Eat it Jamaal: Fooding with Mike

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I’m back!!! Sorry for the long hiatus, I know the millions of you that read this were wondering what I have been eating lately. For this post we’re going to go back in time to a fun fooding trip last fall with What’s Bruin Show host/producer extraordinaire Mike Regalado.

Mike and I have a lot in common, we’re Mexicans who love Kings hockey and Twitter like crazy. But one thing Mike and I may differ is food. He’s a vegan and I’m the reincarnation of a T-Rex carnivore and all.

Thankfully there is a place that Mike and I can both enjoy for great food and brews. It’s called Mohawk Bend, a local microbrew that was one of the first signs of the changing neighborhood Echo Park.

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Located in a converted movie theater (I saw E.T. and the Karate Kid there), Mohawk offers many vegan options that Mike likes and food for meat eaters like me. They also offer like 100 bottle of beer options but it’s really 70 on tap all coming from California.

We started the meal with what I consider a must have dish when you go and it’s vegan. The buffalo cauliflower served with vegan “blue cheese.” The texture is close to chicken you could easily be fooled by the authentic buffalo sauce taste. This is a great item to share, you have to get it if you visit the restaurant.

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For our meal Mike went with the veggie burger, it comes with fries and according to Mike it is one of the better veggie burgers he’s eaten. I went with the fennel sausage pizza, Mohawk offers lots of pizza choices and they care cooked in a wood burning oven. That wood burning oven gives the pizza a great crunch. The sausage and tomato sauce are made in house giving the pizza a very fresh taste.

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Of course our meal wouldn’t be complete without some brews. It being fall I went with a seasonal taste. I ordered a pint Pumpkin Pi, which you guessed it had that pumpkin spice flavor that’s everywhere once we get to autumn. It’s on the lighter side and went well with the spicier pizza.

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Of course with so many options if you want something a bit hoppier ask for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale which is one of my personal favorites and also goes well with the pizza I ordered.

If you’re close to Downtown Los Angeles and want some good food and good drinks head over to Mohawk Bend, you might see Mike and I there again.

 

 

Eat It Jamaal: Ballpark Edition

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If you listen to the What’s Bruin Show (of course you listen that’s why you’re reading this), you know I’m a huge sports nut.  In a calendar year I try to get to as many sporting events as possible.

That means a lot of time and money spent at different arenas in various parts of Southern California. Now yes that can get quite expensive as arena/stadium food is usually up sold to the hilt (cost a lot of money to microwave chicken fingers apparently), but one of the fun things about watching a game is knocking down a few dogs and drinking beer.

This is not a comprehensive list of everything you can eat at every ballpark just my top five of the best ballpark eat and some craptacular stuff that really shouldn’t marketed as edible food. Like Bill says, eat it Jamaal…I did.

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Dodger Dogs: If you grew up in L.A. like I did going to Dodgers games in the summer, and you haven’t turned into dirty hipster vegan like Mike you probably enjoy a Dodger Dog. Well like a lot of things when we were kids, you realize somethings don’t taste as good when you grow to be an adult.

Unfortunately one of those things is Dodger Dogs, sorry but they are just crappy pork blend that is boiled and stuck in a soggy bun. If you have to get a hot dog at a Dodgers game make sure you get the all beef and asked that it be grilled, and no ketchup on a hot dog is never ok.

Chicken Tenders at Staples Center: For some reason the only place you can get these are at the BBQ stand next to the smoking balcony at Staples Center. These are barley edible and don’t resemble chicken, I don’t care how much BBQ sauce you slather it’s not worth it. Don’t buy this…

5. Dodgers Carne Asada Nacho Helmet

Nachos are good, nachos in a helmet are great, nachos slathered in nacho cheese topped with carne asada is one of the greatest things you can eat. The helmet makes it perfect for sharing with friends and significant others. Grab a fork because it’s hard to get with your fingers and the carne asada tops it off, like eating a street taco but from a helmet.

4. Blaze Pizza at Staples Center

Blaze Pizza is a franchise that’s been popping up through out the country where you get to do it yourself assembly line pizza style. Think Chipotle with pizza, at Staples you can get Blaze Pizza minus the DIY but surprisingly unlike pizza at other stadiums this one is actually good.

It’s a flat style pizza that doesn’t taste gross an microwaved, the crust is very crunchy as if it was coming out of a wood oven, the cheese is cheesy and the pepperoni has real bite. They also have the chicken BBQ version and plain cheese if you like.

3. Randy Jones Grill at Petco Park

This is a little bit of a cheat because you have to go to San Diego to get it, but I did have this while watching the Dodgers on the road. What I liked about it was besides hot dogs you could actually get sausages, I ordered an Italian sausage, it was perfectly grilled and place in an french roll with peppers and onions.

