A lot of people rag on Buddha's Belly, but on my first visit, I found nothing to complain about and enough to draw me back. There were parking places right out front, and the sunny patio was pleasant. Ramin recommended the ginger fried rice with beef (left), so we tried that and the Asian chopped salad. The fried rice is a huge, flavorful plate with veggies, beef pieces and a nice hint of ginger. A little spice would have been nice, but it's the kind of place where they don't want to scare the customers, and I can understand that. The chopped salad was also a massive pile of lettuce with little cubes of tofu and veggies, and if I were making it, I might have gone for less lettuce and more substance, but it was fine. Someone had also recommended I try the cod, but at $16.50, it seemed like a pricey lunch. So: West Hollywood prices and light on the spice, but friendly service and a crowd-pleasing pan-Asian menu make it a good casual choice on Beverly.
Then I stopped by Milk, the adorable new ice cream spot on Beverly at Poinsettia. Pictured at left are a chocolate mint ice cream bonbon, a coffee toffee crunch bonbon, and a powdered sugar cookie. The bonbons are just 25 cents each, so they're perfect for a little after-lunch treat. The cookies and baked goods looked nice, and the espresso was deep and rich. I really liked my taste of the jasmine gelato, and the banana dulce de leche gelato looked pretty attractive too. They also have sandwiches, salads, and will soon be serving breakfast, but I think the ice cream bars, cakes, elaborate milkshakes and such are probably the main attraction at this sweet spot.