Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fab Hot Dogs

I think I'm in love with Fab Hot Dogs. And as with all obsessions, I don't think I'll be able to rest until I've tried every single item on the menu. Thus far, I've only tried two: their famous The Bald Eagle and their Polish Firecracker dog.

The Bald Eagle is a ripper smothered with Fab Hot Dogs' homemade mustard relish. A ripper, I've come to understand, is a deep-fried hot dog. What more do you need to know to start salivating? And it isn't at all greasy or OTT. What you get is a very hot, crunchy, juicy hot dog. And Fab's mustard relish is, well -- fab. I can't imagine eating the ripper without it.

The Polish Firecracker is an extremely spicy polish sausage. I had mine with sauerkraut and it was delicious. They also have a non-spicy polish sausage, which I'm sure is just as good.

As much as I love the hot dogs, what I'm really looking forward to getting on my next visit is their tater tots. The table next door had a heaping serving -- it looked just like the tots of my dreams: small, crunchy, roly-poly, golden brown. So why don't more places serve tater tots?*

BTW, Fab also has hamburgers.

Here's their address.

6747 Tampa Ave.

*Had the tater tots. OMG. Soooooo goooood......!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Java

Just wanted to add one last item to the cafe landscape. In the SGV, you can find Vietnamese cafes which have an atmosphere all their own. The clientele is almost exclusively Vietnamese and male. You'll find people playing cards and mahjong. Lots of TV and computer screens, mostly for online gambling. Cigarette smoke. At each table, you'll find forms to play lotto. The bathrooms aren't as clean as you'd like. And you can order really good Vietnamese iced coffee.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Java Dance

Coming to LA, I was a little surprised that it was mostly a land of Starbucks and The Coffee Bean. If you want to get a good cup of coffee, you kinda have to work at it. Here's some of the places we like.

3922 West Sunset Boulevard

Located in Silver Lake, it's one of our favorite places. It would be our favorite place if it wasn't a twenty minute drive. If the parking situation wasn't pretty bad. If they weren't always so crowded. If they didn't close so early. What we do like is that the coffee is individually made in a Clover machine. I'd pass on the teas, though. And I didn't really like their hot chocolate, either. But you can pick up a cute t-shirt here.

There's also a great cheese shop next door that has sandwiches, so you can get a bite, sit outside Intelligentsia with a cup, and enjoy a sunny day.

LA Mill
1636 Silver Lake Boulevard

Also in Silver Lake. Great coffee. I actually had a cup with no sugar, no milk. Only, it's really a restaurant and no one can figure out if you can sit down with just a cuppa. (The food is okay but pricey.) The atmosphere is a wee bit formal and at least one person has told me they're too intimidated to go in. They do have their own parking.

Several locations: we always go to the one at 1501 N. Cahuenga Boulevard

For us, a Sunday morning isn't a Sunday morning without a trip to the Hollywood farmers market and then a relaxing cup of coffee at Groundwork. The atmosphere
isn't much, the service can be slow and frustrated, but the coffee is good and very cheap. Unfortunately, if you get just the regular coffee, it's not individually brewed. There's a table with a selection of coffees in big containers that you choose from. In the mornings, that's okay. The coffee is fresh. But in the late afternoons, the coffee isn't so fresh... The selections are nice though. I like the Angel blend, which is organic, and the Viennese Melange.

(I guess Groundwork is a little upset about Clover being bought out by Starbucks because they threw out all their Clover machines and now they have a drip system for their more expensive coffees. They even had a sign on their drip station that read something like, "This is our new Clover!" Only, I think it was something a bit more angrier.)

Aroma Coffee
4360 Tujunga Ave (Studio City)

One of our favorite cafes. Staff is friendly, good food, lovely outdoor place, good coffee, iced tea, lemonade. Just a great place to hang out. We'd love to make this our local. Oh -- if you go, check out the Portrait of a Bookstore which is right next door. Great books and great gifts. I got a bag made totally from buttons there. Buttons.

Now the thing about most coffee shops and cafes is that the atmosphere is pretty blah. If you want atmosphere, we're finding you have to go to Koreatown. Yup, Koreatown. Of course they make you pay for the atmosphere: mediocre coffees and overly sweet teas cost around $6.00 - $7.00. But where else can you have coffee in a building that looks like a ship? I'm talking about Cafe Jack.

Coffee, tea, live music, waiting staff in sailors' uniforms. Hey!

Another Koreatown cafe we liked was Cake Salon Bosco. Totally different to Cafe Jack. Stylish and quiet, they offer good fluffy confections like the scrumptious sweet potato cake.

And we also liked Heyri, mostly because of their outdoor space, which is pretty big for L.A. Large tables, pretty lights, palm trees, and on cold nights, wood-burning stoves dotted everywhere. They even provide red blankets if the stoves and heat lamps don't do it for you. We had hazelnut latte and a strawberry cake, both pretty good. One thing I found unusual for a late-night Koreatown joint was the median age of their clientele. There were just as many older Koreans, both women and men, as young high school kids.

Cafe Jack
508 S Western Ave

Cake Salon Bosco
3465 W 6th St Ste 80

755 S Hobart Blvd