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San Jose Viet Lunch Group goes to Nha Toi

Is the lunch group still going on? I was bred on SoCal Vietnamese food, so I'm a little spoiled, but I'm trying to recreate my experience here in the South Bay...

Birthday Dinner in Burbank area

Park Ave down on Beach in Stanton is surprisingly nice. They serve New American food, which draws its influences from all over.

It's not exactly what you're looking for, but it is quiet, the price range is there and maybe the menu will surprise you.

http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

If you're feeling adventurous, Il Chianti in Lomita is a Japanese-Italian place. The flavors are really accessible with the main difference being the prominent place of seafood on the menu.

http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

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Il Chianti
24503 Narbonne Ave, Lomita, CA 90717

Park Avenue Restaurant
11200 Beach Blvd., Stanton, CA 90680

Aug 02, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Anyone tried Izakaya Zero in Huntington Beach?

Thanks for the report! I always head up to Torrance for my izakaya fix, so it's nice to know that we've got one right in town.

http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/

Aug 02, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Uni Spaghetti or Risotto?

Second the Spoon House rec. Theirs is a tarako butter sauce topped with uni, ika, and/or seaweed. Really good.

Sometimes Il Chianti in Lomita has uni spaghetti on its menu. It's a Japanese-Italian place. One of my faves.

Providence once had a meyer lemon uni risotto on their menu.

http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/

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Providence
5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Il Chianti
24503 Narbonne Ave, Lomita, CA 90717

Spoon House
1601 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

Aug 02, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

ISO the Best of Japan in LA/OC

I recently went on a Japanese binge and my blog has been blowing up w/reviews for the South Bay LA (Torrance/Gardena/Lomita) area. So here are some of my favorite discoveries from the past few months.

I've been to my fair share of izakayas and here's my list with favorites at the top:

1. Kan Izakaya Yuzen, Torrance. Pricey and more upscale, though the food is excellent
2. Ikko, Costa Mesa. Traditional nigiri and sashimi are the star here, though their izakaya dishes are excellent as well.
3. Musha, Torrance. Louder, more boisterous atmosphere, though food is only decent

Japanese fusion. Because for some reason, I prefer the Japanese way of making Western food.
1. Il Chianti, Lomita. Can't say enough good things about the Jap-Italian place.
2. Spoon House, Gardena. Numerous permutations of spaghetti. #34 is really good
3. Bistro Beaux, Torrance. Lots of pastas and gratins, as well as izakaya dishes
4. Cafe Hiro, Cypress. French-Japanese

Mochi
1. Sakura-ya, Gardena. I always get a box if I'm in the area.
2. Fugetsu-do, LA
3. Mikawaya, Gardena
4. Chikara, Gardena

Pastries/Desserts
1. Patisserie Chantilly, Lomita. Cakes are light and delicious!
2. Cream Pan, Tustin. The strawberry croissants are legendary.

As you can see, most of the restaurants are in the South LA (Gardena, Torrance, Lomita) area. I also here Yuzu, a washoku in Torrance, is stellar, though really steep.

I've got a cuisine index going on my blog and you can find photos/reviews for most of these places here: http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Jul 28, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

OC - Lunch Recs for Huntington Beach/Fountain Valley?

We used to come to Tsuruhashi for lunch five years ago, but week after week of counting us as the only patrons, they finally decided that it wasnt profitable. There were great lunch combinations and everything was always delicious! They dont offer the same things at dinner, so if they do end up reopening for lunch, I'll be first in line.

Jul 27, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

OC - Lunch Recs for Huntington Beach/Fountain Valley?

JAPANESE
Ikko for Japanese/sushi in Costa Mesa, which is right next to SC Plaza.
http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Sagami-Tei on Magnolia and Warner for all-you-can-eat sushi or teppan

VIETNAMESE

Au Lac on Brookhurt and Heil for Vietnamese vegetarian. Stay away from the stir-fries.

Bodhi Tree on Main Street is similar to Au Lac..
http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

And for my favorite vegetarain place, Bo De, next to the Asian Garden Mall on Bolsa.
http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Cali Restaurant on Brookhurst & McFadden. rTy their Bo Luc Lac - shaking beef over watercress

My new favorite is Sandwich Planet, off of Newland and Westminster. Dont be deceived by the name because they do a mean salmon over crispy rice!
http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Bukhara and Fuji's are great picks.

Jul 27, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Requesting recent tasting menu recs

ditto.

Jul 26, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Best Tasting Menu..

I'd agree with Ricky that Opus' tasting menu isn't quite as sophisticated as what you might find in other dining rooms. That said, all of the food tastes good and the service is phenomenal. If you're looking for something more formal, Opus might not be the best place. If you're looking for something on the lighter, more playful side, Opus is your man.

