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On a budget in Avignon...

Yeah, I read about Les Halles, super excited to check it out. But are there any can't-miss stalls/good deals I should be especially aware of?

Jul 02, 2012
thestratbrat in France

On a budget in Avignon...

Bonjour French Chowhounders!

My friend and I are coming to Avignon next week. We both love food but have very little money... any suggestions for how to experience all that awesome French goodness without going broke? Street food, market food, cheap-ish bistros?

(um, and please don't flag me, but if anyone knows someone with spare floor or couch space for two extremely nice girls on any night between July 10th-15th or thereabouts, you'd have my eternal gratitude, plus a giant bag of delicious food souvenirs from Berlin.)

Jul 02, 2012
thestratbrat in France

In Berlin and looking for Kaya (Singaporean coconut jam)

For sure. There are a number of non-Germanized restaurants (not a sushi bar in sight) and all the supermarkets have decent-looking premade snacks. I made the mistake of ordering pho at the Northern Viet place (in my defense, I was hung over and pretty much just stumbled towards the first "pho" sign I saw) and it was still miles better than what I've had in Kreuzberg. But I'll definitely try the bun ca cha next time...or go somewhere else for com tam...aah, I want to go back now.

Mar 15, 2012
thestratbrat in Europe

In Berlin and looking for Kaya (Singaporean coconut jam)

@OP: Just discovered the wealth of Asian groceries in the Dong Xuan Center in Lichtenberg. Mostly Vietnamese stuff, but if any place in Berlin has jarred kaya, it'd be that one. And if it doesn't have it, you can console yourself with pho.
@linguafood: Good find! I finally tried it and though I came too late for the specials, the noodle soup was great. If you wanna go on any further foodventures in Berlin, let me know - just starting writing for an expat magazine and it's kinda my lame dream to jazz up the food section a little bit.

Mar 12, 2012
thestratbrat in Europe

In Berlin and looking for Kaya (Singaporean coconut jam)

That looks great! Next Saturday for sure. Nice blog, too--yours?

Feb 27, 2012
thestratbrat in Europe

In Berlin and looking for Kaya (Singaporean coconut jam)

You can also approximate it with coconut milk, eggs, and sugar, yes?

To piggyback on this thread, do any of you Berlin-based Asian food appreciators know somewhere with decent Thai noodle soup? Four months here and I'm really starting to crave some of my LA standbys, even inferior versions of them...

Feb 26, 2012
thestratbrat in Europe

Echo Park dinner?

Mohawk Bend! For casual, inexpensive food and beer, nothing else in that area even comes close.

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Mohawk Bend
2141 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Sep 29, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

rau ma/pennywort where?

I see it pretty consistently at A Grocery in Echo Park.

Sep 25, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

fat spoon, downtown?

It's good, probably the best curry place in Little Tokyo (erm, although there's not much competition...what, Curry House and maybe Suehiro? and both of those use mixes). The garlic oil condiment is a must. And you should ignore JGold's advice and try the tarako pasta if you're curious. I've never had it at Spoon House, but Fat Spoon makes a tasty version that you don't have to drive to freaking Gardena for.
...oh, and it's probably the least $ you'll spend for anything Michael Cardenas-affiliated, so there's that.

Sep 13, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Pal Cabron Alternatives

Update: I finally tried the suggestive cemitas truck and it was, uh, kind of a bust. Mostly the bread's fault, though the filling wasn't much to write home about either. I'll look into other K-Town trucks.

Sep 07, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

where to get fresh octopus (near downtown)?

If you don't want to go as far as Koreatown, Woori Market (formerly Mitsuwa/Little Tokyo Marketplace) in the Little Tokyo Galleria has a good seafood department with lots of octopus. Sometimes they even have live ones swimming around.

Jul 22, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Savory bites for $2 and under

Piggybacking off this list:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/07/be...

They did an alright job, but you know there's more $2 goodness to be had in the broke Chowhound's paradise that is LA. I'm thinking potato balls at Porto's (probably the most egregious omission), onigiri at Nijiya, banh mi at My Dung (filling's not great, but the bread's good), tacos tacos tacos, and why include the kinpira inari at M Cafe de Chaya when you can get blue crab or spicy tuna at Cham in Pasadena for 50 cents less? Or if you're not hungry but just want the best possible $2 bite, there are those oysters at the Hollywood farmer's market...

What else?

Jul 18, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Pal Cabron Alternatives

I really liked their bread. Maybe they just have times when it's not-so-fresh. Though they did give me my sandwich sans papalo without having asked whether or not I wanted it. (I didn't--still haven't quite acquired that taste--but it's the principle, you know?)

