Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

vittus's Profile

Title Last Reply

Any recommended Corned Beef Hash?

CBH lovers just be forewarned...the hash at Nicks on Pico in WEst LA is canned not homemade. After reading these convincing posts I went over and ordered it without asking if it was canned first, which I usually do. They were kind of enough not to charge me for the hash even though it was my bad for not asking before I ordered.
Most of the Jewish delis in town have decent corned beef hash with real corned beef.

Feb 09, 2013
vittus in Los Angeles Area

La Petite Creperie in Mar Vista. New Place, best Crepes in West LA

La Petite Creperie opened up about a month ago at 3809 Grand View Blvd in Mar Vista (The street where the farmers market is across from Mitsuwa).

It's a small place, co-run by a French guy and an American Woman. They serve savory and sweet crepes and also omelets and french toast.

I've been to most of the Crepe places in LA and Santa MOnica, and found them all to be pretty mediocre. This is the first place I will definitely go back to.

Today was my first visit and I had a potato bacon crepe which was very tasty and perfect. The potatoes are cubed and a wee bit crunchy and the crepe itself is brown and also kind of crunchy as opposed to the soggy mess you get at a place like the Fairfax Farmer's market creperie.

Apparently the savory crepes are made with buckwheat, and the sweet crepes use a separate batter. I asked the chef about this, and he said most places here just use the sweet crepe batter for their savory crepes...but in France you would be stoned to death for doing that.

I was too full to try a sweet crepe, so I can only give my review based on this one crepe. However, the flavor and quality of this crepe was so far superior to anything else that I've had in LA, that I am very confident that it is safe to judge this place based off this one experience.

My only qualm is that the cheapest coffee drink on the menu is $3.50. They don't have brewed coffee, just French Press...which is very yummy, but it costs $4.00. It would be nice to have a cheapo option for the miserly breakfaster.
They get their beans from the Conservatory roastery in Culver City, which is another plus.......I suppose it is better to pay $4 for good coffee than $2 for bad....but still...

The place is new enough that you can go in on a Weekend morning for breakfast and not have to wait around for a table. I'd say it's a better breakfast choice than the Curious Palate which is probably the closest competitor in its class.

If you are there on a Sunday, you should go to Larry's Tacos in the farmers market too and get a Beef or chicken quesadilla. They make the tortillas right there. I had a friend visit from Japan and took him to tons of restaurants around the west side, Father's Office, Gjelina, Giraffe, and he wouldn't shut up about this quesadilla. He would not shut up.

The Curious Palate
12034 Venice Boulevard, Mar Vista, CA

Father's Office Bar
1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

La Petite Cafe
660 Newport Center Dr, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Jul 03, 2010
vittus in Los Angeles Area

La Libertad, El Salvador Any Recs?

Heading on a 10 day surf trip where I'll be staying at Playa Tunco area in La Libertad. Anybody have any recs for good eats of any kind around the area?

Brief Pismo chow report Thai Talay and Cracked Crab

Good news first.

I didn't have super high expectations at the CRACKED CRAB, since touristy seafood joints in seaside towns are often mediocre. They had a local crab on the menu...I forget the name..I think it was listed as "whole local rock crab". You could order it by the pound. The waitress tried to dissuade us from ordering it. She tried really hard...telling us that there wasn't much meat in it at all. However, uninterested in eating seafood flown in from Alaska or down from SF, we went for the local crab. It was fantastic. Really meaty and delicious, it just took some work and some cracking to get at it. I thought this crab was even tastier than dungeness with a nice sweetness to it. The local crab was cheaper than others $23 per lb where dungenss was about $33 or more.
After finishing , we asked why she had tried to dissuade us from it. Apparently many of their traveling customers have never had crab and when they get this big, hard crab on their plate and find that they have to work to get the meat out...they send it back.

Anyway, I highly recommend the cracked crab, if only for that local crab...

