Food Reviews are back! by Ollie
July 31, 2009, 7:04 pm
Filed under: CHAFF

So in my aim to be like Alex Kapranos and get picked up by The Guardian as a celebrity food critic any suggestions for where to eat would be greatly appreciated.

04 New York, NY Webster Hall
05 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
06 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
07 Indianapolis, Bluebird Nightclub
08 Chicago, IL Lollapalooza
11 St. Louis, MO Firebird
12 Kansas City, MO Record Bar
14 Austin, TX Emos Outside
15 Dallas, TX Granada Theatre
16 Houston, TX Warehouse (Studio)
19 Albuquerque, NM Launchpad
20 Tucson, AZ Club Congress
21 Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre
22 Pomona, CA Glass House
23 Costa Mesa, CA Detroit Bar
25 Las Vegas, Nevada Beauty Bar
26 Visalia, CA Howie And Sons Pizza
28 San Francisco, CA Outside Lands Festival
29 San Diego, CA Street Scene


Thank you.


55 Comments so far
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While in LA go to Roscoes Chicken and Waffles if you haven’t already been there.Make sure you go to the original one in Hollywood though, on sunset and gower.

Comment by Manuel

I recommend Laughing Planet for awesome burritos or Opie Taylor’s for some great burgers while in Bloomington, IN. (The Bluebird is about 45 minutes south of Indianapolis in Bloomington)

Comment by Andy

Hope its better than what you get here!

Comment by Alex

In San Francisco

Delfina – In the Mission
The House – North Beach
Nick’s Crispy Tacos – Russian Hill
Puerto Alegre – Mission
Bar Bambino – Mission
The Citrus Club – Haight
Golden Boy Pizza – North Beach
Lemongrass – Russian Hill

Delfina and Bar Bambino are a little pricey, BUT so worth it.

Comment by vanessa

If you haven`t been to S´MAC in NYC, you definitely have to. It`s on 12th street, between 1st and 2nd avenue. But make sure you don`t order the big plate or you`ll have to swallow your way to death. And don`t worry, Alex Kapranos´ reviews weren`t that great, too pretentious.

P.S.: Ellen, you look great with your new hair!

Comment by sil

If you haven’t already discovered them: Hot Doug’s, Kuma’s Corner, and the Hopleaf in Chicago. All win. Kuma’s and Hopleaf also have lovely beer.

Comment by Gregg

Yes. Definitely Hot Doug’s.

Comment by Eric

In San Diego, you should definitely eat at Pokez, on the corner of 10th and E. Fine Vegetarian/Vegan/Traditional Mexican food with a great atmosphere. for directions, menu, etc.

Comment by Alison

And if you do go to Pokez, I’d recommend Joey’s Special for you non-vegan folk.

Comment by Alison

In Cleveland, I would recommend Tommy’s Restaurant on Coventry Rd, or Melt Bar and Grill in Lakewood.

Comment by Lyndsey

Joey’s Special with chicken and green sauce.

Last comment, hopefully.

Comment by Alison

In Houston:

Goode Company BBQ – on Kirby, south of Highway 59. It’s west of the Rice area.
Dolce Vita – good italian food in the Montrose area.

Come to think of it, the Montrose area in Houston is your best bet for great, quirky eateries. But it’s on the other side of downtown from where the venue is. I hope you have transportation, because the area around the venue is not too great!

Comment by Kyle from TX

I nearly found out the hard way that the Bluebird Nightclub is actually in Bloomington, IN, not Indianapolis. I was all set to drive down from Chicago for that show. Bummer.

Comment by Seitz

In DC, Ben’s Chili bowl is kind of the “Classic” thing, though it’s not like a normal restaurant, per se. Still, part of the “Experience”, I guess. Extra “experience” points include nausea and vomit.

Comment by Alan

In NYC, if you like french fries and sauce the obvious choice is Pomme Frites, its on 2nd ave and its pretty amazing. The best tacos/mexican food can be found at Pinche Taqueria on Mott St.
For dessert, the best cupcakes to be found are at Sugar Sweet Sunshine on Rivington st. I actually tried to bring some to the Bowery Ballroom show in February but they were taken (as well as the vegan cupcake that travelled all the way from New Jersey) by security:(

Comment by Shannon

two cheap vegan-friendly options near webster hall that I like alot:

viva pizza – crazy vegan/vegetarian pizza, a block away on 2nd b/t 11th and 12th st
mamouns – really good cheap falafel, st marks (aka 8th st) b/t 2nd and 3rd ave

can’t wait to see you guys next week!

