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Exile Kiss Blog

Mr. Taster,

Indeed, he was/is.

Mar 11, 2014
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Where can I buy mentaiko?

Nijiya Market in Little Tokyo -

124 Japanese Village Plz Mall
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Feb 02, 2014
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Shanghai No.1 Seafood Restaurant and Shanghailander

Yes, King Hua. I have brought/introduced people to both SN1 and King Hua over time. The latter is ALWAYS preferred. It is a no brainer for us, SN1 is no longer in our rotation. I agreed with Porthos on some of dishes he liked but other than that, mediocre at best.

Somebody was treating last Saturday due to the cravings for the panfried buns at SN1. There were 11 of us, and hardly, I repeat hardly anybody in the restaurant. They could not even fill the main room to the right. One of us mentioned, how about a room, as the other side of restaurant was empty anyway. The reply we got is "You have to spend $400, to get a room." I said I don't think we are going to eat $400 for dim sum, so we sat down in the main room. I then went to the restroom and when I came out, I overheard the waiter snickering & with sarcasm telling the hostess, this group of people got scared and cannot afford the "$400 charge for the room". What do guys think I did, I immediately jumped in & berated the waiter. I told him there's no need for such kind of talk, and I don't like his tone/attitude of saying such things. I also said "We are just here to enjoy our meal and no need to hear this BS". The hostess apologized profusely and I stopped my rant, as I realized we have not eaten yet, you know what I mean.

If people have never been to SN1, they should give it a try, to experience the weird decor and peruse their beautiful menu.

Jan 23, 2014
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Conch soup purveyor near Langers ???? And there's was an article in the La Times on it a few years back ??? Any clues ????

Antojitos Bibi

2400 W 7th St
Ste 101
Los Angeles, CA 90057

http://articles.latimes.com/2003/may/...

Jan 09, 2014
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Fine Dining in the Valley

"A very handsome interior space".
-----------------------------------------------

Indeed, I have been a number of times, the setup of the tables are far apart that you have privacy, a very pleasant dining and food does not disappoint. Corkage is reasonable and I always bring my wine. dineLA is coming, should give it a try.

Jan 08, 2014
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Chef Tomi Harase formerly of Cafe Blanc in Beverly Hills has opened "Ceppo" Italian restaurant in Huntington Beach.

Thank you for posting. We have really missed Cafe Blanc, when he was on Little Santa Monica Blvd. This is great news !!!

Jan 06, 2014
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Where serves the Japanese style New Year's sushi ????

Dec 31, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Shunji Japanese Cuisine Now Open for Lunch, Fantastic Lunch Sushi Specials: A Chowhound Exclusive (for a few hours at least...)

After viewing a number of your posts on Shunji, and posts from J.L. and Porthos, I told my wife we just have to try when lunch becomes available.

We are not young people and tend to avoid eating heavy and raw stuff at night, as much as possible. I was so excited when President's day came, as my wife did not have to work and I am flexible to request a 2-3 hours break for lunch. We live in the West Valley.

I called around 11 in the morning and requested to be in front of Shunji, but the laday (Yuko ?) apologized saying it was his day off and if it was ok. I hesitated for a moment but said 'it is fine' (as it is rare day that both of us can make it)).

We were seated in from of Miki-San, we were the only customers the entire time we were there (12 - 1:15). 2 ladies came in to sit on the table when we left.

Our experience was just 'OK', we were not blown away. Besides the $40 lunch omakase, we also ordered a couple of items from the board. We also have nice chat with the chef at the end of the meal.

Did we make the cardinal mistake of going on a Monday, I thought of that but since I mentioned it was a rare moment, we went anyway.

Secondly, was it because we were not served by Shunji, himself that caused us the stellar experience ?

I told my wife, we have to find time to give it another try when Shunji is available.

We have eaten spectacular sushi in the past 30 years from L.A. to Japan, so an outstanding chef calls out by respected chowhounders is always on our list to try.

