Archive for the 'Fat Fat Attack' Category


Fat Fat Attack: Hook Burger

I recently asked my Facebook followers the question if you had one thing to eat for the rest of your life what you would chose. If you thought like me, the assumption would be responses like “pizza” or “filet mignon”. Instead, my awesome followers said good old “salmon”…eh, and a chameleon too. While they’ll live on fish and reptiles, if I had the choice it would be cheeseburgers—and maybe a Hook Burger.

My friend Ajay and I caught wind of a new burger joint and I really dig it. Hook Burger, founded by Brent and Bruce Reichard, is the sister restaurant to The Habit. The difference between The Habit and Hook Burger is that Hook Burger is a bistro inspired restaurant with quick casual dining prices. Their tag, “fine dining in a bun” hits it right on the head. The food oozes of quality, freshness, and pure delicousness (yeah I made that up) and it’s all at a reasonable price. If you think the restaurant sells only beef burgers and fries think again. You can get chicken sandwiches, tuna melts, salad, coleslaw, onion rings, beer, and wine. I got the Prime Burger with sweet potato fires (right). It was so good, juicy, full of flavor, and the fries were amazing! I absolutely loved it. Plus the employees are so cool and nice it doesn’t feel like you’re in restaurant. Even better is that the atmosphere of the spot has an open and relaxing vibe that you don’t feel the need to leave immediately when you finish. Currently they have locations in Oxnard and Burbank, and are opening a spot in Pasadena. If you have the chance to go to the bistro, I highly recommend it. The food is good, the staff is great, and the setup is perfect especially with summer coming up. If you haven’t done so already try it out for yourself, you just might get hooked!

Hook Burger image: Danielle Salmon


Fat Fat Attack (Chicago Style): Garrett Popcorn Shop and Mister J’s

During my Chicago trip, I did a great job of stuffing my face. While I checked out Giodrano’s Pizza and Potbelly’s, I also made my way over to Garret Popcorn Shop and Mister J’s and my taste buds were not let down.

Garrett Popcorn Shop

I heard about Garrett Popcorn years ago on Oprah and I didn’t understand what the big deal was about popcorn. Then again my source of great popcorn was from the movie theater so maybe I just wasn’t exposed to the good stuff. Since I was in Oprah’s territory, I thought it would be remiss of me to skip going to Garrett’s and I had to do so or I couldn’t watch Oprah without feeling a sense of shame. So I went. Since I’m not a major advocate for breakfast, it was perfectly logical in my mind to have a bag of popcorn during that time slot. I went to the location on State Street and had fun simply being in the place that Oprah told me to go to. It smelled of cheese, caramel, and butter and I immediately fell in love. I ordered the caramel bag (not one for mixing things) paid my $2 and some change, and walked out to pig out in privacy. When I say I pigged out, I pigged out. The popcorn (right) was absolutely amazing and there was so much of it! It was soft, warm, jam packed full of what tasted like mother nature’s secret caramel, and it melted in my mouth. I don’t know what I was given before that was disguised as popcorn, but what came in this brown and blue striped Garrett bag was little drops of heaven. Even better, the popcorn doesn’t get stale. I couldn’t finish the whole bag when I bought it and eating it later in the day and even the day after it was still good! It literally lasts for days so you can travel with it or save it for later and it’s still going to give you that great feeling you get when you first buy it. If you go to Chicago, you have to visit Garrett’s before you go home. You can’t leave the city without hitting them up.

