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Who makes good BBQ Baked Beans?

You should have your husband try the black beans at Rivera. If Love's is the measure of beans for him, I really would like to know if he has the same reaction I had. They are nothing alike in terms of texture and color, but the flavor is the closest thing I've found to Love's.

about 10 hours ago
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Epicure imports sale September 12 & 13

Today was not a good visit. They say on the website that Friday at 2 pm is the best time. I got there at around 1:20, bypassed the full parking lot, did some shopping, and then got in line to pay at 2:10. The line was wrapped around the entire store. At 3:15, after I had dumped some items and moved to the shorter all-cash line in the hope of going faster, I was still quite a distance from the registers. Because I had to be at a 4 pm appointment that I couldn't postpone, I asked an employee how much longer it would be. She was fantastic and rang me up my charges in the back office so I wouldn't have to leave empty handed. Some of the delay evidently had to do with issues with problems with the credit card readers, but I would not be surprised if, from my original place in line, checking out would have taken two hours.

As for the products, I'm not sure how great the deals are anymore. I did get some French butter and some specialty items that I don't see often, but the cheese selection is usually disappointing and most of the charcuterie can be found at gourmet shops. They also replaced their caviar supplier and I was not impressed with the sample I tried. It was fairly tasteless and mushy.

I'll chalk it up to a bad day, but probably will wait to see if people have better experiences before I go back.

Nov 21, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

the fufu that got away

Have you tried Mofongo's in North Hollywood? My understanding is that mofongo is basically the Puerto Rican name for fufu. They make their mofongo's with chicharron and have different varieties, including shredded pork, roast pork shoulder, and fried pork.

http://www.mofongosrestaurant.com/men...

Nov 13, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area
1

Green Village Reopens--In Sherman Oaks

It is the same owners. I doubt the menu is entirely the same. There are some Shanghai specials, but a lot of the menu is geared toward SFV tastes.

Nov 13, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Who makes good BBQ Baked Beans?

This is going to sound very strange, but last night I had dinner at Rivera. A friend insisted on ordering the frilojes negros. When they came out, there were more like mashed black beans, but the flavors immediately made me flash back to Love's baked beans. They had the strong sweetness, but with the undercurrent of some type of meat being cooked in them. We loved them so much that we got a second serving.

Nov 09, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Last minute dinner downtown tonight?

I have to disagree about Rivera. We went last night before a concert and there also were a fair number of people there for the Kings game. We got there at 5:30 and had a deadline to leave of 7:00 p.m. The servers took note of that and we had no issues.

The food was far better than I expected. There were a few dishes that we did not like -- a cauliflower guacamole (why?) and a flan de elote (bland) -- but most of the dishes were excellent. The scallop in potato with a spicy verde sauce, acorn squash tamal, uni, and frijoles negros were particular standouts.

Nov 09, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Last minute dinner downtown tonight?

That makes me nervous. We're going to Rivera tomorrow before a concert.

Nov 07, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Bow and Truss – Wanted to love it, but ended up liking it. (North Hollywood)

I have heard some reports that Aaron Grissom is not at Bow & Truss. The "about" page on its website no longer mentions him and I heard that either his Facebook or Twitter has listed him as a "freelance" or something along those lines when the Top Chef season started.

Nov 07, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Smallest entree ever!

Kevin, it really turns on how you define a tasting menu. A four-course meal at Melisse consists of:

Course one -- various assorted dishes akin to appetizers
Course two -- usually pasta or fish
Course three -- some type of meat or poultry
[Optional cheese course for $15 -- one of the best cheese carts in the city]
Dessert course

For each of these menus, the customer has a choice of several items. There also is a vegetarian "tasting menu" that, for $135, is the same three courses, plus cheese, plus dessert.

Without supplements (and there are a lot of supplement possibilities), those menus are $135.

They are different than the 10-course "Ten" menu (a list of 10 items you can see in advance) or the 12- to 14-course carte blanche menu, which is the chef's choice.

So in Melisse's parlance, all of its menus are tasting menus. There just are a lot of variations in terms of how many courses and how many choices the customer has.

Nov 03, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Smallest entree ever!

I've never had an issue with portion size at Melisse on any of my multiple visits -- and have always left stuffed after the three- or four-course meal. I would be shocked if it were really that small.

