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My son wants steak for his graduation dinner

Am I the only one who loves the steaks at Larsen's in Encino? The bone-in ribeye is consistently as good as the best steaks I've had at Mastro's and Cut. They use a combination of dry and wet aging. I don't know if it's special enough for a graduation dinner with no spending limit, but it is an excellent steak.

Mar 16, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Wanted: El Yucateco - Salsa Picante de Chile Haberno

Amazon carries all of the different habanero sauces -- red, green and XXX -- and sells a four-pack that includes the chipotle. If you have Amazon Prime, there is no shipping cost.

Mar 06, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Josiah Citrin Opening Casual Venice Restaurant

Citrin has done casual before. He opened a more casual place that didn't do well. I think it was named Cache. (Also, I believe Citrin is connected with Lemon Moon, though it is a much more limited concept.) I wish him well. I just hope it doesn't take him away from Melisse too much; it's one of the gems of LA's restaurant scene.

Mar 06, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Any Mexican restaurants that serve Goat? (Glendale/Burbank)

In addition to the birrierias, I believe most of the taquerias in the Vallarta markets have goat birria (some birrias are made with lamb or mutton). The Yelp page for the Vallarta location in Burbank contains a few mentions of Birria, so you might want to try it.

Mar 06, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Moving to the Valley, what's good?- Sherman Oaks/Van Nuys

I posted in the original thread, but figure I'll just post new.

Sri Siam at Vanowen and Coldwater also has phenomenal Thai. There are great threads on it, but the northern Thai specialties like the crispy rice salad and the fish with Thai herbs are not to be missed. Also, Krua Thai on Sherman Way in North Hollywood has no shortage of posts. It is still the go-to place for pad thai. The ribs and chicken at Thai 'n' I in Encino are still fantastic.

For BBQ, Smoke City BBQ on Van Nuys, just south of Chandler, has great brisket. I'm meh on most of their other stuff. For fried chicken, southern desserts, and, depending on if you like it slightly sweet, mac 'n' cheese, Mom's BBQ at Hazeltine and Vanowen is excellent.

There are a lot of good taquerias in the area. There are several El Taco Llamas, including one on Van Nuys Blvd.; Alberto's on Vanowen, just west of Van Nuys, has great rolled tacos and burritos (and is under new management, so they actually smile at you when you order); and Rigo's at Oxnard and Woodman has my favorite spicy salsa roja and pastor on a spit on weekends. The carniceria at the Vallarta markets -- there are several near you -- are great for takeout and I prefer their rotisserie chicken to the local markets and Costco. The tres leches cake at Vallarta is fantastic.

For Vietnamese, I'm a fan of Pho 999 on Sepulveda at Victory (on the west side). Good, inexpensive pho and vermicelli.

For Chinese, the Sam Woo BBQ across the street has a good takeout BBQ area and the dishes are about as good as you can get this side of the San Gabriel Valley. Green Village in Encino, just west of the 405 has some Shanghai specialties -- stick to the specials like the French Beef and the soy noodles, not the Americanized favorites (they don't do those as well). For Americanized Chinese, I recommend Bamboo Forest at the corner of Kester and Van Nuys. Great hot and sour soup, volcano/aromatic chicken, mu shu, and egg foo yung.

MB Chinese at Woodman/Ventura (in the center with Jinky's) makes my list, but not really for its Chinese food. It has the best chicken wings in the area -- but skip the buffalo wings. They have something like 20 different flavors. My favorites are the General Tso's and the Salt and Pepper (a fried, crispy spicy wing). I still haven't tried most of the flavors though. MB also is one of the few places that have xiao long bao in the valley (they are decent) and do a nice green onion pancake.

Someone mentioned the Armenian market/BBQ place. It's called Sweet One Bakery and Kebab Factory or sometimes The Kebab Factory. It's a hidden gem for buying inexpensive produce and meat at the butcher. They will also cook the meat. I was in there yesterday and, for under $13, bought 3/4 lb of marinated, boneless chicken breasts; 1/2 lb of seasoned ground bison for kebab/patties; two potatoes, two onions, a broccoli crown, 3 lbs of carrots, and a stalk of cilantro. The lamajeune -- like a very thin Armenian pizza -- that they sell at the bakery also is very good.