Mister J’s

I found out about Mister J’s when my friend Nana who is from Chicago came to take myself and my friend Oren (new to Chicago) out to eat. All I wanted was something that I couldn’t get at home and something that was authentic to Chicago. One of the restaurants that came to Nana’s mind was Mister J’s. I never heard of it, so I was down. When we got there, the place was tiny and was a bit of a hole in the wall—I was excited! The cash only restaurant serves burgers, Philly steaks, gyros, etc. Now, being the burger enthusiast that I am, I could have gone the safe route but I wanted something outside of my usual and packed with meat. Nana suggested I get the gyro and while I was hesitant at first, she was absolutely right. The gyro (right) was amazing!! It was stuffed with so much meat it could barely close, the juiciest tomatoes, and topped with so much sour cream that I looked like Santa Claus when I came up for air. I was in love. And the French fries which looked so ordinary were better than I expected. There’s something about this place that makes it the kind of restaurant that you have to go to if you’ve never been there before or if you’re hitting them up for the third time in a week. It is a must try if you’re in the area and want a good meal, especially for a great price!


Fat Fat Attack (Chicago Style): Giordano’s and Potbelly’s

It’s been a while since my last Fat Fat Attack post and what better way to have another one than by talking about food I had in Chicago. On my trip to the home of wind and Kanye West I refused to get food in a place that I could get at home. So McDonald’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Quiznos, etc. were all off limits. Instead, I was taken to some Chicago style spots for some real Chicago eating. Of the places I went, I had to blog about four. Those being Giordano’s Pizzeria (below), Potbelly Sandwich Shop (below), Garret’s Popcorn, and Mister J’s. To say I was in heaven is a supreme understatement.

Giordano’s Pizzeria

I’m not a pizza lover, I’m a burger gal. For me, pizza comes in at second place but for a moment Giordano’s almost kicked every burger out of the top spot. I initially was unsure if I should go to Giordano’s or Gino’s pizza but after hearing that Giordano’s was the best in stuffed deep dish pizza my decision was easily made. My friend and I hadn’t eaten all day and by the time we got to Giordano’s we were starving. [Disclaimer: I’m not a nice person when I’m hungry and if I’m starving don’t mess with me unless you have a death wish. You’ve been warned.]

When the waiter came, we were so hungry that we planned on both ordering an individual small pizza. The waiter looked so perplexed by our choice and asked whether that’s what we really wanted. We changed our minds and decided to split a small pizza. That would have been such a bad decision! We ordered the cheesy bread sticks and then a half sausage and half pepperoni pizza and a cherry coke all for about $25. I cannot explain how amazing it was. It took about 40 minutes to get the pizza but when we got it, I was in love. Keep in mind I was starving so the cheesy bread felt like a starter mint and I should have been able to devour half of the pizza right? Wrong. The pizza was so packed with meat, cheese, and sauce that I struggled to eat one whole slice. We had to take the other 4 slices home. I felt so defeated. The place is so good that I went again before leaving. Hands down, Giordano’s is amazing. I love, love, love it and you need to go there if you visit Chicago!

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

I was told to come here by someone from Boston so I don’t how valid this place is as a staple of Chicago. A friend from Chicago said there was nothing special about it and that it’s just like a Subway or Quizno’s. I can easily take someone else’s opinion, but I had to find out for myself. There are so many Potbelly’s in Chicago it’s ridiculous. Since opening its first shop in 1977, Potbelly has grown to over 200 locations in the U.S. and two international spots.  After seeing about 5 locations within a few blocks of one another my friend and I settled on one of the Michigan Avenue location.

In the mood for breakfast, I got the bacon, egg, & cheddar cheese square for about $4 and it was alright. Nothing taste bud changing but it got the job done. On the other hand, the chocolate brownie cookie for under $2 was amazing! Kinda want one right now. After telling my friend what I ordered, she let me know that next time I should stick to the shakes as they are the best part of the franchise. Another plane ticket to Chicago for a shake? I may be fat in the heart, but not that fat.

The next Fat Fat Attack will be on Mister J’s & Garrett’s Popcorn, look out for it!


Giordano’s Images: Danielle Salmon
Potbelly Sandwich Shop Images: Danielle Salmon


A Trip to Millions of Milkshakes

Recently I have been hearing about and seeing ads for Millions of Milkshakes and found myself caught in the press, hype, and overall pandemonium for the shop. Whether I heard about them from celebrity blogs, mentioned on TMZ, or through a friend with a decaying sweet tooth, I just couldn’t get away from the talk about the best milkshakes in California.

