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KayZee's Profile

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Amazing Hole in the Walls near Westside??

I grew up here in what used to be called Westdale. I remember people lining up for and hour for the hamlet (back before the expansion southward. I had a teenage job at the Mobil where the Habit is now. We, the family go the habit about twice a year when we just can't face going to the mexican (border grill?) next door yet again. It ain't nothin to write home about. I always like the fries though.

Kurt

Nov 21, 2008
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Amazing Hole in the Walls near Westside??

This is a trip down memory lane for me. Hogans used to be around the corner from work on La Cienega and was a reliable friend for lunch deliveries. If there was a problem, they always took care of things in a friendly way.

Kurt

Nov 21, 2008
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Ruths Chris - Wearing a bowl of soup

All devil's advocating aside and having worked in two restaurants and dated the manage of a national chain...

There are only two possible outcomes:

1/ The patron goes on a widely read internet chat board and says, "RC treated me shabbily."

2/The patron goes on a widely read internet chat board and says, "RC handled it classily, tactfully and completely."

If I'm the manager guess which one I choose?

Years and Years ago, I was a kitchen grunt at a Straw Hat Pizza. The prep guys would seal the big bags of sliced ingredients with twist ties. So one evening this big nasty looking biker type comes up to the pick-up counter and holds up a rusty, cheesy, twist tie. It happens that both managers were working the pick-up counter. Skinny Ed and Big John. Skinny Ed doesn't blink (and jokingly) reaches over to the register saying, "Extra ingredient, we should have charged you for that." Biker dude looks like he's going to jump the counter and start ripping heads off but Big John leads him to the bar and pours a whole pitcher of beer and comping not only this dinner but a pizza for the next time. By the time Biker Dude leaves he and John are on a first name basis. The guy and his family become weekly regulars, usually with another family. Multiple pizzas and pitchers of beer. Biker dude brings in his softball team. At least 20 guys on a Wednesday night. 8-9 pizzas and 10-15 pitchers. Pizza joints live for this kind of business. When I worked for a big stereo outfit they used to tell us that their market research told them that a really bad or really good experience could reach 200 people through word of mouth and that was before the internet. For most of us a trip to a RC type place is a few time a year event--usually to celebrate something or have a special night out with a special someone. Having that hobbled or ruined has a cost that can't be counted in dollars but I would certainly care to know that the management of a restaurant where dinner for two EASYLY goes over $100 cares about that cost as well. This however is the result of lack of sense of ownership in large chains. Manager A comps a few two many meals so his General or Regional gets a call from Corporate about the "losses". The general calls the House manager and says, "Knock it off. Comp the cleaning and give em a dessert and they'll go away happy. If those bean counters at Corporate are breathing down my back, I have to breathe down your back." Just like most workers, the experience of an end user isn't the issue, keeping from getting written up by the boss is.

Kurt

Nov 21, 2008
KayZee in Chains

What is Jalisco style? [moved from Texas board]

Mr Nopal,

This generalization about carnitas style doesn't play out in my experience. Here in Los Angeles, virtually all of the carnitas I've had is crispy even when advertised as Jalisco style. When I was in Guadaljara and was taken to a carnitaria that called itself Michoacan style, the carne was soft/braised/stewed. Equally in the market in Paracho, Michoacan the carnitas had not the least hint of crust/char. But oh was it GOOD.

Regarding campestre style restaurants. I was taken to one off the ruta libre to Tonala and I was thinking about that joke where the fella is trying to describe the wide variety of mexican food but everything winds up being "tortilla, meat and cheese!" and I was thinking, "Yeah, but when it's these tortillas, this cheese, and this meat, that's good eatin'!"

Feb 16, 2008
KayZee in General Topics

What is Jalisco style? [moved from Texas board]

I know you're surely more well versed and certainly more academic about comida mexicana than I am but in my real life experience this generalization about carnitas doesn't play out. I keep running into carnitas here in Los Angeles that are called estilo Jalisco that are invariably crispy fried chunks yet when I was in guadalajara and went to michoacan style carnitas places, the meat was invariably soft/stewed/braised. Even in the market in Paracho where I had some of the absolutely most rico carnitas EVER, there was no hint of crust at all.

Oh Lord, I've got to have a torta ahogada, right now. To bad I've never seen one here in L.A.

Kurt

Cristina, I tried to reach you last May when I was in GDL but never heard back.

Feb 16, 2008
KayZee in General Topics

Thoughts on Best Burger in LA?

I like the 26 beach cafe burger and I think that while the cupcakes at the Bluebird Cafe are overated, the burger is an underapreciated gem.

