Monday, October 17, 2016

Where to Eat: Late Night Gyro Fries @ Good Greek Grill

The Eats: Greek faves with a twist

The Location: Hollywood

The Vibes: Casual, super chill

Good for: Alone, dates, groups (large and small)

When-To-Go: Opens daily at 11 a.m.; Closes at 10 p.m., Sun. – Thurs. and 3 a.m., Fri. – Sat.

The $$ Factor: All entrees are under $12

The Names behind the scenes: Co-owner Dino Pantazis

The 4-1-1: Board games are available to play — just ask for them!

Parking Situation: Very limited metered street parking

I’ll Be Back…: For the Zeus Gyro Fries!

Good Greek Grill is a fast casual eatery on a mission: to bring great Greek food to the masses.

Spreading this message around the Los Angeles area, this up-and-coming restaurant initially started as a food truck in 2011 before opening its first brick-and-mortar location in Los Feliz last year.

Now, earlier this month, it’s launched a second location in Hollywood.

Situated in a strip mall on Yucca Street, it’s just a stone’s throw away from iconic L.A. buildings like the W Hollywood Hotel and the Capitol Records Tower, and from scores of nightclubs and bars.

And after receiving an invite to “have a gyro on us,” I made my way over to the Grill to check it out.

The first thing that caught my attention was the smell. You walk in, and instantly you’re hit with this intoxicating aroma of grilled meats, spices and warm pita bread. I was pleasantly surprised! The rest of the place is simplistic, modest and minimalist — grey concrete floors, white counter, steel kitchen appliances.

The ordering process is quick and painless. You pick one of five fillings — beef lamb, pork, sausage, chicken or grilled veggies — and then one of five ways that you want your filling prepared. You can get your meat/veggie fillings in a gyro, a Greek salad, a platter, a plate or as Zeus Fries. One of the Grill workers shared that the pork and beef lamb are the most popular, along with the Zeus Fries, pictured below, which I decided to try.

The verdict on the fries? They’re delicious! It’s like all of the ingredients found in a gyro got dumped onto a bed of fries. Generous portions of well-seasoned chicken, feta cheese, tzatziki sauce, onions and tomatoes are piled high onto the fries. In fact, my fries were literally drowning in so much fresh feta cheese and tangy sauce; it was so good and most importantly, the fries still managed to stay crispy.

No alcoholic beverages are served here yet, but I was told that the Grill is in the process of getting its liquor license. So, wine and beer should be on the way.

Good Greek Grill definitely is worth a visit, especially after an after-the-club kind of night out in Hollywood. Portions are generous and filling, the price point is reasonable, and the Grill stays open super late.

See you there soon!

For more information: 


Monday, October 3, 2016

Where to Eat: Brunching @ The Chicken or the Egg

The Eats: A menu comprising mainly of — you guessed it — chicken and eggs.

The Location: Playa Vista

The Vibes: Chill, casual, quick

Good for: Alone, groups, families

When-To-Go: Weekdays, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.; weekends, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The $$ Factor: Average price for an entrée, $10

The Names behind the scenes: Hunter Pritchett, partner and head chef

The 4-1-1: No alcohol served here, but there’s a decent selection of regular beverages, such as strawberry lemonade and flavored iced teas.

Parking Situation: Nearby free street parking

I’ll Be Back…: To try all of the sides!

There’s a brand new restaurant in Playa Vista.

The Chicken or the Egg opened recently, and by recently, I mean this past weekend!

In honor of its grand debut, the eatery offered a “buy one entrée and enjoy a second entrée free” promo on Saturday and Sunday. I was down there with the quickness, bringing me, my very large appetite and a good friend down to check everything out.

The concept is simple; offer up a ton of dishes, featuring organic, cage-free chicken and eggs, with locally sourced ingredients and highly creative culinary inventions (like butternut squash sage gravy).

Egg entrees — five in total — are accompanied by breakfast staples like bacon or chicken-apple sausage, or by American faves, like grilled steak. My friend and I tried the Smoked Salmon & Avocado Toast, a very filling option piled high with flaky salmon, pickled onions and a vegan turmeric hollandaise, all topped with a poached egg and on a slice of crunchy whole wheat toast. So good!

