I get invited to events because I’m married to one of Los Angeles’s top food, travel and lifestyle writers. I’ve also been a lifestyle writer myself. I go to so many restaurants and bars and happenings and have so much to say about these experiences that I’ve decided to start a new feature on this site called “Is it Good?”
“Is it Good?” answers the main question everyone asks when they’ve heard you visited a restaurant or a bar.
They want to know, “Is it Good?”
Then you explain, “Yeah, it’s good.” Or you say, “No, it’s not that good.” Or: “It could be good if…”
Each “Is It Good?” will weight the following factors in a bar or restaurant that are important to me.
They are, in this order:
1. Is the food delicious?
It usually is, but sometimes it isn’t. Generally speaking, the better the view, the worse the food. Bad views generally mean better food. That’s not the deal all the time–you can find places that blend good food and good view–but it does explain why some of the best food in LA is in strip malls.
2. Was my chair comfortable?
This one is huge. I can’t tell you how many meals I have not enjoyed because my chair was uncomfortable. “So,” the PR rep will tell us, “the owner’s wife actually purchased the restaurant’s chairs from a Swedish grade school. Isn’t that eclectic?” No. It’s painful. My spine is in agony. The left side of my face is numb. I’m losing my vision. Just let me lay down on the floor. Restaurant designers and owners operate under the delusion that the people eating their chefs’ million-calorie meals will somehow shrink over time. We’re not all 6-year-old Swedish boys, restaurant people. Some of us need fat-people chairs.
3. How was the booze?
Extra points for good bourbon, whiskey or something spicy.
Was I able to find parking without circling the block several times while crying into my steering wheel?
5. Did the men’s room offer enough privacy?
How was the urinal spacing? Were there dividers? What was the depth of the dividers? Was there enough privacy to operate with 100 percent efficiency? If there was a #yesallmen, this topic would be my No. 1 concern.
6. Was the restaurant too loud?
If the waiter has to shout the specials while I hold one of these old-timey listening things in my ear, your restaurant is too loud.
7. How was the staff?
It’s impressive to meet a server who knows EXACTLY how the chef prepares the various dishes. There are a lot of great servers in Los Angeles, and I think this is mainly due to the fact that producers keep giving the same 14 actors all of the good TV and movie roles.
8. Did the establishment try anything new?
Is there a combination of foods, flavors or presentations that makes me want to whip out my phone and annoy my friends on Instagram with another shot of someone else’s dinner?
Let’s get to our first, “Is it Good?”
Recently we were invited to check out Tart, the restaurant adjacent to the Farmer’s Daughter hotel on Fairfax. Chef Nick Erven previewed his summer menu. The food was terrific, and I’m not just saying that because we ate for free and were served several glasses of delicious wine from countries I didn’t know made wine. The big deal for me was that the fried chicken and waffles had Tabasco-infused syrup.
You can’t deny fried chicken and waffles. They’re amazing. But when when every chef in town is doing his or her own “comfort food” menu, how do you stand apart from the crowd? You infuse your syrup with hot sauce, that’s how. The dish was perfect, and it hit every important food group–your hot sauces and liquid sugars and fried meats and ridged breads.
More pics of the food are up on my Instagram page.
Tart had one more surprise for us. My wife and I get out quite a bit because of her job, and we know a lot of the fun things to do in Los Angeles. But for some reason we’d never heard of the Tart Wet ‘N Wild Pool Warriors. As it was explained to us: Anyone who jumps in the adjacent Farmer’s Daughter Hotel pool during brunch gets half off their meal. If you jump in with your phone, the whole meal is free. (It’s not that ludicrous. I’ve owned several phones that would’ve made me money on that deal.)
The jumping into the pool generally occurs after many bottomless mimosas or gigantic “punch” bowls are consumed. In Los Angeles we nonchalantly call such behavior “day drinking,” but in other parts of the country it’s still referred to as, “Jim’s been having a hard time.”
In any case, I couldn’t believe we hadn’t heard of the Wet ‘N Wild Pool Warriors, so I went online and sure enough…
Via Pop and Sizzle
Via Farmer’s Daughter Hotel Facebook page
And KTLA ran a segment on the Wet ‘N Wild Pool Warriors. I would have embedded it, but the pre-roll ad starts playing automatically, and I ain’t down with that.
And so the question…the big question…the only one that matters.
Tart: Is it good?
Tart is good.
It is Tabasco-infused syrup good.
UPDATE: I have been asked on Facebook if we jumped. No. It was dinner, and the half-off deal is for brunch. Plus, it was kind of a fancy press thingy. But we will jump next time we come back for brunch, and I’ll post pics.