a

aliris's Profile

Title Last Reply

Comparing Ethiopian restaurants

Andrew, Paranoid -- thanks for weighing in. I am hoping some who might be well-versed in Ethiopian food explicitly might join as well? Surely there are some hounds with a tooth for injera-fixings?

It's funny because I'm sure there are people who can ably discern between these restaurants. But the sense I have is of so many of us - me included - who like the "genre" but don't think carefully about the specifics. Hence Andrew who has been just to Awash, for example, and liked it but not compared it to other places. Or garlic and, say, me, who have been to many such places but haven't really been able to articulate what might be different between places. When I went to these two places back-to-back with the idea in mind of comparing explicitly, I realized the offerings from both are very, very different. And yet I hadn't really understood that previously.

Kinda interesting, to me at least. Andrew, no offense is intended for having found one place you like and sticking to it! I'm only intrigued by the huge numbers of places cheek to jowl with their adherents, but in fact very little that I've seen at least, articulating any difference between them. As well as the phenom of Genet's netting hundreds and hundreds of accolades in the midst of so many other places leaving me wondering how much is just a random, articulate and famous reviewer ginning up excitement, and ancillary attentive service (ancillary to the quality of the food that is), and how much is a true distinction in food.

I've yet to make it back to Genet's to try this thesis of lemming-reputation driving some of the noise. Also, a corollary to this 'thesis' is to wonder about the places that some on yelp refer to on the strip as being "as good as" Genet's, yet unnamed -- which are, which aren't and why?

Please - are there some CH's out there with opinions on this? I'd love some direction in how to think about and evaluate this food!

Jan 07, 2015
aliris in Los Angeles Area

It's two years late, but I finally managed to watch that Cooking Channel show where Huge Tree Pastry was featured

What a fun clip -- *thank you*!!!

Jan 06, 2015
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Comparing Ethiopian restaurants

Following a super-memorable meal at Genet's a couple summers ago, I finally got back to "Little Ethiopia" on Fairfax only to find Genet's closed (Mon/Tue).

Now, at the time (formerly) I had felt this was *the best* Ethiopian food I'd ever had, and I've been to several Ethio restaurants in several different American cities, Yet in truth, I liked them all more-or-less; I wasn't sure whether it was perhaps just the surprisingly pleasant service at Genet's that was in the end the real distinguisher. I wanted to really test whether it was as good as my memory claimed. And yet I couldn't re-test that wonderful meal as she was closed and settled instead on another yelp-highly-rated place, Buna.

Then tonight I decided to start going through some of these other places systematically. I've been to most on Fairfax in the past, but again, can't quite really distinguish them. I'm wondering whether others have attempted to really parse these all apart. So far then I've been to Buna and AWASH in an attempt to make a direct comparison. I'd love to hear others' explicit comparisons if possible.

Here's what I said about each on yelp:

Buna:
This food was really just delicious. From the that's-the-way-cappuccino-is-supposed-to-taste coffee I had while waiting for my order, to the marvelous flavors we all got to eat at home, I couldn't be happier with this food.

I've been worried that taking out Ethiopian food might be a mistake, that perhaps things get cold and soggy and won't taste so good from a styrofoam container? Or that the crispy fish will become not-crispy?

Nope: this is far from sub-par takeout (as I'd feared), Ethiopian food it turns out seems to be extra especially _good_ as take-out! Maybe because its flavors are all so blended to begin with? I think the stews and veggies were possibly even better for sitting around on the injera all that extra time. It was just an out-of-the-park favorite among everyone at home from teens to old-sters.

The fish is every bit as delicious, crispy and tasty as the photos here suggest. I don't know what kind of fish it actually is, but it tastes really wonderful. This dish is highly recommended. As is the lamb stew and the veggie platter with the fantastic tomato salad. Just terrific.

A couple years ago we happened on the internet-sensation just south of here "Meals By Genet" and in part for its atmospherics, that was a memorable Ethiopian meal I couldn't get out of my head. But I've long loved Ethiopian food and couldn't really tell how much was the pleasant atmosphere and how much just very special food. So I opted instead as a test of sorts for one of the many other restaurants on the strip; this one highly recommended by yelpers. And I still don't know whether Genet's is "more special" than this, but it doesn't really matter. This food was as good as needs to be: the whole family was so happy and enthusiastic eating it. If its famous cousin is better, the difference is subtle indeed. While not a white-table-cloth place, the people here do their very utmost to make you feel comfortable and well-served. It is a wonderful establishment and I am so happy to have happened upon it. I can't wait to try all the rest of the menu.

