Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

GlenBlank's Profile

Title Last Reply

Best French Toast in LA?

Entirely aside from the crunchy cornflakes question, Marston's doesn't serve real maple syrup, not even as an extra-cost upgrade.

That right there takes them out of the running for "best French Toast", IMO. French toast with pole syrup doesn't even come close to 'best.'

(And generally, I like Marston's a lot.)

May 23, 2015
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Mahi Mahi Seafood Grill - just about perfect (for casual reasonably priced SaMo seafood)

Note, BTW, that Coho Salmon is being farmed in recirculating tank systems here in the US. Coho is a Pacific salmon, much tastier than Atlantic salmon.

US-tank-farmed Coho is rated a "Best Choice" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide to "Ocean-Friendly Seafood".

(But not all farmed Coho is a good choice - Chilean farmed Coho, raised in net pens in the ocean, gets the same "Avoid" recommendation as all pen-farmed salmon.)

Sep 30, 2014
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Sherman Oaks dining 'renaissance' - will it draw Angelenos?

What can I say? Slicers vs. Lumpers, I guess. :-)

Jul 17, 2014
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Sherman Oaks dining 'renaissance' - will it draw Angelenos?

'BHPO' in realtor-speak just means "City of LA really, but the PO calls it Beverly Hills 90210."

(No unincorporated territory that I know of, unless the Doheny Reserve gets mail.)

The gated development called "The Summit", south off of Mulholland east of Coldwater, is in Studio City according to the City of LA. But it's "Beverly Hills 90210" to the USPS.

Realtors call things whatever they think will fetch the best price, IME :-)

Jul 17, 2014
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Sherman Oaks dining 'renaissance' - will it draw Angelenos?

The USPS's default names reflect how they route the mail - shoot, they call part of Studio City "Beverly Hills" because the delivery trucks come up the hill from the Beverly Hills PO - but that doesn't mean it actually is. :-)

But note that the PO also says "Monte Nido" is valid for that address.

The area code is 818? Well, yeah... and the Jet Propulsion Lab up in La Cañada Flintridge is 818, too.

Would you call that "the San Fernando Valley", too? :-)

Jul 17, 2014
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Sherman Oaks dining 'renaissance' - will it draw Angelenos?

Glad you liked it. :-) But I'd probably better stop rambling before the topic-cops descend... :-)

Jul 17, 2014
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Sherman Oaks dining 'renaissance' - will it draw Angelenos?

Actually, porn was late to the party in the Valley. Porn mostly stayed behind in Hollywood when the big studios departed, renting the cheap, dilapidated old facilities they left behind and trolling the Boulevard and bus stations for fresh meat, promising work with a "real Hollywood movie company,"

Up until the early '80s, porn was still centered in Hollywood. That was when the shutdown of the Southern Pacific freight spur down Canoga Avenue left the Chatsworth industrial parks along that spur with a lot of newer industrial tilt-up buildings for rent at really cheap prices - and with the trains gone, it was quiet enough to use those buildings as makeshift sound stages.

And since many of the below-the-line production workers in the industry who moonlighted doing porn already lived in the Valley because of the mainstream studios, it was a natural fit.

More porn is produced in the Valley than anywhere else in the world, because more movies of all kinds are produced in the Valley than anywhere else in the world.

The Valley's rep for porn was largely created by 'Boogie Nights', which was set in that '80s transitional period. I knew most of the real people that film was based on, because I was one of those moonlighting production workers back then - though I worked for one of the many companies still in Hollywood, not the Valley.

(And by the way, I'm told that no one uses fluffers any more - the guys just take lots of Viagra. :-))

Jul 17, 2014
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Sherman Oaks dining 'renaissance' - will it draw Angelenos?

Saddle Peak Ranch is in unincorporated Monte Nido, in the Monte Nido Valley, a small interior valley of the Santa Monica Mountains just over the Piuma Ridge from Malibu.

It's not in the cities of either Calabasas or Malibu - and it's definitely not in the San Fernando Valley. :-)

Sherman Oaks dining 'renaissance' - will it draw Angelenos?

Most of LA outside of downtown started out as suburban, and a great deal of it, including much of the Westside, still is.

The Valley is a bit different because, despite being annexed to the city in 1915 when it was still mostly rural and agricultural (so that LA could sell aqueduct water to Valley farmers, which was vital to their business plan), it's never really been a suburb of Los Angeles.

Despite its rep as 'the Ultimate Suburb", the Valley's early residential development was based on local Valley industries, not on commuting to LA - first the studios in the 'teens, '20s, and '30s, then the War Industry plants in the '30s and '40s.

It wasn't until the great postwar boom of the late '40s and '50s that suburban tract developments began displacing farms, and infill dingbat apartments began replacing 'teens-and-20s bungalows - just like in Westside locations like Mar Vista and Palms.

