When I first moved to Century City, I was warned it would be a culinary wasteland. This sad fact is mitigated by the fact that it is a short drive from several culinary wonderlands. However, sometimes a girl just wants to stay near (as in within a mile) of home, so I've been working hard to find cheap but delicious meals for $10 in my neighborhood (this would be Santa Monica Blvd, between Westwood and the mall--thereby eliminating both Westwood Village and Sawtelle).
I've made some headway, but I think I'll be posting a $10 revelation every time something comes my way (or maybe up the amount to $15).
Sunnin was this week's discovery. We ended up paing $9 each after tax and tip for enough food to fill five hungry stomachs.
Hummus: incredibly smooth and creamy, and chock full of garlic and paprika.
Magadareh (sp?): ground lentils with caramelized onions. I loved the crispy onion bits, but the lentils were just like any pureed beans. I love beans, but they weren't special.
Foul: fava beans in a garlicky, spicy sauce. WOW! This was easily the most amazing thing in the meal, despite the horrible name (pronounced "fool" by waitstaff). I heard a lot of people ordering this, so I think it's a restaurant favorite.
French fries: the skinny McD's variety. Hot and crispy, but again nothing revelatory.
Pita: thin, probably storebought, but perfectly adequate.
Pickled daikon: cold, crispy, tangy, and bright pink. Everything they should be!
Beef shwarma: I think the quality of schwarma varies so much depending on how long it's been since the last person ordered it (and hence, how long it's been rotating on that spit) that it's unfair to judge. I went a few days ago and someone ordered it right before me, so the pieces I got were less charred and more juicy. Last night, the pieces we got were more charred and less juicy. It was good both times, but different.
Beef kebab: juicy, hot, beefy, lightly spiced. Good.
Falafel: served very hot and very fresh. Perfectly crispy on the outside but still hot and moist on the inside. My falafel hating friend pronounced it "definitely the best falafel I've ever had" and happily ate half of one. I wouldn't go as far as to say it was "the best," but it was good enough to convert a falafel hater and it was good enough for the rest of the table.
The Greek salads and rice that came on the side were both excellent.
This is the kind of food that I would love to find more of in Century City. Sunnin isn't trying to impress anyone by being exotic or chic. The guys wear greasy aprons, and they're there to slap hot food on a styrofoam plate. You're there to eat under the flourescent lights and get out as soon as you're done. The food is filling, hearty, no frills, and cheap.
Real food at prices real people can pay. Any other suggestions? My next post will be about the Mexican place in the same strip mall as Ogden cleaners and that Christian bookstore.