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A Few Days in Los Angeles — Report

A Few Days in Los Angeles — Report
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  • A Few Days in Los Angeles — Report

    Post #1 - December 27th, 2008, 9:58 pm
    Post #1 - December 27th, 2008, 9:58 pm Post #1 - December 27th, 2008, 9:58 pm
    At the end of January, Pigmon and I spent two days in San Diego followed by a few in Los Angeles. I continued north and stayed a couple more days in San Francisco. An earlier post on San Diego can be found here. Finally, after nearly a year, here is the second installment. We weren't in town even 72 hours but managed to pack a lot in.

    Driving from San Diego to Los Angeles we passed through Anaheim, home of La Palma Chicken Pie Shop. If you can only visit a single chicken pie shop this should be the one.

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    Perhaps the best of the chicken pie shops of Southern California, La Palma excels in both food and atmosphere. The meal was standard for this type of restaurant: chicken noodle soup, cole slaw, chicken pie and mashed potatoes with gravy, followed by a slice of rhubarb pie. Virtually everything is made in house.

    Luckily we arrived in Los Angeles just in time for Langer's. The day before, the intersection of 7th and Alvaredo had been renamed Langer Square, a well-deserved tribute.

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    What more needs to be said about Langer's? Nearly perfect thick-sliced pastrami on fantastic crusty rye with some top-notch pickles. I have to admit I don't care for their cole slaw with a dominant green pepper flavor.

    One aspect of Langer's that I don't believe has ever been mentioned is their impressive collection of misshapen lemons.

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    Apparently the counter guys collect all the mutants and stage a citrus freak show right there next to the smoked fish.

    Langer's isn't far from Koreatown where The Prince is located. This is one of LA's best-preserved classic restaurant interiors, where an important scene from Chinatown was filmed.

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    The Prince had just opened for the day and wasn't yet serving food so we sat at the bar for a quick drink. Reportedly they do a good job with certain Korean standards.

    That night we ate at Din Tai Fung, arguably the source of the best xiao long bao in the US. The place is wildly popular with a line out the door right up to closing time. It's not hard to understand why, as these dumplings pretty much live up to all the hype.

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    One of the reasons their xiao long bao are so good is the staff of dedicated dumpling makers working nonstop in the glassed-in kitchen.

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    A second Din Tai Fung, more impressive architecturally but with the same menu, recently opened a few hundred paces from the original.

    The next day was a bit of a marathon. We started off at Monarch Donuts, not far from our hotel. The bear claw and apple fritter were terrific.

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    We were close to another chicken pie shop, Moffett's, so of course we had to stop in. The pies were competently prepared but not up to the level of La Palma or San Diego Chicken Pie Shop.

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    We had arranged to meet Tony C for a tour of some Asian restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. We began at Pho Le Loi, a newer Vietnamese restaurant. This was a terrific meal, especially the cha ca thang long (fried fish with dill), but I understand the restaurant recently closed.

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    Mei Long Village is another respected xiao long bao specialist. Their version is more robust than Din Tai Fung's—thicker wrap, more highly seasoned—but just as good.

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    MaMa's Kitchen was a highlight, without a doubt. Beef roll and pickles were among the best eats of the trip. I'd love to explore their menu further.

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    For some reason I wasn't overly enthusiastic about going to Daikokuya but it turned out to be another of the trip's highlights. The place is well-known and tiny, ensuring long waits.

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    We wandered around J-Town and found the sake bar at Joy Mart, a pleasant enough place to kill time and a bottle of sake.

    At Daikokuya I wasn't blown away by the Japanese hot dogs in their thick casings, served with bright yellow mustard but everything about the ramen, especially that broth, was spectacular.

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    We had planned to visit Canter's, another of LA's classic delis, and call it a night. On the way, we unexpectedly passed Tommy's and realized we wouldn't be able to face Gary if we didn't stop. So, after a quick phone consultation about ordering strategy, a double chili cheeseburger it was.

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    I'm pretty sure I enjoyed this beast more than Pigmon but I have to believe Tommy's wasn't in top form that night. I think they were kind of throwing things together (note the bun: two heels). I was very impressed with Tommy's serve-yourself pepper tub.

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    Tommy's slowed us down but didn't stop us. We were dragging a bit but decided not to pass up Canter's. Pigmon ordered a pastrami and chopped liver combo and I went with a Reuben.

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    The pastrami suffered in comparison to Langer's but the Reuben was solid. If you can only visit a single LA deli, it should be Langer's without any question. But for a midnight sandwich you can do a lot worse than Canter's and the early morning show of Hollywood diners is quite entertaining.

    The next day we devoted to Mexican. First up was Mariscos Sinaloa for a couple types of ceviche and a fish taco.

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    The sandwich-style tostadas were decent but the taco was the highlight. I loved the spicy breading on the fried fish and the deep red complex salsa.

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    Grand Central Market is one of the coolest spots in the city but unfortunately on that day the food didn't live up to expectations. Roast to Go is known for tacos of many types.

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    Our carne asada and barbacoa tacos were generously filled but unexciting, a chore to eat.

    At Maria's we sampled fish, shrimp and scallop tacos.

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    All three tasted tired. I have faith that there's plenty of good food at the market and would highly recommend a visit if only to look around. If you stop, be sure to duck into the Bradbury Building across the street.

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    Chicago's own Intelligentsia had opened a Los Angeles outpost a few months earlier so we decided to check out the new operation.

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    It's interesting that they serve no pre-brewed coffee, only freshly made espresso or coffee from their pair of Clovers. Pigmon has posted a separate report on Intelligentsia here.

