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11 in 11, Nocturnal Edition

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It all began six years ago when three friends decided upon the brilliant idea of eating through 11 restaurants in 11 hours. Brilliant. Last year 26 brave souls joined forces to eat through the SG Valley, though this year over 40 participants were faced with an additional hurtle. Not only would he/she have to brave through overstuffed stomach syndrome, but this year the added twist was simply to remain awake during 11 in 11, Noctural Edition. But I'll just cut right to it. My endurance and patience were tested and I pussed out before the trip went west at 6AM.

First stop was Animal where the crew rotated through the large central table and inhaled pork belly sliders like they were going to be declared unconstitutional. In what proved to be a theme of the evening, as soon as the plates of food hit the table, everyone pulled out digital cameras and soon the plates of sliders were attracting more flashbulbs than a panty-less Lindsay Lohan getting out of a town car. Which reminds me, food bloggers were out in force with Food Marathon and Dig Lounge among the participants.

The caravan hit Koreatown next and met its first hiccup. None of the organizers seemed to have done much to call ahead and let the midnight eateries know that 40+ intoxicated foodies were going to be knocking down their doors. Still, Masan quickly made room and with Noah Galuten running point we enjoyed (?) stinky, spicy monkfish stew, fresh sea urchin, and sliced raw wriggling octopus to the delight, disgust, and/or disgusted delight of all parties involved.

The party then hopped down the road to The HMS Bounty for last call to wash the octopus suckers out of the esophagus with a few martinis.

Next, we crawled south and hit the second (and third) hiccups of the evening. The two immediate post last-call destinations were El Taurino taco truck and Tommy’s Original. LA late-night landmarks sure, but also two of the busiest after-bar eateries in town which had lines stretching down the block. And Tommy’s food is of dubious quality. After quick drop-ins at both, my photographer and I moved ahead on the list back to Koreatown to Nak Won House, a bright and homey 24-hour spot with a massive menu of Korean soups and noodles.

11 in 11 turned Downtown for an optional sit-down at the Original Pantry Café followed by (6AM) sunrise drinks at The Standard Hotel’s rooftop bar before turning west through Hollywood at Sapp Coffee Shop to Santa Monica for breakfast, detox at Huckleberry and Bay Cities Italian Deli. The marathon ended at The Joker for a healthy retox. About 15 of the original crew made it all the way to the end and they all earned a shiny trophy in my mind.

If 11 in 11 is taking feedback for next time, let me throw three bits of advice out there: call ahead to every destination; select destinations with more attention to distinctiveness; and don’t ever go to Tommy’s Original ever again.
— David Duman

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