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Jwsel's Profile

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Anything interesting in San Fernando Valley?

West of Laurel Canyon is the fairly new Shanghai Rose for Chinese and dim sum daily. It's run by the people who had opened Green Village in Sherman Oaks, but sold it. Previously, they owned restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley.

We got take out dim sum last weekend and, to my surprise, everything was delicious. The seafood dim sums -- crispy shrimp roll, har gow, and steamed scallop roll -- were especially good, with large chunks of shrimp and scallop in every roll. It was the best dim sum I've had outside of the San Gabriel Valley. We also really liked the egg custard and spareribs with black bean sauce.

The downside is that it is far more expensive than going to the San Gabriel Valley or even A&W in Northridge. A lot of the items are in the $6 to $7 range. But if you're craving dim sum and don't want to trek out to Monterey Park, Alhambra or Rosemead, it is a pretty good alternative.

about 15 hours ago
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

n/naka

Thanks. I think we've worked it out. Brother who doesn't eat fish and vegetables is not going to attend. Everyone else is going to go with the dishes, though I probably will ask for no oysters to accommodate my mom's strong dislike for them (plus the other members of my family don't like them either). As much as I like oysters, that's a concession I can make.

Apr 13, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

n/naka

This thread makes me happy.

I haven't been to n/naka since shortly after it opened (mid-2011, I think), but have a reservation for my birthday next month and very excited.

My only concern has to do with my family members who include some very picky eaters. One brother hates fish and vegetables (He is going to have to suck it up). Another loves sushi and sashimi, but doesn't really like cooked fish. And my parents are hesitant about trying new things, avoiding things like uni and octopus. Conversely, I am extremely adventurous and will eat anything they serve.

When I made the reservation, I pointed out that the menu is kaiseki and heavily fish/shellfish oriented. Everyone assured me that is fine, but I also don't want anyone to complain or sulk if the menu isn't to their liking. (That happened at Providence one year.) At the same time, I don't want to miss the opportunity to go and think, if they just accept the menu, they actually will really enjoy it. I know the restaurant will call and ask about dietary restrictions before we go, but any suggestions on how to handle this case?

Apr 12, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Planning an eating trip, need some input (Japanese, Korean, fine dining, Taiwanese, regional Chinese, Vietnamese, coffee, raw oysters etc)

Is the kaya spread you're looking for: http://www.amazon.com/Srikaya-Coconut...

Apr 11, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area
1

Teriyaki Fries - used to be in the valley

You might consider seeing if Picka Rico in Van Nuys will make them. It is a Thai/Mexican place that does a curry nacho fries (so so) and terriyaki beef tacos (quite tasty), among more traditional Thai and Mexican dishes.

Apr 11, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Great place for lunch place in Burbank?

For adventurous, I prefer North Hollywood to Sherman Oaks and Studio City. North Hollywood has great Thai options -- Sri Siam (Vanowen/Coldwater) and Krua Thai (Sherman Way/Ethel) are my two personal favorites. Sri Siam has some top-notch Northern Thai dishes like crispy rice salad, o-lua, and crispy fish or softshell crab with Thai herbs. Krua Thai has the best pad thai in the city (get the pad thai krua thai, which is unlike most of what you see).

There is a fairly new place -- The Drunken Crab -- which is modeled after Boiling Crab and sells your items by the pound. I like the shrimp or the mussels with the cajun sauce (pay for the additional potato and sausage).

If you are in the area late, go to the Tacos La Fonda truck, which parks at Vanowen and Vineland. Tortillas hechos de manos and excellent meats.

During daytime hours, El Taco Llama on Sherman Way, near Lankershim, is one of the better taquerias. For the truly adventurous, go to Van Nuys. In the strip mall on the corner of Vanowen and Vesper is Birrieria Mexico, which has phenomenal birria (roast and stewed goat) and barbacoa (roast beef), served with tortillas hechos de manos, plus a salsa bar that includes a habanero salsa that will set your hair on fire.

