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Ode to The Godmother

The staff of the Daily Bruin puts out a magazine called Prime. The latest issue includes an ode to Bay Cities' "The Godmother."

Sample 'graph:

"The first bite into the deli’s freshly baked bread is a religious experience. It has just the right amount of crunch on the crust to ward off sogginess from the sloppy sandwich fillings, but not so much to suggest staleness. Its pillow-like, doughy center pairs beautifully with the spiciness of the mustard and peppers, turning down the heat when needed."

http://graphics.dailybruin.com/prime/...

Mar 09, 2015
PaulF in Los Angeles Area
1

Memphis' Gus's Fried Chicken (World Famous) Coming To Los Angeles

http://www.commercialappeal.com/busin...

"Gus’s Fried Chicken announced Wednesday that it plans to open eight new locations nationwide this year.

The company said on its Facebook page that it will open restaurants in Atlanta, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Ft. Worth, Knoxville, Kansas City, Chicago, Philadelphia.

“There are more to come, but we have to take it slow to ensure you get the same quality and experience you have come to expect from Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken!,” the post said. “As we progress, we will be sure to share locations and opening dates.”

The chain, famous for its closely guarded hot and spicy batter, got its start in the 1950s in the town of Mason, east of Memphis. It currently has ten locations, six of which are in the Memphis-area."

I've never had it, but would love to try it.

Feb 18, 2015
PaulF in Los Angeles Area
1

Thank You, Austin: A Few Notes on My Vacation Visit

Mostly I'm writing this post to thank Austin for the hospitality my wife and I experienced. We were their this past weekend (arrived Friday am and left Tuesday afternoon). We were celebrating our 25th anniversary. (Not that it matters, I post on the Los Angeles board, sometimes frequently, sometimes not at all frequently. This is probably my first post anywhere on CH in 5 or so months.)

Everyone we met was nice and gracious. From the Uber drivers to the restaurant servers and bartenders to the hotel staff to the nice lady at the LBJ Library everyone treated us well. Without fail. I'd recommend a trip to Austin anyone who asked.

Since this is a food board, I'd like to make a few observations about our dining experiences. I didn't take notes on our trip or anything, so details are sketchy. And I'm not expecting anything in this post to be new to any of the regular readers on this board. I just want to share my experience and maybe other vacationers might get something out of this.

Or not, but here goes.

Before our trip, when we told people we were going to Austin, everyone said just one word: Barbecue.

Even my vegetarian friends recommended we eat the barbecue. With that in mind, I'm not going to focus on our barbecue meals, though we have a few of them. Just so everyone knows, I didn't post a "where should we eat in Austin" query before coming. We're the type to rely on a few recs from friends and also play things by ear. When I've traveled and done the "where should we eat thing," I get all OCD about where to go and what to order and while it makes the food better, I find it makes my vacation stressful. It's just my personality. Plus, my wife is a "this looks good, let's try it type" so we just wanted to play things semi by ear.

I did read my friend from LA's post about eating 15 barbecue meals in one week and had some recommendations from a couple of friends here in L.A. with Austin connections.

Barbecue first (and, again, not at all suggesting we went to the best spots. We just went where we went):

We actually walked to Franklin's just to look at the line and then laughed and left. That line was so long, I assume the brisket included a weekend in the Bahamas with Kate Upton. We walked from there to the LBJ Library instead. The lady in the Longhorn bookstore suggested Stubb's for lunch so we walked back there and had a nice lunch with sausage and brisket and tacos. It was good, at least to us: as a plus we buy their sauce in the grocery store in California (didn't realize it was the same place until we got there, LOL. And I did buy a cool tee shirt.)

A couple of days later we went to Stiles Switch in (I think?) midtown? I might have the neighborhood wrong. We went there for two reasons. A buddy had recommended it and also told us they had some TVs. The Clippers (our team) were playing the Thunder (our second favorite team because Russell Westbrook is a UCLA guy) and we figured that we could eat and watch the game. Oddly enough, after we went there, we leafed through a copy of the Austin Chronicle and they mentioned SS as one of the 100 restaurants that define Austin. We had chicken, beef ribs, brisket and I can't remember. Maybe that's all. This was, to us, better than Stubb's. I would eat there again.

