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L.A. Dish of the Month, September 2015 -- POTATOES

Oops. Been living in Eagle Rock too long; forgotten my Hollywood streets.

L.A. Dish of the Month, September 2015 -- POTATOES

In case he doesn't check back in:

1552 N. Cahuenga Blvd.

(corner of Cahuenga and Ivar, one block north of Amoeba Records)

L.A. Dish of the Month, September 2015 -- POTATOES

...and you guys have both my undying love (great poutine!) and sympathy for opening just before Los Angeles went into heatwave mode. When it gets cooler, Hounds should go give Smoke's a try! Definitely classic Chow food!

L.A. Dish of the Month, September 2015 -- Voting


Aug 28, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area

Best chain fried chicken restaurant?

Really, Jimisi...just DON'T. It bears no relation to the Kentucky Fried Chicken that we used to love. It's disgusting–think of the pics you've seen of chicken raised from cradle to grave in tightly packed cages...that's what KFC (and, to be honest, probably Popeye's) is now.

If you can't find a good local alternative, just get the cast-iron pan out, find a good locally-sourced chicken seller, and do it yourself. There are plenty of good recipes that imitate the KFC batter.

Aug 25, 2015
annagranfors in Chains

Best chain fried chicken restaurant?

For something that I used to love, I've found KFC disgusting for some years now.

I guess I'd go with Popeye's...not really great by any means, but good sides and the "$5 box" is coming back at the end of the month.

I'm going to guess that there'll be a lot of votes for Chick-Fil-A, but even though their product's good, their politics stink.

Wish there was another alternative...I'm fortunate to live in Los Angeles, where Howlin' Ray's Nashville Hot Chicken just popped up–delicious, but it's a tad pricy...however, their chicken's all locally sourced/free-range.

But it'd be nice if someone did a chain that was like the OG Kentucky Fried Chicken...I'd pay double for that. (Hell, I'd say that about most of the major fast-food chains.)

Raya vs. Eno Steak vs. Stonehill Tavern - Any recent reports!

Hey, if Brian Peter George de la Salle St. John le Baptiste Eno's makin' steak, I'm *so* there. Ambient steak...nom nom nom! :)

Aug 13, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Dish of the Month, August 2015 -- HOT DOGS/SAUSAGES


Aug 01, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Dish of the Month, August 2015 -- HOT DOGS/SAUSAGES

Larry's Chili Dog in Burbank makes the best chili cheese dog in the Los Angeles area at the moment. The honor (as you all well know) used to belong to the Wiener Factory, but Larry's comes *awful* close.

Be aware that they close *AT 5 PM*, not 6 as most of the Yelpoid sites will tell you. I went at 5:45 a while ago, and was told by one of their employees that they were closed. It really peeved me, and I gave them one star at Yelp...until I hit them up again at 4:45. They were starting to close...had the "closed" sign up and everything, but they said as long as I got them to go, they'd gladly make me a pair. Yes, please! And while I was waiting, I looked off to the right of the order window, and their posted open/closed hours sign–which looked like it'd been up for some time–clearly read 5 pm. So I ate the delicious dogs, and revised my review at Yelp to include the not-so-delicious humble pie that I had to eat...and a strong recommendation for them. Inexpensive, and delicious.

But I'll always love the Wiener Factory version the best. When they got to know me as a regular, they'd even slip an extra dog in. God, how I wish they'd come back.


Hmm. The menu doesn't really compare to the Naugles I used to frequent (a LOT...I lived a few blocks away and was working for crap wages) at Santa Monica & Highland in the early 80s, before they turned into a Del Taco. It looks better, but I was fond of that era's Naugles because they were much the same as that era's Taco Bells with added burgers/American fare...good, but not great. Unless the very Mexican menu that I saw in the Eater piece can top the hundreds of great taco trucks/stands that we have all over town, why bother?

Jul 29, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area

What is up with Burger King?

*Not* saying I'd eat at the "classic" versions of the chains all the time, were they to come about–rather that it'd be nice to have the option available. They'd become a nice option to the chains as they are, and I might eat there once in a while, as opposed to the never that's currently the case.

And A&W's sugary root beer, the original version...? As a devout anti-HFCS type, I'd hit that up at least once a week!

The "McDonald's Classics" that you describe–if the product was nutritionally the same as what's on offer now–what's the point? I don't love the golden arches enough (or at all) to go to a place that makes the same crap they do now, in an architecturally nostalgic environment.

They were all capable of making palatable (if not to be eaten everyday) food at one point...they *could* do it again, albeit at a higher price that it'd take to make everything like they used to.

Jul 26, 2015
annagranfors in Chains

What is up with Burger King?