The real disconnect here is treating the entire Valley as a single place - it would be like calling the entire Westside "a suburb" based on Palms and Mar Vista. You could be in Middle America there, too.

The southeastern Valley - Studio City, Toluca Lake, southern Burbank - has been the heart of the 'Hollywood' entertainment industry since the '30s, when all but one of the big studios fled Hollywood.

It's no accident the Valley has few tourist traps - that's Hollywood's gig. But the SE Valley is where about half of the working Industry actually happens, away from the paparazzi and tourist hordes.

There's plenty of decent food at fair prices in casual surroundings around there, but, no, it's not about celebrity chefs and high-end fine dining or cutting-edge fashion-of-the-moment cuisine. No real 'destination' dining.

It's not the same as LA, but the difference isn't "City" vs. "Suburb."

Pacoima and Toluca Lake are no more the same place than Highland Park and Brentwood are the same place.

Where can i find REAL CINNAMON--It doesn't exist in the US-PLEASE READ

Most stick cinnamon (canela) in latino food stores is the papery-bark zeyalnicum, aka 'true cinnamon', though IME most of the pre-ground cinnamon, the canela molida, is cassia.

The scent of freshly-ground zeylanicum is fleeting. I've ground my own, and I find it loses substantial amounts of its scent in a matter of hours, and becomes pretty much useless in just a few days.

Both kinds are labeled as canela in the food stores, so it's hard to be sure with the ground spice, but I find the ground stuff is almost always cassia.

With the rolls of bark, of course, it's easy to tell the difference. A few places I know carry both kinds.

Apr 14, 2014
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Fine Dining in the Valley

Hey, I live in Studio City, and drive to Montrose for weekend breakfast/lunch occasionally. (The Black Cow, usu. on Farmer's Market Sundays. Not fine dining, but good Chow-worthy stuff.)

I also go there for La Cabanita too, but haven't been in a while.

With clear weekend freeways, it's about 20 minutes.

It may not be on the top of *your* mind's awareness :-) but most times, it's a heckuva lot easier to get there than to most of the Westside.

Jan 08, 2014
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Anyone know where to find a Valley Oak trees (Q. Lobata) growing in the Los Angeles area?

You might find this useful:

Calflora: Search for Observations : Quercus lobata :

Click the "View All Points (map viewer)" button on that page for a more detailed, zoomable map.

BTW, My understanding is that Valley Oaks have much lower levels of tannins than most other oaks, but exactly how much can vary with variety/subspecies and growing conditions. Some are almost tannin-free, but some may have enough tannins to cause digestive upset and risk liver damage over time due to cumulative effects. Personally, I'd proceed cautiously. :-)

Oct 21, 2012
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

SoCal Indigenous Ingredients

Did you know that the LA area's brown fox squirrels aren't native? They were imported from the Southern US by Civil War veterans at the Old Soldier's Home at Sawtelle. The veterans thought the brown squirrels from back home were tastier than the native grey squirrels and ground squirrels.

A local research project has traced their spread from that introductory location, gradually displacing the native species. They have chronological maps of the spread:

Mar 29, 2012
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

SoCal Indigenous Ingredients

The Portola expedition, the first Spanish explorers of the LA area, found that the Tongva natives they encountered frequently offered them "sage gruel" and baskets filled with (otherwise unspecified) "seeds."

The natives hunted small game - rabbit and antelope especially - with bow & arrow, and periodically burned off the grasslands of the Valley to make travel easier and improve hunting. (Much of the coastal plain was swampy, too wet to burn.)

Portola's Franciscan diarist, Father Crespi, noted abundant wild roses (Rosa californica), wild grape vines, and what he calls 'cumin' ("comino"). (I thought at first that might be the fennel that covers many hillsides today, but it turns out that's an invasive European import, so Crespi's 'cumin' was... something else).

Crespi mentions seeing bears, coyotes, herds of antelope, and mule deer. The expedition's soldiers reported sighting something at a distance that they described as an elk . (?)

The Tongva knew about grinding and leaching acorns, so they were a major food source.

Hugo Reid was a Scotsman who immigrated to Alta California in 1832 during the Mexican era, married a Tongva woman, and was the original recipient of the Rancho Santa Anita land grant in 1845. Shortly after the American takeover, in 1852, he wrote a series of letters to the Los Angeles Star describing the local native culture and criticizing their treatment at the hands of the Franciscans.

In one of those letters (, he says:

The animal food in use among them was deer meat, young coyotes, squirrels, badgers,rats, gophers, snakes, racoons, skunks, wildcats, the small crow, the blackbirds, hawks, groundowls, and snakes, with the exception of the rattle snake. A few eat the bear, but in general it is rejected, on superstitious grounds hereafter to be mentioned.

The large locust or grasshopper was a favorite morsel, roasted on a stick at the fire.