Comment by rachel

I went to school in Bloomington, IN. Mother Bear’s Pizza is an institution. It’s where I had my first beer (the staff rarely carded), and still serves some of the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. I make it a point to visit every time I go back; you should too!

Comment by Matt

Yo Ollie,
One of my favourite places to go to in NYC, especially for desert(s), was of ‘Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man’ on Broadway (between 13th street and 14th street)(I worked just round the corner)
…you’ll need to start making your decision of what to order now i reckon…

Sam xx

Comment by Samantha

Man, oh man… you’ll rue the day I saw this.

New York:
Since there are SOOOO many great eats, my suggestion is to graze (with a buddy or five to share the heeeavy items) along the East Village/SoHo/Lower East Side… which happens to be within walking radius of Webster Hall’s neighborhood! I hope you like baked goods…
– Artichoke pizza (get the artichoke slice)
– City Bakery (baker’s muffin)
– Momofuku Milk Bar (carrot cake–there’s a layer of powdered milk in there. genius.)
– The Redhead (ANY dessert, or the shrimp & antebellum grits. they give out delicious bonus cookies, too! if you need liquid fortification, take down a Michelada. tell Rob & Greg that Alice who used to live on the block sent ya.)
– Yonah Schimmel’s Knishes (garlic knish, but pack some breath mints…)
– Russ & Daughters (just to ogle all the smoked salmon and caviar if nothing else)
– Katz’s Deli (just classic.)
– Sugar Sweet Sunshine (cupcakes. red velvet.)
– or if you want a sit-down meal, take in Lil’ Frankie’s, Supper, or Frank’s (all Italian fare the likes of which I have not seen in the UK, run by the same folks)

(For some cool threads + touristy-but-still-legit Italian pastries, hit E. 11 street for Buffalo Exchange and Veniero’s, respectively)

San Francisco:
– Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack. If they still have the white peach salad with white balsamic vinegar, EAT IT. You’ll also want the s’ghetti + meatballs and the Caesar salad.
– everything you can afford here: At the bare minimum, get a nice loaf from Acme Bread to go with some Midnight Moon cheese from Cowgirl Creamery.
– if you’re really GOING for it, hit Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Lunch menu prices are still steep-ish, but wooooorth it.

Oh, and guess what–there are a couple of Buffalo Exchanges in SF and Berkeley too!

Forgive this insanely long geek-out… forgive or follow it.

Comment by Alice_sg

Hey Ollie!
When in Austin, I strongly suggest Some Slice Pizza, it’s a great little place, with great pizza. It’s simple and small, but it’s the best pizza I’ve ever eaten, believe me, I live in another country and I feel the need to go there.
Hey, I’m gonna go all the way from Mexico just to see you play, and I’ll eat there, so maybe we can meet and have a great pizza!

Comment by ruben chalico

Kerbey Lane Cafe in Austin. They serve pretty killer pancakes (not sure what their special is now but in the winter the pumpkin pancakes are the jaaaaam.)

They also serve really good migas, but my favorite thing to get there is Eggs Francisco: English muffins covered in tomato, bacon, avocado, and their amazing queso. Whew. So good.

Comment by Bradley

i’m still waiting for the venezuelan food review…i guess it wasn’t that special 😦

Comment by IL

Dallas- Snuffer’s, which is actually attached the the Granada Theater. It’s a burger place with KILLER cheese fries (and they have my favorite veggie patty ever) or if you’re looking for vegetarian/vegan completely, I highly recommend both the Cosmic Cafe and the Spiral Diner

Austin- I’m going to have to agree with Bradley up there. Kerby Lane Cafe is just….wow (and incredibly vegan and meat-eater friendly). I actually ate there this morning and still can’t ever get over how awesome it is. AND it’s open 24 hours! But if that doesn’t work out, Wahoo Tacos on 6th street is pretty up there on my list.

Good luck, there’s definitely plenty of places to review in Texas. We love our food!

Comment by Alexandra

So Alexandra and Bradley, what’s a good bar near Emo’s Outside in Austin for some pre-show drinks? I’m from Houston, but a couple friends and I are planning to drive to the Austin and Dallas shows in addition to our Houston show.

Any thoughts? We don’t know our way around the city too well; we just know where 6th street is.

Comment by Kyle from TX

When in Vegas…go check out Thai Spice for some absolutely amazing Thai cuisine! Blueberry Hill is also good for a cheap breakfast.

