to kick off our inaugural SDSC, to which i introduce on my blog here, i decided to lure my friends to a hawaiian-inspired outpost in what used to be a pancake-flipping IHOP. located not too far from the bubble on washington in culver city, A-Frame is the brainchild of none other than roy-choi: godfather of the food truck movement, culinary rebellion, and a “chef for all people, not just the rich”.
true to it’s name, A-Frame flaunts a signature pitched roof, a pleasing sight to any architectural junkie that also adds a sense of boundless space above the picnic-esque seating. i guess i’m supposed to want to roll out a checkered blanket and pour myself a glass of boxed wine, but i’d be more inclined to pitch a tent and stargaze at night, if that were an option. as we sauntered over to the bar to take advantage of luau hour, their version of happy hour, i proceeded to devour every piece of branding possible: punchy business cards, menu dialogue, pineapple decor, speckled bowls and plates, bartender uniforms…i can’t help myself. every part of a restaurant, from napkins to light fixtures to the kind of soap offered in the washrooms, is an attempt to share it’s personality to the customer, and i am continually fascinated by the ways in which this dialogue takes place.
and then we were seated outside. and then i was genuinely disappointed. after thoughtfully mentioning in my online reservation that “this was our first time at A-Frame, very excited!”, can you blame me for expecting to be placed in the center—or at least close to—the action? especially on a week night in january? the beautiful, let’s book a flight to the big island right now music was reduced to white noise and nearby traffic, and separating us from the outside world was something resembling a shower curtain (my friend managed to close it shut against the breeze using chopsticks). this was certainly a strike against an otherwise near flawless dining experience; however, i should have and wish that i had expressed my disdain on the spot and requested to be seated inside.
alas, the SDSC is much more about the company than anything beyond our control. our guest of honor was a professional matchmaker, so conversation inevitably landed on dating and relationships and the hilarious things we do to get one another’s attention (or avoid it). the food was delicious and nobody broke the cardinal rules of a) no cell phones at the table and b) bill is always split four ways. a successful night for our very first meal together!
if you’re planning a trip to A-Frame or just plain curious, here’s a cheat sheet of our favorite items on the menu:
bakin fried rice // bacon, chicharron, fresno chili, pickled ginger, herb mix, bean sprouts, sunny egg, bakin sauce
kalua pork ramen // kalua pork, fresno chili, ginger, herb mix, sesame seeds, soft boiled egg
poke of the day
steak vibes // salsa verde, chili water, onion, sesame seeds
stay tuned for more on this monthly dinner series! up next…North Italia at The Point in El Segundo.