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Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

I was curious if anyone would mention Rockenwagner.

I get baked goods at the Mar Vista/CC location all the time.

I can't/won't vouch for the baguette because I've never eaten one in France and can't remember the ones I've had at Acme and really have no experience judging bread that only lasts for 2-5 hours after it's been baked.

I do like Rockenwagner's bakery in general, though.

Apr 16, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Joe's Jost's ( a quickie reminder review)

Weird.

I went to the website to remind myself about the menu and didn't see PBR listed and thought I was dreaming because I only remember drinking PBR there. Thanks for the post, I thought I was crazy.

I never minded the PBR because I'm only in the neighborhood to see a show and it sort of goes with the music the play at Alex's.

Apr 15, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Joe's Jost's ( a quickie reminder review)

I like Joe's Special with a pickled egg on the side.

The only time I ever go to Joe Jost's is when I'm seeing a punk rock or some other show at Alex's Bar, which is about a block away or whatever.

Joe's Special is only three or so dollars.

You're right about the beer selection.

Apr 15, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

An Addictive Double Burger at Ronnie's Diner - SouthWestern Mar Vista

This is an old post to respond to, but based on the search function the best place to make this comment:

As of this week, Ronnie's is permanently closed for dinner. They are still open for breakfast/lunch but will no longer be open at night.

Apr 09, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area
1

El Nido Restaurant: Worth A Try

I went back to give it a try.

I'd never had it before, really liked it. The meat was reminiscent vaguely of liver, but not as strong. The broth was nicely seasoned, almost a chicken soup quality with some light cream added.

Rich without being overwhelming.

Thanks for the rec.

Apr 07, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

El Nido Restaurant: Worth A Try

I had seen your write-up, but felt after nine years it was time for a new thread.

Mar 29, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

El Nido Restaurant: Worth A Try

El Nido Restaurant (Nicaraguan/Latin American)
2112 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Mid-City
Phone number (323) 939-6506

El Nido Restaurant is a family-operated Nicaraguan Restaurant (that also has some dishes from El Salvador/Latin America) in the Mid Cities neighborhood. My wife and I have been twice and have enjoyed our selves immensely both time. This is not a fancy restaurant, rather it is a restaurant whose food has that unmistakable "home cooking" feel to it. Is it "authentic"? I can't say, I've never been to Nicaragua. I am able to tell you the food is fresh and delicious and very reasonably priced.

* * *

Whenever we head into Hollywood or Fairfax or similarly located neighborhoods, we hop on the 10 freeway, get off at La Brea and head north. And every time we did, we'd pass a strip mall on the east side of La Brea in between the freeway and Washington Boulevard and we'd see the sign for El Nido Restaurant, serving Nicaraguan food. After passing it eleventy-billion times, we decided to stop in a couple of weeks ago.

The interior is sparse, but clean and comfortable. Maybe it 40 people, something like that? There is a juke box in one corner featuring a variety of Spanish music that I am unfamiliar with along with some classic rock CDs. There are a couple of TVs on the walls; the first time we went they were watching Sabado Gigante and tonight they were watching a soccer match.

The same young lady served us both times, we asked her if it was her restaurant and she said it belonged to her mother. There is a young man who also waits tables and they appear to be brother and sister, this is a family-run restaurant.

Before dinner they bring you some admittedly ordinary chips and salsa. I had Nicaraguan beer both times, imported beers cost 3-4 dollars per bottle. I once went through a Latin American beer kick, so Tona was not new to me. It's fine with the food.

Not knowing what to order the first time we went, we chose Parrilladas 2 personas. From the description, it felt like a sampler plate -- as good a way as any to sample some of the food. The price of this platter is 28.00 dollars.

It's a huge amount of food. Huge.

The platter comes with carne asada, pollo (I'm pretty sure we had grilled legs and thighs), pork, short ribs, fried cheese, chorizo, plantains, sour cream and salad. On the side came a big bowl of that rice and beans mixture that I would call moro, though I don't know if that's what they call it at El Nido.

We didn't know where to begin and then just dug right in. All of the meats were tender and juicy. If you've eaten Cuban or Brazilian or other Latin American cuisines you have some idea of the flavors, though it's not exactly like other. The chorizo was so good I wanted to order is a dish unto itself. Everything was tender and juicy, the skin on the chicken crispy. The salad was more like cole slaw than what I think of as a salad.

