..::Phone Home::..

July 3, 2009, 7:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

PhoneHome will be taking a break while the esteemed editor in chief is cruising Greece and the Black Sea. That said you can look forward to reviews of Father’s Office Culver City, Primitivo, and Chaya in late July accompanied by some Black Sea action. In the meantime have fun pushing this 😛

Thanks for reading, see you soon!



June 24, 2009, 9:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Congratulations to the US Men’s National Soccer Team!

That’s right folks, the thoroughly out-gunned US Men’s team defeated the #1 ranked team in the world to snap Spain’s 35 game win streak. With goals from the young buck Jozy Altidore in the 25′ and Clint Dempsey in the 73′ the US upsets the heavily favored Spanish and advances to the FIFA Confederations Cup Finals for the first time in history. Kudos to Tim Howard the keep for playing a hell of a game and maintaining the clean sheet against the Spaniards.

The US will see the winner of tomorrow’s Brazil v. South Africa in the Finals. Let’s all hope for an upset by the hosting nationals so we won’t have to see Brazil again…

Bottle Rock the Party

Maximum 3====D
Food 3===D
Beer 3====D
Service 3====D
Atmosphere 3===D
Eye Candy 3=D

The once Culver City confined Bottle Rock now has a new location in downtown LA just for the Eastsiders. Just blocks away from LA Live, Bottle Rock LA serves up the traditional wine bar cheese and charcuterie plates with the addition of a full menu of seafood, meats, pastas, and desserts.

The cheese and charcuterie plates were very well paired with varying spreads, pastes, and fruit. The food has a delicate touch with Asian and Italian influences. Specifically, the Pig Ear Terrine and Pork Belly Risotto tipped me off that there must be a Taiwanese chef in the kitchen. This was a very pleasant surprise as both my parents are from Taiwan and it is far from mainstream fare in the U.S.

This similarly chic downtown location boasts more space and an even larger wine selection than their predecessor with nearly 1,000 bottles to choose from. Alex Macy, who recently coordinated the LACABAL event in May, has done a killer job as the beer buyer stocking some great craft bottles like Duchesse de Bourgogne and Allagash’s Hugh Malone while the taps list features gems like Old Rasputin (on nitro) and Allagash Curieux

A very enjoyable experience overall, Bottle Rock LA is definitely a go-to. Atmosphere is a bit cold with lots of concrete and metal in the room, but that can be easily overcome with some great beer and good company. The beer and wine selection is certainly among the best in LA but the food is nice and not to be overlooked.

  • Good place to start a night of debauchery downtown
  • Accomodating for large groups but may be difficult when busy
  • Good place to bring a date to impress with knowledge of food/beer/wine
  • Great stuff but gets pricey quick so beware when eating and drinking
  • Beer selection is phenomenal

Here Piggy Piggy
June 20, 2009, 10:51 pm
Filed under: Beer, Booze, Diners, Grub, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Maximum 3====D
Food 3==D
Beer 3===D
Service 3===D
Atmosphere 3==D
Eye Candy at place called Oinkster?

Oinkster has recently been featured on a certain Food Network show and is now all the rage in the center of the Universe, the Eagle Rock-Glendale-Burbank area.

The Oinkster, a fast-casual concept from acclaimed fine-dining chef Andre Guerrero, invites diners to kick back and enjoy high-quality American classics in a relaxed, modern and fun environment.

via O I N K S T E R : a slow fast food restaurant.

Serving up burgers, house-cured pastrami sandwiches, rotisserie chicken, fries, and salads, the Oinkster is truly all-American cuisine…except the Belgian fries of course. While people rave about the pastrami, I think the stars of the show are really the fries and house made condiments. The Belgian fries are fresh and crisp, the chipotle ketchup is a nice way to get some smoke on your burger, and the Oinkster mustard MAKES the pastrami sandwich.

They also maintain a more than palatable tap selection usually featuring Stone‘s Arrogant Bastard, Pale Ale, Smoked Porter, and a rotating tap featuring various craft brews. It’s also nice to see pitchers available as fewer and fewer places in LA are doing that. If none of that suits your fancy there are plenty of bottles to choose from too. Milkshakes are a must for a place like this and they’re good. If you’re a fan of Auntie Em’s, which is also in the area, then you’ll be glad to know that they cater desserts to Oinkster.

The service is pretty good, the runners are friendly and helpful, but one order is inevitably forgotten about when with large groups. That said, they are always quick to fix the problem. While there are indoor and outdoor seating areas, tables are limited and it is a royal pain in the a$$ to seat a large group there if it’s at all busy.

The Oinkster is a respectable establishment making almost everything in house and supporting local business as much as possible. The food isn’t mind-blowing nor is the atmosphere, but it’s a diner and it is certainly worthy of Gay Fieri’s lil’ show. It’s good ol’ fashioned American made with quality ingredients. Besides, the fries and beers are enough to get me (and many others) back through the door any day.

