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More Top LA Eats for Under $12 from Manouschka Guerrier

Manouschka would like to dedicate this article to the memory of her cousin Michael.  If you are looking to donate money to the relief effort in Haiti, please consider Partners in Health, a group that has been working in Haiti for over 20 years.

Single Serving’s Manouschka Guerrier is a savvy single girl, with an affinity for planning quick affordable meals for herself and for throwing lavish dinner parties on a tight budget. Her style of cooking is delicious, inexpensive, swift, stylish and figure-friendly. She whips it all up and manages to have a ball in the kitchen in her Louboutins and her Le Creuset. This ain’t your Mama’s kitchen!

She’s not a classically trained chef by any means, but a cook who received lessons from her Grandmother Olga (who attended a prestigious French Culinary School in Haiti). She started a thriving private catering company “To Serve With Love.” She found success by combining inspiration from her Grandmother’s classics with her appreciation for international cuisine (which she developed upon her travels around the world as a former Model and Miss Hawaiian Tropic Miss Caribbean America).

Now with Single Serving… she brings her simple “super sexy single secrets” from her kitchen to yours, helping other singles serve up delicious meals whether they are eating alone, entertaining friends or looking to impress someone special.

Be sure to check out Part 1 of Manouschka’s article here.  And now for the rest of her picks:

Essex Public House (best burger) 6683 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90028 (323) 460-6608

For three straight months I have been on a burger crawl. Burgers have experienced an incredible renaissance as of late,  but I just couldn’t justify how anyone would be willing to pay gas money for one damn burger when In-N-Out is the bomb dizzle! I put my ignorance aside (I pretty much wish I put my ignorance aside again & used some common sense before I just used the word bomb dizzle in a blog… terrible!) & sucked it up & hit all of the spots touted as having the best burger in LA. I was like Goldilocks for burgers… Umami Burger – too small for 12 bucks, might as well hit the dollar menu & get a bigger burger! Twenty25Five at the Roosevelt – too big causing it to be bland. Hungry Cat – too dark. I mean literally they could have fed me a shoe & I wouldn’t have known; it is so dark at that place. 8 oz, Whisper Lounge & Cafe Was were good, but I knew there had to be a better burger out there still. So I kept holding on for hope. Speaking of holding, I loathe, loathe LOATHE cooked onions!!!! I always hold the cooked onions. NOW supposedly… I saved thee best for last. Word on the streets & even on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate was the burger at Father’s Office is the shiz-NIT! There’s a trend quickly spreading around (Hel)LA that they won’t allow you to make substitutions & alter your meal in any way. NOW when I went to Animal for my birthday & saw how packed it was & how these cats are making very unconventional American cuisine trendy I found that it was ballsy & kind of charming that they were like “screw you this is how we do & even though the economy is craptastic you will STILL wait in line, pay a ridiculous amount of money & eat what we serve you… NO EXCEPTIONS!!!” BEAT! Of course nothing I ordered that night had my vile nemesis the dreaded cooked or caramelized onion! I CAN’T STAND those things. I like my onions raw & yes I do cook with onions but I chop them super small so I don’t know they’re in there. At first I didn’t like them because of the noise your mouth makes when you chew on one… the ear is WAY to close to the jaw I tell ya. My Mom would always cook with these big HONKING pieces of onions & slap them on EVERYTHING ruining my meals….

Well wouldn’t you know, F.O. has only ONE damn burger and it’s loaded with my arch nemesis & they don’t modify anything so either I get this coveted burger or F.O. gives me a big fat F.U. “Order something else then.” I sucked it up & ordered the damn burger. Unlike Animal, I didn’t find this quality from F.O. charming. So, my pick for thee best burger in LA goes to Essex. The burger was SO good I didn’t notice the cooked onions and I went again & ordered it without & they gladly obliged. It is a perfect-ly cooked burger, I mean you know that feeling when you order something cooked medium & although it’s pink inside & there’s juice instead of blood running out that even the cheese, bread &  condiments are fighting with you to get a taste inside & your eyes roll back & your head tilts to the side & you swing your feet under the table & as you chew your neck starts to do the snake as you roll your neck to the left than roll it to the right? That’s how God blessed good their burger is! Incredibly fresh meat, perfectly marbled I actually think it’s a blend of chuck & maybe short rib it’s so juicy. Seasoned to perfection, grilled to perfection & than laid on top of this blissfully glossy toasted bun that’s so beautiful & shiny you can see yourself. They have a happy hour 7 days a week & you can get this tantalizing burger for $7 from 4-7 EVERYDAY! Take that Carl’s Jr & your cardboard tasting $6 burger! Also on the happy hour menu you is a succulent clams casino, crab stuffed mushrooms that are to die for & a plethora of beers on tap for $4!!!

Tied for Best Taco Truck –  Bool (best Korean BBQ taco truck) Los Angeles, CA (213) 392-0369 & The Truck on Fountain & Western

While everyone is on twitter, running around town & standing in line for hours (reminiscent of the toilet paper lines of the former Soviet Union) for the most overrated taco known to mankind, I have mopped up not only the best burrito but the best Pastel, a Brazilian pastry dish with a twist…. Korean BBQ. Don’t waste you’re time chasing the red or green trucks. The food from Bool is amazing. I celebrated my 30th birthday in Salvador da Bahia in Brazil. Across the street from my apartment was a Korean sandwich spot. They made burgers, hotdogs, Brazilian sandwiches, but the thing that I remembered the most & missed the most still was their version of the Pastel… oh my good-NESS.

