My first Yelp party

Yelp Elemental party @ J Lounge

Recently, I was invited to become a Yelp Elite member. Shortly after being inducted, I got notice of Yelp’s March party – Elemental at the J Lounge in Downtown LA. I decided that would make a nice break from moving and decided to take Husband along as my guest.

Food trucks to whet our appetite

When we got there at 7pm for the Elite hour, there was already a line out the door waiting for entrance.  Fortunately, Yelp had hired several food trucks to keep us occupied – Flying Pig Truck, Fresser’s and Buttermilk.  I grabbed a pastrami sandwich bite and some ube (sweet purple potato) and red velvet pancake bites from the latter two trucks.

Lounge area in the patio

J Lounge is a swanky two-story space with an outdoor patio.  Kitchen 12000 had set up the patio to look like an airport/airplane; girls dressed up as stewardesses wandered around and some passed out little boxes with short ribs, mashed potatoes and green beans.  Kitchen 12000 also set up Pho King, Killer Kabob and Coffee Clinic booths around the area for food samples.

Chicken kabob from Killer Kabob

Husband and I grabbed a box of the short ribs early on and some Killer Kabob samples later on in the evening.  The short ribs box was a little cold.  My rib barely had any meat on it.  Overall, it was okay but nothing great.  The chicken kabob, served with rice and tzatziki sauce, were a bit more flavorful.  Husband wasn’t keen on his beef one but he didn’t have it with the tzatziki.  I tried it sans sauce and he was right; it was a little bland.  Still, I thought this was better than the short rib box.

Picture time!

Coffee Clinic

Dollhouse Bake Shoppe mini cupcakes

There was a photo booth set up where attendees could put on silly hats, glasses, etc and get their picture taken.  While in line, I picked up some goodies from the Coffee Clinic people – an espresso brownie and a coffee flavored rice krispie treat.  Both were really good.  I’m not a coffee drinker but I do like coffee flavors in sweet things so this was awesome.  I wanted more of the rice krispie treat…  The bitterness cut back on what is normally an overly sweet dessert.

Since it was a little cold, Husband and I decided to explore the inside of the building.  Waitresses from J Lounge were passing around goodies like bacon wrapped dates (YUM!) and other vendors were set up around the venue.

We visited the Dollhouse Bake Shoppe table.  They were serving up samples of their adorable and deliciously moist bite-sized cupcakes, cookies and other dessert items.

Flying Pig Truck - smoked chicken and spicy pork tacos

There were a few palm readers/psychics around.  There was also a swag table.  Grabbed a bag and a couple of shot glasses with the Yelp logo on them for our collection.

We also got to play with the Miracle Fruit.  After rolling around the fruit on our tongues for at least two minutes, we sampled lemons (tasted like lemonade) and apple cider vinegar (tasted like apple juice with a little bit of tanginess).

Still hungry, we visited the Flying Pig Truck.  They were all out of their pork belly buns, sadly, but they still had some smoked chicken and spicy pork tacos left.  I got one of each and have to say, these were pretty darn good.  The spicy pork actually packed some heat!

Feeling satiated, Husband and I headed back in and explored the upstairs of J Lounge.  A dance floor with a DJ had been set up and we found a couple more vendors as well as a hookah and cigar lounge. There was also an extensive bar taking up one of the long walls, bringing the total number of bars I saw to 3.  One thing you can be sure of, you’ll always be able to get a drink somewhere in J Lounge…

Plush Puff marshmallow

Plush Puffs had samples of their flavored marshmallows on skewers and little fires going for toasting them.  I adored the lemon flavored toasted marshmallow.  They also do gigantic marshmallows!  A perfect gift for the marshmallow lover in your life…  Apparently, they also do catering, a great idea for a special occasion party or wedding reception dessert stand.

L'artisan du Chocolat chocolates

Out on the upstairs patio, there was a chocolatier that I absolutely fell in love with – L’artisan du Chocolat.  French-trained, Whajung and Christian combine chocolate and various flavors like mango wasabi, Aztec chili, Korean garlic and anis honey to create exotic and delicious morsels of melty heaven.  I sampled the bacon which was amazing, one of the best versions I’ve had so far, and the Korean garlic, a strange yet yummy combination.