We were not able to come close to finishing this platter and had at least one more solid meal for our son to feast on when he got home from work.

I don't recall the exact price, but it was something like 34 bucks plus tip.

The next day I bumped into some friends on the way to the Mar Vista Farmer's Market and told them about the place and hours later they texted me saying they'd checked out the spot. Since the "he" of "they" is on Chowhound, I'll let him chime in with his opinion if he chooses.

We went again tonight and decided to try two new dishes. We wanted to try a seafood dish so we picked Camarones Managua. I wanted to try Salpicon Nica because I'd heard about it as a good Nicaraguan dish so we tried that. My wife wanted a pupusa and we would put that more in the El Salvadorean food category than Nicaraguan but so what?

They have a variety of different pupusas including cheese and bean, pork and cheese and so on. We asked them to make pork and beans and that was fine with them as they are made to order.

The pupusa arrived hot on the plate, with some red sauce and cole slaw. The cole slaw -- to us -- was a bit different than the cabbage salad/slaw that I described above. It actually tasted like the cole slaw you get in a Japanese restaurant, tsukemono. It had that pickled taste.

It was a very good pupusa, the outside warm and chewy, the filling nicely spiced. We shared one, which was about seven inches across.

The salpicon nica is a shredded beef dish mixed with bell peppers and spices. This is going to sound weird, but it sort of had the soft consistency of tuna fish (though it tasted nothing like tuna, I'm just describing the consistency) It was room temperature, which took me by surprise, but sort of made sense because it's on the lunch menu, which is available for dinner.

I would say it's worth a try if it sounds good to you, but of the three dishes we had it was my least favorite. It was pretty good, not disappointing, but I'm not sure it would top my list on a return visit.

On the other hand, the camarones managua was really good. It's sauteed shrimp (and, btw, we ordered it without a description, we just gambled) with bell peppers in tomato sauce. It's lightly seasoned, but at the same time the sauce has a nice richness. Definitely would want it again.

But that's part of the problem. The menu is large and there were so many other interesting things to try. They don't have take out menus, so I am not able to list out what caught my eye, I will say they have dishes that seem very familiar from sampling other Latin American cuisines and also dishes that seemed pretty exotic, at least I never saw anything like them. They have breakfast as well and since we are "egg people" we'll try that some time soon.

Oh, both dishes came with rice and beans. The rice was (again) reminiscent of Japanese rice (but not quite) and red beans that came in a little cup that I promptly poured over the rice. Both dishes had plantains as well.

Again, a ton of food, but no leftovers this time. Price, with one beer, was 33 plus tip for two people.

Is El Nido Restaurant the best restaurant in L.A. Nah, it's not. Is it fancy? Definitely not, this would fall under the "hole in the wall" category, which I intend as high praise. They offer a variety of unfamiliar (and familiar) dishes, fresh, well-prepared and in large quantities for a very reasonable price. Your mileage may vary, but I'm very sure no matter what you will at least feel you had a reasonable meal for your money and at most you will really enjoy yourself and return to try other items on the menu.

(This post was not proofed to hard, please excuse any typos.)

Mar 28, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area
1

BBQ Beans Disaster ... a request for help ...

A brief update and words of gratitude:

I tried crock pot beans again over the weekend and things turned out much better.

First, I tried to eliminate all of my original mistakes, as noted by the fine people in this thread:

1- I used bulk beans from Sprouts instead of bagged beans from the grocery store to increase the odds of them being fresh.

2 - I only made a pound of beans, instead of two.

3 - I soaked the beans in enough water this time.

4 - I waited until the end to add vinegar. I also subbed dry mustard for mustard and subbed V8 for ketchup. (Totally as an aside, I use V8 in my chili as well and it really is a great ingredient. My chili is one of the things I do well. Give V8 a try sometime.)

The result: A much, much better pot of beans.

I used the same recipes as a guide as I did the week before, though I also added in elements from Mayme's Beans as recommended by Jeanne. This included adding some bacon and some garlic, which I hadn't used the week before.

The beans turned out soft and tender, which was the main goal. I need to work on the seasoning as well, my version was a bit bland, but that just takes practice. The main thing is, the beans were well-cooked.

