toyo2960's Profile

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Report On Chop Suey Cafe (old Far East Cafe Location)

What happened to that place? I was in Little Tokyo a month ago, and Chop Suey or was Far East has been, as far as I'm concerned, destroyed. I peeked in and the new owners took out every antique lacquered booths and dividers. Now the front was all bar. So what is this place? Just a bar? It's really sad to see what they did to that place. The exterior brings back fond memories, but the interior has been raped. I don't know if they serve food anymore. Not that it was any good when the new Chop Suey opened. It had no resemblance to the original Far East. In fact, it was one of the worst Chinese food I've had since Panda Express. Yes, the food in Chinatown (Spring Street) or driving out to Monterrey Park or San Gabriel are the real deal. I'm talking about chop suey, the catch-all for Chinese food from the late 40s through mid sixties. Greasy egg foo young in brown gravy. Almond duck, sweet and sour pork, ham yuk, shrimp in lobster sauce...and egg rolls packed pork, not just a little meat and all cabbage. I think New Formosa cafe is closed now. I went there before they closed and it was great. I've been to the Formosa Cafe in Hollywood, but frankly the food wasn't all that good, despite the connection with the owners of Far East. It's like going to El Coyote for Mexican food; the food sucks, but you only go there to get drunk on margaritas. Paul's Kitchen in Monterrey Park is long gone. I haven't been to one on San Pedro in a while, but it's in a lousy neighborhood. They also had Mexican food on the menu I think (maybe because of the area); but the last time, I couldn't find it; I got lost. Creepy part of town.
Oh, someone mentioned if I had some old pictures of Far East, I might and might not. I'd have to find them; they were mostly wedding receptions or (sadly) lunch after a funeral. That was a big tradition for my family: go tot Far East for lunch or dinner after someone died.

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Paul's Kitchen
1012 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Nov 23, 2011
toyo2960 in Los Angeles Area

Best Chicago Style Pizza and Italian Beef

I still haven't found a great (not good) place for Chicago Style Pizza or Italian Beef.
I'm from Chicago, so it get's rather disappointing. (Sure, I can have Lou Malnatti's or I think Giordano's freeze a pizza and ship it (how expensive is that?, Oy!). I've heard people mention Moreno Valley or Placentia? That's so far to drive, I might as well take a plane to Chi-town.
I've eaten at Portillos in Chicago; never thought their food was any good. It's a chain. And it tastes like a chain restaurant (Even in Chicago, the beef was dry and tasteless.) I'd like to finds something closer in town: South Bay, the LA Basin, Burbank, OC. But not all they way out in Woodland Hills or out in Moreno Valley for something that's just "okay" or passable. Aren't there enough ex-Chicagoans here in SoCal? Or at least know how to cook Chicago-style. (If there were such a thing.) You can't beat Al's Beef in Chicago, or Mr. Beef for a Italian Beef sandwich.
I've already read off the pizza joints. I find much of the pizza here, either Chicago or NY thin crust akin to eating cardboard with bland, sweet tomato sauce on it. Sauce that came out of can. I don't like Wolfgang Puck or California Pizza Kitchen and their froo-froo pizzas.

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California Pizza
16960 Van Buren Blvd Ste D, Riverside, CA 92504

Nov 23, 2011
toyo2960 in Los Angeles Area

amazake

Does anyone know where one could find the sweet "sake" amazake for sale? My grand dad used to make it at home, but I'm wondering if a Japanese grocery store sells it.

Mar 16, 2008
toyo2960 in Los Angeles Area

Why does chicken smell like bleach these days?

I wouldn't doubt that Purdue or the larger chicken processing plants rinse their chicken with a chlorine solution after all the scare with E.coli and salmonella. I would go with kosher chicken if you can find a kosher market. But every chicken that I buy, even from a big supermarket, I always brine it anyway. Wash the chicken with clean water, and let it sit in a mild brine solution for an hour or less. Salt will season the chicken. But don't oversalt the brine or let it sit in it too long. Chicken will be too salty.

Jan 12, 2008
toyo2960 in General Topics

Report On Chop Suey Cafe (old Far East Cafe Location)

Huzzah! Let's hear it for Pakkai. He's right. Chop Suey should go to Dewey and Betty for the recipes. But I heard somewhere that they wouldn't give them up. The owners of Chop Suey got it all wrong from the start. I don't know if they are cheap, or just don't know how to run a restaurant. A great restaurant lives and dies on it's food. Not some cool bar. Or great ambience. Okay, so what, Chop Suey has a bar. But I could go to a Japanese joint across the street and get a drink and better food. Owners: Find a REAL Chinese chef. (He may well be Chinese, but he ain't no chef) You guys are killing an institution. Little Tokyo is slowly melting away. New Otani has been sold. Soon the only thing left of this district will be the Koyasan Temple and the Japanese American Museum. With so much bad critiques of Chop Suey, I'd like to know what the owners think of this. The place is empty most of the time. While the other Japanese places are doing good business. Go to Chinatown on Spring Street. The restaurants there are packed. It's the FOOD stupid!! Get it right.
I don't want to see my beloved Far East Cafe shuttered once again. Perhaps forever. It's a shame to my all the generations of my family who celebrated weddings, funerals and birthdays for all these many many years.

