mygirlbakes AL's Profile

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What are your favorite dives and cheap eats WORTH THE DRIVE?

We always make time for The Kansas City BBQ Company in North Hollywood.

http://www.thekansascitybbqcompany.co...

We generally prefer pulled pork on a bun for a good bbq sandwich, but since that's not an option here we get sliced pork (which comes on white sandwich bread) and have never been disappointed. The beans are a must try (extremely porky) and although they only serve thick cut steak fries they are always insanely crispy and hot. Prices and portions are both fairly robust. Don't be deterred by the somewhat sketchy location. Spicier sauce available upon request if that's your game.

Devour and enjoy, and bring me your leftovers if you have any.

Apr 30, 2012
mygirlbakes AL in Los Angeles Area

The, Um, Breast Milk in the Fridge

"So in essence, you are saying that men should be allowed to have kids without penalty, but women should not. How the hell is that NOT discrimination?? From your statement there's not a very far leap to saying women should just stay home if they want to have kids."

I think discrimination is a pretty strong word for it, but I do think that one person getting any kind of extra help for something she brought upon herself while the next person does not is a little off. I think the fact that a parent can take maternity/paternity leave and then return to their job is about as reasonable as you can get. So, take it. Until you can perform your job without being distracted by milking yourself or otherwise caring for your child, then sure, stay home.

People seem to completely ignore the fact that having kids is a choice. If you want to put your job or anything else first then by all means do that. You can't always have everything and being a parent comes with sacrifice.

Aug 12, 2011
mygirlbakes AL in Features

The, Um, Breast Milk in the Fridge

Newarkfoodie is on the money. It's not about who's "squeamish" or not (although that's not a non-factor), it's about people who choose to give birth and therefore assume privileges that other people don't have.

If someone in an office is pumping breast milk on any given day, then every single person in the office should stop working when that person is not working (assuming they are still being paid, which they are). Your personal reproductive business is irrelevant to the workplace and you should either not get paid during that time, or if the workplace wants to pay you for it they should pay everyone else too.

If you choose to be a parent, you should accept certain effects (monetary, career-based lifestyle related and probably several other things) as results of your choice. Those of us who don't waste our life on kids shouldn't have to pay for other people's maternal instincts.

I know I'll be berated for this, but I stand by it. I despise kids and I'm annoyed by the sense of entitlement that people bring to parenthood or the idea that parents or kids should have something that *I* or anyone else wouldn't have.

In terms of restaurants or feeding in general, I think that if you choose to have kids AND you want to be a mother that breastfeeds or otherwise cares for your child directly for a certain period of time, then you forfeit your fun of going out until you're willing to put your child in someone else's care.

Choose what's more important to you. If caring for your child is more important, then stay home and care for your child. If going out to eat is more important, then do that but don't bring your offspring into the picture. You have to choose. Deal. You can't have everything you want, so face reality and be a mom (you know, if you want).

Aug 11, 2011
mygirlbakes AL in Features

You would have a hard time finding _________in Los Angeles...

Doesn't seem to be on their beer menu, actually, but please do correct me if I'm just not seeing it (it's a BIG menu!) Easy to overlook I'm sure.

Jun 23, 2010
mygirlbakes AL in Los Angeles Area

Hounds, how do you break your fasts? [moved from LA board]

I am in no place to respond to this, I am far from Jewish and probably far from anything else. However, in theory, here's what I'm thinking:

1. The strong drink = good idea. Keep that.

2. Appetizer, something fried. Probably with a dip or sauce, potentially covered with cheese.

3. Main course: meat. Lots of meat, with starch and/or veggie and/or bread. I'm thinking a steak, or maybe a huge burger.

4. Desssert: well, I'm a girl, so: chocolate. Bittersweet so as to not be too heavy, I guess. But in any sense, whatever your tradition, major delicious desert.

Feel free to attack my ignorance. Like I said, I'm basically as un-Jewish as a person can be. :)

Sep 28, 2009
mygirlbakes AL in General Topics

Big Apple BBQ Suggestions

I'm a little confused by all the responses about Jim N Nick's related to the sausage or pimento cheese...

