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Best college-age cholesterol hangouts?

I started a conversation with some friends about some of the heinous things we used to eat as kids. I'm talking about things like the Oki Dog (which is two hot dogs, chili, pastrami, onions and cheese wrapped in an enormous steamed flour tortilla; chicken and waffles from Roscoe's; kimchi burritos at Jose Bernstein's after a long night of drinking in the apartments in Westwood Village; the disgustingly huge "pregnant" burrito at El Nopal in Palms.

They don't believe me. They want a list. A list of the places you go at 2 AM when you're hungry, everyone except the driver is drunk, and you're young enough not to give a damn what you're putting inside your body (ah, for those heady days again...).

I won't, I'm sad to say, be sampling any of these. I'm too fat as it is eating things that aren't cholesterol and calorie bombs... but I'm curious.

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  1. A gigantic mystery burrito (seriously, I have no clue what's actually in it; we called them "cat burritos") from El Tarasco in Manhattan Beach.

    "Death Dogs" (hot dogs wrapped in bacon with lots of peppers and onions) from those carts on street corners.

    Just about anything from Del Taco.

    1. In'n'Out, then around the corner to...
      Diddy Riese

      Tito's Tacos
      IHOP/Norm's/the like (Swinger's now that we can afford it :)
      Mongolian BBQ
      Pink's (I don't get it, even though I'm related to Bert Pink... why the line? I'll never be able to tell ya...)
      El Gran Burrito
      Aunt Kizzy's or Pann's if down that way
      Johnnie's Pizza
      Jack in the Box (Chicken Supreme, Curly Fries, and an Oreo Shake... I think I gain weight just thinking about that now...)

      12 Replies
      1. re: Emme

        At either Shack location (on Wilshire in Santa Monica or on Culver Blvd. in Playa Del Rey a block from the beach):

        "Double Shack Cheeseburger A 1/2 LB. behemoth of a Burger with spicy Portuguese Sausage or Lousiana Hot Link and all the fixins."

        1. re: Emme

          While you're in Westwood, you forgot...

          Lamonica's NY Pizza (near Mongols BBQ) and Headlines! (near Fatburger)

          1. re: J.L.

            And "Buck-Fiddy" the sandwich shop next to Tommy's, where you used to be able to get a terrible sandwich for $1.50. I always ordered the philly cheesesteak sandwich (nothing authentic or healthy about it, just meat and cheese and bread). Ordered one during the day, and it was inedible. But at 2:30 am, it was awesome

            1. re: I got nothin

              I liked "Buck-Fifty" (which officially is The Roll Inn) when the subs were indeed a dollar and a half. I'd get the grilled "steak" and spring for the extra fifty cents for double meat. With their chopped cucumber-tomato-onion in Italian dressing topping, it made a good, filling sandwich. But now sandwiches start at $3.50, the additional meat is much more (and is necessary), so it isn't a value anymore, which was its main and only virtue. A double-sheeseburger from the Tommy's hut next door is fresher, hotter, bigger, and more satisfying, and is cheaper besides.

              1. re: nosh

                oh yeah, I forgot about the veggies and dressing on the sandwich. There was more to it than I remembered. My memory was clouded by too many late nights at Madison's (gone), Maloney's (different name now), and Westwood Brew Co (?).

                The Westwood Fatburger was also open late night. A King Burger w/ cheese, bacon, and egg, and onion rings and a shake = your RDA of cholesterol for a few days

                1. re: nosh

                  "Buck-Fiddy!!" Do people still call it that? Even though it hasn't cost that since... 199?. I still cruise by there every once in a while, if it's late at night in westwood and iI'm jumping out some co-ed's apartment window. lol j/k XD

                  1. re: rameniac

                    Dude, it was $1.75 in 1999 but we still called it "buck-fiddy". My first introduction to banh mi, such as they were. It was not a happy introduction, amongst the greasefest that was the other sandwiches.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      When I graduated and left Westwood in 2002, everyone still called it Buck-Fiddy, even though the sandwiches cost $2.25. I vaguely also remember eating late night empanadas at an Argentinian place that was open very briefly in 2001'ish. It was in the strip of shops in between Tommy's/Buck-Fiddy and In'N'Out on Gayley. The empanadas weren't too popular w/ the 2am crowd, so it didn't last long.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        damn i'm old cause when i started at ucla, it was truly a buck fiddy. lol.