In Studio City, Sattdown, a Jamaican restaurant, has phenomenal jerk chicken, great curry goat, and a nice oxtails dish.

Apr 01, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area
1

Lunch for 15+ near Wilshire and La Cienega

Genwa is better than Gyu-Kaku (and just across the street). It could run high depending on how much meat people order. On the other hand, the banchan is included in the price, so I find it a good value. You could probably work out a menu of meats, japchae, bimbimbap, etc. in advance.

Some of the banchan is spicy, but plenty are not. I've taken people there who cannot take any spice and they have loved it.

Of course, you also could go to The Stinking Rose -- for the best steak in the city. (No, that never gets old.)

Mar 17, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area
1

Need help recalling restaurant (1978 photo).

Deleted. Looks like it's just a stock exterior shot.

Mar 12, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

PIZZA DELIVERY CHARGES

Barone's doesn't deliver.

Mar 11, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

visiting LA from SF

None of those four places are accessible from Koreatown without a car or uber/taxi. Perhaps one of the places in Little Tokyo would be more convenient.

Mar 08, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Falafel in West Valley

The website for Cal Mediterranen Grill is http://falafeliciouscatering.com/Cali... and has a logo for "Falafelicious" at the top. Is that the same as the one you went to?

Mar 08, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Falafel in West Valley

Did Falafelicious take over Amer's/Cal Mediterranean Grill in Encino?
I drove by and saw a sign that indicated new management and said "falafelicious" but wasn't sure if that was a name change.

Mar 07, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Mariachi music

Every time I've been to Guelaguetza at Olympic and Normandie on a Sunday, they have had mariachi performers. But Oaxacan may not be the type of Mexican food you are looking for. (I also would verify with the restaurant that they have a band the day you go, since it is not on their calendar.)

Mar 07, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Dish of the Month, March 2015 -- SEAFOOD SANDWICHES

I was one day early, but had the Little Jewel po' boy yesterday. That was a great sandwich. The shrimp was fried perfectly -- not greasy and not overcooked. The batter had a slight spicy kick to it that helped avoid it being overpowered by the rest of the sandwich fillings. And it was filling. My friend and I thought we would split a shrimp po' boy and a roast beef po' boy. We ate the shrimp first and never unwrapped the roast beef.

Molecular/ Modern Cuisine in LA or Malibu

The single-best molecular gastronomy meal I've had in Los Angeles was at the former chef's table at AnQi in Costa Mesa. The chef at the time, Ryan Carson, is at The Munchery and has done a pop-up restaurant, Prive. You might want to contact him via Facebook to see if he could cater an event.

Feb 28, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Dish of the Month, February 2015 -- BURGERS

Sorry, no pictures, but I had a great burger yesterday from Eat That Burger in North Hollywood (ordered via delivery). I got a Double Bacon Cheeseburger with grilled onions and guacamole. The meat was cooked a perfect medium rare and had good flavor. It wasn't a very thick patty, but not super-thin either. The combo with fries and a coke, plus $0.50 for the onions and $1.25 for the guacamole, came to $9.74. The burger alone would have been $4.99 and the combo, without extras, would have been $6.99.

This will definitely be a regular place I stop or order from.

Feb 26, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Best place for fun graduation dinner near ucla

You're responding to a three-year old post. They probably celebrated the graduation already.

Feb 25, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Where to eat INSIDE LAX

That isn't completely true. A few terminals are linked via tunnel -- not a pleasant walk -- but you can sometimes go to a terminal with better food options. I believe terminal 6, which is horrid, can access terminal 5, which has Lemonade, Loteria, and some other superior options.

Feb 16, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Pepper Mexican Grill - Valley Glen

In a nearly empty strip mall across Fulton from Valley College is a tiny hole in the wall taqueria called Pepper Mexican Grill. Having recently moved into the area, I decided to give it a shot a few weeks ago and was very impressed. Subsequent visits have confirmed that this is a neighborhood gem.