I mean, I understand that they brought what they did and served it up, but why they either brought or served either of things, well...it confuses me. I'm from Alabama and have eaten Jim N' Nick's for many, many years, and I've never eaten either of those dishes OR known anyone who has eaten either of those dishes; and that's kind of saying a lot because my neighborhood in Birmingham is a very small town and I've never been to a restaurant there without running into at least one other party that we know.

In any case, here's the thing about Jim N' Nicks: they're extremely good at their good stuff, most people order pulled pork in some way (that's not their only good thing, but it's probably the surest and most ordered); however: Jim N' Nick's is really trying hard these days to "spread their wings" a little bit, and possibly/probably a little too much. They're trying to become a bit of a chain, but not in a good way. When they were becoming a chain within the Birmingham city limits, well, that was one thing. But a nationwide chain is far from the same thing.

In terms of BBQ, too broad will very quickly become too generic, and quickly it just tastes bad. No excuses. No one in this thread can name a true nationwide bbq chain that will fall under the best food, or even the best bbq, they've ever had. Local, and small, will always be best.

Jim N Nick's would win at what they do best, every time, but...it's too hard for them to not grasp nationwide popularity, and thus they will fail, at least from a chowhound perspective..in real life and in business, they will still be wildly successful.

Dear Jim N Nicks: Please open a restaurant in Burbank, California. We need bbq. Love, Catherine <3 :)

Sep 28, 2009
mygirlbakes AL in Manhattan

Is it insulting to the chef to special order in fine dining?

There's not really a specific reason I'm asking this question, just something I was thinking about. In a restaurant run by a well-known chef, with carefully put-together menus and dishes, do you think it's rude or insulting to make special requests or substitutions for a dish simply because you don't like certain ingredients, or some other similar reason? I know how carefully chefs work to compose a dish, and something like leaving out an ingredient could really affect the its integrity in the eyes of the chef. Is it better to taste the dish as the chef envisioned it, risking that you won't like it as a result, or to order it the way you would prefer and thereby disregarding the chef's own feelings about it?

For the purpose of this question, moral or dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian or dairy-free, are a separate topic.

Sep 13, 2009
mygirlbakes AL in Not About Food

Top Chef Masters Finale 08/19/09 (spoilers)

Actually, on Tuesday Rick tweeted photos of each course of the Rick's Life menu that they were rolling out at Topolo (actually, they added a 5th course of dessert)...then after midnight Wednesday when I started seeing the first official promos for the finale that night and saw what the challenge was going to be, I figured that was the cherry on top as the sign of his imminent win (the cake being that they started the blog root4rick.com, and then that he was throwing the big viewing party at Frontera including inviting a few lucky fans...can't see him doing any of those things if he knew he had lost).

Doesn't mean I wasn't on the edge of my seat during the show though. :)

Aug 21, 2009
mygirlbakes AL in Food Media & News

Top Chef Masters Semi-Final 3rd Round (spoilers)

Absolutely, I totally have a crush on Rick Bayless. Anyone else follow him on Twitter? He updates all the time and posts photos of food, his garden, the market, etc.

Aug 18, 2009
mygirlbakes AL in Food Media & News

New job in Burbank - where's the food?

First, welcome to Burbank, and congrats on your new job! I'm a relatively recent (couple of years) transplant to Burbank and I'm still seeking complete satisfaction food-wise, but I fiercely support this neighborhood. I don't post a lot, but I eat and read obsessively.

I work about a block from you (NBC Burbank), so I know that area as well as downtown Burbank (where I live). Actually, if you work in the same building as Morton's, do you work in the Pinnacle building? (or at least that's what we call it...the Charter building, perhaps?)

The one top recommendation I would give in terms of quality chow is Kansas City BBQ Company in North Hollywood (good call BearCity!) (Magnolia and Satsuma, don't let the very crummy strip mall keep you away). Granted, I'm from Alabama so the number one thing on my agenda was finding good pork sandwiches with crispy fries to go with it.