While I am not a milkshake person, the marketer in me needed to know what was so amazing about a store selling a simple combination of “milk” and “shake” that it had celebrities like the Kardashian’s and Ron Artest (LA Lakers), over 10,000 followers on Twitter, and more than 2,000 check-ins on Facebook. I decided the only way to answer such a question was to find out for myself—and with a few friends of course.

To put the mass commotion to rest, two friends and I drove from Altadena to West Hollywood on Saturday. A 21-mile drive from one city to the other to try out a milkshake. Based on the pictures and videos, I was expecting to see a store massing half a block, but instead we were presented with a small shop that would probably fit no more than 30 people at a time before the fire department would be called.

Still skeptical, I checked out the menu. Literally, there were a million combinations to create a milkshake. Whether I wanted peanut butter, Oreo’s, gummy bears, marshmallows, caramel, sprinkles, or all of the above, I had the option to play with options to satisfy my desire. To make things more exciting, the milkshakes weren’t expensive. I was expecting to dig deep into my wallet to pay for the drink but the prices were reasonable when compared to similar stores.

When deciding which shake to choose, I was stuck between the Miley Cyrus shake (cookie dough and Reese’s peanut butter cups) and the “Oreo Licious” shake (Oreo, chocolate syrup, and caramel). I made the executive decision and bought a small Miley Cyrus. When trying it my thought process changed drastically.

First sip: “Yes, that’s a milkshake”. Second sip, “Wow that’s pretty good”. Third sip, “Oh my gosh this is amazing!” Fourth to final sip: “Where’s my milkshake?” It was such a great milkshake, I couldn’t believe it. Although my experience drinking shakes may be limited, I can honestly say it was the best I ever had. It was so good that at some point between the cookie dough and peanut butter cup collaboration in my drink, I became a milkshake person.

My friends and I spent time sitting outside of the store drinking what was left of our shakes and catching the view of the city during the warm spring day. It was perfect; so much so that it has become one of my new summer destinations. After about 30 minutes of sipping and cracking jokes that only we would understand, we made our way to my car and drove back home.

Millions of Milkshakes is the type of place that you have to try simply because you have to find out if it’s worth the hype. The attention the store receives is well due because the concept isn’t overdone, the staff is entertaining, and the shakes are anything but simple. It’s important to know that, while a drive to Millions of Milkshakes is technically a 42 mile round trip from me, I already have days planned out when I will grab friends and get another Miley Cyrus. My gas tank will be filled up on Friday to make another trip for this weekend. In a nutshell, it’s worth it and if you’re skeptical about it, then there’s only one way to find out.


Magnum: The Biggest Thing to Hit the Freezer Section

Yesterday a commercial caught my attention so forcefully that I had to stop what I was doing to watch it in its entirety. It was for Magnum. Surprisingly it was not a commercial for the Magnum condom brand that most Americans think of when hearing the name. Instead, it was for Magnum the European ice cream bar. It took a moment for my mind to redirect from the condom to the ice cream but once it did, I wasn’t sure how I should perceive the brand’s commercial. After watching the TV spot and international commercials online, I soon realized that the ice cream bar has had a risqué way of positioning itself and a method of taking a direction that neither Haagen Dazs nor Klondike Bar have ever taken before.

The ice cream brand has been around in Europe since 1987 and has created somewhat sexually implied commercials throughout its maturation in the marketplace outside of the United States. However, when introducing itself in the U.S. April 2011, Magnum decreased the degree of “overt hotness” in its commercial premiere to appease the viewing preferences of the American audience. Using The O.C. and Jumper actress Rachel Bilson (right) as the familiar face, Magnum is portrayed as the ice cream you have to get, specifying in its conclusion that it’s the brand “for pleasure seekers”. While the words and tone of the commercial maintain the provocative identity it has had in the United Kingdom, the brand has not yet gone to such lengths in its portrayal here at home.

