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A Few Days in Los Angeles — Report

A Few Days in Los Angeles — Report
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  • Post #61 - July 19th, 2011, 8:37 am
    Post #61 - July 19th, 2011, 8:37 am Post #61 - July 19th, 2011, 8:37 am
    Thanks for your thoughts, cjla. I realize we don't know each other, so you'll just have to take my word: I have no problem taking mass transit in LA or anywhere else in the world. I'm also the most mapped out person I know (have no built-in sense of direction). My LA map--linked, color-coded and shared on Google Maps--I've been building for two years...only getting to the food part now.

    I was just trying to sort out why it was people I trust were telling me to rent a car: if it was because I wasn't understanding the extent of LA's sprawl, because I want to visit places that aren't safe (because of crime, pedestrian- or bike-friendliness, or for whatever reason) or because I'm just trying to pack too much into too limited a time. I think I understand now. Because of all that I want to do, and the hours I plan on keeping in LA, I need to rent car. I've probably driven a total of 10 miles this year; my conscience can handle driving around LA for effectively a long weekend.

    Also, it sounds like we've had very different Chicago experiences. I have knack for making friends in random places, and most people I meet in Chicago surprise the heck out of me with where they've come from and where they're going. That said, I hope and trust that there are interesting people in LA, too, and I will be sure to stop and smell the jasmine. I'll take a look at your specific suggestions.

    gleam wrote:in griffith park is also the old la zoo, which is a nice and creepy place to kill 30-60 minutes.

    Yes, spooky, but really not much different from LP Zoo, depending on time of day and year!

    Jazzfood wrote:There's also a very special art gallery complex in Santa Monica called Bergamot Station.

    Thanks for this. Clearly, I don't know what I'm doing food-wise in LA, but the art scene I know better than the average bear. I'm aware of Bergamot Station; I don't think I'll make it there on this trip given some other work I'm intent on viewing, but I'm sure it'll be a worthwhile stop next time I'm out that way.
  • Post #62 - July 19th, 2011, 1:21 pm
    Post #62 - July 19th, 2011, 1:21 pm Post #62 - July 19th, 2011, 1:21 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:Holy shit.

    Sorry, I didn't mean for the reply to be so long. Or did I...

    cjla wrote:The restaurant of the moment I'd like to try is Spice Table, and that's in Little Tokyo.

    cj, check your PMs :wink:
  • Post #63 - July 24th, 2011, 4:33 am
    Post #63 - July 24th, 2011, 4:33 am Post #63 - July 24th, 2011, 4:33 am
    TonyC wrote:If you really want to be surprised by Asian food (being cooked by a gringo), I'd do MoKo: http://sinosoul.com/tag/moko .

    Having read your previous posts I'm surprised you like MoKo...I found it very amateur, in terms of both food and service, and also very overpriced. Our consensus was "Disneyland Korean!"
  • Post #64 - August 17th, 2011, 7:31 pm
    Post #64 - August 17th, 2011, 7:31 pm Post #64 - August 17th, 2011, 7:31 pm
    Thanks to the fine folks of this board, I had a stupendous four days of eating through the City of Angels. Starting out, I felt about LA food very much like I approached this Therrien sculpture at LACMA: curious and excited but also somewhat intimidated and scared.

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    It all worked out. I had an accomplished, patient (with me) driver, and a funny GPS that always said we were five minutes away from wherever we wanted to go.

    Jasmine's, Culver City
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    Here we had two curries, lamb and the other goat with daal.

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    Tender, deeply gamey meat, both were richly spiced, clearly made with much care. We ordered one curry as a lunch special and the other as a regular entree. One of those came with just-out-of-the-oven naan and the other a plate of rice with some spicy stewed vegetables and an awesome jalapeño-centric slaw. Win.

    FIG, Santa Monica
    One afternoon, I had to eat in Santa Monica, so I went to FIG, which I had somehow missed in my research, is located in the Fairmont Miramar. Definitely felt like we were eating in a hotel, with the dated but gleaming upholstery and tchotchkes for sale. Anyhow, the food was quite good. I live for butter but very much enjoyed the arugula spread served with warm baguettes. The dates stuffed with Fourme d’Ambert and almonds were lovingly assembled before us from a gorgeous cheese board and were delightful.

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    We also had the chicken and prosciutto croquettes, which were well-fried and so creamy inside, I almost forgot what they were.

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    I had one cocktail, a Corpse Reviver, which was cloyingly sweet. I probably wouldn't return to FIG except if I had to eat in Santa Monica again and could go during happy hour, which is when we went, when everything is half off. Value seemed out of whack, even for a hotel (but maybe not Santa Monica?).

    Moko, Culver City
    I almost didn't get here. I was in the mood for French food, and Le Saint Amour was attractively packed and buzzing. MoKo was largely empty and looked douchey. But my companions out-voted me and so Moko it was. We ordered a variety of panchan, which were all very fresh and whetted our appetites. Here's the honey-braised lotus with soy and sesame:

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    The other "panchan" were sweet corn with tomatoes, crispy potatoes, pancetta, soy and ginger and another with asparagus, barley, pea shoots and crisped garlic. The combinations worked. Everything was deftly dressed. On the other hand, the skewers were pretty forgettable. We tried the beef and also the pork belly with scallops.

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    The pancakes were the big hit of the night.

    Sweet corn with summer truffle, mango salsa, Maine lobster and haricot verts:
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    Zucchini with golden squash, grilled shrimp and tomato sesame chutney:
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    Yes, they look busy, overdone and impossible to eat, but my table agreed that we could have made a splendid meal trying the five different pancakes on MoKo's menu. The kitchen uses high-quality ingredients, takes some risks with combinations and actually exercises some restraint (though maybe not visible) with solid results.

    Yogurtland, not the one closest to Culver City
    Over dinner at MoKo, my companions--both locals--got to talking about their favorite frozen yogurt places and some silliness about one the places they like having limited edition Hello Kitty cups. I was intrigued by the excitement of these two grown men, so off we went in search of said yogurt and cups. The taro yogurt at Yogurtland actually wasn't bad. How long, silly, happy days end:

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    This was a half day of eating. Reports for three more days coming soon...

    Jasmine Market
    4135 1/2 Sepulveda Blvd
    Culver City, CA 90230
    310-313-3767

    FIG
    101 Wilshire Blvd
    Santa Monica, CA 90401-1106
    310-319-3111

    MoKo
    9540 Culver Blvd
    Culver City, CA 90232
    310-838-3131

    Yogurtland, West LA
    2130 Sawtelle Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90025
    310-268-8388
  • Post #65 - August 17th, 2011, 8:28 pm
    Post #65 - August 17th, 2011, 8:28 pm Post #65 - August 17th, 2011, 8:28 pm
    I had one day of ridiculously good eating in downtown LA.

