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BBQ Master Earnest "Pork Chop" Phillips - West LA

i'm not a bbq expert but i had the best bbq beef ribs in my life from this man. you can catch him at the West LA Farmer's market every sunday.

had to give him a shout out too because he's the nicest guy you'll ever meet. he says he sells out every time, so get there early. it's "fall off the bone" is how he put it.

Jul 13, 2007
awl in Los Angeles Area

Search Changes

this new search function doesn't make sense. when i want to find "tapas", i want to find it within my own city. plus you can't search beyond 1 year?

bad idea. my vote is to go back to the old way.

Jul 12, 2007
awl in Site Talk

Do any restaurants have real maple syrup??

no they dont dude. i was there last week, asked the hostess and our server. the server asked the owner (adam, i think his name is). they don't have it.

Jun 16, 2007
awl in Los Angeles Area

Do any restaurants have real maple syrup??

no kidding? they should fire the waitress i had. i had a lengthy conversation about it with her.

Jun 08, 2007
awl in Los Angeles Area

Korean in Little Saigon?

They should know that GG is the Koreatown of OC. it's the 2nd largest concentration of Korean businesses 2nd only to K-town in LA. so there are a ton of places, some that are better than those in LA. Apparently the area has been branded "Little Seoul". whatever.

My favorite is Hangari Kalgooksu. GG also has a branch of BCD and a bunch of other K-town places.

Jun 08, 2007
awl in Los Angeles Area

Do any restaurants have real maple syrup??

the original pancake house in anaheim doesn't have it.

Jun 04, 2007
awl in Los Angeles Area

Original Pancake House

went to the one in anaheim. everything was great except 2 things:

-they don't have real maple syrup
-the coffee sucks

the maple syrup thing is a deal breaker for me. pouring corn syrup with brown food dye on their pancakes is like putting a-1 sauce on a luger's steak. it shouldn't be done. it's a real shame and a huge disappointment. if someone knows of a pancake place in north oc that serves maple syrup i would be very appreciative if you shared that info.

Jun 04, 2007
awl in Chains

Attention L.A. Koreans. Please Help

are you talking about sam gye tang? that's what it basically sounds like: chicken and ginseng being the key ingredients (although the preparation and presentation is probably unique---also the addition of kimchee is a variation too). i never eat this, but whenever i drive through koreatown i read it (in korean) everywhere. i think almost every restaurant claims to make it, although i'm sure they're all not great at it. sorry i can't help more.

Mar 07, 2007
awl in Los Angeles Area

Korean vs. Japanese sushi [split from L.A. board]

That is an understandable misconception. Japanese sushi deserves a high level of fastidiousness in its sourcing and preparation. It's an amazing cuisine that I say is best handled by its originators. I've never been to O-dae-san, but my guess is that in addition to Japanese sushi, they serve raw fished prepared the Korean way. My suggestion is that you if you find yourself in a Korean establishment, ask it.

Korean "sushi" is a bit of a misnomer. The Japanese sushi craze has hit Korea like it has everywhere else, but it is a relatively recent phenomenon. Like in many cultures, Koreans have been enjoying raw fish for a long time. We don't call it sushi, we just call it hwe, which is the word for fish. "Sushi", especially the type served with rice and seaweed, is a very Japanese-type preparation.

Koreans often serve raw fish in a different manner. They usually take a very large fish (usually a whitefish) sometimes straight from a tank at the restaurant. Wherever it's from, you can be assured that it is fresh, because of the naked way in which it is served. You can also order tuna and yellowtail. The problem with this, however, is that you might run into the problem that ttriche mentioned above. Indeed, when there is only a finite amount of tuna for a given city, you will have to bid for it against all your competitors early in the morning.

Anyway, i feel the lighter, less fatty fishes are better for the way Koreans eat it. These fish may not be as rare as toro belly meat or a nice yellowtail, but the fact is that these fish, when served just out of a tank, can often taste better than something that's been shipped overseas and seen some freezing time. Sometimes they let you pick the fish. They slice it up into thin translucent slivers, and arrange it on a very big platter, which is then placed in the center of the table for everyone to share.

