SOOT BULL JEEP *****/*****3136 W 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90005
If you’ve been living under a slab of pavement, or maybe you don’t know who the hell I am, or maybe you do and you don’t really care that much (which is fair), I recently packed up my belongings in my Silver Lake bungalow and parted ways with my roommate Giuls, who was embarking on his own journey with his band Incan Abraham which started their first ever cross-country tour this past weekend. But enough about successful friends, what about ME.
First off, I HATE moving. It takes up all your time, you lose important life-memorabilia, it always costs more than you think it will, and by the time you’re re-settled in whatever new spot, you certainly could use a beer and a nut shot to shock yourself back into the same plane of existence as everyone else who hasn’t moved their entire lives recently.
After my college-era, Virgo friend Eric (creative consultant/stylist/music video director) and I carted my art out of my apartment during the night-hours a couple weeks ago (which he said resembled some east-side heist), we hunkered down at the gay leather bar across the street from me. It was a celebratory drink and a goodbye drink to my time living in Silver Lake. As I scanned the clad-in-black crowd, a stage full of naked men being whipped, girthy cigars being sucked on, and general bearishness, I thought “wow, I really should have come here more often.”
Currently, I’ve shifted South West into the dense, seemingly impenetrable neighborhood that is Koreatown. Or known by the rest of Los Angeles as K-Town. Trendy hipness aside, I was elated to be moving out of the sheeny, fantastical locale that is Silver Lake because honestly, there are only so many times you can stomach grown men on big wheels, motorized unicycles, long lines for coffee, overrated restaurants, and discussions on moving from soy milk to almond milk to coconut milk and ending up at hemp milk. Yes, Lake of Silver, I DO think you’re beautiful, but your verdant surroundings simply masks the inanity of the characters inhibiting your deranged paradise.
My new place is something that I’d hafta sell a kidney for to even DREAM of in my old ‘boro. Now, instead of a Home Depot inspired fixer-upper, I’ve got an Art Deco’d out charmer that’s affordable and MY OWN (I feel JUST like Carrie Bradshaw except instead of looking out onto a perfect New York street as I write my next piece, I’m looking out on Los Angeles dirt, chainlink fencing, and cute stray cats).
No doubt, living on your lonesome can be a scary experience. My anxiety reared its ugly head only a week or so before I was moved-in and most definitely flaring up as I live here now. It’s normal you know… Who WILL save me when I overdose on frozen pizza and collapse on my beautiful hardwood floors? Do they have life alert for that? Another fear is my first floor placement. While it’s cheaper sure, I don’t have curtains yet, and I’ve already imagined waking up at 4am to discover a lurker peering at me from the outside. I even have a barred door over one window which acts a fire escape (and looks like a cage) which I may use at some point for some sexual fantasy best left unexplained (although when I opined this idea to my most recent hot date, he simply said “not with me you won’t.” but we’ll see about that).
Nerves aside, Koreatown is known for more than a few things, but mainly two: terrible parking and EXCELLENT, authentic, BBQ. While I had only been set up at my chateau for a few days, one of my close friends Katie had arrived from NC to approve L.A. for her future move come June (and Katie, now that I have mentioned you on my blog you have no choice but to abide by this timeline that I have set forth so help you God). So she and I, along with our NC contingent ventured to SOOT BULL JEEP.
Just a 15 minute walk from my apartment, it’s the perfect BBQ house to work up an appetite on the way there, then work it all off on the way back. What’s even more great, is the teeming streets of K-Town in route to Vermont & 8th. It’s cart-to-cart street vendors, all grilling ethnic street foods which probably taste as insanely delicious as they smelled. I’ve even seen the option for BUGS to eat. So you know. This is real. This is happening. Koreatown 2014 + edible insects = Alex’s new America. And it looks crunchy.
We drunkenly glided into Jeep’s unassuming entrance which was uncrowded (given it was a Monday night). What you’ll first notice upon entering is the smell of burning coals. You’ll feel the heat too… and it can get a little hazy. Basically, it’s just hazardous eating here, but it’s worth it. The grills at Jeep are built into each granite table-top, with huge exhaust ducts funneling out the smoke from above .
Taking our seats — six of us in total — the gruff (and always gruff) all female, all Korean staff took our orders. Immediately I was given control of the menu. Regardless of what you may think about KBBQ and it’s status on the chain of cuisine, a good joint will always be on the costlier side. With that in mind, four plates of meat for our group would suffice and not cost an arm nor a leg. I suggested three plates leaving the fourth up to whomever else had a strong opinion. We ended up with the marinated short ribs, marinated chicken, marinated shrimp, and more beef — the marinated spencer steak. While we waited for our server to unload the food on our grill, an assortment of small plates were (and always are) dealt out onto the table like playing cards: garlic cloves, spinach, kimchi, steamed rice, a big bowl of salad (two big bowls in our case), some vinegary cucumber thing, Doenjang (a fermented soybean paste), and other vegetables. But of course, who can forget the beverages.
While selection isn’t astounding, if you don’t know much about Koreans, know this: they can drink. So we drank. A couple bottles of Soju, some bottles of Hite (think of it as the Miller Lite of Korea) and we were set.
When the meat reached perfection (you can BBQ it yourself but the staff comes by to turn it if you wanted to be less independent), we all dug in, consuming every morsel without even thinking. At one point, when I looked down at my vacant plate, the only evidence of a once existing meal being a smear of grease, I truly thought I had blacked out. Not from the alcohol, but from the sheer richness of the beef, chicken, and shrimp I had sucked down.
Inflated, we split the bill and then split back to my apartment to celebrate the new digs. On some sort of BBQ high, we burst out more beer, went through and endless number of bad Buzzfeed quizzes, popped out my platonic poppers (see: inhalants), and took pictures of Helen (whom we stuffed into my sex cage/fire escape).
The following series is Katie trying to do poppers and me laughing maniacally while dancing around her already high off poppers. I am 26 years old:
It was there that I realized, while I did adore my new place, and it was a marker of a new chapter in my life, my true home was wherever me and my friends could gather, be happy, full, safe, warm, and to enjoy one another and forget our individual problems (AWWW, he DOES have a soul after all).
“So is that it?” You may ask.
And I’d say, “maybe,”
and you’d respond “well, Alex, why did you mention ‘diarrhea’ in your title? Did you have diarrhea later? After all this BBQ? I expected diarrhea.”
And I’d tell you, “No… My title wasn’t referencing a past diarrhea. Or even a present diarrhea… but rather, a diarrhea of the not too distant future.”
Meaning, as I write this post, my stomach grumbles with all the steak from a recent trip to the Jeep circulating (I have been twice in one week). Therefore, I can’t help but think… how in the hell am I going to make it out of K-Town without destroying my digestive system? And while my mind spins with concern, the sound of beef roasting not too far off reaches my ears. Then I lose myself to my imagination and the bliss of being swallowed by a swirling tornado of marinated meats.