Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Slice of LA's Best Cake. On Your Birthday. For FREE.

There are the universally good things in life. A Steph Curry three. Baby pandas. Air conditioning. Vin Scully's odd stories. The unassuming hot chick in Accounting. And, of course, slices of SusieCakes. Very little makes me rosier than stopping by the local SC, picking up a slice and not sharing it. 

Anyway... What if I told you you could have all this... on your birthday... for FREE?

Well, one, I did just tell you. In the above sentence. And in the title post. So don't be that surprised, bro. Nonetheless, this is not a fable. This for real. SusieCakes recently launched a new app. Download it to your mobile device. Open it, enter your birthday. Then on the aforementioned day, hop in your car/Uber/Metro train/bike/longboard/own damn two feet and mosey down to any local location for your gratis slice. (There are now 11 SoCal bakeries by the way. So no excuses, bud.)

While there are many top cakes in LA (examples here and here), as a whole, nobody offers a stronger cake by the slice collective than my dearest Susie. The most difficult part of this whole situation is probably figuring out which slice to go with. It is your birthday after all and you want this to be Molly Ringwald-special and not fucking blow it. My recs: I'm usually partial to the Classic Marble, but the Vanilla Celebration and Luscious Lemon are nothing to sneeze at. Besides, you shouldn't be sneezing on cakes. It's rude - and unhygienic. 


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fried Chicken Sandwich-Off: Hollywood Burger vs. Shake Shack.

What: "The Blvd" (crispy fried chicken, spicy slaw, dill pickles, chipotle-honey sauce; added: avocado).
Where: Hollywood Burger (6250 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood).
How Much: $7.50 ($1.25 for avocado).

Why: A mere three months old, Hollywood Burger is already making a name for itself with its delicious, affordable Harris Ranch 80/20 chuck burgers, not to mention their optimal people-watching front patio (on Hollywood Blvd, facing the Pantages no less). Oft overlooked though: their blue-chip fried chicken sandwich, The Blvd. Due to a light batter, it's not an overwhelming proposition like some of its adversaries. The bird itself comes out juicy and flavorful. The house chipotle-honey sauce and spicy slaw provide a nice, unexpected kick and you really can't go wrong with the spongy-yet-firm resilience of a a Martin's potato roll. 

What: Chick 'n Shack (crispy chicken breast, lettuce, pickles, buttermilk-herb mayo).
Where: Shake Shack (8520 Santa Monica Blvd, WeHo).
How Much: $5.95.

Why: Maybe you somehow missed it: Shake Shack opened in LA recently. Yeah, there's a Shake Shack here now. After waiting out the wait, I finally braved the lines a few weeks back. Having indulged (and highly enjoyed) the burger in NYC before, I decided my inaugural LA SS experience would be via the poultry route. If the normal fried chicken sandwich presents a crispy outer coating, I'd describe the Chick 'n Shack's exterior layer as Magic Shell-like. The thick casing provides a rather unparalleled crunch for a fried chicken sandwich. Especially of the thrifty variety. All around a pleasing, tasty breast. Then you've got that same toothsome Martin's potato roll holding things together.

Conclusion: They're both really good. Eat both of them. Sorry.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What You Should Be Eating Right Now: Tacos from Loqui in Culver City.

What: Chicken and Carne Asada Tacos.

Where: Loqui (8850 Washington Blvd, Culver City)

Why: They are really freaking good. While not exactly bargain-basement ($5.50 a taco), the newly opened Loqui in Culver City's hipper than thou Platform complex will most certainly have lines out the door within weeks. Part location (even at that the hefty per-taco-tag it's the thrifiest meal in the new center), part supreme quality, it's the fancified taco spot the westside has been begging for. 

So what makes the tacos so good? It starts with the Northern mainland Mexican/Sonoran-inspired flour tortillas, which are made from scratch in house and rolled by hand. The large blankets of heaven possess the heft and chew one expects from a superior flour tortilla, yet lacks the gumminess that plagues some of its top LA counterparts. With such a strong outer base you could probably throw coal in their friendly confines and still please, but 1) who the heck throws coal in tacos?, 2) Loqui doesn't throw coal in their tacos. They throw golden nuggets. My favorite: the chicken. Marinated in a guajillo chili-based sauce and then grilled over a mesquite and oak-stoked flame, the meat evokes a pleasant smoky, spicy flavor. Add a little guac, housemade salsa, pinto beans, diced onions, cilantro and melted cheese and you got yourself a Loqui taco. Significantly larger than your traditional local taco, two makes a meal, so at $11, that's rather fair. The carne asada is also a standout.