I've mentioned him before, but for those of you who forget who Daniel is, he is a TV writer from New York City, and I actually went to pre-school with him. At the insistence of our mothers (thanks Mom), we reconnected in LA after Daniel graduated from screenwriting school (yes, he is fancy and intellectual and legitimate) and we decided that we actually liked each other and should be friends.
Among his countless endearing qualities, Daniel is funny and very particular about food. He's an adventurous eater, but where I like to mush everything together and stuff it into my mouth and THEN ask the waiter what it was that I just ate, Daniel is the kind of guy who wants to keep his chicken tikka and spinach paneer SEPARATE AT ALL TIMES AND NEVER BLEEDING INTO THE RICE. So you can imagine how surprised/pleased I was when Daniel suggested Mongolian BBQ for our dinner. He also said "I just really want to watch YOU experience Mongolian BBQ." By that, I am pretty sure he meant he wanted to laugh at me being a weirdo with my food.
Gobi Mongolian BBQ House is actually like, 3 blocks from my apartment on Sunset. Here is the website:
If you're not already drooling, I worry for you. Anyway, you walk in, and grab a big bowl, put it on a tray and get in a cafteria-style line. First, there is a selection of frozen meats. Daniel said "I always get chicken and I don't like to mix meats," so I got a whole bunch of beef and mixed some chicken in to be different (okay, to be obnoxious. Who only gets CHICKEN?!). Then you pile in tons of veggies like mushrooms and carrots and leafy things like basil and bean sprouts. Daniel tried to teach me this trick where you put in sprouts and stuff first because "they trickle to the bottom of the bowl," and you want to save as much room as possible so you can pile on a whole bunch of noodles at the end. This is what Daniel's bowl looked like before noodles:
Sensible. This was my bowl pre-noodles:
What?! IT'S MOSTLY BASIL! Anyway, then there is this AMAZING sauce bar and I love sauce almost as much as Emily Moffet and she is a girl who will melt her ice cream in the microwave to make it more like a creamy topping for pretzels. Behold:
Those are the noodles at the end. I used the traditional BBQ sauce along with some lemon sauce because Daniel told me the guys who cook up your food spice it themselves anyway. Even though my bowl was totally overflowing with STUFF, Daniel told me that people usually get more than I did, however, you have to make sure nothing spills onto the tray, because the cooks won't put the spillover on the BBQ pit. Then you give your bowl to these chef dudes and that's really where the magic happens:
Neato, right? Though I became distracted by the insanely great selection of beers displayed on the ledge of the BBQ area (this really annoyed Daniel), it was super cool to watch these guys do their thing. It takes them like, a minute to heat your food and then in one fell swoop, everything is on a plate looking gorgeous. No seriously, look at my fucking plate:
I sprinkled a little sesame and a LOT of Siracha on top (I will put Siracha on a chocolate bar. I don't even know if you capitalize Siracha, but I will continue to do so because it DESERVES capitalization). Then you find a table (warning: there was only one waiter in Gobi last night and a LOT of people, so be prepared to hover/wait/sit at the bar) and the waiter (eventually, he was so stressed but SO NICE) comes over, gives you these DELICIOUS hot sesame buns to sop up the sauces and takes your drink order (as I previously mentioned, I was very excited about this).
So I order what I thought was called a "Black Butter Porter," mostly because I will order anything with the word "butter" in it and a little bit because I like dark beers. The waiter responds and I THINK he says "you mean black PUKE?" so I was just like, "Um, that's mean but yeah I guess," and let Daniel order his special Abita beer (which was very good). The waiter goes on and on about how wonderful Daniel's beer is and then looks at me and goes "The puke is really good too, because it's made with real mountain spring water and you can really taste the difference." he walks away and Daniel is like "WHAT was he calling your beer?" and I am all "I KNOW, right? He is rudely calling my order puke but then being like 'Oh, it's so tasty...fresh spring water, blah blah.'" Anyway this is the beer:
Yeah, it's called Black Butte. I HALLUCINATED the word "butter." Whatever, it was delicious. Daniel was very happy with his meal and ate it so fast, I thought it was like one of those cartoons where the guy throws his plate over his shoulder and the food just disappears. Look at him:
If that's not happiness, I don't know what is. Okay so he looks grumpy, but to be fair, I made him hunch down like that because I was worried he wouldn't fit in the frame because I CANNOT USE MY BLACKBERRY. Anyway, Gobi was fantastic. But I still made Daniel get gelato with me at Pazzo afterwards (and judged him because he only gets fruity flavors). I had brown butter oatmeal (because...butter) and cinnamon (which I MADE Daniel try and he loved because it tasted like "frozen Cap'n Crunch in milk"). Anyway, it won't be as fun because you won't be going with Daniel Sweren-Becker, but Gobi is really yummy and a good all-around "experience." RECOMMEND.