Fish, whales, seals, sea-otters, and shellfish, formed the principal subsistence of the immediate coast-range of Lodges and Islands.

Acorns, after being divested of their shell, were dried, and pounded in stone mortars, put into filters of willow twigs worked into a concave form, and raised on little mounds of sand,which were lined inside with a coating of two inches of sand; water added and mixed up. -- Then filled up again and again with more water, at first hot, then cold, until all the tanning [tannin] and bitter principle was extracted. The residue was then collected and washed free of any sandy particles it might contain. On settling, the water was poured off. After being well boiled, it became a sort of
mush, and was eaten when cold.

The next favorite food was the kernel of a species of plum which grows in the mountains and Islands, called by them, Islay (pronounced eeslie). Some Americans call it the Mountain Cherry, although it partakes little either of the plum or cherry. It has a large stone, to which numerous fibres are attached, pervading the pulp, of which there is very little. Its color, when perfectly ripe, inclines to black, and very much like what in Mexico is called the Ciruela. This, cooked, formed a very nutritious, rich, saccharine aliment; and looked much like dryboiled frijoles.

Chia, which is a small, gray, oblong seed, was procured from a plant apparently of the thistle kind, having a number of seed vessels on a straight stalk, one above the other, like wild sage.This, roasted and ground into meal, was eaten with cold water, being of a glutinous consistency,and very cooling.

Pepper grass seed was also much used, the tender stalks of wild sage, several kinds of berries and a number of roots.

All their food was taken either cold or nearly so, which, of course, tended to preserve the teeth. Salt was used very sparingly in their food, from an idea that it had a tendency to turn their hair grey.


[Para breaks added for legibility.]

Mar 27, 2012
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Pliny the Elder in the Burbank/NoHo area: any leads?

Tony's Darts Away in Burbank has Pliny the Elder on its current tap list. Tony's is all taps, no bottles, but they really know their stuff. They have about half a dozen IPAs on tap currently, and they're usually pretty generous with tastings if you're looking for a particular thing.

Darts Away
1710 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506

Dec 07, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

fresh cranberry relish

I grew up with a mother who cooked everything from scratch, and made the perfect iconic American Thanksgiving feast. The fresh cranberry relish from TJ's is indistinguishable from what my mother made.

Sure, I could make it myself, but why bother? The TJ's version is fine. Cranberries, oranges, and sugar - that's all. Just like it should be.

(Be sure to get the one in the tub with the orange lid. The other one with the black lid is a cooked cranberry sauce - a good one, but not the same.)

Nov 19, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Losing It for McRib, and 9 Other Cult Food Tragedies

@PommeDeGuerre: No one claimed that azodicarbonamide is toxic or harmful. All the article says is that it "isn't found in nature" and that it's found in gym mats and shoe soles.

Both of which are true.

Heck, I know that guar gum and carrageenan are both perfectly natural, harmless vegetable gums. Doesn't mean I want them in my ice cream, though. I just don't like gummy ice cream, is all.

I don't especially think my sandwich bun needs a bleaching agent, either.

Not everything is a health panic. I'm no zealot - I just prefer food made of... well, food. Weird, I know. But that's how I roll. :-)

Nov 15, 2011
GlenBlank in Features

Dark chocolate chips/ coating chocolate

Sur La Table carries some couverture chocolate - not a huge selection, and the exact brands and types seem to vary a bit from store to store, so you might want to check with your nearby locations to see what they have.

Sep 03, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

ISO Saturday brunch spot - Valencia

I've also found myself looking for weekend breakfast in the Santa Clarita Valley on occasion, and, since I'm not terribly familiar with the area, ending up at Mimi's.

But recently, longtime Pasadena breakfast favorite Marston's opened a second location in Valencia - with a nice large outdoor patio and - unlike the Pasadena original - a liquor license and full bar.

So I've lately forsaken Mimi's for Macadamia Nut pancakes, Pulled Pork Benedict and Bloody Marys at Marston's. I recommend them highly!

(Don't let the address confuse you - as it suggests, they're in the new shopping center on the NE corner of McBean Parkway and Newhall Ranch Road, but they're on the far side of the parking lot, opposite the main buildings.)

24011 Newhall Ranch Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Sep 02, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Pal Cabron Alternatives

+1 on Cemitas Don Adrian in Van Nuys.

Tacos y Cemitas Pueblas, on Sherman Way between De Soto and Canoga in Canoga Park (website at ), does a booming business in cemitas, and they also have a more extensive menu of Pueblan specialties. Their cemitas look quite promising, but I haven't tried them yet. I've only been there once, and I was craving mole poblano and platano fritos at the time - both of which were very good.

Jul 18, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Fried Chicken Spot in North Hollywood?

