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We're Famous!

It was Birrieria de Don Boni, formerly Birrieria Jalisco. That place is hardly a secret. It's only not mentioned in CH b/c they changed their name back in August to memorialize one of the owners who passed away.

Mystery Birria place from recent NYTimes article - any ideas?

Yeah, I'm 99% certain it's Birrieria de Don Boni.

That place has been run by the same family since 1972 and back in August one of the original owners passed away and they changed it from Birrieria Jalisco to Don Boni in his honor.

It's a really good restaurant and a well-deserved Boyle Heights institution, but I think the NYT author insinuating that he found some unknown place is bit misleading. Birrieria Jalisco has been all over the LA boards for some time.

Seems like this is another case of the NYT being a little presumptuous about LA Mexican food (see the taco article from a few weeks ago).

Seeking a Venezuelan restuarant, specifically arepas!!

This is place is fantastic.

Izakaya Bincho serving yakitori again?

Oops, got that backwards. That was what I meant...

Izakaya Bincho serving yakitori again?

Just returned from an epic night of yakitori at Izakaya Bincho (or should it be re-renamed Yakitori Bincho now?). We made a reservation for 7pm on a Thursday and found ourselves the only guests in the restaurant, which made for an awesomely up-close-and-personal experience.

Tomo-san told us that he was able to start grilling again because he removed a large window fan which blew smoke out towards the pier. Now the smoke just drifts lazily around the room, but its mostly insignificant when compared to most KBBQs. There has also been some price increases on the menu, since the yen has fallen significantly against the dollar in the past few years, the imported bincho-tan costs twice as much as it did in 2008.

It's all worth it though.

The smoky tsukune meatballs are still mind-blowing. The skewers of sliced heart coated in Japanese salt are impeccable. The chicken breast dapped with sour plum and shiso leaf is unmatched. (Unfortunately he's not grilling cartilage or skin yet because he's concerned about the amount of smoke they produce). The zosui is not longer on the menu, but he will make it if you ask nicely.

I concur with heinous is saying that Tomo is definitely back on his game.

Izakaya Bincho
112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Closures in Culver City

Mezza is going to open a new branch in Cerritos, of all places, around December (Their take-out menu already has the new address on it, but it escapes me right now). They also said that they're planning on closing in December when their new place opens.

It's too bad about the Culver Plaza theatre, I guess the landlords figured luxury apartments were more profitable than showing second run movies for $7 bucks a pop. Sigh... it will be missed.

Mezza Grill
9901 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

A Westside Arepa to note........

I had the arepa at Savor's and agree with you whole heartedly. Excellent masa shell and meat innards, but cheese that is not even close to melted. It's also worth mentioning that ordering an arepa without cheese, well, it's like ordering a ice cream sundae without hot fudge, it's just not worth it.

Maybe I can convince them to put the arepa in the salamander for a bit to unlock the stringy, gooey potential of this baby...

Gui Chai (Thai chive dumplings) in LA?

Ever since returning from Thailand a few months ago, I've been searching for these delicious little doughy cakes stuffed with chive and green garlic here in LA, but haven't found anything like them. It's a Thai dish that is also know as Chinese chive dumplings or Gui Chai Ga Tiam. Anyone have any leads?


Any Rec's for Favorite Farmer's Market Eats?

Yes, all those things would helpful!

Any Rec's for Favorite Farmer's Market Eats?

Looking for some suggestions for the best ready-to-eat foods found in LA's various Farmer's Markets (i.e. Big Mistah's, Pupusas at Torrance FM, Carlsbad Oysters, etc.)


Jonathan Gold's Breakfast Event??

In the case of Kobawoo, I'm really hoping they are choosing to serve bindae dduk over the seafood pancake, their version is far superior IMO and would pair better with the requisite OJ and bacon.

Kobawoo Restaurant
698 S Vermont Ave Ste 109, Los Angeles, CA 90005

Lempira - Honduran Food in East Hollywood

Nice write up! Lempira is a great hole-in-the-wall, there baleadas are terrific too and they make an excellent Andean blackberry drink that probably would cost 5x the amount in a westside cafe.

Quailsquaducken in LA?

The swallow is smaller but I don't think a sparrow would fit inside an ortolan since they're both pretty tiny. Only one way to find out though... to the laboratory!!!