    The Dresden is one of Los Angeles' many classic cocktail lounges. We stopped shortly after it opened so avoided the evening scene. Surprisingly good cocktails made by a real pro.

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    After all that liquid we needed solid food so headed off to El Parian. I liked the place a lot but didn't find it the transporting experience that many do.

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    I had a plane to catch the next morning but there was time for a couple of quick breakfasts. First stop was the Hollywood branch of Roscoe's.

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    I thought the food was good but it didn't do much to make me a chicken and waffle convert. It was like eating chicken. And waffles. I tried them in all possible combinations and permutations but I noticed no synergism. I'd absolutely return to Roscoe's but would probably do as Pigmon did and order chicken and a couple of their excellent sides. On the way out I couldn't help but notice that Roscoe's is at the corner of Harold Way, an obvious nod to the King.

    What better way to follow up chicken and waffles than with more chicken and waffles? I'd read an old report that Pann's outdid Roscoe's at their own game. I can't agree with that claim but Pann's is worth a visit for its great 1960s architecture and well-executed diner food.

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    I had wanted to stop at In-N-Out Burger on the way to the airport but time didn't permit. Probably just as well.

    La Palma Chicken Pie Shop
    928 N Euclid St
    Anaheim CA
    714-533-2021

    Langer's
    704 S Alvaredo St
    Los Angeles CA
    213-483-8050
    http://www.langersdeli.com/

    The Prince (in Windsor Hotel)
    3198 W Seventh St
    Los Angeles CA
    213-389-2007

    Din Tai Fung #1
    1108 S Baldwin Av
    Arcadia CA
    626-574-7068
    http://www.dintaifungusa.com/

    Din Tai Fung #2
    1088 S Baldwin Av
    Arcadia CA
    626-446-8588
    http://www.dintaifungusa.com/

    Monarch Donuts
    15 W Huntington Dr
    Arcadia CA
    626-446-5740

    Moffett's Chicken Pie Shop
    1409 S Baldwin Av
    Arcadia CA
    626-447-4670

    Pho Le Loi (closed)
    107 E Valley Blvd
    San Gabriel CA

    Mei Long Village
    301 W Valley Blvd
    Suite 112
    San Gabriel CA
    626-284-4769

    MaMa's Kitchen
    1718 S New Av
    San Gabriel CA
    626-289-8984

    Joy Mart
    137 Japanese Village Plaza
    Los Angeles CA
    213-680-9868

    Daikokuya
    327 E 1st St
    Los Angeles CA
    213-626-1680
    http://www.daikoku-ten.com/

    Tommy's
    2575 W Beverly Blvd
    Los Angeles CA
    213-389-9060
    http://www.originaltommys.com/

    Canter's Delicatessen
    419 N Fairfax Av
    Los Angeles CA
    323-651-2030
    http://cantersdeli.com/

    Mariscos Sinaloa
    5633 York Blvd
    Los Angeles CA
    323-258-6823.

    Roast To Go
    Grand Central Market C-7-8
    317 S Broadway
    Los Angeles CA
    213-625-1385

    Maria's Fresh Seafood
    Grand Central Market D-3
    317 S Broadway
    Los Angeles CA
    213-626-7593

    Bradbury Building
    304 S Broadway
    Los Angeles CA

    Intelligentsia – Silver Lake
    3922 W Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles CA
    323-663-6173

    The Dresden Restaurant
    1760 N Vermont Av
    Los Angeles CA
    323-665-4294
    http://www.thedresden.com/

    Restaurant El Parian
    1528 W Pico Blvd
    Los Angeles CA
    213-386-7361

    Roscoe's House of Chicken n Waffles - Hollywood
    1514 N Gower St
    Los Angeles CA
    323-466-7453
    http://www.roscoeschickenandwaffles.com/

    Pann's
    6710 LaTijera Blvd
    Los Angeles CA
    323-776-3770
    http://www.panns.com/
  • Post #2 - December 28th, 2008, 3:33 am
    Post #2 - December 28th, 2008, 3:33 am Post #2 - December 28th, 2008, 3:33 am
    Fantastic report, Rene G! This (together with Pigmon's previously posted notes from the same trip) must be the definitive dining guide to Los Angeles.

    If not, it will still be what I end up printing and taking with me the day I make it out there.

    Thank you for the marathon binge and truly excellent reporting!
  • Post #3 - December 28th, 2008, 11:46 am
    Post #3 - December 28th, 2008, 11:46 am Post #3 - December 28th, 2008, 11:46 am
    As usual, your excursions are awe-inspiring. Thank you very much for the report.

    Rene G wrote:Chicago's own Intelligentsia had opened a Los Angeles outpost a few months earlier so we decided to check out the new operation.

    It's interesting that they serve no pre-brewed coffee, only freshly made espresso or coffee from their pair of Clovers. Pigmon has posted a separate report on Intelligentsia here.


    A side note: Soon enough, all Chicago Intelligentsias will be full-Clover operations as well. They've already stopped pre-brewing decaf (Clover only). The Monadnock location will have three Clovers in operation.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #4 - December 28th, 2008, 3:38 pm
    Post #4 - December 28th, 2008, 3:38 pm Post #4 - December 28th, 2008, 3:38 pm
    Holy (&@^&, Rene and Pigmon, I'm getting indigestion just from the pictures! That looks like some serious good marathon foodie-ing!
  • Post #5 - December 29th, 2008, 12:21 pm
    Post #5 - December 29th, 2008, 12:21 pm Post #5 - December 29th, 2008, 12:21 pm
    Thank you both so much. I'm really missing LA now - we lived there for 7 years. It's so funny - for a place that thinks nothing of tearing down its history, the places that remain are so infused with nostalgia. They're all like walking on to sets - and you're expected to play your part as a character. Thanks again.
  • Post #6 - December 30th, 2008, 11:27 am
    Post #6 - December 30th, 2008, 11:27 am Post #6 - December 30th, 2008, 11:27 am
    Thanks for the post. These pictures really bring back memories for me. I lived in LA for five years (1990-1995) during college, long before I knew how to be a discerning eater. However, I credit my exposure to Asian, Middle Eastern and Mexican cuisines at the hands of my college friends for ushering in my enlightenment.

