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Villa Catrina in Arcadia. Anyone Been?

Good question. I do not.

I should note that we only had corn tortillas, made in a press, so "hand made" is a bit of a misnomer. Still..."fresh-made."

I'd have to go back to see about the flour tortillas.

May 19, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Villa Catrina in Arcadia. Anyone Been?

We'll go to Hot n' Sweet next time, meanwhile here's a report on Villa Catrina.

Better than expected, bordering on "wow, really good!" First good sign was lady right next to the front door making fresh tortillas. The place is HUGE inside. Apparently it was formerly a Delmonico's? A large front room with full bar and a bazillion big screens showing Dodgers SNLA, a second dining room, and one or two big (and fully occupied, at 5:00 on Sunday) banquet rooms.

Next good sign was said tortilla lady bringing our table a little amuse bouche of mini-quesadillas made with said tortillas. Nice! Service was a little harried (banquets, perhaps?) but we successfully got good chips and excellent guacamole. Red table salsa was nice: fresh with big chunks of onion and a nice medium kick.

The menu is a fairly eclectic mix of regional cuisines. Veracruz, Guadalajara, even Yucatecan. There was a cochinita pibil on the menu that looked great and was much discussed, but no one ended up ordering. No tostadas or big combo plates. Well there was one combo plate, but that's about it. The menu proclaimed that the had the "Best Chile Verde," which I love, and a Yelper had mentioned that they gave "tastes" of their food. So I asked, and they obliged. It was nice, tender, stewed, tangy, picante; not a last minute toss of salsa verde with carnitas as a lot of places do. Other plates at the table were a Dos Equis marinated flank steak, a cheese enchilada, a chicken mole, and, the winner of the bunch, a bowl of carne en su juga, a spicy stew of beef with bacon. The only disappointment was the mole, which was that sticky sweet negro that comes when the restaurant really doesn't do mole.

Portions were huge. Tortillas were delicious and flowing liberally. Only tried their house margarita, which wasn't anything to write home about but was strong and only $4.25. Desserts, made in house, sounded good but were out of the question.

Bill for 4 (only 2 margaritas) was $71 pre-tip.

We'll be going back. They have some habañero chicken drumettes with cilantro dipping sauce and an unusual torta thingy and some seafood dishes I want to try.

And more tortillas.

Favorite burger for $5 or less?

+1 on Yuca's. Though I actually think their chili dog is even better, so I usually get that if I'm not getting a burrito.

+2 On Tommy's. Their single cheeseburger is $2.40.

Little Cheeseburger at 5 Guys is outside the parameters, alas!

And although I never go there anymore because of politics and sexist ads, I would add a Carl's Jr. Famous Star.

Villa Catrina in Arcadia. Anyone Been?

Wow, that looks interesting and twisted. Especially weird is the almost El Coyote style "house salad," The K-Philly Cheese Steak, and the various wild wangs. Will certainly try it out. But oh, for a full bar!

PS ipse, did I just see you use Shakey's as a positive? Perhaps I'm all wrong about you.

May 17, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Villa Catrina in Arcadia. Anyone Been?

Always looking for somewhere new to hit after the racetrack. A newish Mexican place right around the corner called Villa Catrina has some good Yelpage and yummy looking photos. Has anyone been? Is it Chow-worthy, or at least better than the dreadful Peppers, also nearby?

May 16, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Meat-centric dinner with friend from out of town anywhere between Bev Hills and DTLA

That's ridiculous. I'd really like to see what you ordered at Taylor's to get to $300 for two. The only $100+ bottle of wine on their list and...how many martinis, exactly?

Meat-centric dinner with friend from out of town anywhere between Bev Hills and DTLA

They belong together in this sentence: If don't want to drop maybe four bills for dinner for two at Chi Spacca or Mastro's, you should go to Taylor's.

May 09, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Up-to-date recs for Saddle Peak Lodge

Was there last week with a group of 8. Everyone got a different entree. The elk was everyone's fave, followed by my dish, the kangaroo sirloin, which was surprisingly tasty.

One other tip, they charge no corkage on wines purchased from Woodland Hills Wine Company or Duke of Bourbon.

May 03, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Vintage LA diners with great food

Running, is it open to the public, when it's open?

Apr 21, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Vintage LA diners with great food

I love these places, too.

I've never been to Nat's (will go now, though!), but for me:

Pann's is the clear winner. Its menu has a Southern inflection that just makes it better all around than the rest.

Clear second is Nick's Chinatown.

Below that it starts to meld together, but I give the third to Tallyrand. The sign (in approximately same font as the original Disneyland sign) is classic. The food, as mentioned, is rock solid. Plus and, unlike almost all others on your list, they have an excellent full bar, complete with sidecar martinis.

You could do a crawl of just the places within a couple of miles of each other in Burbank/Toluca Lake: Tallyrand, Bob's, Frank's, Paty's, (not mentioned here yet, but definitely in your wheelhouse; also has a nice patio, which is rare on your list) Chili John's (likewise, minus the patio).

And please, no Mel's Diner. It's an 80's knockoff of a 50s diner. Might as well go to Johnny Rocket's. (not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Spicy in the North SGV, Tomorrow

This Yelper's review is encouraging, too:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/chong-king-re...

I'm going! I'll report back.

