Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Eggslut: Don't Come When You're Hungry.

For The Eggslut Line might I suggest you bring a book?
When I first moved to LA no one went downtown. If they did, they were nervous. Or there was a story. Or they were going to volunteer. And they hated the streets - hated driving. No one seemed to live there, eat there, shop there--go there. 
Bilkes Los Angeles
Park your bike outside of the GCM
And yet there were always people who'd say, "It's really fun downtown" or "You ever think of living there? There're some really nice lofts." Well, that kind of talk can go on for years and years and years and the few times you give it a chance you're like, "Okay, that was gross" or "Okay, I get it. For these two blocks it was nice but then I'm done" or "The Disney Concert Hall is nice" or "It's funky. What an amazing art scene." But on the regular? Not so much.
Garnd Central Market
The Exterior of Grand Central Market
Then suddenly downtown and the promise of downtown merged into one. For me this occurred about two years ago, though in reality it might have begun in 2003 with The Staples Center and began really peaking starting around 2011. More shops and businesses popped up. Food wasn't in just a two block radius and some of the finest restaurants could be found there (Bestia, Faith & Flower). Combined with the improvement of the city's Metro system, Downtown was easier to get to, easier to leave. And yes, it finally felt like it arrived.  

At that time I was volunteering at an awesome non-profit located by Skid Row (School On Wheels). Because of this I became more comfortable. I drove in and dove in. It's not like I hadn't already found some great stuff: the Library, Wurtschuche, The Lazy Ox Canteen, Mo-Chica, Disney Concert Hall, MOCA... But one night, around when I began this blog, I finally did something truly freeing. I hit The Downtown LA Art Walk (the next one is January 8th) and had one of the best nights of my life. I felt alive. It was exhilarating. It wasn't that all the danger was removed but the city was populated. And it wasn't just for two blocks. It was for stretches and stretches and stretches. 
Since then, I'm a convert. Downtown isn't just one art night, one restaurant or one cool building. And it has the ever so original Grand Central Market, a 98 year old food court, housed in the Homer Laughlin Building on Broadway and 4th. The GCM is the city's largest public market, completely emblematic of who us Angelenos were, are and in ways, will always be.
The Grand Central Market
But I had already been there. And though I'd been hearing about the renovations, how new restaurants had stalls there, there was a lot to choose from. What was worth it? Where to go? What to do? It was kind of overwhelming. 
Then one night, when at one of Mark Peel's pop up restaurants (he's opening a place in the GCM soon enough) he told us about a fantastically named eatery: Eggslut. "Eggslut. Don't you love that? What a great name." I was like, "Egg...what? Slut?" And I thought, That is brilliant. I gotta check that out.
Egg Slut
Eggslut started as a food truck in 2011 by Chef Alvin Cailan, a native Angeleno who felt a void for good breakfast in LA. But in early 2014 he brought his very successful Egg biznass to The Grand Central Market. The lines that had once queued for his truck, now were doing so in The GCM. Frankly I'm embarrassed I hadn't heard of it before. Seemed everyone and their mother had. 

My first venture to ES was with my friend Lynda, a Kiwi, who, it turns out, had already been to Eggslut, worships Eggslut, LOVES Eggslut. At the mere mention she was like, "Yes, let's go there. Can't wait." I tumbled downtown, wearing paper on my feet, excited to take the plunge. The paper because I had just gotten a pedi. By the way, the Grand Central Market isn't exactly where you want to wear paper shoes but you know, us girls have to stay coiffed... 
Anyway, Lynda and I were on line, talking about her new boyfriend and chatting it up with the woman in front of us while perusing the menu when I realized we were talking to a stranger. That's the thing about the line at Eggslut: you're going to be there for awhile and you might make friends if you're even remotely friendly. As Angelenos, we're not used to this. We don't know how to do this. We're always in our cars or not wanting to leave our houses or apartments. 
Cave Dwelling Angelenos
But Lynda's from New Zealand and is a journalist and I'm from New York and can't shut up so it was inevitable. Still nothing and no one could interfere with the uber important discussion we were about to make regarding what to order. We knew we had to get three dishes because we had to try as much as possible. Lynda suggested the Slut and The Gaucho. For the life of me, I can't remember the third.

The Slut, for nine bucks, is a coddled egg on a potato puree, served in a glass jar. I seriously almost threw up hearing the glass jar bit. Lynda encouraged me to soldier on. 
The Eggslut Slut, 9 bucks.
As for The Gaucho, Lynda said it was "Amazing" when she had it last. This is how the restaurant describes it:
The Gaucho
Let's start with The Slut. She is sublime. You break that little yolk, mix it with that buttery potato mush stuff and holy mother of God, if you're hungover, you will be in heaven. If you love eggs, you will be in heaven. If you have any taste buds at all, you will be in heaven.

