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LA donut and burger tour

Joanie | Mar 14, 201406:58 AM

I did go to other places but this was basically the donut tour of the west coast (also was in Seattle and San Diego) and burgers got added into the mix in LA. We drove up from SD on a Thurs. and found a happy hour close to my friend's house at Rascal on La Brea. They don't have a full liquor license but made a nice Moscow Mule in lovely copper mugs and we split a tasty eggplant parmesan, they may have served it w/ burrata. Items were about $5 at happy hour, very nice owner. After regrouping, we stopped at Formosa, which I hadn't been too since 1996. It's a cool place. Just had a couple decent cocktails then G. suggested Jones across the street. It was now time for late nite happy hour so he had an interesting drink from the HH menu but I had to get the Hendrix (had been looking for this one Jimi song and found it that day so it was a sign) which was basically a pear margarita, very nice and we split a HH sausage pizza. A couple valley girls chatted with us, I'd never really heard that accent in real life before. We ended at Boardners. The next day we started at SK Donuts (also in his hood) where I tried a blueberry, it was good but not what I usually go for. Our plans didn't really come together in general that day. I'd seen the LA Weekly's list of 30 best burgers and Cassell's in Koreatown sounded perfect, too bad it's not around anymore, so G. suggested Wurstkuche in the Arts district. Their mango jalapeno sausage sandwich was really good ($6.50). The Belgian frites were okay, cool place. Even tho I don't usually drink that much, I'm obsessed with happy hour cuz it's not allowed in Massachusetts (just food deals, no discounted booze) so I saw that Suede downtown had one and it had gotten good Yelp reviews. Didn't really like it there, couldn't get served in the couch area so we moved to the bar which was better. Well drinks were cheap so we both got Greyhounds and split their $5 HH burger. It was a decent one but they knew we were splitting it and they didn't cut it or bring a 2nd plate like they said they would. A friend had made a reservation at The Bazaar in B. Hills cuz he knows I like fancy cocktails but things didn't work out (maybe just as well, sounded $$ and kind of over the top) so we went back to Hollywood for drinks at Velvet Margarita, split some good guac and fried calamari. An interesting place, not sure I'd need to go back. Ended up at the Frolic Room cuz Loaded was jammed.

Sat. was beautiful and I stayed out of a car for much of the day, hopped the bus and walked around a lot. Sat outside at Red Hill for brunch and it was decent. I didn't read that the egg/bacon/chard dish came with mole which I would have had on the side, and their yam biscuit wasn't so biscuit like, but it was okay. Quick donut stop at K&K Donuts on the corner on Sunset (pic below). Wandered around Sunset, hit the Amoeba sidewalk sale and met a friend to go to Laurel Hardware for a late afternoon cocktail. I'm not the only one who assumes it's a hardware store with a cool sign. But it's a really cool restaurant with a dining room, huge bar/lounge area and nice patio. Really interesting (and pricey) cocktails. G. had the Fear & Loathing (mezcal, vanilla bean, honey shrub, lime & grapefruit). I had something with watermelon and cucumber and it was great (pic). We met a friend at Astro Family restaurant later, cool 50's space age looking structure. It only gets average reviews on Yelp but it was quite good, I had a really tasty (and huge) patty melt with homemade onion rings. Friends had an avocado omelet and a tuna melt. Our waitress was awesome. Too full for dessert but a great old school place. We then went to Sonny's Hideaway in the Highland Park section which I'd never seen. York Blvd was super jumping with some art thing going on, lots of neat shops. We had great drinks there then saw music at the divey (but cool) Club Nela.

Sun. I walked down to Magee's donuts on LaBrea and had an excellent buttermilk w/ choc frosting. G. finally got going and we headed out to see the Watts Towers. I probably should have opted for more walking to the museum and food trucks or hit the Melrose flea market (which I forgot about) but back in the car to Watts (of course I saw 12 donut places on the drive, you guys are so lucky) and a soul food restaurant I'd found called Carolyn's. They opened later than usual so the line was esp. long and after waiting for a bit we decided to try Hawkins Burgers on Slater Ave. This made the trip worth it, can't believe it wasn't in the Top 30 list. Little spot with lots of nice people waiting and the promise that the burger is free if not ready in 15 min. We each ordered a fat burger, mine with cheese his w/ egg and chili. We didn't realize how fat they'd be, gigantic. They put cheese on G's by mistake and he said that was fine but they made him another one. If you make it a plate w/ a drink and fries, it's only $7. Should have gotten a jr. burger, I had to bring half home. A few characters hanging around including one down on her luck woman who asked us how the burgers were. We said great and she goes 'nothing like a N burger huh". She then asked for food and G. gave a packet of fries cuz we had so many, she digs in face first with her two remaining teeth then asked cars driving by if anyone wanted a blow job. Haha, an amusing time before seeing the towers. (And the cook gave G. more fries cuz she saw him give some to the lady.j) We ended the day with happy hour at Snakepit Alehouse for freezing cold drafts then over to Luna Park on LaBrea. He got a cronut at SK (my first taste of one, very good) and I got a couple more donuts for the red eye back to Boston, where it's 19 degrees today. But at least I can walk everywhere, LA's biggest drawback for a small city gal like me. Always a fun time tho, thanks for the donut help.

Cassell's Hamburgers,
Wurstküche Restaurant,
Wurstküche Restaurant Venice,
The Bazaar by José Andrés,
La Velvet Margarita Cantina,
Frolic Room,
Laurel Hardware,
Astro Family Restaurant,
Sonny's Hideaway,
Hawkins House of Burgers,
Señor G's Fresh & Healthy Mexican Food
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