Das (whom I have the utmost respect for, by the way) said "The two Mexican places on the NE corner of Alameda and Glenoaks", which first of all is slightly inaccurate, in that the only place actually in that location is a Del Taco, and then just not great in my humble opinion, in that the two Mexican places on the NE corner of Alameda and San Fernando (one block down) are places that I desperately wanted to like but would never, ever recommend or even return to for any reason. I was hoping to find a good Mexican place within walking distance that I could have a couple of margs and a good dinner at on a regular basis and then walk home (which I could have), but these places are far, so far, from good enough to fit that bill. There's a Don Cuco's opening a few blocks away any time now that I have high hopes for. If I absolutely had to pick a Mexican place for lunch around us I would go with Poquito Mas on Olive, though it does get busy. With that said, I've pretty much given up on what I want from Mexican/Southwestern cuisine and have learned to make my own salsa, my own chips, and my own margaritas any night of the week.

I've picked up MANY a take out order from George's Patio Cafe (Greek), right next to us on Riverside, though if the people ordering saw the kitchen it was coming from they probably wouldn't order. It doesn't bother me because I like food that tastes good and am not snobby, but be forewarned it's not the sexiest place to pick up from in the entertainment industry. George is nice, though, and remembers repeat customers, especially at lunch.

If you're looking for a diner, Paty's in Toluca Lake is pretty standard and a favorite for local industry folks. Very close for lunch.

I've been to Choza Mama (Peruvian across the street), and it's actually pretty tasty, depending on what you want, though it won't blow your mind. Roasted chicken is standard but good flavor and for lunch at least, very convenient.

I'm not obsessed with it personally, but Porto's (Magnolia at Hollywood Way) is beloved, but can get crowded at lunch, though more so on weekends.

I've gone to Michael's (cajun/seafood) a little ways up Olive, and it's hit or miss depending on what you order. They are not busy at lunch, and they have discounts for NBCU employees (and I expect they will for WB employees as well). If they didn't it would probably be overpriced (though they do have a lunch menu which makes things cheaper as well).

It's not a chow-centric place, but if you're looking for a good watering-hole in Burbank, I support Fantasia Billiards in downtown Burbank on San Fernando. No cover, easy and free parking, strong and cheap drinks, and a decent vibe. The bartenders are friendly and the fries are infamous as sort of the "perfect bar fries", in that they are exactly what you want to eat, IF you are already a couple of drinks in.

Same thing with the Acapulco right across the street. I wouldn't recommend it for an amazing food experience, but for Margarita Monday and the $1 tacos on the same day, it's sometimes worth stopping at for those of us that work as close as we do.

A bit further away is Aroma Cafe in Studio City. Also probably overpriced (it tends to be taken care of when I go), but a broad menu and VERY nice atmosphere in the outdoor seating area (busy at lunch). I recommend the lobster club, and a lot of the breakfast items as well.

I might go to Joy Feast on Alameda for lunch simply based on your location, if you really want Chinese, but to be honest it's only the best average version of that genre that's nearby.

I imagine there are things I will think to add or revise on this subject, but there's my first thoughts. Say hi if you feel like and/or work next to me, maybe I can give you more specific info and/or grab lunch.

:)

Aug 05, 2009
mygirlbakes AL in Los Angeles Area

Anguilla: Island of Dream Restaurants

twenex, it is. My husband and I had one of the best meals of our relatively young lives there while on our honeymoon last summer.

Apr 13, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in Features

&quot;Secret single foods&quot;

Wow, this was a great read.

My husband and I have no shame about our eating habits around each other. Anything is fair game.

My top guilty pleasure food is an entire tub of french onion dip with potato chips. Preferred brands are Dean's Light french onion dip (NOT regular and NOT fat free) with Reduced Fat Ruffles. I can eat that and not feel hungry for a couple of days.