                        and when i graduated, i think it was $1.75ish.

                        1. re: wilafur

                          Ahhh buck fiddy. Good times. Don't forget about Stan's Donuts and Diddy Reese (after Madison's, Maloneys, Brew Co and the best view--Monty's). The best was the hangover mornings at Headlines! Go bruins.

                          1. re: jturtle

                            The dearth of bars and fun places in Westwood Village is a loss not only to UCLA students, but to the entire westside. I believe Maloney's may be taken over, before that the nondescript Madison's, and a couple of incarnations prior to that a decent pizza place. None of them could hold a candle to Stratton's as a fun bar, with that impressive oval bar and upstairs seating as well...now some Good Earth that is going to fail. Baxter's was fun and inexpensive, on the lower level of what is now the Whole Foods Market. What is Chili's used to be Yesterday's, with space for music and a good happy hour, before it became that collosal failure of a dance venue without proper permits. What is now Tanino was for decades Alice's Restaurant, a gorgeous venue, somewhat on the quieter side. And while it drew an older crowd, how shortsighted of those idiots who remodeled that office building to put Napa Valley Grille on the bottom but to waste that fantastic view that used to be Monty's on the top. The UCLA Business School should use the metamorph of Westwood Village as a case study of stupidity, shortsightedness (in more than two decades, they still haven't solved the parking problems), and waste. The former Hamburger Hamlet, a large prime restaurant space with parking in the back and only a block from campus, still remains empty almost a decade after they served their last burger... How sad.

                            1. re: nosh

                              Didn't Stratton's close down/become Madison's?

            2. Twenty years ago there was this donut shop in a mini-mall on the NW corner of Platt and Vanowen in Canoga Park. The owner was a guy named Jeff, who my friends and I surmised worked a 20 hour workday because he was always there. Anyway, he made a donut sundae, which was a glazed donut cut in half, with three scoops of ice cream across the two halves and then topped with hot fudge and whipped cream. Very healthy!

              I wonder if it's still there?

              1. Tommy's in Eagle Rock was a common destination, and so was the In-N-Out on Colorado since they were open until 1am-ish. Also The Pantry and Canter's.

                1. Well I went to college in OC and we couldn't go very far b/c we were carless. So of course, there was Del Taco. When we did have transportation, went to a mexican place called Alberto's in Costa Mesa and Fountain Valley. The special was... Carne Asada fries w/ guac/sour cream.
                  Only $5.50.... and 550 calories per bite.

                  My college staple was a 'chili dog'. generic hot dog + bun + mayo + sriracha. it was good but also strange at the same time.

                  My friend told me down by UCSD, there's a place that does the quesaburrito. A full carne asada burrito with the works, which is then wrapped with a quesadilla like it's wrapping paper. What the....

                  1. When I was in high school in Monrovia it was pretty much Bob's Big Boy or Shakeys. We used to have contests on who could eat the most Big Boys. A friend downed nine in one sitting.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: martyR

                      Big Boy! - We used to order hot fudge cake with an order of fries and actually dip the fries in the hot fudge.

                    2. chicken fried steaks at Denny's

                      1. Back in the 60's there were these tiny donut shops at various corner gas stations. They had a counter with a few seats for coffee and donuts and room for a couple of 5 or 6 foot high rolling racks of donuts, replace regularly by a little delivery van. These were some of the freshest, best glazed donuts I've ever had before or since. A bakers-dozen glazed donuts for 55 cents at 11:00 p.m. surely qualifies as one of those "heinous things".

                        1. big tomy's chili cheese burgeres w/ fries and a coke.

                          1. A 7-11 dog piled with chili and cheese.

                            A 30 pack of tacos from taco bell-split amongst several roommates up late cramming

                            That nutty cereal place near UCLA-Voodoo Cereal?

                            Domino's pizza dipped in Ranch Dressing.

                            McDonald's Fries dipped in Vanilla milkshake.

