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cream pies

I always say Apple Pan for banana cream pie, but I just had it again 2 days ago for the first time in well over and. . .it's still the best damn banana cream pie in LA one of the best I've had anywhere.

The coconut cream pie there is also very good and one of the best I've had in LA, but it falls far short of the best coconut cream pies I've had outside of LA.

Sep 13, 2013
krick in Los Angeles Area

Burger tonight - MDR/Culver area

Not a timely response but...

Public School, Akasha, City Tavern and Fords in CC all have solid burgers - not Umami or Plan Check level, but good enough to satisfy without too many flaws.

In MdR, I think J Nichols' burger is solid as well, 26 Beach's is not as good as it used to be, Islands is surprisingly tasty (you need to temper your expectations though), and Hinano decent for an old school style burger.

Also, in Mar Vista, Earls Gourmet Grub has really good burgers.

Jul 29, 2013
krick in Los Angeles Area

Gorge (ous) Pork Shank last night!

The ribeye was California grass fed but not bone in. Again - perfectly cooked - just not a great piece of meat. Not sure of aging method or duration though. To be fair, one order of a dish is obviously not a sample pool, so it may or may not have been representative of the norm.

Jul 29, 2013
krick in Los Angeles Area

Gorge (ous) Pork Shank last night!

Just went tonight and completely agree with you on these three dishes. The vegetable tart is also outstanding and the chicken liver parfait and rabbit rillettes were also very good. Lobster mousse was just ok and the ribeye special was the only complete miss of the night - perfectly cooked and seasoned but just not a good piece of meat - weak flavor, poor texture, poor marbling. All the St Honorees were delicious and very, very well executed.

Jul 28, 2013
krick in Los Angeles Area

Chez Soi, Mark Gold's new restaurant in Manhattan Beach

I haven't dined there yet but I did have his steak tartare at the Angeleno Live and Dine event. IMO, one of the best steak tartares I've had in LA - very high quality beef, cut expertly, very chunky style (which I prefer), with just the perfect amount of acid and fat to enhance but not obscure the flavor and texture of the beef.

Jul 26, 2013
krick in Los Angeles Area

Best Lobster Roll in Los Angeles area?

Had both the Hinoki and SaMo Hungry Cat versions in the last 2 days. Hinoki's was surprisingly good and not nearly as non-traditional tasting as it looks. Not crave-worthy, but I enjoyed it. Hungry Cat's version was one of the worst lobster rolls I've had in a long, long time. Sopping wet (I picked it up and a pool of dressing dripped off the end), devoid of lobster flavor and a bread to lobster ratio that was insulting. It was probably the first lobster roll that I couldn't finish, and the half I did eat continues to haunt me. I'm a HUGE fan of Hungry Cat and had never had a sub-par meal there until this one, so maybe it was an aberration, but I'm not about to order another one there to find out.

I should mention that I spent a large part of my life in New England and as such I'm a very tough (and possibly unfairly so) critic of lobster rolls as each one has to stand up not only on its own merits but against my halcyon memories of lobster rolls from days gone by.

Jul 23, 2013
krick in Los Angeles Area

ISO Ovomaltine (swiss formula)

Hi - I'm looking for Ovomaltine - i.e., the swiss formula/derivative of Ovaltine (although technically I think it's the other way around). Anyone ever see it at any shops in LA?

For those who aren't familiar with the differences, the swiss version (and possibly some of the Asian versions) does not contain any sugar, whereas most other versions contain varying degrees of sugar (the current US version is pretty much all sugar and zero malt).


Apr 18, 2013
krick in Los Angeles Area

Where to buy Maine Lobsters in OC right now?

Hi all - anyone seen any live Maine lobsters at 99 Ranch, Mitsuwa or elsewhere in the OC (Newport/Irvine/Laguna area ideally) at good prices lately? Hoping to pick up a bunch tomorrow morning so this is pretty time sensitive. Thanks in advance to all.

Jul 02, 2012
krick in Los Angeles Area

Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival

Packing for my first trip to this event and wondering what the typical dress is for the events. The website says daytime events are casual and evenings dressy, but they define "casual" as slacks, button down and blazer, and "dressy" as suit and tie. Having been to similar events (though not this one), I have a hard time believing that's how people actually dress for this. Anyone have any experience at this event?

Thanks in advance.

Apr 27, 2011
krick in California

What's your best burger in OC?

Hands down the black label burger at Crow Bar in CDM. Get it with the duck fat fries and it's an awesome meal. Even so, it's so overpriced that ($28ish incl the duck fat fries) it's borderline insulting and hard for me to recommend. At that price it should be damn near perfect, and great as it is, it's still far from perfect. Reminds me a bit of Daniel Boulud's burger at DB bistro in NY that set off the high end burger wars in NY - damn good and yet for the price ($28 almost 10 yes ago) damn dissapointing).

Aug 22, 2010
krick in Los Angeles Area

Where can I buy rennet for making cheese locally?

Animal or vegetable? If you're looking for animal rennet, the only place in LA that I've found to carry it is the Home Beer, Wine and Cheesemaking shop in Woodland Hills (see website link in soniabegonia's post). They have it in both liquid and tablet form.