Hunt's tomato sauce (basil, garlic, and oregano flavor) cold and straight out of the can.

I used to get a slice of bread and smother it with layers of mayo, butter, and thick cuts of cheddar cheese, then put it in the microwave until the whole pile got gooey. Mmmm. I don't do that anymore...

Feb 29, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in General Topics

A Meal For Each Oscar Nominated Movie

Be sure to serve Sunny D with the Juno meal...

Feb 25, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in Not About Food

Mexicali - Birmingham

I agree in that if I lived elsewhere in town, I'd probably just eat the same/similar food from a closer place. But for anyone that does live in the neighborhood, it's the spot.

The sad thing is that what I took to be standard Mexican fare (you said it yourself, all the places around town serve about the same thing), is nowhere to be found in Los Angeles, where I live now. I've been looking for an acceptable replacement, but it just doesn't exist, and I'm fairly well heartbroken.

I'm curious as to which mega-church you are referring, seeing as there's plenty in the area. I got married at Asbury UMC last summer.

Feb 25, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in General South Archive

Mexicali - Birmingham

Depending on traffic, maybe 30 minutes from the BJCC? But I wouldn't be the authority on that because I don't drive from downtown to the suburbs often.

They definitely don't have a private room or take reservations or anything. But if you're looking for somewhere of the same ilk (and in the same area), I would try Superior Grill. In fact, my sister-in-law had an engagement party there recently. It's NOT fancy in any way, but they will host events there.

Feb 24, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in General South Archive

Brown bagging for Airline travel?

Has anyone used Skybus? I hear they don't allow their flyers to bring their own food onboard; I hope I've heard wrong! How would they even go about enforcing that?

Feb 24, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in General Topics

Mexicali - Birmingham

That's cool, but I seriously doubt that your Mexicali and my Mexicali are related to each other in the least. I don't know about yours, but mine is a random little greasy hole in the wall. If it is a chain, I wouldn't care though, I would just pray that it get to LA in the very very near future. ; )

Feb 24, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in General South Archive

Mexicali - Birmingham

I've done a good bit of reading on CH, but very little posting. The fact that this place has zero mention on the whole site makes me sad enough to create a topic.

I suppose the fact that it's further out of town might deter the Birmingham people that post on here, but Mexicali is the landslide favorite Mexican place for people who live in the North Shelby County/ Inverness/ Greystone area (not Superior). It's located on Highway 280 in the strip mall adjacent to the entrance to the Brook Highland and Meadow Brook neighborhoods (the one with the Lowes). It's hugely popular in the area. Personally, I've been going there since it opened (maybe 1998-ish?) and for about 4 years we went there at least once a week. When I went to college, I would look forward to trips home so I could go to Mexicali, and now that I've graduated and moved to Southern California, I must admit that I can't find any Mexican food around here that can satisfy me. I went there for my bachelorette party dinner last summer and my birthday in December. Heck, I've even been there twice in one day, and I am far from the only one.

The chips are hot and plentiful, and the salsa is excellent, though its flavor and heat vary a bit depending on the day. It's the main basis for my cravings. The margaritas are tasty (I recommend the large over the regular). Most people order the same food every time, and the waiters get to know the regulars..."Number 24", "J with no rice", etc.

Maybe it's only popular because everyone goes there...vicious circle...but it's my kind of Mexican food. Perhaps I have low tastes, but I just don't like the Mexican I've been offered in LA thus far.

If you decide to try it and for whatever reason don't like the place, the worst you'll have done is the drive down 280, because the cost is very cheap.

Feb 24, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in General South Archive

Milk vs. dark chocolate - think carefully before you choose

I really love all chocolate, but my preference is for dark.

A friend gave me the 88% version of this brand: http://www.chocolatebar.com/index.asp

which I thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommended for those who like dark.

Feb 24, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in General Topics

Best Potato Chips

I'm hugely obsessed with potato chips. Honestly, they're right up at the top of my favorite foods list.

I imagine it started in Kindergarten when we took a field trip to the Golden Flake factory in Birmingham, AL. Mmmm, dill pickle chips. Golden Flake is definitely a favorite 'round these Southern parts.

I remember when I was in about 4th grade that Ruffles came out with their "The Works" flavored chips that tasted like a loaded baked potato. It was remarkable, really.

I definitely adore Zapp's. Nothing like some Gator Taters.

I like Cape Cod, but didn't start eating them until relatively recently.

Made-from-scratch chips always interest me. There's a chain in the North Carolina area called Ham's that makes a great chip.

Yep, never met a chip I didn't like...well, love actually.

Feb 24, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in General Topics

New to LA (Burbank), some specific questions (Long)

Thanks to all for your help!

To be honest, we've tried very few restaurants since getting here. It's just more economical for us right now to buy and cook our own food. I have enjoyed the Burbank farmer's market on Saturday mornings, which has drastically reduced the money we have to spend in the Ralph's produce section.

In any case, when we have eaten out it tends to be spur-of-the-moment and/or following along with friends. My impressions of a few places I have actually eaten:

Pitfire Pizza in North Hollywood: I enjoyed the cheese, but I generally prefer a crispier, less chewy crust. If I was really interested in going crazy with different toppings, this would have some great choices, but I'm pretty simple when it comes to pizza.

Acapulco, as per recommended: Great chips and great margaritas, but we didn't go on a night when they had a deal so it was a bit more expensive than I'd go for. And I really didn't like the taco I got. What's the deal with everywhere automatically mixing peppers and onions straight into the chicken? I don't like it.

Kansas City BBQ Company in North Hollywood was not exactly what we were looking for (chopped pork instead of pulled, steak fries instead of thin and crispy, white bread instead of buns), BUT the taste was great anyways. They do their thing very well and we intend to return.

Rib Ranch in Woodland Hills: pulled into this place abruptly on a drive back from the beach. First impression was promising in that it looked like it belonged waaaaay out in the country somewhere. Menu looked good too. Ordered the pork sandwich and fries, also got baked beans. Their soda machine was broken, so we were given water (good crushed ice, though). Steak fries again, although very crispy. Terrible beans and a disappointing sandwich. Good service, but it certainly doesn't make up for the food.

Victorio's pizza, less than a block away from us on Glenoaks in Burbank. Great garlic bread, not bad pizza except the pepperoni had kind of a foul flavor to it...not sure why. Even though we can walk there in less than 2 minutes, I don't foresee going back.

Big Mama's Big Papa's pizza: Apparently there's a lot of these, but in any case there's one down the street from us. We ordered the 36 inch pizza for a night in with a bunch of people. I knew it was going to be big, but WOW! And that it was made and delivered in only about 40 minutes, impressive. Everyone liked it, plus we had plenty of leftovers. For poor newlyweds, this is not a bad choice when ordering a lot of pizza.

Market City Cafe on San Fernando in downtown Burbank: I've read some pretty awful reviews, but we liked it the one time we went. The fact that it was mostly empty was a little off-putting, and the antipasto bar looked pretty vile, but everyone liked what they got (I had ravioli).

Don Diego's on Alameda in Burbank: Ugh! We really wanted to like this place since it's so close, but it was really awful. I could swear that the margaritas were made with lime off-brand kool aid. Although our friend was pretty obsessed with the chicken soup.

That's close to all I have to review. If something else comes to mind, I'll add it.

I know there's a very divisive debate among some posters regarding any kind of corporate chain restaurant, but we're not opposed and Chipotle has become our go-to place for dinner out. Pretty addictive, and the amount of free-food promotions they run is a very major bonus. We won 10 free burritos for Super Bowl Sunday.

I should also add that we drove 45 minutes each way today for a Chick fil A fix. You can take the girl out of Alabama, but you can't take the Alabama out of the girl...

