November 01, 2015

Holy Cow BBQ

Just within the last couple of years, Culver City really upped its barbecue game with several different barbecue joints, including one still to come.  Yessir, some of the gems of the South are getting some legitimate representation here in Southern California.

In an effort to get to know these places better, some friends and I ventured on a slow barbecue crawl, hitting up two restaurants.

First up, Holy Cow BBQ.  Like its first location in Santa Monica, Holy Cow Culver City offers some smoky, lip-smackingly delicious 'cue in a casual atmosphere.  If you like MessHall in Los Feliz, you'll likely enjoy the vibe at Holy Cow (think rustic with just the right amount of homeyness).  Loosen up your belt a notch (or wear stretchy pants like me) and dig in!

As anticipated, their menu caters mostly to omnivores, but there are some options for non-meat lovers, too.  In fact, there are plenty of menu options, period.

Menu: Meat & Meat Combos.

Menu: Salads and things.

Menu: Sammies

Menu: Sides.

Indoor seating, great for groups.

Bar seating with beers on tap.

Order at the counter; get your number and grab a seat.

Since we were a large group of 10, we ordered a couple of meat combos, a number of shareable side dishes with a round of delectable desserts to follow.  Needless to say, we kicked off the BBQ crawl strong and without any restraints.

Buttermilk Cornbread with honey, chives and maple butter -- $3.50

5-Cheese Mac N Cheese (Aged Vermont, White & Yellow Cheddar, Bechamel, and Monterey Jack) -- $7

Oh yea.

4 Meat Combo (L to R: brisket; tri-tip, baby backs; pulled pork) -- $22

Texas Brisket, paired with housemade Texas red sauce

Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Baby Back Ribs -- the best!

Carolina Pulled Pork, paired with housemade Carolina yellow sauce.

Hand-rubbed Beef Ribs -- $12

House Slaw -- dressed green and red cabbage, celery seed, aioli, roasted garlic

Collards -- slow braised in vinegar, ham hocks, sweet onion, pork belly -- $5

O-Rings -- sweet onion, spicy buttermilk, seasoned corn flour -- $6

Idaho Potato Salad -- Russets, vinegar, egg, celery, chive, dill, mayo -- $4

Kettle Beans -- medley of beans, cured bacon, braised peppers & onions, house spieces, Q-sauce -- $4

Warm Peach Crumble -- sweet peaches, brown sugar & oats -- $7

Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding -- brioche, vanilla bean cream, chocolate, sugar & spice, fresh whip cream -- $7

Banana Cream -- fresh vanilla bean custard, banana brulee, whip cream, toasted almonds, wafer -- $7

After stuffing our faces, the verdict was in: (1) the Baby Backs define Holy Cow's modus operandi -- Slow Smoked Goodness; (2) the brisket is tender and especially tasty with their housemade Q sauce; (3) Collards are slow-braised in pork belly and Kettle Beans are cooked with cured bacon = winning;  and (4) that Peach Crumble will warm your heart and belly.  Would I return?  With such fair prices, generous portions, and tasty shareables?  Yes ma'am!  So if you're in Culver City looking for a quick bite to eat (in or for takeout), definitely check out Holy Cow for a satisfying meal.

Holy Cow Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

cuisine: Barbecue
location: Culver City
hours: Daily, 11am-10pm
websites: { HC | yelp | facebook | instagram | twitter }
parking: Lot
attire: Casual
how it works: Peruse the menu, order at the counter, take a number and grab your seats.
notes: Some of the best things on the menu are the Baby Backs, Kettle Beans, Peach Crumble, and Banana Pudding.

August 26, 2015

Hoy Ka

As a LA native, I've learned that there are only two main reasons why one would ever choose to drive to/through Hollywood, LA: (1) to attend a show at the Hollywood Bowl (fun times) and (2) to be an obligatory good host for your out-of-state visitors (true friendship).  Every once in awhile, however, there is a third and valid reason to make the oft-frustrating trek: (3) to eat good food (because I'll drive almost anywhere for good food).

Take Hoy Ka, for example.  Hoy Ka is an authentic Thai restaurant located in what I consider to be the outskirts of Thai Town LA (west of the 101).

