Los Angeles Area rss

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

Burgers, An Ode in the Key of Bleu

At Tim and Liza Goodells’ new burger joint, 25 Degrees, among the dozen cheese options is Big Woods blue, from Minnesota. The house burger features it, along with caramelized onion, bacon, and arugula, and draws raves. The burgers here might just be the best in a diner in LA at the moment, says kevin. But the fries are not so great, and the chocolate cake is a behemoth of an abomination.

Eating the French burger at Barney’s Gourmet Burgers is like dying (of a coronary) and going to burger heaven, says Nina. It includes a mound of blue cheese, plus bacon.

The blue cheese in the Hungry Cat’s Pug Burger is extra-tangy…great with their fries.

The Counter uses high-quality Danish blue cheese in its burgers.

Father’s Office’s legendary burger is made with Maytag blue.

You can often substitute blue cheese in a standard cheeseburger. At the Palm, go blue instead of the standard Cheddar–it’s fantastic, says SpongeBobSquarePegs.

And Pete’s Cafe will likely do the same with their Hellman Burger (made with fontina). Hell, make it a bleu-fest and get the blue cheese fries, too.

25 Degrees [Hollywood]
in Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd., Orange Dr., Hollywood
323-785-7244
Map

Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers [Wealthy Westlands]
11660 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles
310-447-6000
Map

Barneys Gourmet Hamburger [Beaches]
225 26th St., Santa Monica
310-899-0133
Map

Hungry Cat [Hollywood]
1535 N. Vine St., Sunset, Los Angeles
323-462-2155
Map

The Counter [Beaches]
2901 Ocean Park Blvd., 29th St., Santa Monica
310-399-8383
Map

Father’s Office [Beaches]
1018 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
310-393-2337
Map

Palm Restaurant [Beaches]
9001 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles
310-278-6366
Map

Palm Restaurant [Downtown]
1100 S. Flower St., Los Angeles
213-763-4600
Map

Pete’s Cafe & Bar [Downtown]
400 S Main St., Los Angeles
213-617-1000
Map

Board Links: blue cheese burger

The World in the Palm of Your Hands

The local mini-chain The Cravery, which began popping up around the LA area last year, is focused on pasties–handheld savory pies–with international flavors (like chipotle chicken fajita, Thai curry chicken, and eggplant parmesan). They’re excellent, says Dustin, but rich. There’s also salad, and they serve breakfast (great coffee) as well as lunch and dinner. Coming soon: a Los Altos branch.

The Cravery [South Bay]
1441 West Knox Ave., Torrance
310-320-4050
Map

Cravery Irvine [South OC]
6638 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine
949-727-3663
Map

Cravery [OC Beaches]
at Bella Terra
7811 Edinger Ave., Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach
714-894-2927
Map

Board Links: Aussie Meat/Seafood Pies In Los Angeles?

Down Home Mexican in OC

For down-home Mexican chow in OC, Super Antojitos is right on target. Really good meats–pastor, carnitas, carne asada, and barbacoa–plus posole and menudo on weekends.

Beans are creamy and lardy, and dishes like camarones rancheros and pasilla chiles rellenos are outstanding.

El Farolito is another top choice, a no-frills family-run place with an emphasis on Mexican classics.

Other good options nearby: Q Tortas and El Taco Sabroso Grill (for the tasty beef stew).

El Gallo Giro is another local chain with good food, especially carnitas and al pastor. Tortillas are made in-house, and the aguas frescas bar offers horchata, tamarindo, platano, sandia (watermelon) and more.

In San Juan Capistrano, check out Ricardo’s.

Super Antojitos [South OC]
1702 N. Bristol St. #D, Santa Ana
714-835-3619
Locator

Super Antojitos [South OC]
2731 W. Edinger Ave., Santa Ana
714-540-7385
Locator

Super Antojitos [South OC]
2307 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana
714-445-0076
Locator

Super Antojitos [South OC]
1130 W. Warner Ave., Santa Ana
714-662-2035
Locator

Super Antojitos Restaurant [South OC]
2510 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana
714-957-0994
Locator

Super Antojitos [South OC]
341 E. 1st St., Tustin
714-832-2252
Locator

Super Antojitos [South OC]
2949 Fairview Rd., Costa Mesa
714-437-1824
Locator

Super Antojitos Mexicanos [East LA-ish]
7518 E. Slauson Ave., City of Commerce
323-728-4944
Locator

