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Mexico City between Christmas & New Year w/vegetarians, pregnant woman, and kids

So, we have a lot of specific considerations.

My family is traveling with a group that includes two strict vegetarians, one pregnant woman in her second trimester, and two kids between ages 5 and 7.

We need tips. And, they need to be places that will be open on the 26th to the 31st of December. They need to have vegetarian and pescatarian options. They need to be "safe" for a pregnant woman (she is very concerned about getting sick... even at home).

We are staying on the Zocalo, and are mostly traveling by foot or on public transportation.

So far our list includes Cafe Tacuba, Bukhara, Restaurante El Cardenal, and Yug.

Please add anything you can!

Oct 19, 2014
Moomin in Mexico

Changes Afoot on Sawtelle: Chabuya Replaced by Beni-Tora

Are there new owners? Chabuya had printed a "don't get comfortable with this menu, things are going to change" message on the back of their menus for months (years?).

More relevantly, my six year old wants to know if they still have the free self-serve shave-ice machine?

Sep 16, 2014
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Dosa/South Indian - LA area

NO! Nearly all of Artesia's best restaurants are closed on Mondays!

Surati Farsan Mart and Jay Bharat are both excellent (and close together). I'd definitely try both. Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se isn't my favorite but they have a great menu... The reopened Woodlands is not terrible...

And all are closed on Mondays!

Having said that, Ambala Sweets & Snacks is okay in its sloppy way, and Sukhadia's Mithai isn't bad (it's owned by the same family that owns the Sukhadia's in NY and NJ).

Those might be open today...

Totally subjective: Little Jewel vs. Orleans and York Po-Boys

So, I make NO claims to authority on matters concerning the cuisine of the Mississippi Delta... but I had meetings downtown and in in Inglewood within a few hours of each other this week... so... I figured a head-to-head comparison was in order.

First, I ordered a shrimp po-boy and an oyster-po-boy at each location, and split each with my tasting companion.

Little Jewel: from the bottom up... the bread was room temperature, the crust was soft, the overall texture was supple and yielding. The lettuce and tomato were pallid, virtually pastel, limp, under-ripe, and they largely detracted from the overall aesthetic. There was a GREAT DEAL of mayonnaise, which contributed the predominant flavor to the sandwich. The shrimp was small-medium sized and coated in a thin layer of breading with visible specks of seasoning. This seasoning, despite its visibility, conferred very little additional flavor to the shrimp. The breading was not terribly crisp and slid off a number of shrimp due to friction/lubrication with mayonnaise. The oysters held their breading better, and seemed to be more thickly breaded. There was a almost overwhelming quantity of shellfish on each sandwich. There were a wide array of New Orleans hot sauces on the tables, which were fun to sample as one ate. Chef Mark was omnipresent, greeting guests and touting the authenticity of said sandwiches.

Orleans and York: again, from the bottom up. The bread was served warm from the oven, and had a distinct crust, which was crisp and appealing. The overall texture was more elastic, and gave the sandwich a more pleasant base (despite the fact that Little Jewel's bread is arguably far more authentic). The lettuce and tomato were pretty lame, but not uniformly limp and taupe. There was a very slight schmear of mayonnaise, which was so understated that it could easily be missed entirely. The shrimp were very large and there were far fewer than at Little Jewel. The oysters were also quite large (and the oyster po-boy seemed to have many more on it than the shrimp). The breading was, comparatively speaking, very heavy, and very crisp. It clung much more tightly to the shellfish, and contributed a fairly sharp textural contrast, which was great, though there was very limited seasoning in the breading. The house-made, warm, oil-based hot sauce was, on the whole, a welcome addition... though it did push things in a intensely oily direction.

So, on the whole, the sandwiches were clearly appealing to the same Socratic ideal: good bread, mayo, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, fried shellfish... but the iterations differed fairly dramatically. Little Jewel is clearly more concerned with their sourcing and their authenticity... but on the whole I honestly think that Orleans and York makes a better sandwich.

Little Jewel

Anybody got a clear idea as to their hours?

Aug 23, 2014
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Oldest Chinese Restaurant in L.A.?

