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KOREATOWN - LA Dish of the Month (October 2013)

8th Street has the best Soondea in all of Ktown. Western is good, but nowhere near 8th Street.

Oct 09, 2013
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Pyromania at Chengdu Taste in Alhambra

@CB Tea smoked duck is supposed to be overly dry & not very meaty, and have a almost "preserved duck" quality to it. I guess you will really like it if you grew up with it. The buns seems kinda of strange....

Agree with you that we should all go before JGold writes about it. I've been there twice and planned to go back this Sat. @TC can you introduce us to the crew? The waiter was so funny, he said he put on 15lb in the past 4 weeks as the staff meal was too tasty.

Jul 29, 2013
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Pyromania at Chengdu Taste in Alhambra

Actually, it's very extraordinary.

Most SGV Sichuanese restaurants are bending towards the Chongqing hold-no-bar-back extra spicy with the sole aim of getting all the way through your digestive system.

It's extremely difficult to find any Chengdu style restaurant after Shufeng Garden at the Great Mall of China closed. Chengdu style food has a finer balance of spicy & numbness and you can still taste the disk - i.e. it's not spicy for spicy sake.

Jul 25, 2013
keepon in Los Angeles Area

As good or better than Intelligentsia Black Cat

There are so many great coffee bean choices in LA now, why limited yourself to Intelligentsia?

For something local, try Handsome Coffee Roasters.
The guys were ex-Intelligentsia folks who roasted up amazing coffee.
http://www.handsomecoffee.com/

For something special, head over to the newly opened Cognoscenti Coffee shop in Culver City. They carried amazing, hard to find beans from Phil & Sebastian (Canada), Wrecking Ball (SF) & Counter Culture, all are my favorite roasters.

Dec 17, 2012
keepon in Los Angeles Area

2012 Coffee List - Since any other list is Outdated

Disclaimer: I only drink expresso type drink in a shop, no pourover/cold brew as those are quite easy to do at home. Self admitted coffee snob.

Places that I'll drive out for a cup of coffee
a. Cognoscenti Coffee at Proof Bakery
Still the best cap or cortados in town, multi-roaster cafe so always have serving something interesting.

b. Handsome Coffee
Extremely consistent, but if you don't like people who stop you from adding sugar to your drink, this place is not for you.

c. G&B Coffee at Sqirl Cafe
Just opened last week, no you cannot hang out there but the coffee was good.

Places that I'll go for a coffee if I'm in a 2 miles radius
a. Balconi - Sawtelle Ave
b. Intelligensia Venice - Extremely consistent drink, just that the line is usually too long.
c. Spring for Coffee - DTLA
d. Demitasse - DTLA

Coffee shop that I'll go to if I'm in the hood
a. Commissary - Weho
b. C&M at LACMA
c. Fix Coffee - Echo Park
d. Two Guns Expresso - Manhattan Beach
e. Portola Coffee - Costa Mesa
f. Cafe Cielo - Santa Monica

Oct 10, 2012
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Looking for very specific regional Chinese food restaurants in LA area

While LA has great variety of regional Chinese food, I've to say the variety that you are looking is rather specific that will be hard to find even in second tier cities in China. I tried to pick restaurant that are most loyal to the original cuisine, and not the Sichuan-by-way-of-Beijing style that is becoming very popular in San Gabriel Valley.

Guizhou
The only Guizhou food available in LA is Guilin Rice Noodle. I would take a plain vanilla sour fish soup if there's any, but that's too niche to ask for.
Eight Cafe
1622 Alegro Sq # B San Gabriel, CA 91776‎
(626) 307-1989

Yunnan
Again, only generic Yunnan food is available, no ethnic specialty. Mostly across the bridge noodle blended in with a few Yunnan dishes.
Yunnan Garden
545 W Las Tunas Dr
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 308-1896

