West LA, CA
I want to take a moment to talk about a place called Upper West. We (my posse and I) first went here on my birthday (post brunch, urgent care and el cholo) and then again for Andrea’s birthday (when happy hour goes from 5-10!) and it really is a fantastic joint that very few people seem to know about. First off, their happy hour menu has great prices and delicious drinks and food. And the staff is very generous with their birthday shots. They like to celebrate and care that you’re having a good time, which Brooke, our resident bartender befriender, whole-heartedly approved of. There are a few items in particular I want to touch on…
BACON BLEU CHEESE FRENCH FRIES. I really shouldn’t need to type anything after that because that noun-phrase up there is completely stand-alone, but for those of you who like information, details and reassurances, let me just tell you, these were amazing. I’m pretty sure they take the fries, hot out of the fryer, and toss them in a large bowl with blue cheese and bacon and let it melt all up in there and then they add some diced tomatoes for flavor balance. The bleu cheese is not overwhelming and the flavor is spot on for only $6. To quote Starsky and Hutch, “Do it. DO IT!”
Their bar burger, only $7, is a nice, doable size, made with a dry aged beef blend, balsamic caramelized onions, arugula and pasilla goat cheese spread on a toasted bun. It has a distinct gourmet flavor that I will credit the goat cheese and arugula with. Arugula is undervalued in my opinion. If you want to try a bunch of their other bar hors d’oeuvres, share the burg and have the lamb nacho bites, or the mac n cheese off the regular menu.
Let’s talk booze. Upper West has a great cocktail list, each cocktail only $6 during happy hour. I am particularly partial to the Cucumber Martini with vodka. It’s refreshing, makes you feel fancy, (even though, let’s be honest, when am I not fancy?) and it counters well with the heavier flavored menu items I mentioned above. They also do a beer sampler that can be fun with a group of people, I personally love the Tangerine Wheat beer, but there was a chocolatey beer we had that was quite interesting as well.
And finally, the bread pudding. I am not a person that looks at a dessert menu and says, “YES! Bread pudding!” However, they brought it out with a fabulous candle on my birthday and it was one of the best things I have ever eaten in my entire life. It was like cinnamon, vanilla, gooey, heavenly yum. Go for it. Step outside your comfort zone and say in your best English accent, “I’m feeling British and I think I’ll order the bread pudding.” But be careful, once you’ve had it some things in your life will pale in comparison.
It’s a restaurant/bar, so dudes, this is a great place to wow a lady you want to take on a proper date, and it’s great at accommodating group gatherings. Anyway, go enjoy!