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This Parody Restaurant Guidebook Makes Fun of LA’s Food Scene

The company actually printed a bunch, and they’re free

Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Los Angeles’s busy and well-regarded food scene continues to make national media waves, but that doesn’t mean the city is immune to a little bit of good-natured ribbing every once in a while. Case in point: the new Mampfen, a parody guidebook for dining out in the City of Angels. The very-real physical book contains only very fake restaurants, and even comes with a slick website, though the comedy company behind it will also drop a thousand free print versions at neighborhood book shops as well, starting tomorrow.

So what can one expect from Mampfen? Much like 2017’s fake East Hollywood restaurant advertising “duck fat fried LA river eggs,” the new guidebook dives into the sometimes weird world of LA eating. Here’s the opening blurb:

Mampfen is the ultimate LA dining guide for those discerning enough to look at what they’re eating before it enters their mouth. Mampfen’s reviewers have consumed over 14 tons of food at eateries across the Los Angeles area—from the city’s most exclusive fine-dining mainstays, to its seediest back-alley kielbasa parlors, to its least guarded craft services tables—all in service of telling you which things are yummy to eat and which things are not.

Restaurants contained within the guide include the USS Super Crepe, a “decommissioned aircraft carrier” that can hold 6,000 diners; Going Once, where “every menu must be bid on by customers at auction;” and Beefleaf, a “plant-based” restaurant where all of the plants are actually carefully hidden items of meat, like a celery stick that’s really just pig tendon. The lead image for this story is for Hoovers, where diners are encouraged to ogle the perky male waiters who wear “meticulously recreated outfits evoking the 31st U.S. president.” They’re all “distractingly full-jowled severs in skintight waistcoats,” of course.

Mampfen is the work of the folks from Thud, a comedy and satire website from folks originally behind The Onion. Oddly (and factually) enough, Thud was for a time even backed by Elon Musk.

This is one of the company’s first big drops in LA, and for the rollout they’ve actually self-published 1,000 guidebooks to be found at places like Skylight Books, Diesel bookstore in Brentwood, and Now Serving in Chinatown. And more than a month before the big reveal of California’s first Michelin guide, no less. Find the free faux guidebooks starting tomorrow.