    Grand Central Market
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    I only had a Thai coffee here because I was saving stomach space for a one-two punch lunch, but this market looked like the kind of place I'd frequent if I worked downtown.

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    Cole's
    JeffB, thanks so much for this recommendation. I didn't think I was a French dip gal, but I really enjoyed this place. We shared one pork and one beef sandwich. Both hit the spot, more so with a pitch-perfect Tom Collins. Possibly best noon on a Friday ever.

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    Lemonade at MOCA
    I must have still been thinking about Cole's at MOCA, where we contemplated food art by Pae White and others.

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    Less appealing was Claes Oldenburg's Breakfast Table (1962):
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    Afterward, we stopped for a snack at the museum cafe, Lemonade, where the antipasti-like salads looked delicious.

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    Old-fashioned and peach-ginger lemonades were fresh and not too sweet. The giant pistachio macaron was...large. (My wallet provided for scale.)

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    Langer's
    We got to Langer's just before they closed, so I had no time to think, just ordered a #19. What an absolutely expletive-inducing sandwich...easily one of the best of my life. Marvelous cuts of pastrami--fatty, crisp, meaty. Just enough slaw and dressing.

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    I had to eat quickly in the car to get to a tour of the Stahl House in the Hollywood Hills. Being at the Stahl House was a dream come true for me, but in this photo, I'm not thinking about the house or the view. I was still thinking about that sandwich.

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    Daikokuya
    We waited an hour and a half for seats. Empty, blurry ramen bowl basically sums up the night.

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    Grand Central Market
    317 S Broadway
    Los Angeles, CA 90013
    213-624-2378

    Cole's
    118 East 6th Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90014
    213-622-4090

    Langer's
    704 South Alvarado Street
    Los Angeles, CA 90057
    213-483-8050

    Lemonade at MOCA
    250 South Grand
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    213-628-0200

    Daikokuya, Little Tokyo
    327 E 1st St
    Los Angeles, California 90012
    213-626-1680
  • Post #66 - August 18th, 2011, 9:06 am
    Post #66 - August 18th, 2011, 9:06 am Post #66 - August 18th, 2011, 9:06 am
    Another day of eating was random and scattered.

    Mamma's Sushi, Lakewood
    My 20-year-old cousin wanted to show me one of his favorite look-out points near Long Beach and then have lunch at Mamma's Sushi, which he loves. He orders their giant maki made with cooked fish. The bottom roll is mine.

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    Nothing really special here, nothing awful either. Two peculiar things: they inexplicably weren't able to boil me water for tea, and they have funny hours.

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    Food Trucks, Mid-City West
    We ran into a long line of food trucks on Wilshire Boulevard, across the street from LACMA. We had other food priorities, but if I had to try one of the trucks we saw, it probably would have been Auntie's Fry Bread.

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    Apparently, the Gap has a food truck as well, offering tacos and denim since 1969? What a mess of a concept. I just like this photo because of the way the Gap solar panels mirror the solar panels on Renzo Piano's Broad Museum in the background:

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    (Yes, Chicago has the superior Piano art museum extension.)

    Canter's, Mid-City West
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    I wasn't sure I'd get to stop here, but we were early for our dinner reservation up the block so had a black and white cookie. The little ones are only $.50 and the real deal: just cakey enough with discernible lemon zest and smooth frosting that broke perfectly. It took a lot of self control not to walk away with a full box of these cookies.

    Between Canter's and dinner, my cousin gave me a lesson on food shoes at one of the shops on Fairfax. I didn't know about these shoes by Nike:

    "The Heineken" (only $850):
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    "The Newcastle" (much cheaper than Heineken):
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    Animal, Mid-City West
    I feel really torn about Animal. I went in wanting it to be a super indulgent, artery-clogging meal, but honestly, I think the food might be too precious, even for me. A case in point, we started our meal with coconut sweetbreads with raita, mango and tamarind:

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    Well-executed no doubt but mainly pretty food. We also had the veal brains with vadouvan, apple sauce and carrots, the foie gras loco moco burger and the oxtail poutine. Not a very adventurous eater, my cousin (see Mamma's Sushi above) was a good sport and had a number of firsts at Animal: sweetbreads, veal, veal brains, foie gras and a medium-rare burger.

    Donut Man, Glendora
    This was an excellent suggestion as well (thanks, cilantro) and not just because my cousins live about three miles away. The donut-making never stops here. I liked the actual donut of the tiger tails better since there wasn't actually very much donut with the peach, given the huge slices of fruit, but both were very delicious.

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    Animal is a lot better followed by a late-night visit to Donut Man.

    Mamma's Sushi
    5679 Woodruff Ave
    Lakewood, CA 90713
    562-866-3616

    Canter's Deli
    419 North Fairfax Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90036
    323-651-2030

    Animal
    435 North Fairfax Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90048
    323-782-9225

    Donut Man
    915 E Rt 66
    Glendora, CA 91740
    626-335-9111
  • Post #67 - August 18th, 2011, 12:39 pm
    Post #67 - August 18th, 2011, 12:39 pm Post #67 - August 18th, 2011, 12:39 pm
    My last full day in LA was a SGV food crawl with family followed by an LA LTH meetup.

    Tea Bar Starry and Din Tai Fung (not sure if this was #1 or #2)
    We had an hour wait for a table for 10 at DTF, so we fought off hypoglycemia next door at Tea Bar Starry. Very decent milk teas. At DTF, we ordered all over the place: multiples of pork chops, noodles, soups, bao and, of course, dumplings.

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    They were sold out of the small soup dumplings, but I loved the melon and shrimp ones, the niu rou mian and garlic green beans.

    JJ Bakery
    After lunch, we crossed the parking lot to buy some pastries. There was a very wide selection, most of which seemed just OK. I had this green tea mousse cup and mango mousse cake, both of which were pretty unremarkable:

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    I thought of trying a cellophaned Taiwanese burger but wasn't feeling so inspired.

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    A & E Restaurant
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    I remembered TonyC saying there was a decent market next to Noodle Guy, so we got in our cars and headed to Valley Supermarket. My cousins weren't in the mood to shop. Instead, I found them having a second lunch at A &E, on the other side of Noodle Guy. I took only small bites of the various pancake-like things they ordered, all passable snack food, pretty subtle and inoffensive overall. Here are some pork rolls, an onion pancake and a dessert thousand-year pancake:

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    Shun Fat Supermarket
    My cousins apparently don't like to shop for food, but they do like to shop for kung fu movies at Shun Fat. They bought me a copy of the Korean drama series King of Baking. Unfortunately, I discovered on the plane ride home that the English subtitles on the DVDs don't work as the salesman promised (not shocked). Anyone who understands Korean or can read Chinese (those subtitles work), PM me, and the DVDs are yours.

