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Burger Continental Closed

Maybe twenty-five years ago, BC (aka "The Greasy") was the concessionaire for Caltech's on-campus dining facility, and I heard some horrifying stories about the food they served (sanitation issues). So while the food at the restaurant might have been decent, I refused to eat there, knowing the sorts of negligence that occurred off-site.

about 15 hours ago
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Bill's Hamburgers Bang for your Burger Buck

Oh, my god. Could this be the long-lost burger of my childhood? I think I might cry! When I was a kid in the 60s-70s, we'd get hamburgers from this wonderful stand on the corner of Riverside Drive and Coldwater Canyon in Studio City, called Bill's Canyon River Inn. There was a woman there sometimes, I think her name was Sharon, so it would be one of his ex-wives according to the linked article. The man in the photo looks familiar, so does the burger. The only thing is, the name and location of the stand I grew up with aren't the same as in the article, so I wonder if he started out in Studio City? I seem to remember that BCRI changed ownership, but I don't recall when. I'll have to trek out to Van Nuys and find out! It would be so cool if he's "my" Bill and remembers my family. Man, those were great cheeseburgers.

Does anyone else remember Bill's Canyon River Inn?

2 days ago
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Burger Continental Closed

Um, that's an old (Sept. 2013) article. I found the same one--with the date on it--when I did a search to find out why BC closed. In this case, they obviously resolved the issues at least long/well enough to re-open.

2 days ago
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Republique (A Photo Story)

Oh, thanks! We're going in a week for our anniversary; I can start planning already...

Mar 24, 2015
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Washoku in Los Angeles

Oh, yes!! That looks wonderful--got it on my calendar already--thanks for the link!

Mar 24, 2015
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Burger Continental Closed

Wow. The end of an era. We never ate there (ugh!) but used to sit outside on a warm summer night with a frosty pitcher of Stella Artois. On a really GOOD night we'd be given chilled glass beer mugs, rather than the plastic ones. In a way, I'll miss it.

Any word on why it finally closed (Owner's old age? One too many health violations? Lease escalation?) and what might become of the space?

Mar 24, 2015
happycat in Los Angeles Area

where to get Shirataki noodles??

Yes, any Asian market will have them. Make sure to blanch them before using to get rid of the sort of fishy smell they have. IMO, they aren't worth the savings in calories--fine as a traditional addition to sukiyaki and the like, but not a very pleasing pasta sub (they're too slippery to hold sauce well, have no flavor and a sort of rubbery texture, and I find they sit very heavily on my stomach--I couldn't choke down a plate full). Have you considered spaghetti squash or zucchini ribbons instead? So much nicer and more nutritious but still very low in calories.

Bistro LQ - Seafood Edition...Any reports?

I agree entirely with The Oracle's report (good catch on the amazing fried carrot-wrapped carrot--I thought it had been wrapped in pancetta!). I thought that Chef Laurent's execution displayed a great deal of focus and maturity, and hit not a single false note (I found the sturgeon, though over-cooked, still tasty). I was amazed when the cheese guy urged me to convey my compliments to Chef (which I always do anyhow), saying that he'd really agonized over the menu, worried that people might not like it! Chef Laurent is far too humble.

I also thought the service was improved over previous dinners--though getting there early may have helped. It was leisurely but evenly spaced, very European, and there were no mix-ups or fumbles. We took our time--aperitifs before dinner and cheese before dessert--and were surprised that 3 (very delightful) hours had somehow passed.

Can't wait for the next one.

Mar 19, 2015
happycat in Los Angeles Area
1

Passover seder in L.A. restaurants?

I'm looking for a second seder in L.A., ideally near Pasadena (though I don't have high hopes for anything that convenient!). Food doesn't need to be kosher or even traditional, but I'd prefer to have at least a rudimentary seder too and not just the food. Thanks!

Mar 06, 2015
happycat in Los Angeles Area

What are some over-rated L.A. restaurants to you? Why, specifically? Only one each!

Union Kitchen in Pasadena. I've occasionally had very good food there, but not mind-blowing, and just as often it's been terribly disappointing. The much-lauded squid ink garganelli was half raw (nowhere near al dente) and acrid with truffle butter. Braised pork ribs were falling-apart tender but flavorless, as if they were the end result of pork stock and suitable, at most, for a staff meal. West Coast mussels held leathery nuggets the size of my thumbnail; when I pointed this out I was brought a second serving (not much bigger and even worse in flavor), with the explanation that the Oregon mussels were spawning and "frustrating'; so why not take them off the menu or source them elsewhere? I'm all for eating locally and sustainably; I do it all the time at home, and very well. Maybe that's one reason Union frustrates me. The place is jammed with customers willing to shell out lots of money to worship at the Shrine of St. Alice, and they seem to think this is the greatest thing Pasadena's ever had, but I just don't get it. It feels a bit like The Emperor's New Clothes to me.

Is Settebello pizza special?