Comment by Jordan

Well in POMONA, CALIFORNIA you guys could enjoy authentic Chinese food at KWONS RESTAURANT they have delicious shrimp fried rice. Or if your feeling like eating Mexican food, You could eat at El MERENDERO right on Gary blvd like steps away from the glass house. If your willing to travel a couple miles and want great Pastrami then visit THE HAT in our neighbor UPLAND, CA

Comment by Ana Banana

Five Guys is kind of a DC-area place to eat. Obama makes a big deal of going to eat there occasionally. They serve burgers and stuff.

Comment by michael

For Bloomington, aside from Laughing Planet (great mention, vegan friendly but not exclusive) there are a ton of specialty cuisine type choices half a block south. Also hit up Baked! for cookies, yet another block south or Soma (below Laughing Planet) for vegan baked goods. Great area to tramp about.

Comment by Clint

San Francisco-The Herbivore or Cafe Gratitude.

Happy people and happy vegan food.

Comment by Claire

Oh and The Frontier in Albuquerque!
It is a must. Cowboys and open late late late.

Comment by Claire

In Albuquerque NM:

The Model Pharmacy- Best Pie in the City, great sandwiches also
Vietnam 2000- great spring rolls
Flying Star Cafe- great everything
Frontier- great tex-mex
India Palace- great Indian Food
Paisano’s-fantastic Italian food

Comment by Jeremy

Polvo’s = good cheap TexMex/Strong Margaritas
2004 S 1st St
Woodland = best homemade Veggie Burgers
1716 S Congress Ave
Casino El Camino = BEST burgers
517 E. 6th St. Just down the street from Emo’s

Comment by Jason T

ooops that above is for Austin,TX

Comment by Jason T

Houston –
OK, I’m going to provide a list of the best places I can think of. IMO stay away from the other Houston (Kyle’s) list. All of these are within a couple miles from Warehouse Live. Grouping by cuisine and providing links for ultimate satisfaction.

Niko Nikos (Greek) – Ask anyone in Houston, it is good!

La Tapatia (Mexican) – Good cheap “tex-mex” and good Margarita’s. Open late (1 or 2am)

Original Ninfa’s – Good mexican food, completely separate from the chain restaurant. Sorta close to the venue (not the best part of town though).

Hickory Hollow (BBQ) – Good, normal BBQ (go to the one in the Heights)

Beavers (Fancy BBQ) – Fancy food, good mixed drinks

PUMPED to see you again!

PS: Stay far away from downtown if you are trying to have a good time.

Comment by kentonue

When you get to NY, a block from Webster Hall, there’s a great family restaurant called Sucumukatz. Great sausages and veggies. Enjoy.

Comment by Petrellad

If you dont want to stray too far from the 9:30 Club, check Vinoteca (11th and U St)for solid happy hour deals and wine geek delights by the glass…Etete, nearby on 9th St, is an Ethiopian treat…Re other posts, yeah, everyone says you gotta hit Ben’s CB b/c its a “Washington institution”, but y’all probably eat more than plenty shight-inducing slop on the tour circuit.
See ya Wednesday in my K Records t-shirt if I can find it.

Comment by pablo

Dude! This is so rad! I just found out about this NY show! I am here doing my internship, but the last I saw you was some some small place in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Gotta get my moneys together, but hopefully I’ll make it out on Tuesday night! Yay!

Comment by Robert Huston

In Kansas City – Blanc Burgers and Bottles in Westport for some really good burgers, sweet potato fries, and a large selection of beer; Blue Koi on 39th street for some homemade asian noodles and dumplings (veggie stuff too); and Gates BBQ (’cause it’s not KC without barbecue)

Comment by Stacy

For DC, I will second the Ben’s Chili Bowl recommendation. It’s a real DC institution, much more so than Five Guys, which is a chain that can be found throughout the East Coast (though it does have DC roots). Side benefit of Ben’s Chili Bowl is that it’s pretty close to where you guys are playing. You’ll probably want the half smoke with everything on it, preferably split and grilled. The chili cheese fries are also Amazing, a meal unto themselves. These are actually available with vegetarian chili, too, if that sort of thing is something one might be into.

Comment by Eric

DC –

recommendation based upon – my liking the food I had there, it being close to venue, poetry.

Comment by Meg

Must go to Hot Doug’s in Chicago. For a little more high end, try Moto. I guarantee you’ll have an interesting time there.

Comment by Steven

my mom won’t stop talking about busboys and poets. it might be a good idea.

Comment by michael


Mortadella Pie (1477 West Balmoral Avenue)–Stunning pizza. Stunning. There are plenty of other great places, but this one is head and shoulders above most. I think that it was rated the top pizza parlour in the States, by some trendy magazine.