Y'know, if ALL of the chains would open "classic" versions of their stores, with the menu as we remember them in the 60s and raise the price a buck or two, I'd be there. I used to *love* Whoppers, Big Macs (and tallow fat fries), Taco Bell's whole lineup, and especially A&W drive-ins with carhops and sugary root beer and the "family" of burgers.

It's a tragedy that all of them have become what they are–purveyors of obesity, and worse, onramps to diabetes. But it's another sign of the times–cheap, godawful "food" made for people who can't afford anything better.

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - July 2015 [Old]

To each their own, but I quite like BelGioiso's burrata, and bearing in mind that awards aren't necessarily the final word on what's good, BelGioiso's burrata took first place in the 2014 American Cheese Society's Awards.

Thanks for the suggestion, though. I'm in Los Angeles, though, so the Maple Brook burrata's probably not available locally. And as I said, the current TJ's burrata was pretty delicious, especially for the $5 price for 8 oz.

Jul 07, 2015
annagranfors in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - July 2015 [Old]

Thanks for the suggestions, but alas; no dairy code. TJ's (in an entry on their webpage from 2014) says it's made "by a Wisconsin cheesemaker that specializes in traditional Italian cheeses".

As a matter of fact, this:

...suggests that it may indeed be BelGioioso who's making it now!

All I know is that it's much, much better than my first batch in 2010, and at $4.99, I'll be going back for more.

Jul 03, 2015
annagranfors in Chains

Trader Joe's YAY/MEH/NAY Thread - July 2015 [Old]

I started a thread back in 2010 about TJ's burrata being fairly disgusting, with commenters mostly in agreement...but I thought I'd take another shot at it yesterday...and either my tastebuds are going on me, or it's actually gotten Meh+/Yay-!

My go-to burrata back then was Gioia's, but they got hit by a warning from the FDA a few years ago. (I'm hopeful they took care of the violations, but haven't had it since.)

BelGioioso is probably my current favorite, but TJ's–at a fraction of the price–tasted pretty nice last night! (As always, I grabbed one from the back, hoping that it was fresher.)

Anyone else tried it again...?

Jul 03, 2015
annagranfors in Chains

L.A. Dish of the Month, July 2015 -- Voting


As before, especially chili cheese dogs. :)

Jun 27, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Dish of the Month, July 2015 -- Nominations


L.A. Dish of the Month, July 2015 -- Nominations dogs! Especially chili cheese dogs–I like Larry's Chili Dog in Burbank, but it's still not a patch on the Wiener Factory. (Killed by a Pinkberry that I'm not even sure ever opened, but if so, they're long gone now. Don't make it out to Sherman Oaks that much any more.)

Jun 21, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area

Olga Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

NOOOO! They weren't the best gyros, but I loved 'em dearly. The pita was always superlative...just a little sweet, in the best way.

I was a habitue of the Olga's on State St. in Ann Arbor in the late seventies–I missed them intensely after I moved to LA in 1980.

They–like so many other beloved restos of my youth–will be missed.

Jun 12, 2015
annagranfors in Chains

are there any good dive bars left in greater downtown LA?

Are you maybe thinking of Yee Mee Loo? Mediocre restaurant/great dive bar one block west of Philippe's?

Even if not, it was a GREAT dive bar with an incredible jukebox.


Jun 06, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area

Helping picking a GREEK Restaurant on West side?

Yeah, the state of Greek food (especially gyros) in LA's kinda sad...I'll agree with 90024. Papa Cristo's gyros isn't spit-roasted, and my favorite gyros from back east always was.

That area of town (W. Pico) is still referred to as Greektown (there's still even a Greek Orthodox church there)...but I think the Greeks decamped from LA a while ago.

Jun 01, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area

What items do you wish Trader Joe's would make/stock?

There was a similar thread a while back, and I'll repeat what I said there...I wish they'd do their own take on "TV Dinners". A three or four course meal, any nationality's cuisine from the US to the farthest-flung corner of the earth. And maybe a little bit bigger than ye olde Swanson's...14-16 oz. or so.

I'll grant that since they outsource their frozen stuff, this would probably be hard to make happen. But I'd love to see what they could do with the idea. It'd make microwaved lunch (or dinners) a lot nicer, if done right.

L.A. Taco's Taco Madness 2015 (A Photo Story)

[Emily Litella]...oh. That's very different. Never mind. [/Emily Litella]

Apr 20, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Taco's Taco Madness 2015 (A Photo Story) don't think you mean what you think you mean. Most of the best tacos in Greater Los Angeles all come from trucks or stands, and paying money for the aforementioned wonders is hardly ridiculous.

Have you *really* never had a taco that didn't come from a brick and mortar restaurant? Why not? "Food trucks" don't automatically mean subpar or unclean...and most of the ones I frequent have "A" ratings from the city.