KZinCC

Nov 12, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Los Angeles: Lunchtime thanksgiving

I need a kosher place for a lunchtime thanksgiving for 9-13 people. Pat's of course immediately came to mind but they don't open till 3. My grandfather in law refuses to go to the Milky Way because they tried to charge him for extra bread 15 years ago. Even though it's frequently recommended, La Gondola was less than satisfactory both times I was there.

I heard about a place called Shilos. Does anyone know if they could handle this group?

Kurt

Nov 12, 2007
KayZee in Kosher

Kosher for Lunchtime Thanksgiving

For various divided family loyalties we're taking our kosher grandparents to a lunchtime thanksgiving. I called Pat's but they're not opening till 3:00 and the fixed price menu is higher than we'd like but the price is not so much the deal breaker as the time.

Someone told my grandmother about a place called King David on the 6100 block of Pico. A search of this board only shows the King David grill closer to the 8000 block and and from the looks of a drive-by it's certainly not a thanksgiving place.

Oh, and my grandfather in law won't return to The Milky Way because they tried to charge him for extra bread 15 years ago.

Can anyone help with a suggestion? There'll be at least 10 of us and probably more like 12-13.

thanks,

KZinCC

Nov 07, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

ISO of the best Pizza in CC (or vicinity)

Lot's of people like the Coop on Palms where it crosses the freeway and turns into National. I find it bland with it's one cheese and boring sauce. I like Villa Italia on Sepulveda just north of Washington. It's not really a deep crust but if comes out kinda puffy and light--definitely a little different. It doesn't travel well however. I think that the puffy crust gets doughy in the steam or something. I used to REALLY like the deep dish from Numero Uno over at La Cienega and Rodeo. It was to closest to my much loved and lamentably gone Chicago Pizzo Works in that it was a thick, slighty sweet crust paired with a tangier than normal sauce. We stopped ordering from there because the price for the (large) pizza we liked crossed $20 dollars and the quality was just too uneven. When it was right though, it was scrumptalicious.

KayZee

Sep 14, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Poll: What restaurants do you eat in most often?

All the Campo's are owned by various members of the same family. I've been going to them since there was only the one by SMC. The various branches do have variations in what they offer and how certain things are prepared.

Generally I like the one at Motor and Venice. At times the one near TArget seems to do a better job on the food and it's a little easier for me to get to from my corner of CC but they got the order wrong more often and are just too slow.

Sep 11, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Rinse the rice?

Several cook books I own say that rinsing rice (brown or white) reduces stickiness. The Mahatma rice bag and other cook books say NEVER rinse. Is there a consensus of opinion here?

Also, what is sauteeing the rice supposed to do for the final dish?

TIA

Kurt

Sep 03, 2007
KayZee in Home Cooking

Casa Sanchez on Centinela?

Who knows the beta on this restraunt where Magoo's used to be? Is it a sit down place run by the Taqueria/Carniceria people? Or, is it the same as the Casa Sanchez found in Long Beach or the restos and salsas from San Francisco?

It would be strange if it were one of the latter and they were opening directly across from the taqueria sanchez.

KZinCC

Aug 22, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Fried Chicken on the west side

This is another vote for market (Albertsons etc) chicken. Once Smitty's changed hands about 5 years and I had inedibly dry chicken four times in a row I gave up. Waited excitedly for what seemed like years for Honey's to open up. After eating there about 6 times gave up on that one too. Awful service and awful chicken. Even my two kids who love fried chicken and don't complain about KFC don't want to go there. My complaint is that it's too wet and has a chemically aftertaste both of which I'm pretty sure are from the chemicals used to brine the chicken.

Jul 31, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Trader Joe's warning - and request

I'll add that my kids LOVE the chili in a bottle. I don't think of it as a dumbed down texas chili but a smarted up cafeteria chili.

Better than Boullion is almost $2 cheaper than at the supers.
Free Range brown eggs also almost $2 cheaper than the super

It may not be great cheese but the basics like cheddar, monterrey jack etc. are better and significantly cheaper than the supers.

Something that I didn't see mentioned was the frozen juice popsicles. In our TJ's they're alway right next to the frozen bananas. The Zee family vastly prefers them to ANYTHING of the type at the supers. Why? Because they taste like frozen juice. You can actually taste the fruit they're supposed to be made of unlike most other "fruit" popsicles like Dreyers and other aspartame filled posicles.

