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Restaurant recommendations, new openings, and highlights from the LA Chowhound community.

Falafel of the Promised Land

What’s Israeli-style falafel? It’s any way you freaking like it–mostly with tons of different salads (like eggplant salad or Israeli/Arab tomato-cucumber salad, not Caesar) and even French fries piled into the pita.

The place to go seems to be Falafel Palace, with fresh and well-seasoned falafel, and a huge range of salads/toppings (including baba ghanouj, roasted peppers, marinated mushrooms, various cheeses and the probably not-so-traditional guacamole).

Pita Pocket is Israeli, and you can get French fries, rice, and probably other stuff on your falafel, says jencounter, who also gives props to the amazing laffa.

Amer’s Falafel looks like it fits the bill too.

Israeli friends vouch for the mom-and-pop Habayit, says ddyouandme.

Falafel Palace [West San Fernando Valley]
9255 Reseda Blvd., Northridge
818-993-0734
Locater

Pita Pocket [West San Fernando Valley]
9127 Reseda Blvd., Northridge
818-709-4444
Locater

Amer’s Falafel [West San Fernando Valley]
17334 Ventura Blvd., Encino
818-995-6332
Locater

Habayit [West LA]
11921 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
310-479-5444
Locater

Board Links: Pile it on: Israeli-style falafel joints

Got Milk? They Do

Dairy products get their due at Milk, a new temple of dairy-based confections.

“Imagine the most luxurious and elegant creme brulee whipped into a frozen frenzy topped with fresh whipped cream and honest to God malted milk balls, and you’d have an apt description of the homemade vanilla bean milkshake for $4.75,” says cvc.

The milkshake was out of this world–more of a sundae with milk than a true milkshake, says cyberoo. Strawberry shortcake shake consists of strawberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream, with yummy crunchy stuff on top.

Ice cream sandwiches with macarons as the “bread” change daily–jasmine tea is an interesting clash between boba milk tea and French pastry. Even ice cream alone sounds good, with flavors like banana dulce de leche and coffee toffee. The pastry chef/ice cream maker is particularly proud of his vanilla, made with a special blend of Tahitian (more floral) and Ugandan (more woodsy) vanilla beans. It’s great in a rootbeer float, says cheflvr–the chef recommends Dad’s root beer.

It’s not just an ice cream parlor–they serve pastries, breakfast and lunch as well. An ample Cobb salad comes with delicious Green Goddess dressing ($8.75) and there’s a surprisingly good Cuban sandwich with tender pulled pork, ham, Manchego cheese, peppery greens, pickles and roasted garlic mayo ($7.75), says cvc.


Milk [Mid-City]
7290 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
323-939-6455

Locater

Board Links

Milk–everybody needs it
Dipping into Milk

Knocked Out by a Chicken Skewer

Sister Y used to think she hated Filipino food. She’s no big fan of steam table restaurants either. But then she discovered fried deliciousness at Max’s, and a lunch at the Carson branch of D.J. Bibingkahan, a “point-point” joint, confirmed her belief that Filipino food is one of the best comfort cuisines in the whole world.

There’s deliciously fatty roasted pork; delectable greens (likely taro leaves) stewed with chicken and/or pork, coconut milk and spices; and a chicken skewer.

“The skewer was the thing that moved me. After my horrible day (one of my colleagues ended up fired, if that tells you the kind of day it was) I bit into this chicken skewer and tears welled up in my eyes, because it was immediately clear that someone loved me. Something about the slightly spicy, slightly sweet, sticky sauce, or the perfectly juicy chicken, made me instantly sure that there was still beauty in the world.”

Save room for the bibingka, says Sauce Supreme–a sort of (eggless) baked rice pudding with condensed milk.

There are several branches of DJB, and several Filipinos say the Panorama City and West Covina ones aren’t worth frequenting. But for those of us who don’t have a nanay cooking up a storm at home, at least the Carson branch comes recommended.


D.J. Bibingkahan [South Bay]
840 Carson St. B, Carson
310-835-9190
Locater

Max’s of Manila [East San Fernando Valley]
313 W. Broadway, Glendale
818-637-7751
Locater

Max’s of Manila [Inland LA]
1561 E. Amar Rd., West Covina
626-964-0744
Locater

Board Links

Filipino food that moved me

Who’s Got Big (Potato) Balls?

Porto’s meat-filled potato balls are a fave of chowhounds, including Dommy.

Well, turns out that Venice Bakery has even bigger balls, and they’re tastier too. Dommy received one as a V-Day snack (and chocolates too, we hear) and says the mashed-potato part is spiced as well as the filling, which is more like a true picadillo. Porto’s version is a bit more refined, and has more meat, but Venice Bakery’s potato balls will satisfy carb fiends (and Westsiders who can’t make it to Glendale or Burbank).


Venice Bakery [Culver City-ish]
10943 Venice Blvd., Culver City
310-839-3478
“Locater”: http://losangeles.citysearch.com/profile/60940

Porto’s Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
315 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale
818-956-5996
Locater

Porto’s Bakery [East San Fernando Valley]
3614 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank
818-846-9100
Map

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My yummy valentine

For Ethiopian, Think Outside the Strip

A hole-in-the-wall removed from the Little Ethiopia strip on Fairfax, Ibex sometimes hits a home run, says westsidegal, like with their rich and marvelous mesir wat (spicy red lentils). Make sure to request some of their awaze (spice paste) to add to your food.

Just off Fairfax on Pico, Awash really reflects Ethiopian home cooking, says artfoodhistorianista, who’s had plenty. Remember that Ethiopian food takes time, so be prepared to wait.