                            The midnight madness dessert at Jerry's

                            The Vermonster at Ben and Jerry's

                            Anything from pink's (eew, talk about not caring)

                            Soul fries at chili my soul, loaded with the works.

                            Joe Peep's 5,969 calorie pizza, house or meat lover's http://www.joepeeps.com/

                            anything at in n out. Such as "animal style"

                            supermarket "jalepeno poppers" in bulk

                            Father's Office Burger

                            Pancakes at the Griddle

                            Moons Over My Hammy from Denny's

                            Trukish Coffee milkshake with a side scoop of cookie dough at Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz

                            Strolling around Costco on Saturday for sample bonanza, thank getting a hot dog or maybe taking a pie home.

                            Spaghettios with Monterey garlic jack cheese tossed in.

                            Geez, thank god I don't eat like that any more.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Diana

                              Diana -- Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz!?! Wow. Not the meaty, greasy cholesterol bomb, but the sugary, chocolate, warm and cold and crisp and milky -- the Chocolate Madness!! A dense chocolate brownie on the bottom, a scoop of ice cream (should have been chocolate, may have been vanilla), a scoop of chocolate mousse. Chocolate chips, whipped cream, warm chocolate sauce or hot fudge. Coulda been a chocolate cookie down there at the bottom too. Wow.

                              And girls love chocolate even more than pastrami, pizza, or popcorn. The chocolate madness was best shared, was vegetarian, and was fantastic. Wow, Saturn Cafe. I'm not sure but it may even still be alive.

                              1. re: nosh

                                Shhhh... The chocolate madness was a secret!
                                Saturn Cafe has moved into the old Kinko's place downtown, but it's still going strong.

                                Jerry's Deli Midnight Madness comes as clost to the chocolate madness as I can find. "any slice of cake with ice cream, chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and nuts". I get them to leave off hte nuts, choose the most chocolaty fidgy cake I can, ask for extra fudge and vanilla ice cream (for a little non chocolate) I can only get it about once a year-or I'd die, and it's HUGE

                                That is the pretty much only thing I really like at Jerry's, although I actually find I like the Jerry's Matzo ball soup with bagel chips.

                                1. re: Diana

                                  Wow holy Santa Cruz reference. I knew how to get to the old location with my eyes closed, which was important becuase I am not sure I ever went there with all my visual faculties entact.

                                  ANYWAY, back to Los Angeles.

                                  Canters. After bumping around Hollywood it always seemed like a good idea to go there at 2, or 3, or 4 and have the pastrami and chicken liver sandwhich. If I make it through one half of that thing now I feel like I might stop breathing. But in those days I could polish one off without a care. Good thing they don't do a calorie count/fat content analysis of this deli classic. I don't want to retroactively feel guilty for things that happens 15 years ago.

                                  1. re: ellaystingray

                                    This might be the best description of Canter's I've ever heard... "It always seemed like a good idea to go there at 2, or 3, or 4..."

                            2. If at In-&-Out, try their fries or burgers "animal style".
                              Kind of gross at first but it grows on you.
                              (sad to say that the original In-&-Out has been closed now for a few years, maybe a historical location, not sure, in Baldwin Park, SGV off the 10 frwy) I get my fix at the one in West Covina off Barranca Ave. a little further down the I-10, across from the Wells Fargo building, it has a nice view of the San Gabriel Mountains(Mt. Baldy during the day), especially now that they are snowcapped. Regardless that place is packed at all ours of the day and night, my buddies and I would end up there (when not at BJs Bar/Brewery/Restaurant across from the In-&-Out) after finals, or on weekends from Cal Poly.

                              1. 1977; Burrito King (Alvarado/Sunset) chorizo-egg burrito. Once got the
                                orange-y grease on a green shirt; never did get that stain out completely. . . .

                                Egg breakfast at Vickman's, with a bear claw in addition to the toast and hashbrowns. With butter. .....and strawberry jam....[now gone but there's a place downtown which claims to have the bear-claw recipe]

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                                  Ah, yes, I was probably there with you at Burrito King, either eating the machaca burrito or the taquitos with guac. Those taquitos used to have the best, chunkiest guacamole. Years later I tried them again and the guacamole was thin and sauce-like. I guess you can't go home again.