Thanks for listening.

Nov 22, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Sham Tseng BBQ Restaurant in Monterey Park

It was decent and moments of goodness in the beginning. But it went downhill pretty fast, and food as you stated was not memorable, mediocre at best I would say. We ordered on 2 occasions their whole roast pig, but family decided after that to go back on our usual fare of lechon on my mom's bday. The food you have tried is an indication why the demise of its Alhambra location. I am so also baffled why it is still around.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893179

Nov 18, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Chow-worthy food in Woodland Hills?

This one is so close to you, a reasonable and reliable place.

Topanga Pizza and Cafe

http://topangapizza.com/

22994 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364
(818) 222-4944

Nov 13, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Food that will satisfy Indian vegetarians and American meat-eaters?

I second your suggestion, as far as consulting with DIL. I have worked with Indians for the past 5 years, and it is an extreme challenge to feed the vegetarians. Forget about salads, don't equate our vegetarian options to theirs, they are totally different. I have to ask one Chinese restaurant in our area, to improvise or tweak their dishes to sometimes accommodate them. For example, sauteed cauliflower with curry, mifun (thin rice noodles) with curry. Since the restaurant serves Singapore rice noodle, so curry powder is readily available. A good quality vegetable biryani will always be happily accepted. Good luck.

Nov 11, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Marche Moderne: Pig Head-to-Toe 3.0

Yes, I still remember that meal :)

OCAnn, thank you for posting.

Oct 08, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

LA Dish of the Month (July 2013) - Voting

SANDWICHES

Jun 27, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Any fresh Copper River Salmon (circa 2013) sightings yet?

I took a second look at the label and you are right that it did not say Copper River. Good catch and that should account for the price disparity with the Copper River King elsewhere.

Thank your for pointing it out.

Jun 03, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Any fresh Copper River Salmon (circa 2013) sightings yet?

I agree with Ipse, better call ahead and reserve it if possible. There were only 2 trays of King left when I got mine yesterday. Hate to see you drive over and be disappointed.

Good luck.

Jun 03, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Any fresh Copper River Salmon (circa 2013) sightings yet?

This is the basic way how I always prepared it, which always gets a 'thumbs up' from my wife:

1. Take the scales out
2. Cut the fillet into equal size portions
3. Rinse and pat dry
4. Seasoned with salt and pepper (both sides)
5. Brush both sides with olive oil
6. Broil it in the oven with skin up (the crunchiness is addicting)
7. Occasionally a tad of ponzu after flipping the meat side up at the last stage of broiling

Enjoy !

Jun 02, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Any fresh Copper River Salmon (circa 2013) sightings yet?

Sockeye at Costco (Canoga Park), $12.99/lb and King salmon ($17.99)

Jun 02, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Good Chinese restaurant NOT in SGV?

How about Hot Wok Cafe in Northridge on Reseda and Nordoff (NW corner), where Vons anchors that plaza.

It is not the same owner as Chandavkl, suggested one with the same name in Agoura Hills.

I have been going to this Chinese restaurant for years. The current owner is from Taiwan, and has become a good friend of my extended family through years of patronage. They have a Chinese special menu for folks who want more 'authentic' Chinese dishes, and they also list their more current Chinese dishes on a white board stand, which you will see, as soon as you enter the restaurant, before you reach the front desk.

Some of the dishes you may be surprised to find them here, are chicken roll (雞卷-Jī juàn), pickled cabbage with lamb( 酸菜羊肉 - Suāncài yángròu), cumin lamb (孜然羊肉 (zī rán yángròu), Mui Choy with Pork Belly (梅菜扣肉 – mei chai kou ruo), etc. You can even order Red Cooked Pork Hock (紅燒蹄髈/走油蹄髈 Zǒu yóu), if you give them a 2-day notice.

Give them a try, and please report back your experience if you decided to go.