    I loved going to J-town or Monterrey Park and just having my friends order me food. They always told me "Eat it. You will like it," and I always did like it. One night after work, a bunch of my buddies were shocked to find out that I had never had a real taco (Taco Bell didn't count). They took me to some taco stand where I was the only non-Spanish speaking person and ordered me up some real food. After I exclaimed how great the tacos were, the joke was on me because they had fed me tongue tacos. Of course, the joke turned out to be on them because I actually did really like the tacos.

    I ate at Pann's back when I lived in LA, but didn't know that I should order chicken and waffles. Such a mistake and one that will be rectified on my next LA visit.

    The Dresden is such a great place. I went there with a couple friends (one of them was Aschie 30), Aschie's brother and his then girlfriend several years ago before the cocktail craze had really started heating up. The vibe at that place was great and the cocktails were also delicious.

    I will always be a Tommy's fan as that chili burger helped cure some of the worst hangovers of my life.

    Again, thanks for the trip down memory lane and a reminder that I need to plan a trip to LA soon.
  • Post #7 - December 31st, 2008, 3:05 pm
    Post #7 - December 31st, 2008, 3:05 pm Post #7 - December 31st, 2008, 3:05 pm
    Looks like a lot of good eats there. I was not aware of So Cal as being a hotbed for Chicken Pie. I'm assuming these are like pot pies. What's the deal with this?
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #8 - December 31st, 2008, 7:10 pm
    Post #8 - December 31st, 2008, 7:10 pm Post #8 - December 31st, 2008, 7:10 pm
    Damn, Peter, you forgot to mention the Marie Callender’s we stopped at in Arcadia.

    Seriously, nice roundup.


    Rene G wrote:Driving from San Diego to Los Angeles we passed through Anaheim, home of La Palma Chicken Pie Shop. If you can only visit a single chicken pie shop this should be the one.


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    If the stylin’ chicken perched on top their sign doesn’t say it all about the place, I don’t know what does. That thing’s been roosting up there for over 50 years.
    The La Palma Chicken Pie Shop has more personality than just about any establishment I know of in Chicago with the possible exception of the Ramova Grill or the Green Mill. And as Jules Winnfield (Samuel Jackson) said in “Pulp Fiction”, personality goes a long way. To boot, the chicken pie was a damn good rendition of this Southern California classic which was popularized in the late 50s.
    I believe the only other pie we ate anywhere in this league was at the San Diego Chicken Pie Shop…which, by deduction, is located in San Diego.

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    Note the elegant parsley sprigs; showing the true attention to detail that La Palma provides. If you like the retro look (Googie?) along with a damn good chicken pie, don’t miss this one.


    Rene G wrote:We had planned to visit Canter's, another of LA's classic delis, and call it a night. On the way, we unexpectedly passed Tommy's and realized we wouldn't be able to face Gary if we didn't stop. So, after a quick phone consultation about ordering strategy, a double chili cheeseburger it was.

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    If I recall correctly, we called GWiv somewhere around midnight California time (that’s 2 a.m. Chicago time) for explicit instructions on how to properly order when attacking his/this fabled hamburger joint.

    “Now, make sure you hit the front mini-shack and not the main operation in back, ok?”

    “It’s critical to get a double…the single will leave you short.”

    “And don’t forget to request grilled onions...”

    Of course, after burger ingestion, the obligatory followup call to ol’ Wiv went something like this:

    “Did you put the sliced pickles on it? No, no…I told you pickle-less, goddamnit. No wonder you thought it was a piece of %#!* !!!”


    It was a routine that mimicked Calvin Trillin’s early KC food experiences with his legendary chow sidekick, Fats Goldberg. In other words, if you don’t have the exact combination to the safebox, unlocking the secrets to this burger’s perceived greatness isn’t even remotely a possibility.

    Good humor is imperative when attempting a food marathon such as this… imperative.

    Rene G wrote:MaMa's Kitchen was a highlight, without a doubt. Beef roll and pickles were among the best eats of the trip. I'd love to explore their menu further.


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    If I lived anywhere near Mama’s, I’d be eating one of those beef and pickle rolls twice a week. The wrapper had a pleasant outer crisp and yet it still had a lovely overall softness and chew to it. The proportion of pickle to seasoned beef was ideal.
    It also didn’t hurt to know that the curmudgeonly TonyC, who has the absolute lowest Asian Food Success Ratio (better known as AFSR or “Afser”; successful Asian restaurants compared to complete wastes of time) of anybody I know frequents this Taiwanese food shack on a fairly regular basis.

    This was a real highlight for me as well in the San Gabriel Valley. First rate.

    Thanks TonyC.

    And Happy New Year all.
  • Post #9 - December 31st, 2008, 8:43 pm
    Post #9 - December 31st, 2008, 8:43 pm Post #9 - December 31st, 2008, 8:43 pm
    Rene G wrote:
    Tommy's slowed us down but didn't stop us. We were dragging a bit but decided not to pass up Canter's. Pigmon ordered a pastrami and chopped liver combo and I went with a Reuben.