                                2. Went to college on the east coast, but we had our doozies. I think the most memorable was a re-fried donut, a regular glazed donut split in half & fried in butter on the griddle of the local burger joint. It was magnificent. Miss a lot of the east coast grease bombs, like the chicken cutlet grinders, the ham, egg & cheeses, not to mention the greasy slice of pie at 2am.

                                  Out here about the nastiest thing you could eat at 2am usually involves LA style chili: Tommy's, Pinks, a chili-dog from Carneys. I don't like Tommy's burgers, so I'll buy a cup of their chili & head on over to In-N-Out. That's a great chili-cheeseburger right there.

                                  1. I actually just spent the early hours of the new year eating chili cheese fries at Tommy's.

                                    Most often in my youth I'd go to Jack in the Box - Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger and curly fries.

                                    When in West Hollywood - an enormous quesadilla and a burrito from Los Tacos, or a trip to Norm's for a big breakfast plate (scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, toast)

                                    When in the south bay - a big breakfast plate at The Kettle

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: LisaStitch

                                      oh yes....the bigger better breakfast at norms. oh to be young again! haha!

                                      1. re: LisaStitch

                                        I recently had an assignment in West Hollywood (Crescent Heights) and wandered around looking for good eats. Ended up in the line at Carney's. ;-) But I passed Los Tacos -- in the strip mall on the south side of Santa Monica Blvd. just east of Crescent Heights, right? I don't like beans or guac or sour cream as fillers -- just tasty charred carne asada or better al pastor, with a punchy salsa roja to spice things up. And prices should be low. Is Los Tacos worth checking out?

                                        1. re: nosh

                                          Yep that's the one. It is cheap. I only ever got the quesadilla or their massive wet burrito, with all those tasty fillers you mention, which I love. I really can't recall if they have the more authentic Mexican that you're describing, but I remember they have a long menu, so you might want to give it a try.

                                          Sorry, I guess that's what happens to the memory on those kinds of nights...

                                      2. I had friends in college who always HAD to go to Del Taco near campus when drunk. They would order burritos with cheese, red sauce and sour cream. That's it. No beans, no meat. I can put down a lot of food when drunk, but I always thought that one was a bit weird.

                                        1. not at two AM, but I remember college kids swarming Farrell's.

                                          IHOP is now serving all you can eat pancakes! Starting at $4.99 for a limited time only.

                                          1. Pastrami Nachos at Chano's - a taco stand right by USC on South Fig.

                                            Gutter dogs - the ones cooked by total strangers on baking pans on top of a sterno can in a cart on the side of the road - onions, bacon wrapped hot dogs, chiles -- perfect right when you're coming out of a club at 1 or so in the morning...

                                            1. The only place at 2, 3, 4am that we would usually find open was a Denny's.
                                              Everyone from after prom kids, to after club or after cramming students headed to them.

                                              1. Harbor House on PCH in Sunset Beach is the best for late night greasy food. They have divine milkshakes and mountainous chili cheese nachos. My roommate and I were once told we could not order anymore food but since we were drunk we argued that to the bitter end!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: bohemianbailie

                                                  Not a hang-out from my student days, but I too have some fond memories of Harbor House from shortly after I met my wife, who lived in Long Beach at the time....

                                                2. Ah Das, excellent topic! :)

                                                  * The Hat - Pastrami Sandwich and sharing an order of their Chili Cheese Fries *and* their Wet Fries (lathered with "gravy"). (FYI: Each order of those Fries at The Hat could feed about 3-6 people easily! (disgusting :)).

                                                  I've never had it, but my friend loved...

                                                  * Tommy's - Breakfast Sandwich, which is: Sausage Patty, Fried Egg, Mayonnaise, Onions, Tomatoes, Pickles, Mustard, then *slathered* with their cholesterol overload Chili. My friend prefers to top this off with a Hamburger Patty as well. Yikes...