Jul 18, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Pal Cabron Alternatives

If you ask me, Don Adrian in Van Nuys is better and cheaper than Cabron, but it's definitely not nearby.
In K-town, there's a truck that parks on Wilshire around Vermont with a picture of a girl holding a couple of cemitas in front of...you can guess where. I'm thinking of trying that one soon, so I'll report back if it's any good.

Jul 17, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

LAX-C papaya salad FTW. What else is good there?

It's just there on weekends--not sure of the hours, but given the location, I'd guess it's a lunchtime affair.

Jun 27, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

LAX-C papaya salad FTW. What else is good there?

So after reading that list in Saveur, I tried the papaya salad at the little stand outside of LAX-C (aka Thai Costco, just outside of Chinatown near the metro station). The lady there lets you customize everything--number of chiles, amount of fish sauce, what have you--and even asks you to taste the sauce near the end to make sure the balance is to your liking. So good, especially after eating Trader Joe's Frozen Papaya Salad earlier this week, which is vegan (NO FISH SAUCE WTF?!?) and has some kind of weird chemical aftertaste.
I also had an empanada-ish thing that turned out to be filled with chicken and sweet bean paste--it confused my tastebuds for a second, but I think I liked it. And they also have satay and sausages and some kind grilled coconut cake that looked like Thai imagawayaki.
Finally, there's a steam table inside with curry lunch specials and some interesting-looking pre-packaged stuff. I'm thinking of going back to try that for lunch in the near future...has anyone reading this eaten there before? What's good?

Jun 25, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Decent Dim Sum in Chinatown?

Just tried Ocean a couple weeks ago, and I agree about the quality. However, the second my (mostly white) group was seated, we were surrounded by a crush of servers who started pushing all the high-ticket items on us. One of them actually put a plate down and stamped our card without our agreeing to it. Again, everything was really good--and nothing was *that* expensive--but it did feel like we got taken advantage of.

(Then again, which is worse: that, or seeing those almond milk pastry things at every freaking table at Capital Seafood in SGV yet not being able to get one to save your life? I guess no matter where you go, you're gonna get whited.)

Jun 14, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Is there any specialty grocery store like Berkeley Bowl in Los Angeles???

Figueroa Produce might be a mini-version of what you describe. Lots of vegan, organic and local products as well as fruits and veggies from South Central Farmers and grass-fed meat. And the people--and prices--are super nice.

Jun 06, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Why does Jitlada always forget my rice?

Not rice, necessarily, but I have come to expect 20+ minutes between being seated and being waited on, 45+ minutes between being waited on and being served, 20+ minutes of burning curry mouth between asking for a drink refill and receiving said refill...Ooh, and they did forget an entire dish once.

It's the reason I've only been to Jitlada a few times despite absolutely loving the food. And I *know* some of yall are gonna be all like "well every time I go Jazz waits on me personally blah blah off menu items blah blah"...doesn't matter. They could show a little more respect for us little people.

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Jitlada
5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

May 24, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Young Graduates, Moving to LA: Where Would they like to dine?

Umami Burger is very LA and has vegetarian options. Plus, industry types eat there a lot, and $40 will cover two or more meals, which not-so-flush new transplants might appreciate.

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Umami Burger
850 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

May 15, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Banh Mi Che Cali - overrated! Buu Dien - underrated!

Yeah, not so much with Nom Nom. I tried it today because it was the most appealing option in one of those food truck lots, and it wasn't terrible, but certainly not great, and definitely not worth $5 given all the amazing versions out there for half that price.

May 12, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Best Mandoo in K-Town?

+1. Try the mandoo kalguksu, wherein you get dumplings *and* hand-cut noodles. Also, one of the banchan is a more-than-decent plate of ddukbokki!

Apr 26, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Cooks Illustrated Peruvian Roast Chicken

I know, right? Something about that combination of herbs and spices and habanero...can't even imagine how awesome it would be on an actual grill. Soon...

I think my problem stemmed from a combination of factors - I didn't dry the skin enough, I didn't marinate it long enough for the juices to get sucked back in, and I put too much water/potatoes in the roasting pan towards the end. Although I daresay the resulting Peruvian-spiced potatoes were worth it.

Side note: if you make it with a beer can and are dared to drink the hot, chicken-flavored beer that is left in the can at the end, don't do it. It will be the most disgusting thing you have ever tasted.

