Hagpop, no fucking joke


#1

This nondescript, storefront joint is an exceedingly unheralded storefront gem which I have never heard mentioned anywhere in the mainstream press.

It is definitively an unqualified find even though its hiding in plain sight, rather than being inconspicuous, on a relatively busy stretch of Ventura Blvd, hard by the neighborhood liquor store.

The joint has a simple, homey decor that does feel like you’re sitting in an urban cafe in the bustling portion of Beirut. And there’s arak to drink, which they ultimately soften with water and ice cubes, until the high-octan liquid turns to a milky, cloudily celestial, etherial cloud. Suffice to say, it’s still quite strong with the added attraction of the weakening agents.

The husband-and-wife team have been going about their business beyond modestly for the better part of three decades now (since they immigrated from Lebanon years ago) in the same storefront raising children, and now grandchildren, who now crawl around the tables with utter bliss, oblvious to the fact that it’s actually a restuarant. Their warm though much too modest welcome is truly an extension of their home. This is no ordinary restuarant. And serves as a home base for expats who think nothing of downing bottle after bott

The food is great, though it will not be winning any accolades nor profusive plaudits in the press. Their PR stretches mere steps beyond a token few posts on Yelp (though even restaurants with no press in magazines and newspapers will still receive a few Yelp posts. There’s almost nowhere Yelp has ceased to stretch it’s long-arm, and that is truthfully no joke). They do have a bare-bones, utilatarian, perfectly sensible website (though the nascent site did not seem to be in perpetual existence just a few weeks ago).

You will order the minced beef kebab because that makes up more than the dozen dishes on offer and you will be beyond complacently happy. Much more so if you are already knee deep in a bottle or two of arak with that unmistakable anise-cum-licorice scented funk.

The kebab with pressed griddled pitas topped with their namesake charbroiled onions and grilled tomatoes is beyond reproach, especially when paired with the pickled radishs and jalapenos and more piping hot pitas to sop up the garlickly kebab juices.

The hummus is swell and house-made. And the solid, garlicky bastruma (the old-world pungent precursor to Jewish pastrami) is the real deal, a fitting foreward to the onslaught of kebabs.

But did I mention there is arak to drink and Johnny Walker Blue, MacCallan, and even selected Lebanese wines by the glass in these humble, almost chaste, if not quaint surroundings ?

And for dessert ? What else but some more arak for fuck’s sake ? It must make everything better and transports you for an all too fleeting moment to a nostalgic point in time.


Where's kevin
#2

just wanted to bump this shit, since it ain’t gotts much and I definitely think it’s deserving of some.

and I ain’t affiliated with the joint in any way.

and that ain’t no fucking joke, it would be sad to see it go by the fucking wayside.


#3

I’ve always wondered about this place. I’ll have to hit it up now. Thanks for the review it was a good one, not a fucking great one.


#4

yes, the Trojans are the great ones.

and that ain’t no fucking joke.