SecretAsianMan's Profile

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Is there better Chinese in Boston than Peach Farm?

When I was a young and sprightly graduate student in the 1990s, Peach Farm was the place to go. In the intervening years, I've returned there from time to time and it was still pretty solid. Are there any other worthwhile contenders that should be considered?

Thanks!

Secret Asian Man

Mar 17, 2014
SecretAsianMan in Greater Boston Area

Azabu in Torrance?

Anyone been?

My friends visited yesterday and said it was excellent. Japanese style hamburg steak was a favorite!

http://www.yelp.com/biz/azabu-torrance

Feb 03, 2014
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Where can I buy some Demi Glacé?

I second the Japanese grocery suggestion. It's amazing that you can get excellent Demiglace easily in Japan.

Troy's Demiglace is usually carried by most Japanese markets. You can also get Hayashi Rice Sauce cubes near the curry section too.

Feb 02, 2014
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Lamb Tongue Sandwich?

Hi Vinnie,

It was wrapped in pita, with mildly sour cucumber pickles, tomato and onions.

Wow...now I want one.

SAM

Dec 20, 2013
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Lamb Tongue Sandwich?

I was recently in Tempe, AZ and stopped by Haji Baba market and restaurant on Apache.

I was intrigued by the lamb tongue sandwich on the menu. The only description was "Once you try this you won't stop talking about it". (Presumably, the lamb isn't saying much anymore...) Of course, how could you not order it??

Sure enough, the sandwich was truly amazing and I wanted another one immediately. It made me wonder if there are any halal spots in LA that offer the same thing.

Anyone ever see a lamb tongue sandwich around here?

Thanks!

SAM

Dec 18, 2013
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Anyone try Maruhide Uni Club in Torrance?

So, let's talk pricing. As someone else has inquired below...is the pricing better than a big Japanese grocery? Just curious. Want to gear up for some uni pasta this weekend!

Oct 14, 2013
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Osawa - Pasadena

Thanks for the report and to know that the sushi scene in Pasadena continues to get better and better. I'd feel guilty cheating on my beloved Sushi Ichi to go here, though!

Oct 14, 2013
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Fresh soba in LA?

Just to chime in here. The Ichimian in the Rolling Hills plaza is a bit more atmospherically refined than the one in DT Torrance. The quality of noodle, however, is high in both places.

The last time I was at Otafuku, I got such a bad vibe from the unhappy staff and their snapping master it lost my appetite to return.

Agreed that Sojibo is a step below the two above.

Oct 14, 2013
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area
1

Moving to Claremont

The best taco in Claremont is in Pomona. Lily's Tacos was my go-to spot when I lived up the street.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/lilys-tacos-p...

The Chile Verde plate is worthing giving at least a month of your life for.

Has anyone mentioned Sanam Luang Thai on Indian Hill below the 10? The Duck Curry is quite tasty as are any of the soups.

However, I do hope you've revised whatever set of assumptions that lead you to make this statement:

"No offense, but this confirms my suspicion that coffee culture just hasn't bloomed yet in Southern California."

Uh. Rent a zipcar and get yourself out of the 909 to Handsome Coffee in the Arts District or Jones Coffee in Pasadena. Of course, there are the imports from out of town--Intelligentsia, Stumptown, or Blue Bottle if you must settle. But come on, dude. You're making yourself look bad here.

Oct 14, 2013
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Any commercial Demi-Glace worth buying?

If you live near a large Japanese grocery, they will likely have great demiglace. My favorite is Chef Troy's which comes in a little jar.

SAM

May 09, 2010
SecretAsianMan in General Topics

"Chef Troy's Demi Glace Sauce" - anyone try this?

Yes!

I just used it and I love it! Its much better than the canned demi-glace sauces partially because it uses real beef and is made in the US (while the made in Japan versions don't use beef because of US import restrictions).

Chef Troy's is quite delicious---I used it to top Omu-Raisu last night and used the remaining sauce in place of pizza sauce on pizza toast this morning.

SAM

May 09, 2010
SecretAsianMan in General Topics

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza in LA?

Agreed, Zelo is massively great. Thanks for the rec re: Masa!

SAM

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Masa Restaurant
2063 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

Apr 30, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Umami Burger? Um, No

Agreed. Its greasy and lousy and loud.

Apple Pan is still the apple of my eye.

SAM

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Apple Pan
10801 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Apr 30, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Gjelina . . . What to order?

The lamb sausage broccolini pizza was amazing!

Apr 29, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza in LA?

Anyone know of a great place in LA? I found a superb place in Hayes Valley in SF, but for us down south....?