It's also not terribly Chinese. Lobster mac'n'cheese is as big of a seller as egg rolls.

There were a few months last year when they turned their kitchen over to Red Medicine at night for "Red Med @ Formosa Cafe" which was cool.

The atmosphere is awesome, but I wouldn't go to eat.

Aug 09, 2014
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

obscure indian foods

Not disagreeing... but the average Inorbit Mall food court has 10 to 20 regionally specific Indian restaurants specializing in particular recipes and flavors from those areas. We don't even really have something comparable for AMERICAN food.

Jun 01, 2014
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

obscure indian foods

Suvro, I totally accept your 120k number... but the 2010 census said 32,996. I know that's almost certainly wrong... but that's the number I went with.

I've never been to the Oxford Shimla Pink. I've been to the one near Bromley, which was pretty standard Anglo-Indian. Chances are good that each location is different. They're all independently owned and operated.

Jun 01, 2014
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

obscure indian foods

India Coffee and Snacks is okay for chaat. New Aashiana is okay for Pakstani.

On the whole Diamond Bar is cursed with the whole "cheap lunch buffet" thing. I'm not really a fan of most of the places out there.

Jun 01, 2014
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

obscure indian foods

Okay. First of all there's alot of cultural and culinary history to unpick here.

"Indian food" is incredibly diverse. Almost ridiculously so.

"Indian restaurant food" on the other hand is a hybrid tradition that comes out of the UK in the 1960-1980s. It is a mix of Bangladeshi cooking with British ingredients. The various staples that most Americans, and many Indians, associate with Indian food come out of this tradition.

As to your "burger shack" point. I hasten to point out that the first two generations of this "Indian restaurant cooking" WERE served out of chip shops and burger shacks. It is only when curry palaces became more popular in the 1980s that "Indian restaurants" dropped fish and chips, pasta, and burgers from their menus.

And this creates a problem. When an "Indian" restaurant opens what should it serve? "Indian restaurant food" or regional indian cuisine, which is often greeted with mistrust even by Indians?

First, there is the question of authenticity, which is convoluted. Many traditional ingredients are either not available outside of India, or expressly forbidden (like mustard oil), due to food hygiene concerns. This means that whatever is served will deviate in some regard from the standard set in India.

Second, there is the scale of the true diversity of Indian cooking. In India a debate between the virtues of Lucknowi Biryani and Vaniyambadi biryani can lead to actual blows. And that fails to take into account Hyderabadi biryani, Thalassery biryani, Sindhi biryani, Bombay biryani, Calcutta biryani, Bhatkali biryani, Memoni biryani, Dindigul biryani, Beary biryani, Palakkad Rawther biryani, Bengalooru biryani, Karachi biryani, Sindhi biryani, or Kalyani biryani.

Third, this diversity and the loyalty that many Indians feel toward their family traditions leads many Indians to prefer home cooking to even the best restaurant meals. This means that no matter how good a restaurant is, it can often fail to bring in Indian clientele, who simply prefer to eat at home.

There is also a very complex and somewhat perverse suspicion in the Indian community of things that could be construed as "too Indian." It is not unusual to have intense assimilatory pressure in Indian families... this can drive restaurants to fail on the basis of lack of traffic.

All of which leads to the dearth of "really authentic Indian food" outside of India.

Which brings up the question of Artesia. Artesia is one of the most concentrated "Little Indias" in the United States. There are 90 Indian owned restaurants and businesses with a 1.6 mile stretch of Pioneer Boulevard. In those businesses it is possible to find authentic ingredients and items that are simply not available elsewhere. As such Indian consumers (less than 50,000 in the entire greater Los Angeles area) drive to Artesia in order to stock up. They support the local restaurants because they often come a long way, and are therefore hungry. The restaurants in Artesia are better and more diverse than anywhere else in Southern California. Period. This is true even though most of those Indians live elsewhere.

Are the restaurants in Artesia better than those in the Bay Area, New York, or New Jersey? Well... The restaurants in Artesia just as authentic, and just as diverse, but in those other areas there is a wider economic base within the local Indian populations, so their "Little Indias" have much greater opportunities for fine dining. Artesia is similar, but much more casual. In every other regard, it's really is very good.

obscure indian foods

No. You could probably find about half of these if you looked really hard. Not all of them are served in great restaurants, so whether they're good representations or not could really vary.

