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Help in Orange County

On Sunday we are traipsing down to Orange County to celebrate 3 family birthdays with my dad. The only time of day we can all get together is brunch / lunch. Unfortunately, it happens to be Mother's Day, too, so that probably makes brunch more complicated....

Looking for something delicious in the Newport / Irvine / Costa Mesa area. Can be casual to "nice". Hopefully someplace where we'll be able to get a reservation for 6 or 7 people. We are open to various types of food, from traditional "American" to Japanese or dim sum or French, or.....? (Probably not Mexican since we all eat that all the time.) Also, some place with a wide menu selection would be great as we all have different eating habits and health issues, but prefer no chains.

Tall order? Any help is greatly appreciated. I'm afraid for what happens if we leave the selection up to others in the group.

May 05, 2010
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Suggestions for dinner with these ingredients?

Thanks everybody! I did the fritter idea, shaped in patties / pancakes and pan fried. I only had some shredded mozzarella, so I added a little of that, too, along with some bread crumbs since the mixture was very wet (even after squeezing out the shredded zucchini). Very quick, easy and tasty. Cheers!

Apr 15, 2010
fat kitty in Home Cooking

Suggestions for dinner with these ingredients?

Does anyone have any suggestions for how to combine some or all these ingredients into something satisfying for dinner tonight? Vegetarian, please.

Leftover mashed potatoes
Fresh spinach
1 zucchini

I have all the usual pantry staples. Also some tofu, some yogurt, some whole wheat tortillas, some eggs, an avocado and other rather misc stuff.

Something quick and easy would be soooo helpful.

Apr 15, 2010
fat kitty in Home Cooking

Visiting from Los Angeles. Suggestions?

Hi. We'll will be visiting Montreal next week for just 3 days. We'll be staying in Old Montreal. We're looking for good food, of course! Anything special we should try? Our group has a couple of omnivores and a couple of pescatarian / vegetarians. We're not looking for the fanciest places, just good.

I know about the bagels (can't wait). I also know about Marche Jean-Talon and will definitely be going there. What other things / places should we seek out?

Also, I'd love to do a bit of Xmas shopping. Anything special I should look for, that I can easily transport home? I have to get a lot of gifts, so small / affordable / portable type things would be great. Maybe spices from the market? Does anyone have any ideas or favorites?

Thanks in advance for your help!!

ISO Indian in Eagle Rock (delivery a plus)

India Sweets and Spices in Atwater (on Los Feliz Blvd.) is a great option, not too far from Eagle Rock. They have hot dishes and it's also a large supermarket. Much larger than the other location I've been to on Venice Blvd. in Culver City.

We also just tried out Good Girl Dinette on Ave. 56 in Highland Park (between Fig and the Gold Line) and it was pretty good. It's Viet Namese / American, but I had an amazing curry cauliflower pot pie with the most delicate biscuit topping and the curry flavor was really good. Not Indian, but you might like it.

May 04, 2009
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Vegetarian Smoked Foods?

I am usually the above-mentioned friend in this scenario. I would love to have the smoked portobello as you describe. Great idea. Also, you might be able to do some kind of a smoked potato dish, or maybe a warm smoked potato salad of some kind.... I'm also a big fan of Garden burgers and tofu dogs and am always happy to have those offered at a bbq, esp when there are lots of side dishes available.

Jun 09, 2008
fat kitty in Home Cooking

Zucchini flowers in LA?

Not westside, but the farmers market in S. Pasadena (Thursdays from about 3 - 7) almost always has them. The vendor is at the eastern end of the market.

Jan 27, 2008
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Chinatown / Olvera Street / Grand Central Market / Little Tokyo

Please don't attempt to take the metro from LAX to downtown and back. I've heard it's very frustrating and time-consuming. The shuttle bus from Union Staion (downtown) to LAX (and back) is fantastic! It's called the Flyaway. It's about $5 each way, very quick and direct (the bus uses the carpool lane and the trip is about 20-30 min one way). Very comfortable and it stops at each terminal at the airport. I'm a huge fan (if you couldn't tell).

To stay on topic, I've never been but thought that Mandarin Deli in Chinatown was well-liked (I believe the Little Tokyo location closed a while ago). That might be the only place worth eating at in that area, but there are definitely gems in Little Tokyo and Overa St is fun in a touristy way. I think a lot of it depends on where you are from and what you have usual access to. But, as spread out as LA is, hitting these adjacent neighborhoods and sampling differnt dishes is a great way to spend a day here.

Nov 15, 2007
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Atkins and the Vegan Diet???

