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Classic Tomato Soup

May 25, 2015
AndrewF in Recipes

Cosmo Grill & Bar, Westwood

Is this open? Looked closed when I drove by the other day. Yelp says closed.

May 20, 2015
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area


When I click on Find Next Available, it says "No Availability for n/naka within 2.5 hours of requested time in next 8 weeks." When I was looking to make a reservation at the end of April (for a visit in early June), clicking Find Next Available would give me dates and times, so I'm guessing all seatings are filled for the next two months?

Thankfully I got in for the date I was looking for (specific day for a birthday celebration) - I just kept checking daily to see if my date opened up. And one day last week it did.

Vicente Foods in Brentwood has a sneaky good Pastrami sandwich

Just finished one. That was a damn good sandwich. $9.95, piled warm and high on rye (but it's your choice of bread) with a pickle and a small serving of potato salad on the side. Moist, tender, a good fatty (not too much). Great value. Man.

Comparing Ethiopian restaurants

No offense taken. I learned of Awash from another thread on here and haven't been inclined to go anywhere else me a slave to routine. Plus the value is great and the parking is easy - I think I have PTSD from driving (crawling) through that Little Ethiopia stretch of Fairfax so I've always tended to steer clear.

Jan 08, 2015
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Comparing Ethiopian restaurants

Vegetarian combo + special tibbs at Awash is possibly my favorite meal in the city these days. Count me as a fan of the horseradish stew and all of their veggies. I find it all very satisfying.

Service can be scattered and the kitchen can get backed up when it's busy, but the place is usually full and everybody is pleasant.

Just my .02 - I haven't been anywhere else for Ethiopian.

Jan 07, 2015
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Bachi Burger - Sawtelle

Finally got here on Sunday. Slightly underwhelmed. Servers were very pleasant but the overall operation was haphazard and uncoordinated. Fries came out ten minutes before the burger, oxtail fries came out right after the burgers. Fries themselves were pretty meh. Oxtail fries were tasty but the spuds are holding them back.

Burgers were tasty, though, if not cooked exactly to order. I had the Kiki's - mushroom, bacon, chili aioli, arugula, onion marmalade, Gruyere. Enjoyable enough but probably not enough to return. Based on the burgers alone, I'd still take Stout or Plan Check in the upscale burger space.

Nov 25, 2014
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Anybody been to West End Craft Cocktail and Bar on Westwood Blvd?

Dropped in here last night. Excellent sliders, OK cocktails. The fresh-cut fries were six long potato wedges served with a harissa aioli and spiced ketchup. They were good though I'll probably try their other fries next time. Also tried the bacon-wrapped dates. Unremarkable as bacon-wrapped dates go, but still good because they were bacon-wrapped dates.

The sliders, though. Really, really good. Enough on their own to warrant a return visit.

Interesting little spot. TVs had college football, music was "clubby" and clientele was varied. Not a bad place to grab a drink and a bite.

Nov 09, 2014
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Best slab of coconut layer cake in LA (cream cheese frosting need not apply)?

I very much like the one at Susina.

Sep 04, 2014
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

B Sweet

I agree. It offers an array of simple, well-made desserts in an area lacking for these types of desserts. There are other options, of course - Blockheads (not a fan), Beard Papa, Yogurtland, boba, Churros Caliente a little farther out (yum) - but I welcome what they're bringing.

In working our way thru the menu, the winners at the moment (for us) are the bread pudding (have had only the cookies and cream) and the sluttiest brownie. The fudge brownie is good if unremarkable. The glazed donut ice cream sandwich is very pedestrian.

The portions are definitely for sharing and the prices are fair for what you get. Yes, the stuff trends sweet, but it's also a dessert bar named B Sweet. The people are nice. The options are plenty. I'm a fan.

Aug 30, 2014
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Sawtelle coming and going: Tapenade and Tsujita LA Villa and bonus cold noodle question

Now Hiring signs are in the window. Interior still looks a ways off.

B Sweet dessert shop up near La Grange looks to be opening soon. New signage is up, paper is off the windows.

Jul 28, 2014
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Flores on Sawtelle

Driving down Sawtelle this morning, a Bachi Burger sign (of the more permanent variety; not the coming soon banner that was there before) was up on the building.