Quailsquaducken in LA?

Yeah, fired sparrows are eaten in Cambodia as well as other parts of SE Asia, I think. They like to fry the young birds especially, so they end up being tiny crispy things that you eat whole.

Hounder Challenge: Carne Apache in LA?

So I'm looking for this Mexican dish from Michoacan called Carne Apache, which is essentially ceviche with ground beef substituted for the fish or shrimp. I've had it at a party before, and even seen it as a random special at Cacao Mexicatessen, but was wondering if there was any place that served it on their regular menu in LA?

Thanks for the help!

Cacao Mexicatessen
1576 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041

Hood Burger Round-Up: 5 of LA's Best, Straight Outta LA

**Formatted article with Pics here**:

Hood Burger 
[hood bur-ger]

-noun 1. A large hamburger consisting of multiple thick beef patties as well as the addition of highly caloric toppings, including but not limited to: cheese, bacon, pastrami, egg, hot links and chili.

Forget what Jimmy Buffet says, the best cheeseburgers aren’t found in paradise; they’re found on the mean streets. Products of tough neighborhoods where money is often tight but stomachs aren’t, hood burgers are a unique category unto themselves. The current LA burger dichotomy generally falls into two categories: the fast-food style burger with a thin, tightly-packed patty adorned with basic toppings; and the gourmet burger, featuring a larger, loosely ground patty featuring higher quality meat and more upscale ingredients. Somewhere between the two lies the mutant, bastardized world of the hood burger. If classics like Apple Pan and Pie n’ Burger are Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle, then perhaps these are more like Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire: beefed-up, highly divisive, and of questionable sanity. Hood burgers can be found in many parts of the U.S., but some of the best examples are found here in Los Angeles. After all, they don’t call it Burger Town for nothing. Here are five of the best, sampled over five days.

Day #1: Fred’s Downhome Burgers

The Royal Burger
Located in Hyde Park — one of Los Angeles’ oldest, and most harried, African-American neighborhoods — Fred’s Downhome Burgers is a simple establishment: a small concrete building surrounded by a parking lot of idling cars waiting for food. No picnic tables or counter space here, only a few pieces of white lawn furniture and large yellow banner that reads “We Take E.B.T.” Orders are given through a small screen window, where inside sounds of KDAY bump over the hiss of sizzling meat and bubbling french fries. Don’t be fooled by the friendly demeanor of the staff, the burgers served here are downright intimidating. Their largest, The Royal Burger, consists of two thick hand-formed patties, crispy bacon, a fried egg, a ladle of chili, as well as the less common addition of thick-cut pastrami slices. The result is hearty burger that despite its overwhelming appearance is surprisingly harmonious. Eating it with your bare hands may be ill-advised, but you’ll probably try it anyways.
Is it the best hood burger? The jury is still out on that one. But messiest? Undoubtedly; as evidenced by the mountainous pile of grease-soaked napkins that you’ll be left with. Protip: order the fries. Fresh, thick, crispy, and heavily seasoned with Lawry’s, these are maddeningly addictive and some of the best you’ll find in the hood. For dessert, step over to the neighboring Mama’s Chicken Market. Rich, homemade banana pudding topped with Nilla wafers and sticky wedges of fresh pecan pie might sell for $2.50, but these desserts are worth their weight in gold.

Fred's Downhome Burgers
2524 W Slauson Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90043
(323) 298-7762

Day #2: Fresh & Meaty Burgers

The Royal Burger
Just a few minutes south of Fred’s in Liemert Park is Fresh and Meaty Burgers, which sits on a picturesque hill overlooking Central LA. The day-glo decor here is slightly less spartan that most ‘hood burgers stands, though inside the small lobby a layer of inch thick bullet-proof glass separates you from the cashier; just in case you forgot where you were. Still, in a rare touch of modernity, Fresh and Meaty happens to be the only place on this list that boasts both a drive-thru lane and mobile food truck. Any type of pretense stops there however, as the burgers are dense, meaty and ugly. The largest burger on the menu is the Royal Burger (sensing a pattern?) consisting of two patties, bacon, chili, american cheese and the obligatory fried egg.
At my particular visit, the kitchen had ran out of bacon –unspeakable to some– but gladly added a second fried egg as atonement. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as they eggs here were fried perfectly. The yolk, a buttery, semi-solid glob of rich yellow, was much preferred over the hard-cooked versions that comprise the norm. The cumin-tinged chili drenching the burger was incredibly thick, containing so much beef it might as well been the equivalent of a third patty. Fresh and Meaty cooks their loosely-ground chuck patties very well-done, developing a uneven char that carries the acrid taste of black pepper preferred by some. Lettuce, tomato, onion and a schmear of tangy pickle relish are background players on this goopy, beef-centric burger where buns seem woefully under-equipped. Sure, it may not be pretty, but if you can get past its gnarled looks you’ll find yourself with a decent example of a hood burger, and perhaps a wicked case of heartburn to boot. Skipping the fries here would be a good call; these stodgy, under-cooked wedges may be fresh cut, but aren’t very enjoyable unless drowned in a helping of chili and cheese.