Last night I ate at Talay Thai after reading a few recs on here....sadly, it was the worst thai food I've had in many years. I had tom kha gai, pad thai, and pad see iw. The two noodle dishes were smothered in sauce. The pad see iw, was just noodles, tons of meat, and two or three broccoli chunks. All of these tasted like they were prepared very carelessly. When travelling to small towns where I'm unsure of the local fare, I often go for thai food, since even mediocre thai is usually pretty decent. I've been able to survive many business trips to Medford, OR that way...
this time it didn't work out.

Admittedly, I'm spoiled by living close to LA's thai town....anyway, if your snobby about thai food, avoid this one. However, the place was packed so they seem to be doing something right enough for most folks. Maybe I'm just a thai food scrooge.

There is another thai place in nearby Grover Beach which I almost opted for....I think it's Little Thai....couldn't find much info on it though.

Next time I plan on heading up to Cayucos to try Hoppe after working up an appetite surfing Morro bay.

Jan 03, 2009
vittus in California

Best Albuquerque eats near I-25 Jefferson exit?

I don't mind walking 30 minutes or so, if that will get me somewhere.

Aug 20, 2008
vittus in Southwest

Best Albuquerque eats near I-25 Jefferson exit?

I will be staying in the hotel area near the movie complex at the Jefferson exit on I-25. The only recommended place in the area I found was Pars Middle Eastern food. Anywhere else good in the immediate area? I won't have a car. Any type of food is okay, as long as it's not a national chain.
thanks in advance.

Aug 19, 2008
vittus in Southwest

For Jolly: assuaging disappointment


Aug 17, 2008
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Nakajima 800yen lunch in shinjuku(1 michelin star)

the above link has some English info on Nakajima.
I can't find the card for the Robata place, but I will let you know if I find it. It was in Kyoto, however.

Aug 11, 2008
vittus in Japan

Nakajima 800yen lunch in shinjuku(1 michelin star)

I recently went to Nakajima so that I could try a Michelin rated restaurant on the cheap. Their dinner is kaiseki syle and I believe starts around 8000yen. The lunch menu features 4 or 5 versions of iwashi sardines. All 800 yen. まじで?  I got sashimi and my companion got fry. You can also get shioyaki and iwashi cooked with eggs. They go through 20kilos of iwashi every lunch day. It was delicious, very carefully prepared. So fresh, it was as if the iwashi was swimming through the air and accidentally went into your mouth. You can see the food and some other restaurants I went to in this video.

This video also shows me eating delicious saba mackrel sushi at the famous izuu (Iduu) In Kyoto. It's very cheap too.

Aug 10, 2008
vittus in Japan

Any cheap or cheaper michelin tokyo restaurants

I am in tokyo till June 7th and am interested in trying some of the michelin places. I am interested in cuisine of any type, washoku, yooshoku, Euro, whatever.
However, i will be dining with a limited budget and am wondering if there is any place in the guide where you can get a lunch or dinner in the 3000 to 6000 yen range. I know nothing about that price range totally out of the question?

I am looking at possibly one splurge meal where I would be dining solo. Up to 20k yen or so. If anybody has recs for a great place that would not be too uncomfortable solo that would be swell....

May 29, 2008
vittus in Japan

Suntory Beer?

I have never seen Suntory beer anywhere in the US. Are you looking for Suntory Malts?
Most Japanese beers in the us are brewed in Canada by Molson or the US by Budweiser, I guess due to cost issues. Only Yebisu and Asahi black are actually imported. That may explain why they don't import Suntory well as lack of name recognition in the US.

May 20, 2008
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Oysters at the Hollywood FM

Me too. They have it in the Tuesday FM inCulver city too. It' s the guy with mussels , clams and 2 kinds of oysters, right?

May 19, 2008
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Yakitori Bincho (Redondo Beach Pier) Great, authentic, brand new

Yes, that was similar circumstances to our situation. Getting the ok to come back at 9pm took a little negotiating. We returned at 8pm when we saw from a distance that it looked pretty empty. There was one guy at the counter and one table. We were told there was an 8:30 reservation so we really had to wait till 9pm. It was a bit frustrating but once we got our table and had some food and beer in front of us, all was forgotten. The owner apologized and comped us a little sake.
I guess the alternate for them to turning us away, would have been to possibly have the place packed and everyone waiting for hours to get their food. Even with just two other tables it takes quite a while, but that's because the owner cooks everything himself and does so with great care. So, it's a trade off. Anyway, now I know, make reservations next time.
But, having also taken a long traffic ridden drive from WLA to meet friends coming up from H-ton beach, and nearly being turned away, I too feel your pain, yinyangdi. Ouch indeed Still, I hope you'll try again, it is worth the agitation.