9135 Reseda Blvd Northridge, CA 91324
(818) 886-1168

http://hotwokcafe.net/

May 16, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Good Chinese restaurant NOT in SGV?

I am sorry, but I have to agree with TonyC on wondering where you have gotten the impression that it was a Szechuan place. I second what Galen has stated. Like Galen, I was one of the first to try this place, when it was first opened. They had just moved from New Jersey then, and if I were not mistaken, originally from Henan (河南), China. This is definitely not a place for graduation or any special occasion. They cannot handle traffic and you will somehow get your food within reasonable time, if you were the only customer. The reason is the kitchen is too small, and they do not have enough stove/burners to handle the orders, and that comment came directly from the mom. The last time I was there was a year ago, I was rooting for them in the beginning, but with what Galen had already said, it has somehow not been in our rotation for pretty much the same reasons.

The Tampa Garden Chinese Delight thread was started back then by our beloved David Chan:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/667376

May 13, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Song Phat

Thank you for sharing. I have been putting off to pay this place a visit for quite sometime now, and your post was a good reminder to trek over there soon. I practically passed by this place everyday. I heard about this place when I visited Pho 21 on Sherman Way in Canoga Park, a year or 2 ago. I remembered the owner told me that he is related to Song Phat, and did not elaborate further.

I am wondering if you have tried Pho 21 and how does it compared to Song Phat, if you did.

Thanks.

21525 Sherman Way
Canoga Park, CA 91303

http://www.pho21canoga.com/

Apr 24, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Animal's disregard

+2

Apr 21, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Fresh Sardines in the San Fernando Valley

Lost in translation will likely happen at those places.

Fresh sardines are highly perishable, and they are indeed elusive. Like you, I have been searching for them with no luck, specially in the confines of SFV. You may have to trek outside of the valley to look for them.

I have found this old thread and hope it will give you a better perspective on what you can expect in Los Angeles. Good luck.

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/796499

Jan 30, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Is Luscious Dumpling moving or expanding?

TonyC, you really nailed it on the head:) It really irked me to see comments like, ‘no Luscious Dumpling anywhere in that plaza/strip’ and then followed it with ‘I guess I missed it because it was closed Monday’. GO FIGURE !

Jan 24, 2013
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Futaba Japanese Restaurant in Northridge

We visited the restaurant again this past Sunday, and during our meal, the wife came over to tell us that she is taking over the kitchen. She asked us if we are free to come the next day to try the new menu.

Three of us came, and tried the new menu. The kara-age ($6.50), a little battered than the one we had on our first visit. It was good and cheaper by $2. The roast pork ($6.50. picture #1), was good, but the skin was not crackling. Mostly lean meat with a little fat only, and we all enjoyed it. We also tried the Tonkotsu Ramen ($7.75, picture #2 by itself), and with combo karashi mentai bowl ($13.25), we all felt the karashi mentai(spicy cod roe,pinkish instead of being reddish) was very salty, had to eat a lot of rice with it. Another combo, was with teriyaki chicken, and we are enjoyed the flavor.

We all wish this mom & pop establishment will make it, as they are really trying to be a part of Northridge casual dining spot.

Aug 22, 2012
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Futaba Japanese Restaurant in Northridge

Even though we have tried Hatano, in the past, we could hardly recalled his menu. So I phoned my sister-in-law, and she commented that it's totally different, she mentioned that Futaba, does not offer Combo deals or sushi at all, which Hatano used to have.

Mr. Hatano, is very accomodating, when I mentioned that Tsukemen being offered by Tsujita is gaining popularity now in LA, he said that he will do that for me. I am not sure what he exactly meant, as that is a different broth from Tonkotsu, but I guess he will just separate the noodles from the broth. As Tsukemen means dipping noodles.

Anyway, pay him a visit, and talk about the good old days. He may prepare something you liked in the past from Hatano, as long as he has the ingredients on hand.

Have fun and enjoy.

