Archives for posts with tag: wurstküche

today is national pie day, and in honor of such an important holiday, i bring you a tempting look into my favorite little pie shop located in downtown los angeles: the pie hole.

as you may know by now, i have a love of pie that exceeds the average person, and i can be highly critical of such tasty delights, including my own. since opening only a few months ago, i have been to the pie hole several times, tried a range of their pies both savory and sweet, and other than them running out of pie (often before the closing time of 9p) it has yet to disappoint. on that note, it’s a good idea to call ahead, check their twitter feed, or facebook page before heading down in the early evening hours just to make sure they haven’t sold out. there are plans to expand the kitchen in order to accommodate a clearly successful pie-loving niche.

they rotate the pie selections seasonally. every 2-3 weeks new one’s are added to the menu to test out, others go away and/or come back, and depending on what ingredients are fresh, local, organic, and frankly…just plain quality, there is always something tantalizing to taste. other than your typical slice of pie, they also have pie bars, pot pies, whoopie pies, pocket pies and other play-on-pie creations.

any of these are paired very nicely with a top notch coffee with beans from groundwork, a selection of teas, other cold beverages like juices, and even mexican coke.

the decor is simple but inviting, and spacious for such a small place. most things wood, including the tables and counter, were made by matthew, one of the founders, and are complemented nicely by the metal chairs and stools. located across the street from wurstküche in the arts district, it seems to fit snuggly in this cool street art laden neighborhood just perfectly.

pie is definitely the new cupcake.

the pie hole • 714 traction avenue, los angeles, ca 90013 • 213-537-0115 • open tuesday-sunday 11a-9p or until sold out (closed monday)

daisy, bo and luke duke had the boar’s nest. norm, cliff and fraiser had cheers. jack, janet and chrissy had the regal beagle…and now with the recent opening of the escondite, i too have a local.

the escondite

when i first moved downtown almost 5 years ago, i went to see the derby dolls when they were at 3rd and alameda, and on the way back my friends and i stopped into the 410 boyd for some food afterward. as i remember it, the food was pretty decent, but the lighting was fluorescent and horrible, and the art on the wall was god awful. i never went back. being that it was only a block away, i have always wanted it to become some place that i would like to hang out and have a drink, or get some late night food. i have been asked many times ‘is there some place nearby that we can just get a drink?’ and i think of the usuals: bar 107, mignon, pete’s cafe, wurstküche, and cole’s, but all of those are easily a 10 minute walk, and for non-new yorkers, you might as well ask them to run a marathon. 410 boyd never even crossed my mind.

a few weeks ago, while walking back from lunch with my friend shirley, i noticed the 410 boyd sign had changed. it was now planks of wood with an eye peering through them. intriguing…

we decided to stop and check things out. erin, one of the owners, was on the patio and asked if she could help us. she was as sweet as my sweet potato pecan pie, told us that they would be opening in a few weeks, and that we would be pleasantly surprised. my neighbor katherine had met brian, the other owner, while doing some guerrilla gardening in their parking lot, and he was nice enough to donate water to them. we decided we would go get a drink on opening night, and as it turned out quite a few other people in our building also wanted to see the new digs. there was easily a dozen of us there.

the escondite, or the hiding place, is dark enough to hide from anyone, but so much so, that i had a hard time even reading the menu that night. i was told that they would be adding candles to the bar area, and reprinting the menus with a darker font. i have been back a few times now, tasted the food, had a chance to chat with erin and brian some more, candles have appeared and fonts are darker.

the menu is pretty simple: mostly burgers, some sandwiches, a few salads and appetizers, and hand cut french fries.

chili cheese fries

cheese stix

most of the burgers have names right out of my generation: boss hogg, rip taylor, ricardo montalban, herve villachez[sic], capt kangaroo, don ho and my favorite gavin macleod.

boss hogg + gavin macleod

dr joyce brothers

they all have some not so usual ingredients on them including fritos, refried beans, pineapple, hashbrowns, mashed potatoes, and cream cheese. they are vegetarian friendly, and can all be made with a veggie burger, or if you prefer chicken breast, that’s an option too. their buffalo mushrooms have a really good kick, and one of the best sauces i have tasted, but it made me want them to be chicken wings.

buffalo mushrooms

brian wants to respect the vegetarians and wont use the deep fryers for both fries and wings, and until they can expand, mushrooms it is. the teriyaki steak tips were tangy and had some good heat and spice as well. i need to try out their sandwiches next, but since i am a bit of a sandwich snob, who knows that outcome? ultimately, the food is good, and for a neighborhood local i don’t need it to win any james beard awards. what i do need is that on a sunday night after a long day at work, without a meal break, to show up after 10pm and erin to happily say ‘we serve food til 1am every night.’ thank you sweet baby jesus! …and this was the view on the patio that night:

and as we left last night:

i have been in enough over the past couple of weeks to know that once the word gets out about this place, my local will soon be popular, but even brian implied he has no qualms about turning people away that don’t give him the vibe that he wants. he and erin set out to make it a neighborhood place, and i believe it.

