The Mercantile on Sunset

In a stand alone building on Sunset with floor to ceiling windows and glass doors that slide open to connect the indoors with the out-of-doors resides a pair of restaurants that belong in the Bowery Street Enterprise family. They share a kitchen run by Kris Morningstar while exhibiting different fare. The restaurant to the east, The Mercantile, is an open air restaurant and gourmet market with high ceilings that transplants you from the streets of Los Angeles to an old-time European cafĂ©. There are a dozen or so tables inside with mix-‘n-match chairs that rest invitingly well amongst the mason jar water glasses and friendly staff.

The artisanal menu at The Mercantile is full of salty meats and full-bodied cheeses that pair nicely with the wine list. 

The Cuban layers: spicy pork, hot Coppa, melted Gruyere cheese and pickled relish for a delectable sandwich. While the pale yellow Sottocenere truffle cheese and roasted onions put a delicate twist on the classic grilled cheese. Another American favorite turned on its side is the rich and creamy macaroni and cheese. The macaroni noodles swim in a thick Gruyere, Gouda and White Cheddar melody.
True to form, the desserts did not disappoint either. The homemade ice cream pushed the boundaries of flavors including an interesting take on a breakfast staple, the French toast and bacon ice cream. It was tasty but too much as a full helping. The Lemon & Rose Water ice cream was fabulous as it opened with the lemon zest and finished with the savory rose water, while the Vanilla Bourbon Malt ice cream was all around smooth and refreshing.
Days later, I find myself craving another meal from The Mercantile. Since the price is right as most dishes are around $15 a plate I will revisit the eclectic menu and wine list time and again.

Hollywood's newest burger joint

The gourmet burger crazy has taken Los Angeles by storm. You want a made-to-order burger with arugula, guacamole, and a house-made spicy ketchup? There is probably a place in your neighborhood. Hollywood's newest burger joint, Juicy Burger is located on the corner of Hollywood and Ivar. The dining area is a long narrow stretch of tables opposite the open kitchen situated behind the quick-service counter. There is a row of stools that line a large bay window, perfect for people watching. Since Juicy Burger stays open until 3am to cater to the late night crowd, the people watching becomes quite interesting (I watch two ladies passionately undress each other).

Juicy Burger offers a half dozen "classic burgers" to choose from or for the more adventurous types, a five step menu from which you can choose various toppings to put upon your chosen patty and accompanying bun. Toppings range from free to $1 a piece and vary from your basic lettuce and ketchup to chipotle mayo and green chilies or grilled pineapple.

The fries are house cut and tasty and the toppings are fresh, even though they have been out of at least one topping each time I've gone. The burger is nice and juicy, as the name on the door suggest, but a bit lackluster. Luckily the premium sauces enhance the Juicy Burger experience; the garlic mayo and Tabasco ketchup add a titillating flair to an otherwise banal burger.

Overall, it's a fine burger and a great option if there are no other options. However, this is Hollywood and there are always options.