The menu is very limited, but it has recently changed to provide expanded offerings. Tacos, burritos, tostadas, and nachos, plus some breakfast items are it. I have only tried the cochinita pibil and carne asada tacos and tostadas, and the diablo -- a bacon-wrapped, cream-cheese filled jalapeno taco (there's a photo below of the woman wrapping the jalapenos in bacon). The cochinita, especially, is a winner. It is intensely flavorful, though today's was a little on the dry side. The diablo has a nice kick, but the bacon and cream cheese give it nice balance. Tacos are $1.80 and tostadas -- with plenty of meat -- are $3.00

My sole gripe is that they are skimpy with their delicious salsas. They put salsa on the tacos and you can get extra in small cups, but there is not nearly as much as I would like. The smokey roja and tangy verde salsas are both thick, so I would love to tuck into a big bowl of them with a platter of chips.

The staff is great and I hope the restaurant does well. I worry that the location is overlooked. There is a Mongolian BBQ and a Subway in the same lot and the storefronts next to Pepper promise that some type of food court is coming. But it has largely been empty every time I've gone. Hopefully, 'hounds will give it a try.

Feb 16, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Visiting Burbank/NOHO area

It is early, but if you have a little time, I would recommend you go to northern North Hollywood (not the arts district) and try some of our excellent Thai restaurants. There will be good options for your vegetarian daughter. You also could pick up some Armenian pizza (lamajeune) and pastries at one of the Armenian bakeries in the area.

For Mexican, on Sherman Way, Salsa and Beer is probably the best sit-down place at the moment (and undoubtedly will still be there this summer). (There are numerous hole-in-the-wall taquerias in the area, too, and we can recommend some when you are in the area.)

Post again in a few months and I'm sure you'll get a lot of responses.

Feb 14, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area
1

Korean BBQ or any fun rec for bday gathering for small group

I've always had terrible food from Streets of India (delivery, not in the restaurant). Of the Encino/Sherman Oaks Indian, I prefer Anarbagh, Taste of India, and Taj Mahal, but none of them are particularly great.

Feb 14, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Korean BBQ or any fun rec for bday gathering for small group

x2 on Apey Kade. Get the deviled chicken -- one of the spiciest dishes in LA, but with phenomenal flavor. Haven't tried Ay Papa Que Rico, but I recently moved closer to it, so plan to go.

Other "ethnic" holes in the walls I recommend -- the two pho places on Sepulveda and Victory (across the street from one another, but I prefer the one on the west side); La Baguette on Reseda for banh mi; Puro Sabor and Takatis on Van Nuys for Peruvian (Puro Sabor for ceviches; Takatis for the Sanguchon); Sweet One Bakery & Kebab House for incredible marinated chicken and kebabs (you can buy the meat raw or get it cooked), plus lamajeune; Thai 'n I in Encino for bbq chicken and ribs (the mee krob also is a guilty pleasure); Pepper Mexican Grill (a new place by Valley College with a very limited menu) Albertos (love the rolled tacos), and El Taco Llama (several locations, but the Sherman Way in North Hollywood one is my favorite), but there are numerous taquerias in the Valley; El Criollo for Cuban; Amer's Mediterranean Grill in Encino for Middle Eastern.

A few places that I don't really consider holes in the wall, but aren't exactly formal dining include Sattdown Jamaican Grill in Studio City; Sri Siam and Krua Thai in North Hollywood; Salsa and Beer in North Hollywood and Reseda for Mexican; Portos for Cuban sandwiches and baked goods; Carnival for Lebanese; Shiraz for Persian; Falafal Bar in Tarzana for Middle Eastern.

For Japanese, Gyoro Gyoro in Encino is very underrated for izakaya. Sushi runs the gamut from cheap, non-traditional at Cho Cho San (Encino and Tarzana) to moderate places like Sushiban Ichiban Kan in Woodland Hills and Okumura in Encino to expensive places like Sushi Ike in Tarzana and Go's Mart in Canoga Park.