    The only other thing I'd note about Shun Fat is that the sales ladies who work in the dried food section near the entrance are very aggressive. They basically force fed me various dried squid, pork and beef. Fortunately, I like jerky.

    Huge Tree Pastry
    Shun Fat happened to be in the same strip mall as Huge Tree Pastry, which I remembered as another TonyC recommendation. One of my cousins wanted to see how Huge Tree's beef roll compared to their favorite from some place I missed near Din Tai Fung. She arranged a side-by-side for me:

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    Though my cousin wouldn't hear it, Huge Tree's beef roll was far superior to her favorite. The wrapper was more crisp (I watched them fire it up) and the beef and garnishes much more flavorful--peppery and a little spicy. Based on the beef roll alone, Huge Tree is a destination.

    The Spice Table
    Our LTH party of eight made a respectable dent in the dinner menu here, ordering some 30 dishes including a few multiples. As always, the company outshone the food several times over. Maybe others will chime in. I found the space cozy but the food kind of confused. My favorites were the tripe skewers with the crispy bits (didn't know tripe could do that) and the extra smooth kaffir lime custard.

    Epic day.

    Tea Bar Starry
    1108 S Baldwin Ave #6
    Arcadia, CA 91007
    626-447-1078

    Din Tai Fung
    1108 S Baldwin Ave
    Arcadia, CA 91007
    626-574-7068

    JJ Bakery
    1130 S Baldwin Ave
    Arcadia, CA 91007
    626-836-6888

    A & E Restaurant
    1269 E Valley Blvd
    Alhambra, CA 91801
    Neighborhood: Alhambra
    626-284-3549

    Shun Fat Supermarket
    421 N Atlantic Blvd
    Monterey Park, CA 91754
    626-308-3998

    Huge Tree Pastry
    423 N Atlantic Blvd
    Ste 106
    Monterey Park, CA 91754
    626-458-8689

    The Spice Table
    114 S Central Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    213-620-1840
  • Post #68 - August 18th, 2011, 1:03 pm
    Post #68 - August 18th, 2011, 1:03 pm Post #68 - August 18th, 2011, 1:03 pm
    If you were there for work, I assume you didn't get any done. Nice eating, tho.
  • Post #69 - August 18th, 2011, 1:05 pm
    Post #69 - August 18th, 2011, 1:05 pm Post #69 - August 18th, 2011, 1:05 pm
    Your report beat JGold's Moko review by 1 day. And yes, he put his paw of approval on the restaurant. Who's crazy now? Luckily, both your Culver City stops ended up being JGold approved.

    These are simply the best non-Korean food your kimchi fermenting MIL can't make. I also really dig most of the ssam baos while the pajeons are just bundles of flavors that are sadly missing from every Korean restaurant in town (LA).

    The stuff isn't affordable, but Kobawoo isn't using shaved truffles and micro greens.

    EDIT: I'll take your Kings of Baking DVDs ;)

    happy_stomach wrote:Moko, Culver City
    I almost didn't get here. I was in the mood for French food, and Le Saint Amour was attractively packed and buzzing. MoKo was largely empty and looked douchey. But my companions out-voted me and so Moko it was. We ordered a variety of panchan, which were all very fresh and whetted our appetites. Here's the honey-braised lotus with soy and sesame:

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    The pancakes were the big hit of the night.

    Sweet corn with summer truffle, mango salsa, Maine lobster and haricot verts:
    Image

    Zucchini with golden squash, grilled shrimp and tomato sesame chutney:
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    Yes, they look busy, overdone and impossible to eat, but my table agreed that we could have made a splendid meal trying the five different pancakes on MoKo's menu. The kitchen uses high-quality ingredients, takes some risks with combinations and actually exercises some restraint (though maybe not visible) with solid results.
  • Post #70 - August 19th, 2011, 12:26 pm
    Post #70 - August 19th, 2011, 12:26 pm Post #70 - August 19th, 2011, 12:26 pm
    A few last miscellaneous LA food notes:

    L'Épicerie, Culver City
    I made a quick visit to (TonyC recommended) L'Epicerie, though we didn't have time to eat there. At home, I consume large amounts of Cowgirl Creamery cheese, so reason #1,342 that I could see myself living in LA is that even at a place that charges $7 for a standard jar of Nutella, Mt. Tam is only $12. Mind-blowing. I could eat twice as much if I moved to CA.

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    In-n-Out, somewhere on the way to LAX
    I asked my cousin for one not-in-Chicago fast food place I should try before leaving LA, so I ate In-n-Out on the way to the airport.

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    I can't remember the last time I had a fast food burger from a big chain, but the In-n-Out burger seemed OK. It tasted like beef. The lettuce and tomato were in good shape. I actually enjoyed the fries a lot; I liked the cut, tasted like real potatoes (I saw them pushing around buckets of soaking whole potatoes), crisp but still pliable.

    Home Cooking
    Fortunately, I was in LA for pleasure, not business. Priorities were: buildings (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), food and to get to know relatives I recently discovered. On my last day in LA, my cousins made me a traditional Filipino breakfast, the appeal of which many Chicagoans now understand because of Uncle Mike's Place:

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    The fried squid was an extra treat. Unfortunately, not included in my photo (besides rice) is my aunt's homemade achara, which is a kind of pickled green papaya condiment with ginger and chilies. Hers on this morning had the most amazing golden raisins. I'm a lucky gal.

    P.S.
    gleam: I almost made it to the old zoo, but we got to Griffith Park just in time to see a sunset, and then the old zoo area was closed. Next time.
  • Post #71 - August 25th, 2011, 8:34 pm
    Post #71 - August 25th, 2011, 8:34 pm Post #71 - August 25th, 2011, 8:34 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:The donut-making never stops here.

    Transcript of phone call:

    Me: Hi, when do you close?
    Donut Man Employee, stifling laughter (or perhaps tears): Never....

    happy_stomach wrote:Yes, they look busy, overdone and impossible to eat, but my table agreed that we could have made a splendid meal trying the five different pancakes on MoKo's menu. The kitchen uses high-quality ingredients, takes some risks with combinations and actually exercises some restraint (though maybe not visible) with solid results.

    This looked and sounded really good, so we went there on Monday only to find it closed. No note or phone message, nothing on the website or Twitter. Right when they should have been basking in the increased business generated by Gold's positive review. WTF.

