Jan. 25, 2010

25 Jan

1 pm

Doughboy’s

scrapple with sides of dirty eggs, mixed green salad and corn bread

glass of iced tea (with 2 refills and a packet of Splenda)

Doughboy’s re-opened in it’s former 3rd Street space a few weeks ago and lunch-goers Los Angeles can take comfort in it’s re-appearance. Doughboy’s popularity is at once obvious, it’s comfort food to your heart’s content, and the long wait and semi-regular celebrity sightings affirms that fact. But it’s also at odds with the salad-and-water lunch crowd that dominate 3rd street. The menu is extensive, servings are preposterously big and a stick of butter is added whenever possible. The popular “after-school special” seems innocuous enough, grilled cheese and tomato soup. But the grilled cheese is as big as a DVD case, stuffed with a quarter-pound of emmenthal, white cheddar and fontina, and fried in enough butter to turn the bread into bread pudding. The accompanying tomato soup is equal parts cream and tomato. There’s also a soup made with sirloin steak, a French onion soup topped with a quarter inch of gruyere cheese and massive pancakes that re-appropriate sugary desserts into breakfast dishes. It’s a reminder that even the skinny jean crowd sometimes need five different kinds of dairy fat in one dish to comfort themselves.As for me,  I have a love-hate relationship with this place. It’s one of the first restaurants I ate at in LA and it was a regular meeting place with friends. I’ve enjoyed many a French onion soups and after-school specials over the years, and I’ve also had many instances of indigestion, sleepless nights and emergency trips to the bathroom as a result. There will undoubtedly be leftovers too, but you’ll most likely toss it because the fat will separate in the refrigerator and the guilt will be too much from seeing what you actually ingested.

Doughboy’s scrapple, thankfully, is not authentic. Technically, scrapple is a real slice of Americana and probably the oldest pork product in this country. I have a couple of friends from the Philadelphia and West Virginia area who crave it at odd times. For me though, the idea of eating pig offals and entrails mixed with cornmeal isn’t that appetizing in the 21st century. Doughboy’s interpretation uses stone-ground grits, braised pork shoulder and judging by it’s taste, a lot of butter. It’s very rich since you’re eating pork cooked in both fat and butter, but that’s why it’s also tasty in a particular way. Meanwhile, the accompanying eggs were way too salty and the corn bread, which seemed like the hot water kind, was too bland. Despite the presence of a lot of butter, braised pork and eggs cooked in more butter, I still feel like this was healthier than my usual after-school special, which is saying something about this place.

7:30 pm

Doughboy’s

1/2 of a small red velvet cake

1 glass of skim milk

My dinner was actually half a cake I bought to-go from lunch. Doughboy’s most popular offering is the red velvet cake. Oprah herself blessed it as one of her favorite desserts, and the cake’s many fans will vociferously defend it like Tea Partiers will shout down universal health care. Doughboy’s does turn out a good cake. The frosting is made with cream cheese and though a bit sweet, there’s just enough tartness cutting through. The cake’s flavor is well-balanced and you can just discern the cocoa powder. My big issue with Doughboy’s is consistency. I’ve had cakes here that were blisteringly sweet and some that were way too dry. Today’s cake was too moist. By the end of my “dinner,” that white dinner plate had a puddle of red food dye at the bottom because the cake couldn’t hold all it’s moisture. The cake was properly dense, but it oozed food coloring every time I cut into it. Since this kitchen has been open for less than a month, they might need some time to iron out some kinks. But I still tend to favor SusieCakes in Brentwood and especially Bluebird Cafe in Culver City for their red velvets. Since I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, I like their thin layer of frosting. This is also why I actually like the red velvet cake from Ralph’s Supermarket. Their frosting is the most tart one I’ve had in LA and the cake is decent enough. Also, it’s sometimes on sale with a Ralph’s Club Card. For cost efficiency, that is the best red velvet deal around.

10 pm

handful of pretzels

1 bottle of Bass Ale

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