There's the Chicago theme restaurant in Burbank....anyone know of another place? Or have thoughts on the Burbank restaurant?

Thanks!

SAM

Apr 29, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Seeking super hard ice

Super! Thank you!

Apr 10, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Seeking super hard ice

I'm on the look out to buy a block of super hard ice for drinks. I know that good bars use this kind of ice for their chilled drinks, but wonder if its available retail somewhere.

Any ideas?

Secret Asian Man

Apr 05, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Awesome Chili Dog at Union Bagel

I'm usually there for a meeting, so the parking gets folded into it...one could park near Chinatown and walk.

Apr 04, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Awesome Chili Dog at Union Bagel

You haven't lived until you've mustarded your chili! hahaha

Apr 03, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Awesome Chili Dog at Union Bagel

mmm...$3.95? Can't quite recall...

Apr 03, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Awesome Chili Dog at Union Bagel

Many times on this board have we discussed chili dog nirvana. I'd like to add one more possibility:

Imagine my surprise while walking through Union Station one day to see a Nathan's Famous Hot Dog sign inside Union Bagel. I soon found myself at the counter saying "One chili dog with mustard and onions and no cheese, please."

After a few moments, the chili dog arrives. It takes me off guard--the dog itself extends past the bun, the raw red onions are finely chopped and the chili smells like, REAL chili! My heart starts to race. I don't have the courage to pick the thing up, so I use the fork. I wedge off a bit that contains all the flavors and quickly shorten the distance between the counter and my mouth.

Houston, we have a problem.

This is a damn good chili dog! My mind races. Can I resist the urge to eat one every day? The meaty, even slightly gamey, taste of the Nathan's Famous is a memory blast from my childhood when real butchers, who made their own frankfurters, would give me a free sample. It was amazing. Plus, the chili had both substance and flavor. Chunks of ground meat in a savory cumin-tomato bath was a delight. The minced red onion and mustard rounded out the program...the onion was small enough to deliver flavor by not unwieldy enough to roll off the fork and onto my shirt (joining the stains of lunches past). Despite the fact that I was having dinner in 45 minutes, I scarfed the thing down. I felt regret that I only had a phone camera to capture the moment.

Photos are here:

http://www.thedigestivetract.com/2010...

Mar 31, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Can't Say Enough Good Things About Sandwich Island!

In 1778, Captain Cook came across a group of islands in the remote Pacific Ocean, he named them Sandwich Islands after a his boss. You and I know them as Hawai'i. A lot has happened since then and one quietly notable event is Bob and Sonja Alamia emigrating from Portland to Maui.

They lived on the side of a volcano and during their ten years of paradise living, made close friends with the locals. Family matters called them back to Portland a little over a year ago. Milling around for something to do, they decided to open an eatery dedicated to uncommonly fantastic ways of serving up meat on bread. It’s name? Sandwich Island.

Bob and Sonja being charmingly down-to-earth, found themselves recipients of the secret knowledge of Kalua Pork-craft. It is very likely the only place in Portland that offers this tasty bit of slow-roasted paradise. As I'm sure you already know, Kalua Pork, in its heavenly, tender, smokiness is one of those signs that soundly disprove atheism. Bob won't reveal the secret ingredients that go into making Kalua Pork, but its a slow-and-low 12-hour roasting process they perform themselves. The result? Meat of such porky, juicy purity that adding anything other than a bun defiles its divine nature. (However, hot sauce is also on offer). Sandwiches come in two sizes--the large Hog Daddy and the "small" Little Piggy. Their prices are so incredibly low, you will want to buy them by the dozen--$4 for the Little Piggy and $6 for the Hog Daddy.

The meat parade doesn't stop there.

Also on the menu are are Italian meatball sandwiches, Bob's (a native New Yawker) mother's recipe. Again, the cooking secrets are still with Bob, Sonja and Mama, but I did glean that the meatballs are cooked directly in the sauce, fusing together tomato and meatball into an tantalizing concoction of deliciousness. They are prepared in a way that renders these carné orbs succulent, greaseless, moist.

Prime Rib Sandwich--again the Alamias prove their skill with roasted mammals. The prime rib idea came from surveying the surrounding neighborhood and wanting to do something better than what was currently offered. I had the "Little Roaster" (not brave enough to down an entire "Beef it Up"...) which was served on a roof-of-the mouth friendly tender bun, which melted cheddar cheese. As I write this, I salivate and my teeth ache, yearning for another juicy bite. The beef and cheddar merged together to make reptile brain giddy with delight. The beef was so soft and pink, chewing seemed optional. Again the prices are so ridiculously low--$4.50 for the Little and $6.50 for the Large. The Amalias also give you a side (I chose Cole Slaw, from the available Mac Salad, Potato Salad, Cottage Cheese or Chips). I also got a small cup of, incongruous but yummy, Cranberry Sauce.

