1. Must cost $10* or less.
2. Must be located in LA County.
3. Must have less than 5 locations. No huge chains welcomed.
4. Must not require coupons, Groupons or other one-time deals.
5. Must be tasty!

*Price does not include tax, gratuity or beverages.

Monday, July 4, 2011

When There's No Sign, the Food HAS to Be Good!

While Pho Cafe can be a bit hard to find (look for the address as the cafe lacks a formal sign), it's a testament to their popularity that on a day with 90+ degree weather, the place was jam packed with Sunset Junction hipster types eager to take in super hot pho.

Hot weather or not, the pho was that perfect mixture of sweet gingery saltiness with high quality noodles and a generous helping of fix ins'. What truly makes the place shine, though, is the mixture of taste, novelty, and menu staples like free range chicken.

The highlight of the meal was the Vietnamese crepe (Banh Xeo). It is easily the most memorable, tasty appetizer I have eaten anywhere in several years. Tender, charbroiled lemongrass steak, mushrooms, bean sprouts inside of a perfectly crispy crepe and served with fresh herbs and rice paper wrap.

You make your own spring roll 'crepe' by combining this unlikely duo into a perfectly balanced crispy-savory treat. After dissolving the rice paper in the piping hot water, you can combine all of the above into your own magnificent Vietnamese creation and finish it off with a savory dipping sauce that brings out the most amazing flavors in each component. Truly a party in your mouth! And for only $6.25, it's an amazing deal too! One order could easily be a meal for one moderately hungry person.

If you've ever been to Lou in West Hollywood, you know how fabulous gourmet strip mall fare can be. This place amuses the taste buds with an exterior that under promises, but with a kitchen team that over delivers.

Pho Cafe
2841 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
*Cash only*

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gotta Eat Your 5-A-Day

What do you get when you take grilling, minus the meat and toss in some fresh veggies? The Veggie Grill of course! Get ready for some seriously good vegan food. So good in fact, you'll swear you're really eating meat. It's like some sleight-of-hand-Harry-Houdini-magic-trick or something. We especially dig the All-American Stack which comes with grilled veggie-steak, thousand island dressing, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes and crispy onion rings. Yours for a lovely $8.95.

Or if you're feeling sentimental since V-day is coming up and are in the mood for some light noshing, try their Sweetheart Fries. They are some of the best we've ever tasted. Dip em in the Chipotle Ranch dressing and mmmm you'll most definitely fall in love. eat your heart out! Yours for $4.25.

720 Allied Way
El Segundo, CA 90245

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We Heart France

Want to eat France? Wait, that came out wrong. Want to dine in France without the 15-hour plane ride next to that sweaty guy who likes to use your shoulder as a headrest...ewww bad memories!

Well, head down to La Provence Patisserie and Cafe in Brentwood for a truly memorable French experience. We love the artichoke heart panini with fresh spinach and goat cheese. It comes complete with your choice of salad or fries. Yours for $9.95.

Whoever did the decorating here gets an A+. We especially dig the stained-pink wine-crate tables and cottage-style chandeliers. Hey, while you're at it why not buy yourself one? Sorry, the price tag is too hefty for this blog.

Last time we ate here, we saw a lovely couple visiting from France so you know it's the real deal. Either that or they came to mock our Americanized French food. Hmmm...let's assume for the sake of this post that they loved it as much as we did.

Noshing here is quite the experience. So much so that you may even forget the LA gridlock with its bumper-to-bumper traffic on pot-hole decorated roads. Don't worry, they're waiting for you outside when you're done!

La Provence Patisserie
11677 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lebanese Shore

Today, we're going to talk about Lebanese food from none other than Zankou Chicken in West LA. We like to affectionately and incorrectly pronounce their name ZankWoww. Kind of like JWoww from the infamous Jersey Shore. We highly doubt that Miss Farley frequents this Mediterranean establishment, but you should make Zankou one of your go-to places for tasty food at terrific prices.

Our faves: the tri-tip shawerma plate and the falafel plate.