brian is also an owner at bar 107, which on the weekends especially, can get crazy and over run with usc kids, and what i like to call ‘bridge and tunnel’ peeps. the feeling at the escondite is much mellower and matured. it’s a place where people of any age will want to hang out and have a drink and some food, but has character and isn’t stuffy.

the music has been fantastic. a great mix ranging from obscure 70’s one hit wonders to punk rock, with a little old school willie nelson, and a bit of early 90’s grunge rock thrown in. again, all up in my wheelhouse. although, i have seen both erin and brian on 2 separate occasions run and jump the bar when a certain enigma song came up in the rotation.

i asked brian, why not just take the song off the ipod? he said, ‘cuz it’s fun to run.’

i’m pretty sure chrissy, janet and jack would be jealous.

the escondite is at 410 boyd street, la, ca 90013 • skid row adjacent • parking is free after 6 + all day sunday • happy hour 5-8p m-f.

*a special thanks to shirley shivhon for providing some of her photos.

after a small group of us went to see art in the streets at the geffen contemporary at moca today, we headed over to wurstküche for lunch. it was a short walk and good for a group. you order at a register, so there is no worry of splitting up the check, and there are huge communal tables with benches that can fit groups of almost any size. i was hoping since it was close to 2p on a friday afternoon that it wouldn’t be too crazy busy, and thankfully as we turned the corner the line had barely creeped out the door. believe me i have been there plenty of times to know if the line is down the street you can be waiting upwards of an hour or more depending how long it is.

the nice thing is that when you eventually get in the door there is usually some nice person to hand out menus and take drink orders, so you can enjoy a cold beverage while perusing the menu. it is fairly simple, basically sausages, belgian fries and beer, but there are many options from which to choose. they have over 20 sausages, 4 toppings, 10 dipping sauces (for the fries), and 40+ beers (mostly belgian and german). not to mention, a few wines and several non-alcoholic beverages as well. you will find it helps to know what you want before you reach the register. not only does it make the line move faster, but it seems to keep those behind you who are regulars from tapping their impatient foots, and huffing a bit. (i kid.)

i usually order the rattlesnake + rabbit with jalapeño, and sauerkraut as a topping, but for some reason i was thinking about changing it up a bit and trying something i hadn’t had in a while like the duck + bacon with jalapeño. well it must have gotten into my subconscious enough, because that is what arrived at the table. i don’t even remember ordering it, but i am so glad i did, because it was a reminder to try new things and not always go with the status quo.

i also ordered a small fries, called a klein, with the chipotle aioli and blue cheese walnut and bacon dipping sauces. one sauce comes with the klein, and 2 come with the groot (large), but i can never decide between them, so i order them both if i get the klein. they have 5 different kinds of mustard, as well as ketchup, at the tables. i prefer the whole grain, but now having tried the duck again, i would probably try a different topping like the onions and sweet peppers and go with the honey mustard. regardless, it was still juicy and delicious.

(as a side note: i have been here in the past and have gotten a sausage so well done that i had to send it back, and they did so happily. twice. not in their defense, because there is no way they should have sent a sausage out that well done, but it was an extremely busy night, and the staff has always been really friendly and accommodating. the owners often walk around, talk with the guests, and bus tables.)

for beer i decided on the blanche de bruxelles, a witbier, which normally pairs really nicely with the buttery mildness of the rabbit sausage that i usually get. although, the duck was pretty rich, so next time i order it i might go for something like a bitburger or spaten pilsner. the staff all seem very knowledgable and would most likely be able to tell you what beer might suit a certain sausage, and if they aren’t too busy (which is almost never), they have been known to give tastes of beer just to make sure it is what you want. this will happen more at the back bar than the front register, being that those pesky regulars are breathing down your back to hurry up and order. (another joke.)

be aware that this is a hip, happening, popular place, so the music can be a little on the loud side, and the line can be ridiculously long, but it rarely disappoints. it is a stylish but casual local neighborhood hang out that isn’t pretentious, but rather it feels very inclusive. i have seen all sorts and types there. perhaps it is the large open room, with warm wood tones, or the shared common tables, but the vibe is social and friendly to everyone. perhaps it is simple as what they have put on their FAQ page:

“Q: Are children and grandparents allowed?

A: Absolutely, the more diverse the crowd the better.”

as were were finishing up, at the next table a college aged kid wearing usc shorts was helping what seemed to be his 90+ year old (great?) grandmother maneuver into her bench cane in hand, and i thought it seems as though they mean it.

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