I will say one thing: I might prefer in the long run to make a pot of beans in a pot, instead of a slow cooker. The slow cooker doesn't cook off any of the liquid and the beans didn't get that thick sauce as the water/liquid cooked down. I like the "idea' of using the crock pot in theory because I just add all the ingredients and let it go all day without really tending to it much. But in practice, I think pot of beans that I keep an eye on might work better.

Next up: Black beans, Cuban style.

Thanks to everyone for their tips and comments and concern. Every single one of you shares credit for my successful pot of beans.

Jan 15, 2014
PaulF in Home Cooking
1

BBQ Beans Disaster ... a request for help ...

Thanks to MrsJonesy, greygarious, Will Owen, nat8199, Springhaze and Jeanne.

Thanks also to Jeanne for the recipe.

I forgot to mention that vinegar was in the recipe. Doubt that mattered - though I notice that Jeanne's recipe says put the vinegar in at the end. Could it have been the vinegar?

I bet old beans were the cause. I bought them in a grocery store that I never go to and they were sort of lonely on the shelf. I bet they were old.

AND -- I didn't add enough water to the soak.

Great ideas everyone, thanks again.

Jan 09, 2014
PaulF in Home Cooking

BBQ Beans Disaster ... a request for help ...

I am not a great cook. I try hard. As I've gotten older, I've learned to really love the whole process: shopping for ingredients, reading recipes, preparing the food.

I tried to make BBQ beans in the slow cooker last weekend. I read a few recipes just to get an idea of what to do, then made them my own.

I decided to make two pounds of beans. I bought Great Northern Beans. I should have made just one pound but that package of dried beans looked so small. So I doubled my recipe.

As instructed, I soaked the beans overnight, at least 12 hours from the time I put them in water to the time I started cooking. My recipe included brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, a chopped onion, salt and pepper. Also some ketchup and yellow mustard.

The recipes were all a little different on cooking times, so I approximated. I cooked them for six hours on high (the recipes said "four on high" or "eight on low). Then I let them sit on "warm" for hours more.

At dinner time, yuck, beans were hard as pebbles. I put the high heat back on for a few hours ... no improvement. I transferred the beans to a big pot, brought the mix to a boil and simmered for hours more. The beans did get softer, but some were still sort of hard.

Stuck the pot in the refrigerator (because it was bed time) and the next evening added water and boiled/simmered for hours more. The beans were improved, but some were still sort of hard, though to look at them, a few were split apart. Tried the same thing the next not to no avail.

This morning I tossed the whole batch in the trash.

For the record, the beans tasted good. They just never got soft enough to enjoy.

I have two theories as to what might have happened but would truly love the opinion of the real cooks on this board.

(1) The recipe said "salt and pepper to taste." I added salt and pepper and it wasn't until I was having the consistency problems that I recalled once reading that salted beans never get done. So, it could have been the salt. I did do some online research and there really is no conclusive view on salting beans before cooking. Most sites said there was no real evidence that salted beans won't get done, just that they might take longer. (It also occurs to me that you could add bacon to the mix and bacon is salted -- so how could it be the salt? I'm not sure.)

(2) This is where I think I went wrong: The night before, I put the beans in the crock pot and covered them with water. When I woke up the next day, a quarter to a third of the beans were no longer covered in water, as the beans had absorbed some of the water and gotten bigger. The combination of larger beans and less water left some of the beans no longer soaking. I figured it was no big deal, but now I think I didn't add enough water to soak the beans and the whole thing was doomed from that point forward.

That said, I really don't know what happened. I'm determined to try again and would love some opinions. I really like to eat beans and want to make red beans for red beans and rice and black beans and so on, in addition to BBQ beans.

TIA

Jan 09, 2014
PaulF in Home Cooking

What bourbon are you drinking these days?

Cyrus Noble.

Summer is for tequila, so I just started drinking bourbon after a few months. In the recent past, I've been drinking Beam, Eagle Rare, Rowan's Creek and really enjoyed a bottle of Yamazaki somewhere in there.

I asked my "guy" what he was recommending and he suggested Cyrus Noble. Nice bottle. A bit smoky. Sips really well. Very enjoyable bottle in the same price range as the above (more than the Beam, less than the Yama, about the same as the others, maybe 25 for the bottle, something like that).