Xinjiang:
Uighur : Omar's Xinjiang Halal. This is pretty authentic with chefs from Xinjiang who are Muslims. Noodles & lamb dishes are great.
1718 New Ave
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 570-9778

Chaozhou
There's a lack of Chaozhou restaurants as CA ban on shark fin drove many of them out of business. I found the quality of Chaozhou food here hugely disappointing in comparison with other regional cuisine to an extent that I rather not have Chaozhou food in LA.
Seafood Village
684 W Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754
(626) 289-0088

Dongbei
Surprisingly good here. They don't have the seafood selection of a typically Dalian restaurant, but they are hugely apologetic about serving only folks from Northern China.
Shen Yang Restaurant
137 S San Gabriel Blvd
Ste A
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 292-5758
Easily the most authentic Dongbei experience in LA. I was half expecting folks to break out 3 bottles of Moutai in the middle of the meal. For those who never travel to Dongbei, the food here was downright strange.(think, a plate of chicken bones, dense bun designed for 40 below weather)

Sichuan
The styles are blended here, more tending towards Chongqing. We used to have a great Chengdu style restaurant here but that went out of business. The best is
Chung King Restaurant
1000 S San Gabriel Blvd
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 286-0298

Oct 10, 2012
keepon in Los Angeles Area

LA coffee scene: are we at the start of a revolution?

Thanks for the tip! Will try out Tiago if I happen to be in the hood

Agree that Handsome needs time to stabilize quality: it can range from sublime to hmm... I don't care where my coffee is from as long as it's good, but it'll be cool to have a good local roaster that we can proud of.

Sep 21, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

LA coffee scene: are we at the start of a revolution?

So glad to see Oliver Strand covering LA coffee scene in NYT! Check this out!

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/20...

Aug 25, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

LA coffee scene: are we at the start of a revolution?

I think it's just a matter of personal taste. Intelligensia's beans tends to be bolder & have higher acidity - good, but I prefer beans that are lightly roasted with lighter flora note like Ecco coffee. Some people like their beans more nutty, chocolate in flavor. Also brewing method determines which beans will work better for you.

Aug 24, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

LA coffee scene: are we at the start of a revolution?

I always love the Slow Bar, debuted when Intelli Venice opened a few years ago but that quickly got pulled. So I'm glad it's back - for me it's not about the coffee itself, but a chance to see how the barista can indulge in their own coffee fantasy and be themselves is really cool. Especially when the crowd is just overwhelming these days.

Aug 23, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Paris 19th arrondissement and thefork.com

I use Lefooding.com to look for restaurant idea. The site is in French, but you can search with Google Translate. Cool thing about Lefooding is that they had the bill attached to each review, so you will know exactly how much it'll be. We found many great, reasonable price restaurant through there recommendations.

For me personally, the most happening food scene in Paris is in 10th & 11th, very close to 20th. However, as others said, Paris is really small and very pleasurable to walk around.

Aug 23, 2011
keepon in France

LA coffee scene: are we at the start of a revolution?

Craft beer has finally caught on in LA with the explosion of beer bars where having 15 beers on tap is the bare minimal. Coffee, on the other hand, is growing but at a much slower rate. In the past year quite a few good coffee places popped up around LA - so are we at the start of a coffee revolution?

This is just a list of coffee shops that I like
Downtown
Demitasse - Open this week, brewing Equator coffee with pastries from Farmshop.
Spring for Coffee - Tiny NY style coffee shop, carries Blue Bottle & Stumpstown
Coffee Bar LA - Nice space, variety of beans from SF & Oregon
Cafe Dulce - Little Tokyo
Chimney Coffee - Very odd location, but they have my favorite Counter Culture Coffee

"East"side
Cognoscenti Coffee - Atwater Village. Carries 4 Barrel, my favorite coffee shop in LA
Broome Street General Store - Gimme Coffee
Cafecito Organico
La Mill - Coffee a bit hit and miss, always experimental
Intelligensia

"West"side
Cafe Tomo - Sawtelle, roasted bean in house
Balconi Cafe - Sawtelle
Espresso Cielo - Santa Monica, 49th Parallel beans from Vancouver
Conservatory - Culver City. OK, other places are blowing them away but I love the mom and pop feel
Profeta - Westwood, Vivaca bean
Coffee Commissary

Further away
Klatch - San Dimas, they are just so far away...
Portola Coffee Lab - Costa Mesa. OK I haven't been but heard a lot of good things about it.

