Monday, February 21, 2011

As a new gym devotee, I've been trekking over to West Hollywood pretty regularly to take pelvic-thrusting dance classes and ambitious yoga classes. It's been really great, except for one thing... the gym is a bit of a commute from my place and, though I kinda love driving, the route can be a dangerous gauntlet when one is hungry and feeling entitled to a bit of a splurge post-workout.

I'm not typically tempted by fast food, but a lot of weird L.A. favorites lie between my apartment and the gym. If I were giving directions on how to get there from my house, they might include "turn right at House of Pies," to give you an idea.

But that's only if I take Franklin across town. Usually, I go on Sunset. Which means there's a standing battle on every commute: me vs. Zankou Chicken. I don't know what Armenian magic is wrought on these birds _ on appearance alone, it seems like they should be no different than your average grocery store rotisserie. The restaurant itself holds no charms, whatsoever. It's located in a fairly sketchy mini-strip mall, where there seems to be a screaming match over one of the few parking spots almost every time I'm there. The hard, plasticized seating tends to be greasy to the touch and I have to make a mental note not to inspect the floors too closely. There's a stuff-in-the-grout problem down there. And the employees working the register are ladies who have eyebrows that are either drawn on in an unflattering angle that makes them appear angry or... they're just truly pissed off to be there. Either way, I don't think they have ever smiled at me.

But the chicken is amazing. It comes with a little, bitty cup of a garlic paste that is completely delicious -- and I actually tend to avoid garlicky foods. And there's a little salad, a little tahini, a little hummus. Really, it's almost impossible to talk it up without overselling it, because it's a really simple meal. But the siren song of that chicken makes me have to squeeze the wheel and floor it past the corner of Normandie and Sunset with some regularity.

Also en route:
_ Toi, my favorite Thai restaurant in L.A., a title earned by nostalgia rather than epicurean assessment. They have my favorite vegetarian pad see ew, but I mostly love Toi because it's open until 4 a.m and we used to eat there after coming up to the big city from the burbs to see a band.
_ YogurtLand... it's a whole land of yogurt. And toppings. And pleasure. Sprinkly my ashes into the sliced almonds, please.
_ In N Out... note to future self: the protein-style double-double is still a double cheeseburger, albeit sans bun.
_ The Griddle... though there's always a million people outside and the wait can be brutal, this is easily my favorite breakfast place in LA., with really great huevos rancheros. It is also kindof a dump.

You also have to go through Little Armenia and Thai Town... And then there are all the places I go past in my neighborhood, which I happen to think has some of the best restaurants in town...

Ah, but it's a small price to pay to get to take classes in this fine facility.

(full disclosure: I have not taken the pole-dancing class.)

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