Farmer Boys has been serving up burgers, sandwiches, salads and breakfast since 1981, and nearly 40 years later have pulled the trigger on a new way to French fry. The 93-store chain recently launched ‘always crispy’ fries across all locations.
Not that there was anything wrong with Farmer Boys’ former fries, but the change has made for a pretty good upgrade. They snap when you bend them and have a great crunch, but remain perfectly golden with a good balance of rich and fluffy, and not too oily.
“As consumer eating habits change to where the majority of fries are consumed outside of restaurants, fries that stay crispy longer provide an obvious benefit,” said Larry Rusinko, Farmer Boys’ Chief Marketing Officer.
The new fries, as is the case with everything else on the menu at Farmer Boys, are made with farm fresh ingredients. And as predicted, they make an excellent fit with a classic farmer’s burger [double burger, cheese, bacon, avocado, 1000 island], a barn burner [burger, pepper jack, fried jalapeno slices], or anything else from the long list of specialties. Wash it down with a cookies ‘n’ cream shake and enjoy the nap you’ll need afterward. For more information, visit FarmerBoys.com.
Founders Jake Godby and Sean Vahey put it best by describing Humphry Slocombe as a “bizarre, delicious frozen universe.” Since 2008, Humphry Slocombe [the name comes from the 1970’s sitcom ‘Are You Being Served’] has turned heads with flavors that taste as exotic as they’re named. And where would a place that defines itself by going against the grain be better suited in LA than the heart of Venice?
This humble standing-room only parlor boasts rows and rows of seasonal and evergreen flavors. Strawberry Captain Crunch, Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee and McEvoy Olive Oil are just the beginning. A lineup of ‘boozy’ creations includes secret breakfast [made with bourbon], black forest white Russian [made with Kahlua] and Jesus Juice [wine and cola sorbet] among others. And then the granddaddy of them all: Harvey milk and honey graham [see what they did there? And yes, that’s a direct quote from the display].
Humphry Slocombe offers unlimited samples for visitors, allowing patrons to indulge their curiosity while at the same time making it even harder to decide on just a few flavors, let alone one.
Fresh-made waffle cones and gourmet toppings such as frosted peanuts and custom cornflakes maintain a quality experience. The only area where Humphry Slocombe falls short is their root beer floats, where something more artisan should take the place of the canned A&W currently being used. Milkshakes would be highly desired as well, though patrons can treat themselves to a coffee float or a custom sundae.
Humphry Slocombe has locations across California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii. Venice location is 1653B Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice Beach, CA 90291. Open 1 – 11p Mon – Thu, non – midnight Fri/Sat, noon – 11p Sunday. Avg. Out-the-door price is ~$8/order. For more information, visit HumphrySlocombe.com
TRADE Food Hall epitomizes today’s fast-casual landscape, bringing together an array of comfort-centric eateries in a chic communal dining environment. And while you’ll find everything from pho to fried chicken, there’s an artistic element that ties every restaurant together within the TRADE confines. Beautiful food, with flavor pairings that push the boundaries of conventional dining ever outward, make virtually every TRADE Food Hall establishment something to strike intrigue with eye and palate alike.
If there’s ever a foodie concoction to blow up Instagram, it’s the magical burger at Ground House. This quadruple burger comes on a rainbow bagel bun, decorated with rainbow sprinkles and then covered with a heap of Lucky Charms marshmallows. And while there’s no doubt that most will order this outlandish burger for the pictures alone, it’s safe to say that most will be surprisingly pleased with the contrast of sweet and savory.
Magical burger aside, ‘conventional’ still wouldn’t be the best way to describe Ground House, which takes pride in its cheat day-worthy creations that put bacon and pork-centric items front and center. Those burgers, though, are top notch.
Neighboring restaurant Portside focuses on seafood, showcased in grand Cali fashion. Monster burritos stuffed to the point of explosion and tacos actually filled to capacity are a breath of fresh air from the faux ‘street style’ concepts that try to pass off paltry portions as more authentic. That surf ‘n’ turf burrito is absolutely worth a repeat visit.
Some of Irvine’s most inventive cocktails can be found at Center Hub, where mastermind Cameron Lang and team have come up with simply beautiful creations. Take the la chancla, a Mexican candy margarita made with blanco tequila, watermelon puree, tajin and a chili lollipop garnish, held on with the world’s smallest clothespin. Or the rock pops, basically a liquid alcoholic version of rock candy. And what better to pair with a quadruple burger than a gigantic mojito?
Wrap things up with a cookie monster milkshake at sweet comforts, made with blue cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream [think about it!]. And after all this, you’ve only scratched the surface at TRADE Food Hall. Perhaps best to pace yourself across a few visits to take it all in.
TRADE Food Hall is located at 2222 Michelson Dr. Irvine, CA 92612. Hours vary, but generally open 11a – 9p Mon – Fri, 11a – 8p Sat/Sun. Prices vary by restaurant. For more information, visit TradeFoodHall.com
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.