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Very Good BBQ Brisket at Maple Block

Kevin always gave the impression that he didn't take pork. Pull that yard bird and he will bite.

Aug 30, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

W is for Waffles

One should take note that Uncle Bill's waffles aren't Belgian style - pretty standard waffle using pancake batter on a waffle iron one would find at home. It's the add-ons that make it.

Is Holy Cow BBQ in CC expensive?

Time. HC is a lot closer to our home, we needed to get some non-que for my pops, and it was already around 7PM.

We like J n J but when we plan for a bbq feast, we usually make the effort to hit Bludso's.

Aug 24, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Is Holy Cow BBQ in CC expensive?

We've been a couple of times. The prices are definitely higher than Bludso's. But the two are apples and oranges. As already mentioned, one is take out located in a Compton bldg that's not much more than a life support system for a bbq operation.

Holy Cow is a sit down full service op with a full bar. The que is much tamer than Bludso's. It's like a mild intro to que compared to Bludso's

Just comparing meat, IMHO Bludso's wins hands down. HC's meat doesn't carry the smoke like Bludso's. With Bludso's, your fingers smell of smoke and que even after washing your hands - not HC.

HC kinda scratches the itch for que if you don't feel like doing the 405-105-710 and back thing. That route can be a pain on any given day.

We went last weekend for take out to feed five. A full rack of babybacks, a pound each of brisket and tri tip, cole slaw and potato salad, and a grilled salmon dinner (for pops who fears red meat). The total came to about $105. Spend just a little more at Bludso's and you're talkin' large party tray that can easily feed 10 plus leftovers.

Aug 21, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

4 Day Trip to LA/OC - Summer 2015 - Report

This Nijiya probably has the best food offered by any of the local Japanese markets. We've found everything we've tried there to be at least pretty good.

Aug 09, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

4 Day Trip to LA/OC - Summer 2015 - Report

Sorry I didn't mention this. I didn't know whether they were open on weekends or not but I did suspect it. Their lunch-only hours led me to presume that they were (at least for now) angling at the local 8-5ers for lunch.

Aug 09, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

4 Day Trip to LA/OC - Summer 2015 - Report

We had lunch at the Torrance location - no lines! The locals probably are somewhat jaded with the great fresh noodle choices around that 'hood.

Aug 07, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

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

We've eaten at Sakura over the years as well, through at least three different owners. The customer base used to be mostly Japanese folks in the adjacent neighborhood.

Back in the 90s, the owner sold to (I think) a younger couple - they kinda "upgraded" and expanded the menu, which drew more of a younger diverse crowd. This was necessary as the local Japanese resident population was getting older and their kids were moving away. The place suffered from a quality standpoint IMHO. I recall ordering some dishes with more premium ingredients (like matsutake) and got scraps.

The newest owner I think is a Japanese-American woman who seems to have a better handle on things. However, we don't think it's worth the wait, the dining room is cramped, and we usually only order certain dishes to go for my dad (the chirashi is pretty good).

Sakura's sushi bar does brisk business. It's straight-up average to above-average sushi that is meant for sushi eaters who are more than a few pay grades and levels of refinement below those who appreciate Mori, Kiriko, Tsujita et al.

4 Day Trip to LA/OC - Summer 2015 - Report

Wow did you eat well there. Kotohira built its reputation quite a while ago for focusing on the quality of its udon noodles. The ladies who work the front house are really nice. While the food may not be ultra-high level Japanese cuisine, most of the menu items are a real bargain.

Marugame Monzo has taken over the top spot for fresh house-made udon. Their noodles are thicker and more toothsome. The eatery is located in Downtown LA's Little Tokyo neighborhood. But they also recently opened another unit in Torrance. It's in the same shopping center as the Nijiya Market. Their hours are pretty limited for now - lunch only.

Aug 05, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Recs in the San Fernando valley

Boogiebaby et al, sorry to hear Lum-Ka-Naad is so dreadful now. Tail between my legs... Head hanging in shame... Signing up for remedial Chow course in Thai recs for the SFV...

Aug 01, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Recs in the San Fernando valley

We never tried that one - since it's on Ventura, we were afraid that it might lean more to the not-so-Thai side. Have you had a chance to try them?

Jul 27, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Recs in the San Fernando valley

That's too bad. Our last trip was about a year ago and really enjoyed it. We ordered almost completely from the Northern/Southern list (mostly Northern). Curious - what were the issues? Thanks

Jul 27, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Cental Coast recommendations

Big Sky Cafe in SLO has been a reliable stop over the years.

Jul 27, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Recs in the San Fernando valley

Lum-Ka-Naad on Reseda for Thai.

Jul 27, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Benny's Tacos and Chicken Rotisserie in Westchester

I tried Benny's when they first opened on Lincoln in Venice. They offered al pastor which was roasted on the trompo. The problem was they preroasted/shaved the meat and put it in steam trays - it was pretty disappointing and very oily, so I never went back. I recall the tortillas being pretty good.

