On the surface, I may look like a thirty year old man, but deep down, I am one big kid. I still love playing games and have a fascination with Lego, and I definitely couldn't leave LA without visiting Universal Studios.
Located up in the Hollywood Hills, it is still a live set with movies and TV shows still being filmed here all round the year. As alluring as all the film history is, I was here for some rides. To be fair, it all feels a little dated. The rides were fun, but nothing special and by the afternoon, with nothing more than a dirty hot dog to keep me going, I was starving and building up a proper hunger for my evening reservation at Animal.
Animal has been going great guns in LA in the last few years, and if I would compare it to anywhere in London, I guess the approach is more like St John than any other restaurant. It's menu is made up of every part of the animal, and the more "exotic" cuts are commonplace. The interior of the restaurant is rather minimalistic and the colours neutral (some might say a little dull), and with a black but rather blank exterior, I only found my way there as it was pointed out to me the previous day.
Joined by Shauna for the second time on this trip, I perused a frankly bewildering menu. Interesting cuts, crazy combinations, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to order. I left it up to her and here is a selection of what we ate:
Pig Tails, Buffalo style - Rich, gelatinous, unctuous and definitely not for the faint of heart. The smoky hickory buffalo sauce was a nice twist on the more traditional wing based finger food.
BBQ pork belly sandwiches and slaw - More pork. This time slices of belly in burger form covered in crunchy slaw. I love a good slaw, and the rich and fatty pork could have done with a little more slaw, but no massive complaints.
Cavatelli with lamb sausage - So damn good and wonderfully moreish. One of the best things I ate in LA. That is all.
Foie Gras Loco Moco - Nope, I didn't know what a Loco Moco was either but apparently it's a traditional Hawaiian dish made with spam and a burger, two rather cheap meats. Top it all off with a massive lobe of foie gras and you pretty much have this dish! By this stage, I was struggling a bit and all the food was very rich. The foie gras in this pretty much finished me off! A nice interesting dish, although I think the best part of this dish for me was actually the frankly moreish rice in a sweet teriyaki style sauce
We also managed some kale and some quail, and couldn't fit anything more into our poor little bellies. Even the lure of a bacon chocolate bar couldn't convince us to order desserts and we decided to finish the night off with a much needed digestif at a cocktail bar. The food at Animal is good and interesting, but super rich. It damn near killed me (exaggeration).
Our destination for cocktails was The Roger Room, a tiny cocktail bar with a circus theme, hidden behind an unmarked door. It has plastic animals and good cocktails, what more can you ask for in a cocktail bar! It was good way to round off a good day, and a pretty awesome first half of my trip. Next stop, San Francisco...
Animal - 435 N. Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Roger Room - 370 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048