Although there is soy sauce on the side, the best condiment for this is hot red, fermented bean paste. If you have never had raw fish dipped in this paste, you are in for a real treat. Also on the side will be raw vegetables and other condiments. Rice isn't served unless asked for. Alcohol is a must. This is not a meal to be enjoyed alone. It is an experience, with friends or clients, involving lots of beer and soju.

If you go to any seaside town in Korea (and there's a lot of them since its a peninsula), you will see raw seafood being eaten in all manner--live urchins sitting in plastic buckets, caught earlier that morning by the fisherman, until some old grandmother/proprietor picks the ones that you want and slices them open right in front of you. It's an awesome experience. And it's really cheap. Abalone, all types of seafish, shellfish, all swimming in these big plastic buckets kind of haphazardly crowding every available spot. Sometimes it's just barely a plastic canopy, with plastic chairs and tables. They promise two things, though: fresh fish and plenty of alcohol.

Mar 07, 2007
awl in General Topics

What makes LA a foodie city? Tell Me

you will definitely feel that place

Feb 26, 2007
awl in Los Angeles Area

What makes LA a foodie city? Tell Me

i don't know what a "foodie" city is, or what a foodie is exactly. Kind of a silly label if you ask me. And I'm not sure about the SGV thing; the best Chinese I've had was in Oakland. But i'm not chinese so I'll defer that issue. One thing I do know, being Korean, is that LA is the best in the world (outside of Korea) in Korean cuisine. I've lived in the Bay Area (horrible Korean food there), LA, NYC (you call this korean? how can you eat galbi in the same place that serves jjigae; that's like Denny's, where they serve both spaghetti and ribs) and Seoul (the mecca). I've had Korean food in China and elsewhere, too.

Outside of Korea, LA is the best city for Korean food, by any measure, on earth. There are 200,000 Koreans in LA county, and probably 100,000 more in surrounding OC, Ventura, etc. That's the single greatest concentration of Koreans outside of Seoul. (All 5 boroughts of NYC have a paltry 90,000, and together with the tri-state area at most 150,000).

This is not a lesson in demographics but only to explain how far LA's Korean cuisine is ahead of any other city on earth. Did you know that there is a large farm just outside of LA county that grows only Korean vegetables? I'm talking really weird mountain vegetables and roots that originally only grow in Korea and somehow end up on my mom's table. I believe it supplies the Korean supermarkets in LA. And that there is a restaurant at this farm? I think that would be unheard of anywhere else in the country.

LA Korean food is so good, when you go to Seoul, the restaurants there serve what's called, "LA style Galbi". I don't know if the beef is really from LA, but the way it is cut and prepared imitates the galbi made in LA. And i would argue that the vegetables in LA are so bountiful year-round, that some of the vegetable dishes in LA are better than those found in Seoul.

I am constantly amazed at how little of the surface non-Koreans in LA scratch in terms of Korean food options (even the members of this august board). That is not entirely their fault; tourism was always a small, insignificant industry in Korea, so Koreans have not felt the need to export their culture. Plus with 300,000 Koreans, restauranteurs don't need the business, frankly.

I am not an expert of LA Korean restaurants, as I rarely venture outside of the westside (plus I get home cooked meals when I visit my parents). But i will make one suggestion that I have only seen mentioned on this board once:

Hangari Kalgooksu
9916 Garden Grove Bl
Garden Grove, CA 92844

This is the best seafood broth I have ever tasted in the world. The second best was in the south of france in Villefranche-sur-mer, where I had an amazing bouillabaise at a family owned restaurant. But Hangari beats its French counterpart by a long shot. The flavoring and balance is much more subtle. It is a heavenly seafood broth, with fresh shrimp, clams, and other seafood, with handcut noodles. When you walk in it's like smelling the fresh ocean. you will not find this anywhere on earth except in Korea (probably in Seoul and some of the seaside towns) and LA. You will most likely be one of the few non-Koreans, so don't feel intimidated (I've seen some vietnamese and pilipino patrons there a few times).