    Oh my. I think my heart skipped looking at that pastrami and chopped liver combo. Actually, it was probably more a hop, skip, and jump as it tried to run away from me out of abject fear. Call me sheltered but I'd never even considered this combo but now I can't stop thinking about it. I see me asking Geno for this in a future Manny's visit.

    Terrific travelogue, thank you. LA's not in my normal travel itinerary but should I find myself headed there this thread will be copied to guide me.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #10 - December 31st, 2008, 8:59 pm
    Post #10 - December 31st, 2008, 8:59 pm Post #10 - December 31st, 2008, 8:59 pm
    Rene G wrote:Finally, after nearly a year, here is the second installment.

    bwahahahahahahaha! So fashionably late, SOOO LA Mr. Engler. I find it obscenely heart warming to be reading this on a fine LA NYE

    PIGMON wrote:It also didn’t hurt to know that the curmudgeonly TonyC, who has the absolute lowest Asian Food Success Ratio (better known as AFSR or “Afser”; successful Asian restaurants compared to complete wastes of time) of anybody I know frequents this Taiwanese food shack on a fairly regular basis.

    This was a real highlight for me as well in the San Gabriel Valley. First rate.

    Thanks TonyC.

    And Happy New Year all.

    Thank YOU 2 fine gents, and Happy New Year to all of LTH as well... my Asfer remained sickeningly low rest of '08. Raising my Asfer above 500 is an '09 must-do. But seriously, at $5 / plate of beef chow fun, it doesn't bother me at all.

    PS: I "forced" a group of 20+ non-Asians into sampling Mama's beef roll's instead of the Jonathan-Gold loved beef rolls @ 101 Noodle Express just about a month ago as part of manbitesworld.com's gastro-experiment: http://www.laweekly.com/2008-03-20/eat- ... ear-diary/
  • Post #11 - April 20th, 2010, 1:44 pm
    Post #11 - April 20th, 2010, 1:44 pm Post #11 - April 20th, 2010, 1:44 pm
    Bumping this fine thread to add a smidge of new info.

    First, some old news: though getting better, Downtown LA still sucks. Maybe 5-8 years ago things started to change, what with the aggressively hipsterish Standard Hotel, some new galleries and restaurants around the fringes and condo conversions. Yet the powerful antiseptic bleakness of SoCal's business centers (Century City really sucks) prevails Downtown -- its glass towers perched on a hill above LA's remarkably teeming skid row. The conversion of Downtown LA into a neighborhood creeps along, for the LA Bohemian is a fickle fellow, more of a dress-up character than other skinny-jean-wallet-chain urban pioneers. Like I said, things are changing downtown, but I'm not buying it as the next Williamsburg or Pilsen just yet. Despite my derision, I thank God for the new stuff. That's because I have to stay and work downtown at least a few times a year.

    So here's the new (to LTH) info: Cole's French Dip, a 100-year-old joint looking like a small Berghoff has been reimagined, not as an ironic post-modern tavern, but as a traditional old place serving the same stuff with better ingredients and technique. And world-class serious cocktails.

    The food menu is basic stuff-- beef, lamb, turkey and pastrami dips, various potatoes, mac and cheese and tomato soup. I'm not a huge French dip fan, but I liked my sandwich for what it was. The bars make this place great. The classic front bar and the "secret" back bar "Varnish", are each staffed by accomplished cocktail pros with ties to NY's speakeasy king Sasha Petreske. I certainly enjoyed my late-lunch French Dip and Manhattan sitting at the dark woody rail. Open only a couple of months with the new cocktail focus, the bars are not yet packed.

    The "new" Cole's is a gem. Cole's location makes it very LTH-friendly as well. Little Tokyo, Little Armenia, Thai Town, Chinatown and Langer's are all 5-10 minute drives. And if you do hit Cole's, check out the old movie palaces and ancient office buildings around the corner in the Broadway Theater District. Great stuff that obviously shares a lot of DNA with our own Uptown. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadway_T ... l_District

    Cole's French Dip
    118 East Sixth Street
    Downtown LA, CA 90014
    213.622-4090
    http://colesfrenchdip.com/

    PS, Cole's is a much different place than it was in 2005 when Gary logged the linked report (the peeling paint, steam trays and O'Doul's sign, all gone). http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.ph ... =746&hilit
  • Post #12 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:44 am
    Post #12 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:44 am Post #12 - April 22nd, 2010, 11:44 am
    For those of you who might be closer to the Anaheim area, you must visit the Knott's Berry Farm Amusement Park and Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant. A classic, old-school family Sunday night chicken dinner place that goes back to 1934. Very popular, and you will wait in long lines, but worth it! I got these pictures off the net.

    The amazing, all you can eat biscuits
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    Boysenberry Pie ala mode
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    There's a Portillo's right down the street from this place too. :) And don't forget you're in the heart of In N Out country! :P

    Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner
    8039 Beach Boulevard
    Buena Park, CA 90620-3200
    (714) 220-5080
  • Post #13 - October 12th, 2010, 3:21 pm
    Post #13 - October 12th, 2010, 3:21 pm Post #13 - October 12th, 2010, 3:21 pm
    JeffB wrote:Like I said, things are changing downtown, but I'm not buying it as the next Williamsburg or Pilsen just yet. Despite my derision, I thank God for the new stuff. That's because I have to stay and work downtown at least a few times a year.

    So here's the new (to LTH) info: Cole's French Dip, a 100-year-old joint looking like a small Berghoff has been reimagined, not as an ironic post-modern tavern, but as a traditional old place serving the same stuff with better ingredients and technique. And world-class serious cocktails.