For entertainment throughout the evening, Yelp had performers from Zen Arts LA out on the patio.  Aerialists, belly dancers, burlesque and vaudeville performers and Capoeira demonstrations oohed and aahed the crowd.

Overall, this was a pretty fun event and totally made me want to attend more.  Husband was quite adamant that he get to come with me.

Thank you, Yelp!

You can see more pictures on the Catty Critic facebook page.


Buttermilk Truck

Buttermilk Truck

Third try’s the charm, or so the saying goes.  I have been thisclose to Buttermilk Truck twice before but never got to try them due to long lines.  Checking out their schedule for the week, I noticed that they were going to be in Culver City tonight from 7-10pm, which was only 10 minutes north on the freeway.  I called up the Husband and let him know that we were going out to eat tonight.

Order up at the Buttermilk Truck

We got to the truck around 8pm; I was expecting there to be a crowd given how popular Buttermilk was at the Food Fest and the Relief for Haiti event at T Lofts.  Surprisingly, there was no line.  There were a few people waiting around for their orders but other than that…  I was cheering inside.  FINALLY!!

Husband and I decided to order the chicken and waffles ($7), the breakfast sandwich with bacon and hashbrowns ($4) and two orders of the pancake bites ($5/each).  Prices include tax so no need to carry odd change.  The nice thing Buttermilk Truck does is if you order multiple items, they serve each item as it is ready so you don’t have to wait for everything to finish cooking to receive it.

Chicken and waffle

First up was the chicken and waffles – 2 wings and a waffle.  The waffle had cinnamon mixed into the batter which I could smell and a pat of butter was melted into the crevices.  The flavor was nice but texture-wise, I prefer crispier waffles.  Still, this was pretty tasty.

The chicken wings were fantastic.  The skin was crispy and the batter had a little bit of spicy mixed it to it, giving the chicken some heat.  The meat was juicy.  Flavor-wise, these were on par with what I would expect from a sit-down restaurant.

Breakfast sandwich, garlic rosemary hashbrown

Eggy accident

Next up, the breakfast sandwich – an over-easy fried egg, cheese and applewood smoked bacon encased in a homemade buttermilk biscuit.  Chicken apple sausage or torino can be substituted for the bacon.

Husband went in for the first bite and while I warned him about the runny yolk, he still managed to get it all over himself.  There went my yolk…  The biscuit was great – fluffy inside and not at all crumbly.  Crispy bacon, nicely cooked egg, a classic yummy breakfast sandwich.

The garlic rosemary hashbrown, a $0.50 addition to the breakfast sandwich, was delicious.  Garlic and rosemary can be very strong flavors but in this hashbrown, they weren’t overpowering.  Texture-wise, it was like eating a giant tater tot.  Well worth the 50 cents, in my opinion.

While I was finishing up my sandwich, Buttermilk announced that they had a extra mini-Brick and asked if anyone wanted it.  No one went for it so I took it.  Hey, free food and a chance to try another yummy item off their menu?  Why not?


The mini-Brick consisted of a hashbrown topped with a fried egg topped with half a biscuit and covered in homemade chorizo gravy.  This was pretty tasty but required a fork.  I really enjoyed the chorizo gravy; salty (but not overly so) and meaty, this would be awesome to use in a loco moco or serve over french fries.

Our pancake bites were served up last.  Husband wanted chocolate chip and I went with the red velvet which also had chocolate chips in it.  Served with a side of butter, these were a sweet ending to our meal.  Syrup was available near the forks and napkins.

Chocolate chip pancake bites

Red velvet pancake bites

Husband devoured most of his order before I could get a picture but I managed to stop him mid-nom on the last pancake.  He really enjoyed these, apparently.  He didn’t even offer me a taste…

The red velvet pancake bites were really good, though, with syrup, a little on the sweet side.  Easily consumed in 2 bites, these were fluffy, moist and not too thick or thin.

Now I understand why Buttermilk had such long lines the last two times I saw them.  Great food and great prices for the most part.  I thought the chicken and waffles were a little bit pricy but everything else was cheap for the quality and quantity.  I would eat every single one of these items again.

And according to their Twitter, they sold out of everything tonight…

Buttermilk Truck gets 4 NOMs from the Catty Critic