One thing about eating all that barbecue. It made me really tired. I would have to go back to the hotel to recover after eating it. So, while I enjoyed it, I didn't necessarily want to eat a bunch of it or eat it again so soon. (My mom makes brisket for holidays, not barbecue, in the oven, and it has the same effect on me. And here I thought that sleepy feeling was just from seeing my family.)

The other time we had barbecue was for breakfast tacos. We just went to a joint downtown not to far from our hotel (as a point of reference we were at the Hilton between Fourth and Fifth) called Slake's. Just a little shop and we dug the egg and brisket tacos. One was plenty and it kept us filled until we got on our airplane.

I think that's it for barbecue except for the sausage sandwich I had at the Salt Lick stand at the airport, which I ate out of a sense of obligation more than anything else. As for going to some of the really highly recommended places, we just didn't make it. We didn't want to rent a car and some of those places seemed too far to walk or Uber. (Uber + Ausin = perfect, btw.) We were going to eat at La Barbecue (another rec from a friend) but they are closed on Monday.

Now, to some of the other spots we tried.

I have to say, that the people who said "just eat barbecue" to me were doing Austin a disservice. Like I noted, I didn't query this board, so I'm not referencing you guys. I'm talking about the people I knew personally. I say that because we really enjoyed some of our other meals just as much and more than our barbecue meals.

Like I already wrote, I don't think I'm telling anyone here things they don't know. But maybe some other vacationer will burn out out on brisket and want to find something else and they might see this post.

Friday night we ate dinner at a spot called Perla's on South Congress. It's roughly two miles from the Hilton, maybe a bit less and we walked there. A great seafood dinner. We didn't have oysters, though they looked great. My wife had the Redfish on a halfshell and I had the Crispy Texas Gulfcoast Snapper. We shared the brussel sprouts and the dirty rice. The fish was moist and juicy and really well-seasoned. I like the crispy skin a lot. Sides were superb. It was a nice setting with a nice crowd and the bartender made me a tasty tequila drink. A very good meal.

Saturday we had breakfast at Kerby Lane, the one close to UT. The Uber driver told us his girlfriend swore by the Vegan breakfast so we both had that. We were meated out and needed it. Great breakfast. Vanilla pancakes, the best vegan sausage I've had (and I was an LA vegan for 14 years) and a fine tofu scramble. For the record for those reading this who don't know the place, KL was jumping and had all manner of breakfast and non-breakfast items. It's a coffee shop menu with just really great food. The line was justified and the staff was fun.

While waiting for a table at KL, we saw the Hole in the Wall club a block away. I remembered that a friend who teaches at UT mentioned there was some ramen place in the back, but we couldn't tell from the front. Long story short, we came back to check it out and had dinner at East Side King. For those who don't know, Paul Qui (the chef) is from the TV show Top Chef (I don't watch it so I didn't know about him). He has a fancy place in Austin and then he has this ramen shop in the back of a rock n roll club called East Side King. He might have a food truck, too. You literally enter through the alley, you'd never know it was there if you didn't know to look for it or who to ask.

Loved the food there. We eat a lot of ramen (LA just went through sort of a ramen explosion that's almost in the past now). This wasn't traditional ramen and that was fine by me. I think I had the Shiner Beer Ramen and it was just what I needed. A nicely spiced broth, plenty of noodles and fun stuff to find in the soup. My wife had the pork belly buns and we split the beet fries. Inventive, different and excellent. (Then we stayed for the show and dug it. Three bands who all fell on the ZZ Top/Motorhead spectrum. We also walked up the street and had vegan chocolate cake at Kerby Lane while the bands switched up their gear).

The same Uber driver who rec'd the vegan breakfast also rec'd a spot called Bouldin Creek Cafe on South First. So, we walked all the way from downtown to eat there because it sounded cool. (This was a long walk through a nice residential neighborhood.) It was. It's sort of funky, it would not be out of place in Venice (California, not Italy). I had a vegetarian take on eggs benedict (with eggs, not tofu). My wife had pumpkin tamales and poached eggs. Really good breakfast, the type of place we would put on our list if it was in L.A. For those not from Austin, this stretch of First has a bunch of cools shops and record stores and stuff. (We did go to Waterloo Records, also, but that's in a different area, near the Whole Foods.) First is a block over from South Congress, which is where Perla's is (as well as the Continental Club, where we also spent an evening).