A new breakfast and lunch place is BluJam at Ventura and Noble. It's always busy, but the food is quite good. It can definitely be a go-to brunch spot.

Cafe Bizou is rather staid, but it is a reliable go-to place for dinner with visitors.

Three Italian recommendations. For a good, casual neighborhood place, both Spumoni on Ventura, just west of Van Nuys, and Gio Cucina, also on Ventura, but west of the 405 in Encino, are good. Gio is a little more gourmet, but also a little more expensive. Both are good. I also recently had a great dinner at Oliva on Van Nuys, just north of Ventura, on Valentine's Day. The food was quite good and a friend of mine goes there regularly and sings its praises.

Japanese has no shortage in the area, though the better sushi is west in Encino (Katsu-Ya), Tarzana (Sushi Iki), Woodland Hills (Sushi Ichiban Kan and Sushi Spot), and Canoga Park (Go's Mart), and east in Studio City (Kiwami, Katsu-Ya, and Sugarfish). For ramen, Yamadaya at Ventura and Noble is probably the best locally.

I have to make a special mention of a place that has not been mentioned here, but Gyoro Gyoro in Encino (in the Bed Bath & Beyond center) is a great izakaya. There is a huge variety of small plates and they do a lot of different foods well.

I definitely second the rec for Puro Sabor. Another Peruvian place that is worth trying is Takatis on Van Nuys (I believe it is just north of city hall). The chicken is just okay, but the specialty is the Sanguchon, a sandwich made with shredded chicken, fried yams, and a fried egg, topped with their special sauce. Jonathan Gold raved about it -- and he was right. The only problem is that, while the sandwich may be the cheapest item on their menu, it sometimes takes 20-30 minutes to make, so your wait can be interminable.

Mendocino Farms just opened a branch at Hazeltine and Ventura. Parking sucks around there, so I haven't been in, but I like the other Mendocino Farms.

Also, food trucks sometimes park in front of Guitar Center on Ventura, just west of Hazeltine, and on Tuesday nights, there usually are a few that park in the lot in front of Pep Boys/Costco on Sepulveda.

For burgers, you might try Outlaw Cafe on Van Nuys north of Oxnard. I was meh on the burger, but it does get great reviews -- and is big. The steak fries are basically fried quartered potatoes. I hear great things about the burgers at the Blue Dog Tavern, which is o Saugus, just east of Sepulveda and south of Ventura. For fast food burgers, you have In 'n Out at Van Nuys and Moorpark and Fatburger at Ventura and Beverly Glen. There are Umami, Counter and Five Guys in Studio City.

For pizza, I tend to go with Mulberry on Ventura, west of Sepulveda. I've never tried Lido's at Sepulveda and Victory, though I have heard good things about it -- it's takeout only, no delivery. Joe's in the Fashion Square mall is also pretty good, but expensive.

Mar 02, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Fried Chicken at Mom's Bar-B-Q House (Van Nuys)

I just saw this thread and, ironically, got takeout from Mom's for the first time in a few years. The fried chicken was fantastic -- with a nice crust with good flavor, but extremely moist inside.

I was less impressed with the pork ribs and the hot links. The ribs just didn't have much flavor and the links were not spicy enough for me (Roger's in Northridge has great links). The greens were great -- and I normally don't love greens -- and I enjoyed the baked beans and mac and cheese. The mac and cheese has a little sweetness so I can understand why not everyone will like it, but I thought it was pretty good.

Feb 14, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

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

I miss Swensen's. There was one in Encino that was a traditional ice cream shop. Then they opened in the Galleria. Now I want some Sticky Chewy Chocolate.

Mon Grenier. The best bouillabaise in the city.

China Inn in Encino. It closed in the 80s and I have not found comparable kung pao chicken.

Pinot Bistro in Studio City.