    Then this. :(
  • Post #72 - September 5th, 2011, 1:07 am
    Post #72 - September 5th, 2011, 1:07 am Post #72 - September 5th, 2011, 1:07 am
    happy_stomach wrote:A few last miscellaneous LA food notes:

    L'Épicerie, Culver City
    I made a quick visit to (TonyC recommended) L'Epicerie, though we didn't have time to eat there. At home, I consume large amounts of Cowgirl Creamery cheese, so reason #1,342 that I could see myself living in LA is that even at a place that charges $7 for a standard jar of Nutella, Mt. Tam is only $12. Mind-blowing. I could eat twice as much if I moved to CA.


    Image

    Thought of you at Tony's. Don't make me drag out the Chicago Mies, Humrich, and Neutra shots as well.
  • Post #73 - September 6th, 2011, 3:18 pm
    Post #73 - September 6th, 2011, 3:18 pm Post #73 - September 6th, 2011, 3:18 pm
    cilantro wrote:This looked and sounded really good, so we went there on Monday only to find it closed. No note or phone message, nothing on the website or Twitter. Right when they should have been basking in the increased business generated by Gold's positive review. WTF.

    Then this. :(


    So sorry cilantro. We're all rather bummed. Hope the best for the chef tho.
  • Post #74 - September 7th, 2011, 8:57 am
    Post #74 - September 7th, 2011, 8:57 am Post #74 - September 7th, 2011, 8:57 am
    Santander wrote:
    happy_stomach wrote:A few last miscellaneous LA food notes:

    L'Épicerie, Culver City
    I made a quick visit to (TonyC recommended) L'Epicerie, though we didn't have time to eat there. At home, I consume large amounts of Cowgirl Creamery cheese, so reason #1,342 that I could see myself living in LA is that even at a place that charges $7 for a standard jar of Nutella, Mt. Tam is only $12. Mind-blowing. I could eat twice as much if I moved to CA.


    Image

    Thought of you at Tony's. Don't make me drag out the Chicago Mies, Humrich, and Neutra shots as well.

    You know I have those shots, too. Chicago... We don't need no stinkin' Spire; we're the the land of towering Smuckers.
  • Post #75 - September 7th, 2011, 12:19 pm
    Post #75 - September 7th, 2011, 12:19 pm Post #75 - September 7th, 2011, 12:19 pm
    NOT good value for money:

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    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #76 - January 24th, 2012, 4:56 pm
    Post #76 - January 24th, 2012, 4:56 pm Post #76 - January 24th, 2012, 4:56 pm
    I am making my annual sojourn to LA later this week and I'm looking for a few tips.

    On my past two trips, I relied pretty heavily on J. Gold recs. with intel done here to cross reference. Like I said about my last trip upthread, I do like to actually let my hosts show me around rather than show up with a prescribed itinerary for which I drag them around with me. But, it turns out they "don't eat out much" and actually rely on me and my visits out there to expose them to new places.
    I'd like to do some new-to-me things and an advantage to this trip is that more of my friends have cars, so we can explore beyond my usual confines of downtown/ near east LA. I want to check out Chinese in the SGV for one thing.

    But first things first, I have to pick a spot for 8 of us to eat the night I get there. Criteria: affordable (like no more than $40 pp w/ drinks) and vegetarian friendly. My friend suggested the SGV idea for this meal, though it does'nt seem logistically appropriate to hit up a handful of strip mall joints with that many people. Is there anywhere good in that area fitting my criteria? Regardless of geography, Japanese would be great too or Thai, though I've had two less than great experiences at Jitlada.
    What about Armenian in East Hollywood?

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


    The other thing I'm trying to decide is that if I am to eat one giant beefy sandwich, should Langer's be my priority? I am also tempted by Philippe's for French Dip, which my friends love. I know, two different beasts, but I truly only have it in me to eat one big beefy sandwich in four days (there is a burger in the plans already). I don't crave deli food and I am nostalgic for a French Dip like the ones I ate at Southside taverns with my dad when I was a kid. But if Langer's is that essential, I should go.

    Other than that, other recent recs. would be appreciated. Looking forward to my trip and I'll post a report when I return.
    Thanks LTH!
    Last edited by Jefe on January 25th, 2012, 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #77 - January 24th, 2012, 5:19 pm
    Post #77 - January 24th, 2012, 5:19 pm Post #77 - January 24th, 2012, 5:19 pm
    Jefe,

    I'm not sure if you saw this threador not, but Mottainai might be a good place to go for your first night dinner, although it's not real large. I don't know about the alcohol situation there. I think they may have sake and beer, but I had tea on my visit so a call to the restaurant to inquire would be in order. Have fun.

    Mottainai Ramen
    1630 West Redondo Beach Blvd # 9
    Gardena, CA 90247
    (310) 538-3250
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #78 - January 24th, 2012, 6:05 pm
    Post #78 - January 24th, 2012, 6:05 pm Post #78 - January 24th, 2012, 6:05 pm
    stevez wrote:Jefe,

    I'm not sure if you saw this threador not, but Mottainai might be a good place to go for your first night dinner, although it's not real large. I don't know about the alcohol situation there. I think they may have sake and beer, but I had tea on my visit so a call to the restaurant to inquire would be in order. Have fun.

    Mottainai Ramen
    1630 West Redondo Beach Blvd # 9
    Gardena, CA 90247
    (310) 538-3250


    Steve, thanks for the rec. I had seen that thread and Mottainai is on my list.
  • Post #79 - January 25th, 2012, 12:18 pm
    Post #79 - January 25th, 2012, 12:18 pm Post #79 - January 25th, 2012, 12:18 pm
    Both good, but I'd choose Langer's over Phillipe's in a pinch. Don't stray too far from the pastrami on rye. Not much else is terribly special there in my experience. Just a geography nit, but I don't think the great concentration of Armenian is in West Hollywood. Little Armenia is squarely in "East Hollywood," adjacent to Thai Town.
  • Post #80 - January 25th, 2012, 12:38 pm
    Post #80 - January 25th, 2012, 12:38 pm Post #80 - January 25th, 2012, 12:38 pm
    JeffB wrote:Just a geography nit, but I don't think the great concentration of Armenian is in West Hollywood. Little Armenia is squarely in "East Hollywood," adjacent to Thai Town.


    I meant East Hollywood, edited above. Thanks for the response.
  • Post #81 - January 25th, 2012, 4:28 pm
    Post #81 - January 25th, 2012, 4:28 pm Post #81 - January 25th, 2012, 4:28 pm
    Jefe wrote:I am making my annual sojourn to LA later this week and I'm looking for a few tips.
    I'd like to do some new-to-me things and an advantage to this trip is that more of my friends have cars, so we can explore beyond my usual confines of downtown/ near east LA. I want to check out Chinese in the SGV for one thing.

