You better really like your poultry if you’re going to a restaurant called Birds.
This week, our flock is merrily continuing Azzfest, our westerly tour of Franklin Village, as we continue our quest for dog-friendly restaurants in Los Angeles.
Birds was our next stop.
Birds is a pretty popular hangout among my neighbors. I see them posting about it on social media all the time, and my curiosity about this place has been piqued for a long time.
We decided to make our maiden voyage here during happy hour, as is our wont.
The food prices stay the same, but we like to roost when it’s not typically crowded in order to ensure we get an outdoor table — of which there are only a few per restaurant on this part of the strip, though Birds appears to have a few more outdoor tables than the rest.
I have a confession to make, though.
Don’t walk your dog here when it’s hot
Today, we committed the ultimate sin: We drove.
I’ve been stressing out about hot concrete hitting doggie paws (see last week’s PSA), and I didn’t want Azzy to have a negative experience. Plus, I wanted to give you, the reader, a realistic report into the parking situation.
There wasn’t any metered parking out front, so we ended up having to park at the end of Tamarind, near Chula Vista — so there was still some concrete between us and Birds, but I had Azzy walking on the cool grass the entire way.
Outdoor spots were tough at 3pm
We get there, and, gulp, it was pretty packed. There was only one two-top available, and it was against the wall. We sighed and made our way over to that small empty table, repeating our yoga moves from Father’s Day.
I always feel bad whenever we have to wedge ourselves into an already-crowded area, especially with Azzy’s crazy tail swinging all up in people’s faces, but nobody had a problem with it whatsoever. I mean, we were very, very close to a bunch of people at several different tables, but they all turned around and started making lovey faces at Azzy.
A couple of people leaned down and started petting him, and he flipped himself over and did his signature “I surrender” move with his tongue hanging out. He was like a beached whale, except happy.
Someone commented on his badass collar (that he got for his birthday last month) and said it looked like it came from Chrome Hearts. It didn’t, but I love their stuff, so I really appreciated the compliment.
So there we all were, like one big happy family.
Bird’s-eye view of the dogs
Shortly after we sat down, the three-top to my right started to vacate, so we unpretzeled ourselves and scored their spot. It was a larger, round table closer to the sidewalk and gave Azzy a bird’s-eye view of all the dogs that were walking by (see what I did there?). There were lots of dogs out walking around today, big and small, so apparently I was the only wuss who was worried about hot concrete at this particular time. I hope I didn’t embarrass Azzy!
Mike and I were originally planning to consume only nonalcoholic beverages on this visit. It was Mike’s birthday the following day, and we wanted to save ourselves.
Update on dog-free birthday dining
The plan was to go to a non-dog, adults-only establishment the following night, so we re-created the Benadryl-Kong Effect with Azzy before heading out. And Sasha already had plans that night: He was going to a party with my aunt.
So it was just me and Mike on his birthday. I spent a couple of days praying that it would all work out.
I love spending my entire existence with Azzy, but our plan is to periodically leave him home alone until he’s finally able to comprehend that we aren’t abandoning him and that he will see us again. And then I’ll have to find a new purpose for this blog. Maybe I can write about places that don’t allow dogs. This is L.A., and I can busy myself with that forever!
But, for now, we will continue to bring you the best in dog-friendly dining establishments.
And, by the way, we had a successful dog-free evening. The key is to pack the Kong with morsels that are hard for him to reach. It kept him occupied for hours! If you want to know more, email me for the deets.
Moving on … .
Slim Jim Bloody Marys
So while I was pondering their selection of alcohol-free libations, I remembered that I’d actually been craving a Bloody Mary for days, so that’s what I decided to get. It’s actually called a Hillbilly Bloody Mary, because it comes with a mini Slim Jim stick. They stab it with a toothpick next to two olives, plastic wrapping and all.