Super Antojitos Mexicanos [East San Fernando Valley]
809 S. Victory Blvd., Burbank
818-845-0922
Locator

El Farolito [North OC]
201 S. Bradford Ave., Placentia
714-993-7880
Locator

El Farolito Jr [South OC]
1339 N. East St., Anaheim
714-533-6032
Locator

El Farolito [Koreatown]
2737 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles
323-731-4329
Locator

Q-Tortas [North OC]
220 S. Bradford Ave., Placentia
714-993-3270
Locator

El Taco Sabroso Grill [North OC]
214 W. Santa Fe Ave., Placentia
714-524-6716
Locator

El Taco Sabroso [Inland of LA]
1945 W. La Habra Blvd., La Habra
562-691-2144
Locator

El Gallo Giro [South OC]
1442 S. Bristol St. #B, Santa Ana
714-549-2011
Locator

El Gallo Giro [Central San Fernando Valley]
315 San Fernando Mission Blvd., San Fernando
818-361-9570

http://www.gallogiro.com

Locator

El Gallo Giro [East LA-ish]
7148 Pacific Blvd., Huntington Park
323-585-4433
Locator

El Gallo Giro [Central San Fernando Valley]
8309 Van Nuys Blvd., Panorama City
818-891-5533
Locator

El Gallo Giro [South LA]
3180 E. Imperial Hwy., Lynwood
310-609-1901
Locator

Ricardo’s Place [South OC]
32082 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano
949-493-4941
Locator

Board Links
In search of the most down home Mexican food in the OC…

Going on a Carnitas Crawl

Craving carnitas, Robert Lu set out on a quest. Here are the notes from his top picks:

La Blanquita: Terrific carnitas taco, chunky instead of stringy, crispy outside, melt-in-your-mouth inside. Kind of a dive, but lots of aguas frescas and alambre too for those who miss Las Ruinas. Restaurant is separate from market/tortilleria.

La Pradera: Crispy and smoky, yet still moist. Solid. It’s a market only, so carnitas are sold to go.

El Gallito: Similar carnitas to La Pradera, maybe less smoky. Interior of this market (which holds a sizable restaurant) is more pleasant than most.

Pastor’s Meat: Haven’t tried yet, but friend swears they are the best carniceria around. [Adds Neta: you have to try the chicharron!]

Cinco Puntos is another great spot for carnitas, says K*, with great handmade tortillas, too.

condiment* prefers the great Antojitos Denise’s on Olympic, where they sell carnitas by the pound. It’s about as good as it gets–a party in a tray.

At La Azteca, carnitas + still-warm fresh tortillas = taco bliss, says Macdonald.

And of course, there’s always Carnitas Michoacan.

La Blanquita Tortilleria [East LA-ish]
11859 Valley Blvd., Garvey El Monte
626-579-1799
Locator: http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9321267&ck=1839410855

La Pradera Market [East LA-ish]
3218 Santa Anita Ave., El Monte
626-579-2517
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9322952&ck=864760269

La Pradera Market [South OC]
2801 S Bristol St., Santa Ana
714-662-1234
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=24076182&ck=816735867

La Pradera Carniceria [Inland of LA]
651 E. Arrow Hwy., Azusa
626-339-3000
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=14644943&ck=2485124216

El Gallito Meat Market [East LA-ish]
12242 Valley Blvd., Durfee, El Monte
626-442-1190
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9320771&ck=1798802208

Pastor’s Meat [East LA-ish]
8922 Beverly Blvd., Rosemead, Pico Rivera
562-695-8714
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9175158&ck=2447128281

Los Cinco Puntos [East LA-ish]
3300 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles
323-261-4084
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9082568&ck=1124055037

Antojitos Denises [Thai Town]
4930 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
323-661-8230
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9049111&ck=801011488

Antojitos Denises [East LA-ish]
4060 E. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles
323-264-8199
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9039903&ck=3338204706

La Azteca Tortilleria [East LA-ish]
4538 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles
323-262-5977
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=16128927&ck=1203164291

Carnitas Michoacan [East San Fernando Valley]
12911 Victory Blvd., Coldwater Canyon, North Hollywood
818-765-9356
Map:

http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?Pyt=Tmap&addr=+12911+Victory+Blvd&csz=North+Hollywood+CA

