Archive for November 9, 2009

I’m Just Here for the Food: Hot Off The Grill



Just because you don't know who he is doesn't mean that he didn't do a great job.



I don’t think that Ratchet was anybody’s favorite Transformer.

When you talk about Transformers, you think about Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. But nobody really says much about Ratchet. While the other Autobots were out saving the world, Ratchet was back at the base, waiting to fix his injured friends. He wasn’t much to look at — just an ambulance; not a sports car or a big truck — but there was nobody who did what he did as well as he did it.

Well, Hot Off the Grill is a little like that. At first glance, it looks like a run-of-the-mill diner — the kind that sells burgers and sandwiches and dinner combos. It’s standard, everyday fare that you can find for cheap all over the United States. But I have to say that under the white-bread aesthetic of HOtG lies an undeniable and irresistible attraction factor: flavor.

hot off the grill

Doesn't look like much, but the food is more than meets the eye.

I had the BLT. The BLT was great — just enough mayo to keep the sandwich from being too dry, but not so much that you experience chest pains. They were way generous with the thick slices of perfectly crispy bacon, and they didn’t bulk up the sandwich with lettuce to make it look like you were getting more – gotta love that balance of flavor means more than perceived value to HOtG.

My friend had the Chicken Salad with Greek dressing. The dressing was good; standard Greek. The thing that really stood out about the salad was the sheer volume of chicken.

Most chicken salads give you a few sad strips of flavorless, dry chicken breast on top of a mountain of lettuce. HOtG’s offering gives you a veritable treasure trove of moist, perfectly-seasoned chicken breast on top of a manageable amount of salad. The salad-to-chicken ration was perfect – perhaps a little heavy on the chicken, even. Now, that’s what I call value.

We also shared a generous side of fries – hot & crispy, just like a diner fry should be.

Hot Off the Grill might not be accused of doing something new, but it does the same old routine much better than the average diner. Much like Ratchet, it ain’t much to look at. But when it comes to flavor, there’s definitely more than meets the eye.

Hot Off the Grill
12800 Seal Beach Blvd.
Seal Beach, CA 90740
(562) 493-2722

Olive Yu: Chapter 6

This one was hard to write — not because I didn’t know what to write, but because the inspiration for this chapter was a compilation of actual events and I didn’t know if I wanted to be quite this honest about some parts of my past. It was hard to write humorously about something that was so hard for me when I went through it. And there’s also this fear that you, as a writer, won’t be able to accurately convey what it was like for you, as a person, and that your writing will either trivialize or glorify the experience.

But, in the end, the chapter kind of wrote itself and there was just no way I was going to just ditch 4,000 words.

Chapter Six. Please be particularly gentle with your criticisms on this one.