Sep 10, 2007
toyo2960 in Los Angeles Area

Report On Chop Suey Cafe (old Far East Cafe Location)

I don't know what's wrong with the new owners of Chop Suey. Maybe they're too young to remember the old place. Or they're not from around here. I wrote earlier of my experience at Chop Suey and how my dad and I were very disappointed. My dad was born in LA (he's 85) and used to go to Far East as a kid. I make better Chinese food (chops suey) at home. I was jonesing for some real haam yu (the crap at Chop Suey was terrible, didn't even resemble the haam yu of old). So I got the recipe from a Chowhound friend and made it the other day. Turned out great. My dad was actually pleased. Came pretty close to what we remember. I hope the new owners of Chop Suey come up with a new chef. All this bad press can't be good for them. Maybe they can't cook the old chop suey recipes from the greasy past, but at least they could make a good Chinese dish. Overall, the food is just bad. Chinese, fusion, Thai or otherwise. I'm an avid cook and enjoy REAL authentic cuisine. This place has neither. It's just nice that they fixed the old place up. But if the food keeps being bad, the place is going to close fast. That will be the greatest tragedy.

Aug 26, 2007
toyo2960 in Los Angeles Area

Best Burger in LA

While not great burgers (I think they're rather average) Apple Pan on Pico in West LA is a historic little restaurant. Small horseshoe bar with the grill in the center. Sometimes it's crowded. No frills. Reminds me of the historic Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago.

Aug 21, 2007
toyo2960 in Los Angeles Area

Ham Yu recipe

One last question, what kind of salted fish do you use? What is hom yee?
Is it like an anchovy? Can Thai fish sauce (nam pla) be used as a substitute for the salted fish?

Aug 21, 2007
toyo2960 in Home Cooking

Ham Yu recipe

Thanks, Sarah. Appreciate it.

dave

Aug 20, 2007
toyo2960 in Home Cooking

Ham Yu recipe

Sarah,

Can't find the book. Looked on Google and Amazon but nothing. Can you post the recipe? Thanks.

Aug 19, 2007
toyo2960 in Home Cooking

Ham Yu recipe

I know this is a recipe question, but does anyone know how to prepare (recipe) for old style Chinese Ham Yu (Ham Yuk). I know it's ground pork, maybe ginger and salted fish. But I don't know what the real ingredients are.

Thanks

Aug 19, 2007
toyo2960 in Home Cooking

Best Chicago Style Pizza and Italian Beef

I've lived in Chicago for over 15 years and now I'm back in LA. Anyone know any places that have good old fashioned Chicago style deep dish pizza and/or Italian beef sandwiches.
In Chicago we had places like Pizza Dué, Lou Malnattis, Giordanos, and Gino's East.
And for Italian Beef there's nothing like the famous Mr. Beef.

Aug 13, 2007
toyo2960 in Los Angeles Area

Report On Chop Suey Cafe (old Far East Cafe Location)

Took my dad to the old Far East in Little Tokyo (now called Chop Suey) when first re-opened. My dad is 85 and he and my family have been going to Far East since I was in diapers. That was THE place to go for Chinese-meishi. When the earthquake closed the old place we were so sad. But elated when we read in Rafu-Shimpo that the restaurant was re-opening. I took my dad there for lunch and the service was terrible. There were hardly anyone there but we didn't get a waiter for like some 15 minutes. I had to flag down one several times but they either ignored me or said they would come back. We finally got our menus and were shocked to see that our old favorites were gone. At the time they didn't even have the pressed almond duck. Frankly they didn't have any duck dish. We ordered the sweet and sour pork (which was bland and the sauce a pale yellowish orange, not red at all), chow mein (this was also disappointing with more vegetables than noodles and bland as all get out) and the hamyuk. NOW we thought here was something that was going to be good. It was terrible. Salty, bitter, and dry. Nothing like the old hamyuk of old. Not even close. They had all these thai/fusion/asian type stuff on the menu. If you want that kind of americanized "Chinese" food, go to those awful Panda Expresses. They forgot to get us our steamed white rice. I had to ask for it several times. They finally brought it but we were almost done with our meal. I have to say, those guys at Chop Suey sure were amateurs when it came to running a restaurant. Maybe it's gotten better since we first went, but by the sound of things, food hasn't changed for the better. We left vowing never to return. It was very sad. The building and booths looked the same. It was a hard reality to face that as someone pointed out, "you can't go home again." We were hit again with the closing of Tin Sing in Gardena. They had all the old favorites and it was closer to home (Long Beach). But now Tin Sing is closed and has trouble re-opening because of some dispute over parking with the city of Gardena. I'm sad to hear that Tom's Kitchen in Monterey Park is going downhill. I guess we'll have to stick with the original Tom's Kitchen and try New Formosa.

Aug 13, 2007
toyo2960 in Los Angeles Area