Fresh & Meaty Burgers

3016 W Florence Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90043
(323) 751-2247

Day #3: Mom’s Burger

The Chronic Cheeseburger
Many consider Mom’s Burgers in Compton to be not only the finest hood burger in Los Angeles, but also one of the best burgers period. They might not be far off. Compared to the heft of many other hood burgers, the creations served at Mom’s are noticeably restrained. That’s not to say the burgers are petite, but they certainly are less likely to induce labored breathing and heavy belt loosening. Take for the example, the popular “Chronic Cheese Burger”, a solitary patty topped with creamy yellow cheese, a hard-cooked fried egg and several curly tendrils of crispy bacon. The burger patties, slightly thinner than the hood standard, are seasoned with a nice balance of salt and pepper and cooked just well enough to preserve a tender, not too juicy, interior. When bacon, egg and cheese are added, along with the requisite roughage, the final product nails the ideal burger proportions.
With the exception of some uneven heavy pockets of mustard and mayo the Chronic Burger made for a superb balance of flavor and texture. The most telling sign was that upon finishing I immediately considered ordering a second, partly due to my gluttonous appetite accustomed to more monstrous burgers, but mostly because Mom’s knows (after 33 years of practice) how to assemble an excellent burger. The skinny fries here are standard: frozen, well salted and alternately crispy and soggy. It’s worth nothing that despite it’s location within the notorious Compton neighborhood, Mom’s is probably the least threatening burger joint on the list, occupying a pale blue shack nestled in the quaint sprawl of the South Bay. Regulars here elbow up to the outdoor counter encircling the kitchen and savor their burgers slowly; Mom recommends you do the same.

Mom's Burgers

336 W Alondra Blvd
Compton, CA 90220
(310) 632-6622

Day #4: B&R’s Old Fashion Burgers

The Monster Royal
In a city filled with strip mall gems, it seems odd that B&R is the only place on this list actually located in a strip mall. It also is one the few places to feature something resembling a dining area: a collection of mismatched chairs and tables that serves more as a waiting room for take-out than as a place to eat. B&R’s main claim to fame is its Monster Royal Burger, a creation of two patties, cheese, egg and a choice of bacon or pastrami. Truth be told, it’s not that much different from what is seen at most other hood stands, though they do dedicate an annual eating contest to the burger, which itself should raise an eyebrow. When the Monster Royal comes out the kitchen it is much more diminutive than the unnatural-looking obelisk that is plastered on posters across the room. This surprisingly squat yet wide burger would almost be able to fit inside an over-stretched jaw. But due to the addition of a thin, watery chili sauce the buns soon soften and disengage from the patty, leaving one to resort to the plastic knife and fork stowed inside the grease-splotched paper bag. Choosing bacon over pastrami is recommended, as the crunchy texture of bacon, even if it is overcooked, is still preferable to the rubbery slices of pastrami that get lost in the mess.
The saving grace is the meat. While not the most potently seasoned, it tastes fresh, moist and oddly light for such a heavy slab of cow. The fries here, fresh cut with skin-on, arrive looking a bit wilted from their douse in oil, but are cooked perfectly enough to develop a creamy, starchy interior. The ‘homemade’ lemonade, which seems to be hood burger staple, is tart, tangy and superior to most I’ve slurped. Though if you actually believe it’s homemade, then I’ve got a Nigerian prince who might be interested in you. The Monster Royal may not exactly be worthy of it’s own festival, but it’s a dependable additional to any hood burger repertoire. As it sat finish the last bites of my burger at one of the linoleum tables, a man leaned over and asked if I thought I would be able to finish the whole Monster Royal. Please, I thought, I’ve eaten bigger.