In spite of what I see through its ad, I still wonder who Magnum is. On the product list of Unilever, Magnum has no relation to the condom brand which rests on the Church & Dwight Co. line. With no connection to the contraceptive, the ice cream brand still embraces the suggestive nature when showcasing its products. From its conception, Magnum has gone through an array of flavors and variations such as nougat (1996) and double chocolate (2000) and the “Seven Deadly Sins” (2003) and “Five Sense” (2005) respectively.

Currently the brand’s U.S. products include Double Caramel, Double Chocolate, Classic, White, Dark Chocolate, and Almond (right). Although the U.S. is just now getting Magnum in stores, the ice cream brand is quite popular. According to Unilever, “over a billion Magnum ice cream bars are sold every year”. After reading that and seeing the commercials, I had to try it myself. I bought a box of the 3-pack Magnum Almond from Ralphs for $3.99 (reg. $4.99). At 300 calories and a satisfaction guarantee, the ice cream is as good as the hype. The almond flavor packaging boasts of being made with “vanilla bean ice cream dipped in Belgian milk chocolate and almonds” and happens to have a dash of pleasure mixed in somewhere between the sweet chocolate and smooth cream. Hands down, the ice cream is delicious. I may not jump out of my BMW and leap over cars like Rachel Bilson to get a bar, but it’s only because I don’t have a drop top Beemer or a stunt double—otherwise I would.

Magnum Commercial (United States)

Magnum Product Image: Magnum Website
Rachel Bilson Photo: IMDb
Magnum Product Sampling Image: Danielle Salmon
Magnum Video: Cathace 2000


Fat Fat Attack: Umami Burger

Looking for a great burger? Then add Umami Burger (aka Umami) to your list of places to wear your stretchy pants and pregnant lady shirts. When I tell you this place has an amazing burger I am not exaggerating. Back in the day In-N-Out was the mecca for burgers and then I graduated from high school. Ever since then I’ve been trying to find great burger joints. I found one or two here and there and they remain on the list, but in came Umami Burger who stole first place. I first heard about Umami when GQ named their signature burger, Burger of the Year. I did a little research and it turns out Umami Burger’s founder Adam Fleischman created a hit in 2009. When he opened the first location he served an all American burger with  a unique and savory Japanese taste known as umami. With locations in Hollywood, Los Feliz, Santa Monica, La Brea, Studio City, and soon in San Francisico Umami is hitting California fast and hard. After all of this, I immediately Googled for the closest address and headed over.

As of today I’ve gone to Umami twice. I initially went to Umami in Hollywood and loved it. The second time I thought I would shake it up and try the Umami in Los Feliz. Disclaimer: Please know that I don’t want to talk badly about something, but in this case—I must. My nieces and I went to the Los Feliz Umami and it was a b-a-d bad move. I have never had such bad service at a restaurant in my entire life and I never actually sat down. I was in there for less than 5 minutes and was appalled. The problem with the Los Feliz location was there was “so much going on” that when we walked in not a single hostess or server approached us asking if we’d like to sit. Even if this location was ‘seat yourself’(which it wasn’t), I couldn’t even find someone to tell me that. You may be thinking: why didn’t you just sit down then? Trust me that thought crossed my mind multiple times, but after having such rude service upon entrance I could only imagine that after sitting down the service would either be the same or worse. No thanks. What made the situation worse aside from the service was that I had such great parking and had to give it up. Regardless of how close I was parked, I didn’t care. We got out of that location so fast and went straight to the Hollywood joint.