Bear in mind, though, that the menus at Melisse are not truly appetizer/entree. They are first, second, and third courses of a multi-course meal. So it isn't fair to assume that the third course is an "entree" and should be the size of a typical entree at restaurants that follow an appetizer/entree/dessert model. The dishes on the three- and four-course menu usually are a little larger than those on the carte blanche and Ten menu, but they aren't that much bigger (in fact, customers can usually swap from the Ten menu with the three- and four-course menu).

I suggest that you send an email to the restaurant. And in the future, if the lamb is not to your liking or too fatty, ask that it be replaced.

Nov 02, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

2014 Sammy Awards - Who's In?

The Sanguchon at Takatis in Van Nuys. Rotisserie chicken, tomato, lettuce, scrambled egg, fried yams, cheese, and wonderful aji amarillo.

A picture:

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7080/71...

Oct 29, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Looking for an authentic, memorably kick-ass, bowl of Hot and Sour Soup somewhere in the Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks/Studio City area. Any strong suggestions? Thanks.

I was wondering about that. I got delivery the other day and the soup was not nearly as good -- less spice and not as sour. The person taking my order seemed different.

It would be a shame to lose the one decent Chinese delivery place in the area. It took forever to find a decent hot and sour soup.

Oct 19, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Great Dessert at the Grove Los Angeles

Morton's is a chain, but they do have a very good chocolate souffle. It's on La Cienega, only a mule or so from the Grove. That's probably the best souffle in close vicinity to the Grove.

Oct 18, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Hottest of the Hot? Spiciest of the Spicest? Recs please!

Bumping this thread to mention the orange habanero salsa from Birrieria Mexico in Van Nuys. I love spice and the flavor of the salsa is great, but after just a little on a bit of birria and tortilla, my mouth was burning and I was sweating.

Oct 18, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area
1

Splitting from Best LA Trout thread

I believe trout is commonly used in the whole fish with Thai herbs dish at Sri Siam. The fish can change, but I recall it being trout most of the times I've had it.

Oct 17, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area
1

Birria - a perfect rainy day meal

Birrieria Mexico on Vanowen in Van Nuys, a few blocks west of Van Nuys Blvd. has excellent birria and barbacoa. The handmade tortillas are just like the ones described by the OP and the habanero salsa (one of several salsa options) is phenomenal. I may have to get some this weekend.

Oct 17, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Today is my lucky day, Ike's Place Westwood soft opens with free sandwiches!

My understanding is that biggest problem with Westwood is that there are certain landlords who own large amounts of properties and have been unwilling to make the necessary changes to improve the area. The biggest change has to be to improve the parking situation. Right now, parking is either non-existent or too expensive. It's not unlike what Beverly Hills experienced before the city put in the public lots that gave people two hours free. There have been efforts to convince landlords to improve the parking situation, but they have resisted. Until that happens, going to Westwood restaurants is more expensive and more of a hassle than going to restaurants in surrounding areas.

Sep 23, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

I need The Hottest Hot Wings in LA!

A place that I have never seen mentioned for wings is MB Chinese in Sherman Oaks. It is a strip-mall hole in the wall with so-so Chinese food and a large variety of wings. I don't actually recommend their buffalo wings, but love their salt and pepper wings -- crispy, fried wings with garlic, salt, and jalapeno -- and their General Tso's wings -- with a sweet and lightly spicy sauce. There are at least 10 different flavors to try.

What really stands out is the size of their wings. They are big and meaty, unlike the ones at most places in town, and well cooked. The only other place that consistently has wings of similar size is Ye Rustic Inn.

Sep 23, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Ipsedixit Was Right--Visit To New Port Seafood Beverly Hills

Not having delivery with their location is a big mistake. They could probably do a booming lunch business delivering to offices in Beverly Hills proper and Cedars Sinai.

I think one of the big problems for Westside Chinese restaurants is that many people who live there don't think of Chinese as food that you eat at a restaurant. With so many mediocre, but convenient Chinese places that deliver, it may take some time before people begin to look at places like Newport as dining destinations.

Sep 20, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Garlo's -- Aussie Pies in Westwood

I didn't see a thread about Garlo's, despite searching, so my apologies if there is one already. I went yesterday for the first time and have to give a big thumbs up.

I got there for a very late lunch/early dinner and ordered the all-day special -- pie with chips. mashed potatoes, gravy, and mushy peas, or salad, and a drink for $4.95. I had the curry beef pie and it was perfectly cooked -- crispy, flaky crust and piping hot (almost too hot) on the inside. The flavors of the curry beef are fantastic, reminding me a lot of the best curry hand pies I loved in England. I asked for chips, but they were out, so I got the potatoes and peas. They were good, but the texture of the peas was a little odd to me. They were a bit denser than I've seen in the past and seemed like they may have been mixed with potato. Still good though.

