We’d like to give a shout out to Lesley Balla, former writer/editor of Eater LA, who is launching a new food blog calledChow Balla. At Eater LA, Lesley pretty much kicked ass — constantly breaking food stories, seemingly everywhere at once. She made Eater LA a must read for food news and gossip addicts. Everyone will miss her there, but Balla junkies need not despair. In addition to her new food blog, she’s now editor ofTastingTable LA, a new e-mail newsletter. So sign up for the latest food dish.
And while we’re on the topic of food sites, I must offer a ridiculously, embarrassingly — I hate adverbs, but in this case, they’re warranted — belated thanks to FoodDigger.com, a cool new site that hosted us at a dinner back in October at the all-you-can eat Brazilian churrascaria steakhouse Fogo de Chao. There we were lucky enough to meet fellow food bloggers Wandering Chopsticks, The Foodie Traveler, Teenage Glutster, kevinEats and Famished L.A.
Vic and I first visited Fogo together in Chicago six years ago after a group of fellow journalism instructors had a contest to pick the restaurant for a night on the town. Victor, who had visited the Fogo outside Dallas, won the contest with his campaign of “unlimited salad, unlimited meat. Did I say unlimited?” Its proximity to the Blue Frog karaoke bar was also a plus. Since then, we have make a habit of visiting the Chicago Fogo nearly every summer, and I’m happy to report that the Beverly Hills outlet offers just as gluttonous an experience.
We keep thinking that any day now, they might not let us come back…that Victor’s picture will be hanging behind the hostess stand like a Wanted poster. Anyone who has seen him in action knows that he could easily put Fogo out of business with his appetite for bacon-wrapped filet mignon, rump roast, garlic beef, lamb chops and chicken legs. I love the concept of little green and red coasters that tell the gaucho servers when to swoop in with their swords of meat. The start of the meal is always like a meat swarm, truly a vegan’s worst nightmare. Eventually, things calm down, but about an hour after everyone else has finished, Victor usually has his coaster still on green. He calmly chews his meat and asks for more. He has earned such a reputation among our friends that they have urged us to name our first child Fogo.
The man truly has a bottomless stomach, but he does have a strategy. Eat a hearty breakfast, and then nibble the rest of the day and work out hard at the gym mid-afternoon to keep the metabolism revved and to build up an appetite. The classic rookie mistake is overloading on the salad bar, which is tempting because it’s so extensive and tasty. Take it easy there, and save room for the big-ticket (i.e. meat) items. You can always go back to the salad bar. And while the cheese puffsare delicious, they can fill you up fast. You want to get your money’s worth, and Fogo ain’t cheap. Take just one bite for flavor, and don’t forget to save room for the tres leches cake and the papaya cream. There’s no shame in having to waddle out. — Jenny.