I went last month for my birthday: http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Jul 26, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Requesting recent tasting menu recs

I've been to Manresa and I think Opus' menu was a little more playful. I do think that Opus lacks the same finesse in presentation and execution as many of the NorCal heavy hitters do, but all of the food tastes good and the service is exceptional. Overall, it's a good meal and a bargain for LA, but I do think Bay Area chefs tend to be more inventive.

Opus' coddled egg reminded me of the soft-boiled piece of heaven that I had at Manresa...

You can check out my Opus post from last month: http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Jul 26, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Crazy Delicious Pizza Toppings

Sounds interesting!

I remember wanting some Pizza Hut years ago when I was travelling through Hong Kong. Being the picky kid eater that I was, I can still remember seeing those types of pizza on the menu and praying for just a simple pepperoni and cheese.

Jul 26, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Crazy Delicious Pizza Toppings

Oooo. Mr Pizza sounds like exactly what I may be looking for. I love a good margherita (my favorite's from Mozza) as much as the next pizza purist, but sometimes, I like to kick it up a notch =]

Jul 26, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Filipino restaurants in California

Bistro Luneta is in San Mateo, about 15 minutes south of San Francisco. They've gotten great reviews from the SF Chronicle and I've got it down on my list of of to-eats.
http://www.bistroluneta.com/

Also on my list is Papillon in El Segundo, which serves vegetarian Filipino food.
http://www.papillonvgcuisine.com/

Jul 26, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Suggestions for Las Vegas dining?

Gourmet Magazine named Lotus of Siam the best restaurant in America and even the LA Times food critic has said that there's nothing as good in LA. I've been and it's all true.

Convincing enough??

Jul 26, 2007
poptisserie in Southwest

Crazy Delicious Pizza Toppings

Having lived in the Bay Area for the last few years, I've had my share of gourmet pizzas from the dozen or so Mozza-ish pizzerias. Some of the most interesting ones I came across were from Gochi's in Cupertino, which bills itself as a Japanese fusion tapas restaurant.

We're talking (1) unagi/eggs/seaweed/gobo-burdock (2) spicy cod roe/snow crab/bacon (3) miso sauce/chashu pork/mushrooms.

It seems as though pizzas are a trend in Japanese restaurants and some of the best I've found in SoCal comes from Il Chianti in Lomita which has an Umibe pizza topped with clams, dried tomatoes, and an egg.

So aside from pizzas that just taste good, what are your favorites for toppings that are crazy AND delicious?

Jul 25, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Vietnamese in Garden Grove

Home-style Vietnamese dishes usually refer to "com phan," where you order a combination dinner served family-style at the table. Some of my favorite places for this are Dong Khanh on Bolsa and Cali Restaurant on Brookhurst.

Otherwise, although you'll find gargantuan menus at all the restaurants, most places are only known for one or two dishes. For instance:

Binh Minh's "bun" (rice vermicelli) dishes
http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Bo De for Buddhist vegetarian
http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Luc Dinh Ky for claypot rice

All of these places are holes in the wall, though the menus have English translations and you should be able to communicate with the staff.

Happy eating!

Otherwise, Vietnamese restaurants

Jul 25, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Ladies menus?

Water Grill is still a great choice and I'm sure you'll enjoy each others' company no matter where you go. Congrats!

Jul 09, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Ladies menus?

While I think Water Grill is great, you're better off trying Providence, which is new to the scene and offers a more innovative and interesting menu. It also isnt as stuffy as Water Grill, which caters to the downtown business crowd.

I have no doubt that it will be perfect for your anniversary, but I hope you have a good time no matter where you go!

As a side note, I have had meals where the women at the table are served different items. This usually would happen if you order the tasting menu and generally, females are served fish and males, red meat. I agree with everyone else that the practice isnt commonplace.

http://www.providencela.com/

Jul 06, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

ISO to die for cakes in Los Angeles

I love everything they've got a Patisserie Chantilly in Lomita. It's a Japanese-French bakery meaning you get all of the classic French pastries, but with a more delicate Japanese touch.

http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Jul 05, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

What's your most recent WOW! Moment at an LA restaurant?

Opus' "Breakfast in an Egg" on the spontaneous tasting menu.

Its rare to find eggs on high-end menus and Opus' combination of coddled egg yolk, cream of wheat, applewood-smoked bacon, sherry creme fraiche, and honey really hit the spot for complexity of flavor and execution.

http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Jul 05, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Asian Bakery with the softest, fluffiest, light as a cloud loaf of bread

Dont get me wrong. I like my hearty wheat bread as much as the next self-respecting complex carbohydrate conscious, multi-grain loving health nut. But sometimes, just sometimes, I crave the springy sweetness that only a processed white bread can give. Remember those Wonder Bread peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from your Kindergarten lunch box? Well, I've since grown older and wiser and learned that an even better version of Wonder Bread can be found at Asian bakeries.

My favorite thus far are the ethereally light and delightful loaves from Cream Pan in Tustin. What are yours?

Jul 02, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Style & Substance in LA?

I agree that it's far from traditional and it really depends on whether you want authentic sushi or just looking for something to break the monotony.