Aug 19, 2010
krick in Los Angeles Area

Where to find best fried clams in LA?

Much maligned resto on this board, but the fried clams (with bellies) that I've had at Bluewater Grill in Redondo have been great - not good - great.

Those are the only fried clams I've had in LA that were even passable, although I too have heard good things about BP but haven't yet been.

Bluewater Grill
665 N Harbor Dr, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Jul 15, 2010
krick in Los Angeles Area

Yummy and cheap dinner in Laguna?

House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer (yes - that's actually the name) on the main drag of Laguna is inexpensive and surprisingly good.

Kappo Hana in Laguna Hills for izakaya, although if you're going to Shibucho you may not want to do Japanese again (notwithstanding how different they might be). It sounds like you're set on Shibucho, but for what it's worth, to say that I am not a fan of that place would be a massive understatement.

I love Taco Loco, but it's more of a shack than a restaurant, and I agree with the comments on Javier's.

Kappo Hana
25260 La Paz Rd A, Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Jul 14, 2010
krick in Los Angeles Area

Where to buy fresh wonderful Bratwurst in OC?

Not sure if they make brat, but Promelis in Costa Mesa makes great sausages in general.

Jul 08, 2010
krick in Los Angeles Area

Bringing steaks to room temperature before cooking?

Interesting - for thicker cuts, I've always seared first then put in the oven to finish. Why reverse sear?

Apart from that, I wonder if it matters if you are cooking to rare instead of medium rare. I like mine rare, and I'd be concerned that if I started with an ice cold thick steak, in the amount of time it would take to get the center rare, too much of the steak would be medium rare or more. I might have to run a side by side test on this.

Jul 08, 2010
krick in Home Cooking

Casual, Early Dinner for about 15 people near Corona Del Mar

As I indicated, it's unclear if the OP meant per entree, app & entree or all in incl tax and tip. As I also said, if you just have a burger (6.50-8.50), sandwich (cubano - 8.50) or flatbread (11-12), you'll be under $15.

Jul 07, 2010
krick in Los Angeles Area

Venice Business Casual Lunch- Hal's or Joe's

Not even close - Joe's wins on food, atmosphere, service - basically everything.

Jul 07, 2010
krick in Los Angeles Area

Casual, Early Dinner for about 15 people near Corona Del Mar

$10-15 per entree, per app/entree or all in, including tax and tip?

Best option might be Summer House. A bit more expensive but under $15 if you just have burgers, sandwhiches or flatbreads would be CrowBar. Panini cafe next to Crowbar could work as well, as might Side Door.

Jul 07, 2010
krick in Los Angeles Area

Is it bad if a magnet will stick to your knife?

Not quite correct re magnets sticking to stainless steel. I'm no metallurgist but I do know that austenitic stainless steels are generally non-magnetic, which is why magnets don't stick to most high-end stainless steel appliances (e.g., fridges, stoves, ovens, etc.).

Jun 28, 2010
krick in Cookware

laguna Beach food recs

Off the top of my head:

For very casual or pick-up:

House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer
Taco Loco
The Cottage

For dinner or lunch:

230 Forest
Five Feet
Eve's Caribbean
Loft @ Montage

If you don't need to stay in Laguna Beach proper, there are plenty of other options up and down the coast a few miles.

448 S Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Five Feet Restaurant
12017 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92840

Jun 23, 2010
krick in Los Angeles Area

Cut. Am I being unfair?

I agree with you. I love CUT - it's one of favorite restos in LA and have hardly a negative thing to say about it, but that seems inappropriate and, dare I say, classless.

Dec 21, 2009
krick in Los Angeles Area

VitaMix Blender, is it worth it?

Never experienced any leaking with mine.

Dec 18, 2009
krick in Cookware

Best fried chicken in LA? where is it?

New favorite - fried chicken at LudoBites. Far from traditional, but sooo GD good.

Dec 18, 2009
krick in Los Angeles Area

Il Dolce Pizzeria- Costa Mesa....finally a real deal unpretentious artisanal pizzeria

I used to feel the same way about Ortica, but just went back recently after a year absence and thought the food, service and general feel of the place had improved significantly.

Dec 18, 2009
krick in Los Angeles Area

Steak Tartare -

Just had a really good not-quite-traditional tartare w/bacon drippings at The Mercantile in Hollywood. I was surprised by how much I liked it as I usually like my tartare much coarser than it was served there.

Least favorite is Anisette, which is often praised around here. I've had it four times now, and haven't liked it once. As to why on earth I would order it four times if I disliked it the first time, it's because (1) it's physically impossible for me to see steak tartare on a menu and not order it, and (2) it's praised often enough by enough people that every time a small part of me wonders if my previous experiences were aberrations and this time will be different.

Dec 15, 2009
krick in Los Angeles Area

Problems at Ludobites at Royal-T?

Nothing to be concerned about - the only hangover effect of that night is that they now only offer a set prix fixe menu ($44) which consists of 4 courses plus an amuse bouche.

