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My Quest to Find LA's Most Expensive Banh Mi

Even further west (and south), the soft shell crab banh mi at Little Sister in Manhattan Beach ($18). Not always in season, but always delicious, if not purely traditional.

Apr 16, 2014
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Really good beef chow fun?

Thanks, everyone! Sounds like Tasty Garden is the consensus, and I will be hitting that up this weekend. I have to say that I looked at some people's pics of their chow fun online, and I'm tempering my expectations. But I have faith in the Chow community, and I will report back!

I will also be hopping over to Flavor Garden for some beef rolls and leek pies. Any opinion on the spicy jelly noodles there?

Feb 06, 2014
heinous in Los Angeles Area

What restaurant do you really really really miss that is now closed ?????

A-1 Chinese BBQ in Lomita. My go-to for Chinese comfort food for almost 30 years. The perfect hole in the wall - no frills, just really good food cooked by someone who loved cooking it and didn't cut corners. Great roast duck, pork, amazing wonton noodle soup, dry-braised string beans actually done right. And seriously the best beef chow fun ever. I will never find that beef chow fun again. *sob*

Also miss having a Beijing Islamic restaurant in the South Bay. Yum sesame bread and hand-cut noodles with lamb.

Feb 06, 2014
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Interesting Chocolate Suggestions?

I recently took a chocolate-loving friend to the Chocolate Tea at the Langham in Pasadena. The room was charming, the service spot on, and we took a lovely walk around the grounds afterward.

They infuse chocolate into all the tea items - there is chocolate scented tea offered, and chocolate is infused into the savory sandwiches also. There are displays of chocolate desserts set up around the room - truffles, cakes, tarts, cookies, cupcakes, etc. - and a large chocolate fountain with all sorts of things to dip into it. The food isn't exactly exquisite, but it's a very nice experience and definitely has the chocolate theme you're looking for.

http://pasadena.langhamhotels.com/res...

Feb 02, 2014
heinous in Los Angeles Area
1

Really good beef chow fun?

I returned home today after 10 days abroad, hungry as usual for a Chinese food fix, especially for my go-to comfort dish, beef chow fun. But alas, my favorite local restaurant has changed owners, and my favorite beef chow fun of all time is gone. You know, the kind with thick, fresh noodles, wider than the pre-cut kind you can buy at 99 Ranch, accompanied simply by bean sprouts, scallions, and tender beef, all with the perfect wok char? I know you can get beef chow fun at any Chinese place, but where is there a great one? I will go anywhere in LA to find it. The only other one I ever had to rival my favorite was in a tiny hole in San Francisco Chinatown that I've never been able to find again.

Thank you for your help!

Feb 02, 2014
heinous in Los Angeles Area
1

The Wallace in Culver City

Thanks for your reply! We have reservations for Friday. I'll let you know how it goes!

Jan 07, 2014
heinous in Los Angeles Area

The Wallace in Culver City

Thanks for posting about this new place! I'm planning to check it out this weekend. Question - how's the noise level? My friend is looking for somewhere a bit quieter so we don't have to shout. We keep going to places life Bestia and Red Medicine where the volume borders on unpleasant. Thanks for any info you can provide!

Jan 07, 2014
heinous in Los Angeles Area

A-1 Chinese BBQ (Lomita) is closing. :_(

I know this place gets very mixed reviews, but I myself am distraught at the news that A-1 Chinese BBQ in Lomita is closing. It has been my favorite restaurant for 30 years. Through all the food phases I've followed for the past 3 decades - fusion, Cal-Ital, molecular, nose-to-tail, etc. - this place has been my constant. It's the first stop on my way home from a long trip, it's what I want when I'm sick, it's what I eat when I'm well. I've dragged many reluctant friends there and made fans of them all.

Yes, it's divey, dingy, and greasy. The waitress/owner can be brusque. But it's delicious, homey food that your Chinese grandpa would make you if he loved cooking and had a freakishly hot wok fire. So for anyone in the South Bay who is a fan or may have been curious, you have until November 30 to check it out. Must haves: Beef chow fun (dry version, best anywhere), salt & pepper shrimp (butterflied and without heads), peking duck (best in the South Bay), mixed BBQ plate with roast pork, duck, and chicken, Won ton noodle soup, congee (so delicious - I like it with pork and preserved egg), dry braised long beans (done the right way), beef chow fun with gravy, crispy fried noodles.

RIP, A-1. I will miss you so.

PS - I went with friends last night and ordered 15 dishes, including the peking duck and crab with green onion, the most expensive dishes on the menu. The total was $146.

