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Szechuan Spice to replace Zen

I've been there a couple of times now for lunch, and I have to say that I was pretty darn impressed. Especially for the amount of food you get for a whopping 8 bucks, this is a nice find, I think.

Again, I have to add the caveat that I have only been there for lunch and only had some selections on their designated lunch menu. Also, while I have lived in a number of different cities in the US and had a lot of Chinese food, both fantastic and crappy, I don't claim to know too much about what is or is not authentic.

So, that said, I have to say that I was thrilled with the shredded pork dish I had. The pork itself was tender and quite flavorful. I can always go for a little more spicy kick with my food than Twin Cities Asian places are willing to send my way, but this made an admirable nod toward spiciness. The egg roll was a very good version of the classic -- lots of fresh cabbage (which I like), and not overly huge. As a starter I had some egg drop soup that was what you might expect. Not fantastic, I have to say, but totally fine, all the same.

For the second outing I had some hot and sour soup, the quality of which far outstripped the egg drop soup. I'm eager to try the wonton soup (the other option) sometime soon. Decided on a chicken dish that was good, though could use some more punch (it did not have a chili pepper next to it, though with as friendly as the staff is, you can probably convince them to punch it up a bit).

So, all of this is to say that in a city that I find horribly lacking in good Chinese food, Szechuan Spice has impressed me. It hasn't blown me away, mind you, but it's reasonably priced and really very solid.

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Szechuan Spice
3016 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408

Aug 31, 2010
frenchdisco in Minneapolis-St. Paul

MSP Swedish pancakes -- recommendations?

Hello all,

I'm a longtime hound and recent Minneapolis transplant (from Los Angeles and, before that, Chicago). My partner is a huge fan of Swedish pancakes and I'm hoping to surprise him for his birthday soon by taking him to breakfast for some of the Scandinavian delicacies. Any recommendations for what you think are simply the best Swedish pancakes in the Twin Cities area? Willing to drive a little bit, especially if it's in a scenic locale. Many thanks in advance!

Aug 19, 2009
frenchdisco in General Midwest Archive

Vegetarian food w/o cilantro

Hello all,

OK, so we have houseguests. And while one of them is a very adventurous eater (as am I), another guest is a vegetarian with allergies to cilantro and seedy cousin coriander. Naturally, this throws a bit of a wrench into many vegetarian stand-bys, like Indian food, for example. I'm just wondering if you folks have some good ideas for vegetarian food that doesn't involve these herbs and spices. We're westside LA dwellers, though not necessarily wedded to our immediate location.

Thanks in advance!

May 10, 2008
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Chicago Style Pizza in LA?

Hello all,
Well, as a former Chicagoan who has been missing his Lou Malnati's pizza (yes, that's his name) for some five years now, I have to say that what you seek is nigh impossible to find. That said, a good facsimile can be found at Masa in Echo Park ( http://www.masaofechopark.com/ ). OK, so it's not as good as Lou's in Chicago, or Nancy's or Pizzeria Uno or Due, but it's almost there. My beefs with it are:
1. There just needs to be MORE of everything.
2. The crust, while an admirable attempt, needs to be doughier, and, well, thicker.
But go ahead and see what you think. The place itself is very nice and laid-back. I've always had great service and they have a nice blond beer that is made just for them. Highly recommended, though I am afraid it misses the mark a tad if it's true authenticity you're after.

Apr 17, 2008
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Red Velvet Cake in W. L.A. ?

For Red Velvet cake, I can highly recommend Bluebird, like many of the previous posts. BUT I would also recommend taking a gander at the cake at Al Gelato on Robertson in Beverly Hills. The BIG bonus is that you can get it A LA MODE with some rocking gelato to boot. Get thee there ASAP!

Apr 13, 2008
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Chicago Burrito in LA?

OK, I have to weigh in on this one, folks. As a former Chicagoan who religiously ate La Pasadita's burritos for years, I feel I have a good understanding of the type of burrito the OP is looking for. I would quibble on a few details in his description, perhaps. First off La Pasadita (which had won the "best burrito in Chicago" award on several occasions) had a variety of versions of their truly stupendous burrito. While the constellation of ingredients did vary, it is true that refried beans were a staple. Plenty of cheese is also necessary. My favorite version also included: guacamole, CILANTRO (yes, the caps are necessary here), and (gasp!) rice. My problem with the rice is that it wasn't evenly distributed throughout the burrito, resulting in a clump of white muck at the end. BUT, here is what made La Pasadita truly special: their meat. First off, there was plenty of it. But more importantly, it was marinated in incredible spices for a lengthy bit of time before it's slapped on the grill WITH ONIONS AND PEPPERS (caps also necessary here). Lettuce made it in on occasion, but not always. Now, I have to say that this is the burrito I, too, have been craving since moving to LA several years ago. And no, I have not found it yet. (Sorry, El Jeffe!)
Another disclaimer: the La Pasadita burrito still ranks as the SECOND best I have ever had. The best for me happens to be from Pancho Villa in, yes, SF's Mission. And perhaps the reason why I like La Pasadita so much is because it's a meatier version of that Mission classic. If anyone can help ME find something of the style that I have been describing, please feel free to enlighten me.

Apr 04, 2008
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

torta and bahn mi on the westside

I recently went to Sky's Taco on Pico between Fairfax and LaBrea, and their tortas were really quite good, I thought. In full disclosure, I'm NOT a torta aficionado. But I had their chicken torta and thought it was fantastic, richly spicy and just the right kind of greasy.

Aug 27, 2007
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

La Cieniga and Olympic - Local Eats

As a local resident myself (I'm down at Pico and La Cienega, I can recommend a few spots:

Thai House on Pico (between La Cienega and Robertson) is excellent, in my opinion. The green beans in a red curry sauce are very good indeed, as is the red curry with chicken.