    I had Cole's on my list but wasn't able to visit during a trip to LA earlier this year. Your report makes me even sorrier I missed it. Next time for sure. We thought about visiting Varnish but instead had our drinks next door at The Association, taking advantage of $5 cocktails during their "Social Hour." I liked the place much more than I expected, mostly because of seriously excellent drinks at a bargain price. I have a feeling I wouldn't enjoy it as much later when it gets more crowded.

    Afterwards we went across the street to check out the then-newly-opened Las Perlas, a trendy mescal and tequila bar notable mainly for its extortionate pricing. We really should have gone to Cole's/Varnish instead.

    JeffB wrote:And if you do hit Cole's, check out the old movie palaces and ancient office buildings around the corner in the Broadway Theater District.

    That area certainly is chock full of great old buildings. Also around the corner on Broadway is Clifton's, the oldest cafeteria in Los Angeles, opened in 1931, a remnant from the heyday of those old movie palaces and ancient office buildings. I wasn't going to mention Clifton's because I didn't have a chance to eat there but this downtown classic deserves a mention and this seems like as good a place as any to do it.

    Outside, it doesn't look terribly promising with a 1960s-era grill covering what was once a highly ornamented façade (I think it's still back there).

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    Inside, it's like stepping back a few more decades into a slightly tattered movie set for a Smoky Bear musical. Tall trees, woodland murals, waterfalls and stuffed forest creatures offer a sharp contrast to the street outside.

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    The food selection is surprisingly extensive and varied, with all the cafeteria standards supplemented by Mexican offerings. As I understand, nearly everything is prepared in house including a nice assortment of desserts.

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    I hope Clifton's is still around for my next visit to Los Angeles.

    The Association
    110 E 6th St
    Los Angeles CA
    213-627-7385

    Las Perlas
    103 E 6th St
    Los Angeles CA
    213-988-8355

    Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria
    648 S Broadway
    Los Angeles CA
    213-627-1673
  • Post #14 - October 12th, 2010, 4:41 pm
    Post #14 - October 12th, 2010, 4:41 pm Post #14 - October 12th, 2010, 4:41 pm
    Funny you should mention Clifton's today. In the weekly Roadfood newsletter (today), there was an item about Clifton's being recently sold. The new owner plans on spiffing things up, I wonder also in the vein of Coles, combining old and new schools. Jane and Michael Stern were hopeful of the revamped Clifton's but also feared for their jellos. FWIW, my family and I had a nice meal several years back at Clifton's.

    I've never been to Cole's, but I have been to Phillipe's, and I find that place (or found that place) highly worthwhile.
  • Post #15 - October 12th, 2010, 5:37 pm
    Post #15 - October 12th, 2010, 5:37 pm Post #15 - October 12th, 2010, 5:37 pm
    So, ReneG, did you fall for one of those desserts?
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #16 - October 12th, 2010, 10:42 pm
    Post #16 - October 12th, 2010, 10:42 pm Post #16 - October 12th, 2010, 10:42 pm
    Vital Information wrote:Funny you should mention Clifton's today. In the weekly Roadfood newsletter (today), there was an item about Clifton's being recently sold. The new owner plans on spiffing things up, I wonder also in the vein of Coles, combining old and new schools. Jane and Michael Stern were hopeful of the revamped Clifton's but also feared for their jellos. FWIW, my family and I had a nice meal several years back at Clifton's.

    I've never been to Cole's, but I have been to Phillipe's, and I find that place (or found that place) highly worthwhile.

    I knew Clifton's was on the market but hadn't heard it was sold. It will be interesting to see how the renovation goes. I'm just happy I got to see it before the changes.

    I liked Phillipe's quite a bit too and will post a bit about it soon.

    Josephine wrote:So, ReneG, did you fall for one of those desserts?

    We were in quite a hurry so no chance to eat. Not even time for a Jello salad.
  • Post #17 - October 25th, 2010, 5:05 pm
    Post #17 - October 25th, 2010, 5:05 pm Post #17 - October 25th, 2010, 5:05 pm
    I've been meaning to post this for a while and never got around to it. While I was in LA a few months ago using this thread as a guide, I went in search of Mama's Kitchen only to find it closed and new restaurant operating in it's place.

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    The former Mama's

    My friend who is Taiwanese was intrigued and went searching for Mama's to see if it moved and told me it has, but is still in the Alhambra area, I'll be in LA in December and report back. We went to Sam Woo's BBQ instead, a local chain of often unrelated restaurants, my friend prefers this location.

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    Roast Duck

    All in all a great lunch, I can't wait to explore more.

    Shades of Sun Wah! There was some wonderful ducks in the window

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    Ducks in a row

    Mama's Kitchen
    1308 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA
    (626) 289-8984 ‎

    Sam Woo Barbecue Restaurant
    140 W Valley Blvd, #107,
    San Gabriel, CA 91776
    (626) 572-8418
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #18 - October 25th, 2010, 10:17 pm
    Post #18 - October 25th, 2010, 10:17 pm Post #18 - October 25th, 2010, 10:17 pm
    mbh wrote:My friend who is Taiwanese was intrigued and went searching for Mama's to see if it moved and told me it has, but is still in the Alhambra area, I'll be in LA in December and report back.

    I've been to the new location and it is awesome as ever.
  • Post #19 - December 23rd, 2010, 7:25 pm
    Post #19 - December 23rd, 2010, 7:25 pm Post #19 - December 23rd, 2010, 7:25 pm
    I just wrapped up a five day eating tour of LA (there was nothing else to do it was raining the whole time.) On my last trek I used LTH as my tour guide. On this trip I branched out and let my friends take me to their favorite spots and also referenced Jonathan Gold's 2010 edition of LA's 99 Essential Restaurants.

    I figured I would get the repeat offenders out of the way first, so dinner night one was Jitlada, reported on here.

