Barney’s Beanery

8447 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069(323) 654-2287 • barneysbeanery.com
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If Baskin Robbins decided to serve burgers instead of ice cream and to become a Hell’s Angel, this would be their restaurant. And I use the term “restaurant” loosely. The word “dive” is much more fitting. But the burgers aren’t bad. And the décor is certainly “interesting.” Perhaps a little out of place on the promenade to the point where it feels inauthentic, so if you’re gonna go, I recommend the original in West Hollywood. It’s the real deal. Plus, at that one they used to have live lingerie models on display once in a while as a nice added perk. I’m not a doctor or anything, but I believe it helps with digestion.

And while the novelty of Barney’s certainly has its merits, the burgers only hold up so much. If you truly want a bodacious bite on a bun, head to Father’s Office instead. There’s one in Santa Monica and Culver City.

But if you’re not in the mood for a burger, not to worry, Barney’s has tons of other options on their menu ranging from salads to sandwiches and pizza to Mexican. I can’t vouch for any of them, but they’re on the menu.

3 teeth

Birchwood Café

3311 E 25th St. Minneapolis, MN 55406(612) 722-4474birchwoodcafe.com

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Located in more of a residential area, you feel like you could be on Montana Street in Santa Monica (granted it only feels like this in the Summer, of course). It’s so hippie, granola cool. And such great food. I had the sweet corn waffle with the kitchen sink on top (pictured). It was near perfect minus the fruit on top- I think that pushed it over the edge of trying to do too much. I mean one should one expect so much from waffle in general as a rule in life.

The French toast was also kickin’. As are the drinks. The only downside is the line, so get there early. Like right when they open. It’s worth being seen with bed-head in public.

4 teeth

Father’s Office

1018 Montana Ave. Santa Monica, CA 90403(310) 393-2337 • fathersoffice.com

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If I were just rating the Office Burger I would give it 5 knives without blinking because there is literally no better burger on the planet. Quite a statement, I know. But try one and believe! It’s all kinds of awesome. From the Grade A Prime to the blend of gruyere and gorgonzola to the bacon compote and watercress all stacked on a Portuguese roll.

Also, the micro brews on tap are fantastic. Solid fries as well. The only downsides to this place are the hours, the wait and trying to get a table. I recommend having a big breakfast and then showing up at Father’s Office right at 3PM when they open. You’ll slide right up to the front, get your burger, get a table and then let the bliss begin (no rezzy’s sad to say).

Also, don’t be askin’ for ketchup here. There is none. No tomato on the burger either- but trust me,  you’ll never even miss it.

4 teeth

The Ultimate Pasta Dish

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Piccolo – Venice, CA

Unlike the other pastas on this list, Piccolo’s Venison, Clove and Cinnamon Pasta is a bit on the wintery side. And after the insanely brutal winter we just endured I’m sure about half of you just skipped to the next one. Well, your loss. This pasta is truly something special. And unique. I haven’t had anything like it anywhere. Nor have I ever even seen it on a menu since. But I can tell you this, shitty winter or not, next time I’m at Piccolo, I’m getting it again.

Capo – Santa Monica, CA

The Quattro Fromaggi is like a pillowcase stuffed with dreams. Only the case is made of pasta and the dreams are made from four of the creamiest cheeses to ever explode in your mouth. It’s literally as if fireworks made of cheese are putting on a show for your taste buds. And it’s about a dozen other metaphors I could think of as well, but some of them are sexual and gross, so perhaps the single most compelling thing I can say is this: One time my wife couldn’t make the trip to LA with me, so I begged the chef to vacuum seal an order of the pasta, so I could fly back with it and she could have it at home. Yes, it’s THAT good. And yes, I remind her of that every time I do something stupid… So about once a day.

NoMad – New York, NY

The crab pasta is so deceptively simple that you’ll likely overlook it on the menu. Well, that is, unless you heed my advice. So what makes this pasta all that? Balance. Proportions. It is a clinic on the alchemy of cooking, made effortless by the way its impeccable ingredients come together. The spicy hit from the black pepper. The acidity from the lemon. The tender, meaty, saltiness of the crabmeat. And the starchy, crunchy bed of al dente pasta. It’s simply divine.

Osteria – Philadelphia, PA

You won’t find it on the menu, which only makes it that much more fun to order, because you’ll impress anyone else at the table who’s not in the know. And impress them you will, because it’s easily the best thing they make. Now, for some of you, here’s the rub. It’s chicken liver pasta. But wait, wait, wait! It’s friggin’ awesome chicken liver pasta. So rich and savory. I mean if there was ever a time to give chicken livers their day in court, this is it.

Manzo – New York, NY

It’s not often that you come across a pasta that can hold its own in the company of steak and pork belly. But the anglionotti at Manzo does so quite handily. As if the juices from a perfectly cooked rib eye were somehow magically injected into the dumplings, so when you bite into them, it’s that exact same sensation you get when you bite into a wonderful, medium rare cut. Bellissimo!