Posts Tagged ‘Restaurant Reviews’

Nickel Diner (Part 2)

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment
Yes, research is ongoing for The Fun Foodie.  Just wanted to share the latest findings at the downtown L.A. gem, Nickel Diner (read my original review here).  We didn’t sit down this time.  They are very gracious to pack up their sweet treats to go.  I think they do it often.

Red Velvet Donuts. A very enjoyable pastry cream, but not any legit "red velvetiness" going on (more on the Red Velvet craze in a coming cupcake clash). Still, a great donut!

The Maple Bacon and Nutella donuts were as awesome as I remembered. The Strawberry Crumble was a bit too fake tasting for me.

Their apple-filled house-made Pop Tart is many times better than what we all thought was so wonderful as kids!


Nickel Diner

December 8, 2010 2 comments

Amidst the historic buildings and inebriated transients of downtown L.A., you’ll find a smattering of world-famous eateries that have been around since The Great Depression.  I’m not sure about the history of Nickel Diner, but its retro look makes it at least seem like it’s been there forever.  A good chunk of downtown has undergone a successful gentrification, but the block that Nickel Diner calls home is definitely not part of that process.  But you would be truly missing out on a gem if you let the surroundings intimidate you.  It’s not as bad as it might look to those unaccustomed to big city woes.  Rarely does anything worse happen than someone asking you for some spare change.  If that’s not encouragement enough to give Nickel Diner a try, take a look at this: 

Maple Bacon Donut with Nutella Donut in the background.

Brioche French Toast with house-made jam.

You read that right, Maple Bacon Donut!  Weird, I know, but think of the salty-sweet goodness of a HoneyBaked Ham, plus the pillow-plush luxury of yeast-risen dough.  Much more substantial and a bit more dense than a Krispy Kreme donut, Nickel’s creative pairing is magic!  The contrast in textures and tastes just works.  Please, trust me.  You must try one before you die.  The Nutella Donut is quite awesome, too.  The added crunch of the crushed hazelnuts is yet another testament to the fearless innovation of the folks at Nickel Diner.  I must return to try the Strawberry Crumble and Red Velvet donuts.  I would go tomorrow if it weren’t for that pesky obligation called a job.

And The Fun Couple makes yet another great French Toast find!  Brioche is a flaky and rich french bread that is a cross between a pastry and a yeast bread.  Nickel takes cinnamon brioche, lightly batters it, griddles to a perfect golden crispiness and serves with butter and house-made jam.  The strawberry-pear-rhubarb jam (I had to ask) was absolutely the best preserved fruit spread I’ve ever had!  I think they fill their homemade pop tarts with it.  Yeah, they make those, too.  Wanna go, dontcha?

We also shared the “Fifth and Main”, spicy BBQ pork hash with two poached eggs.  The shredded pork was tender, but the BBQ sauce was a bit on the sweet side for our tastes (not bad, though).  It did have a nice kick and was paired nicely with the fried potatoes.  The eggs helped tone down everything.  Nice meal, but probably not one we’d order again.  The coffee was good.  So was the service.

Our breakfast came out to be just over twenty bucks with the tax and tip.  My wallet thanked me.  My circulatory system, not so much.  With an ungodly rush of sugar and pork coursing through my system, I could hear my heart whisper:

“I know you hurt me because you love me.”

Nickel Diner on Urbanspoon

A BBQ Gem in Gold Country

February 20, 2010 4 comments

Vacations are for rest, relaxation, and research.  Food research, that is.  Recently, the FUNdamental Family vacationed in the majestic winter wonderland that is Yosemite National Park. Always in search of legit BBQ in California (read my definition of real BBQ here), Yelp sent us to Doc’s Texas BBQ in Sonora.  Yelp, I love you!

Doc’s has a real “down home” feel, with obvious regulars greeting one another and Doc himself.  I was quite concerned that I didn’t smell any smoke whatsoever in the parking lot or even inside.  My fears were put to rest as our food came out almost glowing with that beautiful pink smoke ring that true BBQ fans look for.  Doc told me that he uses oak (I found his three upright smokers out back). 

Spare rib, tri tip and sausage combo with fries.

Brisket plate with slaw and beans.

Doc's smokers. I was tempted to load one into the van. Seriously.

We had the pork spare ribs, tri tip, hickory sausage, jalapeno sausage, and beef brisket.  Everything was tender, juicy, and pleasantly smokey.  The brisket may have been just a bit on the crumbly side with a little too much gristle, but was still very enjoyable.  The jalapeno sausage had a nice kick and was right up there with some of the tastiest I’ve ever had.  The tri tip was amazing.  I’m usually not a fan of smoked tri tip as it normally gets very chewy and tough.  I usually grill it to no more than medium rare.  Doc has found a way to smoke it for hours and keep it tender and juicy.  Pure magic.  The fries were even amazing-er.  Made from fresh potatoes, which is great, but the flavor is just over the top!  It’s as if they’re fried in lard or bacon grease or something along those heavenly lines.  Or maybe it’s just more of his magic.  Absolutely the best fries I’ve ever had.  The sauce was very good, slightly sweet and tasting a bit of coffee.  I just wish there was a hot version.  The beans and cole slaw were decent, nothing spectacular.

Doc’s Texas BBQ is one of the best BBQ experiences I’ve had anywhere (including the Lone Star state itself) and easily the best in California.  But why, oh why, oh great Mr. Doc must you be so far away?

Doc's Texas BBQ & Burgers on Urbanspoon