AWASH:
Wow, I am starting to get a feel for differences between Ethiopian-food restaurants! Yeah! In general, I do really like the 'differentness' of it all so much that in the past I've just sort of loved it all. But recently I've gone to several in a row within just a few days and I can begin to distinguish the way the food is cooked and between the restaurants. I would say, therefore, that while AWASH is good, it is no way as good as some of the others in the area. In particular, we took food out from Buna and from AWASH on successive nights and tried to order similarly in order to compare. There is no way AWASH is as good as Buna.

The fish at Buna was incredibly crispy and not oily, savory and really interestingly spiced. From AWASH it was just oily and greasy and with very little and very patchy sections of crispiness. Mostly, the skin was just kind of rubbery and gloppy. Ick. It was nice they included a lime with the fish from AWASH. But the fish from Buna was so savory it needed no supplement. From Buna we received a fish that was easily twice as large as AWASH's plus the entree comes with a variety of vegetable stews, absent from AWASH's. Just from a value standpoint, the fish dish from Buna was far greater than AWASH's, but from quality as well that choice was clear.

AWASH has a chicken tibbs dish that was very tasty but the vegetables included not even real carrots but carrot whatever-they're-called, those carrot "Stumps", those baby carrots from a bag. Flavorless, stringy - just not the real, nutritious thing. Their cooked greens were quite bitter and not well cooked or blended with spices. This may be OK, a stylistic difference, but I far preferred the greens stew of Buna. At AWASH there is a horseradish-heavy stew that others have commented on; it's quite distinctive. Some seem to really like it, others not. For me, I did not but I can understand how YMMV with that. It's definitely a dish with character.

The injera at AWASH may have been a little fluffier, but it tasted a little wheatier to me as well. It's color is darker than Buna's; not sure what that means if anything. I think the breads were different but I'm not certain which I preferred.

The salad from AWASH was pretty much over-dressed cut up iceberg; nothing special to me about it at all and I would have far preferred far less dressing. From Buna they give you a tomato-based cut up salad with little if any lettuce (can't quite remember) and a very distinctive dressing; it was memorably special. Much preferable.

If there was any chicken in the chicken tibbs I didn't get any! S'OK with me, but maybe not with some others. I did like the vegetable melange of that dish...

All in all, I would prefer Buna to AWASH hands-down, and I think Genet for sure too. But I think Genet is far more expensive than the other two. Buna seemed a far better value with the yelp incentives at least. Else, it may have been slightly more expensive without the coupon. But they also gave you far more food. Again, a better value from Buna.

Monterey Park for _dinner_

Thank you! Those would be your suggestions then?

Dec 26, 2014
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Monterey Park for _dinner_

Hi - I vaguely recall reading that folks preferred Elite for dinner than "dim sum", but when I went to search that here, found surprisingly low marks on the place for either?!

So perhaps things have changed or my memory has just failed; searching Chowhound on a subject as general as "Chinese Food" so I thought I'd just ask: where might y'all recommend for dinner along Atlantic Avenue please?

Many thanks!

Dec 26, 2014
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Common Man (Claremont) or Windsor Station (Windsor)

Hi - I'm returning to Upper Valley stomping grounds for a maternal birthday and am wondering where best to visit for brunch. Maternal unit likes hamburgers a lot, though I don't know that's necessarily brunch fare. Prettiness is important too. We will be a party of probably 8 at least, so able to handle a biggish party matters too.

Windsor Station was mentioned as pretty and good food, Common Man as pretty and less-good food.

Has anyone any comments to make pro or con for either of those? Or even are you willing to suggest another possibility in the area? Something new and good would be fun. We do love Simon Pierce but have been there quite a bit -- but it's not a bad choice. Something like that...

TIA!!

Sep 20, 2014
aliris in Northern New England

finger sandwiches?

Thanks, all! Lots to try then! Much appreciated...

Jun 29, 2014
aliris in Los Angeles Area

finger sandwiches?

OK, in search of the perennial question: where to get afternoon tea that is better than the Huntington's? I thought perhaps searching on something other than "tea" would work? So ... I'm posting here, again, hoping for any updated information.

I'm looking for the pageantry, the full nine yards with (good) pastries and sandwiches - real actual ones with thin bread if possible? - with real crumbly scones and actual, delicious tea.

The Huntington is fun but (a) it's grown expensive and (b) the food while fun, is not actually all that good.

I understand the Biltmore has some fans and the Gordon Ramsey has as well. Perhaps there is a Four Seasons with a reasonable afternoon tea? Jin Patisserie has closed, which shows up all over the place when searched on ... I was never a fan of that place anyway. Not at all!

There is a place called Rose Cottage in Pasa which I have never tried, aiming always, boringly, for the Huntington when out there...

And after so many years, you'd think this issue would be easier to learn all about?!

For the purposes of this inquiry, the tea's quality is important, but not critical. We're looking for quality and "sparklingness" in the food service as well. But it wouldn't work if the tea were ignored either.

