Zach Brooks

Founder of Midtown Lunch, and Co-Host of the Food is the New Rock podcast. I used to eat lunch in Midtown Manhattan, now I'm eating my way through Los Angeles.

  • Website
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Favorite foods: I discriminate against no food. Although I am partial to the Asian cusines... and pork. Combine the two, and I'm in heaven (which explains my obsession with the Momofuku restaurants here in NYC.)
  • Last bite on earth: A pill that makes you keep living? Barring that, I would probably want to eat at some sort of Asian all you can eat buffet- but if you are literally talking about one last bite, it would probably be a perfectly cooked piece of crispy pork skin

Latest Comments

A 5-Stop Eating Tour of LA's San Gabriel Valley for Under $40

@lauramichele it's thinner than a traditional scallion pancake, but likely a very similar dough.

A 5-Stop Eating Tour of LA's San Gabriel Valley for Under $40

I'm more than happy to walk! Was just thinking of Ed. ;-)

It is worth nothing that at Banh Mi My Tho you don't have to choose between cold cuts, pate, and grilled pork. One of their options has all three! (It's pretty much why it's my favorite place.)

Sorry, New York; Why Los Angeles is the Best Pastrami City in America

As somebody who has lived in both NYC and Los Angeles there's a lot to disagree (and agree) with in this article and in the comments. But one thing is undeniable if you've eaten at all three places: Langer's makes an overall better pastrami sandwich than Katz's, and Wexler's is easily the most exciting "deli" (and I use that term loosely) to open in either New York or L.A. in a long long time.

Funny enough, though, the most egregious thing written on this page is what Makanmata said about Mexican food in L.A. vs New York. What you wrote about pastrami is totally valid, but you lose all credibility if you don't think that the regional varieties of Mexican food are as well represented in L.A. as they are in New York. Have you been to Coni Seafood (Sinaloan seafood), La Casita Mexicana (Jalisco), Gish Bac (for Oaxacan style mole and barbacoa), Mexicali Taco & Co (Baja style carne asada), Guisados (DF style stews), Mariscos Jalisco (tacos dorados from Jalisco), Ricky's Fish Tacos (Baja style fish tacos), or El Parian (Guadalajara style birria). If there are NYC equivalents to any of those places, I'd like to hear about them. And that's just a short list of some of the more "famous" spots. If you want to dig deeper there are plenty more places that could be added to that list.

And mentioning the "generally not good" taco trucks is like using the average pizza parlor (or bodega slice) in New York to dismiss all New York pizza. You are right in saying that there are a ton of bad Mexican restaurants in L.A., but the great ones more than make up for it.

The Fresh Ramen Kits From Sun Noodle Will Knock Your Socks Off

@eek711 You can get them at Mitsuwa in L.A. as well. I've seen them at the one on Venice in Mar Vista, but I'm guessing they have them at all of them.

Los Angeles: Los Cinco Puntos Really Is That Good

This place is pretty amazing... but the best thing to order is "sortido", a mix of a few of the different parts. That way you get the carnitas plus some of the gelatinous, gooey bits, and some of the crunchy chicharrones all mixed together. The meat might be more expertly cooked at Los Guichos, but I actually prefer the mix of textures of the sortido at Cincos Puntos the best.

Also, for those thick L.A. style tortillas you should try the ones at Amapola. Believe it or not, they're actually better than the ones at Cinco Puntos.

Mustard Braised Beef

I really want to make this, but 2 1/2 pounds is too small. What adjustments would you make to the recipe if the brisket was twice as large?

Di Fara: Rant and Response

Two more quick things...

Just kidding Claire! I kid because I love. :-)


I do think it's valid to say that DiFara's isn't as good as it used to be. If you loved it, but think that maybe it's slipping. Fine. Or maybe you had one bad experience? Not every pizza can be perfect. But to say it's bad and has always been bad is just crazy talk!

In-N-Out vs. Five Guys vs. Shake Shack: The First Bi-Coastal Side-By-Side Taste Test

I'm pretty sure you could have come to these exact same conclusions without leaving the burgers out overnight!