Mobile
Drip Bar - Blue Bottle at Farmer's Market near you
Handsome Roaster - Newest additional to LA coffee scene, love their beans!!!

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Little Tokyo Restaurant
150 E Bonita Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773

Tomo
18707 Devonshire St, Northridge, CA 91324

Espresso Cielo
3310 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Coffee Commissary
801 N. Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Portola Coffee Lab
3313 Hyland Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Aug 19, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Braised Pig's Foot in K Town @ Jangchung-Dong Wong Jokbal

We went to this place around a year ago - extremely difficult to find because they had no English sign outside. Also, wait staff didn't really speak English, but we got help from fellow diners.

I love braised pig's food and it's one of the better version around. A generous plate that can feed more than 2 with soju was $24 for dinner.

Aug 19, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Taiwanese breakfast close to LAX/Santa Monica?

Yes, I believe Huge Tree is the closest to LAX if good TW breakfast is what you want. Traffic usually is pretty good early AM weekend and you can get there in 30min.
There's no good Chinese food in LAX/Santa Monica area period.

Aug 04, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Medium to Dark Roast Coffee, Whole Beans

There is a mini coffee revolution going on in LA, and there are many worthy places to buy beans.

Cafe Tomo, West LA
11309 Mississippi Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Recently opened, they roast beans on site

Spring for Coffee, Downtown
548 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
They carry Stumptown from OR

Coffeebar LA, Downtown
600 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
They carry a variety of beans from SF and OR roasters: Verve, Sightglass etc

Chimney Brick Toast Coffee House, Downtown
1100 N Main St
Ste B
Los Angeles, CA 90012
They carry Counter Culture from North Carolina that I love.

Cognoscenti Coffee at Proof Bakery, Atwater Village
3156 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
They carry Four Barrel from SF

Broome St General Store
2912 Rowena Ave.,
Los.Angeles, CA
Gimme Coffee from NYC

Coffee Commissary, West Hollywood
801 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
They got Coava!! From Portland

And last by not least, Handsome Coffee Roaster, they literally just started but it's fantastic based on what I've tried. Actually that's what I'm drinking right now.
http://handsomecoffee.com/

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Coffee Commissary
801 N. Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Jul 14, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Where Can a Girl Get a Decent Po'Boy in This Town?!

Heard good things about Soft Shelff Crab Po'boy from the newly opened Fundamental on Westwood. I'm allergic to crab so haven't tried but please try and report back!

Fundamental LA
1303 westwood blvd. los angeles, ca 90024 t. 310.444.7581
Lunch only, closed Sunday.

Jun 24, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Coffee Tomo - new on Sawtelle

Love Balconi, and wish MORE people will know about it.

We knew the owner for years: they ran coffee shops in Westwood & West LA before finally settling in Sawtelle. I hope they got enough business this time around that they can actually stay open and not repeating the fate of Balconi's previous incarnation.

Jun 16, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Singapore family with 2 kids to Los Angeles seeking advise.

4. Brunch: Definitely Gjelina, go earlier and try to secure a table outside if it's sunny.
5. LA is not strong in Italian, but have you checked out review on Sotto or Angelina Osteria?
7. Ice Cream: Scoops Westside? Not really a kids place but they got very interesting ice cream flavors
9. Parks BBQ: Def within 30mins, if you take Olympic Blvd instead of Wilshire Blvd and well worth the drive
10. Unfortunately no, and I'm quite sure Cantonese in Singapore is better than what you can get within 10-15min drive

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Scoops Westside
10640 Woodbine St, Los Angeles, CA 90034

Gjelina
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Jun 08, 2011
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Farm Shop?