Red Onion (the original)

Hamptons on Highland. The burgers, with all their odd combinations of toppings were good, but they also had great potato salad and incredible desserts (the "Chocolate Mort" -- as in death -- was aptly named).

I'll also echo those who miss Love's (mostly for the baked beans) and Wiener Factory.

Feb 07, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Chowhound or Cuisinepoodle?

I don't get this. Generally, high end restaurants are considered the "best" restaurants from an overall standpoint when you include factors like service, environment, and food quality. So when someone asks for the "best" restaurant, the answers will include a lot of high end restaurants.

When someone asks for one day, which means limited meals, it's not surprising that a lot of people will mention higher-end restaurants.

But if you read threads asking for several meals or a foodie itinerary, the responses invariably include more economical choices. That is reflective of the variety of chow options in LA.

On a personal level, Chowhound has introduced me to a lot of hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Just off the top of my head (and being a SFV denizen), I would list Fab Hot Dogs, Tampa Garden, Sri Siam, Krua Thai, Smoke City BBQ, the pho places on Sepulveda at Victory, and a half-dozen taquerias as places I first read about here that have become part of my current local circle of places I eat. My newest discovery is Apey Kade, a Sri Lankan restaurant in Woodland Hills, which has about two tables and is located in a strip mall. There is nothing at all elitist about it.

Jan 29, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Armenian Meat Market throwdown: Karabagh vs Golden Farms vs Super King

I agree about the one in Valley Glen. I am never 100% sure about the name. It is often listed as Sweet One Bakery & Kabab Factory.

The marinated, boneless chicken breast and thighs are fantastic for $4.99/lb and $4.59/lb respectively. The lamb is good and I have enjoyed some of their rib eyes I've bought (usually on sale for $4.99-$5.99/lb). It's not the highest-quality beef, but I can usually find a well-marbled steak.

Jan 25, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Where to find these and other (obscure/Northern/Isaan) Thai dishes in LA?

Sri Siam in North Hollywood has a lot of Northern Thai items. The nam prik num is incredible. I've also had the khao soi and nam prik ong, which are good, but not really to my taste. The salad you describe sounds similar to their crispy rice salad, but that has sour pork (or for a kosher version, they do it with chicken). I suspect you could get the others; they have a lengthy menu on the wall that is completely in Thai and not translated. Nam prik num, for instance, is only listed on that menu, not the regular one.


Jan 06, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Return to Tampa Garden

I recently returned to Tampa Garden too. I just wanted a few dumplings to go but was told it would be 30 minutes, so I bought two bags of frozen dumplings -- soup dumplings and lamb/zucchini. The owner gave me details on how to prepare them and was nice enough to give me a head of napa cabbage so we could steam them the same way as at the restaurant.

The dumplings turned out perfect, though we didn't love the lamb/zucchini and would probably get a different type next time.

Jan 04, 2014
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

creamed spinach

If you ever want a low-calorie creamed spinach recipe, consider this one: http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/463651/...

It's a very good recipe that relies on light cream cheese instead of heavy cream. I make it for Thanksgiving and people don't even know it's low-calorie. I also rarely add the butter or the full amount of cream cheese it calls for, though I add salt and pepper to taste.

The recipe sometimes disappears from the web, so I'll repeat it here:

1 head Roasted garlic
1 teaspoon Olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion
10 ounces Frozen spinach
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
14 ounces Chicken broth
3 tablespoons light Cream cheese
1 teaspoon Butter
1/2 Lemon; juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon

Creamed Spinach Preparation

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil and lightly spray the garlic with olive oil cooking spray once. Wrap aluminum foil around the garlic to form a tight package. Roast for 45 minutes. Once garlic is cool enough to handle, remove from aluminum foil and set aside.

In a nonstick 10-inch saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add spinach and nutmeg and saute for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and bring to simmer; simmer for 1 minute. Pour mixture into a food processor, and then squeeze the garlic cloves from the head of roasted garlic, discarding the skin. Add all remaining ingredients. Pulse until creamy. Serve warm.

