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Food From Travels Las Vegas Los Angeles

Eggslut

I’m genuinely considering setting up some sort of campaign to get Eggslut to open in London. Eggslut is truly the hangover cure people need, and Londoners need it now. Don’t be so greedy, America. Having read about this spot as a New York must eat among, well, thousands of New York must eats, I was thrilled to find out there was an Eggslut in Las Vegas…right in my own hotel. Nothing could be more ideal to sop up the endless debauchery of sin city.

Waking early with jet lag on my first morning Stateside, it conveniently meant I could skip the queue that snakes from Eggslut inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel to grab my first Eggslut breakfast. After much debate over the small menu, I landed on the sausage, egg and cheese on brioche, made with turkey sausage, cheddar and the genius addition of honey mustard aioli. The best way to describe this creation is a) heaven and b) like a pimped up Sausage Egg McMuffin sandwich, but one hundred times better – and I’m a fan of a Maccy D’s breakfast, believe me. The egg is cooked over medium, so bursts when you bite into the buttery brioche and is a total, messy joy to eat. The honey and mustard add another level of delicious and the American cheddar brings the McDonald’s-esque filth to the bun. If you prefer to get your regular pig in the morning, there’s a bacon version served with chipotle ketchup instead of aioli.

For the veggies amongst us there are two options on the menu: the Fairfax which sounds so good I nearly ordered it before realising it was veggie (I like meat in the morning…) – soft scrambled eggs and chives on brioche with cheddar, sriracha mayo and caramelized onions; and the Egg Salad made with hard boiled eggs and honey mustard aioli. There are two further meat options on the menu – the Gaucho, with seared wagyu beef, egg, red onions, rocket and chimichurri, which my friend absolutely raved about, and an Eggslut cheeseburger which includes bread and butter pickles, of all things.

If you don’t fancy a bun, or you’re gluten free, you can either have salad with any of the above, which admittedly could be a bit odd, but it’s an option. You could have their coddled egg on potato puree, or one of their house-made buttermilk biscuits, served with butter and maple syrup.  But I wholeheartedly and with true passion recommend one of their fancy McMuffin style buns. Sadly to get one of them you’re going to need to take a long flight since Eggslut isn’t in the UK (yet..please?), have closed their NYC pop up and now sits firmly back in their original spot on the West Coast with three spots around LA and one in Vegas. Worth the journey though.

 

Los Angeles:
Downton LA: inside Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, Stall D-1, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Venice: 1611 Pacific Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90291
Glendale: 252 S. Brand Blvd., Suite D, Glendale, CA 91204

Las Vegas:
Inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109

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The Best Burgers In The World

To celebrate the holiest day of the year, National Burger Day, I’ve rounded up The Best Burgers In The World for you to feast your eyes on. Get ready to salivate… TRIED AND TESTED Bleecker St Burger Possibly the best burger in London. At least, it’s my favourite out of all I’ve tried so far. Bleecker …

California Food From Travels Los Angeles San Franciscio San Francisco

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out is quite rightly an American institution. Forget McDonalds, forget Burger King and Wendy’s, forget Five Guys even – In-N-Out is the best burger in the US of A. And I’ve had quite a few.

Being British and never having been to the West Coast of America, I’d never heard of In-N-Out until I was a student. I used to camp out on the sofa to watch the Oscars and there were all these reports of stars apparently going to this fast food place for burgers after the ceremony. Katy Perry smuggled In-N-Out into the Golden Globes; Adele swung by post Grammy’s and Anthony Bourdain reckons it’s the best restaurant in LA. It’s rumoured to be one of Gordon Ramsay’s favourite spots and even Julia Child was a huge fan. It’s such a big deal that an In-N-Out truck has catered at the Vanity Fair after party since 2012 to save celebrities going through the nearest drive thru.

Heading off to California at long last with a huge list of food to try, In-N-Out was at the top of it. An American colleague of mine sent me away with strict instructions: get the Double-Double, Animal style. I did as I was told and oh God, did it pay off. Two patties cooked with mustard sandwiched together with bright yellow American cheese, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion and extra In-N-Out burger spread, which comes from a secret 60 year old recipe. It was as near to perfection as a burger can be, made even better by the fact we ate them in the back of our Uber in true fast food fashion.

Being an A-lister favourite, you would be forgiven for thinking it would be at the higher end of the fast food price point. You would also be wrong. This burger comes in at a whopping $3.70, with a regular cheeseburger costing you $2.55. Not only is it the best fast food I’ve ever had, but it’s the cheapest fast food I’ve ever had. It’s nigh on ridiculous.

I only have a few gripes: forget the fries; I found them disappointing. I know those who disagree with me but I wouldn’t order them again, I’d sooner go for two burgers if I was that hungry. Or maybe even if I wasn’t. Secondly, I need In-N-Out to be in London, or at the very least available on the East Coast because it’s nearer and I go to NYC more than anywhere else in the States. Alas they can mostly be found in California, but also have presence in Nevada, Oregon, Arizona, Texas and Utah. And lastly, can LAX please up their game and get an In-N-Out in the departures terminal? As much as I want to see a M&S food in the arrivals of every British airport, I absolutely want to kiss California goodbye Double-Double Animal style.