Yup, went for lunch on Fri, ordered goat cheese veggie tartine & chocolate hazelnut danish.

The goat cheese tartine was very good - not your typical cafe good, but high end restaurant good. Every veggie used (carrots, radish etc), were selected, prepared and presented with utmost attention and every bite was perfect. Goat cheese provided a great creamy base without overpowering the veggies. Kept thinking if vegetarian food is like that maybe I wouldn't mind being a vegetarian. Can see a shade of French Laundry right there.

Well, the price tag matched too..2 items with a sode set me back at nearly $20, and both tartine and danish were tiny. I mean, everything was really, really good, but not somewhere I can go on a regular basis.

Dec 12, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area

"3rd Wave" coffees in LA

Cognoscenti Coffee, now at Proof Bakery (Atwater Village)? Tried his cappuccino and it's very good. He uses mainly Four Barrel beans, but this guy is super knowledgeable and he's always on the lookout for beans from folks like Ecco, Counterculture etc, and he lamented abt the lack of quality milk compare to NYC.

Dec 12, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Magnum @ Biergarten, Mahon/Haskell pop-up

My SO is going (unfortunately I'll be out of town). Tried Haskell's pairing at Test Kitchen with Starry Kitchen - very interesting and unconventional pairing, learn a lot from the guy.

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Starry Kitchen
350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

Dec 12, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Alcazar Express Westwood is now Lina Express?

Ah, that space is cursed. Walked past and saw a sign "Lunch Special $9.95, Under New Management".

Alcazar had good food but the service was too unpredictable/slow, not surprised. Anyone to Lina please post!

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Alcazar Express
1303 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Dec 06, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Bornean food in Alhambra

Thanks for the lead - went for lunch today. Indeed, you need to ask for the "secret" menu. Turned out they secret menu started about 4 months ago, and there were quite a few tables of Indonesians there for the special menu.

Ordered 2 dishes: Rujak & Nasi Campur.

This is a hard to find in LA version of Rujak, basically vegetables (sweet potato, cucumber etc) in peanut sauce, topped with shrimp paste. SO said that it's very authentic, but personally I found the taste of shrimp paste a bit overpowering, but still a good dish.

Nasi Campur turned out to be completely different from the typical Indonesian version. Chinese-ish sausage, roasted pork (char-siu) and fried chicken on top of rice. The most interesting part was that you have to pour over a broth and mixed everything together. The flavor was completely different from what expected - possibly some sort of Chinese fusion Kalimantan food?

The other item that we meant to try is 1/2 fried chicken, looked really good. Overall, this is a very authentic, home cooked version of Kalimantan food, but whether it will appeal to your palate or not - you have to give it a try and decide for yourself.

Thanks so much for the tips!!!! We are always looking for regional Indonesian food in LA....

Dec 05, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area

L'Epicerie Market Culver City: First Impression

After much delay, Thierry Perez's (Fraiche) French inspired cafe/restaurant/market was opened on Dec 1, and went in for lunch yesterday. Disclaimer:not a huge fan of Fraiche, but want to give it a try.

It's an interesting space, where you can either get food/drink/pastry to go, dine in at tables or bar, or simply picking up wine and cheese. .

Lunch options are: soup, salad, sandwich, crepe. Love the fact you can order half portion for salad & sandwich. Dinner seems more intriguing, tapas menu with items such as bellota ham. Most dishes are priced at $7.

So a run down of the dishes:
Beets Salad w/ poached egg: LOVE the steamy egg with runny yolk that brought great flavors to the salad. Beets were well cooked, just wished they were not such huge chunk. A winner.

Baguette Sandwich with ham, cheese, lettuce: Very disappointed with the bread: soft with no bite. Highlight was the butter that brought all the elements together. A bit of a disappointment.

