Jeff is the Hero We Need: Jeff’s Table and the Oy Bar

I don’t know all the stuff about Jeff, his story, his restaurant (s), or about many things at all, but what I do know is a sandwich.

Jeff is a certified sandwich genius. officially. Actual genius in sandwichology.

Jeffs Table

5900 N. Figueroa St.

The Brohammas Institute of Bread Encased Hand Foods has been evaluating sandwiches for decades and while I should be humble in many things, I am unapologetically confident in my expertise on casual overeating.

Jeff. Is. A. Genius!

Jeff’s Table is a small sandwich kitchen in the very back of a Highland Park liquor store. I don’t get the impression that it is tucked back there in an effort to be cool or exclusive (the reverse speakeasy thing) but rather because the kitchen was available. or affordable. Whatever.

I first found the place while taking a meeting at Occidental and Google told me there was a place nearby whose name was a pun on a highbrow food documentary.

The first thing I saw on the menu was called the “Hot Kim-Cheezy” Thin-sliced smoked pork-shoulder ham, house-made kimchi, melted smoky cheese, with salted plum mustard, aioli & chili oil on butter-griddled sammie roll.


Then also, the “Dirty Baby”. Chopped turkey, melted toma, smoked cheddar, crispy shallots, and pickled onions on a grilled challah.

Some food you try, and then have to think and discern. This food instantly explodes your taste buds and you die a happy death after which you ascend to food heaven.

The only drawback with Jeff’s Table is that seating outside can be competitive and my car doesn’t have the best ambiance. Luckily for me, Jeff is a genius, and as such, he has a solution. The Oy Bar.

I do not drink so the cocktails he creates can be evaluated by someone else.The atmosphere is a mix of casual yet “nice”, but the burger…

Toma, hoisin ketchup, lettuce, red onion, cilantro, cucumber, dijon, and a sesame bun.

I was unsure about the cucumber and that is why I am not the chef. Jeff. Jeff is the chef and above all else, the reason to visit either place is the food, each meal made intentionally by someone who wants to make it, but also (I always have an also) Jeff will come say hi. To anyone. He knows all the famous people, or at least they know, and love, him, and even if you are inconsequential as I, he will convince you that he likes you. He will make you feel at home. He will make you feel like he is glad you showed up, not just glad you hand him some cash, but to eat what he made.

Things Worth Skipping Sleep for in Seattle: part 3

I myself am quite hefty.

I got this way in large part by enjoying a good meal. Seattle accommodated.

I had fried salmon- because “Worth It” told me to,

Elk and huckleberry sausage because it was a biergarten,

Small batch chocolate because it’s always the best,

Charcuterie at a speakeasy bar because I am me,

But best of all was Rachel’s.

I have scoured the nation, all of it, for good craft sodas, and while I make no claim that I have tried them all, I do claim that the best destination in all the land for ginger beer,

Is hands down Rachel’s.

20 flavors of house made ginger beer on tap.

Cayenne, blood orange, pineapple mango, all go surprisingly well mixed in ginger.

Large and small refillable growlers.

There is also a window off to the side selling fried chicken and poke’.


Get on a plane and go there now.




I drove past Gjusta twice without seeing it. There is no sign outside and you enter through the side lot.

It is worth finding.

Touting itself as a bakery, which is important as the most important element of a sandwich is the bread, but they do so much more.

They have cheese. And charcuterie. I love cheese and charcuterie.

I extra love fresh mixed ginger lemonade and they have it there.

But above all, what I love most, is a great environment and better company with which to share my meals. At Gjusta, you have to bring you own company, but they provide the rest.

Foundation Room: worth the dry cleaning

Every now and again​ Yelp serves up more than you expect. I picked the Foundation Room because it was the closest thing to my location with an acceptable number of stars.  What I got was almost enough to inspire an arson laden revolution against Olive Gardens world wide. But do not fear, as I think your endless bread sticks are at least one Yelp dollar sign into safety. I don’t think I could rile up the masses for anything past 2.​

The Foundation Room is the restaurant lounge attached to the back of Houston’s House of Blues. I guess this makes it a chain establishment, which should offend me, but it didn’t. The decor could be best described as South Asian rock n roll in red and orange, the service was casually attentive, and the food was the best I’ve had in Texas. I would need to investigate the locations in Vegas, Chicago, or New Orleans to see if the ambiance is dictatorially scripted, but after testing Texas I might be up for finding out.

I chose to eat in the lounge with the live music, versus the back room with booths, making it my own fault that the table was at knee level. Moving sauce covered chops from plate to mouth without dripping on your suit is hard with a table that low. My scientific testing says it is impossible.

But whoever that no-name, or maybe not-yet-name was, up there singing Jill Scott and D’angelo covers, made the suit splatters worth it.



Yelp didn’t tell me I would hang out way past my bedtime, or long after the check was paid, just because I liked being there. I’m not sure I have ever loitered past paying at an Olive Garden.img_1069

Texas Toast: and brisket

When asked about food I easily fall into an oft repeated diatribe against chain restaurants. Occasionally I wonder if I am being unfair. But then I remember that I have not once, not ever, seen a pickup unloading stacks and stacks of mesquite logs at a Chili’s, or T.G.I. Friday’s, or any other of those other places that list “smokehouse” items on their menus.

So when I recently visited Texas I did not eat at Texas Roadhouse, but rather my brother took me to an actual Texas roadhouse.

Ribs and brisket, side of slaw, potato salad. The food was great, the company was even better (because it was my brother), and while we comfortably ate outside in November, two guys were adding mesquite logs to the stacks that surrounded the building. At the Pit Room in Houston, the wood decor isn’t decor, it is fuel for the fire. No shtick, just barbecue.

So moving forward, should you want to know how I feel about eating out, just know that I no longer have any reservations about my explicit, overt, stated-up-front, bias against those share-holder liable staples of mall parking lots nation wide with their dispassionate standardized menus and liquid smoke injected ribs.