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pastry bakery West L.A.

I think I'd recommend Breadbar before & above La Maison du Pain. Neither is what I'm looking for, but I think B/bar > Maison. Some years ago there was a Danish pastry place on West Pico... apparently authentic... but to my taste it just wasn't very good; certainly nothing like my memory of what I ate in Copenhagen. It would be interesting to know what the problem is about Los Angeles; but not interesting enough to drop my proper work any more than I have already!

Oct 12, 2009
boyk in Los Angeles Area

pastry bakery West L.A.

Got various items from La Maison du Pain, and found them nice. Not in the league of the old Napoleon in Sta Barbara, the old Mortensen's in Solvang, or the very old Swen's in Pasadena -- the quality-level I'm looking for; and perhaps not so good as Breadbar/Century-City; but enjoyable, yes. As for Le Pain du Jour in Sta Monica, will try it again sometime; had mixed experience with it in the past. Re bread, it seems to me that nobody in LA makes great bread! (One reference standard is Zingerman's, Ann Arbor; available by mail order. Others are Acme and Semifreddi, everywhere in the Bay area.)

Oct 12, 2009
boyk in Los Angeles Area

pastry bakery West L.A.

Will check out La Maison du Pain; thanks to all. Re Amandine, no desire to argue; I just haven't found it very good, and not remotely in the league of the place I mentioned. The owner's statement, when asked if they baked with butter, that they use a "special form of butter," also generated some suspicion on my part. By the way, I've learned from experience that the Q to ask is not, "Do you bake with butter?" but rather "Do you bake with butter and ONLY butter?" Lots of places use a touch of butter and that's all, apparently.

Oct 11, 2009
boyk in Los Angeles Area

pastry bakery West L.A.

Great pastry bakery West L.A.? No, I don't mean something like Amandine, nor Breadbar; but like the late lamented Napoléon (Napoleon) on State St. in Sta Barbara, or the long-ago Swen's in Pasadena. Or Mortensen's in Solvang back with its original Danish baker (the last one in Solvang). French- or Danish-style pastries of SUPERLATIVE quality. (I don't even ask for great bread. Los Angeles has a good-bread-repelling field that focuses all the good or great bread on the Bay area!) I have to confess, I have looked and LOOKED in the Pasadena and West LA areas and found . . . nothing. Boo-hoo!

Oct 10, 2009
boyk in Los Angeles Area

Rose Cafe, Venice, lunch 7/2/09

Salmon florentine: salmon undercooked but OK; hollandaise sauce (home-made, says manager) grossly over-salted, as my companion agreed. Flourless chocolate cake (round thing 5" dia.): Lousy chocolate (used to be pretty good), and tasted caramelized or burned. The latter is the greater disappointment, as my ordering the salmon florentine always was an expression of hope more than a reflection of prior good experiences. Decaf cappuccino: lousy. The experience reminded me what I stopped going some years ago after a long period of going pretty often. A very ODD place, in that it doesn't have a clue about consistency -- it's Never been consistent, but long ago the average level was much higher than I experienced today. And odd in its unresponsiveness to customer complaints. Oh yes, it's been redone decoratively -- at least the outdoor area -- in sort of neo-factory. Personally I dislike it; much preferred the old funky stuff. I wish they'd spent the decoration money on increased wages for better chefs.

Jul 02, 2009
boyk in Los Angeles Area

La Crescenta: La Cabañita

We tried this place based on many positive remarks from some years ago. Maybe the place has changed in the meantime. Our chiles en nogado and sopes compuestos were quite poor, we thought. In our opinion, it couldn't remotely be compared to Santa Barbara's La Super-Rica, which several members had compared it to. We've gone Super-Rica dozens of times, and it scores over La Canañita in quality of the raw food, fineness of preparation, distinctness of taste-conceptions, variety of taste from dish to dish, and everything else we can think of. My three sopes were all sweet. One had cinnamon with the sweetness and the meat: a perfectly acceptable idea, but not when carried out so grossly. For the other two *also* to be sweet was ridiculous. We regretted eating the meal; unlike at Super-Rica, where every bite of the scrumptious food is delicious, and we always wish we had room for more. Here in L.A., in West L.A., the "molcajete" and "molcajete de camaron" at Monte Alban (Santa Monica Blvd. at Brockton, a block east of Bundy), are far better than what we had tonight at La Cabañita. Maybe we ordered the wrong things, or maybe it's changed hands.

