mpken's Profile

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Tacos Baja Ensenada, Lawndale, South Bay

I hope to get in before the Wednesday lines get our of control. Great find. Going there tomorrow to check it out.

Nov 17, 2014
mpken in Los Angeles Area

What's opened this week in Madrid that an old Franco-Yankee guy will find as good food, not minding decor and location?

Citykid426, Thanks for posting your awesome map.

Nov 09, 2014
mpken in Spain/Portugal

Mapo Galbi - excellent dak kalbi (spicy korean chicken) w/ pics

Just saw David Chang post a picture about this place. Thanks for the write up. Bump old post. LOL.

Nov 02, 2014
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Gentrification of Los Angeles Chinatown Continues--Little Jewel

Like preaching to the choir. Now I have a few friends chomping at the bit for the full menu.

Aug 17, 2014
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Gentrification of Los Angeles Chinatown Continues--Little Jewel

Been following this thread and just looked up the location. Talk about flash back. I remember eating here in one of its Chinese incarnations as a youngster and look forward to checking out Little Jewel. Wishing Chef Markvs and Eunah good mojo in their endeavor. My mouth hasn't watered this much from reading a thread since the opening of Animal.

Aug 02, 2014
mpken in Los Angeles Area
1

Can't Miss Eats in San Diego

I'm OK with the late updates since this is thread is on the top when I search for SD.

Jul 16, 2014
mpken in San Diego
1

Just a heads up in El Monte

That looks good. Going to check that out. We've been looking for a new pozole spot.

Feb 02, 2014
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Har Lam Kee (Monterey Park) Closing

The venerable Har Lam Kee on Garvey in Monterey Park is closing its doors after service tomorrow, Sunday, Feb 2. Apparently the lease is up and the property owner wants to remodel the space to bump up the rent. No plans to reopen after the remodel.

I'll miss their Lo Ban "The Boss'" jook and the dumplings. They had a great run and was one of the few places in Monterey Park that really felt like a caring family ran the place.

My family will be going one last time for the jook, fried tofu, rice noodle rolls, dumpling noodle soup, and to say goodbye to HLK staff. Thanks for the chow-worthy memories.

kapolei eats

SoCal Boy-So how was the food in Kapolei or the surroundings?

Dec 12, 2013
mpken in Hawaii

Pancakes - Ranch House Cafe and Grill, Diamond Bar

While waiting for a friend, I wandered into Ranch House Cafe and Grill in Diamond Bar. I was expecting to order steak and eggs, but ended up getting an omelet and a pancake. The omelet was Meg, but the pancake was pretty good. It was light, fluffy, and crisp on the top and edges. I was quite surprised after finishing the forgetable omelet and wasn't going to eat the pancake at all. Too bad I didn't have the pancake first.

If you are in the area and see McDonald's, Farmer Boys, or Bob's as breakfast options, I would suggest Ranch House if you like pancakes. Their omelets need work, but the pancakes were very good.

May 25, 2013
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Hong Kong Waffles in LA?

Available at Younique Cafe on Garvey in Monterey Park.

Feb 20, 2013
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Juniors Deli is Closing:(

Nice find and fun read from J. Gold 20+ years ago.

Dec 28, 2012
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Nearby Son of a Gun for dinner?

Mmmm, Gusto sounds good. Good think you didn't make it to SOAG. We found it not as gratifying as it could be.

Nov 12, 2012
mpken in Los Angeles Area

PRIME RIB

In general, I would say prime rib is sometimes good, most of the time not, but way better than a steak at a HK cafe. The center will be bloody to medium most of the time if ordered that way. It is the sauce or a jus used that makes or breaks it at these types of places.

Sep 24, 2012
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Lower Manhattan Seafood or Asian Restaurants?

We've had many fine Chinese seafood meals at Delight 28 and Fuleen Seafood while visiting family. These two are in Manhattan's Chinatown and can accommodate parties large and small.