Oct 27, 2013
PaulF in Spirits

what restaurant do you keep passing by for years upon years and yet have not mustered the gumption to finally try ????

Culver City

Yes, they have fried fish.

And chili fries.

Aug 08, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

what restaurant do you keep passing by for years upon years and yet have not mustered the gumption to finally try ????

T

Aug 06, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Burger tonight - MDR/Culver area

True.

Ronnie's does a nice burger.

Aug 06, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

what restaurant do you keep passing by for years upon years and yet have not mustered the gumption to finally try ????

Johnnie's has a pretty extensive menu.

Pastrami aside, I think their corned beef sandwich is worth a try if you've never been, their onion rings are good, their hot dogs/chili dogs are good, I've had the fried shrimp their more than once or twice (sometimes on the sandwich) ...

Langer's does beat Johnnie's when it comes to pastrami (though they are totally different types of pastrami) -- but the pastrami is not the best thing on JP's menu.

Aug 06, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Yer Favorite Culver City restaurants

I think you are probably right about that.

Aug 06, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Another Pleasant Visit to Lenny's Deli - Tonight

I tried Lenny's for the first time last week and the family liked it just fine. Way better than our neighborhood's Roll N Rye.

But ...

I've realized that delis are really expensive, at least for us.

We ordered:

Me: Half a corned beef sandwich, medium (they have no small, just medium and large) matzoh ball soup, iced tea

Wife: Order of six pierogies (and they forgot the sour cream)

Older son: Corned beef sandwich

Younger son: Reuben (no cheese)

... and we spend 80 dollars with the tip.

That's more than we ordinarily spend on a weeknight dinner. It's not outrageous, but we had two sandwiches, one half sandwich, one soup, one appetizer and an iced tea and spent 20 bucks per person.

Obviously, what's expensive for some is not much for others. I get that. I'm just saying that, while the food was really good, 80 bucks for soups and sandwiches is a bit out of my price range.

Aug 05, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Yer Favorite Culver City restaurants

I wonder if the new restaurants on the other side of the Marina Marketplace will help J. Nichols.

Maybe the addition of Yardhouse, Tender Greens, Sentebello and the new AMC theater that's coming (not the dine in one, the one that's going in next to Fatburger) will make that area more of a destination?

I personally think that J. Nichols sort of blew the renovation. I get wanting to convert from the sort-of-stuffy senior citizens destination it had become, but they didn't quite pull off the "finer dining" transition. Personally, if I owned it, I would have gone for more of a pub-atmosphere and then really marketed to a younger/LMU crowd. That shopping center really attracts the college students and the neighborhood is fairly young.

At this point, when I think J. Nichols, I always think "pretty good, but I can do better for that amount of money."

Aug 05, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Yer Favorite Culver City restaurants

I like the Wood Burger, especially if you add a fried egg (the brioche bun does a nice job of soaking up the yolk a bit.)

I like the Turkey Burger as well.

I have ordered the turkey meatloaf many time, though it dropped a notch when they eliminated the thick cut bacon strip that used to be wrapped around it). FWIW -- I am looking at the menu to jog my memory but don't see it on there anymore. Maybe they stopped making it?

I've enjoyed the chicken pot pie and the salmon as well.

I also like the fact that they have Allagash White, one of my favorite Belgian-style wheat ales.

When I order something with fries, I sub in a salad. One, because I like their salad and two because while I love fries, I don't like skinny fries that aren't crispy and The Wood's fries, while tasty, are a little soft for me. I have asked them to be well-done and they come out much better.

My take on The Wood is this: I wouldn't drive across town for it. But since it is in my neighborhood, and because it has a very pleasant patio and because they have one of my favorite beers and because I like their burgers and the food in general -- it's a good spot for us. But, like I said, if it were in Pasadena, I wouldn't make the trip. But since I can walk (I live right near Inglewood and Culver), it's a good spot to hit once in a while.

I like it for breakfast as well, I sit at that outdoor counter and read the papers with my coffee after I eat.

BTW -- I'm trying to see if J. Nichols can work its way into some sort of neighborhood rotation. I can't seem to get over there more than once in a great while. Not sure why.

Aug 05, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area
1

Yer Favorite Culver City restaurants

I've honestly wondered if the kitchen is too small or something and that's why they can't do egg/breakfast dishes at night.