May 19, 2008
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Yakitori Bincho (Redondo Beach Pier) Great, authentic, brand new

I returned to bincho last night for the first time since my post above. It is now necessary to make reservations for weekend nights. We didn't. We got there at 7:00 and waited till 9pm for our table. It was well worth the wait, of course, and it's easy to kill a couple hours on the pier.

The owner informed us that the place has filled up, perhaps due to recent internet hubub. Since the couple runs the restaurant with no help, they are trying to make sure they only let in as many people as they can handle.

One of my companions for the evening comes from a yakitori family. His parents have run a yakitoriya in Kawasaki for 35 years. He seemed content enough with bincho.

Here is some of what we ate. We tried several skewers both with the shio (salt) flavoring and the tare (sauce).
Negima with tare-
This was perfect. Very juicy and tender.

Bonjiri (tail)- This is the tail part of the chicken and is sort of like a cross between cartilage and skin, it's very fatty and rich. It was delicious. I recommend shio for this one over tare.

Tebasaki- This is the wing of the chicken, among the best I've had. Again, I'd go shio with this one.

Liver and Hatsu (heart) - Not a fan, but everyone else thought these were the proverbial bomb.

Cheese chicken- Many izakaya in Japan will have a dish like this with cheese stuck in somewhere you might not expect to find it., like gyooza. The cheese was a melty cheddar on top of some thigh meat (I think it was thigh anyway). It didn't quite do anything for me, but everyone else enjoyed it.

Tomato BAcon- This is a must try. Just perfect little flavor explosions of crisp bacon and sweet little cherry tomatos. Very well done.

okra- eh, it's grilled okra.

Yaki onigiri- I'd wanted to try this last time, but didn't get to. It was great. Perfectly crisp and crackly on the outside and firm on the inside. There is also a yaki-onigiri ochazuke. Ochazuke is sort of a ricey soup porridge made with hot green tea. That's on my list to try next time.

I'd also like to try the Oyako donburi (chicken/egg rice bowl). This is a great dish when done well, but it's hard to find a good one in LA. If anybody tries this, please let me know how it is.

4 hungry people, 2 ordres of sake, 2 regula beers, 1 giant beer = $106 (pre tip)

May 19, 2008
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Disturbing example of CH insider-ism and why it might discourage new members

Hi, Vittus here. Thanks for your post.
I have been casually perusing Chowhound for a few years, and use it whenever I need to check out a restaurant, but I seldom post. I originally posted about binchoo because I happened upon it when it was brand new and was impressed by its authenticity both in taste and atmosphere. I just wanted people to know about it so that others could enjoy it and it would succeed.
While I didn't really have the intention of becoming an active poster on the board, I did wonder why nobody responded. I just assumed that maybe people weren't too interested in yakitori.

Just a moment ago, before reading your post, I saw rameniacs post about binchoo. It was kind of rameniac to credit me, but I was just glad to see that someone was getting it noticed. I wasn't sure why so many more people were commenting on this post...I thought maybe it was just his wording in the title. Now that I know he is a well respected hound, it makes sense. I certainly understand that people will be more likely to listen to someone with an established reputation like MR. Rameniac than an infrequent poster like myself. So, I don't really harbor resentment towards the chow community. I'm glad that word about Binchoo got out one way or another.

That said, it was a tad disapointing to get only one comment on my post. As you say, I don't really need "thanks for the tip" posts, but I was hoping other people would try it and post their thoughts in response.
It wouldn't prevent me from posting new finds....if I found another Binchoo I'd post it....but I'd likely not put as much time or effort in the description as I did on the original post. As I recall, that one took me a while.

My only other beef is, that I have sometimes found people to be a bit confrontational/snooty when I post here, but perhaps that is all in my head. IN any case that may have limited my amount of posts.

