Judging from “Art of the Streets,” the U.S. graffiti retrospective Roger Gastman curated last summer with Jeffrey Deitch and Aaron Rose at MOCA, and looking at his inconceivably comprehensive book, The History of American Graffiti, it’s clear Gastman is not one to overlook small details. This extends to his eating habits, too, as the Los Feliz resident tells Grub Street, “I eat. It’s my vice. It’s what I do. I don’t drink or do drugs - so eating is my thing. I take eating out very seriously.” Gastman recalls that he began the “Banned List” in high school, which hung over his bedroom desk and “had the names of girls that weren’t allowed in my house.” Currently rallying behind The Worst of While You Were Sleeping, a 500-page retrospective of Gastman’s old mag, it shouldn’t surprise us that the author’s pre-occupation with eating even extends to his own list of banned restaurants.
“I hold a serious culinary grudge,” Gastman says, “like pretty much forever. If you mess my food up or are rude and don’t try and make it up to me I am never coming back. I’m also going to tell all my friends and anyone that will listen. And then I’m going to write your name on my BANNED LIST. I’m going to get mad at friends if I find out they ate at your place.”
Giving Grub Street a peek at the long list of places he’s been turned off of, Gastman says, “This BANNED LIST is about food and places that serve food that have fucked it up one way or the other…You see me coming into your restaurant you better have your game tight!” To accompany his artwork, we asked Gastman to expound on a few of the experiences that lead to restaurants becoming banned. Here’s what he had to say:
Food + Lab
3206 West Sunset Blvd. Silver Lake
I should have known. Food Lab is connected somehow to Flore and Flore was already banned. My friend and often partner in eating stupid amounts of food, Ian, and I stopped in to get some fast sandwiches. Three people were working and there were no customers. No one was in front of us and it didn’t look like any to-go orders were being made. We placed an order for a bunch of food. I could have gone to the store and bought the food, taken it back to their kitchen and made it in the time it took them to make it. So slow. And it was so over priced. And you know what… I will pay a lot for food…for good food. This food sucked. Like I almost wanted to put it in the garbage and order a pizza. I drive by Food Lab all the time and get real mad. I often roll down my window and yell as loud as I can at them, “FUCK YOU FOOD LAB!”
2005 Colorado Blvd. Eagle Rock.
People rave about Oinkster. One of my best friends does tons of work for the guys that own it. I say that place can eat a dick. I went there once to a birthday party (this is before they were super, super popular) and they were out of veggie burgers. That made Roger mad! Based on everyone loving the place, I went back a few months later to give it another try. What did I see there? I sign on the counter “Sorry, out of Veggie Burgers.” Dang! So yeah, Oinkster is banned. Twice! You didn’t run out of meat burgers did you? What assholes. Only one way to make it right, free lifetime pass to eat what ever I want and rename the veggie burger after me. Oinkster I am calling you out.
2770 Fletcher Dr. Glassell Park.
I used to order lunch from this place about twice a week for a year or so. They knew my whole office. We were good business! Every time we placed an order they brought us a free Thai ice tea. They would always play it off like it was a special gift. I don’t like Thai ice tea. I don’t remember what exactly it was, but they fucked up my order real bad one day and forgot something else. I called and asked them to bring the missing item and fix my food. They said ‘no, its okay,’ next time they will make it right and give us a free Thai ice tea. I was like ‘you bring one every time, credit my credit card back now.’ They kept talking about this damn free Thai ice tea. Thai Thai - Bye Bye.
Gastman signs off in saying, “As you see by the pictures there are many many more and they all have stories…tell me this isn’t more hardcore than a negative review on some smart phone app.”