Moomin's Profile

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Is there good Idli in LA?

Surati Farsan Mart, Jay Bharat, Udupi Palace, Ambala Sweets & Snacks, and Chennai Tiffins are all good/great... but they're all in Artesia.

Samosa House has dry idli, even though their non-steam table options are generally pretty good.

1 day ago
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

El Cristalazo?

I live on the opposite end of the planet (westside) from this place. Is it worth the drive?

The shrimp burger topped with shrimp looks like a novelty.

Never seen another place with tastihuil on offer in Los Angeles...

Apr 05, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Fuddruckers Santa Monica (Again)

May 18th, according to the 8.5 x 11 printout that has just appeared in the window.

Also, they're apparently hiring, if you're looking to work at Fuddrucker's.

Mar 26, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Kitchen Story in Sawtelle

Kitchen Story is actually really good. I was impressed with almost everything. A very different take on Korean than Tofu Ya, Seoul House of Tofu, Seoul Sausage, and Galbi King.

They were doing decent business yesterday at 3:00 as well. When we got there we took the last table indoors.

Lots of Kimbap (12 varieties), spicy rice cakes, fish cakes, fried rice (basically pre-mixed dol sot bibimbap served on a hot plate), porridge, udon (?), and a few other things.

Great for seafood options, pretty vegetarian friendly.

My seven year old declared it her new favorite restaurant of all time after stealing two of my fish cakes, and more than half of my seafood fried rice.

Mar 20, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Lunch for 15+ near Wilshire and La Cienega

Do the BBQ places have anyplace for 15 people to sit in close proximity? I tend to think of those as small tables for 5-6 with a central hibachi. Am I wrong?

Mar 18, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Lunch for 15+ near Wilshire and La Cienega

We're looking for someplace where 15 folks can sit down together to a celebratory weekday lunch reasonably near Wilshire and La Cienega. The employer is paying... but the employer is a poorly funded non-profit... so it can't be too pricey.

The crowd has a low to moderate tolerance for spice/quirkiness. More than one attendee is opposed to Ethiopian.

So far, our best suggestion has been Newport Seafood. Are there any other good options in that general neck of the woods?

Mar 17, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Songkran 2015: Thoughts?

That would be great. Unfortunately the Thai Town event (while great) isn't that dynamic...

Feb 23, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Songkran 2015: Thoughts?

So, I found these on another website...

Songkran at the Wat Thai Buddhist Temple in North Hollywood.
When: April TBA, 2015, Sat-Sun 9am - 6pm
Where: Wat Thai Buddhist Temple, 8225 Coldwater Canyon Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91605
Info: (818) 780-4200, ext 601 or 609

Songkran Street Fair
When: Sunday, April 5, 2015, 9am - 8pm
Where: Hollywood Blvd between Western and Normandie

I generally go to the Thai Town Festival, which is great... but I'd prefer to go to the Wat Thai Temple event if it's actually happening. I tried calling the number twice, and got no reply. Does anybody have more complete information than this TBA notice?

Feb 22, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Westside restaurant where you can watch the Oscars?

Thanks everybody!

It turns out that Stella Barra Hollywood is doing an Oscar night! That'll probably be the winner.

Feb 18, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Westside restaurant where you can watch the Oscars?

I'm looking for a casual restaurant where I can park my 60+ year old parents to watch the Academy Awards on Sunday (my wife will be AT the awards, and I will be home with the baby). The important criteria are:

a) it has to be on the Westside,
b) it has to be primarily a restaurant, not a bar,
c) it has to have televisions on which they can view the telecast, preferably with audible sound, and
d) the less pretentious/crowded/crazy the environment the better...

Any thoughts?

Feb 17, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Boiling Crab Opening in Westwood Village

Open. Had lunch there at 3:00. We were pretty much the only people in the place. Lovely.

Feb 09, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

For those seeking Kolaches...

I'm not an expert, so I'm just leaving this here to save folks the drive to Tustin:

Yummy Donuts/Top Burger. 5688 Santa Monica Blvd.


Jan 29, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Comparing Ethiopian restaurants

On the note of comparative analysis of Ethiopian cuisine, my experience has been that the restaurants in the Fairfax Little Ethiopia neighborhood are very (remarkably) similar, whereas Ethiopian food elsewhere is more diverse (not better, just more diverse).

For instance, the Ethiopian restaurants in the Bay Area (Moya, Assab, Enssaro et al) seem to lean toward warmer North Indian style spicing, as opposed to the fermented notes that the restaurants do locally. Whereas many places in New York (Injera, Buna, Awash) seem to skew slightly sweeter and make more use of root vegetables like beets. In Portland I tried Bete-Lukas and found pretty bland by any standards (and they used mushrooms in the place of meat for vegan tibs).

I don't really know what to attribute these variations to, they could be regional within Ethiopia, or they could be a result of using local ingredients and catering to local tastes. Your guess is as good as mine.

Jan 08, 2015
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

Los Angeles family staying Midtown East between Christmas and NYE, please advise...

First of all, thanks everybody!

Unfortunately, we're not going to make it out to Brooklyn on this trip, so that limits things. So far my thoughts go like so:

The Lombardi's: The 6 year old would LOVE to be able to say that we ate at the first pizza place in Manhattan (admittedly this ignores the move and the years between 1984-1994)... quality aside. I'd prefer John's of Bleeker as well...

Russ & Daughters thoughts: given the choice between Russ & Daughters and Barney Greengrass for Sturgeon/smoked fish, which would you go with? We HAD a Barney Greengrass in Beverly Hills for years, but it's recently closed, so I went with Russ & Daughters for variety.

Veselka: Ukrainian National Home looks like a strong alternative.

A Salt & Battery: Anybody got a better Fish and Chips place? Not that we really need fish and chips...

Rolf's: This is entirely about the seasonal decorations... fair point about not dining here though.

Shake Shack: Yeah, we know we're looking at fried mushrooms while our kid has a burger... we're okay with that. Chances are we'll take the kid to Gray's Papaya as well, and there's nothing for us except drinks there.

The Plaza Food Hall: Fair enough, we're going to be at the Plaza anyway because: Eloise, but we don't need to dine there.

Chelsea Market: We're okay with crowds.

Ladurée: kid loves macarons.

As far as other tips... Sobakoh, Old Tbilisi Garden, and Taim are now definitely on the list. We'd love even more options to consider!

Dec 16, 2014
Moomin in Manhattan

Los Angeles family staying Midtown East between Christmas and NYE, please advise...

Two vegetarians who eat fish (pescatarian... but one is pregnant and can only have cooked fish) and one LOUD six year old (who particularly loves hot dogs, North Indian, Mexican, Persian, pizza, Korean, Japanese, Thai, and anyplace that serves shrimp and rice). Staying near St. Patricks Cathedral from the 26th through the 31st of December.

We're interested primarily in places that can comfortably accommodate vegetarians, but will excite/interest a very bright inquisitive 6 year old. Places with particular historical/cultural interest are absolute favorites.

Places were hoping to stop include (but are not limited to):

Russ & Daughters
A Salt & Battery
Shake Shack
The Plaza Food Hall
Chelsea Market
Xi'an Foods

Anything we must add? Anything that needs to be removed?

Finally, anything GREAT (especially for our kid) within a short walk of where we're staying would be particularly appreciated!


Dec 15, 2014
Moomin in Manhattan

Bay Cities

Dec 03, 2014
Moomin in Los Angeles Area

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.
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

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