Yes. The Margherita DOC is the platonic ideal of pizza. But don't overlook the rest of the menu. If you aren't in the mood for pizza, one of their salads (always fresh and never overdressed) and a salumi plate really hit the spot with a cold Moretti. Or pop in for dessert...Nutella pizza tastes a lot better than it sounds.

May 13, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Fermented Tofu for Vegan Umami

My husband's on a heart-healthy diet, so I've been exploring sat. fat/cholesterol-free ingredients and recently bought a jar of Sichuan fermented tofu (after reading about it in Fuchsia Dunlop's "Every Grain of Rice").

Oh, my.

It tastes like a very pungent combination of blue cheese and anchovies. Very umami-rich and concentrated; a little goes a long way.

I blended a single cube of it with about 2 oz. Veganaise and 2 oz. fat-free Greek Yogurt, and it tastes JUST like blue cheese dressing. So now I'm pondering what to have for dinner with it--buffalo chicken-substitute wings? Wedge salad?

Has anyone else used fermented tofu in non-Chinese dishes? I'd love to hear about other peoples' experiences.

Anyone on a vegetable-based diet really should check this stuff out. If you don't have an Asian grocery store near you, Amazon.com carries it.

May 01, 2014
happycat in Home Cooking

R.I.P. Futami

Thought I'd resurrect this thread. Any updates on Sam, anyone?

Apr 30, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Hidden gem spots on the way to San Diego from LA?

It's not a planned kind of thing--not on the menu--but a lot of people just tell the chef, "feed me." Don't know about other peoples' experience; I had my fill of seafood (not easy to accomplish!) and a vegetable dish (an off-the-cuff medley) plus 3 draft beers; after tax and tip, my bill was $90.

Apr 30, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Spring Produce -- L.A. Dish of the Month, May 2014

Looks a lot like my garden! Right now:

lettuce (several varieties)
chicory
arugula
erba stella
stridolo
herbs of many types
beets
chard
kale
spinach
new zealand spinach
carrots
radish pods
onions
summer squash
cherry tomatoes
chile peppers
bell peppers
strawberries
calamondins
kumquats
snap peas
pole beans
bulbing fennel

Wondering what this crazy heat wave is going to do to the garden...

Apr 30, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Hidden gem spots on the way to San Diego from LA?

I had a great meal and a helluva good time at Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub in Oceanside last week (yeah, you gotta get over the name). Not an authentic sushi restaurant by any means, but very fresh seafood--lots of it local--and a fun, chill vibe. I asked chef Davin to put together an "omakase"-style dinner for me of local seafood, and he treated me like royalty. Local yellowtail and sustainably-farmed (so it was claimed) Baja bluefin toro sushi; half the collar of the bluefin, deep-fried (omg); a huge spot prawn amaebi; live uni; aji sashimi; a couple of interesting clams from Mexico; plus a few other bits and pieces he wanted me to try. Very reasonably priced. It's tucked away inside Bull Taco; I'd say it qualifies as both hidden and a gem!

http://www.seabasstropub.com/

Apr 30, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Help - Good, Healthy Italian or American Cuisine in Pasadena Area?

Bruce Kalman's new place, Union (in Old Town), does farm-to-table Cal-Italian food; I notice there's a spelt cavatelli on the menu:

http://unionpasadena.com/menu/

Apr 21, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

"Fresh" dried Pinto Beans in Los Angeles?

Suncoast Farms (Lompoc) is a vendor at a number of L.A. farmers' markets. They sell a variey of beans--pintos included--currently $6/2lb bag. The beans are from the most recent harvest and are wonderful; I don't buy my beans anywhere else. They also sell artichokes (they have the little purple ones right now), asparagus, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli, which might make it easier for you to spot the stand.

Apr 20, 2014
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Urasawa- Amazing Kaiseki However, Not the Best Sushi in Town

Thanks for the post, Porthos. I have to agree with your assessment. We were blown away by Urusawa...until we got to the sushi. Yes, it was excellent, but didn't have us on cloud nine the way the preceding dishes did. I'd wondered if it was just me...

Jan 30, 2010
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Fun weird restaurants in LA?

Indian Restaurant in San Gabriel (found it through another CH discussion--thanks, ipsedixit!). It's a Taiwanese beer parlor trying for a Native American theme--waitresses in skimpy Pocohontas outfits, log cabin-style room w/ lots of fake greenery, Native American knick-knacks. Very weird. Lots of fun, the food was fine (and plentiful) and the beer was cold. Good for people watching. We felt very far away from home, in a good way, as the only Caucasians there. I decided I really don't like stinky tofu, though, even though the stuff Indian serves is much tamer than what we tried from street vendors in Taiwan. But a LOT of people were ordering it. Loved the cold sliced pork heart. Go with lots of friends and prepare for a long wait. If cigarette smoke bothers you, hold your nose when you leave--tons of young people gathered by the front entrance smoking while they wait for their tables.