PPS - It's BYOB, no corkage or fees. Bring whatever you want. They'll give you cups. No glasses.

A-1 Chinese BBQ
2014 Pacific Coast Hwy
Lomita, CA 90717

Nov 25, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Who has the best Scones?

I realize this post is very old, but I just have to say... bacon scone at the Pie Hole. Everything I never thought a scone could be. And while you're at it, Snack Pie and Chocolate Crostata. Best breakfast ever.

Nov 08, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Underrated Restaurants

+1 on the Tripel. A delight every time. It will be interesting to see if it will stay as good and as interesting after the planned expansion. I sure hope so.

Nov 08, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

JThur01's Best Shen Jian Bao

Second that! I've been plumping Shau May SJB for years. My favorite experience there was asking a homeless guy outside if he wanted something to eat and having him request SJBs. He wasn't even Chinese, but he knew what was up. :)

By the way, the Jing Dong Ro Bings at Shau May are no slouch either. Crispy tasty yum.

For those who want to check it out, call ahead to order - the SJBs take 10-15 mins, or longer if it's busy. As usual, cash only and slightly grumpy counter help.

Nov 07, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Lee's Kitchen In Torrance Isn't As Bad As They Say

Heartily agree with your assessment! I've been South Bay for life, and this is actually one of the better options around right now. I've been a few times with my parents (legit Chinese people!) and my father, who is quite picky, was pleased with the quality of nearly everything we tried. The drunken chicken was very good, the stir fried dried tofu with pork was excellent.

Do you know if they still serve Chinese breakfast? I miss having soy milk and you tiao in the morning. (I know, Peters Place, but I kind of hate that place.)

Nov 03, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Best Roast Chicken $20 and under

OMG, yessss. That's such good chicken.

Oct 29, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Best Roast Chicken $20 and under

Don't kill me, but I have to plump for the Costco rotisserie chicken. At $5, it's one of the best deals in town. Consistently plump, juicy, and flavorful. Subtle and special? Nope. But a pretty tasty chicken. I find it pretty satisfying to eat when fresh with just a good hot sauce at hand, and after refrigerated, an excellent base for a chicken salad. For someone with a kid, it's a good thing to have in the fridge.

Oct 22, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area
6

Okonomiyaki anyone?

I second the rec for Gaja. It's very close to San Pedro too. It's a quirky little place, and you can make your own okonomiyaki on the griddle at your table, or they'll make it for you in the kitchen. I love making my own because I can make it however I like (I like making smaller, thinner, crispy ones). They also have everything you can imagine available for inclusion in your okonomiyaki - meats, veggies, random things - along with the traditional accoutrements. You can ignore the rest of their oddly variegated menu and just go for okonomiyaki. It's fun and casual and always full of Japanese people. My sister is partial to their silly parfait desserts too. But I prefer to stop next door at Chantilly for a black sesame cream puff. :) Have fun!

Oct 21, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area
2

Need a new place for Chinese beef rolls... :(

Hi, all! So I took barryc's suggestion and did a beef roll taste off. The results:

- 101 Noodle Express (Valley): Just not what it used to be. Much flatter with only a thin layer of beef and not enough sauce. Better than anything you can get in the South Bay, but still... sad face.

- Flavor Garden: Great little place! Beef rolls were solid. They don't have the girth that the 101's sported in their heyday, but the bing was nice and crisp, good amount of beef, right amount of sauce. Good proportions overall. The leek pies were delightful too. Thank you for the suggestion!

- Mama's Kitchen: These were my friend's favorite. The smallest of the ones tried, but really good proportions and flavor, and the inclusion of a thin layer of egg was quite delicious. I don't know that I'd go there for anything else though as the menu looked a little all over the place. It's connected to a bowling alley, so I guess they have to keep it pretty broad?

- Easy Earthen: My friend picked these up in Rowland before heading over to meet me in MP. Unfortunately, they were soggy by the time they got to me, so I can't really judge them fairly. I have to say that the bing seemed a bit thick in proportion to the filling. But perhaps if it had been hot and crispy, I wouldn't have minded?

Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions!

Oct 14, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area
1

Italian seafood in LA?

Thank you to everyone for all your great suggestions! I now have a new list of places to try. And thank you for your sympathy too - man, the food withdrawal is way worse than jetlag...

Oct 11, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Italian seafood in LA?