I had reservations the very next night and received a call that morning from Krissy, Ludo's wife and host, explaining that she was calling everyone with reservations that night to inform them of the change to the menu, to run through the menu and to give them the chance to cancel their reservations.

The menu is online at his site: with the exception of the amuse bouche which was squid with chorizo puree, kimchi oil and red onions. Everything was terrific when we went and dinner service was just about perfect in terms of timing between courses.

Dec 12, 2009
krick in Los Angeles Area

Comme Ca - good, but not as great as before

Interesting - I had the exact opposite experience with my burger at Comme Ca - I ordered it rare and it came medium. I sent it back and the second burger came back medium rare. By the time the third burger came, my fellow diners had all finished their meals and the server's sarcastic tone suggested that he or the kitchen thought I was being a pain in the ass.

Reminds of a high-end steakhouse in Toronto I went to where I ordered a steak black and blue and it came medium/medium rare. I sent it back and the server came back with it a minute later saying that the chef looked at it and said that I was wrong and that it was rare. I called over the manager who didn't know what was going on and asked him what temp it looked like, and he said medium, and thinking that I was complaining about it being too rare, explained that at their restaurant, medium does have a bit of pink. You can guess where things went from there.

Dec 07, 2009
krick in Los Angeles Area

T-Day Postmortem: the good, the bad, and the ugly

I liked the Mary's a lot, although it was my first time dry-brining (always wet brined in the past), so I can't be certain if it was the bird or the technique that made the difference. Really good turkey flavor - more so than the heritage bird I had last year (can't remember the brand of that one).

That being said, I'm not sure I would buy it again because it didn't quite rise to the level necessary to justify the price ($90 + tax). To put in context though, I'm just not a turkey lover - I don't dislike it, but it generally doesn't do much for me, regardless of how well cooked and seasoned it is. So although I thought this one was really good for turkey, it was really more of a side, with the actual sides being the main parts of the meal. On the other hand, all of our other guests raved about the turkey and said it was one of the best they've had (the others being the turkeys I describe below).

The only turkeys I've had that justified high-end pricing were (1) the first heritage turkeys I ordered directly from many years ago back when they used to work with and sell directly from what was back then the handful of heritage turkey farms in the US, and (2) the David Rosengarten Ultra-Ball. The Slowfood heritage birds were, if I recall, around $120-130 shipped, and were worth every penny for their deep, almost gamy, turkey flavor, For lack of a better way to describe them, they tasted like what I would imagine wild turkeys tasted like centuries ago - they were revelatory in taste and texture For whatever reason, the birds I subsequently ordered from the Slowfood offshoot - Heritage Foods - were never as good (still good, just not great) - which may have been just luck of the draw in terms of the turkey breeds I got (they sell 4 breeds, but you don't get to choose which one you get) or a function of changes in the farming practices necessary to support increased demand. The Rosengarten turkey was another bird entirely (excuse the pun). Not a heritage bird, but rather a "standard" free range organic Eberly Farms turkey injected with an insane concoction of duck fat, butter, melted pancetta and god knows what else. It was absurdly expensive ($150 +) and absurdly rich, moist and flavorful for turkey. Unfortunately, it, along with the Rosengarten Report, is no longer available.

Dec 07, 2009
krick in Home Cooking

Westside Mom's Dinner Out

Price range, what you mean be "Westside" and how important food is versus atmosphere and newness would help narrow down suggestions, in the absence of which. . .

Venice/Santa Monica: Gjelina, Tasting Kitchen, Fraiche (but not as good IMO as the CC location), Piccolo, Cache, FIG, Rustic Canyon, Wilshire

Brentwood: Tavern

Culver City: Fraiche, Akasha, Ford's, Bottle Rock, Uva

Dec 07, 2009
krick in Los Angeles Area

Andrea at Pelican Hill Resort - mini-review

I should add that, conversely, I've had good meals at the more casual Grill at Pelican Hill, so if you just want to check out the resort, you could go there instead. Note, however, that the Grill is not at the main resort bldg, but rather at the golf course.

In all fairness and now that I have a few more minutes, I should also add that the service at Andrea was outstanding and that 2 of the dishes I tasted were very good (both handmade pasta dishes) and well proportioned. The wine service was also excellent and the atmosphere and ambiance were very nice although far from intimate (the opposite of, for example, the Studio at the Montage).

It was the appetizers and main courses that were the problem (i.e. 7 of the 9 dishes total that I tasted). 1 of those 7 dishes was actually good (though not great), but for $18, I expected more quality and quantity than 2 seared medium sized scallops on cauliflower puree. 5 of those 7 dishes were just incredibly bland - nothing bad tasting about them, but nothing good tasting about them either - they were sort of the culinary equivalent of high end vodka. The last of those 7 dishes (dover sole - $38) - was horrendous in conception, execution, proportion and flavor. There were only 2 tiny portions (3 bites each, tops), and my wife and I together couldn't/wouldn't eat more than half. It wasn't inedible per se, just bad enough that after 1 bite you have no desire to take another (although I did, just to be certain).

Dec 03, 2009
krick in Los Angeles Area