Sep 10, 2012
mpken in Manhattan

Best noodles in Thai Town (2012)?

Ok, now I have to try the duck noodles at Hoy Ka. Off to the Hoy Ka on Garfield in MPk. Thx NS1.

Aug 31, 2012
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Portland Trip Report - 4 Days of Chow-ing

Enjoy your time in Portland. The coco doughnut was so good. The cinnamon drink at Cacao was the most enjoyable for us. The Salt & Straw cart had not line and is a couple of blocks from Pok Pok, but only 4 or 5 flavors available. I wish we had more time to check out the non food places like Powell Books and ride bikes around town.

Jul 30, 2012
mpken in Metro Portland

Portland Trip Report - 4 Days of Chow-ing

Thanks. Portland is a gem of a city. I had to do this brain dump before I forgot the details. I can guess all of the walking and biking to get around town would enable more eating. What a great combination.

Jul 30, 2012
mpken in Metro Portland

Portland Trip Report - 4 Days of Chow-ing

Portland trip report 7/20/2012 - 7/23/2012

Instead of SF this year, we opted to eat our way through Portland over our a four day stay. Without a car, we walked, took public transportation, and cabs to get around the city. It was refreshing not having to drive to get to all of our destinations. On to the food...

Friday

Coco Doughnuts
- coco (it is so good!)
- maple buttermilk bar
- apple fritter
- maple old fashion
- plain raised
- coffee
the coco doughnut and apple fritter were outstanding.

Lunch at food pods at SW10th and Alder (walked)
- Nong's Khao Man Gai piset chicken and rice
- Angel’s Cabana black bean and cheese pupusa
- The Grilled Cheesus from The Grilled Cheese Grill. Burger with grilled cheese sandwiches for the bun.
- Fried Cod and Chips from the Scottish Chip pod.
- Pierogi
After dropping our bags at the hotel, we wandered over to the food pods at SW10th and Alder. Good stuff at each of the pods we tried. A nice introduction to Portland Food Pod culture. Order, wait, then find a place to sit at O'Bryant Square park caddy corner to the pod lot and enjoy.

Dinner at Castagna (~$10 cab ride each way from city center)
-10 course tasting
-5 amuse bouche
-cocktails
I'll leave this for a follow up post. Good interesting modern food. Really good desserts.

Saturday

Brunch at PSU Farmer's Market (walked)
- Chicken and biscuit
- biscuit with pimento cheese
- breakfast burritto
- marion berry and creamed cheese pocket pie
- Freddy Guys hazelnuts
- pickled asparagus
- apple cider and apple/pear cider
- rogue creamery curds (for later)
- Olympic Provisions Saucisson d'Arles (for later)
- ginny fowl pate from Chop (for later)
- prunes (for later)
A pretty large market with a good assortment of produce stands, prepared foods, and crafts. Worth waiting in line for the chicken and biscuits and breakfast burrito. The hazelnuts are something worth bringing back as gifts for loved ones. Fresh berries at their peak abound. It was a nice start to our Saturday.

Washington Park + Japanese Gardens. (Max rail + bus)
Packed a few things from the PSU market for snacks after a long afternoon walking around the grounds. We snacked on Olympic Provisions salami, pretzel bread, bagels, hazelnuts, cheese curds, and prunes. A good tiny meal to power us to our 9pm dinner. The burley bearded bus driver was an excellent impromptu tour guide who pointed out the sites and some history of the park.