    But first things first, I have to pick a spot for 8 of us to eat the night I get there. Criteria: affordable (like no more than $40 pp w/ drinks) and vegetarian friendly. My friend suggested the SGV idea for this meal, though it does'nt seem logistically appropriate to hit up a handful of strip mall joints with that many people. Is there anywhere good in that area fitting my criteria?

    Reading conflicted criteria: "pick a spot" vs. "handful of strip mall joints"? I've had very decent veggie meals (with Indians) at Fine Garden Vegetarian & Gourmet Vegetarian, both in the West SGV, only 15min away from DTLA. It'll be way cheaper than $40/pp (think $20/pp, no wine/beer). Look at Taste of Chongqing, or Hunan Chili King, for the electrocution of the tongue. They'll be difficult for vegetarians, so perhaps settle at Yu Garden (Shanghainese) where there are carb dishes for vegheads. For the most authentic Chinese experience known to me(n), try Shen Yang Restaurant in San Gabriel. I believe they have pitchers of beer for $10 to go with that fried racks of cumin chicken (!!!) You won't find anyone else talking about that restaurant (save for myself) on Google, but I swear by it, and I send everyone there for a bit of Chinese shock n awe. Some day, you'll see JGold's write-up. Maybe.

    If it happens to be warm later this week (it was freezing on Monday, but looks to be near 80s this weekend), drop by Fluff Ice or Salju if you happen to be in West SGV. Shaved snow is all the range in LA right now.

    Maneuvering in West SGV for a party of 8 is best done in a minivan, or 2 cars on weekdays. Avoid Fri-Sun, and you'll be fine.

    However, I'd personally do Ktown. Hot chicks, stupid fried spicy food, shady, smoky digs, ie. fun. Try DGM on Wilshire, or Toe Bang. Both perfect for 8, both have veggie food. I have my fave pojang macha, but I don't give it away lightly.

    The other thing I'm trying to decide is that if I am to eat one giant beefy sandwich, should Langer's be my priority?

    Yes.

    I am also tempted by Philippe's for French Dip

    No.

    Other than that, other recent recs. would be appreciated. Looking forward to my trip and I'll post a report when I return.
    Thanks LTH!

    Have I mentioned Crispy Pork Gang? Issans love it. Bangkokers love it. My (Thai) nanny enjoys it. Contrary to what JG proclaimed, CPG is not a shtick. The Thais love its seafood preps more than the crispy pork. It's us farangs who can't stop talking about the fried pork belly. I think it's a must stop.

    Also, if you follow Bourdain's recent LA "Layover" episode, you'll be eating a bunch of garbage fit for a travel show. Dan Sang Sa has a great, teleporting, wooden decor (and wooden menu), that's it.
  • Post #82 - January 28th, 2012, 11:44 pm
    Post #82 - January 28th, 2012, 11:44 pm Post #82 - January 28th, 2012, 11:44 pm
    I spent about 10 days in L.A. this month and had a blast (despite the disappointingly "chilly" weather). The biggest culinary hit of the week was Biergarten in Koreatown. We sort of ended up there by accident when a friend recommended that we go to "a beer garden" and another friend thought they meant Biergarten. No one in the group had been there before and the mix of Korean and German influences (although, ultimately, neither influence was particularly strong) sounded interesting. We sampled the poutine, short rib sandwich, Korean roasted chicken, and the fried chicken w/french toast. Every dish was delicious, the chicken dishes moist and flavorful, and the beer list was excellent. I went with the La Fin du Monde. The atmosphere is more sports bar than I had expected, but not obnoxious. People kept to their tables. The Lakers were playing and the patrons were into the game. However, the service was friendly and we weren't exactly looking for a quiet night. Everyone left stuffed, happy, and a little tipsy.

    Biergarten
    206 N Western Ave
    Los Angeles, CA 90004
    Neighborhood: Wilshire Center
    (323) 466-4860
    http://www.biergarten-la.com
  • Post #83 - January 30th, 2012, 6:08 pm
    Post #83 - January 30th, 2012, 6:08 pm Post #83 - January 30th, 2012, 6:08 pm
    The Mrs is a huge fan of Biergarten's tung dalk (roast chicken -- there's really nothing Korean about it). Added bonus: it's child friendly.

    If that sort of thing interests you (I mostly just go for the beer), I'd highly suggest going down the block to Beer Belly as well. It offers a nice compare/contrast.
  • Post #84 - January 30th, 2012, 9:58 pm
    Post #84 - January 30th, 2012, 9:58 pm Post #84 - January 30th, 2012, 9:58 pm
    was just in LA this past Saturday, a bud took me to a market on Olympic market in the afternoon, we basically ate/drank everything that this blogger wrote about: http://www.streetgourmetla.com/2012/01/ ... -food.html

    Olympic Market
    Saturday and Sundays
    early morning to 5pm
    Olympic Bl. just west of Central Ave.
    Los Angeles, CA

    lip smackin delicious food, most all of it, only mediocre experience was the pupusa we tried.

    Many types of excellent juices, including orange juice with quail eggs, and a splash of Jerez
    Huitlacoche quesadillas
    Al pastor tacos
    Lamb barbacoa tacos & some stuffed stomach tacos
    fresh fried strips of talipia w/Mexican hot sauce
    carnitas

    In the evening, 8 of us dined at Coni's Seafood (3544 W Imperial Hwy, Inglewood CA 90303) and had quite a number of dishes:
    pescado zarandeado (grilled snook, served w/tortillas & caramelized onions)
    camarones borrachos (shrimp cooked w/tequila, garlic, cilantro, crushed pepper)
    the above were fantastic
    ceviche marinero (marinated octopus, fish, shrimp with lemon, cilantro, cucumber, tomato, onion and black sauce)
    this dish had some
    they were out of the smoked marlin tacos, we would have loved to try those.
    Here is an LA weekly review of Coni's: http://www.laweekly.com/2011-12-15/eat- ... i-seafood/

    I've been looking at my calendar to figure out when I can get back and take the Mrs.

    happy_stomach wrote:L'Épicerie, Culver City
    I made a quick visit to (TonyC recommended) L'Epicerie, though we didn't have time to eat there. At home, I consume large amounts of Cowgirl Creamery cheese, so reason #1,342 that I could see myself living in LA is that even at a place that charges $7 for a standard jar of Nutella, Mt. Tam is only $12. Mind-blowing. I could eat twice as much if I moved to CA.

