When I first came to LA I stayed in the Extended Stay America in Burbank. In the first few weeks while apartment hunting I spent most of my days at Media City Center in Burbank. That was the first area of the city I really got to know and I keep returning because it is so familiar. The place has changed quite a bit over the years. New places come, old ones close up shop. But here’s a list of the ones I check out whenever I’m down that way.
This place has a good happy hour. There are several specialty cocktails and martinis served at the bar. The happy hour also includes plenty of tasty Thai dishes that are very affordable; sate, deep fried “jerky”, and larb salad. The entrees are extensive. Maybe not as authentic as some of the treasures on Sherman Way but very accessible. The Crying Tiger, a grilled steak with spicy glaze is the best entrée on the menu.
New location of the LA institution. A little on kitschy side. It has big screen video game stations for the kids and the young at heart. As you stumble from the bar to the bathroom you’ll have to duck past people playing Guitar Hero and Wii Tennis. At the bar they have plenty of choices. Dozens of microbrews are on tap. The menu is a perfect example of old school bar food. Not gastropub, bar food. The specialty is chili, served in a dozen different ways with everything from pot roast (yum) to burgers and over spaghetti. This spot is just down the steps from the massive AMC multiplex. Which is a good thing if you’ve had a few too many at the bar, you can catch the latest while your buzz wears off.
Vietnamese is great. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I find most Vietnamese spots offer some of the best quality and value in the entire city. I’ve yet to have a bad bowl of pho and the pho this spot rigth next to Barney's Beanery is no exception. The bowls of are hearty, big and flavorful. They come with the usual plate of add ons and there are plenty of condiments at the table. But I often take a few sips as is. Pho broth is always rich and tasty and should be savored on its own before piling on the basil, lime and jalapenos.
Inside a mall food court you wouldn’t expect much (not unless you’re at Koreatown but that’s for another post.) Here however there are two spots worth checking out. One is Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. Wahoo’s is one of the best cheap eats in the city. They serve great fish tacos fried or grilled. They have a funky pico de gallo that uses black pepper. Heresy to Mexicans but I like the variation. Out in the food court proper there is this excellent Greek place where they grill your food to order. It’s not that fast food, but it is good food. And healthy. Most of their plates come with hummus and Greek Salad. Plus where else are you going to get fresh grilled lamb chops for just $10?