May 14, 2008
vittus in Site Talk

YAKITORI BINCHO owns all. BEST in LA!!! Yea, this may sound super-hype but I stand by what I like. Werd. (Maxi-Review w/ pics)

Hey, I'm glad you went, and I'm glad you made such a detailed post. You are a much better marketer than I am :) I had the same feeling as you. This is the kind of place I want to keep a secret, but I also want it to succeed so...hence my original post. I'm really glad you got people interested in this place as it truly is a little piece of Tokyo in LA both in flavor and ambience.

May 14, 2008
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Yakitori Bincho (Redondo Beach Pier) Great, authentic, brand new

If you don't want to read my long winded post, here is the jist.

Great Yakitori. Traditional and authentic. You'll think you're in Japan. And cheap too.

Japanese Grill Yakitori Bincho
112 N. International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach 90277
It's North of Quality SEafoods on the pier boardwalk.

My girlfriend and I went to the RB Pier today for some Crab at Quality Seafoods. On our walk back, we passed a funky looking Japanese Place. We poked our heads in and were tempted enough to sit down for a second dinner.

Sitting at the counter, we were immediately transported back to Japan. This place looks like the little yakitori dives in Kichijooji or Shonbenyokochoo in Shinjuku. The place has only been open for 3 weeks and the other patrons were all Japanese. The owner said that it's been about 50/50 Japnaese and non-japanese. He hasn't done any kind of advertising yet, but the place had a pretty healthy crowd already....apparently it's quite popular with visiting JAL pilots. The owner trained at a Yakitori place in Saitama Japan and moved here just to open this yakitori-ya. After hearing this, I knew it had to be pretty good.

You can choose sauce or salt flavor on most skewers. We had sauce for most meat skewers...

Our first stick was Tsukune (chicken meat ball). This was phenomenal. Probalby the best I've ever had, crisp on the outside, with a smoky/savory (kobashii) flavor. (kobashii tte nan to iu no daroo) My girlfriend was very impressed with this, and thought it better than most she'd had growing up in Japan.

Our second favorite was Kawa (skin). Okay, this might sound gross to some and it can be....but this was beautiful. Crunchy, crackly, overwhelmingly flavorfull.

Negishio (green onion and salt?) This is a stick of chicken on top of some chopped green onions. This one was great too.

The only not so good one was Leek (ikada) with the salt flavoring. Kind of boring. Maybe better with sauce..?

We also had fried garlic appetizer with miso sauce. A bit too rich for us. I'd never had fried garlic cloves like this....I decided I prefer the soft squishyness of grilled garlic. I wouldn't really recommend this one.

The chef recommend a skin and ponzu appetizer. This was an okay combo of skin, green onion, daikon in ponzu. But I'd stick with the skin skewer with sauce.

They also had ginan which is called gingko nut in english I think. this was all right...not the best ginnan.

Other things that looked good were the yaki onigiri(grilled rice ball?) and the ochazuke.

Since we had already eaten:) this was all we had....the menu had about 10 appetizers, and 20 or so types of yakitori. Based on our limited experience I would say the Yakitori is superb, and the appetizers are Okay. But it's unfair to judge after trying only two of them.

They have sapporo on tap.....and low priced sake including Kubota

Oh, and our whole meal, with booze, came to 35 bucks. Not bad.

Part of the greatness of this place is the warmth of the atmosphere and the chef...(However, he was speaking in Japanese the whole time so I'm not sure how this would be for an english speaker, and I didn't get to hear him speak English at all).

As we exited , my girlfriend and I turned to each other and simultaneously's really like we're back in Japan. I only wish this were in Culver City and not RB.

Apr 05, 2008
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Lily's cafe in Malibu PCH, suprisingly good mexican

Went for a hike in Malibu, and this place seemed like the least heinous of choices. I wasn't expecting much, but I was very pleased. All I had was a pastor burrito, but it was among the best I've had in LA. That said, I've never had a truly great burrito in LA (SF mission burritos being my gold standard). Nice and spicy pastor, with a little bit of crispiness to it. My friend had an asada burrito and liked it, but I found the pastor much better.