I know you guys are right... there are just some things you can only get in certain places, which is what makes discovering and enjoying them all the more special, and what makes travel that much more worth it. I guess I had that American moment where I just wanted to have something conveniently when I wanted it. That said, what I should be really happy about is that we do now have so many wonderful Italian options in LA. Not so 15 years ago!

But I am totally hitting up Bartolotta in Vegas next month for gamberi rossi flown in from Venice! :)

Oct 11, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Italian seafood in LA?

Hey, chowers! I'm just back from a quick trip to Venice, and I am in serious Italian seafood withdrawal. I'm haunted by the freshest, most perfect fritto misto of tiny whole shrimp, assorted fish, the most tender langoustine you can imagine. A single perfect raw red shrimp on a bed of burrata. Spaghetti with bottarga and tiny mussels.

Is there anywhere in LA that can approximate this? I know we have Italian, and I know we have seafood, but is there anything in this particular style? I know in Vegas, there's Bartolotta which takes great pride in their Italian seafood. Anything like that here?

Oct 09, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Need a new place for Chinese beef rolls... :(

Hi! I went to the one on Valley and New. Ah, I should have gone next door to Mama's Kitchen too! Thanks for all the tips. I particularly love the beef roll crawl concept - this shall be done. I shall report back!

Sep 11, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Need a new place for Chinese beef rolls... :(

Like many here, I've long been a fan of the beef rolls at 101 Noodle Express in the SGV. Sadly, on my last few visits, I've noticed that the quality has slid very far downhill. The first time, I thought maybe it was a fluke, maybe they just took exception to my shoddy Chinese language skills and decided to stint me. But after the third incident of sad, anemic, beef rolls, I have no choice but to conclude that they have decided that they no longer need to try. What were once glorious, plump rolls bursting with beef, cilantro, and that wonderful sauce, are now less than half the girth, with a single layer (barely) of beef and a mere swipe of sauce. I brought some home for my sister, and they confused her - she thought they were vegetarian at first because she couldn't detect the meat.

So on to the next place. The great thing about the SGV is that there's always something new and always someone trying to be better. So any tips out there for the next new place for beef rolls? :)

Sep 10, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area
1

Prime rib for birthday dinner

Hi, all! Thanks again for all your suggestions (all of which are now on my list because I'm a prime rib fan too). I ran the different options past my friend, and she ended up choosing Gulliver's for her birthday. She loved the old school, non-chain feel of it and the fact that it was a new place to try. I will report back on how it goes!

Sep 10, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Prime rib for birthday dinner

Thank you everyone for your tips and comments! I am a huge fan of Houston's/Hillstone's, which is my go-to place for prime rib. It's surprisingly good for a chain. I was wondering if there was someplace that I was missing. I did have prime rib long ago at Morton's and found it to be fairly bland and tough - didn't seem that it was roasted long and slow enough. I will check into The Grill - I don't see prime rib on the menu, but maybe it's a special? Also Dal Rae. Thanks again!

Sep 09, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Prime rib for birthday dinner

Hi! Thanks for your reply. I realize I wasn't clear in my original post. I'm looking for a place that's NOT Lawry's or the Tam O'Shanter.

Thanks!

Sep 09, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Prime rib for birthday dinner

Hi! My friend is set on having the best prime rib in LA for her birthday next week. We've been to Lawry's several times, which is fun overall as an experience, but this time we're looking for the actual best prime rib that can be had in LA. I've searched the boards, but Lawry's is what keeps coming up even though everyone agrees that the food isn't necessarily the best. Or the Tam O'Shanter for charming atmosphere, but pretty much the same food. Any tips for us? Thanks so much!

Sep 08, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Yummy east coast foods you can't get in LA area

Thanks for the reply! Your wedding sounds like it was awesome - love the mix of Chinese and Jewish traditions. :) A belated congratulations to you and your LTA!

Jul 27, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Yummy east coast foods you can't get in LA area

Hi there! This is off topic, but I have a friend who is thinking about Mission 261 for a small Chinese banquet. How was your experience there? Space? Food? Thanks for any help! :)

Jul 23, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Donut Man. I get it.

And the apple fritters. Such deep, dark, fried goodness...

May 02, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

Best Moscow Mule LA

SiLo vodka bar in downtown LA. Great vodka selection (I still think it matters) and copper mugs!

Apr 29, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area

best bagels in south bay

Love that place! Open 24 hours too. And they make a decent banh mi, which is a great surprise from a donut place. But they're Vietnamese, like you said, so they use legit ingredients. Not the best banh mi in the world, but available 24 hours, and you can get a donut for dessert! :)

Apr 19, 2013
heinous in Los Angeles Area