Apr 09, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Spicy in the North SGV, Tomorrow

That's actually good news to me. I have always been a fan of Chong/Chung King, and particularly the Garfield branch. Maybe because it was my first sichuan peppercorn. One never forgets that experience!

Apr 09, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

What does New York have that LA doesn't?

Can we please say "pooh-pooh?" Poo-poo is another thing, and we're eating here.

The SGV sucks

How amusing. I just cross-posted requesting something "beyond hot pot" in the north SGV.

Apr 09, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Spicy in the North SGV, Tomorrow

I have a New Yorker in town who doesn't know Korean food and "hates Chinese food," but is really only familiar with old school Cantonese. She loves spicy Thai and Indian, though, and I think some SGV Hunan/Sichuan would blow her mind. We'll be spending the day at Santa Anita tomorrow and then she's off to Irwindale.

I know North SGV is more about Shanghainese and Taiwanese, and the best spicy would be closer to the 10 than the 210, but don't necessarily want to go ALL the way back and forth from Chengdu or Yunnan Garden or the like. So who brings the best heat in the Arcadia/Duarte/Monrovia corridor?

Considering:

Hai Di Lao, although options beyond hot pot would be nice;
Chang's Garden, because IIRC they serve some pretty solid Sichuan style dishes.
Young Dong Tofu for soondobu.

Any recommendations or other ideas?

Apr 09, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Beef ramen in LA? So over tonkotsu.

甲基苯丙胺和我的敌人汤的灵魂

Fun with Google Translate!

Apr 03, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

McCormick & Schmick’s: Another One Bites the Dust

When it was one of the few reliable places in town to get raw oysters, I went to the DTLA location a lot. I also used to park there before Disney Hall concerts and take their free shuttle.

There are oysters galore now. The shuttle was shuttered. M&S has long since outlived its usefulness. I wonder what will take over that space?

Mar 17, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Hollywood Area and Universal Studios

Angelyne defines "celebrity." She is famous for absolutely no good reason. She's also a smart and generally kind person. She's often selling merch out of the trunk of her car in front of El Coyote these days.

Mar 15, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Interesting Thread on Reddit Asking Expats Most Authentic Home Country Restaurant in LA

Yeah, this is a great reddit. So many restaurants outside of the Chowhound bubble. Get to work, people! Thanks for sharing.

Mar 02, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area
1

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

What is f.o.?

Feb 26, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Dish of the Month, March 2015 -- Voting

SEAFOOD SANDWICHES

Feb 24, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

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

Only one? That's tough. I'll go with Pink's. I mean it's a fine hot dog and all, but who in their right mind would line up for even ten minutes, much less 45, to get one? Utterly mystifying.

Feb 24, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Dish of the Month, February 2015 -- BURGERS

I just discovered Fat Sal's in Hollywood. Went there for a chili dog that was delish so today I returned for a burger. Quarter pound chili cheesburger with everything: shredded lettuce, thin sliced tomato, thin sliced onion, pickles, special sauce (I'm usually mustard-instead but I like to try places' "as is" burgers first).

It was an A- . Flavor was terrific. 1/4 pound Angus patty was nicely griddled, cheddar cheese nicely melted. The standout (and why I loved the chili dog) is the the chili, which is flavorful and has an unusually strong kick to it for a condiment chili. The bun was excellent: fluffy, fresh, and sesame-seeded, the way I like it.

Only two strikes against. One is subjective: I prefer leaf lettuce to shredded. The other is presentation. Even "for here" orders come in a foil wrapper. That's it. Not even a bag like at Five Guys to use as a plate. And a plate is necessary, as the burger (and the chili dog) are messy, and foil has zero absorbency.

So bring a wet nap or two and give it a try.

Feb 11, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area
1

Tiki bars? And tiki food?

Yeah, Trader Sam's is kind of a blast.

Feb 08, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Tiki bars? And tiki food?

Tiki Ti doesn't serve food.

Most tiki bars worthy of the name don't. Food just kills the rum and sugar headache buzz.

Trader Vic's probably the main exception.

Feb 06, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

What am I missing?

There are plenty of good recommendations for specific restaurants, but whatever you do you MUST have:

2 Mexican meals
1 Koreatown Korean meal
1 SGV (San Gabriel Valley) Chinese meal

Otherwise you're seriously missing out.

Feb 04, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area
1

For Future Reference--Chinese Restaurants That Don't Use MSG

Revisiting this thread after finally making it to Elite today, and then spending the afternoon in bed with an MSG hangover. I can handle MSG in small amounts, but large doses smack me down.

I recently did massive research on all the top SGV dim sum joints here on Yelp and I came across one where a user had accused the kitchen of MSG overdose. Management responded saying they used no MSG. Can't find it now.

Does anyone know a no-or-minimal-MSG option for dim sum? This and other threads on the topic refer mostly to dinner menus, I think.

Feb 03, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Along the 118: Moorpark > La Canada - Anything Chow-Worthy?

Well if Brent's isn't too far off the 118, there's also the last great Cupid's Hot Dogs, on Lindley and Nordhoff.

Jan 29, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

Zankou

Barry, do you have a reference for this? I've never heard of potato in this sauce, just garlic and olive oil, which jibes with the recipe linked below.

Jan 26, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area

LA's Oldest Still-Thriving Restaurants

FYI, Greenblatt's claims 1926 on their signage.

Jan 24, 2015
jesstifer in Los Angeles Area