Carnitas Michoacan [East San Fernando Valley]
7206 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood
818-982-8660
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=22496154&ck=3131189738

Carnitas Michoacan [East LA-ish]
741 S. Soto St., Los Angeles
323-266-7188
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9040318&ck=499682980

Carnitas Michoacan [Koreatown]
1605 S. Hoover St. #105, Los Angeles
213-748-1809
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9009099&ck=2301381313

Carnitas Michoacan [East San Fernando Valley]
8729 Sunland Blvd., Sun Valley
818-504-9154
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=25945522&ck=178240713

Carnitas Michoacan [East San Fernando Valley]
15039 Roscoe Blvd., Panorama City
818-830-1196
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=19407056&ck=1257323505

Carnitas Michoacan [East San Fernando Valley]
14534 Brand Blvd., San Fernando
818-365-9044
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=16843382&ck=3413739990

Carnitas Michoacan [East San Fernando Valley]
13189 Gladstone Ave., Sylmar
818-367-3269
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9256347&ck=3665692269

Carnitas Michoacans [West San Fernando Valley]
6764 Tampa Ave., Reseda
818-343-3240
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9253868&ck=2827263188

Carnitas Michoacan [East San Fernando Valley]
13947 Foothill Blvd., Sylmar
818-362-7472
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9256345&ck=3665692271

Carnitas Michoacan [West San Fernando Valley]
8556 Reseda Blvd., Northridge
818-576-0359
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=20037980&ck=2011223098

Carnitas Michoacan [West San Fernando Valley]
9101 De Soto Ave., Chatsworth
818-725-2612
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9242656&ck=1468629959

Carnitas Michoacan [West San Fernando Valley]
9849 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Chatsworth
818-700-9776
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=9243962&ck=2970576526

Carnitas Michoacan [West San Fernando Valley]
492 E. High St., Moorpark
805-553-9340
Locator:

http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=13224666&ck=897949297

Board Links
Carnitas y Carnicerias

Horn of Africa Meets the Heart of O.C.

A mountain of outrageously tasty food awaits at Merhaba, an Eritrean restaurant nearly hidden in a dingy Orange County minimall, says Das Ubergeek. It’s the kind of place where non-East African customers may draw stares.

The menu lists the usual Ethiopian dishes, but in Tigrinya rather than Amharic. The traditional combo is billed as being for two people, but it would actually serve four. You get more than a cup each of doro wat (spicy chicken stew), yebeg alicha (mild lamb stew), a fiery Eritrean take on yebegsiga wat (spicy beef stew), and yellow lentils, collard greens and an orange paste that tastes of spicy carrots, all poured onto an injera-lined tray. The injera (a pancake-like bread) is properly sour here.

Unlike many other Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurants, the meats shine here, although the vegetables are also good. Doro wat can be dry, but emily, a fan of the restaurant, says despite some off days, it’s usually delicious.

Traditional combo, $20. Canned soda and bottled water are $1. Lunch and dinner prices are the same.

Merhaba Restaurant [South OC]
2801 W. Ball Rd. #5, Anaheim
714-826-8859

http://www.merhabarestaurant.com

Locator:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=Typ&tuid=14660309&ck=363215762

Board Links

Gelato, Gelato Everywhere

Gelato can now be found at the Viktor Benes bakery in the Century City Gelson’s, says PayOrPlay, with some very good flavors (sour cherry, pink grapefruit). There are 8-10 varieties, and they change regularly.

In addition to the gelato at Pazzo (look out for the fruit flavors made from farmers’ market produce), Eastsiders who don’t want to make the trek to Boule can find its chocolate truffles and pates de fruit there. There’s even a discount–the truffles, notes kevin, are $2 apiece instead of $2.50. But then, they don’t come in a little box with a ribbon. Also: baked goods from South Pas’s excellent Heirloom Bakery.

In Pasadena, Noodle World has reopened, and is also serving gelato.