Apr 05, 2008
boyk in Los Angeles Area

Culver City: Ugo's Italian Bar

Gelati & Coffee: I'm no expert on gelati, but these are made with frozen fruit and to me don't taste like anything special. The stuff a ways north at Al Gelato made not be real gelato, but it tastes good to me. (I still look forward to trying one of the ultra-quality gelaterias in L.A. * As for coffee, today had decaf cappuccino, which was quite awful. Coffee merely bitter, without real flavor. yes, a kind of bitterness is a legit -- essential -- part of espresso flavor. This wasn't that kind. And they didn't use whole milk. I really really wanted this place to be good, because it would have been a pleasant option after Tender Greens, 30 yards away, where we go quite often; but no such thing. Why O why is it so hard to find a good cup of coffee or espresso?

Jan 18, 2008
boyk in Los Angeles Area

WLA: Hop Woo, da Pasquale, Hu's, El Rincon Criollo, Royal Star

Haven't tried either. Will do so. Thanks.

Jan 02, 2008
boyk in Los Angeles Area

WLA: Hop Woo, da Pasquale, Hu's, El Rincon Criollo, Royal Star

Royal Star was busy every time I went there, weekday and weekend. If they were still losing money, why isn't the same true of the dim sum palaces downtown and in SGV?

Jan 01, 2008
boyk in Los Angeles Area

WLA: Hop Woo, da Pasquale, Hu's, El Rincon Criollo, Royal Star

Hop Woo (Olympic Bl at Sepulveda, in West L.A.) disappointed us a lot on our first try over the last weekend (preceding New Year's). Da Pasquale in Beverly Hills (reliable, excellent, and very fair-priced--and they deliver) was closed for holidays; ditto Hu's, which we've eaten at or from hundreds of times---not the SGV of course; not consistent, but OK, especially if you're eating there. So we tried Hop Woo delivery, and a man with a very nice voice and manner delivered our four or five dishes. I found them literally inedible. I had PBJ instead. My wife and son ate but didn't like, though one dish was less bad than the others. We cannot understand how the place has received positive notices. Did the chef recently change? Was he taking the holidays off? Or, in the grip of SGV-starvation, are people grateful for anything identifiable as Chinese, whether or not it tastes good? Anyway, for what it's worth -- and it gives me no pleasure to say it -- this was our experience. Oh yes, I almost forgot: we had a very enjoyable meal at El Rincon Criollo last week. My Lechon Asada was noticeably delicious, as were the "moros" and plantains; also the soft drinks with sugar instead of the hated corn syrup were tasty. (It was lunch-time.) O why did Royal Star (in Santa Monica) stop making its very good dim sum and then go out of business? As the only the only good Chinese restaurant on the west side, didn't it have a moral---nay, a legal---obligation to continue to feed our family?

Jan 01, 2008
boyk in Los Angeles Area

Recommendations for cheap but tasty food near Venice and Overland??

Tender Greens, on Culver Bl in Culver City has superb food, pleasant atmosphere (sit outdoors and watch the people go by), absurdly low prices for its quality.

Jul 08, 2007
boyk in Los Angeles Area

Greedy window

Chowhound's windows no longer size themselves to the size of the window on my screen. This is not only greedy of Chowhound but a violation of html rules. I do not like to keep scrolling left/right, left/right. Nor will I agree to make the Chowhound window occupy all my screen space.

Jul 07, 2007
boyk in Site Talk

Tender Greens outdoes itself

We've had dozens of meals at Tender Greens, and always enjoyed them immensely; but this evening, we had one of the great meals we've ever had. Two dishes: Yukon salmon -- sticky-teeth-fresh; poached -- on a simply fabulous salad of delicate, ultra-fresh greens and summer vegetables, including dark heirloom tomatoes, very-thin-sliced zucchini and ditto summer squash. Not any single leaf of the arugula could have been better.

Then, Peach cobbler: summer compressed into a small bowl.

A meal like this justifies Los Angeles... almost.

Jul 07, 2007
boyk in Los Angeles Area

Pastina (West L.A.)

Ate there w/ friends for first time Sat. night and discovered why we've never gone before even though it's walking distance to our house. Food not awful, but mediocre (carbonara w/out cream? chicken dry and relatively tasteless; veggies nice, though); service mediocre (slow; didn't bring asked-for bubble water; didn't offer wine bottle for inspection to verify it was as ordered); table not ready when promised; and very noisy.

Jul 02, 2007
boyk in Los Angeles Area

Sausages in West LA

Thanks to everyone.

Oct 31, 2006
boyk in Los Angeles Area

Sausages in West LA

Source for great sausages (for our own home cooking) in West Los Angeles? I want ones as good as European Finest Sausages (also known as Sausage Kitchen; on Olympic near Robertson) was under its original owners. Niman Ranch level of quality would be fine. (They're not available in L.A. and shipping cost is way too high if you buy direct.) Thanks!

Oct 30, 2006
boyk in Los Angeles Area