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ValleyGal's Profile

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Portuguese sausage in Phoenix?

Is there anywhere in Phoenix to get the portuguese sausage that you get in Hawai'i?

Dec 12, 2008
ValleyGal in Phoenix

Cheap, good ethnic North Central Phoenix?

Thanks for that! I'll definitely try a lot of these.

What would you suggest to order at Super Dragon? And at Sabor Cubano Buffet?

My family's been going to Pepe's for a very long time, but when I visited last year I thought that the food was changed and was now mediocre. One thing that I love about Pepe's is the garlicky refried beans. The prices had also gone way up. I love their hot sauce but hate how much they charge for extra if you take-out.

I've never liked El Bravo, but I haven't been in years. There's also a sit-down Mexican place up on Central north of Dunlap that I used to like. I can't remember the name, but I'm sure I'll be driving by there soon.

I went to DaVang years ago and was not impressed, but I'll give it another try. I used to like the griddle dish (the meat and shrimp one cooks at the table) at Pho Bang, and the pho. I also liked the chao gaio.

L.A. spoiled me in terms of fantastic, cheap and easily available ethnic, but on the bright side I'll probably lose a lot of weight...

Nov 01, 2008
ValleyGal in Phoenix

Korean food in Phoenix? Hawaiian style groceries?

I just posted about moving back to Phoenix after decades of living in L.A. asking for a great Korean BBQ place like Soot Bull Jeep in L.A..'s Koreatown. Now, I'm unbelievably sad that it seems none exists. But thanks to everyone for your suggestions!

I'm surprised that there's a 99 Ranch Market here, but will make sure and check it out. Does anyone know if it has the live fish and the plants like the L.A. ones do?

Where is this Mekong Plaza going to be located?

Nov 01, 2008
ValleyGal in Phoenix

Cheap, good ethnic North Central Phoenix?

I just moved back to Phoenix after decades of living in L.A., but visiting Phoenix regularly. I already miss L.A.'s huge variety of cheap ethnic food. That's about all I'll miss except maybe the weather.

I'm in the area around Northern and Central in Phoenix now and am looking for cheap, clean and good ethnic restaurants around here -- any ideas?

My family used to go to Greekfest and that other Greek restaurant, maybe Greektown? I get them confused.

We also love Carolina's Mexican -- in fact I just went there this morning to get a machaca burrito fix. I also picked up a Special (chorizo, beans and cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla - yummy) for dinner. The Carolina's on Cactus is open at 7AM except for Sundays when it's closed completely.

And we eat at Thai Rama on Camelback regularly. I think it compares with a lot of good Thai restaurants in L.A. but I wouldn't call the food extraordinary. The green curry with chicken is yummy.

So here's what I'm looking for, and I don't go for the ambience, just for the food:

* great Korean BBQ anywhere in the Phoenix area -- does anyone know Soot Bull Jeep or Buffetland in Koreatown in L.A.? That's what I'm looking for.

* great Vietnamese ditto -- I used to go to that Viet. restaurant on Camelback and 17th Ave. but don't know if it's still there.

* great border Mexican besides Carolina's in North Central Phoenix, but hell, Carolina's is so good I'll probably always just go there.

I just tried Stumpy's on Northern around 13 St. Loved their French Dip au jus, and my nieces swear that the pizza is the best -- has anyone eaten there and what else should I try?

Thanks in advance.

Nov 01, 2008
ValleyGal in Phoenix

Another AMAZING Puro Sabor Meal

We're almost moved out of L.A. and are strapped for time, but had to go to Puro Sabor Peruvian in Van Nuys one last time, so went for lunch.

Seriously, I think Puro Sabor is one of the four or five best restaurants I've ever eaten at, and I have lived and/or traveled in about 28 countries although I've never been to South America.

We had Puro Sabor's Ceviche de Mixto, which is fish, shrimp, squid, octopus marinated in lemon Peruvian spices and seasoning ( I'm reading from the take-out menu -- Puro Sabor has a take-out menu now!) and the Pescado a lo Macho, a fish fillet & seafood combo, onions and tomatoes.

Just friggin' EXQUISITE. The seafood is SO fresh, and whatever the sauces are... I just ate and I'm already craving it.

That and the two very spicy green sauces, one with the rolls and one with the food. Just unbelievable.

The rolls are by far the worst part, because everything else is world class. It's like they buy the rolls in bulk at a week old sale at a cheap supermarket.

Puro Sabor is a treasure, worth driving mile out of the way to, and next time I come back to visit L.A. I will make the trip to Van Nuys, no matter where I'm staying to eat there again.

I used to eat at Mario's all the time, it cannot compare to Puro Sabor. Very few restaurants could.