I also ordered the chicken chili with onions, sour cream and cheddar. The chili came with cornbread. Cornbread is consistently an exception to my carbs-meh sensibility, so I was excited!
Sasha got the kids’ chicken tenders with curly fries. Mike got the marinara sticks and an IPA.
(By 3:40pm, several outdoor tables were vacant. This would be a good time for parties of four or more.)
Chicken for dogs
They even had something for Azzy: Doggie Chicken. They brought him a cupful of dark-meaty goodness overlaid with a crispy skin that looked like it sent him over the moon. As soon as our server brought it, he looked at it expectantly like he knew that was his dish. He inhaled it in a matter of seconds and clutched his empty cup protectively for about an hour afterward. And he periodically would glance up eat the table in case he missed anything.
So much entertainment
Did I mention the lively banter that always permeates this stretch of Franklin?
I don’t like to eavesdrop, but we couldn’t help but overhear the people sitting behind us.
One of them was talking about how her dad’s been in prison for most of her childhood. A couple of years after he got out, he hooked her up with her first job — it was at Hooters, because he already knew everybody there.
Meanwhile, in Sasha’s world, his fries (he called them “slinky fries”) were providing hours of nonstop entertainment. He took the corkscrew-shaped tubers and screwed them into his mouth before chewing. And he had a story for nearly every fry.
He even came up with a joke:
“Do you like seafood?”
“Here you go!” (holds up a fry that’s shaped like the letter C).
I told him if he keeps it up, he could start performing at the Upright Citizens’ Brigade just a couple doors down. It’s good to start ’em young … .
Sasha is very particular about the placement of his ketchup. He doesn’t like it when you pour the ketchup over the fries; instead, he likes his ketchup in a separate mound next to the fries or in a little dish so that he can dip everything. There wasn’t any room on the plate for a side-by-side placement of his ketchup, so I made a mental note to ask for a little plate or container next time.
Chicken chili hits the spot
I never really asked Mike about his mozzarella sticks because I was too busy with my chili.
I’m not totally stoked on chili with beans, but I can make it work with the right fixins, which is what I had here with the cheese, onions and sour cream.
So I’m happily pecking away, and then I see some pieces that I can’t figure out. I take a closer look and realize it’s pieces of shredded chicken. I assumed it would be ground chicken, so I was pleasantly surprised.
My Bloody got better the more I drank it. The ice at the top melted quickly, so it was a bit watery at first. They don’t serve straws at any of the restaurants in Franklin Village (sea turtles and all), so I only tasted what was at the top. I quickly resolved that, however, and found it to be my perfect blend of spiciness.
(Sasha and I have our own metal straws, but I forgot to bring them, so I had to slurp my Mary from the top down. The struggle is real.)
Popular neighborhood spot
Like I said, Birds is a pretty popular spot among our neighbors, and when I went inside to get a peek at everything, it was pretty crowded, loud and lively. There was barely anyone outside at this afternoon hour — personally, outside is where I prefer to be, dog or no dog — but the inside was respectably busy the entire time that we were there. People genuinely looked like they were having a lot of fun, and it looked like everybody knew each other — our own little Cheers in Franklin Village.
‘Flip Us the Bird’
One of the bathrooms had a flyer on the door for a “Flip Us the Bird” contest. If that sounds appealing to you, I suggest you give it your best shot. I will even save you the legwork by providing a picture of the “rules.” It’s a social-media-based contest, so you can enter from the privacy of your own home. That’s definitely less fun, but you do have that option. The best part is there’s a prize and everything!
Ice cream — yet again
We were finishing up, and I caught a glimpse of Sasha’s expectant look, so I walked with him to get him a scoop of cookies n’ cream on a sugar cone at Van Leeuwen while Mike and Azzy fetched the car.
The boys soon pulled up into the red zone, so Sasha and I slipped in and zoomed off into the sunset.
Stay tuned for the Bourgeois Pig de resistance coming next week! I already know it’s going to be a good one!