I wouldn't put it on the level of McDonald's, unless you're trying to imply that Katsu-ya is so commercialized that it now appeals to the masses. Yes, it has multiple locations. Yes, if you come with the expectation that you're going to sit down to a traditional omakase meal, you're going to be disappointed. And yes, Katsu-ya is popular to palates of all sizes and colors. But it's not a cartoonish Disneyland-esque spectacle of a sushi restaurant--a more proper comparison would be a conveyor belt sushi place or even the Gonpachi remodel in Beverly Hills.

People dont come to Katsu-ya because they're looking for California rolls and maki that are mild-mannered and unoffensive to the non-sushi eater. They come because every once in awhile, when you eat out that much, it takes a little more than just fresh and traditional to impress the senses.

Jul 02, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Unusual or Funky Ice Cream Flavours

Pizzeria Picco [in Larkspur near San Francisco] does an interesting take on vanilla ice cream by topping it with olive oil and sea salt. I've similarly had olive oil ice cream at Oliveto in Berkeley and thoroughly enjoyed both desserts. Just make sure your vanilla is really creamy (Picco uses Straus Dairy, a local purveyor) and that you use quality sea salt and olive oil--you might even want to call Picco and ask what they use.

It's a simple, fresh, and interesting take on ice cream that's easy to whip up for any occasion! I'd be impressed.

Jul 02, 2007
poptisserie in Home Cooking

Sushi Style & Substance in LA?

Katsu-ya in Studio City is a favorite of ours for interesting sushi confections, though they also have high quality sashimi and nigiri. Stick the specials board for your best bet and make sure to make a reservation because the tiny place is mobbed with lines up the wazoo by 6pm.

Katsu-Ya has more glamourous locations in Brentwood and elsewhere if you're looking for something with more ambiance for a special occasion, though the original in Studio City is noted to be better.

http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Katsu-Ya
11680 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City,CA 91604
(818) 985-6976

Jul 02, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Tea Houses and Loose Tea

For tea house recommendations, I like to consult: www.teamap.com

You can also check my list for afternoon tea recommendations at http://www.yelp.com/list_details?favo...

My favorite tea room is Tea Upon Chatsworth in San Diego.

Jul 02, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

where to buy japanese stuff

Mitsuwas and Marukais are plentiful throughout Southern California and particularly in Gardena/Torrance/Lomita, where you'll find the heart of the Japanese community. Marukai tends to have a wider assortment at slightly cheaper prices and you can buy a one-day temp membership for $1. I like the Marukai on Artesia.

There's also Nijiya market nearby, which is another large Japanese market in the area.

If you're interested in mochi/manju/daifuku, my favorite place for them is Sakura-ya in Gardena. http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/2007/...

Jul 02, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Who has the best blue crab handroll?

I wholeheartedly agree

Jun 19, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Need South OC Recommendations

I'm not sure South OC is the best place for an izakya [you're better off looking in South LA, Torrance area], but Ikko in Costa Mesa is pretty good and they'll keep that sake flowing and sushi coming all night.

242 Cafe Fusion Sushi in Laguna always has some interesting rolls, though its somewhat pricey.

Sushi Wasabi in Tustin has some of the freshest sushi around though its omakase tasting menu will run you up quite a bill.

Try the strawberry croissants at Cream Pan in Tustin. They are to die for

For Korean soondubu [soft tofu soup], I like Goong in Irvine.

Tart frozen yogurt has been all the rage lately. Try it at Yogurtland in Irvine or the at Pinkberry's in Long Beach

Mozza's isnt all that hard to get reservations for if you're willing to dine at odd hours. I called a week beforehand and ate at 5:30pm Though I've seen better pizza in the Bay Area, Mozza is pretty top notch for LA.

Bukhara in Huntington Beach for Indian food is as good as it gets down in these parts.

Brodard in Westminster has very good nem nuong spring rolls that are on everyone list of to eats.

I like Au Lac in Fountain Valley for Vietnamese vegetarian.

Marche Moderne is a French bistro that recently opened in South Coast Plaza and garnered a three-star rating from the LA Times. Pretty impressive, so you might wanna check that our for fine dining.

The Vintage Tea Leaf in Long Beach does a good afternoon tea if you need a break from all of the eating =]

Best of luck!

Link: http://poptisserie.blogspot.com/searc...

Jun 19, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Hollywood bowl picnic dinner

Clementine in Culver City gets rave reviews for its simple and fresh cafe foods. They have picnic boxes especially made for the Hollywood Bowl.

http://www.clementineonline.com/

Jun 19, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area

Best Japanese Curry

Cafe Hiro in Cypress is Japanese-Italian-French restaurant that also serves up some pretty good curry. If you can picture a French bistro w/red-and-white checkered table clothes and some irreverent decorations in between, then you've got Cafe Hiro in a nutshell! An interesting place if youre looking for something out of the norm.

Jun 19, 2007
poptisserie in Los Angeles Area