Dinner at Payley's Place (street car to, #15 bus from)
- fries with mustard aioli
- bread and butter
- beef tartar, with all the fixings: egg yolk, onion/shallots, capers, pickles, grilled bread.
- crispy sweetbreads with morels and herb spatzel
- tomato soup
- hamachi with egg yolk and ponzu dipping sauce
- soft shell crab (half portion)
- sweet corn and ricotta ravioli (full portion)
- roast pork shoulder with iberico jowl confit (half portion)
- flat iron steak (half portion)
- 3 cheeses - Rogue Creamery Flora Nella blue, an Oregon chevre, and a soft Oregon cow's milk. comes with nut bread, flat bread, and Paley bar.
- chocolate collection plate
- 3 scoops of sorbets of the day
Made reservation one month ahead for a 7pm seating on Saturday night. The Saturday reservation got recorded as a Friday at 7pm. We got it changed to Saturday, but only 9pm was available. As feared, the restaurant was packed and waited over 30 minutes, which didn't help the mood. Once seated, the salmon was gone and the featured cocktail also unavailable. Not totally surprised, but a bit disappointing. We got a comped an order of fries and enjoyed those with our drinks as we perused the menu. Everything that came down was good. Half portions are the way to go if you want to have a 3 or 4 course meal. We shared the beef tartar. I wouldn't hessitate to order any of the items again. Overall a nice meal at a fare price. We can understand why it gets the accolades that it does. Our advice is to get an early reservation. With a 9pm reservation thing are bound to run out and we got on the #15 bus near midnight for our ride downtown.

Sunday

Coffee at Ristretto Roasters (bus to Tasty N Sons, same commercial complex)
- Iced coffee
- cowboy blend and Ethopian Kaffa
- Latte
Nice medium roast on the beans excetuated the fruitiness of the coffee. Ice coffe and latte yielded a nice nutty flavor.

Brunch at Tasty N Sons
- bloody marys
- almosa
- virgin bloody
- chocolate potato doughnut w creme anglais
- breakfast board. charcuterie, beef jerky, creamy cheese with herb olive oil, bread, pickled beets,
- fried green tomato BLT
- potatoes bravas w/ over easy eggs
- Moroccan chicken hash with harissa cream & over easy eggs
- Burmese red pork stew with rice and eggs two ways
- polenta & sausage ragu with mozzarella and fried egg
A bus ride and a two block walk to get there. Upon arrival, we were warmly greated with an estimated 1.5 hour wait. We put our name down, left a phone number, and explored the building's other tenants. We sampled a few great sausages at Chop, items we didn't see at the PSU market. We had some fine coffee at Restretto. The call that our table was ready arrived not long after finishing our coffee and not the 1.5 hours expected. Once seated, we ordered a few dishes from the almost overwhelmingly mouth watering selection. Definitely get the doughnuts. Overall, not a bad dish was served and we left happy and sated. Portland seems to love brunch, certainly loves Tasty N Sons, and now we know why.

Portland Saturday and Sunday Market (bus from Tasty N Sons to the birdge at Burnside St)
Rogue Brewery Hazelnut Brown Nectar while watching SupaDupa Marimba Bros play "Bad Romance".

Looked at the lines at Voodoo Doughnuts and the Big A$$ Sandwich pod.

Coffe at Stumptown
mellow roast, nice space.

Chocolate drink flight from Cacao
- cinnamon. smooth milk chocolate with a hint of cinnamon. our favorite of the three
- rivoli. lucious dark chocolate with a sweet tang finish
- spicy. punchy spice and creamy dark chocolate.
The flight is a great way to taste the three drinks offered. Enough for a couple to share.

Dinner at Apizza Scholls (#14 bus)
- Antipasti plate. artichoke stem, roasted peppers, partially dried tomato, olives, salami, mortadella
- Apizza Amore. Margherita plus hot capicollo
- Bacon Bianca. whilte pie with house cured bacon
The hype of Apizza Scholls had me on guard for what was a great meal. The two pies arrived with perfectly charred crusts and equally fine toppings. Two pizzas are a lot for four people. We could have ordered half and half pies, but didn't know until we saw the table next to us do it. Apizza Scholls makes great pies worth the pilgrimage for the pizza obsessed. The leftovers made for a nice breakfast the next day.