Feb 26, 2007
awl in Los Angeles Area

All Thai'd Out in Venice - A Scientific Study

Hi, I'm a long time reader and have gotten a lot of great leads on this board and so wanted to contribute something as an expression of gratitude.

In the past few weeks, I have conducted a scientific review of almost every Thai restaurant that delivers to my apartment in Venice. It was a difficult and arduous task--having to sit on my couch and wait for the delivery to arrive, sometimes up to 45 minutes, and often ordering from two places on the same night and having to eat two dinners. But worth the sacrifice in the name of science. I took brief notes which I am including below. You're welcome to go straight to them....

...or you can indulge a few of my initial thoughts beforehand. First, I wanted to step back for some perspective here. After having lived in various parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn the past four years, it's my feeling that LA residents enjoy an absolute bounty of choices in Thai food. And you don't have to live in Hollywood. At most, you have maybe two edible Thai restaurants within delivery range in any part of Manhattan. The only good, authentic Thai food I had in NY was in Williamsburg (I forget the name, but it was not Sea Thai).

To give you a sense of my taste, I can tell you My favorite Thai restaurants in the US are Renu Nakorn, EZ Thai in Hollywood, and VIM in Koreatown (that was 5 years ago, however). I've also found Thai food to be very good in the Tenderloin in SF. Of course the best Thai food I had was when I traveled through there for 2 months (this even after adjusting for the fact that food always tastes better on vacation--something we often neglect to consider). I was island hopping throughout the south. Bangkok was my home base, where I kept my things in a nice business residency hotel. It was in this hotel where I had my favorite dish: Thai beef jerky--small bits of air-dried, marinated beef quickly deep fried and served simply with a side of fish sauce and sliced rat shit peppers and jasmine rice. Despite all the bounty of Thai dishes, it was this simple dish that I ordered every time I came back to the hotel. I took a cooking class in Phuket from a nice lady who happened to have owned a restaurant in LA years back (but chose to spend her retirement in tropical Phuket, where she was able to buy a large, beautiful house atop a green mountain, from which she taught her cooking classes). Here I learned several secrets of Thai cooking: a mortar and pestle is absolutely key for bringing out the flavor of scallions (small, pink ones from Thailand), garlic; MSG is absolutely unnecessary and can be substituted with a little extra love, a teaspoon of raw brown sugar and a teaspoon of palm sugar; and how tom yum koong to me exemplifies thai food: the balance of sweet, sour, hot and salt. also, don't ever ask a Thai food purist how to make thai iced tea. I asked the lady and she scoffed and dismissed my request in one exasperated snort. I felt sufficiently chagrined not to ask why. She did serve an excellent lemongrass iced tea, however.

One other comment: I can't claim to be an arbiter of what is authentic Thai or not. But who can? My friends in Thailand, being Thai, are definitely arbiters of what is "traditional" thai food, but not "authentic" thai food. They are well-to-do young urbanites, and like most of their ilk, eschew domestic food (leaving that to family dinners) and instead frequented sushi and Indonesian noodle joints. But one particularly memorable restaurant I went to was a tiny, unmarked hole in the wall, off one of the major thoroughfares in Bangkok, where all the young clubbers went after 2am. I don't think it had a name; my friend just called it "chicken rice". by 2am it was a complete scene; young partygoers packed it and a large elephant parked right outside (it was busking for some change). the menu was simple: chicken rice for 60 bhat. pieces of fresh, marinated chicken on a bed of jasmine rice. that's it. but the taste was heavenly. was it authentic? who the hell knows. one time, as my friend and i, drunk, were hunched over and stuffing our faces, a large rat came running from the alleyway in back of the restaurant, along the baseboard of the wall, over some boxes and out the front entrance. my friend looked at me with some trepidation. i shrugged and kept eating. that was damn good chicken and i wasn't going to let a little rodent rain on my parade.

