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LA (MELROSE): THE BEST FRIED OLIVES

By Nora Zelevansky / March 12th, 2009

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(8 oz's Estancia Grass Fed Beef Burger/Photo By Zora Ginsburg)

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Where the hell are the fried olives?  That looks a lot like a hamburger."

Dude.  Chill out.

No, the truth is, you're right. How can I claim to have found "The Best Fried Olives," without so much as a picture to show for it?

Well, I'm not going to make excuses (that would be lame . . . r), but let me explain: the sordid tale began last Friday night, when, feeling in a particularly classic LA mood, some friends and I grabbed drinks at The Chateau to celebrate our pal P.'s new job.  After much vodka, rosé and beer was consumed (not by the same person, although that would be impressive), we were staaarving, so we headed to my latest favorite upscale street food spot 8 oz Burger Bar.

It had been awhile since I showed up at a resto snockered at midnight to scarf anything and everything in sight.  I'd forgotten how wonderful that experience can be.  In fact, largely thanks to drunken ordering (uninhibited by finance, calories or anything else that ceases to exist in a buzzed world), we did it up right.

First, we ordered (duh) the Fried Green Olives stuffed with chorizo and fried spinach flakes (yup), a strawberry shake, great local beers on tap, Fried Pickles, Truffled Potato Skins and (at the suggestion of the clearly Mensa waiter) a signature Short Rib Grilled Cheese to be divided seven ways.

Obviously, this all got eaten before I remembered that I even had a blog, let alone that I should take pictures to document the experience. But I did steal these images from their website:

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(Fried Olives and Truffled Potato Skins) 

The Fried Olives are always (not that they've been open that long) my fave here, but everything else was also delicious.  In fact, the Grilled Cheese was so appreciated that some people ordered that as their main dish in addition to the appetizer nibble.

Luckily, Z. had her shmancy camera, so her burger was documented (see above).  There's a "build your own" situation here or you can just play around with some of the pre-planned recommendations.  I can't even begin to list all the amazing sauces and toppings offered at this organic-happy, free-range, farmer's market joint, but suffice it to say that Z. ordered the Estancia Grass Fed Beef Burger with heirloom tomato ketchup, garlic aioli, onion, pickle, charred escarole and (her brilliant addition) a big fat square of fried mozzarella on top.  I mean.  C'MON.

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(My Turkey Burger/Photo Also By Z-Dog Ginsburg)

And lest you try to argue that a turkey or veggie burger is not worthwhile, above is Exhibit A, proving that free-range turkey burgers hold their on.  Mine came with sauteed mustard greens (which are a little bitter like collards—yum), horseradish dijonaise, pickle and I added (drum roll please) a fried green tomato on top.  I mean, shut up.  SHUT UP.  So good, right?

Anyway, while I must apologize for not thinking of you all and not properly documenting the bestest fried olives around, at least it meant you got some real quality time with the 8 oz burgers.

And that's got to be worth something, no?

xo – N.

P.S. Next stop Umami . . .

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(8 oz's Industrial Bistro Eco-Conscious Decor–Gotta Love)

LA (LA BREA): CRUMPLED TWENTY

By Nora Zelevansky / February 24th, 2009

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(Umami Burger . . . Yum.  Maybe?)

The Best Link Today:

More happenings on La Brea: according to The LA Times' Daily Dish, a Bottle Rock co-founder has launched Umami Burger (a spot dedicated to 'the Japanese fifth taste' alongside sweet, salty, sour and spicy).  Not sure if that's a yummy prospect or not.  The idea seems a bit one note, but I still totally want to check it out.

Isn't it weird how an abstract concept can become trendy?  Suddenly, everyone has umami fever.  Maybe I should make t-shirts that say, "Whose U-mami?" (That was bad–sorry).  I'm just waiting for the "Umami Elimination Challenge" on Top Chef.  (If all the contestants were still on the show, Jamie would make umami scallops, Fabio would make umami pasta, Jeff would make umami 800 ways and Leah would leave scales on umami fish).

That said, I'm a big fan of the burger and sausage movement happening in and around LA right now: Umami Burger, 8 Oz. Burger Bar (where I LOVE the chorizo stuffed fried olives), always Father's Office, Golden State (still waiting), Wurstküche and more.

Pretty, pretty good.  (Oh, how I miss my Curb).

xo – N.