Jul 24, 2007
KayZee in Chains

Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken

My kids, who think KFC is just fine, can't stand Honey's. Nor can I. It's a shame too because we live walking distance away and used to like Smitty's before it went into the crapper. As far a Honey's chicken, there's a metallic aftertaste that I'm sure comes from whatever foul chemical concotion is used to brine the chicken. It's something I may be extra sensitive to the same way that I fine the taste of high fructose corn syrup objectionable.

It's cheaper, better and easier to go to Albertson's or Pavillions for fried chicken.

Jun 22, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

ISO Cookbook - simple & delicious recipies

It's not a cookbook but Cooks Illustrated has a new companion magazine that focuses on simpler homestyle cooking and weeknight suppers. As expected, the recipes are developed using C.I.'s tasting and revising process. It's called Cook's Country and I find it at all the places that carry C.I.

Jun 16, 2007
KayZee in Home Cooking

chilaquiles

Mi Ranchito has exceptionally good (green) chilaquiles.

Washington Blvd between Inglewood and Centinella.

Kurt

Jun 16, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

what pickles?

A dear friend in Guadaljara wants me to bring her deli pickles. She says that the ones they get down there don't have the right flavor. I myself, I like claussen and other refrigerated pickles. Kraft foods gave no good answer to whether or not their product (claussen) could withstand 5-6 hours of travel time. So, the 2 questions are:

1. Just how risky would be keeping regfrigerated pickles in a cold bag with a couple of Blue Ice packs for 4-6 hours? In your opinion of course.

What's your favorite national or west coast brand of room-temperature stored pickles?

Thanks,

KUrt

May 10, 2007
KayZee in General Topics

Favorite places in Guadalajara. First (and long) report.

I was in Guadlajara for 28 days three years ago with some language exchange students. My hosts took me to some fantastic places as well as cooking me some of their favorite home dishes. I never ate so well. The unfortunate thing is that it made me a food snob when it comes to comida mexicana. When I was there, I didn't follow these boards and never thought to write down the names of the places where I ate. I'll be going again in May for 10 days and will bring a note book and if I find something worth mentioning i'll follow up here.

Alberto, how can you write about Guadalajara and not mention tortas ahogadas? My favorites were from the red and white place at the corner of Av. Patria and Mariano Otero in Zapopan.

Oh and one other thing, any recs for a fonda inside of Mercado Libertad?

thanks

Kurt

Apr 24, 2007
KayZee in Mexico

Bread Bakery in Culver City

Pavillions used to have good enough for weeknight baked breads but as those offerings lessen and fall in quality, I find I need to have knowledge of a good bread bakery in the Culver City area. Most of the threads about bakeries are for sweets and cakes. So where are the good bread bakeries in CC? I need slicing bread and rolls as well as baguette types.

Thanks,

Kurt

Apr 23, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Fried Chicken

Here's my take as a westside boy for a long time now. Let me just put it this way: I remember when the chrome was shiny at Johnies.

No on Dinahs. Cheap and unoffensive but for me, bland FC is a deal killer.

Yes on Albertsons. Cheap and generally tasty

A big NO NO NO on Honey's. I do like fried chicken and live for blocks away. I really wanted to like this place but gave up on it last year after about five visits. The wife hated it. And the kids weren't in love with it so we switched to the supers chicken. Two weeks ago we took 3 kids to a small concert at Culver City hall and couldn't agree on where to eat. I can't stand Howdy's or Pacificos. We're burnt out on Dapnhe's fast food Greek so I thought let's try Honey's again. People love it on CH and I'd previously moderated my dis-like of Tito's by going there again after 10 years so why not? Sorry, can't do the same with Honey's. Besides the unintelligble idiot who took our order, the 25 minute wait even though there were only about 5 table filled and most of them already had food, there's still that chemical aftertaste that I'm pretty sure comes from the pre-brined chicken they use.

Look, this is fast food deep fried chicken and you know that sign you see at print shops: Good, Fast, Cheap, pick any two? When it comes to fast food fried chicken, you should be able to get two out of three also. Even if you like the taste of HKC, maybe cuz you wuz raized on Pioneer take-out which it most reminds me of, it's still not cheap and the service is not just slow but boorish as well. Oh, and don't forget the pain in the ass parking.

sorry, I tried to like it but I couldn't.

Kurt

Apr 05, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

BTW - Primo's Donuts Live Up to the Hype

Primos was an everyday stop for me 40 years ago when I went to Webster Jr Hi. A friends father had a little photo business in the same building but I haven't been there in probably 10 years. I'll have to take the kids there when spring break starts.

If I rembember correctly, the mama Primo of my generation had a mexican patio restaurant behind KFC when KFC was where the 76 station is now and Chris and Pitt's was where KFC is now.