1: GONGURA PACHADI - Tirupathi Bhimas
2. Nope.
3. Nope.
4. LITTI CHOKHA - There was a stand at the Artesia Diwali festival that had these.
5. DEHRORI - Ditto above.
6. BEBINCA - Lawrence of India (now closed) had this.
7. KHANDVI - Surati Farsan Mart... or pretty much any chaat shop in Artesia.
8. BAJRA KHICHDI - I think Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se, Sukhadia’s, and sometimes Rajdhani.
9. Nope.
10. Nope.
11. Nope... to be fair this is really rare IN India.
12. Nope.
13. IRACHI ISHTU - Kerala Special Chicken Curry at Mayura is close.
14. Nope.
15. THALIPEETH - Samosa House
16. Nope.
17. Nope.
18. Nope.
19. Nope.
20. Nope.
21. MAKKI-ROTI AND SARSON-SAAG - Samosa House
22. MALAAI GHEWAR - Rajdhani ocassionally has this
23. PHAGSHAPA - Tara’s Himalayan Cuisine has a chef from Sikkim... you could ask...
24. Nope.
25. Nope.
26. BAINGAN KI LONJE - Copper Chimney in Woodland Hills had this (now closed).
27. BAL MITHAI - Natraj Cuisine of India
28. DAAB CHINGRI - Lal Mirch Indian Restaurant has Bengali Shrimp coconut curry.

Where can i find REAL CINNAMON--It doesn't exist in the US-PLEASE READ

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2...

And this doesn't even get into the loss of "true cinnamon" as a genus in the ancient world... nobody actually even knows what that plant WAS.

Apr 14, 2014
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Songkran 2014 -- this Sunday 4/6/14

Biked Ciclavia, then headed over.

Close to 200 yards of food vendors. Lots of good Thai street food.

Kanom krok with green onion. Som tum with raw blue crab. Mango and sticky rice with sweet coconut milk and seeds. Goong ten. Yam pla-duk fu. Something simply called popping fish balls.

Lots of former Wat Thai vendors that I haven't seen in years.

They'll be out there until 6:00, or until they run out of food.

Songkran 2014 -- this Sunday 4/6/14

So, the 11th annual Songkran festival on Hollywood Blvd. at Western is this weekend. Any tips from previous attendees?

Also, the Wat Thai page is down, but I'm assuming they'll probably do something as well in the next two weeks or thereabouts.

Apr 05, 2014
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

India's Restaurant in Los Feliz/Silver Lake

It's a okay iteration of white linen anglo-indian cuisine. Nothing stood out as brilliant. Fresher tasting than most of the local competitors. Not bad, just not thrilling.

Mind you, I feel the same way about Al Noor (which is on the other side of town, but is similar tasting in many ways)... and lots of folks LOVE Al Noor... so if you're into that...

Jan 05, 2014
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Samosa House. Chaat. So much better than the steam tray...

Try the dabeli at Samosa House west. Honestly.

I've had the Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se version. I think Samosa House's is better. They're very different, Samosa House garnishes with fresh Masala Peanuts, whereas Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se garnishes with pomagranate or sliced grape (I've had both versions there).

And I wasn't saying Surati, Rasraj, or Jay Bharat (my favorite restaurant in the greater LA area) had steam trays, I was suggesting that ordering from the steam tray at Samosa House is no longer necessary now that they have formalized their chaat menu... and it's really much better than you'd expect.

Dec 13, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Samosa House. Chaat. So much better than the steam tray...

The original location.

Dec 13, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Samosa House. Chaat. So much better than the steam tray...

I've said this before, but I stopped in for the first time in months and ordered:

Dabeli: Still arguably better than any available in Artesia. So much better than it has to be.

Dahi Puri: This is much, much better than it was under the former chefs. Very impressive. Possibly too complex/exotic (it could be simpler), but really fabulous.

Papri Chaat: Excellent. Lots of sprouted mung beans and black chick peas. Very good.

The chaat menu is now prominently posted, and everything is so much better than the steam tray meals that you kind of have no excuse...

