Hipster Haiku



White belt. Arousal
bulging through his skinny jeans
a hipster boner.

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Folliero’s Pizza: A Highland Park Classic

Hey Gringos, Chef Ricky D.  is back with another restaurant review.  This time he takes on Folliero’s, a pizza joint and one of Highland Park’s oldest businesses still in bizness.    Check it.

If you’ve lived in the Highland Park area for more than a month you have been to Folliero’s and if you haven’t you’re an idiot.   As cliché as it may sound, Folliero’s is a Highland Park institution, serving up fantabulous pizzas for 45 years.

As you know, for fairness’s sake I only review places I’ve been to 3 times or more; I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Folliero’s but it’s way más than 3.

I remember moving to the east side years ago (I’m a born and bred west sider) and Folliero’s was the first restaurant I tried in my new east side home.   My east sider buddies all spoke highly of their pizza and it is damn good, that’s why I keep coming back.

On my first visit there I got a large pepperoni pizza.  It was huge, cheap and delicious. They make their own dough (I know that should go without saying but you’d be surprised at how many of those trendy pizza spots don’t even bother making their own dough — ah LA).  The sauce is tangy with a bit of a kick to it.   The cheese is plentiful and they cook it just right so it’s lightly browned, gooey and hot as hell.

Inside Folliero's

Inside Folliero’s

The atmosphere is great too.  Brick walls and the ovens are right in front in the window.  From the sidewalk when you’re waiting on a table, you can see the pizza makers hard at work.   The service is prompt and kinda funny actually, some interesting personalities for sure.

On my many visits I’ve tried various toppings and styles of pizza.  My favorites are their Margherita, the Hawaiian (nearly flipped out when I first had this; I was pretty stoned and ravenous – really hit da spot), but my fave is still their Bianca, no sauce, with cheese, garlic and rosemary — so simple but so damn tasty.

A couple of tips:  order pizzas well done just because their crust is so good when it’s nice and crisp.  Also don’t be afraid to throw some mushrooms on your Bianco, they’re fresh and really add a nice flavor.  Actually all their toppings are good depending on what you like and they don’t charge an arm and a leg for them.  One other thing, their large is large so be ready to have some in the morning for breakfast.   For 14 bucks it’s one of the best deals in LA.

They do have other offerings, like pasta and other standard Italian fare.   Truth be told I wouldn’t go for the pasta here though it is damn cheap.  I never tried it but I rarely eat pasta when I go out anyway, I’m Italian and I know it ain’t gonna be as good as I make it.   I did have some of the Chicken Parm and it was surprisingly good, crispy coating, moist chicken and good sauce and cheese ratio.   They also have sandwiches and are open for lunch.   However, you come to Folliero’s for the pizza;  order a pizza you’ll be glad you did.

This ain't no Papa John's bullshit

Oh yeah, they have beer and wine.  Bottles of Peroni for cheap and wine by the carafe; it’s like Moonstruck or something.

This place isn’t like some gourmet bullshit, it’s old school, Mom and Pop.  It’s been in business since 1968, though not always at this Figueroa location.  They originally opened in a space on Monte Vista.   You can tell they have their share of regulars and the families love to rock out here.  If you want trendy Bottega Louie style assembly line bull shit this ain’t the place for you.  Many of these new trendy pizza spots (I’m thinking of you Maximilliano) could learn much from Folliero’s.  What they do with a small kitchen and simple ingredients is commendable.  Plus every dish they make is made with love and it shows.

If you want a good pizza and some Peroni to wash it down in a laid back atmosphere this is your spot.  They’ve been in business for 45 years, so they must be doing something right.

Folliero’s is located at  5566 North Figueroa Street, 90042,  call for take out: 323 354-0505, and remember they’re old school so CASH ONLY.

Ricky D. is a chef living in Mt. Washington.  He’s worked in established, top restaurants in Venice, Culver City and Atwater Village for the past seven years.   He eats non-stop,  makes killer patés, and is an LA native.