And -- one of the best things about Ronnie's is that you can do a chorizo bowl and your dining partner can do brown rice and egg whites if they want. In other words, they have a nice blend of the (for lack of a better term) regular diner breakfast foods and the (for lack of a better term) healthier choices. I swing both ways there.

Aug 05, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area
1

Yer Favorite Culver City restaurants

You are contributing to the long line at Ronnie's.

Seriously, though, Ronnie's needs to serve breakfast all day.

Aug 05, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

SALADS - LA Dish of the Month (August 2013)

As a matter of fact, I really like the Southern Fried Chicken salad at Barney's Beanery (I go to the Westwood Village location).

It has greens, corn, red onion -- a plethora of veggies and a very healthy portion of southern friend chicken on top. They use breast meat, so there is no bone, just some very juicy fried chicken. I need a protein hit at lunch, so if the meat to salad ratio wasn't strong I wouldn't like the salad.

It's prepared with honey mustard dressing on the side, though I'm sure you could get a different salad dressing.

I used to always get the Southern Fried Chicken club sandwich because I liked the chicken, but found that there was just too much bread involved and I would end up picking the sandwich apart and just eating the chicken and bacon and lettuce. So, I switched to the salad and liked it much better.

So -- there you go -- a rec that doesn't overlook salad with fried chicken.

Aug 01, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Top Round Roast Beef

Thanks

We've decided to just buy some food at the Bowl, which we never do.

We have more tickets this summer, so maybe we'll give it a shot next time around.

(One of my concerns is the sandwiches getting cold/the fries getting cold and soggy -- so we'll check it out under less time sensitive circumstances.)

Jul 31, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Top Round Roast Beef

This place would be on my route to the Hollywood Bowl from Culver City tonight.

At about 7, do you think I could get in and out really fast to make it to the show on time? And would the food hold up -- considering I have to fight traffic to the Bowl, park the car and then walk to my seats. It would be at least 30 minutes from the time I was handed my take out to the time I sat down at the Bowl to eat.

Jul 31, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Burger tonight - MDR/Culver area

I live on MDR/CC border and when I feel like eating a "better" burger (in other words, not at Centinela Cafe or the bowling alley or Fat Burger or In and Out) I eat at The Wood.

It's a nice burger that you can get with a fried egg and has a good bun. Not saying it's the greatest burger around, but if you really confine yourself to the MDR/CC area and don't stray it fits the bill.

I've also had a burger at Rush Street, but only had it once and it didn't make enough of an impression for me to recommend it. Rush Street is actually a pretty decent spot for drinks and bar food. Oddly enough, Rush Street manages to have a "chain restaurant" feel even though it's not part of a chain. I guess that's not a good thing.

Anyway -- next time you want a casual burger in the 'hood, you might give The Wood a shot.

Jul 29, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

recommendations for birthday dinner for 19 yo son in LA area

Plan Check on Sawtelle.

http://www.plancheckbar.com/

My 21-year old and my 17-year-old both love Plan Check. I personally crave the fried chicken. Love the burgers as well.

He won't be able to drink, but the beer selection is good. Fun vibe, relaxed atmosphere, diverse crowd.

Jul 26, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Best value on a dehydrator ...

Thanks.

The 9 tray Excalibur is well over 200 dollars on Amazon, so you clearly got an amazing deal.

I might not find that one, but your tips are really helpful.

Paul

Jul 14, 2013
PaulF in Cookware

Best value on a dehydrator ...

I see some threads that mention dehydrators but none that make any recommendations on specific dehydrators (and if such a thread exists, I didn't see it).

So ...

There are any number of dehydrators available online. Some are really inexpensive and then they go up in price. I'm wondering if anyone who has a dehydrator would recommend the one they have or if anyone knows of one that is a good value.

Thanks.

Jul 13, 2013
PaulF in Cookware

Jerry's Deli Westwood closed

I think so yes

Jul 05, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Jerry's Deli Westwood closed

I forgot to add in my other post in this thread:

The Glendon is a good place to drink. I've only had appetizers there, so I can't really speak to the food, but the drinks are good and the place has a cool vibe during Happy Hour.

Jul 02, 2013
PaulF in Los Angeles Area