Dec 15, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

creamed spinach

I get the creamed spinach occasionally from the Gelson's deli case in Sherman Oaks (on Van Nuys) and Encino and it's pretty good. (I'm sure the one in Studio City has it also.) You can taste it before buying to see if you like it.

Dec 11, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Nespresso on Beverly in Beverly Hills ?????

I received a Nespresso machine several years ago as a gift and love it. I live alone, don't drink a lot of coffee, and prefer espresso roasts, so it's perfect for me. I only order a couple of types of pods that tend toward the stronger, darker roasts. One pod makes a rather creamy drink (but without milk or cream) so it is convenient when I don't have any milk. I also find the dark roasts are great to mix with ice and vanilla protein powder to make protein shakes for breakfast.

I can't really see myself going to a Nespresso restaurant/coffee house. But I understand that they are quite popular in Europe.

Dec 11, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

ISO Nokia Center meal for party of 12-24

Before one day of the figure skating world championships at Staples a few years ago, I organized a lunch at Guelaguetza on Olympic for a group of people from all over the world. It's only two miles west of Nokia, the prices are reasonable, and there is a lot of variety. It wasn't a private room, but the restaurant easily pulled a few tables together to accommodate a group of about 20. It worked perfectly for a group.

Dec 08, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Late night options in the San Fernando Valley

The only threads on the subject I found are fairly old, so I was hoping to come up with an updated list of places that serve late in the valley (past 10 pm on weekends).

Dec 07, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Near Music Center early Sunday evening??

After a series of horrible meals at Kendall's, I was dragged there for lunch after court a few times this past year by a client and then went for dinner when the plaza got to cold one night. I was pleasantly surprised. It's not great, but it is serviceable and is convenient.

You also might consider going to Noe at the Omni. It's a short walk from Disney Hall down Grand. You can enter the hotel from Grand.

Dec 03, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Is Babita really worth it?

I find this a bizarre post. Sure you can get great cochinita pibil at another place, but Babita is a much higher-class dining experience than Chichen Itza. For the $13 difference, you are getting tablecloths, quality service, and a much more varied and upscale menu. You're not ordering at a counter and drinking out of plastic cups.

Do you complain about going to Mozza because you can get a good plate -- possibly even a mind-blowing plate -- of pasta for a lot less somewhere else? Of course not.

Nov 10, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Lunch Near Van Nuys Courthouse

The best choice is definitely Puro Sabor. It completely fits the bill and the food is fantastic. I always get ceviche. That and the bread with the hot sauce i more than enough to fill me up, though the loma saltado is good and I had a special pumpkin dish once that was great. (I recommended Bamboo Forest last year, so hopefully that counts for something.)

Smoke City has great brisket, probably the best in town, and massive beef ribs that can induce sticker shock (they charge by weight). I find the pork ribs very disappointing and the sides are underwhelming. You order at a counter and then sit at communal tables. I suspect it's not what you're looking for.

The two pho places are good, certainly better than most westside and valley pho places. I prefer the one on the east side of Sepulveda (sorry, I can't remember which is which). Sam Woo is very unusual for San Fernando Valley Chinese restaurant. It's much more of a type of place you would find in San Gabriel, with ducks hanging in the window and a menu that is not geared toward Americanized tastes. I took some friends there few weeks ago and they were pretty intimidated at being the only non-Chinese in the restaurant, but the food was great. It's cash only.

I've been unimpressed with El Criollo. I din't find it much better than Versailles the two times I tried it.

Of the other recommendations from ebethsdad, Don Adrian's and Lola's are counter order and probably not nice enough for what you want. (Don Adrian's is really low on ambience.) In a similar vein is Takatis, a Peruvian chicken place on Van Nuys, but the really spectacular dish is the sanguchon, a sandwich made with rotisserie chicken, fried yams, egg, and a spicy sauce.

Nov 06, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Where can I find Canfield's Diet Chocolate Soda in the Valley?

You can order it online via Amazon or Beverages Direct.

Nov 03, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Where can I get Egg foo Young?