And the prices are not even just reasonable, they would be amazingly cheap even if the food were of poor quality. Our meal was something like $30 with non-alcoholic drinks and tip for again some of the best food I've ever tasted.

Puro Sabor (Peruvian Food)
6366 Van Nuys Blvd. (cross st. Victory)
Van Nuys, CA 91401
818 908 0818

Man, will I miss the ethnic food in L.A...

Oct 07, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Leaving L.A.-my last meals

Sorry for all the typos - just getting used to my new glasses.

Sep 30, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Leaving L.A.-my last meals

In my opinion, the Juanita's in Ontario, near the airport, is much better:

Juanita's III
1209 E. 4th St.
Ontario, CA 91764

We're going to be moving dogs and CATs (very difficult, to say the least ;-) and plants, but still I'm planning our exodus around Juanita's hours. I just have to taste it one more time.

I do just stick to to the shredded beef tacos and bean & cheese burriotos, and then I bury it all underneath a lava flow of hot sauce.
(909 )986-0991

Sep 30, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Best Taco Stands in LA

The cochinitia pibil burrito at Yucas is my favorite because of its unique taste.

However, I will always hold a place in my heart for Juanita's (in Ontario and Claremont) shredded beef tacos, because, combined with their hot sauce and bean burritos, I go into a food high.

Sep 30, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Leaving L.A.-my last meals

I don't think the ceviche from Puro Sabor could last for even a short plane ride, but one can dream...

Sep 29, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Leaving L.A.-my last meals

I get a chance to talk to people all over the world through my job. When they ask me what L.A. is like I tell them it's worth a trip just for the food.

If I ever come back it would be to do an eating tour of L.A., but I wouldn't do the chi-chi places, I'd go to the places I've listed -- mom & pop ethnic food is the REAL L.A. cuisine IMO.

i've been to some of the fanciest restaurants in the world, again through work, but I'd trade any of them for a Puro Sabor or a Soot Bull Jeep or a Juanita's or a Monte Alban.

Food doesn't have to cost a lot to taste good, and again IMO in L.A. some of the very best food is the relatively cheapest.

I'm getting nostalgic for L.A. restaurants and i haven't even left yet ;-) Oh well, my waistline will thank me for the move out of here...

Sep 28, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Puro Sabor Peruvian - WOW

We just had Puro Sabor. WOW. Talk about a food high. I can't believe after living in the SF Valley for more than a year we only started eating here in the last few days and we're leaving L.A. for good next week.

The ceviche -- my Gawd, that was incredible -- we ordered it "spicy" and it was perfect. That green stuff they serve with the rolls -- just unbelievable. The entire meal, from the appetizers to the drinks, was a taste marathon.

And the people were so nice -- the very sweet server asked us how we'd heard of it and we said "Chowhound" and she said that they'd been getting a lot of Chowhound people in there.

They deserve it -- Puro Sabor is first-class in flavor.

6366 Van Nuys Blvd in Van Nuys.

Seriously, I will drive back a thousand miles to eat at Puro Sabor again. Amazing.

Sep 28, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Leaving L.A.-my last meals

I will miss the Thai food too -- I honestly never knew that the SF Valley had such a great selection of Thai restaurants.

I have to put in a shout-out to Tangy Thai on Sherman Way, just east of the Van Nuys Airport. Really nice people, and great food at about $8.00 for the dinner special. If you go in there physically check-out the dumpling menu.

I had a chili fish at Tangy Thai once from their lunch special menu that was exquisite, but I was never able to figure out exactly what I'd ordered again.

I'm probably one of the only people in L.A. who doesn't like Zankou Chicken. I HATE their garlic spread, and I love garlic.

My new city has nowhere near the diversity of L.A. in terms of food. I think that very few cities in the U.S., or even the world, do. Oh well, at least no more worrying about The Big One.

Sep 28, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Leaving L.A.-my last meals

Is the Tommy's downtown still the best? If so, I request that you eat there for me ;-)

I remember taking a newly arrived British friend there about 17 years ago, after a night of bar-hopping. All he kept saying - -while surveying the truly diverse crowd -- the limos and the low-riders, and shoving his mouth full of the first chili cheese burger he'd ever eaten-- was, "This is BLOODY AMAZING."

Good foodie times, I'll miss them.

Sep 28, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

The Exquisite Heat of Oaxaca - Monte Alban [Review] w/ Pics!

Hi Glutton-

We're moving out of L.A. next week, and in my "last meals" post I mentioned Monte Alban as one of the things I would miss. We used to live within a one minute walk of Monte Alban, so would be there frequently.