New Cheese Shop opening in Sherman Oaks on Ventura

Milkfarm in Eagle Rock, on Colorado close to Eagle Rock Blvd., seems to have escaped most people's notice (they're celebrating their first anniversary), and if you're in this neck of the woods, you should stop by...good cheese, nice looking sandwich menu (haven't had the chance to have one yet) and super-friendly (and helpful) staff.

Apr 08, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area

Hey, expat Canadians (or Wisconsinoids)...where do YOU buy cheese curds online for delivery in, say, California (or other equidistant locations)?

Thanks for the offer, smaki, but I've got relatives in PDX and will probably be paying them a visit soon. Since I usually cut across to Highway 1 from the 5 when I get past SF (it's a beautiful drive-whales cresting all along the coast), I can go visit Tillamook on the way back to the 5 and get some myself.

I appreciate your idea of buying curds from them to resell to those looking for them, but seriously doubt that Tillamook would sell you enough to make it a serious business proposition. They seem to be pretty insistent that they can only be bought on premises, and wouldn't want to have their brand possibly sullied by a second-party reseller.
As I said, they used to sell them online, but I think that the problems in getting FedEx/UPS overnight delivery to work forced them to stop. It'd be nice if they could work it out, but I'm tending to doubt it.

But by all means, take the trip and try some for yourself–I agree about their other cheeses, have had the smoked cheddar and agree that it's wonderful stuff, and expect that their curds will be of the same high standards. I look forward to visiting them soon.

Apr 03, 2015
annagranfors in General Topics

Hey, expat Canadians (or Wisconsinoids)...where do YOU buy cheese curds online for delivery in, say, California (or other equidistant locations)?

Thanks for the recs/info so far, everybody!

I'll try writing James Norton to see what he says on the matter.

smaki–I thought about posting this on the cheese boards, but cheese curds are used (basically) for one of two things:

1) an essential ingredient for the Quebecois dish called "poutine", which literally means "mess". It's a bed of french fries with curds put on top of them, and then a gravy. (That's the basic poutine; there are many variations that add anything from Montreal smoked meats to, well, you name it.) It is NOT a gourmet dish by any means, more something one has after a night out at the bar. *Hic.*

2) a snack food–kids (and adults) in the upper Midwest nosh on them as a treat. And truth be told, that's how I prefer them, too.

But make no mistake–good curds (and the best curds are no more than a day old) are a delight. They're cheddar at its very freshest, before the aging process. Oregon's own Tillamook makes acclaimed curds, but although they used to sell them online, you can only get them by going to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. (Bit of a trip for me.)

In answer to your question about cost, it seems that (if you buy them at the source) you can get them for $5–10 for bags ranging from 8 to 16 oz.

They are definitely NOT, then, an artisanal cheese eater's aging, no blue veins...just fresh, squeaky goodness. And from what I've seen on the cheese boards, not the type of cheese that folks there discuss, so I posted it here instead.

Anyway, thanks again for the responses...I have a few expat friends who are curd fiends and will probably be trying most if not all of the links you've kindly posted. But please...keep 'em coming! :)

Apr 02, 2015
annagranfors in General Topics

Hey, expat Canadians (or Wisconsinoids)...where do YOU buy cheese curds online for delivery in, say, California (or other equidistant locations)?

That's really the nut of the question in the topic header...there are quite a few choices online (albeit with the dread shipping charges), but unfortunately, I don't know who makes THE best. I've gotten Beehive curds from Utah that are pretty good (and have the advantage of being sold locally here in Los Angeles, but only every other month), and Beecher's, who took first place for their curds in the American Cheese Society competition–both are good, but I can't help feeling that some Hound somewhere knows where to buy the PERFECT curds...oh, and please, white, not yellow...

And it seems that there are no Canadian cheesemakers who will ship to the US...or are there? I haven't found one yet, but maybe you know...?

Thanks in advance!

Mar 31, 2015
annagranfors in General Topics

McDonald’s to Test Expanded Breakfast Hours

Yeah, but dimes to dollars sez they won't be doing the "two Sausage McMuffins with Egg" at the AM reduced price ($3.50, I think...?) but at their "normal" price, so no sale.

They're okay at the nice price, but if I gotta pay the $5 to $6 for two that I'm guessing they'll be, I can get an Applewood smoked bacon omelette down the street with far better hash browns and fresh buttermilk biscuit for $2 more.

And if I'm honest, I usually feel a little sick after eating them, anyway...and that's the only thing on the breakfast menu I like. Except for the mild nausea, that is.

Mar 31, 2015
annagranfors in Chains

Grass fed meats, pastured eggs * PLACES TO EAT*

Square One is a good bet, though they're only open till 3 pm–breakfast/brunch only. But probably the best breakfast you'll find in LA. They're on Fountain, right across from the big blue Scientology building, a few blocks west of Vermont.

Mar 26, 2015
annagranfors in Los Angeles Area