There are a gang of roach coaches crawling all over LA & while this is becoming all trendy because of the economy I have to give props to the OG’s the Mexican taco trucks that have been feeding us fantastic quality meals for decades. So while I am not the one to jump on bandwagons of any type these hard working folks that make thee best hearty food you’ll find ANYWHERE for under 5 smackeroos should be hailed as national treasures! My favorite is the truck on Fountain & Western I wish I knew the name but regardless it is the freshest & best taco truck in LA! The carnitas, asado & tongue are out of this world!!!

Palms (best Thai) 5900 Hollywood Blvd, Ste B, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (323) 462-5073

Listen – not only is it thee best Thai delivery in Hollywood, if you eat there on the weekends you will be entertained by none other than an Asian Elvis… NUFF SAID!!!! Oh, try the chicken noodle & quail. Seriously the BEST Thai in LA & reasonably priced, ok, but seriously, I should have just stopped at ASIAN ELVIS.. it doesn’t get any better than that!

Now to round out the rest:

Bossa Nova (favorite late night option) 7181 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90046 (323) 436-7999

Seriously skip the pizza & those tempting e-coli bacon wrapped hotdogs when you leave the club! Bossa Nova is cheap, awesome, open & even delivers until 4am… your stomach will thank you in the morning & you won’t wake up feeling like you had a terrible one night stand!

The Belmont (best happy hour) 747 N La Cienega Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90069 (310) 659-8871

7 days a week from 4-7 all appetizers are half off! The Crab & Bacon Mac & Cheese! Their Bloody Mary bar on Sundays until 4pm is pretty sick too.

Isla Cantina (best Mexican/best cocktails) 8788 W Sunset Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90069 (310) 657-8100

Lobster, Ahi Tuna & Filet Mignon tacos, oh MY!!! This is my Taco Tuesday spot & you can get a plethora of tasty tacos from $2-3, or everyday of the week you can get 3 tacos for $12. I like to mix & match them. On Tuesdays a pitcher of margaritas is $20 or a pitcher of sangrias is $15 & they also have a pretty swanky happy hour menu where you can get filet mignon sliders or oysters for $5. The refried beans are award worthy & the free FRESH chips & salsa is the pride of LA, aka the original Mexico. The mixologists there are BRILLIANT. They come up with thee most ethereal concoctions. The bar boasts 120 tequilas & I swear my friend Dan has stopped counting how many times he’s had all 120 of them after the third time he accomplished this challenge. Kevin Baker is the undisputed best Mixologist in LA & Isla was blessed to score him. He is off on some wild adventure somewhere in the world, but thankfully all of his creations are still there. He’s a master of infusions & quite clever with his garnishes.

BoHo (best pizza) 6372 W Sunset Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90028 (323) 465-8500

Unless Steven Spielberg is your uncle or Oprah is your Godmother & you don’t have to wait 3 months for a pizza at Pizzeria Mozza, my favorite spot for pizzas is at BoHo. Great wood fire pizza, but I have 3 words for you… Korean… BBQ… PIZZA!!!! I KNOW!!!! The Kalbi pizza is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth… from a restaurant on Cahuenga… yeesh what’s wrong with you people?!?!? HA! They have a load of wonderful pizzas, thin crispy crust, a beautiful tangy & rich sauce that can go toe to toe against Mozza, but it’s that element of something being SO wrong it’s SO right that makes the Korean BBQ Pizza (that even comes with kimchee) my absolute favourite! They buy all their ingredients fresh from the Hollywood Farmer’s Market & I know I just rated a $15 pizza as my fave. They have a lot of great 12 inch pizzas for $12 & under, but they too have a happy hour that knocks that puppy down to $8… NICE!

The Coffee Table (best cupcakes) 2930 Rowena Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90039 (323) 644-8111

In Silverlake, this place is known for its coffee, breakfast (the huevos rancheros ROCKS!) & local celebs that frequent tit on an hourly basis. Now I know I haven’t been to Auntie Em’s yet so please don’t bombard me with hate mail but out of all the cupcakes I have tried from East to West the red velvet at the coffee table should have them locked all up in prison! No one, I mean no one… not Sylvia’s not Magnolia’s not Sprinkles can match the moistness of this cake (that word always gives me the heebie jeebies… moist *she shudders*) It’s super moist (*she shudders again*) & has the perfect amount of cream cheese on top so that there is always a perfect bite when it comes to the cake to frosting ratio. I made sweet sweet love to this cupcake as if no one was watching, licking every side & moaning as I stared at Joseph Gordon Levitt sitting across the room from me. Who new the kid from Angels in the Outfield would grow up to be so freaking sexy? Sweet & sweeter! Ain’t no shame in my game. The coffee table is my kind of spot.

Spank you very much for indulging me on my picks. Bon provecho!

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