    Image

    FYI, if one is going through the brand new Terminal 2 at San Francisco (SFO), one can purchase Mt Tam & many other Cowgirl Creamery cheeses at Napa Farms Market, which also houses a Tyler Florence Rotisserie & a sandwich/pizza place (so much better than most meals I've had on airplanes)
    -
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #85 - February 3rd, 2012, 8:02 pm
    Post #85 - February 3rd, 2012, 8:02 pm Post #85 - February 3rd, 2012, 8:02 pm
    Returned earlier this week from an incredibly relaxing, sun filled jaunt to the City of Angels. I heard the weather here wasn't too shabby either, but with temps in the low 80s every day of my trip, I can see why 75% of my friends have moved there in the past few years. The weather kept us outdoors most of the time, hiking at Malibu Creek SP, Elysian Park, and Griffith Park. Needless to say, it was not a culturally focused trip and in our sun dazed state, we went with the flow food-wise and did not follow much of an itinerary. No burgers, no pastrami, no French dip, no ramen. We re-visited a couple old faves and ate a lot of impromptu street food in our travels.

    All said, I did cover more ground than in my previous visits and we made two special trips for some pretty epic dining, more on that later.

    Day one was Malibu, so we hit the ever classic Neptune's Net.
    How could you not love this spot, just right across from the beach:
    Image

    If you scroll upthread you will notice I did not stray too far from my classic order:
    Image
    Fried combo, calamari and shrimp this time.

    Image
    Steamed clams.

    So, the food was fine. The fried stuff a bit on the greasy side, fries for sure food service, shrimp suspiciously uniform in classic butterfly fashion. The clams pretty damn great. But who cares, this spot is about location and vibe- a breezy open patio, 22 oz. Anchor Steams, bikers, a freakin parrot greeting customers at the front. This place truly helps one slip fully into vacation mode.

    For dinner we assembled the entire posse and schlepped down to Torrance for PIGMON recommended Torihei for izakaya.

    A bustling, convivial, and cheerful spot, it was perfect for a reunion of eight old friends. I had never ate real izakaya before and this place was the real deal- though there were some fusion-y twists on the menu- balsamic reductions and several fresh mozzarella dishes. We sampled a pickle and mozzarella dish that was a bit odd- the sweet vinegary tang of the pickles (were those beets? turnips?) was somewhat at odds with the creamy cheese. We also had a dish of asparagus wrapped in bacon, which did not strike me as typically Japanese, but was quite tasty nonetheless.
    My friend's wife is Japanese, so she was elected to do the bulk of the ordering. There was a never ending flurry of plates and many refills of Asahi pitchers landing on our table, so its a bit of a strain for me to remember everything we ate. I was also too wrapped up in catching up with my crew to thoroughly photo document the meal.

    One thing I'll never forget is a dish that kicked my ass and humbled this "guy who eats everything". It was a squid dish that I believe is called Shiokara. What arrived at the table was a small bowl of clearly raw sliced squid in a viscous pink sauce. Traumatic memories of after-a-good-rain bloated earthworms on the playground washed over me. This is the chink in my guts-and-tentacles-loving palette, anything resembling good old fashioned night crawlers. I bucked up and sampled a few chopstick-fulls of the stuff, slimy, an odd interior crunch, a funky old garbage-like flavor, yup just what I imagine those dead worms to taste like. My friend's wife explained that the sauce was made from fermented squid guts, which explained a lot. I feel like less of a man now.
    Image
    This is about all I got down.

    We ate some unusual-to-me vegetable preps including braised daikon in oden broth with bonito. It was very comforting and homey. A similarly prepped burdock was a little stranger to me- inherently stringy but also prepared in that Japanese/Korean style of soaking deep-fried things in broth that seems counter-intuitive to me.

    Highlights included this simple cold dish of sliced octopus with salmon roe and seaweed:
    Image

    The best bites were the yakitori, which seems to be their specialty. Perfectly grilled chicken thigh with scallion in a sake infused sweet soy glaze is one of my favorite chicken preps period. That same glaze anointed luscious, rich chicken livers and meatballs (which skewed in a Swedish direction). Chicken skin skewers obviously were foolproof ambrosia.

    A new-to-me taste sensation that I found very pleasant was roasted gingko nuts. Slip them out of their pre-cracked eggshell-like exterior and dip in sea salt. A slightly vegetal flavor with a hint of bitter. The texture was where it was at- almost like a firm gummy candy, I found them to be quite addicting.
    Image

    An interplay of comfort food and discomfort food- an absolutely memorable experience. Above all, a fantastic spot to hang out, drink, and catch up with good pals. Thanks for the tip PIGMON!

    Day two we trekked up to the San Gabriel Valley for some TonyC recs.
    I had all the delicious-looking pics of beef rolls of this thread on my mind, so we had to hit up Mama's.
    Image
    We loved these, splitting two orders among five of us (this was stop one afterall), we all agreed we would have gladly ate a whole plate each. Rich with fatty beef and fried egg, wrapped in a flaky pancake, this is hangover brunch food at its finest. My only quibble was that there wasn't any hot sauce options beyond sriracha, I think I wanted chile oil.

    Fried dumplings were clearly hand made and had a bright and flavorful filling of pork and scallion.
    Image

    Stop 2 came highly recommended:
    TonyC wrote: For the most authentic Chinese experience known to me(n), try Shen Yang Restaurant in San Gabriel. I believe they have pitchers of beer for $10 to go with that fried racks of cumin chicken (!!!) You won't find anyone else talking about that restaurant (save for myself) on Google, but I swear by it, and I send everyone there for a bit of Chinese shock n awe. Some day, you'll see JGold's write-up. Maybe.


    This was the real deal. We started with a couple of plates of roughage. These just-cooked cold shredded potatoes dressed in chile oil and vinegar were almost identical to a favorite order at Ed's
    Image

    A cold spinach "salad" had sweet peanuts and a pronounced smoky flavor that combined with a vinegar sourness had a flavor profile not unlike southern greens. A delightful dish:
    Image

    The main event though was Fried Chicken Bone with Cumin. Now, there is often fractured grammar on Chinese menus and I've seen various ways in which menu items containing meat on the bone are specified as such. I was expecting bone-in fried chicken. The waitress was surprised that we asked for two orders. We understood when this arrived to our table:
    Image
    This was not just chicken on the bone. This was scraps of chicken on lots and lots of bones. And it was killer. My dad taught me how to properly eat chicken off the bone, so my gnawing skills are pretty honed at this point. Sweet and salty with a generous sprinkling of cumin seeds, this paired ideally with the $10 pitchers of Kirin. This dish was worth the work, not unlike eating blue crabs or crawfish, an elbows on the table, lots of napkins type of affair. The daunting piles of bones were dispatched of in no time. Even the completely white bread, vanilla ass diet of my buddy jived with the experience. "Even though I feel like I'm eating the remains of someone else's dinner tossed in the deep fryer- of all the weird shit you make me eat, this I can get down with".