We had a dinner at a place called Pelon's for Tex Mex. I don't know what made it different than just "Mex" because we can get fajitas and enchiladas in about 50 Mexican places walking distance to our home. We picked it because it was close to our hotel. It was fine, but nothing I couldn't get at home. I don't do "negative" reviews but I have to say this is not necessarily a place I'd go out of my way to recommend. Nice people, nice mean, but not special. There are probably some iconic Tex Mex places that I just missed this trip.

(LOL -- I'm totally mixed up on days now, lots of beer and tequila will do that).

At one point we stopped for a drink at Lambert's downtown. it was only after we stopped in that we remembered that this was the other place the lady at the UT store recommended along with Stubb's. We just had a baked oyster appetizer and it was a nice snack. Place seemed cool, but we were only there for a couple of drinks -- watching my wife shop in Urban Outfitter's is thirsty work.

Our last dinner in Austin was really great.

We ate at Swift's Attic on Congress. This is when we were going to go to La Barbecue but they were closed. We picked Swift's Attic because it was (1) walking distance to our hotel and (2) because it was also mentioned in that same restaurant issue of the Austin Chronicle.

Swift's Attic is up a flight of stairs in a nice building downtown. There is a bar to your left as up come up the stairs and the restaurant it towards the back of the building. We got a great table in the bar near a window. Perfect.

It's small plates, we shared everything.

We had the Seasonal Farm Vegetable Salad and thank heavens -- we were craving a nice salad. This was super fresh, with a light lemon dressing.

We ordered the pork cheeks with fig, mustard and toast and -- OMG -- so tender and tasty. I won't blaspheme your wonderful city by saying that it was juicier and better than all the brisket I ate -- but it was really delicious.

We had the shrimp boil with sausage and new potatoes and a couscous special that isn't on the online menu. Both were superb. It was also 3 dollar pint night and I got drunker than I realized on craft beer. This place also has a Monday night burger special that is only available after 9 pm and we were about an hour too early. It's supposed to be great, people were ordering them and just waiting for them to come out, but I never saw one.

That's about it for the food. For the last time: I wasn't trying to tell Austin regulars stuff they didn't know, just sharing what we had and letting visitors know some places that we tried. The trip was much more than just food; like hanging out on Sixth Street was an experience, but it didn't include any food.

Oh wait -- we did have a nice chocolate croissant on The Driskill, which is a lovely, old-fashioned hotel with a restaurant and bakery.

Thanks again, Austin. We'll be back.

Great Outdoor Breakfast in Beach Areas: South Bay, MDR, SM, Malibu

I've never had anything but breakfast there and we only go for the happy hour.

And, by the way, I never go in the summer. We only go to VB after school starts and the tourists have gone home.

The breakfast is fine and a bargain before nine.

Sep 16, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Great Outdoor Breakfast in Beach Areas: South Bay, MDR, SM, Malibu

Fig Tree Cafe in Venice on the Boardwalk is nice, but probably not up to the same food standard as some of the other, fancier places being suggested. It's mostly a local spot that has been around for a million years (or since 1978).

I only bring it up as a way to remind folks that Fig Tree has a breakfast happy hour from 8-9 every morning. I believe everything is half price from 8-9. This makes Fig Tree, if nothing else, a pretty nice value during Happy Hour, considering you can sit outside at the beach and get breakfast for like six bucks a person.

Sep 16, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Best non-solid food in town ;)

Sep 13, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Best non-solid food in town ;)

Sep 13, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

quiet place downtown for a meeting

I really like The Perch.

Amazing views of the city. Nice outdoor, rooftop patio and comfortable interior seating. Nice cocktail menu.

http://www.perchla.com/about.html

I've walked their from the 7th/Metro station -- less than a mile.

Sunday hours are 11am until 1 am.

Sep 12, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Noodles or Mongolian BBQ?

Me too.

