I took a walk on the wild side last Friday night while road tripping from L.A. to The Bay. Instead of my usual In-N-Out order, a Double-Double with grilled onions, I crammed every “secret menu” add-on I could think of in between the two delicately toasted buns. After enduring rush hour on The 405 and odious feedlots along The 5, this gal demanded some serious entertainment of the edible variety.
Archive for the 'Fast Food' Category
Eagle Rock was the place to be last Friday night for track and field lovers and their pastrami-craving spouses. While The Astronomer was stoked to see some of the nation’s best distance runners competing at Occidental College, I was excited for dinner beforehand at Chef Andre Guerrero’s The Oinkster. It was truly a win-win situation for all parties involved, a rarity that we recognized and relished.
The Oinkster opened sometime in 2006 and the crowds haven’t let up since, especially with Guy Fieri joining the legion of fans. A line a dozen deep was snaking out the door when we arrived at half past six.
The menu here is all-American with a “slow fast food” bent. There are burgers, roasted pork, and rotisserie chicken to be had, but everyone seems to dig the pastrami most. Everything is reasonably priced under ten bucks.
We snagged a seat by the window as soon as we placed our order at the counter. The stack of napkins atop the table came in handy later when things got finger lickin’ messy.
There is no greater aperitif than a long walk. Strolling at an easy pace, admiring buildings and people along the way, works up an appetite like sitting in traffic never can.
While the number of restaurants within walking distance (and worth eating at) isn’t tremendous in our Pasadena neighborhood, The Astronomer and I have a solid list of go-to places including Pie ‘n Burger, Old Sasoon Bakery, and Cham Korean Bistro. Our most recent addition to the walkable and craveable list is Zankou Chicken, an L.A. institution located about a mile from home.
This much-loved rotisserie chicken shack was founded in Beirut in 1962 by Vartkes and Markrid Iskenderian. The couple fled war-torn Lebanon and opened the first American branch of Zankou in Hollywood in 1984. There are currently ten Zankou locations in and around the Southland.
Zankou is run much like a fast food establishment. Orders are placed and paid for at the counter, and numbers are shouted out as food is ready for pick up. Business was bumping the Friday night we visited. Still, lines moved efficiently and food was prepared swiftly.
Fast food chains generally make me queasy, but I couldn’t help feeling warm and fuzzy inside when I spotted the bright yellow sign for Bojangles‘ in the distance. I read about this storied southern chain years ago and have been curious to taste their signature Chicken ‘n Biscuits and Bo-Berry Biscuits ever since. Sometimes, my soft spot for regional specialties overpowers my disdain for everything fast food.
The Astronomer and his awesomely adventurous sister Rosalind joined me at Bojangles’ even though neither quite understood my fascination with the place.
Launched in 1977 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bojangles’ currently has over 500 outlets across ten states and Washington, D.C. There are even two international locations in Honduras. For those residing here on the west coast, the closest Bojangles’ is somewhere down in Mississippi.
We began with an order of Bojangles’ “famous” Chicken ‘n Biscuits, which was comprised of a seasoned breast filet served on a buttermilk biscuit. Pounded thin and heavily battered, the chicken tickled our tongues with its blend of Cajun spices. The biscuit, which the restaurant claimed was “made-from-scratch,” was buttery, doughy, and on par with other fast food biscuits I’ve come across.
The Astronomer and I were kickin’ it in Santa Monica on a gorgeous sunny Saturday when hunger pangs got us searching for suitable grub. We were tempted to hit up the local branch of our favorite fast-food Chinese eatery, but decided on a whim to try Fatburger. Founded in 1952 in Los Angeles, the Fatburger chain is co-owned by Magic Johnson. There are currently 93 outlets worldwide, most of which are in California.
While I didn’t notice it at the time, it appears from the photos I took that Fatburger’s clientele is mostly comprised of dudes. I guess with a name like Fatburger, it’s hard to attract the girly population.
Unafraid of putting on the pounds, The famished Astronomer ordered a half-pound Kingburger ($5.49). All of Fatburger’s burgers come with a choice of mustard, relish, onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and mayo. One has to fork over extra chedda for some cheese. The Astronomer ordered his Kingburger with only lettuce and onions. Although the Kingburger was better than an average fast-food burger, it was altogether unspectacular.
Not nearly as hungry as my dining companion, I went with the Baby Fat ($2.99), which I ordered with lettuce, grilled onions, tomato, cheese and a straight face. With the meat patty cooked all the way through, the burger bordered on dry and needed a good squirt of ketchup with every bite. The fixins were average; the onions could’ve used more time on the grill. As far as fast-food burgers go, this one was decent enough, but nowhere near as tasty and fresh as the burgers from In-n-Out.
The Astronomer and I love, love onion rings, and Fatburger delivered in this department. The homemade onion rings ($3.29) were lightly battered and well-seasoned.
This is what Santa Monica looks like in the middle of January. We don’t miss the east coast winters one bit!
1218 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401