GourMel's Profile

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Favorite Empanada

Mercado Buenos Aires: 7542 Sepulveda in Van Nuys.
Their empanadas are outstanding and authentic. They taste particularly delicious when you take them home and bake them at 350 until they are piping hot. Buy a container of their chimichurri sauce for dipping.

Mar 14, 2008
GourMel in Los Angeles Area

Charm City Cakes around LA?

The Cake Divas on Venice in L.A. are capable of some tremendous artistry, We've ordered numerous cakes from them for elaborate catered events. http://www.cakedivas.com/

Mar 14, 2008
GourMel in Los Angeles Area

persian/middle eastern take-out

Our Lebanese dentist turned us on to Byblos on Westwood Bl. The zataar bread is out of this world as are their roka & cheese salad, foul & sambousik appetizers. The kebab platter is tender and delicious. Though we've read mixed CH reviews about Darya on Santa Monica Bl in West L.A., it's been a favorite of ours for 14 years. The eggplant borani appetizer tastes great wrapped in lavosh with a slice of raw onion and a sprinkle of sumac. (The sumac, bread and onion are all included with your meal.) Their stews are wonderful with tah dig (the crispy rice that sticks to the bottom of the steamed rice pan.) We enjoy the fessenjen and gheh meh stews.The naderi kebab is great too. The Darya salad is delicious and their fresh dough (pronounced "doog") complements the meal. Even though they doubled their space a few years back, it's still packed on weekends and the service is superb.

Mar 05, 2008
GourMel in Los Angeles Area

Need restaurant walking distance to Pantages Theater

While I concur on dining at The Hungry Cat prior to seeing Wicked, you should know it is a tiny place and while the food is lovely, the cigarette smoke from the patio continually wafted in when the door was opened and significantly altered our dining experience. We were sitting about 5 tables in from the front door as well. You may also want to advise your waiter that you have a show to catch. We arrived at the restaurant a full two hours prior to our show on a weeknight and almost missed the performance due to unusually slow food delivery.

Mar 05, 2008
GourMel in Los Angeles Area

Best Breakfast in LA?

Oh yes indeed - matzoh brei with caramelized onions at Nate n' Al's is heavenly. John O'Groats vegetable hash with poached eggs on top OR with the potato-cilantro cakes are wonderful, as are their homemade biscuits & jam. Clementine always makes us happy too.

Mar 01, 2008
GourMel in Los Angeles Area

Wedding Dinner for 20 in LA

Yamashiro on N. Sycamore in L.A. might be an interesting Asian-Fusion option and they may have a private room. I was a guest at an intimate wedding at Inn Of The Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon. The ambiance was quite nice. I do believe they have a private room and a ceremony at sundown there would provide a lovely backdrop for photos. My husband and I paired down our wedding too in 2006. I'm a caterer and subsequently designed our menu, had a fellow chef execute it, hired my staff and married in a friend's gorgeous back yard with 60 guests. Good luck!

Mar 01, 2008
GourMel in Los Angeles Area

ISO Broiled scallops: Malibu / Santa Monica / Venice area

The Reel Inn across from Topanga State Beach serves some lovely scallops in a "beach shack" type of environment. Definitely casual but the fish and tasty side dishes are hearty and prepared simply. Tra Di Noi on Cross Creek Road also has a wonderful scallop presentation.

Feb 29, 2008
GourMel in Los Angeles Area

Strange Pairings that Taste Uncommonly Good

That sounds delicious! What a magnificent thread this is. My mother used to make me a bizarre combination of cottage cheese, sweet pickle relish and Dijon mustard with a bit of salt and pepper. It remains one of my favorite comfort foods.

Feb 28, 2008
GourMel in General Topics

Looking for your favorite Japanese Breadcrumb (Panko) Recipes

I make a wonderful vegetable rice cake side dish using panko that you might enjoy. Take about 2 cups of cooled, steamed medium grain rice and toss in about 1/2 cup frozen green peas, 3 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 1 bunch of chopped chives, 2 diced garlic cloves, 2 large eggs and 3/4 cup panko. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix with a spatula to combine. Form into round cakes, about 1 inch thick and about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and dip into a shallow bowl of panko crumbs. Place rice cakes on a baking sheet in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour. Fry over medium high heat in vegetable oil in a saute' pan for 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. They are delicious with miso-sake salmon filet, chicken - you name it! They're wonderful. Enjoy!

Feb 27, 2008
GourMel in Home Cooking