I believe Benny - the person whose caricature was on the sign board - is Armenian - maybe Leabanese as well. This could explain the preparation of the chicken and the garlic sauce (think Zankou).

Thanks for the post (to Jase as well) - we will give them a try some time soon...

Jul 27, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Where to eat near breweries?

I felt our food - including the burger - were better than okay. Not doubting your opinion - I just felt our food was at least as good as many very good mid-priced eateries (in L.A.).

When a brewery has a kitchen, the food is usually mediocre. I think most guests are happy that any food is available, aside from a food truck or packing one's own food - whatever is offered is readily accepted. At Ballast Point's Little Italy location, there seems to be an effort to offer very palatable food at a casual level with their beer line up. Just my opinion...

Jul 23, 2015
bulavinaka in San Diego

Where to eat near breweries?

We had lunch at Ballast/Little Italy today. Enjoyed a few flights and the food was much better than expected.

Jul 22, 2015
bulavinaka in San Diego

L.A. Dish of the Month, July 2015 -- SKEWERS

I'd bet those would travel well enough to Three Weavers Brewery in Inglewood.

Most underrated LA restaurants

They also now have beer and wine - very good beer and wine. And their desserts are simple but delicious.

Most underrated LA restaurants

Del Rey Kitchen in Del Rey/Mar Vista.

Jun 27, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area
1

L.A. Dish of the Month, July 2015 -- Nominations

That was officially for brisket. Barbecue in general is a much broader category. There's always deviation from the specified dish, but no where near enough in this case to unofficially proclaim it spanning bbq in this board's area of coverage.

Moreover, various forms of bbq from other parts of the New World, Asia, etc. would greatly expand the category. If the smoking process is fair game, then places like J and T European Gourmet are included AND will also be a nod to those nominating sausages.

Jun 21, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Dish of the Month, June 2015 -- Nominations

Soft-shelled crabs are exactly as the name describes - the shell is soft (and soft enough to eat). The crabs are caught after the existing exoskeletons are moulted. The crab's new forming exoskeleton require time to harden, and mineral/ion exchange with the water. If crustaceans are palatable to you, give these a whirl.

May 24, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Dish of the Month, June 2015 -- Nominations

I'd add Gjusta's breakfast sandwiches to this list. The one that's similar to sister-eatery GTA uses harissa, giving it a different flavor profile. Gjusta also has great bialy sandwiches. The egg sandwich with merguez sausage add-on is unique to me. And the selection of smoked fish and choices of schmeers creates a lot of combinations.

L.A. Dish of the Month, June 2015 -- Nominations

Playa Provisions has a great one.

May 23, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Hal's Bar & Grill on Abbot Kinney Will Shutter After 30 Years

That is the Hal who I was thinking of. He lived in or at least had a home in Venice. Haven't seen or heard about him for a while.

Apr 25, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Hal's Bar & Grill on Abbot Kinney Will Shutter After 30 Years

From what I recall, the Novacks were partners with the previous landlord (I think his name is Hal) who owned the contiguous buildings from Hal's to Casa Linda's. As a major part of their partnership contributions, the Novacks
managed the properties.

Remember that the Novacks were in Venice when houses in the Oakwood/Washington (now Abbot Kinney) area were going for $20-30K at the time. Hal was there even longer - I'm guessing at least since the 70s. Property taxes were minimal (think of their pre-gentrification tax basis) so sharing such expenses was nominal given the rental income over the past decade.

Once the properties were sold and the ownership changed over to the new partnership, the new tax basis was astronomically higher. The Novacks were supposed to continue their part of the partnership but the new partners expected the Novacks to pay into the now-burdensome property tax. Tap-out time.

Apr 25, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Hal's Bar & Grill on Abbot Kinney Will Shutter After 30 Years

Google continues to expand out from its original location on Main St, then Rose Ave and Hampton Dr. They are planning on expanding north of Rose Ave along Main and Hampton. I wouldn't be surprised if the expanded east to 4th as well.

Apr 25, 2015
bulavinaka in Los Angeles Area

Friends from out of state moved to Venice CA. Looking for authentic Chinese food Locally?

Not for watered-down boba and bargain hot pot it doesn't. Oh yeah, and foot massages too. Otherwise, it blows...not!

Friends from out of state moved to Venice CA. Looking for authentic Chinese food Locally?

Qin on Westwood Blvd just north of Santa Monica in Westwood.

4 days in Santa Monica with teen

I'm guessing the OP is going to high-traffic areas like 3rd St, the beach, etc. If that's the case, I'd say it's a coin toss. I spent 40 minutes the other night going from Venice/Abbot Kinney to the north area of Main St in Santa Monica. Parking is also a pain in much of Santa Monica, Venice and the rest of the Westside. Having someone else do the driving and not having to find parking are big pluses. Not being able to take a drive up PCH at one's own choosing would be nice though.