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Highland Park Gringos Endorse Jesse Rosas

Jesse Rosas

We here at The Gringos of Highland Park are throwing our support behind Jesse Rosas for City Council District 1. What can we say, we dig that he’s the underdog, we dig that he doesn’t have a bunch of corporate money backing him, we dig his grass roots campaign, we dig that he cares about our community here in Highland Park, we dig seeing his signs in our favorite restaurants, we dig that he digs art programs for our youth, we dig that he’s been living in the HP for 25 years, but most of all we dig that he had that mustache way before it was cool – the man is a trendsetter! Jesse Rosas all the way!

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Justin Krietemeyer Opening at This Gallery in Highland Park

Kenzie S. and I hit the This Gallery last night for the opening of “Oh Snap” by artist Justin Krietemeyer.   They had beer, so I had a nice buzz going before we hit La Cuevita.

This Gallery "Oh Snap" Opening Night

This Gallery recently opened along the 5900 block of Figueroa and is an energetic spot to be sure, so Justin Krietemeyer’s exhibit fits in there nicely.

The body of work is a recontextualization of mid-90’s rave, surf, and street culture presented as paintings, drawings, and mixed media pictures.

Not sure what recontextualization means, but what evs.  There were some cool ones; I felt a Keith Haring vibe for sure.

"Geode Pop"

“Geode Pop”

Not sure I was feeling a 90’s vibe but more of a 70’s vibe or maybe I guess a “That’s 70’s Show” vibe which I guess then is the 90’s after all.

"New Beat Smiley"

“New Beat Smiley”

Krietemeyer explained his work as being “nostalgic” which it was but Kenzie S. thought it was “lacking any new take on color or form” or something like that I stopped listening to her at this point and got a beer.

While at the bar I noticed that Krietemeyer was selling some T-shirts.  Instead of forking over 600 bones  on a piece that was hanging on the wall you could get the designs on something you can wear for 15.  Hipster Entrepreneur!

"Speaker Stack (Left)"

“Speaker Stack (Left)”

Justin Krietemeyer’s “Oh Snap” exhibition runs through March 17th at This Gallery, 5906 North Figueroa Street.

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Highland Park Street Art On Unique Canvases

Carlos Callejo has been spotted doing his thing on various electrical boxes along Figueroa.  Our amigos at Patch.com just did a little bit of a write up on him.

Carlos At Work On Figueroa

Carlos At Work On Figueroa

A couple of Los’s murals can be seen in front of the Taco Bell.  Side Note: how the hell does a Taco Bell survive here with all the bomb ass taco stands?

We dig Los’s choice of canvases.  Here’s a few more rad murals on some unique canvases that can be found in the HP.

Memorial Mural Meter Box

Memorial Mural Meter Box

There’s some totes ridic murals in the parking lot between Avenue 58 and 57, just south of Figueroa.

Park Here!

Park Here!

Or Here!

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Restaurant Review. The York on York.

Here you go dear Gringos, our first restaurant review by hipster chef Ricky D.    Eat it up!

Let’s face it, no matter what the lame stream media is trying to make us believe Los Angeles is not a restaurant town.   This fact perplexes me;  great farmer’s markets abound and that big lake called the Pacific Ocean with all its mariscos is right there.  We have the ingredients but not the content and if you read any blog you know that content is king.

The San Francisco restaurant scene thrives with ecstatic new openings and old stand bys.  You are unable to sit down in any Chicago eatery without having the best meal of your life.   Here in LA we have to settle for places like Wurstkuche that sells sausages that they buy pre-made.    To many Angelenos this place is considered a great dining experience.   Dear God.

I dare you to  find one place in LA that has been open for more than 2 years that is consistently good.   Please let me know.  For realz.

yorkCase in point,  The York on York Boulevard.  It’s name is about as clever as their menu which seems to not have changed a bit since they opened.  To be fair they consider themselves not to be a restaurant but instead a “gastropub”  – STRIKE ONE!  Gastropub is a term I hate, it creates images in my mind of gastro bipass surgery being  performed by surly Brits with bad teeth playing darts – unappetizing.

The York’s lack of originality is on display in their design.  A copy cat of the popular Edison Bar with the bulbs to boot that was so popular years ago.   You know that boring style of industrial Americana  complete with the menus written  on chalk boards which are barely visible and legible.

