Editorial – It is certainly odd to remember that just 15 days ago, LAFC were defending The Banc. Now, as many are, slowly, settling into the new reality of staying home, sports have become less a distraction, and more a point of hope, for some normalcy in the future. However, as history as proven, no matter how long it takes, we will get through this.
When that time does inevitably come, people will be ready to return to the streets with a new lease on life, and stomachs ready for more than the same five meals you’ve had in rotation. That, is where this series comes in. Providing not just a needed distraction, but some inspiration for future restaurant excursions.
LAFC: The Los Angeles Foodie Club
Los Angeles is home to some of the best, and most unique dining in the country, save for of course, New York. If the way to the heart is through the stomach, one Angelino icon held all the hearts in the city. A culinary cardiologist, if you will, with a finger on the pulse of everything edible LA County had to offer.
Legendary food critic, Jonathan Gold, made a career guiding the picky palettes, and trendy taste buds of Los Angeles, on a tour of captivating cuisine. While his weekly reviews were always worth a read, it was his yearly, 101 Best Restaurants in LA, list that served as award season. A Michelin Star is nice, but landing on Gold’s 101 list was the equivalent to hitting the lottery, ensuring busier days and fuller dining rooms. For 2019’s version, which is equally as inspiring and passionately done, check it out here.
I say all that, in order to shed light on the inspiration for this short series, in addition to setting the stage. After passing in 2018, I thought it would be fun to combine one of LA’s newest loves, LAFC, with one of its oldest, food.
Thus was born, the Los Angeles Foodie Club, a silly, ridiculously fun way to look at LAFC’s squad. Taking a player’s personality along with on-field prowess, and comparing them with their culinary counterpart. A chance to see the squad members as you never have thought of before, while making a list of potential new eateries to visit when we are all back to gathering socially.
Bradley Wright-Phillips: SQIRL (American)
Ask about the go-to brunch spot in Los Angeles, and it won’t take long before the name Sqirl pops up. Much like it won’t take long to hear the name, Wright-Phillips, when discussing the league’s most prolific talent.
While you can’t go wrong with anything on Sqirl’s menu, they are known for the Sorrel Pesto Rice bowl. Not just any rice bowl, chef Jessica Koslow has a knack for turning the ordinary, into extraordinary. Brown rice topped with picked radish, a perfectly poached egg, and sauce on the sides to kick things up a notch.
The same, can be said of veteran striker, Bradley Wright-Phillips. Scoring 108 goals in just under 200 appearances, he tends to make the extraordinary, seem easy. Whether he is poaching goals, or serving up the needed sauce on the side, BWP has proven he is worthy of the hype.
Like Sqirl, the wait to to experience BWP is set to be a long one. However, seeing as nobody has ever left Sqirl feeling like it wasn’t worth the wait, we can all hope the same for the Englishman when he makes his LA debut.
Adama Diomande: JOY (Taiwanese)
Joy is a Taiwanese treasure tucked away in Highland Park. The sister restaurant to Pine and Crane, also owned by Vivian Ku, does a great job of serving up all the intricate flavors of Taiwanese cooking, while not overpowering the palate. The two biggest draws to Joy, aside from it’s hipster-friendly location, is the incredible service, and can’t beat prices. Service with a smile, and an experience worth far more than it costs. Reminds me of a certain Norwegian super-sub from LAFC.
While not really hidden, Dio is very much LAFC’s treasure tucked away. In the same vein as Joy, Dio doesn’t need the flashy skill moves, or the highlight moments to be effective. He puts himself in the right spots, and does the exact things he needs to do, to produce. He knows his role within the squad, and does plays it better than anyone.
Even with the lack of attention, you can always catch Dio with a grin on his face, and often-times post-match, can find him just happy with the team’s success. That, for me, made this comparison, along with his arrival on a free, Dio is another Los Angeles institution providing great service at an unbeatable price.
Pablo Sisniega: THE APPLE PAN (American)
How often do you think about the type of food you want to eat on any given day, and think, ‘let’s go with a burger.’ I would venture to guess, not often. However, if you did happen to be in the mood, Apple Pan would be the place to go. Primarily bar-style seating, allows guests to gather around the grill.
Enviously eyeing each juicy patty that comes off the grill, not intended for you. As great as the food is, the ambiance is what sets this place apart from so many in LA. A throwback to a different era, with six-foot cheese stacks flanking the grills and slices of pie at the ready.
Whether it be apple pie A La Mode, or topped with cheese, or the sweet banana cream topped with powdered sugar. While burgers are often not the first choice, I wouldn’t be mad if offered one.
Much like the next LAFC player, Pablo Sisniega. He too, may not be first choice, but like burgers, being told he’s the option you have, isn’t a bad thing. While he may not have six-foot cheese stacks, he is 6’3″, with a long frame to help him make incredible saves. In 2019 Sisniega played six matches, making 17 saves while facing 26 shots.
He even earned the nickname, St. Sisniega, among the 3252. While he is likely to remain option two in 2020, LAFC fans can rest assured, like burgers, when you’re in the mood and do go with him, he won’t leave you disappointed.
What restaurants would you compare LAFC players to? Leave your comments below. For all things LAFC, food, or to debate silly comparisons, follow me on twitter, @trebtracy. Part two of Los Angeles Foodie Club will be coming soon.