Meanwhile, back on the Strip, Meals by Genet has something for everyone: tasty, authentic food and nicer ambience than its neighbors, plus (real) wine and beer.


Ibex [South LA]
630 N. La Brea Ave., Inglewood
310-673-3392
Locater

Awash [Little Ethiopia]
5990 1/2 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
323-939-3233
Locater

Meals by Genet [Little Ethiopia]
1053 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles
323-938-9304
Locater

Board Links

Delicious mesir wat at Ibex
Looking for Ethiopian restaurant recs

No, Nobody Sat on Your Bagel – it’s From Montreal

Think it’s hard finding a New York bagel in this town? Try a Montreal bagel. Flatter and sweeter than the typical U.S. variety, they’re a far cry from Noah’s.

You can get Montreal bagels at Pasquale’s Cafe, and at St. Urbain Bagels. The latter isn’t exactly Montreal’s St. Viateur, but it’s good for a quick fix, says tritip


Pasquale’s Cafe [Downtown]
5616 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles
323-936-6883
Map

St Urbain Bagels [Beverly Hills]
449 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills
310-288-0219
Map%

*Board Links *

Can I get Montreal bagels in this town?

L.A.’s Own Little Italy

L.A. may not be an Italian deli town, but the highest concentration of Italian Americans in the area (including families from the Ischia region) is in San Pedro, with the amenities to prove it, says Ernie.

Check out A-1 for a great Italian deli with real subs–no mayo unless you ask for it. You can even pick up wine-making supplies from the store next door.

While A-1 is tops for cold cuts, Busy Bee has better hot sandwiches. Sausage is good and meatball is best at the Bee, says peterboy, who adds that you shouldn’t be scared off because the Italian market is run by Asians and has Latinos behind the counter. They will try to put mayo and lettuce on the hot chicken sandwich along with the sauce, though, so speak up if you don’t want it.

There are also several Italian bakeries–try Ramona.

There’s a taste of the old country in Pasadena at Roma, says PlanDan, whose mom’s family used to run an Italian store. The counter guys are definitely from another (past) era. There’s no hot food, but great bread and cheese and a fine pasta selection, and you can request a sandwich.


A-1 Imported Groceries & Deli [South Bay]
348 W. 8th St., San Pedro
310-833-4045
Locater

Busy Bee Market [South Bay]
2413 S. Walker Ave., San Pedro
310-832-8660

Locater

Ramona Bakery [South Bay]
1101 S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro
310-832-0369
Locater

Roma Italian Deli & Grocery [Pasadea-ish]
918 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena
626-797-7748

Map

Board Links

East Side Italian Deli–NO!

Fish Eggs, Fish Eggs, Spaghetti With Fish Eggs

Spaghetti alla bottarga is one of the simplest dishes in the Italian repertory, but it needs top-notch ingredients. The two best in town, says bottarga fiend Ashibi, have got to be at Madeo and Giorgio Baldi.

Give the crown to Madeo, says Ciao Bob, who loves Baldi but says Madeo uses higher quality bottarga.

Cucinamore found Madeo’s pasta con bottarga strangely creamy on one visit, rather than the usual dry and oily texture. They insist there’s no dairy in there, though.

Briganti does a really nice version of this dish, says Jack Flash. It’s not on the menu, but it’s a frequent special–if you’re set on having it, call ahead.

Tarako spaghetti is spaghetti alla bottarga’s soul sister…or probably more like its soul grandchild. The version at Ducks is very tasty, just the right balance of noodles to sauce, says Hling. The curry, at least with beef, is tender and flavorful, with a dark Japanese-style curry sauce. ipsedixit finds the curry a bit to sweet and watery, but lapchern says it’s typically neither, and that it blows the likes of Hurry Curry/Curry House out of the water.


Madeo [West Hollywood]
8897 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
310-859-4903
Locater

Il Ristorante de Giorgio Baldi [Beaches]
114 W. Channel Rd, Santa Monica
310-573-1660
Locater

Briganti [Pasadena-ish]
1423 Mission St., South Pasadena
626-441-4663
Locater

Ducks Restaurant [San Gabriel Valley]
1381 E. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel
626-287-8743
Map

*Board Links *

The best spaghetti alla bottarga?
Dinner at Ducks

It’s Craaaaabulous

Residents of parts north (of Orange County) no longer have to venture down there for the Cajun-style seafood boil that’s become popular in Little Saigon, says fishybear10.

Crabulous has fresh crawfish, Dungeness crab, blue crab and shrimp in a garlicky butter sauce that’s kicked up a notch (did I get that right, Emeril?) with Cajun spices. The sauce isn’t quite as thick as Boiling Crab’s, but it’s just as tasty. “rameniac”: http://www.chow.com/profile/11521 concurs, saying there’s no reason to drive down to Westminster/Garden Grove anymore.


Crabulous [San Gabriel Valley]
8966 Garvey Ave., Rosemead
626-573-2529
Map

Board Links

Cajun-style seafood comes to the San Gabriel Valley

The Best Liverwurst In a Long Time

You can get a heart attack on a plate at Agoura Deli–and that’s a good thing, says Will Owen.

We’re talking about liverwurst, friends–not the disgustingly fatty, oversalted stuff you often get. It’s excellent, and there’s about half a pound of it in a single sandwich. The bread is almost an afterthought, but rye is flavorful and chewy. Coleslaw is lightly dressed, just sweet and rich enough.


Agoura Deli [West San Fernando Valley]e
5915 Kanan Rd., Agoura Hillse
818-889-9113e
Locater

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A monster of a sandwich