Kuma’s Corner (2900 West Belmont Avenue)–Kuma’s is a heavy metal-themed burger joint, and has easily the best burgers in all of Chicago. No fooling. Where else can you order a Goblin Cock, Pig Destroyer, or Dark Throne…? Nowhere. Kuma’s is king. When the H1N1 virus broke out, their burger of the month was the Swine Flu. How can you not love that?

Ann Sather (5207 North Clark Street)–For my money, this place has the best breakfast in the whole city. Nearly everything comes with a plate of stunning cinnamon rolls, as a side. Beyond delicious. I hit this place up a number of times in the bleary, early morning hours following Lollapalooza ’08. I suggest you follow my lead, in ’09.

Hope that helps!


Comment by Blackbeard

In San Francisco, I recommend Halu (312 8th Ave). It’s a Japanese restaurant covered in Beatles memorabilia that serves great grilled food and ramen, but no sushi. It’s a small place, so it gets crowded. But if you can get a seat, it’s worth it.

Comment by Tim

Kyle from Texas,

The best bar near Emo’s is Casino El Camino. It’s also on 6th and merely a block west. It has a pretty Gothic feel at first glance, but don’t let that fool you. Many locals consider it to have the best burger in town (there’s usually a 30-45 minute wait after placing your order… but well worth it) and the jukebox is well-stocked with good music. The drink selection is on par with the best bars near that area. I’d go early just for a burger… you won’t regret it.

Hell, it would make for a more interesting review than Kerbey Lane. All of the Kerbey Lane locations are pretty bland after a few visits. If you’re not going for pancakes or queso, there’s no real unique reason to be there. Austin has many, many more entertaining restaurants to choose from. If you can get there for lunch, I’d recommend Foodheads. Homeslice Pizza on South Congress cooks up Austin’s best pizza (New York style) in a wonderful way. Torchy’s Tacos are unmatched for gourmet tacos in the area (Green Chili Pork tacos and Refried Avocado tacos are my favorite). Don’t count out The Mighty Cone – a trailer set up on South Congress to sell one of the best food items formerly available only at Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Comment by Brad

When you’re in Costa Mesa, you should drop my place in Garden Grove and I’ll take you to a great Mexican joint called Los Sanchez.

Comment by Jose G,

Hey Brad, thanks for the advice. I’ll definitely drop in there before the show!

Comment by Kyle from TX

Gates BBQ in Kansas City. The one and only.

Comment by Ian

I know you are in town now, so I figure I’m not too late.

Food Critic suggestions for Williamsburg/Greenpoint:

-Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop- Greenpoint, Brooklyn ($)
-Papacitos (california/mexican)- Greenpoint, Brooklyn ($$, vegan friendly)
-Diner (new american)- Williamsburg ($$$$, not veg friendly)
-Nha Toi (bahn mi)- Williamsburg, Brooklyn ($, vegan friendly i think)

That is my current short list. Hope you get to try some.

Comment by tom

In St Louis, go for Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. Its not to be missed!

Comment by Oliver

My favorite food place (in addition to being an eatery, it’s a deli and specialized grocery) in all of Chicago is probably Zaleski & Horvath. Everything I’ve tried on the menu is delicious. They have good coffee and hot chocolate and dozens of sodas you’ve never heard of before (and also, amazingly for America, Irn Bru). It’s a fair distance from Grant Park and downtown, though, on 47th between Greenwood and Woodlawn.

Comment by Jane

If you can only eat at one place in Albuquerque I would recommend Frontier. I just moved here and it was the first place people took me, so apparently it is representative of something. It’ll be about three miles down central heading east from The Launchpad. Flying star is known for its baked goods and a two minute walk from the Launchpad. If you have time for a beer there are two good local breweries downtown, Chama and Marble.

Comment by Chip


Home Slice Pizza is the best place to go if you like pizza, it’s the best!

Comment by rchalico

In San Diego, you should either go to Pokez on 5th Avenue for delicious vegetarian mexican food and sardonic, tattoo covered waiters. Or go to Poma’s in Ocean Beach for the greatest sandwiches on the west hemisphere if not the world.

Comment by Luke Winkie

In Austin, Polvo’s is a good choice. El Chilito is a hipster-trendy taco bar (delicious and they have beer and sangria and it’s walk-up) on the East Side. Clementine’s is a cool coffee bar. I love Counter Cafe near Waterloo Records for brunch- but it’s tiny and gets packed so get there early. Stay away from Jaime’s Cafe (Mexican place across from Stubb’s). Hoek’s pizza is the best pizza vendor downtown if you end up doing that.

Comment by kayla

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