Moving on from Mammals to the Bird World, Sonja plumbed her Texas roots and developed a magnificent Chicken and Dumplings recipe, employing giblets and all to make a penicillin-rich, golden stew of galline goodness. One customer exclaimed, "This takes me straight back to my childhood!" Chicken and dumplings are a genus of dish, once common on American menus that have slowly disappeared. But at Sandwich Island its making a comeback!

Kalua Pork, Italian Meatballs, Prime Rib sandwiches, Chicken and Dumplings--an entire hemispheric survey of comfort food. Food just like mama made, if mama were Hawaiian, Italian, with a little Texan thrown in for kicks. It turns out Bob's mom is Puerto Rican--so never judge a book by its cover.

Sandwich Island is located in the Global Food Court, which is also home to Gandhi's Indian food. Gandhi's serves up, among other things, tasty Vegan dishes. So, bring those dedicated Vegans along, its time for lunch!

Sandwich Island is open from 10am to 2-3pm (call ahead) Monday through Friday.

Sandwich Island
827 SW 2nd Avenue,
Portland, OR 97204
503 330 5002

For photos, please link here:

http://www.thedigestivetract.com/2010...

Mar 23, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Metro Portland

Otomisan: An Enduring Japanese Treasure in East Los Angeles

Yes, I absolutely agree, the charm is hard to beat....and food at this price point is pretty darn good.

I'm glad there are others who know about Otomisan and appreciate it!

SAM

Feb 16, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

sukiyaki

Hi Grooverider,

You're in luck! Otomisan in Boyle Heights has excellent Sukiyaki. I just posted my review on this board:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/688416

Its truly amazing, and even comes with raw egg if you so desire. I think your parents will love it!

All best,

SAM

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Otomisan
2506 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033

Feb 16, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Otomisan: An Enduring Japanese Treasure in East Los Angeles

Your old college friend from the Midwest rings you and says he’s coming to town…and he’s in the mood for truly great Japanese food. After all, Iowa isn’t known for its tempura and grilled eel. Where to take him? You rack your brain and rifle through the mental rolodex—some swank place in Santa Monica? That concentrated strip of Japanese cuisine on Sawtelle? Hey, aren’t Gardena and Torrance where lots of Japanese people live? There must be good food there, right? But then it hits you. Ahhhh. For something truly exceptional you should go to Boyle Heights!

What!?

Boyle Heights? Home of Mariachi Plaza, the legendary restaurant La Serenata de Garibaldi and the new Gold Line Extension (Not to mention the shiny new Hollenbeck Community Police Station)? Really?

Yes, really.

Decades ago, in the years before and after the Second World War, Boyle Heights was a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. It was also heavily populated by the Japanese (Little Tokyo, after all, lies directly across the First Street bridge. There were any number of Japanese businesses, including a hospital and cinema. In 1956, in a spot that was formerly an ice cream parlor, a small restaurant opened on First Street. In 2010 it’s still there, making it one of the oldest Japanese restaurants in town. It’s also one of the best.

Now on its third owner, Otomisan is the dictionary definition of “Mom and Pop”. In fact, mom and pop brought grandma too. (She sits in the back booth.) Walking into Otomisan feels like you’ve just stepped into someone’s home. The lovingly worn furnishings and formica eroded by decades of caresses are accented by an innumerable amount of good luck charms, lucky cats and even a photo of protector-deity Sylvester Stallone.

Warmth greets you in the form of a friendly, smiling Mrs. Yayoi who welcomes you as if she’s known you her whole life. She offers you a stool (leftover from the ice cream parlor days) or one of the three red pleather booths.

On first glance, the menu is comprised of comfortable old favorites and perhaps nothing special—teriyaki this, tempura that. But classics carried to wondrous heights are still wondrous nonetheless. Fundamentally, Mr. Hamada, the genial man-in-the-kitchen uses high quality ingredients and executes flawlessly. The chicken is juicy, the pork is thick and moist, the beef is tender, the shrimp is sweet. He even makes sumptuous New Year’s meals for the local temples and other Japanese organizations nearby.

In the many visits to Otomisan, me or my dining companions have treated ourselves to selections from across the menu. Starting with the homemade gyoza, hand-folded and steam-fried to pleasingly contrasting tender crispiness. The dumplings aren’t over-stuffed and strike a delicate pose on the plate when they arrive at your table. They are served with a bit of chili oil and vinegar.