    The owner came out to ask us how we liked the chicken and how we had heard of her establishment. A good sign that we were in a for real spot.
    Thanks TonyC!

    That night we rode around to various social obligations and hit up the most spartan street food operations we could find. We ate fatty rich tamales out of a single clip lamp illuminated cooler manned by a chupacabra-like old lady on a dark street.

    A few blocks up from Figueroa on Ave. 50 in between Mt. Washington and Highland Park we spotted two homies with a griddle and pastor trompo set up al fresco in a mechanic's parking lot.
    Image
    Best al pastor since the DF. El trompador was a master of his art, with a flick of the wrist sending a pineapple chunk flying from the top of the cone, catching it with the taco. Charred, not too greasy, distinct layers of succulent meat, it was so good we went back at the end of the night for seconds.

    I actually had a completely satisfying and necessary late night quesadilla with suadero at the hipster-favorite and not-to-my-liking on my previous trip, Taco Zone. Melted Chihuahua makes most things delicious though.
    Worth noting is that most of these street spots seem to serve exemplary salsa- fiery arboles and tangy fresh verdes. I do dig a good condiment bar.

    Continuing the trend, the next morning we swung by my buddy's underpass chicken spot for a revisit of my favorite bite from my last trip.
    Image

    Unfortunately the magic wasn't quite there this time. The chicken itself was super smoky, but the white meat was pretty dried out. The thigh was fantastic. The sides were not good- soapy tasting beans and cold, lifeless rice. Cooked-to-death tortillas and watery salsa. For a sunny lunchtime picnic in the park though, I wasn't complaining.
    Image

    Dinner that night was a real unexpected treat. My friends took me to their favorite sushi spot, Hama in Little Tokyo. I knew the place was legit immediately- three tables off to the side, but most of the clientele seated around the central sushi bar. Old Japanese dudes hand forming the rice. This was perhaps the best sushi I've ever had. This dish of monkfish liver was the best bite of this trip:
    Image
    Coins of impossibly rich liver, the jewel of all guts, it was served in dashi with light soy and topped with grated ginger, scallion, and tobiko. I greedily ate half of it.

    Softshell crab and amaebi were platonic ideals.

    The fish though was where it was at- hamachi was pristine and the saba was impossibly melt-in-your-mouth rich.
    Image

    The biggest treat and surprising piece of nigiri was a seared piece of snapper- just the lightest blast of caramelization on one side giving just enough textural contrast to the lusciousness of the uncooked rest of the piece.

    For some reason, the shabbiness of the restroom confirmed that this place was a no-thrills, fish forward best kind of sushi joint. Oh and did I mention cheap too- under $40 pp for about twelve pieces each and two apps.

    For a last minute breakfast before the airport, my buddy led me just right across the street from his place for a novelty act- the frozen in amber 70's diner at the LA Police Academy.
    Image
    Image

    How was the food? Pretty much industrial grade, hashbrowns right from the box. The veggie and cheese omelet was not pretty, but not too bad. Fresh mushrooms were a perk. American cheese would have been a bit more apropo, but at least cheddar made it seem like they were trying. Worth the experience for sure.
    Image

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

    Torihei
    1757 W Carson St. Ste A
    Torrance, CA 90501
    (310) 781-9407

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

    Shen Yang
    137 S San Gabriel Blvd. Ste A
    San Gabriel, CA 91776
    (626) 292-5758

    Hama Sushi
    347 E 2nd St
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    (213) 680-3454

    Los Angeles Police Revolver & Athletic Club Cafe
    1880 Academy Dr
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    (323) 221-5222
  • Post #86 - February 10th, 2012, 11:35 am
    Post #86 - February 10th, 2012, 11:35 am Post #86 - February 10th, 2012, 11:35 am
    Jefe wrote:We ate some unusual-to-me vegetable preps including braised daikon in oden broth with bonito. It was very comforting and homey. A similarly prepped burdock was a little stranger to me- inherently stringy but also prepared in that Japanese/Korean style of soaking deep-fried things in broth that seems counter-intuitive to me.

    So glad you took the initiative to make the drive to Torihei, Jefe. This place is on my extreme shortlist of places to hit up whenever in L.A. If you elect to head down to Torrence, though, try to go on an off-day/off-hour to miss its legions of loyalists. As you so accurately described, the yakitori here is really worth the trip alone. However, what really initially caught my eye there is their simple but stellar oden offerings. Having never eaten Japanese-style oden in Chicago, this was of special interest to me since I was a complete neophyte. I was immediately lured by its simple elegance from the very first taste.

    Torihei’s chef/owner, Masataka Hirai, previously ran his family's yakitori, (also called Torihei) in Yokohama, Japan. In 2009, Hirai partnered with Masakazu Sasaki (who’s particular culinary interests apparently are centered largely around oden preparations) and opened up Torihei in Torrence.

    Oden (おでん) is a traditional winter Japanese (Nabe-style) soup typically made by simmering (or even up to a few days) ingredients such as white radish, turnip, burdock, potato, beef collagen, fish cake, deep-fried bean curd (ganmodoki), devil’s tongue jelly (konnyaku) or eggs as well as any number of other possible veggies, meats, or fish in a light dashi/kombu broth (enhanced with light soy & mirin) for several hours until soft. Although historically eaten during the cold seasons in Japan, it can nowadays be found any time of year at food carts and many Japanese convenience stores (as well as at odenya or oden shops).

    Torihei offers a number of different types of oden such as white radish, qing geng cai or bok choy, yam cake, beef collagen, and fish cake versions. However, their standout oden offering is the “half raw egg with salmon roe” ($1.95) which is aptly comprised of a honjuku (molten) egg filled with ikura (salmon roe) in a subtle yet sophisticated traditional oden broth. The lusciousness of the molten egg coupled with bursts of saline fish eggs in Torihei’s subtle dashi broth certainly made for a serious dining highlight.

    Image
    (Thanks to both Rene G and tatterdemalion for supplying me Torihei photos)

    Check out this comical Youtube video of Torihei (with Miss Asia USA 3rd runner up!) which shows the half raw egg w/salmon roe and radish oden.
  • Post #87 - February 10th, 2012, 12:00 pm
    Post #87 - February 10th, 2012, 12:00 pm Post #87 - February 10th, 2012, 12:00 pm
    Yes, PIGMON, Torihei is all about the oden. Nothing quite like having one's first experience with a new genre of food be at a place that does it so incredibly well. Like eating your first birria at Zaragoza or having a Partagas D as your first cigar. The down side is that one quickly realizes in places as far flung as Seattle and NYC that most attempts at oden suck terrifically, making the Torihei experience that much more valuable. I predict an oden place in Logan Square sometime soon. Torihei is a destination -- thanks for the long-ago advice on it!
  • Post #88 - February 10th, 2012, 1:19 pm
    Post #88 - February 10th, 2012, 1:19 pm Post #88 - February 10th, 2012, 1:19 pm
    Jefe wrote:Day two we trekked up to the San Gabriel Valley for some TonyC recs.
    I had all the delicious-looking pics of beef rolls of this thread on my mind, so we had to hit up Mama's.
    Image
    We loved these, splitting two orders among five of us (this was stop one afterall), we all agreed we would have gladly ate a whole plate each. Rich with fatty beef and fried egg, wrapped in a flaky pancake, this is hangover brunch food at its finest. My only quibble was that there wasn't any hot sauce options beyond sriracha, I think I wanted chile oil.