Shake Shack's fries are terrible, and Five Guys fries are amazing. And Five Guys has grilled mushrooms and jalapenos. And Shake Shack doesn't have any grilled toppings... So I think the overall scores don't really reflect the overall experience of eating at the three places.

I still agree with you that Shake Shack makes the best burger, but I don't think the overall experience of eating at Five Guys is as bad as your overall score would indicate. I think the real purpose of a side by side analysis is to determine where you would go if all three of these places were located right next to each other... and for me I think it would be a three way tie.

Ed's 10 Favorite Frozen Treats in New York City

Coffee granita over pistachio gelato at Grom? That's the skinny Ed talking! The fat Ed would probably never even have tried the granita...


Shake Shack Shakedown: Are All ShackBurgers Created Equal?

I know everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but there is something wrong with this world when a frozen potato product of unknown providence is considered better than fresh cut potatoes.

Hakata Tonton: In Praise of Pork Foot

One of my favorite places in NYC! I still think about that grilled pig's foot all of the time. Glad to hear it's still good...

Prime Meats Burger: One Step Away from Greatness

Had this burger on Sunday and thought the flavor was just soooo good. Though I am sorry to report that they still haven't changed the bun...

The Art of the Lunch Deal: Má Pêche

Is that a fried spring roll wrapper tucked into that fresh spring roll?

Gridskipper's Recommendations For 4/20 Eats

Being high is the perfect time to eat Mamoun's over Taim. It's like switching to cheaper wine as the night goes on... because once your trashed, it doesn't make a difference.

(Also, more money left over to spend on weed!)

A Worthwhile Slice in Midtown at Previti Pizza

"Mr. Brooks also recommended..."

I love it! I feel like I'm being written about in the New York Times :-)

Josh Ozersky Can't See the Burgers for the Stars

Urgh... if I could bring myself to side with Josh Ozersky, I would point out that you yourself Nick praised last year's Burger Bash (and many of the burgers) on this very site:

Saying that it "gets better every year." But I can't bring myself to side with Josh, so I will refrain from pointing that out.


A Sandwich a Day: Fresh Ham Sandwich at La Taza de Oro

That looks awesome... and for $6?! You've got to be kidding...

Sam Sifton Too Good for 'The City's Best Pizza'

I agree that all ratings systems could easily be called into question (including the letter grade system that is used on this site), but I think you could also argue that the New York Times star system is the best there is. Years of history make the system fairly easy to understand... because in the end it is about expectations. The stars are only important in how they relate to what a restaurant is striving for.

Motorino and Co. never expected to get reviewed by the NYT and got a 1. That's a victory. Oceana would have been thrilled with a 3, but it wasn't good enough to merit a 3. MDP is right on in his assessment, and it's why a one star review for an unexpected spot (like Motorino) might do wonders for their business, while a 2 star review for Casa Lever or Oceana might be a death blow.

They could try to make the review system more complex, and expansive, with "hollow stars" or numbers or letter grades or whatever, for those restaurants that don't aspire to be reviewed by the Times... or they can just keep doing what they're doing. And in the end, we all *really* know what the stars mean. I guarantee you, Motorino was just happy to be reviewed... and it's why they won't and shouldn't be offended by the 1 star.

A Chat with Allen Stafford of Casellula Cheese & Wine Café

The "maestro" of Casellula was Tia, the fromager! It's sad she's not there anymore, and sadder that she isn't even mentioned as one of the main reasons the place was such a success.

What's Your Favorite Bread Basket in New York?

Scarpetta for sure... it's like a cut up, warm muffuletta

Dos Toros Taqueria: Mission-Style Burritos, As Good as California's?

@James - I couldn't agree more with this statement:

"I'll be the first to argue against anyone who says there's no good Mexican food in New York, I haven't yet found a burrito close to the ones I used to eat at La Taqueria, Farolito and Ojo De Agua in the Bay Area."


Dos Toros Taqueria: Mission-Style Burritos, As Good as California's?

I don't think it's ok to dry out meat... I just like my carnitas a bit crispy.