The second dish, The Gaucho, was extremely well designed flavor-wise. The steak is high quality, and I love the combo of spicy arugula with manchego cheese, but truthfully, it's really a bitch to eat. They don't cut up the steak much so you kind of have to be VERY comfortable with the one you're with if you're going to eat this sucker. But really, if you're not comfortable looking a little disgusting, I don't think I even want to know you. 

Like I said, I can't remember dish 3. Didn't take notes. Kind of was in a black out. Which was a shame. Except for the little annoying realization which is: I'd have to go back!

So yesterday, the dreariest day in LA -- it looked like Paris outside without the Paris - I returned. I had plans with my friend, Laurie, who's very encouraging about the blog and thought Eggslutting would be a fun activity for the two of us to do. I love my friends.

This time the line was the line I'd heard about. Lynda and I had only to wait 20 minutes. Yesterday, I think Laurie and I were waiting for 45 before ordering and then it took another 20 for our order to be up.

It was worth the wait.

Laurie was still a bit under the weather from the holidays so we didn't really split our food. I recommended she have the Egg Slut. I decided to go for The Fairfax. Once our food was up, we couldn't find anywhere to sit - the place was packed. 
Started wandering around the market. Nothing. Then a security man eschewed us to the bbq place attached to the other side, near G & B Coffee. I wasn't so sure it was PC but I didn't care. My eggs were getting cold.

We sat down, looked at one another, had that eye contact of: Let's do this. But there was a pause. Listen, a lot rides on when you recommend something to someone and they actually order it. Due to that commitment and neurosis, I had one bite of Laurie's just to make sure it was up to par before she got her post holiday germs all over it. Just to make sure it was good. Swear! No! I'm lying! I just wanted to taste it again! And yes, I can confirm: that one bite was amazing. Yet I'm surprised I have any memory of it as I soon became so immersed in my mess of a Fairfax. In fact I forgot to ask her how she liked her coddled egg until she was almost through with it. This is how she described it: "Comforting and satisfying." 

As any good slut should be.

As for The Fairfax, Sweet Jesus I found my breakfast. It was a sloppy mess of a soft scrambled egg sandwich. The buttery brioche mixed with the cheddar, oy gevalt! And that nice kick of sriracha. Honestly, I'm a decent cook. I really don't understand why I can't make this at home but I can't. I know I can't replicate it. Frankly it's gotta be the butter. I'd never use the amount of butter that I'm sure is used at this restaurant that makes it so freakin good. Which is fine. I'll just come back. 
The Fairsvs
Run, don't walk
Happiness is a Warm Egg, bang bang shoot shoot

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Merry Christmas and Tamale Alert

Some of THE BEST TAMALES I HAVE EVER EATEN are being sold for the holiday season at Grassroots  on Oxley & Fair Oaks in South Pas. The last day to order your Tamales for Christmas is Monday and maybe that's not your tradition but I urge you to start.

Dense but not heavy tasting, authentic, seasoned perfectly, simple and fresh and filled with certified organic white corn, non-GMO masa, no lard, no hormones, no anti-biotics - the flavor, the quality, the homemade-ness of these are OUTSTANDING.

And I think they're making thousands. I'm serious. Varieties include Green Chile & Cheese (that's what I had. That's two of what I had), Beef Machaca, Savory Organic Jack Fruit - which is loaded with zinc so it's like a healthy tamale, Chicken, Shredded Pork-- I know,  you wouldn't think they'd have pork, but they're letting down their hippie locks for Christmas - in other words, they've got all the hits. Oh, and though I found them moist, steamy and delicious they do offer traditional red sauce and green chile verde sauce. Also homemade and also perfectly traditional and super enhancing to the tamale.

You can order in bulk if you want some for a party but again, last day to order is Monday for pick up the 23rd and 24th. I'm planning on bringing some on the plane - the woman there told me they travel well. And you can order them now, freeze them and have them any time. There's an idea.

I promise more pictures in the future but today I simply wolfed down lunch without blinking or thinking that I would want to post about it. I was famished and man, these hit the spot! And normally I wouldn't impulsively write but because time is of the essence, I wanted you to know what was up.


Grassroots Natural Market and Bar is located at 1119 Fair Oaks Boulevard. T: 626.799.0156. On Instagram +GrassrootsNMK