Otomisan also boasts a respectable menu of well-prepared sushi rolls. Though they aren’t necessarily sushi specialists, Otomisan’s rolls are sizeable, flavorful and just as good as a fancier place in a tonier zip code. A particularly authentic and relatively hard-to-find item in LA is futomaki (or “Fat Roll”), which stuffed with colorful, healthy goodness—steamed spinach, sweet egg, sweet gourd called kampyo and a sweetened shiitake mushroom, carrot and imitation crab meat. That cheerful, pink powdery stuff—denbu (powdered, boiled, dried fish) recalls the futomaki of your faraway youth. (The roll was so good, I forgot to photograph it before it disappeared.)

The Spider Roll is also noteworthy. The creamy avocado and snappy cucumber and carrot counter the crispy, meaty, fried soft shell crab. One evening, the crab was presented in a way that looks like its try to desperately escape from the roll.

One rainy evening when the dishes were slow to emerge from the kitchen, Mrs. Yayoi gifted us a complimentary spicy tuna roll whose character was in keeping with its fellow sushi-menu mates. The roll was broad in diameter and stuffed to the gills with chopped tuna.

Miso is normally an afterthought in many Japanese restaurants, but here takes on a depth that only your Japanese grandma, armed with her decades of cooking secrets, could pull off. Bits of tofu and seaweed dot the scene, and the broth is simultaneously and surprisingly rich and light.

There are several not-to-be missed items. The Seafood Tempura is an oceanic monster of a dish—including several large prawn, squid rings, and a whole soft shell crab. These are backed-up by a selection of vegetables like broccoli, squash, and zucchini. Tempura is often the benchmark dish for the rest of the menu and Otomisan’s is fantastic—light, crispy and not terribly oily.

The other house speciality is Sukiyaki—beef and vegetables cooked in a sweet soy sauce broth. The beef is tender and the green matter is plentiful. Enoki mushrooms, onion slices, green onion, bean sprouts, tofu cubes, and udon noodles make this an incredibly satisfying-impossible-to-eat-by-yourself dish. You have the option of eating it Japanese-style by dipping these morsels in raw egg. No one will shake their head if you choose to forego this option.

Finally, I must put in a word for the Tonkatsu, the fried pork filet. Again, a sizeable and greaseless portion of high quality meat prepared skillfully to a perfect crunchy outside and tender inside. It is served, oddly enough, not with Japanese karashi mustard, but good ol’ French’s Yellow. This is the one odd note in an otherwise flowing song of authenticity. You can request the dish be topped with curry, which adds a slight bit of spice to the arrangement.

Otomisan is not the place for glamour, sequins and sparkles. The entire menu is composed of dishes precisely aim for, and squarely hit, your brain’s centers of comfort, nostalgia and domesticity. Mrs Yayoi once proudly told me, “If its on the menu, its definitely good!” Otomisan is the place you repair to settle into familiar, warm and comfortable world.

You friend from Iowa will love it.

Parking Note: The parking meters are active from 8am to 8pm in this neighborhood, so be sure to feed the beast before leaving your car!

Otomisan is not open on Sundays.

Otomisan
2506 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 526-1150

More photos can be found here:

http://www.thedigestivetract.com/2010...

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Otomisan
2506 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033

Feb 16, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Maguro (Tuna) Collars in LA?

Super. I'll give them a ring.

SAM

Jan 24, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Maguro (Tuna) Collars in LA?

Hi Joe,

I've seen salmon and yellowtail collars but rarely maguro.

Have you seen maguro?

Thanks,

SAM

Jan 24, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Tacos Arabes or Cemitas Poblanas in LA

You can get both Tacos Arabes and Cemitas Poblanas at the shop called (surprisingly enough) Cemitas Poblanas on Victory in Van Nuys. Both the Taco Arabes and the Cemitas are out of this world.

I've been to the Chicago place (which was excellent) and CP compares quite favorably.

A poster mentions it below and I think you will like it. Also, the service is sweet.

Here are the details:

Cemitas Poblanas
14902 Victory Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91411
(818) 786-0328

SAM

Jan 23, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Where to buy unshelled pecans? Cheapest?

Trader Joes has them too...

Jan 23, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area

Maguro (Tuna) Collars in LA?

I just returned from a food-filled trip to Tokyo where I had on two different occasions the most amazing tuna collar dishes. They were truly amazing.

If you can read Japanese, here's a great recipe:

http://kaikaya.com/recipe.html

Its a recipe I want to make.

However, I cannot ever recall seeing tuna collars at fish markets in Los Angeles.

Does anyone know of a source?

Thanks,

SAM

Jan 23, 2010
SecretAsianMan in Los Angeles Area