In an area where too many restaurant institutions seem to thrive because it's "where we alway used to go", Johnies, Titos, Dinah's, Apple Pan, it's good to hear that Primos continues to thrive by delivering the goods.

P.S. I don't hate Tito's or the AP. I just don't think they merit the praise heaped upon them nor do I think they're worth waiting/paying for. Maybe it's cuz my dad never took me to the AP so I can't feel all warm and fuzzy about it. The place that I loved to go to with him was at Sawtelle and Pico and was an old timey truck stop place called Mac's where Tomy's in now. It's where I learned to love biscuits and gravy and corned beef hash. They had the same water holders as the AP--the little paper cone in a plastic holder.

Mar 25, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Honey Kettle's Fried Chicken

Count me as a no vote. We (the family) live within walking distance and went there several times. It wasn't dry but to me the chicken itself (not the breading) has a chemical overtone that I attribute to whatever they use to brine the chicken. My not very fussy kids don't like it much either and the wife hates it but she's not big on any fried chicken. With the aforementioned service issues it's not worth the bother.

Mar 13, 2007
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

OC semi-private for 20 near Conv. Ctr.

Need a private or semi private space for 20 within about 15 minutes of the convention center.

Entrees under $20

almost any cuisine is okay

TIA

Kurt

Dec 30, 2006
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Grind and brew coffee maker

I was all hopped up to buy a burr grinder a couple of years ago until I read in either Consumer Reports or Cooks illustrated that while technically burr grinding is ideal, in reality, that is, in blind tasting no one could discern the difference nor did differences show up in taste scores.

Kurt

Dec 06, 2006
KayZee in Cookware

Fun Birthday dinner for 12 year olds?

Tuesday Night (12/5) for a handfull of 12 year old Girls. Looking for something fun or with a bit of a show/magic etc. In my mind, I'm thinking something retro like Ed Debevics but I'm open to anything as long as it's in the general L.A. area as in west of Downtown, South of the Valley and, let's say north of Hawthorne.

TIA

K*

Nov 28, 2006
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

Restaurant charging for items and not telling you

This is standard operating procedure in MX, well, at least it is in probably 70 percent of the places I ate breakfast in during the month I was in Guadalajara. As soon as we sat down, a basket of sweet and non-sweet rolls was placed on the table. I was almost always with mexican friends when I was at breakfast and they fully expected it and weren't the least bit surprised to be charged by the piece. The prices were on the menu and to their minds it's just an easy way to offer a choice of what was on hand that day since unlike here, breakfast in Mexico is usually light and coffee with one or two rolls is an extremely common order.

As a corrollary, in mexico, it's customary to be charged to use a public bathroom. The peasants who do the charging pay for the paper they give you and do the cleaning of the facilities. This flips out many Americans because it's not what they're used to. Of course it flips me out to hear someone who's already dropped a thousand $ for airfare and hotel for a week to quibble over a .20 cent charge to use a restroom.

Nov 27, 2006
KayZee in Not About Food

Joy of Cooking tuna casserole

I like the version in Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe book. In general, I go for that book more than Joy. If I want really down and funky canned goods comfort food I reach for "Talk about Good!" published by the Junior League of Lafayette LA.

Nov 02, 2006
KayZee in Home Cooking

Help in OC Please

What's the name of the Mexican place in Tustin at Memory lane and N. Bristol? I'm thinking of the one that's out in the middle of the parking lot of the shopping center, behind if I remember correctly a Starbucks?

I've been taken there twice while at a conventions and I really liked it.

Oct 30, 2006
KayZee in Los Angeles Area

restaurant recommendations around Venice Blvd/Lincoln?

Taqueria Sanchez is on Centinella next to the Sushi Restaurant. The one next to El Agajeño is Carniceria Sanchez which has a more limited menu.

The people who love Taqueria Sanchez love it for it's authentic tastes and for the menu items that aren't as common at enchilada/burrito/relleno restaurants.

Read the following with the knowledge that I'm fussier than most when it comes to mexican food:

Been going to La Cabaña for AT LEAST 27 years back when they didn't have the patio and didn't take credit cards. It was dirt cheap and pretty good at a time when pretty good wasn't common in the face of the ubiquitous and bland combo plate. Now it's still just pretty good except the overall standard and knowledge of comida mexicana is much higher and it isn't dirt cheap any more and it's usually a long wait. If you're going to wait a long time it might as well be at Paco's where the food is better. If you do go, I recommend the fish tacos.

Oct 12, 2006
KayZee in Los Angeles Area