That's not Latin. That's Lorem Ipsum, the most venerable bit of meaningless boilerplate filler in the history of printing. :-)

As for the chicken, I'm with Steve2 - Popeyes' Mild is wonderful southern-fried chicken of the crispy batter-dipped persuasion. Popeyes' Spicy is also excellent, when you're looking for a bit more kick.

And I know New Orleans expats who tell me they got their red beans'n'rice at Popeyes even when they lived in 'gator country.

(Trivia: It's "Popeyes", no apostrophe. Founder Al Copeland named it after Gene Hackman's character, Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle, in William Friedkin's 1971 film The French Connection. He later explained the lack of punctuation by saying that he was "too poor to afford an apostrophe.")

Jul 10, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Ombra? New in Studio City

I just noticed Charlie's Pantry the other day, and stopped in for a late lunch. Had a Croque Sophia, which features fig jam, prosciutto and gorgonzola au gratin, which was lovely; and a warm, fragrant garlic-and-olive oil potato salad with peeled-and-split fingerling potatoes. Plus a very decent iced coffee.

Good food; attentive, friendly service; pleasant indoor space and outdoor patio tables; and lots of intriguing menu choices. A rather nice addition to lunch on the Boulevard, IMO.

Jun 30, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area


There's a vendor at the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers' Market - name escapes me, I'm sorry to say, but they've always been on the north side of Arizona in the first block of stalls off of Ocean - who've had at least five or six different varieties this season, most very good and some downright amazing. Their "Royal Raniers" are just wonderful.

Gelsons in Valley Village has had very good Raniers and some quite serviceable generic "red California cherries", as well.

Jun 20, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Red Hamburger Relish

Stonewall Kitchens makes a Red Relish. (See for details.


I haven't tried it, but I've never had anything from Stonewall that wasn't pretty seriously good.

Gelson's (at least the Laurel Canyon/Riverside location) has just added a display of Stonewall products, though I don't recall if the Red Relish was included. There are of course many online sources.

Jun 02, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Auntie's Fry Bread - has anyone tried them yet?

Frybread is what you get when you drive people off their native lands where they subsisted on what nature provided, crowd them into reservations, and then supply them with "staple foods": flour, sugar, salt, lard, honey, baking powder, powdered milk, and dried beans.

To some of those people, it has become a sacred tradition; a food to be eaten until the earth is once again purified; a reminder of their long exile and the days of their captivity. To others, it's just a food to be shared on social occasions, or sustenance to be consumed in the breaks between long sessions of singing and drumming in the pow-wow circle.

And now I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. :-) Ya-ta-hey!

May 23, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area


Not for the sweet-potato purist, but the sweet potato fries with maple-chipotle glaze and crushed almonds at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank are pretty addictive. With a good California craft beer on tap (the only kind of beer they've got!), of course.

(The leftovers re-heat surprisingly well, too.)

Darts Away
1710 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506

May 10, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Mozza's Pizza is NOT Pizza!

"what's the emoticon for irony? Is there one"

Sure. (Let's see if this works here):

<Fe>This is irony</Fe>

There ya go. :-)

Mar 13, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Real Fish and Chips

I'll third John O'Groats, and note that the Encino location on Ventura Blvd. is open for dinner, and has a lovely outdoor patio nestled under a grand old native oak tree.

(I don't know how 'authentic' they are - I've only ever had fish'n'chips once in Britain, and they were *terrible* - overcooked, smelly fish in a limp, greasy batter, with soggy, forlorn chips. I'd assume that's not typical. But John O'Groats' version is terrific - fresh, properly cooked haddock in a tasty, crisp batter with excellent chips and a side salad.)

John O'Groats
16120 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91436

Mar 02, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area


The Gelato Bar and Espresso Caffé on Tujunga Ave. in Studio City combines some of the best espresso in the city with some of the finest gelato. It's not really a restaurant (though it does have some panini and other savories).

Feb 26, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area

Looking for shops that sell pure chocolate for pastry making in Redondo Beach

I assume what you're looking for is couverture chocolate:

If Surfas is too far, you might try Sur La Table - they have stores all over the LA area - the closest to you would be at Plaza El Segundo, which is only a couple of miles from Redondo.

I've seen them carry one-pound boxes of Guittard couverture chips, kilo blocks of Valrhona, and quarter-kilo 'baking bars' from both Valrhona, and Scharffen Berger. I've never seen them carry the big two-kilo blocks, but it sounds like you want the smaller sizes anyway. Selection is limited, and a bit variable from store to store, so you might want to call first.

(Small terminological note: you're not a chocolate maker; you're a chocolatier. :-) Chocolate makers are companies like Valrhona and Guittard and Callebaut who take cacao beans and turn them into chocolate. Chocolatiers take pre-made chocolate and turn it into variety of chocolate confections, molding it and shaping it and adding fillings and flavorings and decorations and such.)

Feb 03, 2011
GlenBlank in Los Angeles Area