There is a sign at Mo Better Burgers that clearly warns that the food is cooked to order and it will take fifteen to twenty minutes to receive your order. That’s all good. Rather have the food freshly prepared than premade or frozen.
But when they aren’t all that crowded (save apparently to-go orders for days) at what point does a hungry Monster start to lose his mind? Twenty-five minutes? Thirty minutes? Thirty-five? Forty? This is a burger joint, not Melisse.
Delicious things assuredly can come in ugly packages. Such is the case with Hungry Pocket Falafel House. You could pass by this tiny, ugly box of a restaurant on Pico a million times and not once think to stop in. If you do stop in you might immediately turn around and flee as the few stools around the counter and scattered tables do little to engender confidence that even an edible meal, let alone a good meal, awaits. And even then, when your food is delivered you might shirk away, it is not the prettiest of plates.
But all of that would be a mistake. Because Hungry Pocket offers up delicious, inexpensive food with friendly service.
Let’s start at the end. That’s when a waiter spills a tray of wine that splashes all over Mrs. Monster. Now this might, especially at a restaurant only on its second day of operation, be the literal end for The Monster. But instead it proves what great customer service is all about.
Because at Taberna Arroz Y Vi, Michael Cardenas’ newest venture (Lazy Ox, Toranoku), from the hostess to the waitress to the bussers and the manager The Monster experiences some of the friendliest service he has had in years. But what you really want to know about is the food…
Let’s talk value for a sec. If you love a meal are you willing to spend fifty dollars on it? One hundred? One thousand? The Monster loves to eat. He loves great meals. He has (probably) spent too much money in a (assuredly) Sisyphean task of eating everywhere. But he also loves value. He loves discovery. He loves an inexpensive meal done well.
And then there is Gate of India.
There are days when everything seems to conspire against you. The world pins its ears back and takes a jab at you. A car parks so close to yours you can’t get in. The person at the pharmacy in front of you apparently is in no hurry whatsoever and you have somewhere you need to be. The sun just doesn’t shine. The phone rings with bad news.
And then you’re driving home and there you see it. The Lobsta Truck. And you know. A lobster roll will bring sweet happiness.
Willie Jane takes over from the short-lived Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing on Abbot Kinney (which itself replaced the long-standing Lilley’s). The Monster heads in for brunch to check out Govind Armstrong’s latest (The Monster must herein admit he was an investor in Govind’s first LA eatery, Table 8).
The Monster must also admit he is not much of a brunch fan so perhaps this isn’t the best time to sample and review a restaurant’s worth. But he’s going to do it regardless. Sporting a menu mixing Southern, Caribbean and Cajun flavors the dinner menu has been the object of much debate because many of the dishes have to be ordered for at least four hungry people, leaving tables of two feeling like the best the restaurant has to offer is beyond their reach.
Connie and Ted’s is the long-awaited follow-up to LA’s best seafood restaurant, Michael Cimarusti’s Providence. Just opening this week it’s already bustling, a fun and playful design highlighting great service and a menu long on East coast style seafood.
So, how is the food at this eagerly anticipated joint?