The chicken is either crispy or grilled, depending on which of the five sandwiches you select. Get your chicken in a BLT with maple glazed bacon, accompanied by sunny side up eggs in the Country Fried Chicken entrée, or, perhaps tossed in a honey sriracha remoulade featured in “The Reason the Road was Crossed.” There’s even the Crispy Chicken Bucket, although it technically is a basket, not a bucket. It comes with two or four pieces of chicken — a mix of dark and white meat — and one side.

Speaking of sides, they sound pretty intriguing, too. I literally want to come back, just to try all of them. Items like the sweet potato waffle fries and buffalo cauliflower surely caught my attention. But for the time being, I settled on the maple brussel sprouts, which were amazing; subtly sweet and slightly wilted.

The same menu is available all day, so you can literally get your fix on chicken and eggs, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

I’ll lastly comment on the décor, which seems to go for the nature-meets-industrial theme. Bright metal stools and stark white tables harmoniously cohabite with brown oversized leather couches, large green trees and earthy wooden paneling. A few outdoor tables are also available. 

As Playa Vista — or “Silicon Beach” as they’re coining it these days — continues to thrive, especially with Google planning to move in soon, I can totally see The Chicken or the Egg as a great lunch option for the thousands of millennials working nearby. It’s fast food, but still high quality and definitely not boring or bland. I wouldn’t consider this place a “drive-to” destination, but it’s totally worth it if you’re already in the area. So the next time you’re nearby and craving some organic, cage-free deliciousness, you know where to turn.

See you there soon!

For more information: 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Where to Be Merry: A Spa Day @ The Spa Le Merigot, JW Marriott Santa Monica

The Merriment: A spa day — complete with massages, poolside food & beverage services, and the beach!

The Location: Santa Monica

The Vibes: Outdoors, relaxing, chill

Good for: Alone, couples, small groups, families

When-To-Go: Daily, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

The $$ Factor: $90+ for facials, massages and other specialty treatments; $40 per person for a day pass only

The 4-1-1: Travelzoo often features discounted deals and packages

Parking Situation: Valet only, including three free hours with spa validation

I’ll Be Back…: To try out one of the newest Fall Exclusive Specials!

There are those days when we simply just need to escape from our daily grinds and unwind — preferably poolside, with a cocktail or three, a good book and ultimate relaxation, for five or six hours.

Fortunately, I found a place that offers all of this: Spa Le Merigot at the JW Marriott Santa Monica.

Situated on prime real estate in Santa Monica, Le Merigot is a day spa that offers massage treatments, a gorgeous pool and easy access to the beach. The few times I’ve gone, it’s never been too crowded and feels like a tranquil getaway that mainly only JW Marriott hotel guests know about.

What’s even better is that you can visit here fairly inexpensively. While you can use the spa facilities if you’re a hotel guest, buy a $40 day pass or purchase one of the $90+ treatments, there are often Travelzoo deals that offer discounted rates and special packages (in fact, there’s a deal right now that provides 60% off services, free champagne and three VIP passes).

The spa's actual physical space is on the smaller side, but still elegant and upscale. There’s attention to detail everywhere — in the earthy floral scent that wafts throughout the space, the comfy white robes provided for each guest and the refreshing cool towels with cucumbers available in the locker rooms, which also have a sauna and steam room. The massage treatments themselves are pretty good, too. When I went in the spring, my masseuse worked out all of my knots and focused on neglected pressure points. I left feeling beyond relaxed!

Outside, lounge chairs and tables are situated around a nicely sized pool. Two cabanas are available free of charge; the only caveat — they can go pretty quickly. And, there’s even a chest of complimentary beach chairs that can be used, for free.

Speaking of the beach, it’s literally only a couple feet away, so it’s almost imperative to make a quick stop there! The location is slightly south of the Santa Monica pier, and on a clear day, offers gorgeous views as far south down to the Palos Verdes peninsula.

Back at the spa, there’s also a full poolside menu available. It features an eclectic blend of easy-to-eat bites and nibbles, like the spicy tuna crispy rice, and colorful cocktails, like the mudslide, a frothy blend of Kahlua, Bailey’s and cream. 

All in all, Le Merigot is a fabulous place to escape to, thanks to its prime location, chill ambiance and wonderful massages.  So, the next time you’re in the mood for some R&R and perhaps even a little beach time, head over to the JW Marriott Santa Monica’s Le Merigot Spa.

See you there soon!

For more information: