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Good butchers/fishmongers in west SFV?

Try Jim's Fallbrook Market (on Fallbrook). Their meat is excellent and the fish is very good - one of the few places that has real sand dabs.

Mar 08, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

what happened to the fab hot dog sticky post on the la board?

Thanks.

Mar 08, 2010
TomSwift in Site Talk

what happened to the fab hot dog sticky post on the la board?

The title says it all.

Mar 05, 2010
TomSwift in Site Talk

NY Pizza Tour

Brooklyn Pizzeria on Tampa in Reseda (next door to Fab Hot Dogs, at least for the present). D'Amore Pizza Connection, multiple locations several in SFV. Brooklyn has slices, I believe D'Amore does as well.

Mar 04, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

J. Gold's Sunday Food Fest

Thank you both for a great report. Mrs. S and I are envious. The real question is how come we dhdn't know about this? We try to read LA Weekly (weekly). I've put your post into our "food events" file so we'll know next year what to do (and not). Thanks again!

Mar 01, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

Flemings Woodland Hills

I agree, although if staying within the gift card is critical I'd go to the bar, drink your way through the card and maybe have an app.

Feb 26, 2010
TomSwift in Chains

any recent experiences at 555 East in Long Beach?

Dal Rae would get my vote even if your steak and mushrooms had been fine the first time around.

Feb 23, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

Fab's Hot Dogs - moving Spring 2010

I believe FAB steams the buns. And you're right, the buns are soft and go well with many of the combinations but have little independent character.

Feb 18, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

Need help for tonight in the Valley

Brandywine in Woodland Hills, pricy but romantic and excellent. Le Sanglier in Tarzana, good French. Mistral in Sherman Oaks. There are many others. Have fun.

Feb 17, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

Fab's Hot Dogs - moving Spring 2010

I haven't seen the new (but not rebuilt-out) space so this is good news about the crew. I'll have to stop by and view later this week. Totally agree about the need to sit. More than once my elbow has been bumped and my lap has taken a hit of chili.

Feb 17, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

Fab's Hot Dogs - moving Spring 2010

The move is good because it will be several minutes closer to me (double that round trip) but I fear that some of the charm of the hole-in-the-wall may be lost and that the ability to chat with the crew also may be impaired because of the increased space.
50 miles (round trip?) is a bit much, even for their excellent dogs, but I would have done that once just to try the goods. Short shrift is given to their burgers (get 'em rare) and the various dog combos are very tasty, but it is difficult to beat the simple steamed dog with Stadium mustard and Bald Eagle relish. To my taste, as good as they are the other stuff masks the snap and flavor of the dog itself.

Feb 17, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

Free breakfast at Denny's 2/9/10

I rarely confess, but I will here and will concede that I missed the "grand" and "slam" references... too clever for me...it must be because my blood sugar level is too low. Better get a Tommy burger. If your "very early AM's" are early enough I'll drive over the hill and join you for a GS.

Feb 11, 2010
TomSwift in Chains

"Surf "and "Turf" Menu for Saturday night

I think there is some type of "krab" that's made from tofu or some other abomination, but now we're moving into the realm of "The Fly" or "Alien" where no self-respecting Hound ought to go.

Feb 11, 2010
TomSwift in Home Cooking

"Surf "and "Turf" Menu for Saturday night

Surimi actually is seafood, Pollack, from Alaskan waters. I prefer the idea of grilled Portobello (assuming the OP isn't in DC or elsewhere on the East) and Chicken Croquette (call it "Chicken of the Sea").

Feb 11, 2010
TomSwift in Home Cooking

Free breakfast at Denny's 2/9/10

I am lucky that I didn't slide into a culvert or worse. And I certainly wouldn't drive to Lebec for a free GS which I wouldn't even buy here in LA.

Feb 11, 2010
TomSwift in Chains

Further to a thread on the Chains Board, here are some observations on LA to Fresno (not the senic route)

Forced by paying clients to drive the LA-Fresno (and return) on the I-5 and 99, in the rain and snow, good eats was (were?) looking bleak. On the Chains Board I reported on the free Denny's breakfast. Since my prime directive was to get from Point "A" to Point "B," as quickly as possible, I flew by many little joints which you can see only after you've passed the most convenient offramp. Had I not been on a mission I would have doubled back several times. Once you start down the Hill there are so many Mexican/Spanish places (not surprising considering the ag nature of the area) that you almost would want to spend a day or two eating your way through the area.

Now to the meat - By all means try Flying "J" Truck Stops. There are at least 4 that we saw. I think they're called Truck Centers. You can get your showers, your lounge, your motel room, your cell calling, a haircut, a massage (extras unknown), and whatever you'd expect from a top class truck stop. Needless to say, we endulged in none of the above, but headed straight to the restaurant (called, I think, somebody's kitchen) . I guess they do it 24/7, because on the way up they had this buffet, and on the way back (a different location) they had the same basic buffet. A hell of a way to drive for a great bargain, but for $8.00 the buffet (essentially breakfast) is scrambled eggs (looked a bit overcooked), sausage, bacon, biscuts (great) country gravey (some of the best I've seen out of the South), hash browns, breakfast pizza (?), refried beans, salsa, Spanish rice, toast, muffins, bagels (pretoasted so probably not so great) and other things I forget because we didn't get the buffet. However, there also is one of the best salad bars (included in the $8.00) you'd see in the middle of nowhere, plus chilled plated AND desserts. Coffee included. This is a swell bargain and they comped me a biscut and gravey - I'd almost pay $8 just for a plate of biscuts and gravey (I wonder how their ham steaks are...).

What we did get was (1) corned beef hash with 3 easy poached eggs, well done hash browns, english muffin ($8.00) and (2) ""California" omlette, swiss, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, peppers, and well done hash browns ($7.00). The poached eggs were easy and runny, but obviously cooked in forms so that the whites were a little tough. We expected the 4x4 pre formed potato hash browns (like we got at Denny's) but no, these were the real deal, actually shredded and browned to a crispy crunch (in both locations). My experience with truck stops told me that I'd get better than a slice of the canned corned beef, and boy was I surprised. They must sell a ton of their corned beef sandwiches (which I'll try next trip - not too soon, I hope) because the beef was moist, flavorful and most certainly not out of a can or package; it must turn over often. The muffins were nice and crispy but we should have ordered them dry because up there in dairy country there ain't no shortage of sweet butter.

The omlette was fine for Mrs. Swift ( bot woefully overcooked for me) and the portion was so large that she took half home (the temperature outside helped).

To recap, we passed a bunch of places that I love to try, but for a go to place I'd do Flying "J".

Feb 11, 2010
TomSwift in California

how to light brandy on fire? - having trouble making coq au vin

Although implied in Gretchen's reply, ALWAYS remove the pan from the flame before you ignite the liquor. Otherwise you run the risk of igniting yourself (not pleasant).

Feb 10, 2010
TomSwift in Home Cooking

Free breakfast at Denny's 2/9/10

Melanie,

I had to drive from LA to Fresno (CA) yesterday (Boo, snow is no fun). The I-5 is dotted with Denny's all along the way and as I got further into the netherlands the lines in heavily populated areas (LOTS of people milling arond outside) vanished and around 11:00 somewhere around Gorman or Lebec or one of those places I spotted a Denny's with no visible wait. Off the freeway I flew, walked right in and was served immediately. Given what I was eating it was a pleasure for free. I would have had a better meal of corned beef hash, etc. at one of the truck stops for the same price as a Grand Slam (I cheated and had my hash on the return trip, gladly paying for trencherman's portions and unlimited salad bar). I would have been pissed if I had to pay full price for the GS.

Feb 10, 2010
TomSwift in Chains

What's the difference between a Big Mac and the Bob's Big Boy Classic burger?

I had one of those Big Carl's yesterday for the first . The meat is superior bcause of the flame broiling. I requested "no cheese" which they were happy to do but when I asked how much the price would decrease because they're saving on the cheese they replied no discount. Then I asked for a tomato slice (.30!), and some pickels (another 30 cents). I didn't dare ask for extra onions (who knows what that would have cost!). A single flaccid letttuce leaf and spread on both buns, not too thick. In it's original form only servicable (but a better value than McD). Doctor it up and increase the cost and its probably not a bad berger for CJ.

Feb 05, 2010
TomSwift in Chains

How come it's so hard to find a chili cheeseburger that's the "bomb.com"

I have as well and find that the fun (Not to mention the lower cost) puts making it yourseld at the top f the heap.

Feb 05, 2010
TomSwift in General Topics

Best BBQ Festival for eating?

There is one in SoCal and our own Professor Salt regularly enters his team (and takes prizes too). IIRC, you buy a number of tickets and then trade them for small samples (and also voting thereby for your favorites). I could be wrong. They also have an event sponsored trailer selling rib lunches but the lines are horrific.

Feb 03, 2010
TomSwift in General Topics

How come it's so hard to find a chili cheeseburger that's the "bomb.com"

You can't mean the old Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants, can you?

Feb 03, 2010
TomSwift in General Topics

Any good Spanish restaurants?

Espanola in Harbor City is a great place. They have a nice shaded seating areaand the paella cooking smells heavenly. A top notch Spanish market as well.

Feb 03, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

Need to buy some live lobsters. Where?

10 and 15 lb behemoths - I'm envious.

Feb 03, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

Need to buy some live lobsters. Where?

QS does indeed have an outstanding selection of live shellfish in the saltwater tanks, and their Maine lobsters do include 1-1/2 pounders, at least they did last month. The price isn't anywhere near 99 Ranch, though, so maybe the OP ought to give some thought to splitting the 99 Ranch guys among the guests.

Feb 03, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

How come it's so hard to find a chili cheeseburger that's the "bomb.com"

You can get frozen Chasen's chili from Bristol Farms here in SoCal, I believe, and the Chasen's Cookbook has a recipe. The LA Times also published a knockoff some years ago.

Feb 03, 2010
TomSwift in General Topics

How come it's so hard to find a chili cheeseburger that's the "bomb.com"

Alas, it's gone now, what with progress and all. But the absolute best chili cheeseburger I've ever had was at the coffee shop in the old Tyler, Texas Air Terminal (the airport had 1 gate, and it was actually a gate). A half pound, but thick, not flattened out to be thin like a Whopper would be. All the better to cook it rare. The chili had no beans but also was not atomic greasy either. It was great but a little far to travel so I guess its good that the temptation is gone.

Feb 02, 2010
TomSwift in General Topics

what is your favorite brand of canned beef stew?

Perhaps because of childhood memories of camping trips with a pot of beef stew simmering over the fire (and later, the Coleman stove), I have stuck with Dinty Moore Beef Stew, usually in the 1 pound can. I know that childhood memories often make things taste better than they actually were and that my tastes have evolved, and perhaps these are the reasons that for the last few years I've been disappointed with the DM stew. The brand is so old that I doubt that they've changed their recipe, but that's possible. Straight from the can it's really unremarkable, and no matter how I doctor it the meat, potatoes and liquid are still lacking.

In any event, what are your favorite brands of canned beef stew? How do they compare to DM? While I'd like to know about local or regional brands, it would be useful if they're available by mail. What I'm really interested in are brands that I can get here in SoCal. It may be that I'll just have to make my own and freeze in individual portions, but my freezers are packed as it is. Thanks for any suggestions.

Feb 02, 2010
TomSwift in General Topics

Kruegermann Pickles in WLA or Santa Monica?

To get the pickles which, by the way, are pretty good but a tad sweet for my taste, there's a parking lot down the alley to the west and behind the store. Very rarely is it full.

Feb 02, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area

Chili with Beans?

The owner died. I haven't heard anything but wishful thinking about it reopening.

Feb 01, 2010
TomSwift in Los Angeles Area