Dec 12, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area
1

Small sufganiyot...

I acknowledge that (to my tastebuds) sufganiyot are just jelly donuts. I also should specify that I don't keep kosher... but...

What I'm looking for are "sufganiyot" type donuts that I could comfortably bring in to my kid's public kindergarten classroom.

My criteria would be as such:

1) powdered jelly donuts,
2) SMALL,
3) not tooooooo messy.

Ideally we're talking about jelly donut holes.

Any tips on where I can find such a thing?

Nov 22, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

South Indian traditional

Shows what I know... I'd be very intrigued to know whether they're using a wheat, rice, or sago base for it. I love uppuma, and I work relatively nearby. I may have to drop in and try it.

Oct 19, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

South Indian traditional

County, not country.

Oct 19, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

South Indian traditional

Yes. I was more focused on your request for a particular gestalt rather than the food, per se.

For idlis and dosai and uttapam I'd go to Woodlands or Udipi Palace. If you don't want to drive you could go to Annapurna... but it isn't nearly as good. Incidentally, the only restaurant with uppuma on the menu in the entire county is Woodlands, it's excellent.

Most South Indians that I know happily frequent the Gujarati chaat houses like Surati Farsan Mart and Jay Bharat, where they order South Indian food. The cuisine is not too hard to find, but the gestalt is not really going to be something you can easily track down.

As to Mayura, it's more of a pan Indian menu with some Keralan specialties. It may not satisfy you.

Oct 19, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

South Indian traditional

Rajdhani in Artesia is the closest thing you'll find in a restaurant setting. On the other hand, you could also go to one of the Sunday feasts at the Hare Krishna Temple in Laguna Beach.

Oct 18, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area
1

California Burrito Found- Just as good as San Diego!

Tacos Por Favor in Santa Monica and West LA has one on the menu. Haven't tried it.

Aug 30, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Connie and Teds, a Review

It isn't perfect, but if fresh off the docks is what you want, Berth 55 in Long Beach definitely provides it:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/berth-55-fish...

I used to go once a week as a kid, it's been there for 40 years. The rumor is that they may be forced to close due to a major dock expansion later this year, so get there quick if you're motivated.

Mind you, it isn't a particularly "East Coast" experience. Not at all.

Aug 25, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Chili My Soul chilis at Jinky's Cafe?

Prior to Chili My Soul "selling" their recipes to Jinky's there were two previous stages of the process:

1) Jinky's had Chili My Soul chili.

Then...

2) Jinky's didn't have Chili My Soul chili, but it had house made facsimiles of Chili My Soul chilis under slightly different names.

In both cases they only had 6-7 varieties each day, no toppings, and you had to call ahead to see if they had your favorite. There are always 3-4 pork/beef, 1-2 poultry, and 1-2 veggie.

When the transition happened from Chili My Soul to house made varieties, the texture and spice levels changed a bit, but you wouldn't notice without a head to head tasting.

I have no idea whether that changed back with Chili My Soul sold them their recipes, because head to head tasting wasn't possible. But, if you miss Chili My Soul, certainly try it... but call ahead to see whether they have your favorites available that day.

Aug 19, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

"Cronuts" in LA?

Fair enough. My mistake. My basic point stands, though. DK is pretty poor aesthetically and on a price/value level

Jul 10, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

"Cronuts" in LA?

I stopped in DK today for one. There was a 20 minute wait, and it wasn't worth it. They're fried MUCH crisper than Frances Bakery's, which somehow gives them a incongruously savory/ toasty flavor, and the fillings suck.

Additionally... DK charges 5 dollars, and you wait in line. Frances charges $3.25 and you walk straight in.

I'd happily spend the 20 minutes on the freeway next time on my way to Frances.

"Cronuts" in LA?

Only Semi Sweet's are baked. The rest are (ostensibly) fried.

Jul 05, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area
1

"Cronuts" in LA?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07...

I tried the ones at Frances last week. They were very good. I got a custard one just as they were being brought out. I'd say that they're less "crisp" than the reviews of the Ansel ones seem to indicate, but delicious in their own right.

Jul 05, 2013
Moomin in Los Angeles Area