B&R's Old Fashion Burgers

3512 W Rosecrans Ave
Hawthorne, CA 90250
(310) 679-4774

Day #5: Hawkin’s House of Burgers

The Whipper Burger
As much an icon as the nearby Watts Towers, Hawkins House of Burgers is credited with being the originator, perfecter and paterfamilias of the hood burger subculture. Situated across the street from Watts’ oldest and largest housing project, Hawkin’s began as a small grocery store selling amenities and serving food to tenants. Burger demand quickly outpaced all others, leading to an expanded kitchen and menu. Groceries are still available in the back however, just in case you want a bottle of malt liquor or roll of toilet paper along with your burger and fries. Though some die-hards (who prefer size over taste) order the $16 Hawkins Special: a three-patty, egg, pastrami, bacon, sausage and chili topped monstrosity that measures at least a foot tall, most opt for the staff favorite Whipper Burger. The Whipper is construction of double-stacked beef patties melted together with american cheese and topped off shaved pastrami and a butterflied hot link. Sure, it may not have all of the cholesterol-laden amenities of larger Hawkins Special, but what it does include is delicious.
The pastrami is peppery and tender, while the sausage link snaps and bursts with spicy juice, making for excellent companions to an already superb burger. Topped with mustard, onions, dill pickle chips, and sweet relish the Whipper tastes like the hulking love child of all things greasy spoon. The steak fries aren’t bad either. Of course, being the most famous hood burger comes with a price. The small kitchen often becomes strained under the combined traffic of locals and those making a further pilgrimage. Luckily an old pac-man arcade game and a few bootleg DVD salesman help the time pass quickly. The prize that waits when your number is called is still one of the best hood burgers available, even 50 years and many competitors later.

Hawkin's House of Burgers

11603 Slater St
Los Angeles, CA 90059
(323) 563-1129

Honorable Mentions:
Big Mike’s – Bellflower
Master Burger- Mid-City
JNJ Burger Shack – Mid-City
3 Bears BBQ – Lynwood
Burger Stand – Crenshaw

Hawkins House of Burgers
2664 Fair Oaks Ave, Altadena, CA 91001

Hawkins House of Burgers
11603 Slater St, Los Angeles, CA 90059

JNJ Burger Shack
5754 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

Mom's Burgers
336 W Alondra Blvd, Compton, CA 90220

Fresh & Meaty Burgers
3016 W Florence Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90043

Fred's Downhome Burgers
2524 W Slauson Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90043

Master Burger
4419 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90062

Big Mike's
17845 Clark Ave, Bellflower, CA 90706

Royal Burgers
2950 Johnson Dr Ste 133, Ventura, CA 93003

Hawkins House of Burgers
11603 Slater St, Los Angeles, CA 90059

Royal Burgers
2950 Johnson Dr Ste 133, Ventura, CA 93003

90018 and nearby recommendations?

The Serendipitous Flatbread of the Citadel: Lamajoon Restaurant

Mmm, fresh made lamajoon are an excellent find. The place near me has them under a heat lamp, this looks like a far superior choice. Thanks for the great review!

Tortas Ahogadas Y Mas: Exploring Whittier Boulevard in East LA

Oh, thats that new one that opened a while ago right? It looks really good, but haven't been there. The fact that it is in South Central alone makes it worth the visit. That area is quickly outpacing East LA as far as authentic mexican food goes.

Gigantic mate selection.

Thanks for the tip, love mate! It's a great South American market for sure, they also have a nice selection of Inca Cola-type sodas and the like.

Tortas Ahogadas Y Mas: Exploring Whittier Boulevard in East LA

Formatted Article w/ Pics:

Even on a day with no parades or festivals, the stretch of Whittier Boulevard that lies just east of the 710 freeway is teeming with life. The street is one the main arteries of East Los Angeles both in terms of geography and culture; home mostly to blue-collar workers and their families who, unlike most Angelenos, rely on transportation other than automobiles to get around. The crowds that linger at bus stops or walk the streets here give this section of town a vibrancy that is rare in LA. It is the feeling of undiluted city life where, for better or worse, the boundaries between public space and private life breaks down. Catering to this eager crowd is a wide array of Pan-Latino food vendors that, in LA at least, is unrivaled in it’s selection and multitude: from corner tortilleria’s decorated in day-glo orange murals to hobbled carts selling mayonnaise-slathered grilled corn. It makes for an exciting mix, and eating a bad meal in this neighborhood is a difficult thing to do.

