Al Pastor man.

There is a truck on Olympic and Esperanza, just 2-3 blocks west of the neighborhood Food 4 Less there. Just look for a huge crimsoned bold, white sign slanging “TACOS ARABES” illuminated on top of this trailer truck. There are usually lots of families nibbling away, along with this middle age Mexican guy selling some pretty tasty homemade Flan in peak hours. I think they are there every night, maybe early evening too. They close shop at around 10:30 on regular days and later on weekends.

I used to date one of the owners pretty poblanita nieces man, so know the place is legit, he he.

If that truck is M.I.A, head on over to Whittier blvd. Yet again an onion’s-throw away westwards of Esperanza st. just east of the Burger King. Its a Cemita truck, but they also churn out some spicy arabitos that aren’t too shabby. They are there all day starting at lunch time, closing around 10ish too. Just look for a row of refurbished classroom chairs along the sidewalk.

happy porkin’

stay loco!

The Boiling Shrimp: Basil Eggplant With Your Cajun Crab Sir?

I was made aware of this place by Angie of Ganda Thai Restaurant, the place that James Oseland of Saveur Magazine dubbed “the most authentic Thai Food in America”.

After devouring some dry-braised, spicy catfish that wasn’t too shabby there, she informed me that the same owner was about to open a sister restaurant down the street called The Boiling Shrimp really soon. I had a feeling it was going to be another knockoff of the The Boiling Crab. (damnit! still haven’t been there!)

the boiling shrimp menu
Thai-Cajun…Why Not?

It seemed to be virtually uncharted in the google world every time I tried to look it up, so I thought it was time to put my foodblogger boots on and take one for the team…why not? It was about time I was de verginized of a good ol’ Southern style boil. And plus, I figured they would be able to get some basil eggplant on the side or something, haha.

Walking in mid week, the place was empty with only a birthday dinner already finishing. These two dudes had walked in at the same time that we did, thinking it was another branch of The Boiling Crab. They were quick to turn around but I told them it was our first time too, but had a feeling it shouldn’t be that much different.

bib service
Table Side Bib Service: Now That’s What I Call Service!

Immediately after sitting, one of the very delightful waitresses tie a bib on you as a precautionary shellfish-guts safety measure.

crinkle cut sweet potato fries
Crinkle-Cut Camote Fries!

The first thing to arrive were the sweet potato fries, I had never seen these crinkle cut before. I was quite excited until I bit into one. Aw man, not as crispy as they looked. Oh well, nothing to write home about, but here I am writing about it so ha! Its not like we didn’t finish them or something–

basil eggplant
Basil Eggplant With Your Cajun Crab Sir?: Why Not?!

Served with rice and salad with this sweet Thai dressing, it was a nice side to have in the meal. Too bad it was drowned in excess oil. Again, didn’t stop me from devouring it along side with what was to come but kinda sucked still.

cajun style dungeness crab
Gettin Down N Dirty With Dungeness Crab

I was excited to finally try some Crawfish for the first time but of course…they were out! The Dungeness Crab in their Original (Louisiana) seasoning mix was definitely not a bad compromise though. Arriving in a thick plastic bag, the crustacean was whole and bathed completely in that salty, oily, spicy Louisiana seasoning sauce. I will admit to being a little lazy in having to crack my own crab with a mallet and crab cracker, luckily it was worth it. Crab meat was tender and sweet, not overcooked.

lobster in mixed sauce
Lobster Medley

We also got some lobster in the medley sauce, which is a combination of all their sauces (Garlic Butter, Lemon Pepper, Indian Spice). I haven’t had lobster much in my life but think it didn’t have to be that rubbery. Oh well, the bomb, butter and garlic intensive sauce made up for it. Albeit, a bit too rich even for me!

indian spice basil clams
Basil and Curry Clams

My favorite seasoning mix of all had to be their unique Indian Spice mix, garlic and ginger nibs through out with only the slightest tinge of curry. Basil and peppers made a surprise appearance they always do when you order the clams or mussels in any seasoning mix. And you know, they kinda make anything taste better.

Now for what really makes this place special from the rest:

thai seafood sauce
Thai Seafood Dipping Sauce: Reason Alone

A truly outstanding dipping sauce is served with whatever you get here and completes the meal beautifully. Choc full of Thai Chillies, garlic, lime juice, coriander and little sugar. And of course, super heavy on glorious fish sauce. Whiskey, the co-owner of the place was truly smiling to see me eating this without abandon. “Usually, only Thai people like!”…I should show him my fish sauce collection at home.

By the end of the meal, I just wish I had ordered a huge pile of jasmine rice to eat the salty remnants of the sauce and not those soggy fries. Also regret getting crazy and getting crab and lobster…seasonal seafood isn’t cheap!

The Boiling Shrimp
5112 Hollywood Blvd #101
Los Angeles CA
90027

Extravagant Dinner for Two: $40-80