    Lunch day two, I held court at still-the-best-ramen-I've-ever-had-but-never-been-to-Japan Daikokuya.
    Image

    Night two consisted of a debaucherous night of drinking and taco crawling.

    Late lunch up the coast in the rain, we stopped at the much-heralded-in-my-friend-group Neptune's Net in Malibu. A laid back fish shack, just the kind of place you want to park for a beer or three and fried seafood on a lazy afternoon.
    I went on a mollusk bender, ordering the fried scallop and calamari combo:
    Image
    Each bivalve was breaded in its own recipe. The calamari was right on, light, crisp, a bit of spice. Sweet flesh, yes. The scallop was a bit over-breaded, but enjoyable.
    and the steamed clams:
    Image
    A picture can be worth more than words.
    and buddy ordered fish tacos:
    Image
    Really good, though I'm not a fruit salsa fan and these had a pineapple concoction.

    That night was a holiday party, for which I whipped up 50 spicy Korean chicken wings with a garnish of steamed baby bok choy. They went fast:
    Image

    The next bleary eyed morning (read: early afternoon) my buddy took me to his favorite Sundays-only spot for "underpass chicken". A pair of guys under a tent slinging whole and half butterflied chicken with rice, beans, and tortillas. Dig this scene:
    Image
    Image
    Yes, I saw the cooked birds on top of the raw ones too, but I trusted my bud and these guys.
    This may have been my favorite bite of the trip, aggressively marinated, perfectly smoky grilled over lump charcoal, juicy to the bone yardbird. Lordy this was good. Nevermind that hot mess of rice and beans, they were fine, beans runny and all over the place, but merely the supporting cast.
    Image

    That evening I was blown away at Guelaguetza.

    Next day en route to Lacma I stopped at Gold recommended Kobawoo for basam. Quite a cozy restaurant for a rainy day and roasted barley tea was most welcomed.
    Image
    Four generous dishes of panchan started out the meal. I pecked at the potato salad, fine, but not worth filling up on. The kimchi was excellent.
    In the second picture we've got a dashi and sesame oil dressed broccoli mix on the right and on the left an unexpected surprise. I thought it was burdock or some other fibrous root veg. with peppers. It was actually braised beef with fiery grilled chilies, really freaking good, the best bite of the lunch. Please excuse the blurry shot.
    Image
    Image
    I had never encountered basam, but had a fairly good idea of what to expect from the piles of plates I spied on fellow diner's tables. What arrived was a heaping plate of DIY Korean crudites (or maybe nachos would be a better analogy?). A tangle of daikon kimchi, pretty intensely chillied and quite tart. Hidden behind this was a small pile of shredded crab kimchi, which was funky, salty, and great. The pickled chilies in the foreground were a nice touch, a bit sweet and not as hot as a jalapeño. In the center is blanched leaves of napa, the canvas for the assembled bites with a garnish of pickled daikon. The meat was thin slices of boiled fatty cut of pork, I'm guessing shoulder. It was porky, but plain on its own. I was somewhat disappointed by incongruities between my plate and what Gold gushingly had described in his article. He mentioned raw oysters and pork belly. I had ordered from the lunch menu, though, perhaps explaining the less decadent fare.
    Image
    Image
    The assembled bite was quite nice though, a composition both hot and cool, rich and light.
    Image
    Included miso soup came out later. A nice deep broth, almost thick with the fermented soy paste with much more going on than its Japanese counterpart in terms of add ins- full of veggies- mushroom, potato, broccoli. Just what I needed to face more rain.
    Image

    Dinner that night was at an unmentionable, really bad fish taco place my buddies eat at. What do you expect for $1.50 pieces of fish?

    My final day presented pressing options. I still hadn't been to Langer's, which was in the neighborhood in which I was staying. Though dinner would be In N Out and double duty on stacks of fatty beef bombs seemed to be a bit much. I like a pastrami sandwich, though I find it to be a meat one-note.

    So, I decided to take a crack at Gold's Yucatecan recommendation, Chitchen Itza, which was also in the neighborhood. Weirdly, though, the 6th St. location had vanished and had me scratching my head for a good 10 minutes. With a call, I learned that location had closed. My buddy picked me up and we drove to the Grand Ave. location. This was also confusing, we found a large studio complex with a parking lot, but no signage for the restaurant. We peeked around though and found a food court. Chichen Itza was in the back. Recommended Peruvian spot Mo-Chica was also located in this pretty awesome food court.
    We ordered panuchos to start:
    Image
    These were okay. The "smoked" turkey was not very smoky and a hint dry. The panucho itself had great fresh masa flavor but wasn't hot enough.
    Image
    I ordered the poc chuc, which was a beautiful plate of grilled pork slices topped with a roasted tomato salsa with garnishes of a peppery slaw, avocado, sauteed(?) pickled red onion, and a whole habanero(?!) On the side was a bowl of nice thin, soupy black beans. The pork was excellent, nice and smoky- great rolled in a taco with the house habanero salsa. My bud ordered the cochinita pibil and a damn respectable version with an upfront porkiness.

    And on the way to the airport, we stopped for my final meal, an LA must-eat, my first In N Out burger.
    Image
    Fries were disappointing, not hot. Burger was great though, crispy griddled edges, nicely toasted bun. I maybe would have preferred my usual cast of toppings- mustard, ketchup, onion, pickle, but when in Rome! Nicely made, high quality fast food. The perfect way to say goodbye to LA.
    A grand eating tour, indeed.