Let's start with the meats 'cause you know we likes us some meats.

What you see here is a heaping pile of marinated and flame-broiled beef accompanied with hummus, tahini, tomatoes, red onions, pickles and pita. Give em a 10 and they'll give you 1 penny back. Only $9.99.

If you're in a Meatless Monday mood and want to take the veggie route, try the falafel plate for a mere $8.99.

Say hello to 5 pieces of falafel, hummus, tahini, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, pickles and pita.

*Zankou has more than 5 locations, but we love their food so we're letting it slide.

Zankou Chicken
1716 S. Sepulveda Blvd
Los Angeles, 90025

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue

So...are you smarter than a first grader? You are? Sound, pretty confident about that. OK, prove it!

Columbus traveled to the New World in search of what?
A cool-hang-out-place-far-away-from-home---wrong!


Pumpkin pie of course! And not just any pumpkin was a very special and utterly savory pie from none other than Urth Caffe in Beverly Hills. Yeah, there was a time machine in the New World too. Duh, everyone knows that!

This pumpkin pie is unlike anything you've ever and will ever taste--in terms of pie at least. It literally glistens in the dimly lit mood lighting at Urth. Almost 2 inches thick, this beauty is paired with a dollop of homemade whipped cream which perfectly compliments each and every bite.

Close your eyes and imagine you're Columbus as you sit back and remark on how traversing the Atlantic was totally worth it for this killer pumpkin pie. Naturally, you have to take some back to your King to tell him of this momentous find.

Uh oh, you ate it all...your bad.

If you notice, we ate a little bit off of the tip.
Too good to even wait for a picture!

267 South Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meet the Chicken that Killed the Colonel

We all know the Colonel uses 11 magical herbs and spices. Sounds fancy, huh? Well, all it takes to ruin that fantasy is one step into your local KFC. Chicken dreams deferred? Think again. Here at Gourmet Miser, we have found what we consider the very best spicy buffalo wings.

Hit up Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken in Culver City for some really knock-your-socks-off-good fried chicken. Before moving to Culver, they were located in Compton so for good reason they have some truly incredible chicken. We ordered up their Spicy Wings Basket for $9.25. You get 3 sauce-covered pieces of their famous chicken, a warm homemade biscuit and a pile of fries. The whole experience feels and tastes old-fashioned which makes sense given their motto, "A new, old-fashioned company."

Not convinced? Check out the photo below.

Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken
9537 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Want to Eat Balsa Wood?

Let's switch things up for a moment. Gourmet Miser loves good food, especially at fair prices so we can eat even more good food. The process is cyclical. So it saddens us when we find really disgusting food. And believe us, to bring you these tasty posts we encounter plenty of unappetizing and sometimes downright terrible sorry-excuses for food.

Without fanfare and further adieu, we present this unholy abomination from Planet Eco Cafe in Hermosa Beach. Get this, it's called Kalamari (notice that it's spelled with a 'K' which should have been our first warning sign). We're pretty adventurous so we ordered this up. To give you an idea of what it tasted like imagine eating a ground-up model airplane dipped in Miracle Whip...wait scratch that, that's insulting to Balsa Wood and mayo which actually sound appetizing compared to whatever this was. We're sorry Eco Cafe, perhaps your other menu selections are more acceptable, but after eating this questionably not-food item, we are going to avoid you like the plague!

We don't even remember the price, blocked it out of our memory...

Pig + Waffle = Love

Since we've been on a waffle and pork kick as of late, why not combine the two? Mmmm, bacon....mmmm waffles.....mmmmmmmm....bacon waffles? Head over to the Original Pancake House in Redondo Beach to try just that...incredible bacon waffles. This place is so tasty, we even made an exception to our must-have-less-than-5-locations rule. Crispy bits of real bacon harmoniously married to a golden-brown waffle. Slice it up, cover it with some real butter and warm syrup and you'll say OMG with each happy bite!

Feast your eyes on this pig-carb masterpiece!

Pre-Condiment Form

Ready to eat!

All for a mere $7.99.