    Oil is available. Just have to ask for la yo.

    Jefe wrote:The main event though was Fried Chicken Bone with Cumin. Now, there is often fractured grammar on Chinese menus and I've seen various ways in which menu items containing meat on the bone are specified as such. I was expecting bone-in fried chicken. The waitress was surprised that we asked for two orders. We understood when this arrived to our table:
    Image
    This was not just chicken on the bone. This was scraps of chicken on lots and lots of bones. And it was killer. My dad taught me how to properly eat chicken off the bone, so my gnawing skills are pretty honed at this point. Sweet and salty with a generous sprinkling of cumin seeds, this paired ideally with the $10 pitchers of Kirin. This dish was worth the work, not unlike eating blue crabs or crawfish, an elbows on the table, lots of napkins type of affair. The daunting piles of bones were dispatched of in no time. Even the completely white bread, vanilla ass diet of my buddy jived with the experience. "Even though I feel like I'm eating the remains of someone else's dinner tossed in the deep fryer- of all the weird shit you make me eat, this I can get down with".

    OK. That made me LOL. And you guys are troopers. Usually we can't even finish 1 plate of the "chicken rack", taking at least 1/3 home. The other famous dishes there are the sticky yam, 5 ingredeint "pulled skin" (la1 pi2), di4 san1 xian1 -- a hodgepodge of 3 "aromatic" ingredients from the "earth", and the Chao style cold noodles, which is a fantastic (or horrid, depends) rendition of Korean naeng myun. Shen Yang is one my favorite Chinese restaurants in all of LA, and I believe the cuisine is mostly unreplicated elsewhere in the country.

    Jefe wrote:Continuing the trend, the next morning we swung by my buddy's underpass chicken spot for a revisit of my favorite bite from my last trip.
    Image

    Unfortunately the magic wasn't quite there this time. The chicken itself was super smoky, but the white meat was pretty dried out. The thigh was fantastic. The sides were not good- soapy tasting beans and cold, lifeless rice. Cooked-to-death tortillas and watery salsa. For a sunny lunchtime picnic in the park though, I wasn't complaining.


    That is a shame, I've always heard good things about the "underpass chicken". My favorite pollo al carbon guy is currently on Olympic, 2 blocks West of Central, on Pinata Row. A complete run-down will be coming shortly on http://www.lataco.com

    What a fantastic time, yah?
  • Post #89 - February 10th, 2012, 4:29 pm
    Post #89 - February 10th, 2012, 4:29 pm Post #89 - February 10th, 2012, 4:29 pm
    TonyC wrote:What a fantastic time, yah?

    A total and complete blast, indeed! Between the food, friends, and sunshine, LA is a yearly must do vacay for me at this point. Perhaps I'll make that an extended stay one day.

    TonyC wrote:OK. That made me LOL. And you guys are troopers. Usually we can't even finish 1 plate of the "chicken rack", taking at least 1/3 home. The other famous dishes there are the sticky yam, 5 ingredeint "pulled skin" (la1 pi2), di4 san1 xian1 -- a hodgepodge of 3 "aromatic" ingredients from the "earth", and the Chao style cold noodles, which is a fantastic (or horrid, depends) rendition of Korean naeng myun. Shen Yang is one my favorite Chinese restaurants in all of LA, and I believe the cuisine is mostly unreplicated elsewhere in the country.


    Ha, we wanted to make sure we were going all the way with that chicken! Next time I'll try those other dishes you mentioned, especially the Chinese Korean stuff. Does anyone know anywhere to find this cuisine in Chicago? Great Sea? Nothing that probably compares to Shen Yang.

    TonyC wrote:That is a shame, I've always heard good things about the "underpass chicken". My favorite pollo al carbon guy is currently on Olympic, 2 blocks West of Central, on Pinata Row. A complete run-down will be coming shortly on http://www.lataco.com

    Jefe wrote: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.

    As quoted above, I had a stellar round of chicken from them last year. Perhaps we hit them on an off day this time around. The chicken was well seasoned and smoky, just a bit dry. Sides not good, but that's not entirely the point. I'd go back.
    So do you know the place that we hit up? I'm not sure exactly on where we were, I can consult my buddy. Have you been to this spot?

    Thanks again to everybody for the recs.!
  • Post #90 - February 10th, 2012, 11:59 pm
    Post #90 - February 10th, 2012, 11:59 pm Post #90 - February 10th, 2012, 11:59 pm
    Jefe wrote:
    TonyC wrote:OK. That made me LOL. And you guys are troopers. Usually we can't even finish 1 plate of the "chicken rack", taking at least 1/3 home. The other famous dishes there are the sticky yam, 5 ingredeint "pulled skin" (la1 pi2), di4 san1 xian1 -- a hodgepodge of 3 "aromatic" ingredients from the "earth", and the Chao style cold noodles, which is a fantastic (or horrid, depends) rendition of Korean naeng myun. Shen Yang is one my favorite Chinese restaurants in all of LA, and I believe the cuisine is mostly unreplicated elsewhere in the country.


    Ha, we wanted to make sure we were going all the way with that chicken! Next time I'll try those other dishes you mentioned, especially the Chinese Korean stuff. Does anyone know anywhere to find this cuisine in Chicago? Great Sea? Nothing that probably compares to Shen Yang.


    Several years ago, I'd learned (by way of RST) that Ed's Potsticker House had a "Manchurian menu" comprised of Dongbei/Northeastern Chinese dishes including the aforementioned "pulled skins" - ta la pi, or slippery clear mung bean noodles tossed with julienned vegetables and pork in a sesame-mustard dressing. They had all the raw and sour stuff going on, dishes that at the time were totally unrecognizable as Chinese food to me (what, no rice?). My understanding is that Ed's was but one of very few Dongbei/Northeastern Chinese restaurants in the country at that time. I'm not sure how many are around now, but I know there are a few in Flushing, a couple here in Boston - still by no means common cuisine anywhere.

    Jefe, let me know if you happen to find these dishes at Ed's (or elsewhere).

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