Although this is a very LA predicament, I don't think it's all that unusual, especially when families get together. I am mainly vegetarian and my dad is always on and off of Atkins....It's hard enough and I'm not even vegan! In any case, Marouch is an excellent rec and I would definitely urge you to go there. The food is great and there are plenty of options for both of you. Not expensive. You won't be sorry.

Another idea might be the Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax. I can't think of any specific recs, but there are enough choices that you could each find something suitable and then be able to eat together at the outdoor tables. Not a bad place to bring a visitor from out-of-town... Good people watching.

Nov 15, 2007
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Leftover tomato paste?

Hi, everyone. I opened a small can of tomato paste a week or so ago and only used a couple of tablespoons of it. What can I do with the rest of it? I am mainly vegetarian, but eggs and dairy are great. I usually make my tomato sauces (for pasta, etc.) with canned crushed tomatoes, so not really sure what to do with the paste and hate to let it go to waste.

Thanks for your help!

Oct 01, 2007
fat kitty in Home Cooking

Hard Shell Taco Recs?

Yes, agree on My Taco in Highland Park. I am mostly vegetarian, so I usually get the potato taco dorado and it comes with a generous amount of guacamole, too.

Hugo's Taqueria on Coldwater Canyon at Riverside in the SFV has good hard tacos, too, with a variety of fillings to choose from. Just had them today, as a matter of fact! Soy chorizo / zucchini / potato with salsa negra (but they have meat and fish options, too).

Sep 28, 2007
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Looking for an Interesting and Healthy place between Culver City and Glassell Park

Marouche (I think on Santa Monica Blvd toward the eastern part of Hollywood) is Lebanese, very tasty and pretty healthy for the most part (if you don't order the fried things). Lots of meze / appetizers to choose from and to share. Easy for a vegetarian, but also good for meat eaters. It's a small, un-fancy place, but very friendly. I've had many fun and delicious dinners there.

Sep 26, 2007
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

What should I order from Casa Bianca?

I hope my post will be more useful than those you're received so far. If you've heard all about Casa Bianca, you've no doubt already heard both the promoters and detractors.

We always get pizzas with the sausage. It seems to be homemade, but I can't promise. Lots of yummy fennel and spice flavor. Another topping that is excellent is the eggplant. Even people who think they don't like eggplant will devour this. I do agree it is not advisable to get the mushrooms, which are canned -- I much prefer fresh. Also, the antipasto salad is huge and chock full of various ingredients -- very good. We usually drink red table wine, which is kind of bleh, but seems to fit with the atmosphere.

The lines can be very long, so go as early as possible (I think they open at 5, but call to find out). Worst case is, you can put in your name, and if it's going to be a while, you can walk 1 block up the street to the Chalet bar and have a pre-dinner cocktail.

Have fun.

Sep 22, 2007
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Unusual..but cream flavors

There is a place in Los Angeles called Scoops that offers the most amazing flavors (I've personally tried dill / cheesecake, olive oil / sea salt, chocolate / wasabi, coffee / guiness and many, many fruit combinations. Instead of my going into too much detail, I suggest you search the L.A. board for "Scoops" to get an idea of what they (well, "he", since it's really just one guy) do. It's a serious board favorite.

Sep 09, 2007
fat kitty in General Topics

Aged Balsamic Vinegar Pasadena

It may not work for you timing-wise, but at the Old L.A. Farmer's Market in Highland Park (Tues from 3 - 8, near the Goldline station at Ave. 57 and Marmion Way, a block east of Figueroa), there's a vendor that has wonderful aged balsamics (several varieties), gorgeous olive oils, avocado oils and cheeses. It's a tiny farmer's market, but this guy is a regular and has great stuff.

Sep 08, 2007
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Baking with spirits

Hi. I'm researching recipes for baked goodies (cupcakes / cakes, muffins, cookies, brownies and similar) that use alcohol for flavor, such as Rum. I'm looking for as much variety as possible (I've heard of a chocolate pie w/ Jack Daniels). What have you all got?

Aug 15, 2007
fat kitty in Home Cooking

Looking for good muffins!

Hi. Please recommend good muffins, preferably from local, independent bakeries (not very interested in Costco muffins, though I know they have their fans). General locations could be SF Valley, Glendalel, Burbank, Silver Lake, etc. Also looking for good and interesting flavors and varieties.

I recently tried Delilah's in Echo Park and they were pretty good, but would like some others to compare.


Jul 30, 2007
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Agave,anybody tried it as a sugar substitute?

Where did you get it and what form does it come in (liquid?)? I just read something on the L.A. board about the cobbler lady who uses it as a sweetener in her sugar-free cobbler. I've never heard of it before (aside from it's divine use in making tequila).

Jul 21, 2007
fat kitty in Home Cooking

Tapioca vs. Cornstarch?