The place seems quite popular with chiseled Malibu folks, there was a long wait, and we were told it would take 20 minutes for our order of 2 burritos. But it was worth the wait.
It's located near Kanan Dume road, in a strip mall on the ocean side of PCH.
They're aren't many options for decent cheap eats in the area, so this is a good bet if you're out surfing or hiking.

I think this is the was across from a post office.
29211 Heathercliff Rd
Malibu, CA 90265
(310) 457-3745

Feb 16, 2008
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Burmese? Malaysian?

Burma Super Star is one of my favorite restaruants of all time. Yes, and I found God inside of that pork curry. Their tea leaf salad is beautiful Everytime I go to the bay area, I buy a bunch of dishes and take them on the plane back to LA for lunch the next day.
I'm yet to try the Golden Triangle but I once emailed Jonathan Gold about where to get that tea leaf salad in the Southland and that was his be good. wish there was a place in LA proper.

Aug 03, 2007
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Yoku Yoku - Froyo & Gelato (Westside Village)

I think yoku yoku's vanilla flavor is really swell. So creamy and simple...but I wasn't much in to their other flavors. The decor is certainly remenisent of Pink bery. I'm not a pink-berry fan. I prefer Yoku Yoku and I recently tried Red-Mango at UCLA area which my Korean friend says is the original pink-berry in Korea. Red Mango was also very good, with a nice yogurty sour tang. Much cheaper than P.B. or Yoku Yoku. Abotu $2. Plus it's near Stan's donuts. I don't like Pink-Berry much because to me it just taste like frozen Yakult Japanese yogurt drink...which I never was a fan of.

Aug 03, 2007
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Yoku Yoku - Froyo & Gelato (Westside Village)

Melondra is right. The service is very good, and the workers seem to want to be there. I too noticed this and figured the owner emphasized this attitude in training. But when I tipped and they didn't sing for me...I nearly threw my yogurt down in disgust :)

Aug 03, 2007
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Sushi-zo omakase review

Actually, Schwinhaxen. I didn't mean to say this place was "so-so". I guess my writing is a bit harsh. The quality of the fish here (except for the kanpachi) was some of the best I've had in town recently...I just didn't like a couple of the sauces and flavor combinations.
My favorite edomae sushi place is....Daiwa zushi inside the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. There I had an akagai (red clam?) that was still moving in my mouth...mmm.
My favorite in LA of all time was, the now defunct, Sushi Tenn on Sawtelle. But it was really only good during its first few months. They had great stuff, a lot of it flown in from Hokkaido, with homemade gari and excellent tea...everything was done right. But, after a few months they stopped carrying all the good, special stuff...guess it wasn't cost effective. The quality went way down and now it's gone. I've been searching for a replacement.

Sushi-ken in Torrance is another good, dependable one and the itamae is very nice. It's quite affordable too. This guy's dad runs a sushi shop in Toyama, Japan which I hope to try next month. They sometimes have a special shrimp flown in from Toyama...I forgot what it's called.
There are a lot of other good places in Torrance.

Jul 30, 2007
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Sushi-zo omakase review

I love geoduck. The best I had recently was from the Mitsuwa in Torrance. You can buy a sushi grade piece and just slice and eat. It was perfect, so sweet....
I highly recommend that if you are ever in Torrance.

Jul 30, 2007
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Sushi-zo omakase review

I don't really read these boards for sushi much. I guess I should. I usually go where Japanese friends/co-workers take me. Maybe this place is not known much to the LA japanese community.

Jul 30, 2007
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Sushi-zo omakase review

I just came from Sushi-zo where I had a nice lunch omakase. This place is on National in Culver City just north of the 10 underpass, next to TAco Plus.

I hadn't heard of or read about his place, but it is in my hood and judging by the sign above the counter that read "omkase- no california roll/cut roll", it seemed like my kind of place.