A perennial favorite around here is Tortas Ahogadas El Guero, which shares the name of a famed sandwich shop in Guadalajara, a city where the ubiquitous Torta Ahogada is eaten regularly as part tradition, part rite of a passage. The hefty sandwich involves a thick sourdough-ish roll called a birote salado, which is filled with stewed pork and a thin layer of beans, topped with pickled onions, then literally drenched in red sauce. The last detail is the most important, as the sauce is a careful composite of two other sauces: one mild tomato and the other a searing chile de arbol salsa, which is reminiscent of Tapatio on steroids. The ratio of these sauces is determined by the bravado of the diner: some fire-hardened palates prefer their sandwich to be soaked purely in the hot sauce, but most opt for the “mita y mita” a blend of the two which results in a dish spicy enough to make your lips tingle without singeing eyebrows. The Torta Ahogada is intended to be eaten with your hands, staining your fingers red and leaving you with a distinct pepper odor despite the copious use of napkins. The specially made bread is chewy enough to hold it’s form, while softer rolls would have turned to mush under the heavy shellacking of sauce. As you would expect of a dish that is eaten with your hands, the sandwich is immensely satisfying, leaving your stomach with a feeling that does justice to the restaurant’s fire-breathing dragon mascot.

Luckily for those without a pack of Rolaids handy, a few doors down lies El Machin, a shop known especially for it’s chilled treats: bionicos, bowls of sliced fruit topped with sweet cream, honey, bits of coconuts and granola; and raspados, shaved ice flavored with fruit. For only $2.50 you can order a raspado whose size rivals any slushie you could find at 7-11. A wide selection of flavors are available, but one of the best is the blend of strawberry and mango: sweet, slighty tart and colorful enough to be worthy of a Jimmy Buffet song. The shaved ice is mixed with pureed fresh fruit, which becomes suspended in the ice, ensuring that the drink does not became a flavorless cube of snow once you have sucked all the juice out, a common fault in lesser blended drinks.

If you have a different kind of sweet tooth you may prefer Sonora Bakery, a few more steps down Whitter. The store bakes a innumerable amount of fresh Mexican pastries, or pan dulces, everyday and when you walk in a batch is assured to be coming straight from the ovens. Almost everything costs around $.70, from the large slices of sweet corn bread with a shocking pink layer of flan sandwiched in-between, to the long slices of soft baguette smeared with sweet and salty whipped butter. Ask one of the ladies wearing a flower-print apron what is fresh and, like most places around Whittier, you can be sure to be steered in the right direction.

Tortas Ahogadas El Guero Restaurant
4508 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90022

Eastern European Comfort Food For Old World Prices in H-Wood

Sabina, matron and namesake for the small strip-mall restaurant on Vine street, cuts a motherly figure. Even if you can’t claim any Eastern European heritage (though many patrons certainly do), she welcomes you will a with the unhurried and deliberate service of a woman who proudly serves a good home-cooked meal. She is not the kind of owner who delivers a forced smile or hangs on your every need, instead her only concern seems to be that you leave nourished with a belly full of hot food. The tiny dining room is filled with red pastel tables and chairs chipped from decades of use. The crimson colored cloth napkins are threadbare and musty, giving a sense of continuing tradition as you tuck them into your lap. Sabina hails from Romania, which can be discerned from either a glance at the travel agency photos of rustic countryside lining the walls or the short and hearty menu filled with Austro-Hungarian classics.

Most customers at lunch, whether they be Hispanic foremen or chain-smoking Russian club promoters, order the Pork Schnitzel. It’s a solid choice, as the plate arrives with a large scoop of mashed potatoes and two crispy breaded pork chops that have been pounded flat and fried until they’re the size of frisbees. Each customer then promptly tops them with the preferred ethnic condiment of peppery salsa, BBQ sauce or spicy mustard from bottles that line the counter. Though Sabina may tell you she loves all the dishes equally, it’s no secret here that the real home-style gems here are found further down the menu. For a mere $2.50 order a bowl of Burta, sour tripe soup: deep red in color, seasoned with dill and vinegar. The soup is thick with chunks of tripe as tender as those you’ll find in East LA’s best menudo shops. A large basket of soft white bread and a plate of sour cream will arrive soon after. Use them liberally. The sour cream is rich and fresh, and is best when stirred into the soup until it melts into white flecks.