If that's not enough pig for you, check out their thick sliced bacon. This grade-A bacon is sourced from a small family farm in can taste the difference in each mouthful. Seriously, the best bacon you'll ever eat, bar none. It's so good we want to write the farmer a thank you note. Oh yeah, we should probably thank the yummy pigs too. Thanks piggies!

Not convinced? Check out this photo <drool>.

Yours for $4.25.

Original Pancake House
1756 South Pacific Coast Hwy
Redondo Beach, California 90277

Bisquick, Eat Your Heart Out!

A waffle's a waffle right? Wrong! Today, we bring you not just any waffle, but a dessert waffle packed with caramelized sugary loveliness, not too sweet...just riiiiiiiight! It's morning now and our stomachs are starting to growl just blogging about this. Gourmet Miser wants to be fed please...

Anyway, here's contestant numero uno from Syrup Desserts in Downtown.

This is the Syrup Signature original liege waffle with blueberry ice cream, fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, strawberry glaze, whipped cream and powdered sugar. Ah, it's like your taste buds bought a plane ticket, flew to Belgium, danced to a little "Stereo Love" and spent only 4 bucks and some change.

That's right, this incredibly yummy waffle is only $4.75!

Syrup Desserts
611 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How Do You Pronounce Their Name?

Since our last post was on pig, naturally it's only fair to talk about hot dogs as well. Ah, the all-American meal, it's only rivaled by the mighty burger.

Dodger Dogs, Costco-$1-dogs, Pink's superlongandtotallynotworthitfortheline dogs, the list goes on. Want to know a secret? Come on, lean in closer...the best dogs are gourmet dogs. Artisan technique and high-quality ingredients do go a long way.

Downtown LA is home to one of the best, Wurstkuche. We're still not sure how to pronounce their name, but as long as you come ready-to-eat, you really won't care. How about trying something exotic like the mango jalapeno chicken and turkey dog with caramelized onions and sweet peppers. Costco will never taste the same...

Say hello for only $6.50.

800 E 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Pig, Pig, We Love Pig

Someone once said that everything tastes better with bacon. Here at Gourmet Miser, we tend to agree. However, bacon on sushi...probably not such a good idea...neither is bacon beer...OK, those were both made up...but they would be quite gross if they existed! Why not head over to North End Caffe in Manhattan Beach where they serve egg rolls like you've never seen before!

For $10, you can get 3 of their freshly fried Kahlua Pig Monte Cristo Egg Rolls. Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, these little pieces of scrumptiousness come packed with flavor-filled goodness. Feast your eyes on the photos below (yes, we know the plates changed colors). Now, we know why that wolf was after those three little pigs...he must have had a hankering for these egg rolls!

3421 Highland Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Did Someone Order Pizza?

Imagine yourself hungry, cold,'re in the rain now work with us here! Your stomach growls, you have a major case of the munchies. Well lucky for you, you also happen to be in Beverly Hills. run to Mulberry Street Pizzeria where they serve piping hot NY style pies so good you'll just beg for more!

Thin crust and ready to be introduced to our bellies! This pepperoni slice was only $4.00. It has the prefect amount of grease, cheese and meat to really get your taste buds dancing. Party time!

While you're there, take a look at the celeb autographs littered around the walls. Hell, keep your eyes peeled cause you might see one there!

Mulberry Street Pizzeria
240 S. Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

The. Best. Burger. Ever.

The burger wars in LA are nothing to be trifled with. Father's Office, Simmzy's, In-N-Out...all familiar names each with their respective camp of loyal devotees. That being said, the best burger we've ever had was from a little eatery in Manhattan Beach called Sandos Sub Shop.

Want to have an OMFG-I-think-I-died-and-went-to-heaven experience? Well then, try one of their 100% grass-fed, free-range burgers. It's quite literally a food orgasm in your mouth. Pictured here is the lovely Fry Burger: french fries, thousand island, remoulade sauce, cheese, lettuce, onions, pickles and 2 extra house sauces.

All this for a low $6.75!

312 Rosecrans Ave
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266