The omakase started with a dissapointing dish of Kanpachi sashimi (3 pieces) with yuzu kosho (yuzu pepper). I'm not a huge yuzu kosho on sushi fan, as I generally find it overpowers the fish. Sadly, this was the case. The Kanpachi itself was also not so flavorful or fresh tasting...perhaps that's why they used the yuzu koshoo.
This poor start worried me, but the first piece of sushi, chuu toro, assuaged my fears. The chuutoro was quite nice, fresh and flavorful. The shari (sushi rice) is warm(which is fine by me), and they use only a small amount of shari(which I like). The toro was followed by a terrific hamachi (hamachi no harami/belly). Really the best hamachi I've had of late. Other hits included aji, shima-aji, iwashi, kindmedai and scallop). shime saba, and hirame were okay.
There were a few nigiri that I'd never had or seen before. ONe was ono, called Sagoshi in Japanese, apparently. This was lightly grilled (aburi), and was absoulutely delcious. I've never seen this here or in Japan....although I have seen ono sashimi in Hawaii.
There was also a grilled aburi tara (Black cod in English?) which was also very tasty. However, it came with a teaspoon sized dab of vinegar/miso sauce which I found overpowering (chotto gehin na kanji). This could easily be remedied by scraping off most of the sauce.
I had the same problem with the mirugai, which was served with a shiso leaf underneath. I just don't understand this combination, as mirugai is so sweet and subtle. I don't see how it could not be overpowered by the powerful shiso flavor.

The quality of the fish here is great, and the simple, traditional stuff was all very good. The ankimo was fantastic and is blanched on the oppossed to many places that use a pre-cooked (processed?) tube of ankimo. It's only $2.40 too.
It is clear that the itamae is putting a lot of care and effort into his work. However, I did find the overpowering flavor combinations in the tara and mirugai to be disturbing. I'm not sure if this is just a way of trying to appeal to American customers. I have never had this problem in Japan before. I know some people call this "creative" but to me it just does not compute. .Admittedly, I am a snobby sushi traditionalist, but I'm happy to eat fusion pieces as long as the sauce and flavor combinations don't overpower the FISH.
All in all, this was very good stuff, and the best omakase I've had in the past few months (recent trips include Jinpachi(pretty good), 4 on 6 in Encino(pretty good) and Nozawa( inexplicably poor, traditional but bad...kaitenzushi quality fish).
This was a 70$ omakase lunch after tip. Okay, can order pieces individually and I think if you were to take care, you could eat for about $40. I'll definitely go back, but probably not for omakase....

Jul 30, 2007
vittus in Los Angeles Area

Chow Blogs taht are updated regularly [moved from General Chowhounding Topics]

There's a new food blog that I've been checking out after seeing a link on chowhound LA. It's only been up for a couple of weeks, but it already has a bunch of very wide ranging posts from donuts to scotch. The kind of writing that makes you hungry. Reminds me of J Gold in the LA weekly.

May 23, 2007
vittus in Food Media & News

Good/Decent Sushi but w/ Scene?

I went to Katana for a party and had a big set menu dinner. Everything I had was pretty bland and dissapointing, but I do have snobbishly high expectations when it comes to Japanese food. However, it was definitely a scene...

Oct 06, 2006
vittus in Los Angeles Area


I was unaware of this variation in tequila form bottle to bottle. I recently had a great bottle of the milagro single barrel anejo which a friend brought back from mexico. I bought an identical bottle at my local liquor store and it was no better than cuervo. Totally different taste and finish.
Is Milagro also known for inconsistency?

Sep 24, 2006
vittus in Spirits

good mezcals?

I just tried my first Mezcal, "El Senorio" and loved it, but apparently it's not available in the U.S.
Anybody have recs for similar tasty Mezcals. The only one I've found for sale so far is Don Amado, but I wasn't sure if that was any good.


Aug 17, 2006
vittus in Spirits

Any MEZCAL LOVERS? Where can I find good Mezcal in L.A.?

Just tried El Senorio Mezcal for the first time and was swept away by it's smoky flavor and THCish effects.

Does anyone know where to get it? So far I've tried Bevmo(had none) on Santa Monica Blvd and Larchmont Liquors (had 3 kinds).

Any recommendations for nice, smoky brands.


Aug 16, 2006
vittus in Los Angeles Area