Aug 18, 2012
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Futaba Japanese Restaurant in Northridge

I came across this obscure location through the recommendation of my sister-in-law. It is in the former location of E & E Café, in Northridge(to those of you who long for the good old days of their curries), northeast corner of Nordoff & Reseda, which housed California Chicken Café, Yoshinoya, and Panda Express (above this fast food establishment).

We have been there twice and both times we were the only customers. I really want to them to do good, as the noodles dish are good, and a good alternative to Nippon Ramen and Small Island in WSFV. Twice I tried the Okinawa Souki Soba (1st picture), it is not buckwheat, the noodles have a circular cross section, more like udon. Souki or Soki, I believe is the short ribs in the noodle. I really enjoyed this dish, as the meat was tender, and the soup light

They also offer Tonkotsu ramen(2nd picture) besides the usual offerings of shoyu, and miso based broth. My wife had the Tonkotsu (Tanmen) ramen, and she enjoyed it. The soup was extremely hot (temperature wise), and the toppings were good. As for the Tonkatsu Don Curry, it was ok. We also tried to sample some side dishes, kara-age (fried chicken, tender not battered as some other places, but pricey for $8.50). Beef Tongue (3rd picture), was a hit or miss, depending on the thickness of the cut. We have told the owner that he should cut them thinner and seared it quickly, it would then be perfect. Steamed Shiumai is so so.

On both occasions, Mr. Isao Hatano, spent some time to talk with us. We talked longer the 2nd time as he sat down to chit chat, and shared that he knows most of the Japanese sushi owners/chefs all over Los Angeles. Mr. Hatano used to operate ‘Hatano’ on Parthenia/Shirley Ave, next to the theater, which are no longer there, (theater and restaurant).

I hope he will do good as CSUN is opening soon for the Fall semester. I even hinted to him to offer student discount as what E & E Café used to do for CSUN students.

Overall, I hope he makes it. The prices are a bit high, with most dishes a couple of dollars more than similar offerings in other places. I do not consider it a dining destination, but if you are in the area, please give it a try. The whole staff is very pleasant.

Futaba Japanese Restaurant
18429 Nordoff Street, Suite D
Northridge, CA 91325
818 – 886-2285

Please call for hours, I was there on a Sunday and Wednesday nights. For now, lunch only on weekdays.

Aug 17, 2012
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

75th Birthday Brunch

Brandywine is not open on Saturday morning, no private room, meaning the whole restaurant is so cozy, and probably can barely accomodate 25.

I would suggest the following:

Mediterraneo - Westlake Village - Private room available

http://med-rest.com/

Boccaccio's Restaurant - Westlake Village (by the lake) - with private room

http://boccacciosonthelake.com/

Enjoy !

Jul 17, 2012
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

Best Mediterranean/Middle East in the Valley (Encino, Tarzana, Sherman Oaks)

Darband Restaurant

19337 Ventura Blvd
Tarzana, CA 91356

Jul 12, 2012
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

626 Asian night market a ZOO!

I have been to quite a number of night markets from Taipei, Taichung, and Kashiong, and NONE of my experiences were that terrible as the one in Pasadena. They were crowded all right, but you can move, you can breath, and lastly you can eat and shop.

Apr 16, 2012
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area

626 Asian night market a ZOO!

Unbelieavable comments - ""We had 8,000 Facebook fans on April 14, and that's what we expected," Jonny Hwang, one of the founders said. "

Huh ??? Does this person has a brain at all ? Does he realize how Facebook works ? 8000+ likes, how about all the friends of who clicked on the LIKE, that number could explode exponentially.

Secondly, he mentioned they prepared for 8000, somebody please tell me, if that small block can hold 2000 people at any one time. I think a 1000 would already be overly crowded.

They were lucky, that nobody went berserk and shouted FIRE in that cramped block. That would be beyond anybody's imagination of the consequences.

Apr 16, 2012
jotfoodie in Los Angeles Area