Saturday, August 23, 2008

Korean BBQ at Gyenari in Culver City

Downtown Culver City has grown into the place to go to eat. I remember a few years ago when it was a sleepy little community where I only ventured to go to the Trader Joes, Surfas or the Mann movie theatre. Now the streets are bustling with people, the outdoor patios of restaurants are filled, the parking lots are full with only parking on the roof levels, valet parking umbrellas in front of many restaurants and the air of this is the place to be.

Last night G wanted a whole fried snapper and thought about going to Pacificos for their Huanchinango. Why with all the new choices would we go to an old Culver City standby? We didn't get the memo that it is now closed (thank goodness, I didn't want to eat there anyway). We walked down the street looking for alternatives. Lots of good choices, some requiring reservations and others with long waits but Gyenari caught my eye.

We were told there was a 30 minute wait for indoors but we could be immediately seated on the patio. I ask, why would I go to a Korean BBQ restaurant to sit on the patio with tables minus the BBQ grill. They tried to convince me that that's ok as the kitchen would prepare the food. Obviously she misunderstood the reason I would choose to eat Korean BBQ. I want to cook it myself. We chose to wait. The wait turned out to be only 5 minutes. We were directed to a booth and sat down to experience Gyenari.

We ordered Shoju to drink and from the menu decided to go with the Prix Fixe G1 which accomodates 2. This includes gyenari galbee (beef short ribs), bulgogi (thinly sliced marinated prime rib), aged pork belly (thick cut Kurobuta pork marinated 2 days), flower chicken (free range in citrus marinade), japchae and the usual panchan.

I enjoyed myself and the food was good and of good quality. I didn't particularly like the feeling that we were being rushed to finish. A constant pick up of empty plates and cleaning of the table top may have been intended to be good customer service but gave me a sense of urgency to complete the meal. I would probably return though G may take some nudging. He thought it was quite noisy and not a very relaxing eating environment.


gyenari galbee, bulgogi, aged pork belly, flower chicken


Table Top Grilling

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me- Dinner At Pinks

The power of television is truly phenomenal. I was watching one of my favorite TV shows last night on Food TV. It was a rerun which I had previously seen but as it goes I tend to watch these shows over and over again. The highlighted food joint was Pinks. A hot dog stand located in Los Angeles on the corner of La Brea and Melrose. They have been serving hot dogs from this family owned location for over 68years with a clientele of just about anybody and everybody.

I have wanted to go there for years but just didn't seem to make plans to actually go there. A couple of years ago I actually drove by the place seeking a mid day snack but for reasons I can't recall never pulled into the free parking area to place my self in the long, long line of folks seeking this Los Angeles/Hollywood hot dog stand delight.

Ok, how did we wind up there today? G asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday dinner. Since we both have to work Monday, the celebration woud have to take place Sunday. Without hesitation, I said, I want to eat at Pinks. Amidst feelings of why there and boy is this going to be a cheap date (I could have asked for dinner at a Michelin Star Restaurant and he would have accomodated me), we planned a early afternoon hot dog venture.

G asked how we should dress. I reminded him this is a hot dog stand. We are going to have to wait in line for over an hour in the heat for a hot dog. Well, why would anyone do this? It is a dinning adventure. Similar to why someone would spend hours to get a French Laundry reservation and pay a fortune for one of the best meals ever. A dining adventure. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying a hot dog at Pinks is the best meal ever. The experience of getting that dog is what is special.

We ordered three hotdogs and an order of fries. We ordered the Martha Stewart 10 inch stretch dog with relish,onions, bacon, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, and sour cream, a Bacon chili cheese dog with tomatoes, cheese and the works and we ordered a spicey polish dog with mustard chili and onions.

We got in that line at 4:05pm and were served at about 5:30p. That equates to about an 1 1/2 hour wait. One of the best things about being in line are the people you meet (another BBQ lover who I invited to join us on the CBBQA website). After finally ordering we were invited to move to the line inside to pay and get our treats. We consumed those dogs in less than a half hour. A southern California treat. Hot Dogs at Pinks. They were good with that renowned snap when you bite into that dog. Unique choices with all seemingly tasty.

Happy Birthday To Me

More photos on my Flickr site