Feb 24, 2008
mygirlbakes AL in Los Angeles Area

New to LA (Burbank), some specific questions (Long)

Hi, I'm new to LA from Alabama (big change!), and I have some specific chow questions that I'd love some help with. I've already done tons of reading on the boards, but I'm thinking I'll get more of the answers I'm looking for this way. If I seem like I'm only looking for certain things, or asking too much, it's not that so much as I don't know where to begin looking, so I'm just describing the kinds of places I'm used to eating.

My husband and I live near downtown Burbank, so advice about our area would be particularly helpful.

First, of course, is the question of good bbq. Now, I know everyone's definition of "good" in this area is entirely up for debate, so here's what we are looking for: Pulled pork sandwiches with sauce (mix of sweet and vinegar-ey, I think) AND good fries is absolutely required. Given that, pork ribs and great pies would be a bonus. We should be overpowered by the aroma of smoked meat as we approach the restaurant.

Second: we have been fighting to find a good Mexican/Mex-American place. From what we've tasted so far, I think our problem with being in Southern California looking for Mexican food we like is that honestly, I think maybe it's just too authentic for our Southern country tastes. We're not really looking for food like your Mexican grandmother made, we're looking for whatever kind of Mexican food we left in Alabama. Our ideal Mexican restaurant would be a strip-mall type sit-down place with tasty, cheap margaritas (bonus if they're a little strong), free flowing chips with red, smoothish, spicy salsa, and cheap taco/bean/rice combo. Maybe it's asking too much, but a margarita each, plus free chips and salsa, plus tacos for each shouldn't be more than about 20 bucks. The best we've found so far is Barragan's (knocked out by the 2.50 margaritas!), but we didn't love the salsa and the rest of the menu seemed kind of expensive. We're looking to find a place we can afford to go on a weekly basis. I read some promising things about Don Cuco's (both the Glendale and Burbank location are close enough to us), but I haven't been able to track down actual prices for the margaritas or anything else on the menu.

Third, being from Alabama, we need somewhere with good country cookin'. Fried catfish, fried chicken, biscuits, grits, fried okra, buttery green beans, mashed potatoes, corn bread, blackeyed peas, etc. If there is anywhere in this city that serves real sweet tea, point us that way!!!! A place that would have apple butter somewhere in the kitchen?I know it's a chain, but we love Cracker Barrel, so use that as a frame of reference for the type of food we're aiming for.

Those are the most important things we're desperately seeking out, but other recommendations are welcome! Just keep in mind that we are very poor newlyweds who nearly have a stroke every time we have to pay our rent. We're trying to be kind to both our taste-buds and our bank account!

And if you're ever headed to Birmingham (can't imagine why you would be...), or Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, or even Auburn (WAR EAGLE!), let me know and we will steer you to GREAT local chow!

Thanks so much in advance for all y'all's help!

Nov 02, 2007
mygirlbakes AL in Los Angeles Area

Anguilla - first time

Love Anguilla! My husband and I honeymooned there this July. We stayed at a villa called Fletch's Cove near Little Harbour. If you're adventurous and have a good car, definitely spend some time exploring some of the island's lesser-traveled "roads". Our trek to Savannah Bay and Windward Point was quite the experience.

As far as food goes, you'll enjoy Uncle Ernie's famously potent rum punches since you're staying nearby.

Our favorite meal of the week was on Koal Keel in the Valley. Though not near the water, it has a wonderful upscale island feel. I had tandoori snapper with coconut rice that was delicious, and my husband had duck that I'm pretty sure he loved more than he loves me. We also had a fantastic dessert, some kind of duo of chocolate cake and cacao sorbet. The wine list is humongous and our service was impeccable. When we first arrived, the restaurant was pretty much empty (though it soon was not) and the chef sent us a tasty quiche on the house. A fantastic experience overall, and with wine, two entrees, one dessert (and the quiche!) our meal was under $150. The restaurant also has a patisserie and a rum cellar.

http://www.koalkeel.com/index.html

I only wish we had had more time to explore the food on the island, we saw so many places we wanted to try. Oh well--next time! Have fun!

Oct 31, 2007
mygirlbakes AL in Latin America & Caribbean