My nephew is 17 and quite overweight. He passed out right after lunch.

Sep 12, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Noodles or Mongolian BBQ?

Both Big Wok in the South Bay and the MBBQ place in Westwood allow you to include long, spaghetti-like noodles, to your meat and vegetables before they cook fries it up. My nephew's method is to hand the man a bowl of meat and veggies (filled to the brim) and a bowl of noodles (filled to the brim) to be combined into one huge plate of food. (Last time he did this four times in 30 minutes -- basically eight bowls of food. Then he passed out).

Roll 'N Rye 'n Culver City Closing?

Just got back from my last visit.

They close Sunday at 4.

Sep 10, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

An ode to the ordinary: Shrimp Burrito

The one on Inglewood is attached to the butcher shop. It's where you can buy their carne asada for home grilling.

Sep 09, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

An ode to the ordinary: Shrimp Burrito

There are two Sanchez spots, one on Inglewood and one on Centinela. I don't think their shrimp burrito is great either, I was just noting it had no cheese.

Sep 09, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

An ode to the ordinary: Shrimp Burrito

Have you ever had the shrimp burrito at that place up on Lincoln on the SM/Venice border? I think it's called "La Playita." I haven't been there in half a decade, but really liked it back in the day.

It didn't have any cheese, though. The shrimp burrito at Sanchez on Inglewood doesn't have cheese either.

Great write-up, by the way, thanks.

Sep 09, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Is it Last Call for B.o.s. ? (Closing)

I agree with what you are saying, but maybe it's not just palate.

There are a lot of adventurous eaters who don't eat red meat for health reasons or at least eat very little red meat for health reasons. And those health concerns are heightened when it comes to offal as organ meat is often even higher in saturated fats and cholesterol than other beef. Even the best steak houses typically have a fish, poultry or even vegetarian dishes for those who eschew red meat. (Looking at the online menu, there is one non-meat dish, a pasta dish made with sea urchin and lobster.) My point: It's a concept that eliminates even adventurous eaters who avoid red meat for health reasons.

What do we call ...

email

Sep 09, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

What do we call ...

Word.

For what it's worth, I posed this question to Jonathan Gold and he wrote me right back.

In his opinion, if a place was better known for burgers (Jim's/Chroni's) it's a burger stand, if it's better known for tacos or Mexican (like Lucy's) it's a taco stand and if it's better known for burritos (like Lupe's #2) it's a burrito stand.

I don't necessarily agree, but I think there should be one name.

I think L.A.-style diner fits. Like "Jewish deli" or "Italian deli" or "Greek Coffee Shop"

There are a ton of them in L.A. We should own them.

aqui es texoco, who has had the non-lamb dishes as noted in the review below?

You left out one of the question marks.

What do we call ...

Agree.

The Original Tommy's doesn't fit the criteria, but the Tom's # do.

Sep 08, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Roll 'N Rye 'n Culver City Closing?

My next door neighbor called Rita. This is the last week. I think Saturday, maybe Sunday, is the last day.

Sep 08, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

What do we call ...

I think you're right. They are hamburger stands that do Mexican dishes because of the local demographic. They fill the same niche, in a way, that a coffee shop does, though the vibe is felt through a different prism.

My family goes to Centinela Cafe once in a while. It's the one closest to our house and that really matters in this particular equation because sometimes you just want to have a quick, unplanned dinner. But the other reason we go there is because the younger son can get the colossal burger (a burger with pastrami on the top), my older son can get huevos rancheros or huevos con machaca, my wife can get breakfast or a sandwich and I can get a chicken or bean burrito.

I wouldn't say any one of those items are the best of their type. But given that we can each get what we want and like what we got just enough (they make me a burrito with just fresh grilled chicken and beans and I like it well enough -- it's mostly protein and the chicken is juicy) -- the place serves a purpose. The food is better and cheaper than a chain coffee shop. Heck, I went to CdM the other night after the UCLA football game because I'd had a couple of drinks and needed a late night, bean burrito booze mop. Would I have preferred the bean and red at Lupe's #2. Yes. But I wasn't going to drive 30 miles at 11 pm for a bean burrito.

Sep 08, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

What do we call ...