Deal back on?

Jul 14, 2014
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Another Great Burger: The Katsu-Style Burger at Japanese Kushikatsu Tanaka (Sawtelle)

The server joked that each table can decide its own double dipping rules, so if you're friendly with the rest of your party, dip away! I opt for the spicy sauce out of the bottle anyways.

Jun 10, 2014
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Another Great Burger: The Katsu-Style Burger at Japanese Kushikatsu Tanaka (Sawtelle)

Was just there Sunday after a visit a couple weeks before. The server made it a point on our most recent visit to explain that the sauce is refreshed for each party, so you're not dipping into the same bowl used by all parties before yours. Whether that was the case a couple weeks ago, I don't know, but there was new language in the menu explaining this that wasn't there before.

Jun 10, 2014
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Hollywood Pies to close

Could have been a stunt, though I do believe the owner truly intended at one point to shut it all down. The whole outfit marches to its own beat. But it's back (for now), and I'm happy.

Nov 04, 2013
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Hollywood Pies to close

Got one from them this weekend. Same as before. As good as before (which, in this case, I think is very good). Lots of open orders when I went to pick up. Like they never left.

Nov 04, 2013
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Hollywood Pies to close

Can't say I'm surprised by this, given the somewhat Keystone Cops-ish routine this outfit has been from the start. Just give me the pizza. And if this credit card fraud nonsense is true, just pay with cash.

Oct 14, 2013
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Sakura House

I love Sakura House. You'd think it's kinda one note if you just go with a bunch of different maki, but it's all really good and there are other things on the menu to break up the pork madness. Rice balls, crispy chicken addiction, chicken wings, ground pork rice bowl all help to round out my visits there.

Freaking love that place.

Sep 18, 2013
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Bludso's Texas Sampler - will it hold?

I'd suggest to anybody making the trek down there to go early and/or call ahead. I went on a Sunday around 5pm a couple weeks back and they were out of everything except links and brisket. This being my first time, I was disappointed to not get the Sampler, but I loaded up on brisket, links, and some sides and headed home.

Brisket and links were superb. I loved the cole slaw and potato salad; mac and cheese was better reheated the next day, I thought.

I'm definitely going back, and I will score the Sampler.

Aside: I've heard mixed reports on the brisket at the WeHo location, as well as that they're cutting it thicker there? Anybody experienced both?

Mar 21, 2013
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

need quick amazing takeout between LAX and west LA

I'd be happy with a soup and salad combo plus a brownie from Fresh Corn Grill on Westwood, fairly close to your hotel. Corn chowder + Cobb salad. I've enjoyed pretty much everything I've had at FCG but can't tear away from the Cobb. Parking is a crapshoot.

Mar 18, 2013
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Smash Burger Culver City

I was a bit underwhelmed when I stopped in a couple weeks ago. Classic Smash Burger was good, if unremarkable. The haystack onions were way too salty and the shoestring fries didn't grab me (and they, too, were salty). There are just too many better options that I can't put this into the rotation.

Jan 18, 2013
AndrewF in Chains

Cheesesteak...Capriotti's or Phillys Best? This may start an interesting debate topic...I hope!


The end.

Nov 25, 2012
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

This joint is opening in Westchester soon and might be worth a try...

Opening night. They were deep in the weeds and handing out samples of their chocolate avocado shake to appease the masses. We weren't in a rush so didn't mind the wait, and they were gracious about it, so no big deal.

Wife got the 9-to-5 burger, I got the curry chicken meatball sandwich. Burger was very good, chicken meatballs were good, not great. Some early reviews had mentioned the curry was salty, but I thought the meatballs and curry were both a little underseasoned. Despite the wait, both sandwiches were constructed hastily. The baguette/roll for the meatballs was cold and straight out of the bag...disappointing. The cheese on the burger was tossed on the bottom and cold/not melted. Fries and spicy dipping sauce were excellent.

All things considered, we will return. Lots of potential and right in my flavor profile wheelhouse. Fun setting, too.

Oct 26, 2012
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

ROC Star Dumpling soft opening on Sawtelle this week

Looked like the soft open was in full effect as of my drive-by thirty minutes ago. Maybe it was a friends and family deal, but whatever the case, people were seated and the tables were full.