Viktor Benes Continental Pastries [Century City]
at Gelson’s Market
10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles
310-277-7670

http://www.viktorbenes.com

Locator

Pazzo Gelato [Silverlake]
3827 Sunset Blvd, Hyperion, Los Angeles
323-662-1410

http://www.pazzogelato.net

Map

Noodle World [Pasadena-ish]
24 W. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
626-585-5885
Locator

Noodle World [San Gabriel Valley]
46 W. Valley Blvd., Alhambra
626-293-8800
Locator

Board Links
Pazzo Gelato
Noodle World!
valley gelato

Mad-Scientist Ice Cream

A laboratory for eclectic ice cream flavors, the LA City College-adjacent Scoops has been getting some press lately. Owner Tai Kim uses tropical fruits (mango, ube) as well as wasabi, and chocolate jalapeno. Brown bread, believe it or not, is a popular flavor, and there are also vegan ice creams. You can even write a flavor suggestion on his dry-erase board.

For the less adventurous, pistachio, chocolate, and tiramisu are good bets. Flavors rotate about once a week. Two scoops are $2.

Scoops [East Hollywood]
formerly Taicecream
712 N. Heliotrope Dr., Los Angeles
323-906-2649
Locator

Board Links
Scoops Ice Cream @ Melrose & Heliotrope?
Scoops on Heliotrope in Silverlake?

Hawaiian Food Dream Factory

The cook at Aloha Food Factory says he can make anything you want.

Anything?

Well, if what you want is along the lines of a burrito stuffed with Spam, pineapple and kalua pork, drenched in teriyaki sauce and spiked with wasabi, yes.

OK, it sounds…odd, but ipse dixit insists, “The nice salty, crunchy feel of the slightly charred spam mixed in with the sweet pineapple and pork…all of it blended in nicely with the wasabi. Oh, and of course, the teri sauce just makes sure it all goes down the windpipe with ease. This was so damn good.”

On the more traditional front, spam musubi is good here, with a good proportion of spam and nori compared to the rice, says AquaW. Fried-to-order sesame chicken is pretty awesome too.

Shaved ice hits the spot on a hot day, but isn’t quite like what you’d get in the islands.

Aloha Food Factory [San Gabriel Valley]
2990 W. Valley Blvd., Alhambra
626-308-0215
Map

Board Links: I have found my reason for living … ALOHA FOOD FACTORY!

Hawaiian Shave Ice

True Hawaiian shave ice can be tough to find on the mainland. Key ingredients: good ice cream, adzuki (sweet red) beans, house-made syrup (and a variety of choices), and powdery, properly shaved ice.

You’re probably best off going to Teri Hawaii, where syrup flavors include strawberry, lilikoi, and pineapple–and you can get them together. Ice cream and adzuki beans are available, and the result is creamy, fruity, and delectable.

Teri is Hawaii-authentic, if not the same quality as Matsumoto, the famed shave-ice spot on Oahu’s North Shore, says ek. Mike Q, though, hands Teri the advantage for serving the shave ice in a good-size cup, not a paper cone. A serving is about $3.

A couple other recommendations: Maui BBQ, where shave ice is served with ice cream and adzuki, and about eight flavors of syrup. And in Simi Valley, of all places, there’s Tutu’s Hawaiian Ice Cream Shack, where they’ve got all the fixings.

Teriyaki Hawaii [South Bay]
a.k.a. Teri Hawaii
1425 W. Artesia Blvd. #34, Gardena
310-327-0307
Locator

Maui Hawaiian BBQ [North OC]
1323 S. Harbor Blvd., Orangethorpe, Fullerton
714-278-0688
Locator

Tutu’s Hawaiian Ice Cream Shack [West San Fernando Valley]
4332 Cochran St., Simi Valley
805-522-6922

http://www.tutushawaiianicecreamshack.com

Locator

Board Links
ISO Hawaiian SHAVE ICE

Fabulous Tofu Dish

“It’s been a long time (probably the early 1980s) since we’ve been able to utter “Golden Dragon” and “good food” in the same sentence…” notes Chandavkl, “But thanks to a recent banquet I’ve discovered the best tofu dish I can recall eating at a Chinese restaurant in the Los Angeles area.”

Called fried tofu in special sauce (or something), it consists of round, silver-dollar-size slices of deep-fried tofu, tender inside, with mushrooms and vegetables in a savory light sauce with an elusive yet terrific flavor.

Golden Dragon Restaurant [Chinatown]
960 N. Broadway, Los Angeles
213-626-2039
Map

Board Links: Fabulous Tofu Dish At Golden Dragon (Chinatown)