I also got some pies to go -- another curry beef, a sausage roll, and some sliders, which are mini pies (one beef and one chicken). Since I was going to be reheating them later, they gave me cold ones with instructions on heating them. It turns out that the instructions of 30 minutes at 350 degrees was right for the bigger pie, but in less than 10 minutes in a toaster oven, the top of the sausage roll and beef slider were burnt. We removed the burnt parts and they were just fine. The chicken slider was more of an American-style chicken pot pie, with peas and carrots, and was absolutely fantastic. I'll definitely be getting them in the future when I have a craving for a good chicken pot pie.

The ala carte prices are great $4.95/$5.95 for the pies and $2.50 for the sliders. Parking in the structure behind the restaurant is validated for one hour.

Good takeout/fast food Koreatown/Mid-Wilshire

We wound up getting take out from Guelaguetza, so I'm not sure that was much better. I completely over-ordered -- a tamal con mole, taquitos and molotes. The pictures of the taquitos and molotes made them seem much smaller than they actually were. Everything was good and the restaurant was great about providing what we needed to eat on the Music Center patio. I asked for utensils for two and extra napkins, but got about six sets of utensils and an inch-high stack of napkins.

Sep 19, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area
1

It's late and I'm Hungry!

You could jump on the 134 west into the 170 north. Exit on Sherman Way and head a few blocks west to Krua Thai. Open until 3:30 a.m. daily.

Sep 19, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Good takeout/fast food Koreatown/Mid-Wilshire

I need to pick up something quick on the way from Century City to Downtown before I meet my mother at the opera tomorrow night (between 5 and 6). Most likely, we will be eating on the plaza at the Music Center, so I need something that is not very messy and will come with necessary utensils (if required).

Ideally, I would like to find a place near Olympic, since that is usually how I get to downtown. I also would like a place that has fairly easy parking and will not be a long wait.

Sep 16, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Noodles or Mongolian BBQ?

Are you sure about Mogo's? If you look at the photos on their Yelp page, there are pictures of dishes that have noodles in them.

Sep 11, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Cornesh Pasty in LA?

Robin Hood is open and has them on its menu. I've always had fish and chips there so I can't comment on their Pasty. Their sausage roll is pretty good though.

Sep 03, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

More Authentic Chinese Food in Champaign IL Than The Entire San Fernando Valley?

I find it weird that any list of supposedly "authentic" Chinese restaurants would include 88 Chinese & Sushi, which is not just Americanized Chinese, but bad Americanized Chinese with sushi.

Green Village suffers in my opinion for trying to cater to valley denizens who don't know regional Chinese dishes, including Shanghai specialties. So its menu is full of Americanized dishes that it doesn't do very well, while it has a number of phenomenal authentic dishes -- House Special Beef, Shanghai Green Bean Noodle, Fish Filet in Wine Sauce, Shanghai Pan Fried Noodle. I wish the owners would push the Shanghai dishes they do well and expand the menu to include things you can't get at every other Chinese restaurant on Ventura Blvd., but I understand the fear that customers won't respond.

Sep 02, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Ranch 99

I've only bought their very thin, pre-sliced ribeye and chuck for doing Korean BBQ at home. For that, the quality is fine.

I also used to buy organ meats -- chicken hearts and livers -- for my dog when she was dying and could not eat regular pet food. The price could not be beat.

Aug 30, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Brunch delivery

LA Bite begins delivering at noon on Sunday, so that might be later than you want. However, they have a fairly extensive list of restaurants to choose from, with a variety of different type of brunch items. You could advance order as well.

Aug 28, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Retail Natto in the Valley

Call Ranch 99 on Sepulveda/Victory.

Aug 23, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area
1

Kitchen Nightmare Over- Not so successful

I seem to recall some posts online after the show aired reporting that the owners said they were recruited by the show, but I can't recall where I read those.

To be honest, I'm not sure they needed to be on the show. I think they figured they would get a makeover and a new Ramsey-inspired menu that would provide some buzz, and the downside would be that Ramsey would pooh pooh their non-French menu (it had burgers, I mean "chopped steaks" on it) and they would play up some family drama for the cameras. It does seem to have worked out for La Frites, as it is one of the KN "success" stories since it is still in business when most of the restaurants on the show have long since closed.

Jul 22, 2014
Jwsel in Food Media & News