Have you had an In-N-Out burger? Tell me what you thought in the comments!

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California Food From Travels Los Angeles

Willie Jane

My love affair with brunch is well documented. Given the obsession with bottomless brunch we now have here in London originally stemmed from the New York tradition, brunch in America comes loaded with high expectations. Wandering through Venice Beach one sunny Sunday, shaking off the cobwebs from the night before with an excellent Groundwork Coffee, we wander down Abbot Kinney Blvd lazily, stopping to take photos of the incredible street art we come across. With all its great independent shops and little restaurants, Abbot Kinney feels like being in Australia to me – unsurprising given its proximity to the beach. Spotting two tiny fluffy puppies outside Willie Jane, and then the sign for bottomless brunch, we’re swiftly sold on where we’ll be eating that day. There are many great places to choose from to brunch in Venice, but puppies and prosecco? Table for two please.

Starting on the pitchers of mimosas which seemed to have no end in sight, here began one of my odder American experiences, in that the wait staff thought I was Adele. As in actually asked me, apparently legitimately if I was Adele. I’m still skeptical but my Californian friend I dined with was convinced they really did think I was the Oscar winning singer, so okay. I mean, I have the same length hair as Adele and I said ‘hello’ in a British accent on arrival, maybe that’s all it takes in LA. Who knows, but it set the tone for a really fun afternoon with friendly staff and plenty of mimosa refills.

We started off with the warm biscuits served with fresh burnt orange honey butter ($6), which were just as delicious as they sounds. Now the thing about biscuits, and a constant source of debate I have with Americans, is that to me they are pretty much scones. I can hardly tell the difference between them, except maybe slightly in texture. Not that I’m complaining, because both scones and biscuits are delicious, and I love seeing biscuits as a staple on American breakfast menus. Continuing the Southern theme, I had to go with one of Willie Jane’s fried chicken dishes, specifically the fried chicken and chorizo gravy sandwich served with slaw ($15). It was sublime. Proper Southern fried chicken, all juicy under the golden crispy buttermilk and set off beautifully with the colourful homemade slaw and chorizo flavours.

My friend went down a slightly healthier route with greek yoghurt, granola, berries and lavender honey ($8). I swiped a bit and it was excellent. The rest of the menu looks just as good: cinnamon French toast sticks; smoked brisket hash with fried eggs and more Southern style cooking with shrimp grits with scrambled eggs and bacon. Then of course you’ve got bottomless mimosas generously poured for you for the entirety of your time there for a mere $15 per person. Willie Jane has my heart.

We sat in the garden area outside, sheltered from the California sun by a pergola strung in lights and surrounded by pretty flowers and plants. Never rushed, the service was excellent – if a little off their game on star spotting – and I felt I could have easily sat there for hours enjoying the atmosphere and steadily making my way through several pitchers of mimosas. Which I think you’ll agree, is the kind of Sunday every Sunday should be. And rumour has it, Adele’s a big fan.

1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
+1 310-392-2425

Brunch for 2 with bottomless mimosas including tax and service came in at $75.

Disclaimer: I am not Adele nor do I assume her identity bar at house parties when ‘Hello’ comes on. I have no idea if Adele has ever been to Willie Jane, though I do think she’d like it. The wait staff certainly would.

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California Food From Travels Los Angeles

Bottega Louie

Apparently no one really ventures into Downtown LA on a weekend, but people make an exception for brunch at Bottega Louie. I could have eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner here based on the online menus alone, but as ever, too many places to eat, too little time. Since brunch is the best meal that exists, brunch won out.

Bottega Louie is much bigger than I expected, all white with high ceilings, gold trim and big windows that fill the room with light. Quit frankly, it’s gorgeous. There’s a large case of patisserie and their famous macarons you really can’t miss as you walk in the door, making it very difficult to leave without something to go. (Don’t do that, don’t be silly. Take a box of macarons for they are delicious. The salted caramel and pistachio are particularly good.)

Everything you expect to be on the menu for an American brunch is there: eggs benedict with bacon ($17), sweet waffles ($18) and pancakes with lemon and ricotta ($17), smoked salmon bagels with all the trimmings ($18), eggs “any style” ($18). I would happily have ordered any of these but something a little more unusual jumped out at me and I couldn’t pass it up – a smoked salmon millefeuille. As my best friend said when I recounted that days food to her: “TELL ME MORE. What do you MEAN?” A savoury twist on the French dessert, with layers of puff pastry interspersed with thick cream cheese and plenty of smoked salmon. It was excellent, albeit as rich as you would expect. My friend opted for the lobster hash ($20), served with perfect poached eggs, shallots, paprika hollandaise and…Brussels sprouts. It turns out Californians have a thing for Brussels sprouts I wasn’t quite expecting, the oft-hated vegetable turning up on a fair few menus over my time there. But hey, they worked, so maybe us Brits need to be a little more open toward the infamous sprout.

