At the risk of making myself look like a ridiculous glutton, here’s another post on food.
I think there is a soft spot in every guy’s heart for “greasy spoons”. You know what I’m talking about, right? Every town has one – I bet there were a few within walking distance of your high school – with a table full of old-timers, decades-old decor, and a smell all its own. For my money, there are just four requirements for a great greasy spoon.
1 – PRICE – You must be able to buy a meal there for less than $10. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. This unfortunately eliminates great diners like Langer’s and Canter’s – by far the best delis in Los Angeles, but $15 for a sandwich only!? For lunch!? No dice.
2 – WAIT – You must be able to get in and out of there within 10 minutes if getting take-out, or get served within the same time frame if eating in. Sorry, Pink’s and your beastly snake of a line. You’re overrated anyway, even if your new commercial makes me love Los Angeles that much more.
3 – FOOD – Assuming the food is good, you must be able to fill up completely with one meal order. Like that food-coma, itis (Boondocks, anyone?), I-can’t-do-anything-tonight-after-this-grossness feeling that most guys need once or twice a month. Fat Sal’s, UCLA loves you for being the savory yin to Diddy Riese’s sweet yang, but truthfully, your service is slow and your portions smaller than necessary. Get on your game.
4 – FAME – Every good greasy spoon has something they are known for, something you can’t get anywhere else. So I really, really do love you, New Japan, but nothing on your menu really stands out. And besides, the parking is unspeakable and there are always creepy people hanging around. Be careful out there…
So where does that leave us?
1 – My high school hangouts were B-Man’s and Lucky Boy. Both places are cheap, quick, delicious and filling, and have “world-famous” specials. B-Man’s has a teriyaki-drenched ABC Burger and curry (I never got past the first, ha), while Lucky Boy serves their log-like breakfast burritos all day. Nomnom.
2 – Another place I really love is The Hat. The pastrami sandwich squeaks in at just under $10, but it’s greasy goodness at its best. Also of note: Orange Bang, and sides (Chili Cheese Fries and Onion Rings) that could topple giants. The Hat is definitely a Los Angeles institution – think McDonald’s if it had done everything right – and stayed that way.
3 – In-N-Out. Almost enough said. The wait is bad during rush hours, but the price (for one sandwich at Langer’s, you could get about five burgers at In-N-Out) more than makes up for it. And besides, the locations are plentiful and the hours are great. Not that it matters, but UCLA has an In-N-Out within walking distance, which is more than some other schools can say.