Post dinner snack at Voodoo Doughnuts
We waited in line for our Voodoo Dolls. Also took home the Rappers Delight (ODB, Marshall Mathers, maple blunt) at the individual price and Grape Ape. The line wasn't too bad at the peak of the dinner hour.

Monday

Lunch at Pok Pok (#4 bus)
- Muu Paa Kham Waan. Roasted boar collar. Nice spice to go with iced mustard greens and sticky rice.
- Ike's Fish Sauce spicy wings. Nicely fried and sauced.
- Papaya Pok Pok. Papaya salad. @full spice is not overwhelmingly spicy. I would consider it Thai mild.
- Kai Yaang. Roasted game hen. Half bird. Good dipping sauces
- Sai Ua Samun Phrai. Chang Mai sausage with green chili dip, pork rinds, and vegetable crudité.
- Yam Makheua Yao. Grilled eggplant salad.
The flavors culled from the descriptions on the menu are spot on and the food was nicely executed. The coconut perfumed water that came in the pitcher was ethereal in its ability to whisk you away to a quiet part of SE Asia. Hype earned Pok Pok.

Ice cream at the Salt & Straw cart near 34th and Division.
- sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbon
- coffee and bourbon
- honey balsamic strawberry with cracked black pepper
- almond brittle with salted ganache
Good stuff. Fresh bright fruit and distinct flavors echo the descriptions.

Happy Hour dinner at Heathman Hotel bar
- sweet pea risotto
- wedge salad
- Heathman bar burger + fries
- bread + butter
We enjoyed a quiet early dinner before departing for the Max train to the airport. The Heathman provided a nice setting for our final meal of the trip.

Thanks Portland Chowhounds for providing the resources. It was a wonderful trip and we hope to visit again soon. Stay weird.

Jul 26, 2012
mpken in Metro Portland

SGV 'Hounds ... a quick quixotic question for you.

I think you hit the nail on the head.

Mar 31, 2012
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Rodded follow-up visit re: duck soup

We finally ate here after all these years. I remember reading this post and decided that we would one day eat here. There was always something else in the area that took us off track, but now I can check Rodded off the list. My wife was craving Boat Noodles at Sapp, but I spotted Rodded as we drove down Hollywood Blvd. and quickly found parking.

We ordered the duck nooodle soup, half stewed duck, and spicy eggplants with pork. Every dis was outstanding. The dwell duck soup broth was properly spiked with Thai spices. The stewed duck was sliced, served on top of some Chinese broccoli, and eaten with the tangy Thai salsa from the tableside jars. The final dish of spicy Chinese eggplants was a savory pile of al dente pile eggplants interspersed with onions, pork and chili. I'm saddened that it took so many years to make it to Rodded, but I am sure glad we finally got to try it. Thanks Thi, RFSG, and Chowhound.

MPken

Feb 11, 2012
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Benu / Crenn / Coi / Saison [San Francisco]

It will be interesting to see your take. We just dined at the same three over the weekend and felt Saison was the most enjoyable. I was most concerned with the value proposition at Saison based on reading some other posts about not having enough to eat. We were very satisfied at the end of our meal. Watching Chef Skenes and his staff's quiet precision in the kitchen should be very entertaining. Being able to watch the food preparation helped us connect the taste with the technique. Another added benefit of the Chef's table is that it will be nice and quiet with some music softly playing in the background. As we experienced once too often at other places, as the alcohol intake increases, so does the volume in the room.

Benu was also very good, but there were too many Asian influences for my taste. There were great East meets West dishes, but also some that didn't impress (like the noodles that reminded me of Spoon House in SoCal). The food was good, but at that price it should have more WOW.

Crenn was interesting, but some dishes didn't make sense or taste as good as they looked or were composed. For example with the Broken Avocado. If they are going to go to the trouble of shattering a frozen avocado(guessing they're using liquid nitrogen), why serve the avocado pieces on a room temperature plate with room temperature avocado pieces. The prices are not at the same level as Saison and Benu, so the expectations were a bit lower. The work and effort is evident in the presentation, yet they still have some growing to do.