I have to say that even better is the bbq pork egg foo young at Bamboo Forest at Kester and Burbank. Plus they have some of the best hot and sour soup in the valley.

Oct 30, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Besides Ye Olde Kings Head...

I think it was pretty much cleared up that the King's Head had not closed and the person who claimed it had was mistaken when this thread was first posted. . . .

IN 2005.

Oct 21, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Besides Ye Olde Kings Head...

I suspect the OP probably found a place by now, seeing as this thread is 8 years old.

Oct 21, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

HELP need place near Music Center

Sorry, I should have been more clear.

Border Grill has a shuttle. So do Chaya & Drago Centro, which share one. I can confirm those shuttles still exist.

I believe shuttles still run from Daily Grill, Nick & Stef's, McCormick & Schmick's, and Engine Company No. 28. Each currently mentions offering a shuttle service on their websites.

Roy's, Morton's and The Water Grill have discontinued their shuttles.

Oct 06, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

HELP need place near Music Center

Those are different shuttles, but at least those restaurants still have shuttles to the Music Center. Most of the other restaurants downtown discontinued their shuttle services during the recession. It really is a shame that they did. I wish some company would offer an as-needed shuttle service that you could book through the restaurant and pay a per-head charge.

Another option if you don't want to move the car is to take a cab from the restaurant. It adds to the expense, but is convenient when you want to avoid the rush of trying to park.

Oct 06, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Where in the hell does a New Yorker find some REAL ITALIAN FOOD?

It sounds like the OP wants a red sauce Italian place. Consider Matteo's or its sister restaurant Hoboken, which are pretty much based on New York Italian. They are in Westwood.

Al Gelato has a great marinara sauce if you like your sauce on the sweet side. Get any pasta, though I'm partial to the gnocchi, with red sauce and a side meatball. The menu is limited though, so you won't get a lot of choices.

Another classic Italian place, with decidedly Sicilian roots, is Marino on Melrose in Hollywood. They do old-school classics wonderfully well, including veal parmesan with marinara. (There is a photo of a chicken parmesan on Yelp and the marinara is definitely red.)

I will also thrown in a recommendation for Spumoni in Sherman Oaks (not to be confused with other Spumoni's around the city). it is a small neighborhood Italian with excellent pastas and sauces, including the best classic bolognese I've ever had.

Sep 29, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Blue Plate Oysterette last night

Funny enough, I tried BPO for the first time last week when I saw some cousins who were staying at a nearby hotel. I loved the clam chowder, but I like heavy chowder. I also tried a special ceviche that they had that day -- a verde ceviche with poblano chiles, whitefish, and avocado. It was heavily sauced, but extremely tasty.

Other people in my group had the gazpacho, fish and chips, and linguine with clams -- and raved about the food. I only tried the fish and chips, which I thought were pretty good. I'm rarely in Santa Monica, but would definitely go back.

Sep 26, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Lunch after Golf -- Hansen Dam, off glenoaks, Pacoima

I like Krua Thai (haven't been to Swan), but only a little farther is Sri Siam at Coldwater and Vanowen, which is fantastic and specializes in Northern Thai dishes. A search of the board for Sri Siam will reveal a few threads with some recommendations for what to order.

Sep 22, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Non-traditional sushi downtown

I have a client who says she likes sushi, but then told me that mainly means non-traditional rolls (e.g., that are fried, have sauces, etc.) What would be a good place downtown for lunch or dinner to get those types of rolls where the fish is still good quality?

Sep 15, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area

Jewish bakeries

I'm not sure how you define a Jewish bakery, but I consider Bea's a classic Jewish bakery (even if it is open on Saturdays). It has always specialized in Jewish baked goods. It has excellent breads, especially the corn rye (which is what Langer's uses for its sandwiches) and pumpernickel. The rugelach is the best in the city, as are the black-and-white cookies. And, sacrilegious as it may seem, they also have an all-black cookie (because who really likes the white half anyway).

Sep 08, 2013
Jwsel in Los Angeles Area