Jan 30, 2010
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Local source for natto miso / namemiso / kinzanji miso?

I saw it just today--for the first time; had to buy some to try--at my local (Pasadena, CA) Whole Foods market. Maybe your WF will carry it too.

Snake River Farms Kurobuta ham in the LA area?

Forgive the late post--but I found it, in "chunks" rather than "slices", at Mitsuwa in San Gabriel. They also had SRF domestic kobe ribeye, sliced for sukiyaki or for shabu-shabu (the former a bit thicker than the latter).

Jan 21, 2010
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Alhambra

Sorry, should have been a little more specific about location--on Main half a mile or so west of Garfield (near the huge car dealership that blasts loud music on weekends).

Jul 27, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Alhambra

Travel west on Main and you will find Tamaya (north side of street) and Wahib's (south side), good for Japanese Ramen and Middle-Eastern food respectively. Vegetarian choices available at both places and Wahib's has an open-air patio in the back.

Jul 27, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Where can I get authentic Sichuan Hot Pot?

There's a second Lu Gi now, on the south side of Las Tunas just west of San Gabriel. It's even better. Apparently the owner of the original moved to the new place and makes the (spicy) broth there daily, while a relative is in charge of the original location. I'd noticed that the broth at the Valley Blvd. location had lost a tiny bit of it's magic...but when we ate at the new location, we got that magic back--difference between the two cooks. It was SO good!! The drawback to the new place is that they don't have a beer license yet so you need to bring your own. We didn't know that the first time; but the owner *gave* us beers from his own stash! Made us feel very special.

Jul 19, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Pasadena Recs

Mr. Gold wrote that "Tre Venizie's founding chef moved on a few months ago" --we all know how the place has slipped in the past year or so--but I thought Chef Minuz was truly talented. Does anyone know where he went?

I'm another very excited foodie anticipating the opening of Bistro LQ! Too bad he couldn't stay local...

Jul 15, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

The Freshest EGGS in Los Angeles ...

Well, there IS a difference between "free-range" and "pastured"; the rules governing what you can label as "free-range" do not require access to actual pasture, just access to the outdoors, which can be a dirt yard or even a concrete one. And although I admit I haven't questioned all the vendors I've encountered, the ones I have talked to do, indeed, meet my perceptions/presumptions, which I don't think are negative (I gladly eat free-range eggs, after all), just realistic. it's much easier to keep free-range or cage-free hens than pastured ones, for a variety of reasons. And "pastured" has become such a selling point that producers who do raise pastured hens, in my experience in other cities, advertise the fact overtly.

Gragegrl, I recently discovered that there's a new vendor at the Thursday South Pas market, Healthy Family Farms, that sells pastured chickens and their eggs (and, yes, advertises them as pastured). Other pastured meats as well. Delicious products all. So, I guess my search is over.

Oh, and I just remembered that Whole Foods (Arroyo) is now carrying a domestic brand of pastured eggs--I think the name is "Vital" or something like that--haven't tried them, though.

Jun 18, 2009
happycat in Los Angeles Area

Over an Open Fire

I love coking over an open wood fire, and my husband and I have some favorites that work well for us. Gourmet hamburgers, of course, and steak a la "bistecca fiorentina" if we're really feeling into meat. The two more unusual ones are paella and cheese fondue. My husband doesn't like seafood, so I make a "mountain" paella and use pre-cooked meats to make clean-up easier (don't want to deal with raw meat juices). Chopped prosciutto, pre-cooked sausage (including boudin noir), duck leg confit, smoked chicken or turkey and/or pork chop, cubed ham, Canadian bacon...all have made it into the paella pan at one time or another. I try to cut up my veggies at home and pack them in ziplocs, make my saffron-and-spice seasoning ahead of time, etc. My paella pan is from Spain and is built to handle open flame (the method for cooking an authentic paella, after all) and the process of cooking the dish is loads of fun. And it tastes so much better than any restaurant I know of...in this country, anyhow. For my fondue, I grate all the cheese (I use a variety, like emmenthaler, fontina, gruyere, etc.--Whole Foods carries them all) at home, toss it with a bit of flour to stabilize the fondue, and pack it in ziplocs. I cook the fondue (adding the requisite white wine, kirsch, etc.) over the fire in two aluminum roaster pans--one nestled inside the other--the double thickness keeps the cheese from scorching, and we just throw away the pans when we're done (otherwise we'd have the clean-up from Hell!). We always eat way too much, and usually don't have the fondue unless it's chilly at night and we've hiked like demons all day!

Jun 18, 2009
happycat in Features

Raised Beds

Thanks for the info! Can't wait to get into the garden now...

Jun 07, 2009
happycat in Gardening

Raised Beds

Hi, modthyrth--Your raised bed is beautiful. I want to put in some raised beds, am leaning towards concrete blocks, but am not thrilled with how they look. Is the stone veneer hard to apply? Thanks and happy gardening!

Jun 03, 2009
happycat in Gardening