Then there is the annoying fact that there is no waitstaff; everyone has to order from the bar, get a number and then some poor food runner (who seems to be the only one doing any real work in the place) brings out the meals.  Again something that was trendy years ago with places like Local in Silver Lake (take a visit there just to see another example of a place that once had a business but now is barely hanging on due to inconsistency in food quality).    But back to the York, to order anything,  everyone has to deal with the  astoundingly rude bartenders.  Ah the rude bartender, another trend here in LA that has worn out its welcome.   STRIKE TWO!    Plus, the lack of table service makes it nearly impossible to garner any information about the menu.

Can You Read That?  Yeah Neither Can That Guy.

Can You Read That? Yeah Neither Can That Guy.

Now for the food!

By this point who cares right well unfortunately it seems no one in their kitchen cares what they’re putting out either.   I’ve eaten here 5 times (mind you I only review places at which I’ve eaten at least 3 times).

On my first visit, I sat at the bar, waited, waited, waited…stood up to grab the bartender who said he’d be right with me.  Ok waiting, waiting… finally he comes over.  I ask what he recommends,  “steak frites with chimichurri” – of course he recommends the most expensive thing but I go for it.  It comes out way too quickly and pathetic looking and tastes not good at all.  Steak – over cooked,  chimichurri – bland and honestly not a chimichurri but just low grade oil, frites – too few, too sad looking, too tasteless.

Second visit, I met my friend for a beer and we ordered the sauteed garbanzos just for a snack and they were good! But then how can you mess up a simple dish like that?  (See below)

Third visit, after a long night at work I came here as I knew they were one of the only places in my hood that serves food late thats not a taco stand.  Actually  the bartender this time, a  super sweet and attentive woman,  made an excellent Hendrick’s Gin concoction that was delightful and just what the doctor ordered.  I started with the garbanzos.  This time they were mushy and  they forgot the cayenne.   They should have just served them in the Goya can they came in.  Consistency people!

The lovely bartender recommended the fish and chips (after first recommending the steak frites) so I tried it.  Came out again too fast and…fish – soggy and tasteless,  frites – again just so sad and bland.


But what  about their brunch, Ricky D.?  When they first started opening for brunch I came in to try it out.  Ordered the brunchiest of brunchy things – Bloody Mary and Eggs Benedict, the drink was terrible, which whatever, but c’mon if you’re doing brunch you gotta have a rocking Bloody.  And the Eggs Benny was gross, I ate the potatoes.   One bite of the eggs and the gelatinous horseradish hollandaise was enough to know I didn’t want more.

My final visit – yes I know I’m a glutton for punishment – I asked for no recommendations .  I ordered a beer and the Pulled Pork Cuban Sandwich – and this last visit is why I’ve never been back.  Forget about the rude bartender, who cares, but damn the sandwich was  inedible, barely any pulled pork and there was a thick chewy piece of ham that I could barely bite into — di-digity–disgusting.  I gagged – seriously.  I asked for a refund and was grudgingly given one.  STRIKE THREE AND YOU’RE OUT.

This place is basically a trendier version of an Applebee’s.  They have a set menu that goes from freezer to plate in seconds!  It has nothing special and is way below average.  Even as a bar it’s just run of the mill; sure a great beer selection but what bar or excuse me gastropub doesn’t have an extensive craft beer list nowadays?  Plus if I’m going out to drink it wouldn’t be here.  There are plenty of better options in the area where the acoustics allow me to actually have an audible conversation with my drinking buddies.

But of course many people come here to drink and the food is an afterthought, too bad the food is an afterthought for those working in the kitchen as well.     Why have a restaurant if you don’t love food?   A question I ask myself way to often in Los Angeles.

The York is located at 5018 York Blvd. in Highland Park.

Chef Ricky D. is a chef living in Mt. Washington.  He’s worked in established, top restaurants in Venice, Culver City and Atwater Village for the past seven years.   He eats non-stop,  makes killer patés, and is an LA native.

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Route For April 21, 2013 CicLAvia Revealed

CicLAvia Map

Nice,   the route goes from Downtown to the Beach.  Hope you all are recovered from your 420 day partying to join in on the fun.

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