All entrée’s at Sabina’s are $5.75, a price even more astounding when you consider the portions could easily feed Pau Gasol, should he ever crave a taste of the sub-continent, and still send him to practice with a doggie bag. Two of the best are the Chicken Paprika with Dumplings and the Stuffed Cabbage, both fine examples of what comfort food should be. The Stuffed Cabbage in particular has manage to stick in my head: ground pork and rice seasoned with more dill, wrapped in cabbage leaves and then simmered in a rich tomato broth until the cabbage has become flavorful and yielding. Once it arrives, a further spoonful of the ubiquitous sour cream and a slice of bread to soak up the garlicky juices completes this peasant’s feast. But Sabina is not done yet, for a mere $1.75 more you can finish with a plate of two thick sugar-dusted crepes, which are more akin to the Danish style than the delicate French variety. If your really sharp you’ll order one filled with tart cherry jam and one with cream cheese and end up with a dessert that tastes as elegant as something that would cost 5 times as much in Santa Monica.

In total, a 3-course meal that would usually be more appropriate for those working a full day of plowing or ox herding will cost you only $10; and perhaps your productivity for the rest of the day. How Sabina is able to offer such is able to offer simply prepared and authentic meals at such a minimal price is something that still amazes me, although I’m guessing it involves same maternal instincts that ensure you never leave your grandmother’s house unfed.

Sabina’s European Restaurant
1253 Vine St
Ste 12
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 469-9522
$ – Cash Only

More Pics Here:

1253 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Good Gringo Tacos?

Sky's Gourmet Tacos is worth a try. They pride themselves on their soul food tacos and they are pretty tasty. Better than Tito's at least.

5408 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

roast suckling pig

Second Eva's Lechon. They do 1/4 pig, 1/2 pig & whole. Must be ordered around 3-4 advance. Skin is crispy and meat is tender. Just call the day of and double check your pick-up time so you don't get stuck waiting, especially around the holidays.

Eva's Lechon & Deli
4252 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

SFV to Beverely Blvd: Great Mexican?

In short, The LA city council made it go away. It is technically illegal to operate an al pastor spit outside so they shut it down. The good news is, being true taco renegades, Leo's busts out the spit on Friday though Sunday. During the weekdays El Chato and Leo's are pretty equal in terms of meats, but on the weekdays nothing can touch Leo's al pastor.

SFV to Beverely Blvd: Great Mexican?

Sorry if this is a bit late for your movie plans, but the New Beverly Cinema is literally walking distance from Tinga, a "new wave" mexican restaurant that is both affordable and has authentic tacos. That has got to be the best choice hands down.

142 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Rice with barberries, spinach borani, and other similar Persian dishes

Shaherzad and Shamshiri Grill in Westwood are excellent choices, but if I were were in Pasadena I would prefer to take the shorter drive to the equally delicious Raffi's Place in Glendale. Their Zereshk Polo is a winner, though they may not have as wide a menu as some other places.

Raffi's Place Restaurant
211 E Broadway, Glendale, CA 91205

Sushi in East SGV?

Your best bets are Anjo Japanese, Shizu Sushi House, or Yashima all which are around Covina. Anjo is the cheapest and offers some excellent combo deals. But Yashima and Shizu probably have better quality fish and rolls. Hope this helps!