180 degrees later we were at Umami Burget at Space 15 Twenty, aka heaven. This location had the best service out of almost any fast casual restaurant I’ve visited. The wait was about 20 minutes but it was worth it. This restaurant that has both inside and outside seating is tucked in the ally of Urban Outfitters and TOMS shoes and you’ll find the best food and service ever. The restaurant was packed and the waiters and even manager were on their feet constantly, but they made sure you felt like you were taken care of. Five cool points for you guys. My nieces and I had Ashley and Kari as our waitresses and what caught my eye was that when they had questions, Ashley knelt down to their level to answer their questions. She literally stopped and made sure they understood whatever it was they didn’t know about the food. She paid attention to their concerns. When Kari came around she made sure that anything we needed was done and that everything was perfect—with a bright smile from ear to ear. What else could you want out of employees? Singing and dancing? Well they did that too, another five cool points.

Then our food came. I ordered the SoCal Burger with sweet potato fries (right) and my nieces got the Umami burger (below). The SoCal burger is packed with so much great taste that I fought my hand to put it down. The Umami burger looked like the simplest burger but had so much flavor that it was like it came straight out of left field. And the sweet potato fries with brown sugar were so good I had to get another order and then force myself not to order a third. I even ordered their personal lemon-lime soda Bubble Up which was so good. To top things off, we got the mint and chip ice cream sandwich (below) which was such a good sandwich I am still thinking about it now. I want you to understand how exceptional this food is but the only way to do it is if you drive there yourself. And by ‘there’ I mean to the Hollywood Umami, not the one in Los Feliz.

Umami is my all time favorite burger spot and I will be hitting them up as many times as possible this summer. If after you try this place you still think that In-N-Out, Tommy’s or Bob’s Big Boy has a better burger it’s because your taste buds don’t work. Don’t worry, that just leaves more Umami for those of us with working glands. If you haven’t tried Umami yet, hands down what’s your favorite spot for burgers?

Wanna Check ‘em Out?

1520 N Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, California 90028
(323) 469-3100

Sunday to Thursday—11:00AM to11:00PM
Friday to Saturday—11:00AM to 12:00PM


Fat Fat Attack: Saladang Song in Pasadena

I love Thai food—well let me rephrase that, I love pad Thai. I may not know every Thai dish, but I know pad Thai and I know when it’s good or not. Whenever I get the chance to get Thai food, I’m the first one sitting at the restaurant. So when my mom suggested trying out a new Thai place, I was ready to go. We headed out to Saladang Song (aka: Saladang) which is a Thai restaurant in Pasadena with a little quirk. When we arrived, I noticed is that there are two Saladang restaurants on the same space, separated by a parking lot—interesting. One has seating inside the restaurant only, the other has seating both inside and outside. I ate at the restaurant with only inside seating. This half of the restaurant has this modern yet industrial feel to it where certain things that should be behind a wall (e.g. vents) are right in view. A cool way to dine, the restaurant has a lot going on with waitresses all over the place, tables close to one another, and the hustle and bustle coming from the kitchen. This wouldn’t be the best choice for a first date where you want to get to know one another without too many distractions, but it is great for families, groups, or all around boisterous individuals.

I ordered pad Thai (did you expect anything else) and it was good. The portions were huge, borderline family style, so I gave part of it to my niece. Very nicely priced I felt like I got more than my money’s worth and the food was easy on the palette. I liked that they changed up the presentation of the dish by wrapping it in egg. I’m used to it being mixed in, but this was different and funky—I didn’t eat the egg though, entirely too much. Then came the desert, coconut and mango ice cream. Dear Jesus, the coconut ice cream was amazing! So fresh, so smooth, and the fresh coconut and jackfruit bounced off the spoon like magic. The mango was so sweet and tasted like I bit into the actual fruit with each spoonful. It was fantastic! It’s a good spot and you should try it out if you’re ever in the area, want Thai food, and like choosing between two of the same restaurants.

Wanna check ‘em out?

383 South Fair Oaks Avenue Pasadena, CA 91105-2524
(626) 793-5200
Sunday to Saturday – 7AM to 10PM

Saladang Song Images: Danielle Salmon

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