so now you know where i am coming from. here are my reviews:

ratings: (1-5, 5 being best)

PAM venice 5 probably the best in the area; not traditional, but a lot of care is taken with each dish; unique chicken mint; small portions; kranamthuang very good; too expensive

THAI BEER culver city 4 green chicken curry, ordered spicy, very good; larger green peppers; tom yum koong similar to star of siam; chicken mint decent

STAR OF SIAM venice 3 tom yum koong decent, not spicy enough, but with nice small mushrooms and plenty of shrimp; beef salad pretty good

SIAMESE GARDEN venice 3 green chicken curry, pretty spicy and passable. Beef salad not great, worse than star of siam. Kranumthuang not great.

WIRIN venice 3 green chicken curry not great, too much milk; worse than star of siam; beef salad ok, same as star of siam

POOM venice 2 mee krob was weird; chicken basil was spicy, but like chinese food

EAST WIND marina del rey 2 bland stuffed chicken wings, overbattered and fried; bland red curry chicken with peas and red peppers; americanized

SIAM PLACE venice 1 horrible chinese-like takeout

SIAM BEST venice 1 chicken mint uses hot pepper flakes; glass noodle salad with seafood: shrimp tastes old; noodles are dry; not good

HOUSE OF THAI TASTE venice 1 chinese food; seafood delight had old shrimp, and taste of pork (like chinese food); roast duck fried rice, rice was old and dry; white rice was not jasmine rice

There are more restaurants that deliver but I am all Thai'd out at the moment. Maybe I will continue my study later.

Feb 17, 2007
awl in Los Angeles Area

San Francisco vs. Manhattan--Overall Better Chowhound Locale

Each city has different strengths, mostly as a result of their inhabitants. In general, the west coast has more authentic, cleaner and fresher Pacific rim food, while NY has better European/Western type food:

Mexican food!!
Dim sum and Chinese food in general is better
fresher, cheaper produce available year-round
Cheaper and wider variety of domestic wine
Sushi is cheaper
Thai is way better
Korean is better
Vietnamese is better

Fresh pastrami at Katz
Easier to find european imports such as cheese
Easier to find eastern european food
French food is better and more authentic
Jamaican and caribbean cuisine
More readily available French, italian, spanish wine
More regional Italian cuisine

Nov 11, 2006
awl in General Topics

Gogol and the Chowhound Ethos

The following description found in Gogol's Dead Souls encapsulates the Chowhound ethos:

"In this connection the author feels
bound to confess that the appetite and the capacity of such men are
greatly to be envied. Of those well-to-do folk of St. Petersburg and
Moscow who spend their time in considering what they shall eat on the
morrow, and in composing a dinner for the day following, and who never
sit down to a meal without first of all injecting a pill and then
swallowing oysters and crabs and a quantity of other monsters, while
eternally departing for Karlsbad or the Caucasus, the author has but a
small opinion. Yes, THEY are not the persons to inspire envy.
Rather, it is the folk of the middle classes--folk who at one
posthouse call for bacon, and at another for a sucking pig, and at a
third for a steak of sturgeon or a baked pudding with onions, and who
can sit down to table at any hour, as though they had never had a meal
in their lives, and can devour fish of all sorts, and guzzle and chew
it with a view to provoking further appetite--these, I say, are the
folk who enjoy heaven's most favoured gift. To attain such a celestial
condition the great folk of whom I have spoken would sacrifice half
their serfs and half their mortgaged and non-mortgaged property, with
the foreign and domestic improvements thereon, if thereby they could
compass such a stomach as is possessed by the folk of the middle
class. But, unfortunately, neither money nor real estate, whether
improved or non-improved, can purchase such a stomach.