  • Sometimes orders get forgotten in large groups
  • Service is friendly and generally quick
  • Difficult for large groups
  • They use Carolina BBQ sauce so don’t expect the goopy stuff
  • I hear a dirty rumor that they will be featuring Eagle Rock Brewery one day

Silverlake Barbarella
June 19, 2009, 6:16 pm
Filed under: American, Beer, Booze, Grub, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Barbarella taps

Maximum 3====D
Food 3==D
Beer 3====D
Service 3==D
Atmosphere 3===D
Eye Candy 3===D

The same people that opened the Bungalow Club bring a beer haven to Silverlake in the form of Barbarella Bar. The name may evoke images of surreal space scenery with shiny outfits and phallic rockets reminiscent of the movie…don’t worry, it’s not that tacky. The place is spacious and pretty massive sprawling 4300 square feet with high ceilings so elbow room is plentiful.

There isn’t much wow factor to the menu but ingredients are fresh and local when possible which is a plus. The fare is pretty standard consisting of some appies like modified bruschettas and Ahi Tar Tar, both of which were good but not “OMG I just creamed my pants” good. Items like pumpkin ravioli, mac & cheese, burgers and pizza comprise the entree section. While this is far from the most innovative menu in town, it is accessible and gets the job done for a decent price with quality ingredients. The mac & cheese hits the spot.

Bartenders and servers are attractive, friendly and maintain the leather and heels sort of ambiance. However, their knowledge on the available taps is disappointing to say the least. I didn’t order wine so I can’t speak to their level of expertise in that sense, but when I ask if a beer is on nitro I don’t expect bewildered looks from both server and bartender. Nonetheless, their tap selection is impressive with about 25 varieties ranging from SoCal hop to Belgian malt. I had the Old Rasputin on nitro which was tight, but I wouldn’t have known had I been relying on the staff to tell me.

For those of you curious about this nitro nonsense, here’s the skinny: Conventionally beers are carbon dioxide carbonated. On nitrogen the bubbles are finer and make for a creamier, softer mouth feel (that’s what she said) typically used with stouts and porters.

Overall, I would say that the tap selection is the big draw while the food is mildly above pedestrian and the price point is reasonable for both. The majority female staff balances the heavily male population of the East LA scene while providing enjoyable scenery and ample opportunity for light conversation. Will definitely go back for drinks, but dinner would mostly be out of convenience.

  • Don’t expect the staff to know much about their beers
  • Service is friendly pleasant to look at
  • Good place for a group to meet or to start/end the night
  • Again, more of a group spot than a date thing
  • I saw Keanu Reeves and his beard there

Pizza Face

Maximum 3====D
Food 3===D
Beer 3==D
Service 3==D
Atmosphere 3===D
Eye Candy 3===D

I heard about Gjelina through a Food & Wine article about the “New Pizza Artisans.” It was one of two local LA pizza joints that got mentions, the other of course being Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali’s Pizzeria Mozza. I love me some Pizzeria Mozza and it’s definitely one of my favorite LA establishments so I thought I’d give Gjelina a try.

Upon walking in I was impressed with the scenery, although it was unmarked and f*cking hard to identify at night. Tall unfinished wood doors welcomed me to a very clean Alpine cabin-esque environment filled with a lot of wood and tall windows…not to mention very good looking female clientele. Some old school lighting gave it a nice effect and kept the lighting very mellow. I sat outside where there is a fire pit amidst about 10 small tables in addition to the 20 or so tables indoors. Note to the owners: small round tables with large round pizzas make for a very inefficient use of surface area, stick to tops with 4 corners.

Tap selection was extremely limited but good enough boasting Green Flash IPA and Allagash White. Unfortunately I arrived late and was subject to the “Late Night” menu that consisted of only oysters (Kumamoto and Malapeques) salads and pizzas. Nonetheless the pizzas provided an entertaining selection with some not-so-mainstream pies. I opted for the Lamb Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, Tomato Confi t & Asiago. The pizza was great, thin crispy crust, good balance of toppings, and the broccoli rabe really worked well with the lamb sausage. A couple of beers and a pizza amounted to a whopping 30 bucks, not bad at all for West LA.

Service was mediocre and the server was rather icy not once cracking a smile. I would still say that I enjoy the dining at Mozza a bit more, but overall the impression was good and I will definitely return for a run at the full menu.

  • There are no modifications so don’t bother asking
  • Music is trying a bit hard
  • Service seems hit and miss
  • Good place to bring a date, just don’t get caught with wandering eyes
  • Pies are about 12″ rounds – good for 2 people
  • Get a square table if possible, small round tops are wack large ones OK