    Jitlada
    5233 W Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90027
    (323) 663-3104
    http://www.JitladaLA.com

    Daikokuya
    327 East 1st Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    (213) 626-1680

    Neptune's Net
    42505 Pacific Coast Highway
    Malibu, CA 90265
    (310) 457-3095

    Underpass Chicken Guy
    602 N Alvarado St
    Los Angeles, CA 90026

    Guelaguetza
    3337 1/2 W 8th Street
    Los Angeles, CA
    (213) 427-0601

    Kobawoo
    698 South Vermont Avenue #109
    Los Angeles, CA 90005-4721
    (213) 389-7300

    Chichen Itza
    3655 South Grand Avenue # C6
    Los Angeles, CA 90007
    (213) 741-1075
  • Post #20 - December 23rd, 2010, 9:58 pm
    Post #20 - December 23rd, 2010, 9:58 pm Post #20 - December 23rd, 2010, 9:58 pm
    Jefe,

    Thanks, for the great synopsis of your trip. I absolutely love the shots of that underpass chicken. Wow!

    I went to L.A. about 2 1/2 years ago and had some great food (thanks, Erik M. and Tony C) but I got too busy after we returned to post about it and now the memories, sadly, have faded. Thanks, for taking the time to share the highlights from your trip all with us.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #21 - December 27th, 2010, 9:39 pm
    Post #21 - December 27th, 2010, 9:39 pm Post #21 - December 27th, 2010, 9:39 pm
    Jefe,

    Nice eating--although it pains me you missed Langer's!

    If you (or anyone playing along at home) find yourself in LA, on a sunny day, and in the Silverlake/Sunset Junction area, I recommend Ricky's Fish Tacos. It's a baja-style taco stand which sets up reliably on the weekends. He tweets!

    http://twitter.com/rickysfishtacos He normally can be found at 1400 N. Virgil, LA, CA 90027.
  • Post #22 - December 27th, 2010, 10:01 pm
    Post #22 - December 27th, 2010, 10:01 pm Post #22 - December 27th, 2010, 10:01 pm
    Ricky's an amazingly nice guy and his fish tacos are pretty wonderful. Another great choice is The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada. Both places use basa, I think. TBFTiE's huge array of excellent salsas gives them a bit of an edge, but Ricky's personality and fresh watermelon juice are pretty hard to resist. I try to hit both places every time I'm in town.

    The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada
    1650 Hillhurst Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90027
    (+ other locations)
  • Post #23 - December 27th, 2010, 11:32 pm
    Post #23 - December 27th, 2010, 11:32 pm Post #23 - December 27th, 2010, 11:32 pm
    cilantro wrote:Another great choice is The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada.

    The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada
    1650 Hillhurst Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90027
    (+ other locations)


    Jefe wrote:Dinner that night was at an unmentionable, really bad fish taco place my buddies eat at. What do you expect for $1.50 pieces of fish?


    Ordered two fish, one shrimp, could not tell the difference through oil- laden, soggy batter. Got through 1 1/2. Salsas on the verge of fermentation. Caught up to me later.
    On a positive note, owner was affable and brought us a gratis deep-fried tortilla filed with shrimp and pineapple salsa concoction.
  • Post #24 - January 27th, 2011, 2:51 pm
    Post #24 - January 27th, 2011, 2:51 pm Post #24 - January 27th, 2011, 2:51 pm
    I spent a few days in LA over Christmas. I didn't get to do the type of food crawl/exploring I would have liked to do because of family and friend celebrations, but I did get to cover a couple of new places. I tried to go to Daikokuya for udon, but even at 1:00pm on New Years eve day the wait was two hours and my trusted DC's were unwilling to wait. We decided to head to Cole's where I've never been to see how it compared to Phillipe's, my gold standard.

    Image
    Coles

    Cole's was bought by new owners and remodeled a couple of years ago so I can't attest as to how it was in the old days, but I loved the sign and they seem to have kept the interior intact with some minor updating.

    Image
    Coles Bar

    We sat in the front bar which still has the old wooden walk in ice box now converted to a cooler for the bar. The bar contained fresh fruit, house made bitters and fresh squeezed juices, always a good sign. We asked the bartender for a recommendation and he steered us to the house special, a moscow mule.

    Image
    Moscow Mule

    This was a very nice version, good flavor of ginger beer and lime served in a traditional mug. There really is only one thing to order which is the french dip with either beef, pork or lamb. A friend mentioned they were known for the lamb version with bleu cheese so we went with that. The fryer was broken so no fries, the cole slaw was fine, neither good nor bad, I like Phillipe's version better.

    Image
    Lamb French Dip

    Loved the flavor of the lamb, but we got the small size which was a little overwhelmed by the bread. The bartender said they use the same size roll on both sizes of the sandwich, mistake. I'd like to go back and try the larger size and I'd definitely go back for the the bar and the atmosphere. The flavor of the lamb was great, but overall I still like Phillipes better.

    Spent New Year's Eve at a friends who made a terrific l hot pot for us, starting with a wonderful broth.

    Image
    Awaiting the guests Image
    The chef.Image
    Variety of meats


    I also went to Russell's in Pasadena for breakfast. I always forget about this place, it's been around for over 40 years and according to the host was once part of a small chain in SC. Russell's is quite small, seating only about 40 or so with a counter, several booths and a few two-tops. It also sports mini chandeliers, a TV that shows art slides and some very good from scratch food.

    Image
    Russell's in Pasadena

    They may not be worth a special trip, but if you're in Pasadena go for breakfast or lunch. Their hamburgers are hand formed, they have really good coffee for a diner and their breakfasts are a step above what they need to be, good sausage, really nice breads for toast and great oatmeal.

    Next time I'll be able to get out more and hopefully try some new place for this thread. This has nothing to do with food, but I love this sign in an industrial area of North Hollywood, look closely at the bottom of the picture.