Hi. I have a cherry pie recipe that calls for tapioca to thicken the filling. I assume they mean tapioca flour. This is not something that I have around the house, but I do have cornstarch on hand. Can I substitute the cornstarch for the tapioca? And if so, is the ratio different than 1 to 1? Thanks for your help!

Jul 21, 2007
fat kitty in Home Cooking

Too much Eggplant!

Tonight I made a lasagne using thinly sliced and roasted eggplant in place of some of the noodles. Would probably freeze well but I think we'll end up eating it al in a couple of days!

Jun 24, 2007
fat kitty in Home Cooking

40th B-day, 50 guests, tight budget, private room - Suggestions?

What's the cute, little bungalow on a side street in Hollywood, near Sunset and Vine? The name is excaping me right now, but maybe another 'hound can help out. I remember the upstairs being used for private parties. I've only ever had brunch, but thought it was very nice (but not super expensive).... Actually, I think it's called Off-Vine. Worth looking into. I would think they could do something nice for your budget, if they can fit 50 in that room....You can search the board for opinions on the food, but I think it's generally well-liked.

Feb 01, 2007
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

NYE, Non Prix Fixe Dinner

I made reservations at Blue Velvet downtown. Non prix fixe, which is just what I was looking for. We're going to a show at the Disney concert hall, and I'm looking forward to trying this place out afterwards.

They said they do have a tasting menu, which they always offer, and then their regular a la carte menu, too.

Dec 29, 2006
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Looking for a Yule Log

I saw some miniature ones in the case at La Dijonaisse in Culver City.

Dec 23, 2006
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

SAWTELLE, as good as it gets?

Went to Orris for the 1st time this w/end. Had a great time. Before we even ordered, we were brought a complimentary bruschetta -- I can't remember the topping (seafood) that was nice. Can't remember it all, but had manilla clams (nice broth and french bread to accompany), tuna tartare, smoked salmon croquettes (ultimate comfort food), asparagus salad (delicious), scallops with mushrooms in a mustard sauce, black cod... some other things I can't remember. Only disappointment were the red peppers with goat cheese -- kind of typical and bland. I had sake, others had beer. We had a cheese plate and chocolate cake for dessert. The cheeses were nice (I liked 2 out of the 4 in particular) and the chocolate cake with coffee ice cream was really, really good (I only got to have 1 bite before it all disappeared). We had 5 in our party. The the most part, the waiter was kind enough to bring us 5 bites of everything (whether or not that was the usual quantity). Looking forward to going again, but interested in trying Musha (not on Sawtelle) soon.

Dec 04, 2006
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

major chow gal turns 39 --must be expensive

I am going to be celebrating my 12 year anniversary and wanted to really splurge (just started a new job, etc.). So, I made reservations for the 9 course tasting menu at Providence, w/ wine pairings. Yes, it's going to be very expensive! I pretty much only eat seafood (no meat) and my husband loves seafood, too, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Have fun!

Sep 07, 2006
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Mexican Restaurants in Echo Park/Silver Lake: why can't I find what I'm looking for? (long)

I also love La Cabanita in Montrose especially for their chile rellenos, but I hardly ever get over there. H'ever, right down the street from me in Highland Park is El Arco Iris which is pretty great. Yes, we are friends with the owner (we became friends with him by frequenting his restaurant so often). It's on York at Ave 57 (not far from Silver Lake). My favorite is the calabasistas (since I'm a mostly vegetarian). The homemade mole is delicious and my hub and friends RAVE about the carnitas and chile verde. They just remodeled at the beginning of this year and it's super comfy and satisfying. Not at all like a chain, not a scene (but often crowded and hopping), very good food, full bar. Open all day, from breakfast through dinner. I would definitely give it a try.

Sep 05, 2006
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area


It's more like Silver Lake (adjacent to Los Feliz), but the original Cha Cha Cha on Virgil (at Melrose) is great for casual, funky brunch. They also have great chilaquiles along with other Latin / Carribbean style delicious food. I think they have a full bar, too (but check, because I can't remember). Patio.

Jul 05, 2006
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

Hollywood Farmer's Market on Sunday at Ivar and Selma (a little long)

What's the parking situation there these days? I haven't been in a few years (not since the new development at Sunset and Vine, which I where I used to park when it was a vacant strip mall. I'd love to go back.....

Jun 25, 2006
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area

sushi in sgv

It is thanks to this board that we discovered Z Sushi (tokyoastrogirl, in particular). We love it. We always sit at the bar, aways in Toshi's section. Sometimes we do omakase, sometimes just ask him what's good and wing it. We always start with sea bream which they usually have. We went just a few days ago. Delicious as always and it always seems like a very good deal for the amount of food and drinks we get.

Jun 24, 2006
fat kitty in Los Angeles Area