Hope that provides a starting point for Valley holes in the wall.

Feb 12, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Chi SPACCA - Tomahawk Pork Chop

I know it sounds odd, but there could be a liability concern. If a customer gets injured performing a task normally performed by trained waitstaff, they could argue the restaurant was negligent for letting the customer do the task. Yes, it seems silly since you are a butcher and using your own knife, but I also could see the restaurant being concerned that others, less skilled than you, might want to carve their own meat.

You might email the restaurant, explain your preferences, and ask why they said you cannot do so again. You might be able to work out an understanding. (For example, if the concern is liability, could you sign a waiver of any claim that might arise if you hurt yourself while carving your own meat.)

Feb 11, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Korean BBQ or any fun rec for bday gathering for small group

Huh??? I just don't get the claim that the valley is like death valley when it comes to ethnic food.

The valley has an some of the area's best Japanese, Thai, Mexican, Armenian, Persian, Lebanese, Jamaican, Peruvian, Vietnamese, Cuban, and Sri Lankan places, to name a few types of ethnic foods. I would qualify that by saying many of those places are holes in the wall and not upscale, but to say there is a dearth of "ethnic" food is mind-boggling. Obviously, there are some types of food that are lacking -- I haven't found any great Chinese or Korean -- but you could say that about most parts of the city outside of Koreatown for Korean and the San Gabriel Valley for Chinese.

Feb 09, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

now that it's back, where are the best foie gras dishes?

I had that the other night. Phenomenal.

Feb 01, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Where to buy Buffalo Wings for Super Bowl party?

If you are in Burbank, Ribs USA on Olive used to have very good buffalo wings. I have not been there in a few so I don't know if they are still good. The rest of the food there is awful.

Jan 29, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

"The top 13 places for fried chicken in LA, as chosen by 8 LA food writers" - Yes, it is a list, don't click on it if you don't want to!

Just read this thread and looked at the link. Not a single person on the list cast a vote for Mom's BBQ House in Van Nuys? Seriously? That is just ridiculous.

Jan 27, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Where to buy Buffalo Wings for Super Bowl party?

You didn't mention where you are, but here are a few thoughts.

Ye Rustic Inn in Los Feliz has the best buffalo wings in the city. I believe 18 pieces are $14 or $16, so they will be more expensive.

I find Hoagies and Wings better than any of the three you listed in the original post, but their wings tend to be very small.

If you don't need "buffalo" wings, I would recommend a completely unknown place. MB Chinese Food in Sherman Oaks is nominally a Chinese restaurant, but they have some fantastic wings. They are bigger than nearly every place I have found. The problem is that their buffalo sauce is not terribly good. Instead, I get their General Tso's wings, which are not cripsy, but have a delectable sauce with a little spice, and their Salt and Pepper wings, which are fried crispy and served with some jalapeno and garlic. (They have about a dozen other sauces too.) 50 pieces are $34.99.

Jan 27, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Dish of the Month, Los Angeles -- February 2015 -- Nominations

Joining the Foie love. It would be nice to get out and taste what restaurants are doing now, particularly the new ones that haven't had Foie on the menu before.

Jan 23, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Best Modernised Sushi in LA

At Ichiban Kan, my personal favorites are the BSC (baked scallop over California, which I am told Hiro, the itamae, created in the late-80s/early 90s), the Volcano (no rice, but cooked crab, whitefish, shrimp, tamago, avocado and asparagus cooked in a large round with eel sauce on top), yellowtail special (cucumber, avocado inside, with yellowtail outside and spicy mayo), baked mussels (mussels, avocado, and mayo cooked in the shell). The spicy tuna is quite good as are the regular nigiri.

At Matsuhisa, the crap with creamy spicy sauce (a baked dish), tiradito (Peruvian sashimi), and yellowtail with jalapeno sashimi are all great.

Can't speak to Katsu or Roku, because I don't go enough.

Jan 04, 2015
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area