Nov 10, 2006
awl in General Topics

Lugers Vs. Wolfgang's: A Test

I had the opportunity of eating Lugers on Sunday and Wolfgang's on Wednesday, only 3 days apart. Here are my impressions:

The inside of the Lugers steak had more beef flavor. The crusty layer of Lugers, the part that is seared, was more chewy, and thicker, lending I felt a more pleasurable mouth-feeling. Also, with a thicker charred crust, Lugers seemed to have more salty-taste.

Wolfgang's steak was very similar in quality, but the crusty layer was noticeably thinner and more crispy. It almost seemed that they had used a higher temperature with shorter time of cooking, so that a thinner part of the steak was seared, and with a hotter temperature.

Both steaks, on the inside, were as buttery and soft as can be. As an aside, I think using the steak sauce at either place is a shame. These steaks are about as beautiful a taste as you can get, and to add anything to them other than the butter in which they are cooked is like adding color to an Ansel Adams photo.

The Wolfgang's butter sauce seemed to have more pronounced butter flavor, almost a popcorn butter taste to it.

Tomato & onion: Wolfgang's onion seemed a lot more sharp, almost painfully so. Wolfgang had bigger tomatoes, and seemed more ripe (where do they find these things, at the nuclear lab?)

German potatoes: Wolfgang's had a lot of cheese, and was too heavy and greasy for me.

Spinach: I think Lugers had a bit more cream.

Bacon: again, like the steak, Wolfgang's seemed to have more blackened crust to it, that was very charred and crispy. Almost like they didn't clean their frying pan enough.

Wine: Wolfgang's had a longer and better list. I had the margaux at Wolfgang's, which was great. I ordered the '01 pinot noir at Lugers, and they slipped me the '03 instead, which was disappointing.

Aug 11, 2006
awl in Manhattan

Lucien in EV?

just to say upfront, in general, i only care about the food. i don't care about atmosphere or service.

i went here last month...i lived in paris and the south of france, and the food here isn't anything like it. while a decent french bistro, it's way too expensive for the quality of food. it's standard bistro fare, but i think jules in the e. village is a much better value. jules isn't perfect but at least when you order coq au vin you know what you're getting. if you really want great bistro food at cheaper prices, try sweetwater in williamsburg, which hands down blows this place away for quality of food.

the escargot was bland. the frisee salad was ok; although the lardon was the correct size and consistency (fat little pieces, chewy and crispy), there was too much creamy dressing. the piece de resistance, however, was the duck confit. the duck leg itself was cooked perfectly: moist. however, there was some pieces of dark red medallions of mystery meat that was placed around the leg, which was cold (i guess it was dark duck meat). the bed of spinach under the duck was too bitter (which tells me it wasn't boiled long enough); and the sauce for the duck was too sweet (it had some indian/mediterranean spices, like maybe cardamom, cumin) and didn't work with the dish. I didn't eat all of the dish, hoping to save my appetite and hoping that the dessert would redeem the meal. nope. the crust on the apple tarte was very soggy and not even close to the level of apple tarte i had back in villefranche-sur-mer. the faugere wine we ordered was decent ($40). i'm never coming here again. it's just not worth it to spend $75/person for a place like this. there are too many other places with better food in nyc.

Jul 27, 2006
awl in Manhattan

my new hamburger ranking

The best burger in NYC is at the Golf Center on Randall's Island. Weather permitting, a portly, long-haired dude kind of like from the Big Lebowski in a worn out white t-shirt wheels out a large steel outdoor grill. you pay inside the golf shop and get a receipt. you hand the receipt to the grill guy and he throws on a fat wad of balled up ground beef that hasn't been formed well enough and is probably falling apart into two pieces already. he lays it on the grill and you wait on a picnic bench outside behind the driving range stalls while it grills, maybe drinking a bottle of bud light. he serves it on a plain bun probably from costco's with some tomato and lettuce if you want it. condiments are heinz, french's mustard and bottled relish.

Jun 28, 2006
awl in Manhattan