Appetizer: Pork Jerky -- deep-fried, sun-dried, marinated pork served with spicy house sauce -- $7.00

Papaya Salad -- shredded green papaya, green beans, tomatoes, dried shrimps seasoned with lime juice, chili and peanuts -- $8.50

Noodle Dish: Large Dry Hoy Ka Pork Noodles -- Noodles with ground pork, BBQ pork, pork meatballs, pork liver and fish cake -- $6.50

Noodle Dish: Individual portion of Rad Na -- stir-fried noodles with chicken, Chinese broccoli in soya bean gravy -- $8.00

Rice Dish: Pad Ka Prao -- stir-fried ground meat with basil, green beans, and red bell peppers, served over rice with a fried egg -- $8.50

I don't hesitate to eat out at Hoy Ka because their reasonable prices, good portions, and flavorful food, help me, at least for a moment, mute the negative markers of Hollywood (horrible parking, crowded streets full of tourists)*.  Also, Hoy Ka holds a special part in my heart because it was introduced to me by some good friends, with whom I got to share the delicious meal pictured above.  Thanks J&J.  :)

So if you're craving some honest, authentic Thai food and you happen to be in Hollywood or the wait at Ruen Pair is unjustifiable, know there is another great option on Sunset Blvd.

* My love/hate relationship with Hollywood is only slightly over-exaggerated.

Hoy-Ka Thai Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

cuisine: Thai
location: Hollywood, CA
hours: Daily, 11am-11:30pm
websites: { hoyka | yelp | facebook | instagram }
attire: Casual
price range: $10-$20
parking: Tiny parking lot right behind the restaurant and street meters (Carefully read all signs!)

BierBeisl Imbiss

Tucked away in a half-vacant plaza in downtown LA (aka, the historic Spring Arcade Building) is an awesome Austrian pub called BierBeisl Imbiss. It's awesome for several reasons.

(1) Solid Austrian representation with a modern twist.

(2) Cool decor with the exposed beams, open kitchen, and big windows.

(3) Enough steins and glasses to cover (or fill) every beer or wine.

(4) This glorious sight of freshly-baked house-made pastries.

Additional reasons why you'll want to check out BierBeisl Imbiss:

5) They're open from 8am-2am, every single day of the year (that's right, Mon-Sun, 365 days).

6) Happy hour is daily from 3pm-5pm and 10pm-2am.  HH deals include all sausages for $6, all sides for $4 and 10 oz. draft beers for $5.

7) Their location is next to the best gelato shop in LA (according to me): Gelateria Uli.  So clearly, a gelato stop is necessary post-meal. Guisados is also a neighbor.

8) While I haven't had the pleasure of spending substantial time in Austria, a good friend who has confirmed that BierBeisl indeed provides an authentic glimpse of beautiful Austria and their meaty, carby, and delicious Austrian fare.

9) It's casual, it's fun, it's hip.  Chef Bernhard Mairinger, you're doing a very good thing here.

10) Lastly, it's LA's only Austrian restaurant.

If these aren't good enough reasons, let the photos do the talking/ convincing:

A few pastries to kick off brunch, served on a sturdy wooden tray.

Not pictured is a cup of Einspaenner (double espresso with a splash of water, whipped cream, and cocoa powder).  What better way to start your morning than with great coffee and fresh, flaky, buttery pastries made in-house?

Apple & Grape Strudel.

Apricot & Goat Cheese Strudel (Marillenstrudel).

Sacher Torte -- a famous chocolate cake with an infamous history/ "torte war" - Wiki)

Sampler Bread Basket.

Sampler Sausage Platter comes with 3 sausages and mustard options.  

For our savory selection, we opted for the Sausage Sampler, which comes with 3 sausage of your choice, 3 types of mustard, fresh horseradish, and three types of bread (pretzel, baguette, and whole grain).

For our meats, we chose Kasekrainer (pork and beef infused with Swiss cheese), Hungarian Andouille (pork and beef with chili and paprika) and the Weisswurst (veal poached in milk, hence the white color).  All of the sausages were perfectly cooked and packed with just the right amount of flavor.  I can only imagine how tasty they'd be paired with a pint of Grieskirchner or their house BierBeisl.

You must be thinking, I didn't have any beer at BierBeisl?!  Not to worry, as I knew the minute I stepped into the restaurant that it would not be my last visit. Beer, schnitzel, and hot crispy fries will be in my next order, which I suspect will be placed very, very soon.  See you there.

cuisine: Austrian
location: Downtown LA in the Spring Arcade Building
hours: Daily, 8am-2am
links: { website | yelp | facebook | instagram }
parking: Street meters or nearby paid lots
public transpo: Pershing Square Metro Station [Red and Purple lines]
attire: Casual
price range: $10-$20
notes: BierBeisl Imbiss is the more casual sister to the once critically-acclaimed/ now-closed BierBeisl of Beverly Hills. {eater LA}  But BierBeisl is expected to re-open on the Westside with a haute cuisine restaurant, patisserie, and a beer garden.  Stay tuned.