It was great that all three chefs were accessible while we were there. Chef Crenn greated us at the maître d' station in addition to coming by during the meal. Being in the kitchen at Saison should lend to some quality conversation with Chef Skenes. Chef Lee was approachable, friendly and came off as a humble and quiet guy.

You should also have a good time at Meadowood.

I love your NY Pizza post covering 1 day and 4 places.

Jul 18, 2011
mpken in San Francisco Bay Area

Cut or Melisse?

Instead of offering, they should have just taken it back and fired you a new one without hesitation. Putting the onus on you is sort of weak and cheaping out. I've seen a Kobe steak order go back at Providence two time without hesitation from the server. At this level of dining, CUT should have done something similar.

As you can tell, I'm not a big fan of CUT either, although their Bone Marrow Flan is one of my favorite dishes anywhere.

BTW, we really enjoyed our experience at Wolfgang's. It is like Peter Luger's lite.

Jun 02, 2011
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Recap of last night's LudoBites

Sounds tasty. How much was the meal and did you find it a good value?

Jun 02, 2011
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Looks like Bistro LQ has closed (updated 3/25/2011)

Unfortunate for Los Angeles. One of the better places in LA.

Mar 26, 2011
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Coming to LA for 3 Days and I have done some homework!

Thanks for reporting back. Awesome write up with good pics to boot. I guess it was a good choice to get out of Dallas during SB Weekend. We went to Park's BBQ during the game and was underwhelmed. I guess we didn't eat fast enough and over cooked our galbi.

Now I'm hungry after reading your post.

-----
Park's BBQ
955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

Feb 15, 2011
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Armenian banquet hall vs. Chinese restaurant wedding banquet

What an interesting pair to cross shop. Even after having eaten so many Chinese banquets for my dad's memorial in January and then for Chinese New Year, I would still opt for the Chinese banquet. I think the variety of entrees is much better with the Chinese banquet.

I've been to one Armenian banquet hall, so my sample size is very limited. The Armenian banquet will definitely have more appetizers to start with. It was like all of the greatest hits were already on the table. Unknowingly we filled up on the meze, not expecting the enormous amounts of grilled meats left to come. While I love grilled meat, it seems that that was the only method once the main course came along.

in the end, the Chinese restaurant will probably give you more leeway with altering the menu and setting up your own bar. Either way, your guests should leave sated and happy.

Feb 06, 2011
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Reading mixed reviews of Drago Centro...& love your comments on our DineLA 2011 tentative picks

I hear The Raymond has a fantastic selection for DineLA and is on our list to try. At $34, it sounds even more impressive. We'll be trying The Raymond this week.

Jan 31, 2011
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Reading mixed reviews of Drago Centro...& love your comments on our DineLA 2011 tentative picks

Mc Michael - you are too kind. The food is uneven with some overly large appetizers and some skimpy main dishes. In our case, there was a long wait between the bread that came around and the water from the same runner, a salad ordered wasn't anything like the description on the menu, under seasoned fish and chicken courses, and way over sized calamari pieces.

Follow that with your mentioned out of whack price to value/quality ratio (even with the DineLA menu which we had to ask for), it was an uncomfortable meal. Service was good and we felt sorry for our server because of the missteps. We wanted to like it, but it left us wanting. It has so much potential with the location and the space.

Jan 31, 2011
mpken in Los Angeles Area

Coming to LA for 3 Days and I have done some homework!

If it is just two of you, it will be hard to totally enjoy Chinese seafood. You'll be limited to ordering one lobster and a side dish or something to that extent. The food is good at the recommended places, but you'll need a group (4+) to properly enjoy the live seafood offerings such as steamed fish, stir fried clams, geoduck, shrimp, scallops, etc.

Providence offers a great tasting menu that, as another has said, has the potential to blow you away.

Jan 31, 2011
mpken in Los Angeles Area