Interesting question ... it's the type of thing I'd suggest for dish of the month ...

Tangentially, anyone who is interested in this topic (and hasn't already seen this) -- four guys ate their way through the whole Cinco de Mayo menu and did a tumblr/website about it:

http://www.88nights.com/

http://88cinco.tumblr.com/

Sep 08, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

What do we call ...

No, the pastrami is definitely not in the Jewish deli style.

Sep 08, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area
1

What do we call ...

In Los Angeles, there is a certain type of restaurant that seems ubiquitous, but I'm not sure what we call the.

The prototype would be the small handful of Lucy's around town. These are places that serve both Mexican (maybe it's Mexican American) food and American fare as well. So, you can get huevos rancheros or pastrami, you can get taquitos or a burger, you can get a burrito or chile fries. Lots of them serve fresh juices. The food is mostly pretty greasy, but also mostly homemade. The go to salad dressing will be a gooey Thousand Island.

They are all different, some better at some things than others. None are necessarily great, but some are good enough for certain things. They are sometimes open 24 hours, but not necessarily. Occasionally, one of them is so good at a particular thing that they become known for that one thing.

In Culver City, we have Cinco de Maio (24 hours) and Centinela Cafe (not 24 hours). Different places, but still fall under this category. As above, the very few Lucy's around fall into this category.

But they are everywhere. Just get off the 105 or the 710 or 605 or the 5 and drive down a main boulevard and you'll find a place where you can get a bacon cheese burger or huevos con machaca or a breakfast burrito or asada fries and menudo on the weekend. You won't find one in Beverly Hills, but probably will in Sylmar or Arcadia.

I'm just curious, is there a name for this common type of L.A. restaurant? Are they cafes? Diners? Just wondering.

BTW -- If there is no definitive name, maybe we should come up with one?

Sep 08, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Bean & Cheese Burrito, update

I'm not sure if you're talking about Lucy's or Lupe's, which is the spot Haeldaur was writing about.

At Lupe's #2, a bean and red is just beans and red salsa, a bean and green is bean and green salsa -- neither has cheese. A been and cheese could come with either red or green salsa. I'm a bean and red man, myself, though I usually order one bean and red and one bean and green because the red salsa is hot.

Sep 06, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Roll 'N Rye 'n Culver City Closing?

It's a moot point now.

But while RnR was far from great, it definitely wasn't necessary to drive all the way to MacArthur Park or Northridge for some chicken soup or maybe lox, eggs and onions. Langer's/Brent's are much better, of course, but RnR's matzoh ball soup or breakfast is/was decent enough that the drive down Alvarado or over the hill wasn't necessary.

I'm going to stop in one last time this week for a bowl of soup, just for old time's sake.

Funny thing about Langer's, but I would never make the trip if I wasn't eating the pastrami. Why would I deal with the commute/parking/train just for a bagel and lox?

Sep 06, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area
1

Roll 'N Rye 'n Culver City Closing?

RnR would never make the list of the city's best delis, but if you lived in or near CC, it was by far the most convenient. Now, we have Jerry's in the Marina, but it's not very good. Next closest is probably Lenny's on Westwood or Izzy's/Fromin's in Santa Monica.

Sep 05, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Tsujita Creates Its Niche in Little Osaka [REVIEW with photos]

That's a great review. Thanks.

Sep 03, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Marina del Rey recommendations please

Agree.

C&O (either location) is good for groups. The more particular eaters will enjoy it and those who would otherwise be at the Olive Garden or Bucca de Beppo will most definitely enjoy it.

I've organized a number of dinners at the location closer to Lincoln (and have been to the location across from Cow's End a number of times as well) and they've either given us the back patio or the upstairs, depending on number of people. You can order for the whole party in advance and they'll handle special orders/requests the night of, if necessary. If you don't order in advance, there is usually something for anyone and everyone on the menu.

It's a good place for groups with a variety of diners with different tastes and expectations.

And the garlic knots are really tasty.

Sep 03, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area

Westlake Village coffee and eats

I like to think that sounds familiar to me.

It was a nice spot, too bad it's gone

Aug 29, 2014
PaulF in Los Angeles Area