The reason I included this is because there really isn’t anything equivalent that I’ve come across in Southern California stadiums. LAFC and the Rams are building new stadiums hopefully they have a place where you can get something equivalent and give discerning palates something other than hot dogs.

2. Everything at StubHub Center

Again I’m cheating but frankly everythime I’ve been to the StubHub Center I get upset because there are so many great options for food and I can’t eat it all. I’ve had pizza, hot dogs, tacos and hamburgers they’ve all been great. They even have BBQ options, brisket sandwiches and pulled pork sandwiches both are great options. Even if you don’t like soccer or the San Die…err L.A. Chargers try to get down to StubHub and eat something it’s worth the money.

1. Classic Hits: Angel Stadium

The absolute best food I ate in the last year at a ballgame was a bacon and blue cheese burger from the Classic Hits concession stand in the 107 section of Angels Stadium. This wasn’t a hockey puck sitting under a heat lamp kind of burger, this was a fresh of the grill juicy grilled burger.

The burger was delicious topped off with blue cheese and bacon which gave it a great smokey flavor. My only wish was that I had ordered two of these things, but that would have meant a visit to the cardiologist. Just trust me when I say this if you find yourself at Angels Stadium look for this burger.

 

Eat It Jamaal: Sawyer

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If you listen to the What’s Bruin Show on a regular basis you’ll often hear hosts Bill and Jake erroneously refer to me as a hipster. Sure I live in Echo Park (we were here way before the hipsters showed up), yes I wear t-shirts of my favorite TV show (The West Wing), and on occasion I will blast Mumford and Sons.

Sorry folks but I’m not a hipster, although on one night in Hipster Land I did get to eat like one. On a rare date night for the wife and I we decided to keep it local by discovering one of the many new restaurants that have opened in Silver Lake.

We decided to try Sawyer, which opened up in the Spring of 2016. Located on Sunset Boulevard right in the middle of Silver Lake. If you go to their website you’ll see Sawyer calls itself a Kitchen and Bar, and not a restaurant. This is their way of telling you they aren’t pushing out Denny’s blue plate specials.

When you walk into Sawyer you’ll definitely notice the crowd skews young and despite the fact that it was a late Thursday night, the place was full and noisy. Again the place lends itself to a more contemporary look, no linoleum or safari themes. If you didn’t know that Sunset Boulevard was just outside, the interior reminds you of what you might see in other burgeoning neighborhoods teeming with youth.

We started with drinks, of course we didn’t have bartenders, nope the good ol’ mixologist was behind the bar acting like a mad scientist.  My first drink was titled Up In Smoke (a Cheech and Chong reference?)a mixed drink with mezcal, chareau (California plant basedliquer), verjus a blanc (literally White Grape Juice),and orleans (a plum variety, not the band).

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The drink is mixed and poured into a glass that has been treated with fire hence the smoke, unfortunately that smokey flavor overwhelms and you don’t get the other flavors coming out.  You could have told me I was drinking straight bourbon and I would have believed you.

Since the first drink wasn’t to my liking I ordered another one.  This time I got a Low End Theory (a nod to A Tribe Called Quest), a cocktail over ice this time with mezcal, tequila, and reposado (known in my family as the Mexican trifecta), honey, ginger, and lime.  A much better choice very refreshing especially with the hint of citrus.

Started with an appetizer of shrimp and grits.  A southern staple this is item is popping up on more and more menus.  This variation was very savory and cheesy, finished off with little bits of bacon.  The flavors mixed great together and I would make everybody order this if they came into the restaurant.

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For my main course I went with their burger with bacon, which came with fries.  The burger had pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, pickles, caramelized onion with a mac sauce.  This is no hockey puck burger, it was gigantic and you’ll definitely need two hands because it can get pretty sloppy.  The patty had the right amount of crust on it making it a very tasty burger, but the caramelized onions and mac sauce made it a slippery mess. More of the burger ended up on my plate than in my mouth.

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Due to the large portions I should have eaten either dishes but not both, and because the burger was a sloppy mess I would have just preferred the shrimp and grits.

On the recommendation of one of the servers we decided to get a peanut butter chocolate pie for dessert.  This was the perfect marriage of the chocolate flavor with a whipped version of rich peanut butter, it was like eating the best Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup you could eat in your life.

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Overall Sawyer was a great experience and it was nice to be a hipster for one night.  Don’t forget your tattoos, vinyl records, and Chuck Taylor’s if your going to go, and Eat It!! just like me.