As mentioned earlier, the Ethiopian on Fairfax is great as well, though my personal favorite is Meals by Genet. Get thee to their doro wat ASAP!

Also on Pico, but closer to Robertson is Haifa -- it's Kosher Mediterranean food. I love this place, personally, and you can't go wrong with anything they serve in a pita. But watch out for the portions -- they're massive.

In keeping with the Mediterranean theme, there's also the Pistachio Grill, tucked away on Wilshire about a block west of La Cienega on the south side of the street. Great things on skewers. it's been a while since I have been there, so others might be able to weigh in on the quality, but I remember liking it quite a lot.

By the way, I loathe Hoagies and Wings. Sorry guys! But the stuff I got there was so salty that it was literally inedible, and I LOVE salt, don't get me wrong. I went back and told them "light salt, PLEASE!" and still it came back tasting like a salt lick. Really outstandingly gross.

Hope this helps!

Aug 21, 2007
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Burmese? Malaysian?

I had totally forgotten about that tea leaf salad! Yes, that is precisely the sort of thing I've been looking for! Now that there's a chance that I can find it (maybe) at the Golden Triangle, that seals the deal. Yes, I agree it's too bad it's not in LA proper, but perhaps for a bit of an adventure out to the southeast...

Aug 03, 2007
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Burmese? Malaysian?

Wow! I have to thank everyone for such great suggestions. And so prompt too! For those who had asked about Burma Super Star in SF, it seems as if Golden Triangle in Whittier is a pretty darn close equivalent. They have a ginger salad there as well that was very nearly life changing, as well as a really wonderfully pungent and satisfying pork curry that brought tears to my eyes. The fact that the various salads we had (they specialize in several varieties) came with crispy fried onions atop mounds of nuts, greens, carrots and ginger only made things that much more overwhelming. So, I see a trip to Whittier in the near future for me.

Aug 03, 2007
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Burmese? Malaysian?

Hello all,

All of a sudden I got a pronounced hankering for Burmese food. Any of you who have experienced Burmese Super Star up in San Francisco will know the particular sort of hankering of which I speak. My question is: Where might one find really outstanding Burmese or Malaysian food in the greater LA area. I know that there are many fans of the Singapore Banana Leaf stand in the Farmer's Market, though I'm not the hugest fan, and their selection is (obviously) quite limited. If anyone might be able to provide some guidance, it would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Aug 03, 2007
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Sunday brunch in Pacific Palisades?

Hello all,

I know that the Palisades are notoriously light on the food options, but I thought I would throw out the question anyway: Are there, indeed, any recommendations that you might make for a post-hike brunch or lunch place in the area? I'll admit that I'm inclined to head a little further north for the Reel Inn (a personal favorite), but I'd like to try something new with an out-of-town friend. Any recs? Thanks!

Jul 29, 2007
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Russian Bakeries?

Hi folks! Just wondering if anyone can give recommendations for Russian bakeries in Southern California. Perhaps the West Hollywood area? I'm a little clueless, but would like to indulge in some Russian sweets and soon! Any help is, of course, most appreciated! Thanks!

Mar 04, 2007
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

What to order at Joan's on Third

My personal favorite there is their lentil salad. It's always so rich, nutty and flavorful without being too overwhelmingly saucy. And yes, I'll just add my kudos on their cupcakes, which are fantastic indeed. Sandwiches really can't be beat, particularly their tuna!

Dec 08, 2006
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Fritelli's through the eyes of a doughnut-disliker (and photos)

Well, I had to go there today as well out of curiosity. After reading the previous post on Fritelli's, I had to give it a try. Sadly, I got there too late for the apple fritter, though I must thank you for posting a picture! Admittedly, I'm a doughnut fan. So I am really biased here. But I did like them quite a lot. I appreciate anyone who can take a greasy comfort classic and add a nice twist with an odd flavor choice here or there. That said, I didn't think they were THAT much better than, say, Yum-Yum donuts (sorry to have to use that spelling. I too much prefer it with the "ugh"). I had a chocolate cake doughnut with cherry icing and a raised doughnut with a raspberry glaze. Both were good, and the raised one did remind me of the fluffiness of Krispy Kreme, but... you're so right. It's a doughnut. A good one, yes. But a doughnut nonetheless.

Dec 07, 2006
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Vegan place on La Cienega?

It's called Real Food Daily, and I think it's actually just south of Melrose, but I could be a tad turned around in my head here. At any rate, I ate there quite recently and found it to be good, but not amazing. It had been recommended to me by both vegan and non-vegan friends. As it turns out, I simply ordered wrong, according to said friends. I had ordered a tamale pie on their specials list that was all cornmeal and very little filling. Word has it that you would do well to stick with their tacos which are evidently superb. A friend ordered their stir fry of veggies with noodles that looked and smelled fantastic, and it received raves. I'd avoid their desserts, however. We all ordered a different one and all of them really were tremendously sub-par.

Dec 07, 2006
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area

Russisch Brot, anyone?

Hello hounds,

I'm wondering if anyone might have a clue on how to find the really delicious German cookie going by the name Russisch Brot (or "Russian bread'). As a child I remember German relatives bringing them for our family around Christmas, and while they are not technically a Christmas cookie, I'm regressing and trying to find them. For those unfamiliar with them, they are small letter-shaped cookies that have a wonderful dark caramel flavor to them. I don't know about German delis in the Southland, but if anyone might point me in the right direction I'd be forever grateful. Many thanks in advance!

Dec 07, 2006
frenchdisco in Los Angeles Area