Friday, November 20, 2015

Turducken. Sausage. Pure Autumnal Joy.

I'll refrain from boring you with my vocables today and make this snappy. The dandy dudes of Dog Haus extended an invite to come try their November special, The Turducken sausage. I, not being a freaking idiot, accepted the aforementioned summons. The result: pure, multi-colored foliage, thick wool sweater, cashmere scarf, autumnal bliss in sausage form. The turkey-duck-chicken link comes topped with sage gravy, a Brussels sprouts and bacon slaw and crispy onions. To make things even better: like all Dog Haus entrees, the Turducken comes on a King's Hawaiian bun. Gimmick aside, the sausage is also surprisingly flavorful and juicy for a budding fast food chain. 

The Turducken goes for a reasonable $7.99 and does the trick alone - although DH has tots. So get tots too, bro. It's the fucking holidays for godsake's, you deserve it. The seasonal specialty is available at all Dog Haus locations until the end of the month, which includes the new USC sausagery.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sidecar, Makers of California's Best Donuts, Now Open in Santa Monica.

Over a year after the news broke and months upon months of listening to silly food bloggers like yours truly waxing carb poetic, the opposite of doomsday has finally arrived: Sidecar Donuts is now officially slinging heaven in round-holed form in Santa Monica at 6th and Wilshire. Donuttery superlatives aside, the opening marks a major first expansion step for the Orange County darling (with other locations to come in ensuing years according to management) and also, coupled with the recent AK premiere of Blue Star, officially puts LA's Westside on the destination donut map.

Now, is there such thing as a "destination donut map?" No, but there should be! Even if that map doesn't actually exist, we shouldn't underplay the significance of these recent openings. Los Angeles, often on the forefront or the forefront of American cuisine, has oddly lagged in the fancy doughnut department. Compared to cities like Portland, Chicago and New York, we Los Angelenos, have been, well, holed. No longer. Especially in Santa Monica, which now lays home to one of the country's finest, if not the finest, glazed specimen creators. 

Like at the Costa Mesa original, Sidecar's Santa Monica opening was met with lines snaking out the door. Honestly, they may never go away, but this, unlike Pink's or Tito's, is a line worth waiting. Don't look at this as a total negative though: long lines and demand also guarantee fresh, piping hot pastry, no matter the hour. Which is a very welcome reprieve from other local spots. Additionally, Sidecar, aside from the menu standbys, offers monthly seasonal specials which will "make" you return on a semi-regular basis. You will have no choice. It will be your indigestible duty. This month, for example, they're featuring a chocolate cake donut with a phenomenal Callebaut chocolate glaze, a pumpkin and mascarpone mouse raised donut and a lemon with thyme number. 

The good people at Sidecar invited me to join the kick off festivities and I took a few pics, which you can find below. And as you will you see, you should probably be in that line already.

631 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica.
6:30 am - 9 pm daily.

Monday, November 9, 2015

LA Needs More Neighborhood Bakeries Like The New Cake Monkey. Support It.

You might not even know it, but you almost certainly have consumed a Cake Monkey pastry. They supply a bevy of local coffeeshops and restaurants. You know, the foil-wrapped gourmet, decadent Ding-Dongs or Ho-Ho-esque sweets? They also bake some of the city's most widely-acclaimed pies, cakes and muffins and pretty much everything else sweet tooth-adjacent. 

Despite the rather ubiquity, oddly, until yesterday, they never had a brick and mortar. And we should all be elated about it. While LA is chock full of quality bakeries, I would say very few can be described as a "Neighborhood Bakery." What exactly do I mean by that? Not exactly sure. However, my favorite bakery growing up -- and still to this day -- is Los Gatos' Icing on the Cake. IOTC is a neighborhood bakery. Nothing fancy or super technical about their product, just a very high quality, frosting-filled endless potpourri of sugar-laden goodness. It's the bakery that everyone gets their birthday/anniversary/wedding/Super Bowl/Tuesday afternoon cake at. The sort of bakery if it were to suddenly vanish, the whole town would rally together with parkas and flashlights until they found it.

LA doesn't have a ton of those spots. Cupcake-only shops don't qualify. If you were to ask me LA's "best bakery?" I'd probably say either SusieCakes or Huckleberry. SusieCakes is a budding chain now though, so not exactly a local vibe. Huckleberry's desserts on the other hand, while stellar, lean rustic and European almost. While tasty as all heck, I don't really consider it a true local, American bakery. You may pick up a chocolate Kouign Amann, but you don't get your co-worker's going away cake there. There's also Sweet Lady Jane with their very friendly late hours, yet there's a highfalutin air to SLJ that almost screams, "Don't call us a neighborhood bakery please.

That's where Cake Monkey comes in. A local company offering pretty much everything under the sweet sun, from reinvented classics like their Pop Tart-like "Pop Cakes" to post-modernities, like their individual-sized three-tiered layer cakes. The sort of bakery that the next time you're at a buddy's Friendsgiving soiree and you see the pies rolled out, you know immediately where they're from

So what am I saying? Basically: Cake Monkey now has a brick and mortar on Beverly and it's up to us Los Angelenos to make it the smashing neighborhood bakery success it deserves to be. As you see in the pictures below, I did my part by being their first customer EVER when they soft opened yesterday. I didn't do that for me. I did that for all of us. You're welcome, bros. Now you do the same.

Cake Monkey at 7807 Beverly Blvd. (across from CBS, near The Grove) is soft open through tomorrow (8 am-6 pm) and then Wednesday commences normal hours of 7 am-8 am.