For me it’s not really brunch without eggs, so I ordered a boiled egg with soldiers on the side, though sadly the egg was overdone and not really all that runny. But then we come to our other side dish and it more than makes up for my brief disappointment: beignets. My God, why have these never been in my life before? Like a doughnut, but so much airier! So bouncy! I absolutely could have eaten another plate and in hindsight I probably should have done – delicious.

Brunch cocktails were a perfectly spiced Bloody Mary with an olive garnish and the pretty Pomegranate Fizz: vodka, prosecco and pomegranate juice with mint, peach and creme de cassis. At $14 each, this isn’t where you’ll get bang for your buck if you want a particularly boozy brunch (you’ll want a bottomless brunch for that, of course) but this a classy affair and Bottega Louie certainly delivers across the board. It’s a beautiful restaurant that’s definitely worth a look in for brunch whilst in Los Angeles. Now to work out a way back for all the pasta and pizza they do for dinner…with beignets as the inevitable dessert.

 

Have you been to Bottega Louie? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017
+1 213-802-1470

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California Food From Travels Los Angeles

Scopa Italian Roots

This spring, after a twelve hour flight drinking a fair amount of British Airways issued cava and a complete shift in time difference, I arrive in Los Angeles, home of the rich and famous. Los Angeles, the land of the beautiful and slender. Do they even eat here?

I arrive at my friend’s place overlooking Venice Beach, watch the sunset with some champagne to toast my arrival, and she suggests a plethora of options as to where to grab some dinner that evening. Apparently at least some of them do.

“Ooh actually we could go to Scopa, it’s just around…”
“SCOPA! I’ve heard about that place! Yes yes let’s go there!”

You may not be surprised to find out that whenever I head somewhere new, I arrive with a bunch of notes about where to eat in whatever new city or land I may be in. In fact I had actually printed off the entire menu for Scopa and it lived in my LA specific food folder in my carry on – no, really. And whilst you can do all the research you like, recommendations from locals are always the best, so after my friend suggested the place herself I was expecting a great deal from Scopa Italian Roots in Venice.

We arrived around 8pm on a Friday night and as was to be expected, the place was buzzing. Exposed brick, dark wood and huge mirrors with an industrial twist, Scopa instantly feels cool. Very L.A. We put our names on the list (which feels somewhat more glamorous when in the U.S. opposed to down the local Nando’s for a quick pre-cinema Peri Peri) and headed to the beautiful bar, all backlit and showing off rows and rows of premium spirits in all their glory. Fittingly, their drinks menu has the byline ‘the field guide to navigating the giant wall of booze’.

After a well crafted cocktail each (at $20 a pop, mind – Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore) and a short wait we were seated at the bar and finally got our hands on a copy of the menu that sat in my suitcase back in the apartment. Naturally we started with antipasti, the ricotta crostini ($13) arriving first and oh my GOD. I thought it would be good, but the creaminess of the ricotta with delicate mix of herbs, the olive oil pooled on top teamed with the crunchiness of the lightly garlicky crostini was far, far better than I imagined it could be. This is the beauty of Italian food: it’s not complicated, it shouldn’t be. It doesn’t need to be. In fact if it is, you’re probably doing it wrong. The simplicity of high quality ingredients complimenting each other in a fine balance is what makes Italian food so good, and so loved, and already with this first dish I knew Scopa had nailed it.

Next up was the prosciutto burrata ($17) served with sesame seeded bread that added a fantastic earthiness to the soft melting cheese. Onto the hot antipasti and we were served a giant arancini ball ($17) filled with meat sauce, peas, ricotta (oh, always more ricotta) and mozzarella in a tomato sauce. Without question enough to share between two, if not three – this is the sort of place you want to take at least three other people so you can order more and try a bit of everything. There was so much on the antipasti menu I would have ordered: crispy squash blossoms with mozzarella, tomato, chilli and – you guessed it – ricotta ($14); crispy cod with potato, chives, olive oil and lemon ($10); scallops with oregano, brown butter and lemon ($19), and that’s all before you get to the cold cuts with cheese ($18-32).

Mains we went solo, my friend choosing the creste rigate pasta with mushrooms and asparagus ($19), whilst I went classic with the richest lasagne ($18) that tasted just as good cold the next day (I ate a lot on the plane). Wine was a beautiful red at $44 a bottle, though this is somewhere you could splash out a lot more should you want to – they have a fine wine section that heads well into the hundreds. I’m disappointed we didn’t have room, or moreover the energy for dessert, as by 9.20pm I was falling asleep at the bar, the rich Italian food aiding my shift in time zone heavily, though for the equivalent of 4.20am my time, I think I did pretty well.

There are so many incredible restaurants in this vast city, but I wouldn’t be able to pass up experiencing this place again – although without jet lag next time so I can launch myself in fully. So without question Scopa Italian Roots would be on my hitlist whenever I return to LA. Do they even eat here? Whoever does eat here, eats God damn well.

2905 W Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292
+1 310-821-1100

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