Coffee: Blue Bottle!! Ya, it's good. I'll go back for this as Dripbar doesn't come by Westside often.

Macaroon: Got Almond, Orange, Hazelnut. Orange was way too sweet, but went well with coffee. My last macaroon was Laduree in Paris so probably not fair comparison, I just hope these had more of a crunch when you bite into.

Took a long time to catch someone's attention to order, but food came out fast. Still want to go back to try out the tapas dinner/happy hour. If you like Fraiche you will probably like this place - that's my impression.

L'Epicerie Market
9900 Culver Blvd,
Culver City

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Fraiche
9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

Dec 03, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Attari Grill Westwood - Anyone Been?

Walked past the famous Attari Sandwich on Westwood and saw that they just open a small, 6 tables indoor restaurant right next to the outdoor eating area of the Sandwich Shop. Anyone been? Menu seems like typical Persian joint with Kabob, Stew etc.

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Attari Sandwich Shop
1388 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Oct 07, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area

How Often to You Go Out To Dinner....and Why?

For us, 4 times a week. We made a choice not to move to the suburb (and the space and yard that goes with it) so we can be close to good food. It also helps that in LA you can eat well in $10-$20 range or much much more. There are just so many restaurants to explore that we try at least 1-2 new spots per week. We are blessed in that sense.

Sep 17, 2010
keepon in Not About Food

Seafood Korean BBQ?

Have you tried Jae Bu Do on Western if you don't mind eating in a hole in the wall, low on ventilation place?

Jae Bu Do
474 N Western
Los Angeles, CA 90004

May 14, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Top 7 hot dog locations per ABC

I've tried Vicious Dogs: it's quite good, but not good enough to worth the drive when polish at your local Costco is more than serviceable.

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Vicious Dogs
5231 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

May 06, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area

Good food & Great Beer at K-town: Biergarten

I love Korean food, and I love beer, and the two did not meet in the past. We often need to head out to Father's Office or Wurstkuche to have something decent to drink after a great meal at K-town. But my dream is answered: Biergarten.

Foodwise, Korean-fusion but in a good way. We tried
- Korean Taco. We were very skeptical by anyone trying to channel Kogi. However Beirgarten's version is actually good ad much close what we imagined a Korean taco to be: greatly seasoned beef, with just the right amount of spiciness & garnishing.

- Beer Chicken. Well, it actually doesn't tasted like beer, but skin was crispy and even the breast meat was flavorful. They use fresh, never frozen chicken.

The highlight is the beer selection: 20 beers on tap, more in bottles, and much much more than your standard OB and LIte. Besides usual suspect such as Racer 5 IPA, Tripel Karmeliet, they also have 3-4 beers on constant rotation, like seasonal offering from Gouden Carolus.

Owner Neil is super friendly, and constantly checking in with us on food and beer. The place has been opened for a month, and he also mentioned the chef was from the defunct Zip on Wilshire/Western.

Overall, the food is good - not earth shattering good, but if you are looking for a place with good food and beer - or just a great beer - this is the place for you.

Note: If sports is not your kind of tea, don't try to go there when there's a Laker's game night. It maybe distracting from the eating/drinking experience..

Biergarten
206 N Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004
(Cross Street: Beverley)

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Father's Office
3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034

Wurstkuche
800 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Kogi
Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

Biergarten
206 N Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

May 04, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area

SGV Chinese Rec needed

I ran into the same problem as you: How to show others good Chinese food without scaring them off? Experience shows that

1. JTYH: As recommended by Ipsedixit is a great idea. Knife Cut Noodle, Cat's Ears are great

2. Duck House: Peking Duck is quite easy to take a liking

Shanghai food is good choice too: What about Yu Garden?.

In general, Taiwanese, Hunan or Sichuan, it's harder to find dishes that will satisfy you without scaring your friend off. Reserve those for Stage 2.

Apr 29, 2010
keepon in Los Angeles Area