                                                  The scariest trifecta of destruction (attempted by some friends of mine back in the day):

                                                  (This is all in 1 night (usually on a Saturday)):

                                                  * Start with Tommy's Burger & Chili Fries.
                                                  * Go to Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles for a full order of Chicken & Waffles.
                                                  * End with Pink's Hot Dogs.

                                                  I gained 10 pounds writing that out. :(

                                                  1. 5 Rolled Tacos for $2.99 at Benitos. Anytime we were down in hollywood we'd stop by there at the end of the night...ate it outside. Sometimes THAT was the side order to a carne asada burrito.

                                                    We'd also go to the Pantry downtown. 3am Steak and Eggs with that greasy bread was just awesome. Everyone always knocked out on the car ride home after that.

                                                    Closeby downtown that was also a late night haunt was Won Kok. We would just order a bunch of food and do it family style. Bonus points if they still had some BBQ Pork buns.

                                                    El Tarasco in Manhattan Beach is open until 2am on some nights or late night somehow...we'd always get something there...most of the things were just rice, beans, tortillas, meat, cheese, enchilada sauce....all in a silver aluminum container with lots of chips.

                                                    Lots of late nights at the Kettle in Manhattan Beach. Started off with an order of Fried Zuchini with ranch dressing....then usually top that off with a French Quarter burger (Burger with bacon, avocado, cheese, I think 1000 island on french bred) with some french onion soup.

                                                    Sammuluang or Hollywood Thai or any of those Thai restaurants: I love the Duck with Rice or some Pad Thai early in the AM.

                                                    Jerry's Deli was always closeby.....so we went frequently.....I ALWAYS got a Teriyaki Burger with Onion Rings with a side of Ranch dressing. Both the onion rings and the burger got dipped into the ranch.

                                                    Did Fred62 sometimes....pancakes and stuff like that late at night...burgers other times.

                                                    Mel's Diner on Sunset....got the Blue Plate specials frequnetly after a night a Dublins or Miyagis.

                                                    Did Roscoes..but they closed the Pico/LaBrea one earlier a few years back.....it was actually the first restaurant I ate the first night as a freshman in college.....at 3am...first time I was ever frisked and had to go through a metal detector with Nation of Islam security guards at a dining establishment. We fit me and 5 other guys (they were all pretty big guys) into a Toyota Corolla, and decided to go there at 2am...there was a 45 minute wait!!!!!! And this is my first night in LA coming from Oregon! hah.

                                                    Taco Bell, Del Taco and Jack in the Crack were always some fast food places. Also, we'd hit up McDonalds...there were a few around that were 24 hours.....getting a 20 piece chicken nuggets at 3am rocked...and you were still hungry afterwards.

                                                    ...that's just the past 2am type of places..yikes.

                                                    1. Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake for the Big Boy Combo!!

                                                      1. Hahaaa... Oh man.

                                                        In-N-Out, of course
                                                        Lucky Boy Drive Inn in Pasadena
                                                        Conrads, even though the food is nothing to normally write home about
                                                        Dupar's in Studio City... always great after a long night at the Sapphire!

                                                        1. Switching the wayback machine on:
                                                          Elbowing your way past the linebacker-types at the old Fatburger location @ San Vicente & La Cienega on a Saturday night to grab your Double King bacon and fried egg cheeseburger, then a couple of hours later dodging past the rock (cocaine) addicts and slim-hipped prostitutes cross town at El Taurino for asada tacos and strawberry champurrado or venturing further south on Hoover for a giant coctel de camarrones and a baggie of mafufa at Arturo's elusive mariscos truck at sun up. We had no fear.

                                                          1. Went to college at UCR, so not too much there. We were always in Rowland Heights too.

                                                            Del Taco - deluxe chili cheese fries
                                                            Garden Cafe in Rowland - sizzling beef udon and always....an order of crinkle fries
                                                            Tea Bar - huge old bowl of shaved ice
                                                            Some mexican place on University and some semi-shady area in Riverside: california burrito!

                                                            1. In Fullerton we would get burritos from Taqueria de Anda. Their burritos are pure meat wrapped in tortilla. So good.

                                                              We'd also go to a 24-hour Mexican joint called Rigoberto's, but I can't say that I actually remember anything that I ever ate there.