    Image
    This sign always makes me laugh.
    Almost makes me want to go in and see "the ugly girls" for myself. :shock:

    Last, but not least a couple of food porn shots from the Rose parade on New Years day. I love the hot dog vendors on every block the length of the parade. The perfect amuse bouche before brunch.
    Image
    Mexican hot dogs

    Image
    dogs cooking

    Cole's
    118 E. 6th Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90014
    213-662-4090

    Russell's
    30 N. Fair Oaks Ave.
    Pasedena, CA 91103
    626-578-1404

    *edited for photo adjustment, still didn't get it all right, sorry.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #25 - March 22nd, 2011, 10:27 am
    Post #25 - March 22nd, 2011, 10:27 am Post #25 - March 22nd, 2011, 10:27 am
    I'm going to be in LA next week-but it will be with the entire crew- 5 of us!
    Any fun don't miss rec's?
    The chicken pie shop sounds like one
    I'm also thinking of hitting Phillipe's and Pinks.
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #26 - March 25th, 2011, 11:43 pm
    Post #26 - March 25th, 2011, 11:43 pm Post #26 - March 25th, 2011, 11:43 pm
    I've got a new favorite place in Anaheim Hills, Slater's 50/50. Their menu is very bacon-centric, the 50/50 refers to the burger composition of 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon. There's a limitless way that you can customize your burger, but I've pretty much kept to their specialties.

    The Peanut Butter and Jealousy Burger. Ground beef, creamy peanut butter, strawberry jelly, and thick cut bacon.
    Image

    The Hawaiian Burger. 50/50 patty, american cheese, grilled pineapple slice, medium over egg, and baconnaise
    Image

    Top off for dessert, the bacon brownie.
    Image

    Slater's 50/50
    6362 East Santa Ana Canyon Road
    Anaheim, CA 92807-2365
    (714) 685-1103
    www.slaters5050.com

    irisarbor wrote:I'm going to be in LA next week-but it will be with the entire crew- 5 of us!
    Any fun don't miss rec's?
    The chicken pie shop sounds like one
    I'm also thinking of hitting Phillipe's and Pinks.
  • Post #27 - April 12th, 2011, 10:25 pm
    Post #27 - April 12th, 2011, 10:25 pm Post #27 - April 12th, 2011, 10:25 pm
    Rene G wrote:MaMa's Kitchen was a highlight, without a doubt. Beef roll and pickles were among the best eats of the trip. I'd love to explore their menu further.

    I wrote earlier about something at MaMa's that kicked my butt in a nasty way. I suspect that dish was expertly prepared though, and thankfully I also ordered something that knocked my socks off in a good way.

    Spicy Beef Noodle (Dry)
    Image

    I guess the menu description was supposed to imply that this wasn't a soup, though there was plenty of broth in the bowl. If you take the fantastic tom yum beef ball and tender soup at Aroy Thai and trade the beef balls for a generous helping of thick, chewy and fresh hand pulled noodles, you'd get something very close to this. A rich broth heavy on star anise, balanced by a sour component in the broth itself as well as the diced pickled celery adorning the top of the bowl. One of the best things I've eaten lately.



    PIGMON wrote:It also didn’t hurt to know that the curmudgeonly TonyC, who has the absolute lowest Asian Food Success Ratio (better known as AFSR or “Afser”; successful Asian restaurants compared to complete wastes of time) of anybody I know frequents this Taiwanese food shack on a fairly regular basis.

    I'm happy to hear that Tony C has spent time at MaMa's. He was nice enough to meet me for dinner in SGV, and we decided to meet at an old favorite of mine - Southern Mini Town. When Tony arrived he suggested a change in plan to a new place across the street - he had heard that it had the best fish dumplings in town. I happily deferred to Tony's expertise, and proceeded to have some craptastic* old-tasting fish mush. Thankfully, Tony ordered one hell of a tasty rest of the meal, including a cold dish of poached chicken that had been painstakingly deboned and wrapped roulade-style around thousand year egg slices and tiny crunchy bits of cartilage. It was as artful as it was delicious. I'll still try to head back to Southern Mini Town, but Lao Bian Dumplings was a very good place.


    MaMa's Kitchen Noodle & Dumpling World (Note new address - place has moved to a strip mall around the corner from address unthread)
    1308 East Valley Boulevard
    Alhambra, CA
    (626) 289-8984

    Lao Bian Dumplings
    800 W Las Tunas Dr # 300
    San Gabriel, CA

    *sorry Tony, I owed you one.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #28 - April 13th, 2011, 3:39 pm
    Post #28 - April 13th, 2011, 3:39 pm Post #28 - April 13th, 2011, 3:39 pm
    hey is there anyone that would like to offer their recs on fish taco and ramen places in LA or SD? i've got Daikokuya and Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada from this thread but was wondering if anyone else had additional recommendations. any other must hit destinations, preferably of mexican or of asian of influence, would be greatly appreciated :D
  • Post #29 - April 13th, 2011, 4:58 pm
    Post #29 - April 13th, 2011, 4:58 pm Post #29 - April 13th, 2011, 4:58 pm
    Can't speak for LA or Ramen, but here you go - San Diego Baja Fish Tacos are one of my favorite things in the world.

    viewtopic.php?f=15&t=17242
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #30 - April 13th, 2011, 8:16 pm
    Post #30 - April 13th, 2011, 8:16 pm Post #30 - April 13th, 2011, 8:16 pm
    MBK wrote:hey is there anyone that would like to offer their recs on fish taco and ramen places in LA or SD?


    Here is the definitive guide to Ramen in LA.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food

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