There were so many things that I loved on their menu, but I have to say that the chicken with the mole was not one of them. It was really dry the two times we ordered it. Perhaps if the chicken had been cooked in the mole it would have been different.

I just loved their tortilla soup and their chicken soup, and the carne asada. I did not like the white rice, but I've never been to Oaxaca so perhaps this is the rice that is served there.

I loved their salsa verde, which you have to ask for, or at least had to ask for in the past.

I loved those little chorizo pastries that they serve as an appetizer, but I've forgotten what they're called.

I would recommend Monte Alban highly and will miss it sorely.

Sep 28, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Leaving L.A.-my last meals

We're finally leaving L.A. for good, after close to 20 years of living all over the city. The thing that I will miss the most, beyond all the close friends I've made here, is the amazing variety of ethnic food, especially the mom & pop type restaurants that I tend to favor.

This is my homage to restaurants I've loved; my last meals in L.A. will be:

*Soot Bull Jeep in Koreatown on 8th St. and Catalina -- the spicy bean curd will always have a place in my palate. I will dream about the taste of the marinated beef spencer for the rest of my life. Weep.

* Pho So 1 in Van Nuys at Victory and Sepulveda (the pho, the beef on the griddle (Bo Nuong Vi), the chao gio, the absolutely fresh vegetables, the fresh "exotic" fruit shakes... I'm sobbing.

* Puro Sabor Peruvian in Van Nuys -- my new favorite. I found it at the end. Mourn...

* Juanita's Mexican in Claremont on Indian Hill Blvd. just south of I-10, and the one in Ontario, which I actually like better.

Shredded beef tacos to die for, huge, chunky bean, burritos, and one of the two best hot sauces (not salsa, just pure hot sauce) I've ever had. Juanita's, I've loved you since I was an undergraduate all those decades ago, and I will love you to the end. You will always be my favorite Mexican taco hut/ restaurant ever, except for Carolina's in Phoenix.

* Tommy's. I know that some might consider Tommy's "junk food" -- oh heck -- everyone considers Tommy's junk food. But my love for their chili cheeseburgers knows no bounds. And their chilitos -- I have never been able to find chilitos like that, even though I know that they probably come from an industrial size can. And it does depend on which Tommy's because some suck.

Honorable mention goes to Monte Alban Oaxacan, on the corner of Brockton and Santa Monica (between Barrington and Bundy) in West L.A. -- wonderful, fresh, utterly delicious food, lovely people, warm atmosphere. Their salsa verde, just mmmmmmm....

Monte Alban's tortilla and chicken soups warmed my soul so many times.

The only reason I didn't put Monte Alban in "last meals" is that we won't have time to go down there. Sigh.

I will so miss the wonderful food here in L.A., so all you chowhounds are just going to have to eat for me! Promise?

Sep 28, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Best middle eastern in the valley?

We very much liked the wait staff at Alcazar and the ambience, but the food, not so much. I can't remember what we had, but it was most probably some kind of meat (not chicken) dish.

However, I have unpopular views because I haven't liked a lot that I've seen recommended on these boards. For instance, I didn't like "It's All Good" the Persian restaurant on Reseda, and I don't like Zankhou chicken.

I do think that many people will like Koko's Middle Eastern near Van Owen and Balboa.
16935 Vanowen St., Van Nuys 91406

Sep 28, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

URGENT:Puro Sabor Peruvian-what should I eat?

Thanks -- I've written your recommendations down!

Is Peruvian horchata kind of the same as one gets in Mexican restaurants?

Sep 27, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

URGENT:Puro Sabor Peruvian-what should I eat?

My friend is a bit of a picky eater and this is her first try of Peruvian -- any suggestions?

Sep 27, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Best middle eastern in the valley?

I second the recommendation for Kokos in Van Nuys, near Van Owen and Balboa. I loved the hummus, and the meat, and all the little extras that came with the meal.

We tried Alcazar and didn't like it at all.

Sep 27, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

URGENT:Puro Sabor Peruvian-what should I eat?

Also, does Puro Sabor serve alcohol and what kind? Or can one bring in beer?

Sep 27, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

URGENT:Puro Sabor Peruvian-what should I eat?

I'm finally going to check out Puro Sabor, the Peruvian restaurant in Van Nuys, for lunch today. I'm used to Mario's -- I used to love the beef soup there, but it's been awhile since I went so I can't remember what else I liked.

I'm also taking a friend who has never had Peruvian. So my question is: what should a novice and a relative novice eat at a Peruvian restaurant that isn't too "exotic?"

Sep 27, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Bean and Cheese Burrito [PHX]

I grew-up in Phoenix and my family's been going to Carolina's in all its different reincarnations since the early 1970s. We were good friends with Carolina herself, her son Joe and daughter-in-law Phyllis.

