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Tasty Apples

So about a month ago, a friend of mine who works at the Beverly Center Apple Store helped a random guy buy a computer. Little did he know, this would result in a partially-complementary dining experience for two at one of Hollywood's tastiest restaurants.

As it turned out, the "random guy" in need of a new Mac was in fact a chef at Ketchup, a trendy little Hollywood restaurant allegedly owned by Ashton Klutcher.

Considering its trendy, upscale image, the food the restaurant serves might come as a bit of a surprise. You'll be less likely to find "exotic" foods here than American staples such as hamburgers, fries, hotdogs and steak, despite the fancy, modern decor.

Because we had been invited for a meal, we were treated to extra special service (at a place that ordinarily has good service anyway). Samples of various appetizers were brought out for us to try, for free, and they were all incredibly delicious. First up was the "3 Some" - THREE different kinds of fries and FIVE different varieties of... you guessed it... Ketchup. Each of them was distinct, and yet delicious in its own way. I made a point to try each different fry with each variety of Ketchup. I would share my favorite combinations, but I think it would take away from the experience of trying them all yourself should you decide to eat there. Next up came mini hotdogs and mini cheeseburgers. These were anything but the traditional greasy fast food burger. Instead, they were "childhood favorites, recreated with an upscale, gourmet twist." They were all very good, and somehow also quite filling for their size.

Around the same time, a cart came by offering free drink samples (in exchange for tips). It seems the restaurant had decided that by offering free samples of its fabulous beverages, it could encourage more people to purchase drinks. I wish I'd written this review a bit earlier, as I can't remember the exact names of the drinks I tried. I know I tried one with tequila in it, and my friend tried some sort of grape concoction (the only two they offered free samples of), and then we swapped to try the other. I ended up ordering a variation on a Cosmopolitan, which no doubt had a clever name I don't remember.

For a main entree, I highly recommend the "shake-n-bake" chicken with sauteed vegetables. It was excellent - especially the sauce, and so good in fact, that I couldn't stop eating it until it was all gone. By the time I finished it, I was so full (between the appetizers and the main course) that I could hardly stand up to leave. My friend felt the same after trying the "Deliverance," a Jack Daniel's-glazed, double cut pork chop with cheddar grits, apple sauce, and salad.

All and all, Ketchup is an excellent restaurant, although ordinarily it would be a bit pricey... were it not for our Apple store luck. I would definitely go back again sometime, and I highly recommend dining there if you get the chance.