Category Archives: food

La Michoacana: Culinary benefits of being bilingual; which I am not

Politicians can argue all they want about who needs to speak what language where, all I know, is that I need to learn Spanish. I recently found myself in a palace of frozen treats, all of which looked delicious, and I had no idea what most of them were as I am bound by my American monolingual shortcomings and couldn’t read the menu. I have a tongue that is linguistically one note but spread with adventurous buds.IMG_6658

While in Riverside I just typed “ice-cream” into my map app, and it gave me Cold Stone, Wendy’s, and La Michoacana. I yelped the one I had never heard of and thanks to a five star review I hit “navigate”. There was no such navigate button once I arrived and my senses were overloaded with new sights and new words.IMG_6672

Some things I could read, like chile, queso, and pepino. All of these were written above tubs of ice cream. Chile, cheese, and cucumber flavored ice cream? Cheese ice cream is surprisingly good. Cucumber ice cream is fantastic.IMG_6675

Standing over a counter transfixed by new ideas with what little words I could figure, I saw the family next to me receive a take out tray piled high with… I have no idea what it was. The worker drizzled something over the top of it, handed the woman a fork, and with a smile, said woman went and sat down. Experiencing an unusual moment of bashfulness, I could not muster the courage to ask either the family or the employee, what that pile of whatever it was, was. Instead I pointed into the case and asked, “is that a mango chili popsicle?” The worker said it was and I said “por favor,” handing her my MasterCard.IMG_6669


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Donut Friend: your new BFF

The first thing you should know about Donut Friend, is when they are open. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday; 7am-10pm. Friday and Saturday they are open 7am to midnight. You need to know this because no matter where you live, you need to go to Donut Friend and it would be a shame to get there and find the doors locked.

Not that I know anyone who has ever done that, I’m just sayin’.IMG_3210

Once you are there, and they are open, you order just about anything you could ever want. They may even have things you didn’t know you wanted, but once you see it, now you want it.

For instance, we all know that we want a traditional donut filled with lime cream, topped with vanilla glaze and graham cracker crumbs. What I didn’t know I wanted was cream cheese, strawberry jam, and fresh basil inside a traditional donut, topped with vanilla glaze and balsamic reduction.

I’m a sucker for balsamic reduction.IMG_3137

Should you want to create your own concoction, you can. Not only can you, but the staff, at lest the ones who were there when I went, every time I have “went”, has been the sort of helpful folks who appear to like what they are doing when they are serving you sugary cakes topped with maple glaze and bacon.

Who wouldn’t be happy serving that?




I know, I know, vegetarians wouldn’t be happy serving that. But not to fear, if one is not only vegetarian but vegan, they got options for you too.

I do say “you” because I am not one. But some of my best friends are. Like Donut Friend. Donut Friend is one of my best vegan friends.


These plants are not donuts, they are decor. They have decor because they are located in Highland Park, which is newly cool, and to fit in you must have decor.





But you come for the donuts.





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Dog Haus: They can spell it however they like because the food is great

So this place is kind of a chain and I am normally not a fan of such things but contrary to what I admit to most people, I am sometimes wrong.IMG_8885

All right, it isn’t kind of a chain, it is a full on chain with something like 73 locations in the works. Not all of them are open yet, including one announced for my neck of the woods, but I anticipate its opening with bated, salivating, breath.Yes, I actually want this chain to exist.

Because those dogs are hot!

I think the key is the bun, because they aren’t buns, they are King’s Hawaiian rolls. Place on top of said “bun” a skinless all-beef dog, followed by all sorts of variations including fried eggs and bacon. Or maybe Thai sauce and peanuts. Or simply top the dog with glowing beams of sunshine from heaven. Because that is what they serve.

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Fat Sal’s Deli

You don’t have to be a UCLA student to eat here but it kinda felt like that was who was eating there. Maybe that is because the specific Sal’s we went to was right across the street from campus. We could have gone to the one in Hollywood. The one in San Diego or Austin, not so much.IMG_2518

So this place was started by some guy named Sal, and his famous friend Jerry Ferrara (from Entourage), and Jerry’s not so famous brother Josh. Jerry is an actor not a chef. I don’t care who Jerry is but I do care about fried eggs on a sandwich, and bacon, and pastrami? Who doesn’t love pastrami?

The food isn’t ground breaking. But the food is good and it is interesting. In a world full of Subway, Burger King, and Olive Garden, “interesting” cannot be overrated.

I am not only not a chef, I am also not famous, which gives me top “not” scores, but I like to eat and Fat Sal’s is worth eating.

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Full Squids in a Food Truck: Kiko’s Place

I used to say that I ranked 4th in my home’s list of decision makers. First was my wife, then the kids, next came Oprah, and finally, me. Oprah is off the air and she has since been replaced by Yelp.  Yelp has been much better to me than Oprah ever was. IMG_1751

A Friend told us about Kiko’s Pace but Yelp made us eat there. Again, Yelp has been very good to me. If you are ever in San Diego, look them up.

Kiko’s is a food truck; quite the rage these days. I’m less concerned with what the rage is than I am with what the food is, and while I am not above things deemed barbarian, pedestrian, or maybe even grungy, when paying for food I have a true appreciation for ambiance. Roach coaches normally rank low on the ambiance scale so in my opinion greasy trucks have an added responsibility to deliver on the ingestibles. I am also not the first person in any line for sea food so Kiko’s started out with two strikes.

Despite the loaded count they hit a homer.

Let me just make a note of what is in the hand of the man above, and also what is in the hand of the man in the picture above the picture above; a whole stinking squid. I say stinking as a figurative adjective not a literal one. It wasn’t smelly but it wasn’t from a package, or a freezer, but rather an Igloo cooler full of crushed ice. This then went onto a tortilla, along with every other creature not normally found in an aquarium, got covered with melted cheese, and finally it went into my mouth.

That was the best part.IMG_1762C ouple notes: they don’t do anything wrong. I, the expert, recommend everything on the menu. Also, don’t skip on the soup. There is almost always a line and a wait, because that guy has to kill the squid, but they give a large cup of soup to sop while you wait. It was almost good enough to skip the food.

Don’t do that.


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Edible Joy from a Food Truck.

I heard about Kogi from Anthony Bourdain. I met Anthony on Netflix and my first impression was that he tries a little bit too hard to be cool. I am of course a world authority on cool and Anthony’s overt efforts made me skeptical of his food recommendations. I normally prefer my food recommendations from people who have met me, which you cannot do via Netflix, but there was something about this particular recommendation that gave me pause.

Kimchi quesadilla.

From a food truck.IMG_4101

Okay. Rewind that a bit and I will happily listen to your cynical voice over laced with expletives just to find out where I get kimchi quesadillas from a food truck.

Kogi. You get them at Kogi. You get them, you smell them, you eat them, and your mouth explodes. It is a happy explosion. If you were to be rude and chew with your mouth open, the sound of singing angels would escape. Those angels would sing in both Korean and Spanish, neither of which I understand, but taste buds are apparently polyglots.IMG_4096

Mr. Bourdain. You were right. I apologize and you can say whatever you want however you want as long as you point me to places like Kogi.

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In the Studio: DiBruno Bros.

The process:













and then…




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