Oct 19, 2012
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Philly Cheesteak joint on Lincoln (and Superba) in the Santa Monica/Venice corridor

The cheesesteaks at Boo's are really, really good. Worth the drive to Silver Lake (for me, anyways).

Oct 09, 2012
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Fantastic Pizza in West L A

That's the address of their brick-and-mortar.

Sep 22, 2012
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

E.K. Valley in Culver City

My wife and I dropped in to this small, homey dining room on Washington Blvd. near La Cienega on Friday.  As we were on a mission to shake up our comfortable routine, our trip here proved to be a worthy departure.

We started with a couple horchatas and chips and guacamole, which was brought out with some salsa.  The guacamole was fresh and pretty straightforward.  Avocado, onion, cilantro, tomato; no hint of lime. Some may desire a dash of salt, but it was clearly homemade and quickly consumed by us.  The salsa was a smoky, tangy, slightly sweet deep red concoction, not chunky but not thin and with a little bit of heat.

My wife had the red mole chicken enchiladas.  I had the cecina plate, chile-marinated thin-sliced grilled pork.  The cecina plate featured maybe eight slices of pork, grilled perfectly.  It came with three corn tortillas, some sliced avocado and other veggies, rice and beans. I got pinto beans, which were good but paled in comparison to the phenomenal black beans my wife got with her meal.  I'm still trying to determine what they were seasoned with, but they were just full of flavor.  The mole enchiladas she got were excellent.  The mole was the expected deep brown color with the requisite flavor and complexity and a nice undercurrent of heat.  Underneath this blanket of mole were tortillas stuffed with shredded chicken, to which I maybe would have paid more attention had I not been so taken with the mole.  It's the best mole I've had in some time.  Maybe I need to sample more fact, my life would probably be exponentially better if I did, but I think I've found a pretty good one that I will return to often.

This is a small operation; I understand this to be a husband-wife team. The owner/chef welcomed us, thanked us for coming, and served us. He was actually working all of the tables (about 7-9, which were all full by the time we left).  As such, the service was a bit disjointed, but my wife and I didn't mind as we weren't in a rush. Our food took a little longer than might be expected, which the owner recognized and prompted him to refill our bowl of guacamole.  Given that it is a smaller operation and that the food was as great as it was, it's something I don't mind, particularly as I expect this is something that will improve over time.  The owner shook our hands on the way out and thanked us again for coming.  The meal came out to about $33 with tax and tip.

Me, I'm excited.  There's just not enough good flavor out there, or in most cases it's very hard to find.  The flavor was here and in abundance.  I'm thinking about the beans.  I'm thinking about the mole.  I'm thinking about the genuine welcome and send-off we received.  I want to try the rest of the menu, as long as one of us always gets the mole so I can have a bite.

Jun 25, 2012
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Georgetown Cupcakes - Arriving in the Fall

Baked & Wired, also in Georgetown.

May 18, 2012
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

Georgetown Cupcakes - Arriving in the Fall

As a DC transplant, I will say that they are good, but they were not my favorite in the city. GC is a marketing machine, albeit with the goods to back it up, but you're really not going to get anything you probably haven't had already. But good food is good food, and more of it is never a bad thing.

May 18, 2012
AndrewF in Los Angeles Area

BGR: Burgers in Bethesda

I've never had an experience this bad, but they do have a Keyston Cops thing going on there more times than not, it seems. They just don't seem to know how to "do things" there. The last burger I got there was missing a couple toppings, including cheese. When I asked them to put cheese on it, they put a cold slice of cheese on it and handed it back...I mean, they did what I asked them to do, but tossing it back on the grill for 30 seconds or so wouldn't have been the worst idea in the world. On this same trip, another customer was particularly steamed about something...I couldn't make out what the issue was, but the manager seemed a bit standoff-ish in response.

Until recently, they had the soda machine behind the counter, which made for all kinds of problems getting refills. That's not a crime in and of itself, but it just seems to me the people in charge aren't "restaurant people" who know how things should run. It's somewhat intangible. You either have "it" or you don't. I don't think they have it. For upwards of $25-30 for two people, though, they gotta do better.

It's a shame because their burgers are really good.