Monthly Archives: September 2011


The Monster loves a good slice of pizza. It’s comforting and delicious and reminds one of birthday parties as kids when there wasn’t a worry in the world. It’s late nights in college when you should be studying but instead you are out partying. And it’s nights as adults when you want to rekindle a little of your youth. The gooey cheese being pulled into your mouth, the piping hot tomato sauce dribbling down your chin, the mounds of toppings are all recipe for happiness.

As such, The Monster was tremendously excited to give Olio Pizzeria and Café a try. It’s a tiny space on Crescent Heights and Third Street, not much more than a few tables inside a few out and seating along the bar from which you can watch the wood burning oven at work. The menu is a select group of artisan pizzas, salads and soups.

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From the week it opened in Venice, The Monster has loved Baby Blues BBQ.  From its laid back vibe to its rocking music, from its friendly servers to its delicious food, Baby Blues is a winner in The Monster’s book.  For many of you this may come as a surprise.  The Monster loves a place renowned for their meat?  Yup. 

When you walk into Baby Blues there are a few things you can expect.  Crowds of people any time of the day.  Huge portions of gut-busting chow.  A rollicking good time.

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If you haven’t checked it out, please follow the link below to read about The Monster on CNN.COM’s Eatocracy!  The Monster thanks Jennifer Wolfe for the wonderful story!


Filed under FTM on CNN.COM!


For those who were unable to listen, please find a link to Saturday’s KCRW “Good Food” interview featuring The Monster!

Other guests included Jonathan Gold, a look at LA kosher restaurants and a report on menu design.

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On a recent Culver City swing The Monster checked out L’Epicerie, the French restaurant cum market.  It’s a cheery space where one could imagine stopping in for tea, having a bite, and picking up some wine and cheese for later in the day.

One’s tolerance for this place will depend heavily on a few key questions: 1) Do you love French food? 2) Are you prepared for attitude with your food? 3) Is your idea of a market a place you can pick up prepared food in addition to wine and cheese?

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Filed under L'Epicierie (Closed), Reviews


Sandwiches have been the muse for great poets (true, Shel Silverstein).  They have been the principal cause for murder (true, a pending case in Cincinnati involving a meatball sandwich which lead to not one but two deaths).  And sandwiches have helped start wars (true, World War I, which left thirty-five million dead).  So is it a surprise The Monster searches far and wide for delicious sandwiches?  And he has found one…

Fundamental LA resides in a narrow space on Westwood Boulevard just south of Wilshire.  The Monster has been looking forward to his visit and samples a salad (eh) and a brownie (blah) but he’s not going to waste anymore time writing about that nor spend much space devoted to the order-at-the-counter-and-take-a-seat-in-the-spare-but-hip-space.  He could laud the team that has worked at such esteemed restaurants as Cyrus, Per Se and Melisse.  Instead, read on to find out about a sandwich worthy of the gods… 

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The Monster wants to love you.  He really does.  With your Little Tokyo location in a dark, hip space with concrete floors, distressed brick walls, and delightful light fixtures in antique bird cages (The Monster is enamored immensely).  Your space features loud music pulsating (The Rapture, Bob Marley) and a menu inspired by Vietnam and Singapore that should tickle the taste-buds and enliven the senses…

And yet The Monster has heard many who are thoroughly underwhelmed by The Spice Table.  How did TST fare on this evening…?

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Last night The Monster was delighted to be included as a guest at the 25th anniversary Zagat LA Awards.  Held at WP24 in the Ritz-Carlton downtown with fantastic views citywide, the awards celebrated the best of LA dining both past and present.  The Monster had the opportunity to talk with Tim and Nina Zagat, rub elbows with chefs and proprietors of the city’s finest spots and nibble on WP24 hors d’oeuvres .  He also got an early copy of the newest LA Zagat Guide which is always a bittersweet moment.  While The Monster has eaten at every restaurant in the 2011 Guide, the 2012 Guide promises new and exciting restaurants.  And of course The Monster plans on hitting each and every new restaurant and reporting back.

Some interesting stats to consider, the first LA Guide published in 1987 had only 370 restaurants (that’s not much more than a year of eating for this Monster) while today there are 2,027 places listed.  And while many restaurants come and go, some of the best of 1987 may sound familiar…Michael’s, Katsu, Spago and The Palm all were lauded back then and continue to flourish today.  A few notables no longer with us include the venerable L’Orangerie, Rex II Ristorante and Mon Kee’s.  As for the newest winners crowned last night…

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A counter order fast casual on Pico, Colony Cafe is beachy in its blue and white decor with pictures of old time LA lining the brick walls. It features a comprehensive menu of breakfast and lunch salads, sandwiches, burgers, dogs and wraps with enough on order to satisfy picky eaters.

With both indoor and outdoor seating and a healthy to-go business, Colony Cafe fills a need when fast but tasty food is required.

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On a stretch of Venice populated by a gay bath house, a high school and a lot of stores you have no reason to stop in is this casual sandwich and salad stop featuring high end ingredients at reasonable prices.  With a small indoor seating area and a covered outdoor area in the back, this is a quick lunch stop for the area Dilberts who are sick of Subway (and on this day speak in bizarre, cultish language, but more on that later).

Mar Vista isn’t a food haven so Earl’s Gourmet Grub’s opening saw long lines and so-so service.  The food has continued to be delicious and the service has improved allowing it to flourish.  The Monster returns on this day terribly hungry.

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Filed under Earl's Gourmet Grub, Reviews