I have since lived or travelled in 30 countries, and I would have to say that my number one and two cravings, in terms of food, would be Carolina's machaca burritos and Carolina's Oaxaca special.

But also the hot sauce. That is a thing of wonder. Over the course of all these years I've converted many people into Carolina fanatics. The food is that amazing. The new one up on Cactus is better IMO.

Sep 18, 2008
ValleyGal in Phoenix

Brent's Deli in Northridge-overrated IMO

Maybe Brent's has changed? Because seriously, for $30 and all the great reviews I had read here I thought we'd be getting at least two meals each out of the two sandwiches.

Instead, I had to force myself to finish my roast beef au jus, because I kept thinking $15 for THIS???

And my husband, who is about the greediest man on Earth was left deeply unsatisfied by his pastrami au jus because of the price for the size and he just didn't like it.

And the fries...skimpy in quantity and again, a little sweet.

The pickles were good ;-)

Sep 18, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Great Eats-San Fernando Valley

Don't bother with Golden State Pizza, I made a mistake. It was great the first few times and then sometimes just not good in my opinion (and I'm being kind).

I've had really good food from Thai Tom Yum and then food where, while the veggies seemed fresh, the meat/ chicken, I did not like.

Sep 18, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Brent's Deli in Northridge-overrated IMO

We just got back from Brent's Deli in Northridge. I had the roast beef au jus, and my spouse had the pastrami au jus. It was close to $30 for the two sandwiches (!)

The pastrami was OK, but not anywhere close to the massive portion I had expected from reading reviews on here. The roast beef was dry. The rolls were meh. And the au jus was just...not very good. The fries were a little sweet.

Never again -total rip-off. However the fruit salad, which I got instead of the cole slaw, was delicious, maybe because it was the only thing moist and juicy in my meal.

Aug 31, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

TACOS-I found the spot!!! Review

I'll definitely try the Reseda location of Tacos (de) Corona, and try the al pastor. It's just that the Balboa/ Sherman Way one is within walking distance, and we did really like it.

What happened to the Great Taco Hunt?

Aug 22, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

TACOS-I found the spot!!! Review

We just tried the Tacos Corona on Balboa and Sherman Way. We had the carne asada and the shredded beef tacos, both in the combination plates. We liked it better than Melodies or Las Fuentes.

The meat was flavorful and not gristly, the hot sauce (we got the salsa roja) was excellent, the tortillas were fresh, and the beans had a tiny bit of garlic in them that made them above par. The "Spanish" rice was good too.

It was VERY clean, and the people were really nice. We plan to work our way through the menu, but first have to finish off the mound of carne asada that they gave us -- I would suggest ordering extra tortillas if you get the carne asada because you can get two meals out if it that way.

All in all, we liked Tacos Corona a lot and plan to make it our go-to Mexican, especially since it's within walking distance in Lake Balboa.

Aug 21, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Puro Sabor - Great Van Nuys Lunch

What are the price like for two no alcohol, and do they have lunch specials on the weekend?

Jul 08, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Van Nuys, California

We live in Lake Balboa, an enclave of Van Nuys. I've started to say Lake Balboa as opposed to Van Nuys because my friends were aghast when I moved to "Van Nuys!" Lake Balboa is actually quite nice. Most of the houses are well-tended and many even have flower gardens.

In terms of food, we just tried Pho So 1 (Vietnamese) the one on Victory and Sepulveda. While the ambience was very clean school cafeteria (it's rated A) the service was extremely fast and friendly, the food was delicious and authentic, and all-in-all we were VERY satisfied with our meal.

We had the table griddle of beef and shrimp bo tom nuong vi, an order of cha gio spring rolls (which were fantastic!) and the tai pho (noodle soup with rare beef that cooks itself in the soup)

I'm pretty sensitive to MSG but haven't yet felt the effects yet so I don't think the food could have contained much -- plus it was SO fresh. And the shrimp was cleaned, which I was very impressed with.

My husband had the jackfruit shake which he said was delicious.

I would highly recommend Pho So 1. Well, at least the one on Victory & Sepulveda. I plan to work my way through the menu.

Jun 29, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area

Great Eats-San Fernando Valley

When we lived in West L.A, I tried the two Vietnamese places around there. I think one was called Le Saigon on Santa Monica Blvd. It was near the movie theater and was very popular, but except for the soup, I didn't like it. The other one was Pho something on Wilshire, east of Bundy. I really didn't like that either.

Thanks for your recommendations, I will try Pho So 1.

Jun 15, 2008
ValleyGal in Los Angeles Area