Yashima Restaurant
236 E Rowland St, Covina, CA 91723

Anjo Japanese Restaurant
1905 W Badillo St, West Covina, CA 91790

The Rain-Soaked Koreatown Blues: Han Bat Sul Lung Tang and Koo’s Sweet Rice Pancake

(Inspired by LA hounder "mrgreenbeenz")

Los Angeles is currently facing the full brunt of a heavy storm system that is expected to last the entire week. Or, to put it as my grandfather used to say, it’s raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock. It’s common knowledge that people in this fair city completely lose their shit when rain starts a fallin’. LA motorists are as cautious with their speed during inclement weather as they with their turn signals on the freeway. Add on top the logistical stress that a week of straight rainfall has on a city that usually experiences 300 days of sunshine a year, and rainy LA makes for a pretty sucky place. Yet, even in the midst of crisis there lies great opportunity, as the old proverb goes. For me that opportunity was finding solace in a good rainy day meal that would warm the body and nourish the soul. For that I headed to Koreatown, inspired by the recent post of the oddly-named Chowhounder, ‘mrgreenbeenz’. Koreatown may not seem like an obvious choice for a day meal on a stormy day, but when you consider it in terms of geography it makes perfect sense. Korea is located very far north in terms of latitude. In fact, North Korea is only a stones throw away from the vast frozen wasteland of Eastern Russia (even closer than Sarah Palin). So naturally Korean cuisine has a wide array of dishes that are exceptional for knocking out the chill caused by a blustery day.

The most famous of these cold-weather dishes is probably Sul Lung Tang, a beef soup whose milky-white broth is developed from boiling whole beef bones for an entire day. In Koreatown, the Cadillac of Sal Lung Tang is undoubtedly the sparsely adorned, Han Bat Sul Lung Tang, a blink-and-you-miss-it gem just off Western Ave. Han Bat does you a favor and simplifies the menu into essentially one item, soup. You do however get a choice of meat, those being: brisket, tripe, intensifies, liver, etc. The best choice though is to spring for the mixed bowl which contains all the meats to ensure you don’t miss out on any type of offal deliciousness the cow has to offer. When your soup arrives it comes accompanied with 2 dishes of kimchee, one radish and one cabbage, a bowl of rice and a heaping tub of green onions. I learned the hard way that the tub was meant to be communal as the waitresses impatiently waited for me to finish sprinkling onions onto my soup so she could drop the bucket off at the next table. What can I say, I like green onions. The meat in the soup was boiled to extreme tenderness, both absorbing and imparting it’s rich flavor into the broth. Texture is added by the thin, clear cellophane noodles that hide in the bottom of the bowl. Some prefer taking a spoonful of rice and dipping it in the broth and letting the flavor soak it. Whatever way the soup is enjoyed (every person in the restaurant seemed to have their own variation) the best part is undeniably the hearty broth. The marrow of the beef bones lends a rich mineral flavor that can only be described as both wholesome and rejuvenating. Finishing my bowl I felt like Michael Strahan must feel when he finishes a bowl of Chunky Soup.

Across the street, almost by destiny, is a odd little trailer outside a Korean grocery that is famous for its Ho-tteok, a sweet rice pancake that looks like it would be more home at a state fair. I ordered a few and watched from beneath the awning as two mexican ladies folded brown sugar and ground peanuts into a ball of pale dough. The dough is then placed on a oiled griddle and pressed flat until it is crispy brown on the outside and gooey on the inside with a thin layer of sweet filling inside. They taste like a McGriddle that has attained nirvana. I stood, sheltered from the rain, wolfing down these cakes with little regard for their piping hot temperature. Several Koreans passed by, nodding in approval. I noticed that they were all headed to another busy stand which was serving a snack I was unfamiliar with. Turns out it was grilled squid jerky, or Momzzang. Despite feeling full enough already, I ordered the squid body, which is first lacquered with a thin layer of peanut butter, grilled, then cut up into strips and served with chili sauce. It was tender, chewy and slightly sweet, complimenting the spicy chili sauce perfectly. I see how squid jerky could become quite addicting, and judging by the line forming, it already had hooked many fans. In fact, some Korean families were ordering yelling orders from their car windows to the squid lady to avoid standing in the rain. All in all, I ended the night only $15 lighter in exchange for a supremely satisfying 3-course meal. Hopping puddles back to my car, I didn’t even mind my soaked jacket and damp socks. With food this tasty within my reach, I say bring on the rain.

Pics and Full Review here:

Han Bat Shul Lung Tang
4163 W 5th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Tokyo 7-7 is closing on the 18th of December

I'm really gonna miss this place. The Royales they serve are amazing. But there is a place that is very similar on Jefferson Blvd. called George's Coffee Shop that is run by Koreans and serves a small selection of Korean food. Plus, its just as cheap as Tokyo 77.

George's Coffee Shop
5439 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230