Apr 20, 2011
thestratbrat in Home Cooking

Cooks Illustrated Peruvian Roast Chicken

Has anyone else tried this recipe? Yes, you have to pay for it on the CI site, but there are various "adaptations" floating around on the Internet. My chicken turned out ridiculously awesome, flavor-wise, even with less than the recommended 6 hours of marinating time. Definitely a keeper.

Just one thing bugged me, though: roasting the chicken on a beer can in the oven yielded skin that was nicely crispy on top, but fairly flabby on the legs/thighs, even after a finishing blast of 500 degrees. How could I remedy this? Could I flip the chicken around halfway through cooking, plopping it on the beer can via the neck hole, or will it fall over?

Apr 18, 2011
thestratbrat in Home Cooking

Berlin Currywurst

Aww, come on...they're the nicest people ever and, authenticity aside, they serve damn good currywurst at reasonable prices. I'd take their 'wurst over some of the stuff I ate off carts in Berlin. A bun option would be nice, but thick, chewy German-style bread also works.
And re: the name -- I think the food-in-a-foreign-country equivalent you are looking for is, like, if someone from Connecticut or NJ moved anywhere but Italy and opened a place called "New York Pizza." It's a name people will recognize, and it's not exactly a big deal.

Apr 07, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Downtown near (or easy from) Union Station

If you want a really quintessential LA sandwich experience, check out Philippe's French Dip - it's right across from Union Station.
Oh, and you don't want to leave Southern California, and the Inland Empire in particular, without hitting up In-N-Out. There are a couple right near Claremont - not walking distance, but a very short bus or cab ride will take you there.

Apr 03, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Lunch between Macarthur Park and K-Town?

Ooh, the tamale place sounds brilliant. Pico's a bit far, though...

What about on the Korean side of things?

Mar 29, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Lunch between Macarthur Park and K-Town?

I take the bus to my new internship near La Fayette Park, and I want to find lunch places that are a ten-minute walk or less away. Walking east for ten minutes takes me to Macarthur Park (Wilshire/Alvarado); walking west for ten minutes takes me to the eastern edge of Koreatown (Wilshire/Vermont).

I don't want to spend more than $10 - less than $5 would be preferable - although maybe I'll splurge on Langer's if I'm feeling particularly flush. What are my options? There seem to be a lot of Guatemalan and Salvadoran places in that area - anyone know anything about those?

Mar 29, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Banh Mi Che Cali - overrated! Buu Dien - underrated!

I went to the Alhambra BMCC after trying to go to My Tho (closed Mondays; who knew?) and picked up a few sandwiches to split with the boyfriend for lunch/dinner/today's lunch. It was my first Che Cali experience, and honestly, I was underwhelmed. At 3 for $5, the price was certainly right, but I couldn't get on board with the fillings - dry pork, beef resembling unflavored hamburger meat, and no pate on the dac biet. Pate is, like, the only reason I get dac biet, and it wasn't there! I also found the pickled veggies to be a bit too sweet, the mayo over-applied, and the cilantro, well, nonexistent.

Last week, I had a banh mi dac biet from Buu Dien in Chinatown - commonly regarded here as good for LA, but worse than even the most mediocre SGV offering - and it was delish. Good variety of meats, not too much mayo, a healthy schmear of pate, loaded with fresh veggies and cilantro. OK, the bread could be better, but if you eat it before noon it's pretty decent.

Anyone have any other favorites I should know about? Where should I go the next time I'm craving banh mi in the SGV on a Monday? Any Chinatown places I'm missing out on?

Mar 15, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area

Best of Little Tokyo?

Here are a few of my faves:
Sushi - Sushi Gen and Sushi Go 55 both serve fresh fish at reasonable prices.
Izakaya (beer/sake and nibbles) - Honda-ya for a big group; Haru-Ulala for dates/smaller groups. The latter has a great happy hour, too.
Noodles - Daikokuya for classic ramen; Chin-Ma-Ya for spicy sesame noodles; Koraku for slightly greasy, good-when-you're-drunk food.
Comfort food - Suehiro does decent versions of basic dishes like rice bowls, curry and teriyaki. I'm into their chazuke (rice porridge) which is pretty much the best thing in the world when you have an upset stomach but still need to eat something. Not sure if that's what you're after.
Dessert - Mochi ice cream (or, uh, "mochilato") at Mikawaya.

Have fun! Are you planning on just spending a day there, or discovering it little by little?

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Daikokuya
327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Suehiro Cafe
337 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Mikawaya
118 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Sushi Go 55
333 S Alameda St Ste 317, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Koraku
314 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Izakaya
8420 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Feb 20, 2011
thestratbrat in Los Angeles Area