Toward that end and in response to all my searching, I would agree that Funnel Mill in SM does a fantastic job with tea if that's what you're wanting alone. But it doesn't do pageantry, just really, really spectacular tea. period.

TIA hounds! (p.s. There's a young teen girl involved in all this)

Jun 27, 2014
aliris in Los Angeles Area

What restaurant do you really really really miss that is now closed ?????

There was a place in Palms on Overland called "Metropolis" I think, in the mid 90's ... :( I may have been the only one who liked it, but I *really* liked it.

Feb 12, 2014
aliris in Los Angeles Area

What is your favorite donut in LA right now and where ?

.

Feb 12, 2014
aliris in Los Angeles Area

What is your favorite donut in LA right now and where ?

I am very excited to know about FedNuts in Philly -- I have family there and will have to visit anon. In the meantime, IMHO, Sidecar is so good it is worth driving 60 miles for. And the destination is all the savorier for the fantastic Australian meat-pie place (pie-not) next door.

It is very rare for me to encounter food I would drive long distances for. At least not food that I can afford.

Feb 12, 2014
aliris in Los Angeles Area

What is your favorite donut in LA right now and where ?

LOL. But there's nothing stopping you from shopping at Goodwill to "subsidize" the occasional trip to Nordstroms.

I agree the prices at Sidecar are eye-popping but so is the deliciousness.

Feb 12, 2014
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Aussie Meat Pies

Wow, this is good news! I was all the way down in Huntington Beach last weekend and stumbled across Pie-not in an unassuming corner mall. I thought it was *amazing* food. Just delicious. An actual veritable "destination find" for me. And yet, it seems this place exists close, in LA?! Amazing...

So, they must be a chain? Because there was a sweet place next door called Sidecar which, it seems, is the identical combination here in LA? Their donuts were, IMO just fantastic too. I'm sad to learn it's such a well-copied phenomenon though. Still delicious, to be sure. Just not quite as unique as I had thought, apparently.

I will definitely try out the LA location too.

....but when I search I do not find anywhere but Costa Mesa -- is there really an LA location?

Feb 12, 2014
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Any updates on SGV dim sum carts?

Thanks for the link PeterCC and replies, both. This back/forth doesn't seem to changed much in *years*. I spent hours last night reading all the old threads. I guess we'll try 888 though it seems to me there are proponents of Ocean Star and Empress Harbor out there as well. Perhaps certain dishes are better at certain places and hence, the never-ending ambiguity. I think in the end it must mean they're all pretty good, not as good as the non-cart dim sum, but part of that old-time experience.

Aug 18, 2013
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Any updates on SGV dim sum carts?

There are a lot of threads from several years back. I'm wondering what would be a recent recommendation (Aug 2013) for cart dim sum please? Thank you!

Aug 18, 2013
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Best Lobster Roll in Los Angeles area?

I was just at the Westside Tavern in the mall on Pico at Overland and they were serving a CT-style (hot melted butter) lobster roll, $18 I think. Didn't try it so can't vouch for it. It was a special, and how special, I don't know -- best perhaps to call if you're making a special trip to ask if it's still there.

Apr 06, 2013
aliris in Los Angeles Area
1

Early family breakfast near LAX

really? Sorry!!

Apr 06, 2013
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Early family breakfast near LAX

Oh, that's a good idea ... it really is a good restaurant. About 10 min north of LAX.

Apr 06, 2013
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Grandma really only likes American...

Daily Grill would have been just fine; it would have been a good idea. But I appreciated something a little chain-y. For all I know WS Tavern is a chain too but I had never heard of it before this evening, so at least I don't know of it. Everytime I drive through a new city I see Daily Grills looking all smoky and black-windowed from the outside at least.

Grandma was totally thrilled with WS Tavern even though it definitely failed the not-noisy test. It's clear, though, they were actually trying to dampen the volume in there a bit because there is cork on some walls and many sound-catching protrusions. It would have done volumes for them to turn off the rock music of course; everyone just talks louder to get up over it, so not only can you not hear the music but you can't hear your dinner companions either; perfect.

The menu at WS Tavern was perfect. The food a little less inspiring than the menu, but oddly enough, reality didn't have to follow through on this type of dinner date as much as anticipation. Just the people-watching and the room-watching and the food-watching and the waitron-watching was a blast in itself. The food was very good, just didn't hold up quite the whole way through.

For example the garden salad was quite uninspired - you can buy bags of prewashed lettuce with leaves small enough to stuff into one's mouth. These were not and they weren't cut either. The dressing was dull. Lettuces were fresh though.

The Mac n Cheese was a disappointment; just too rich. The excess isn't necessary, it felt like death on each bite. Even my two children did not finish a fairly small container and that is saying *a lot*.

The lamb sandwich was just delicious as many have mentioned.

The sweet potato fries were delicious but again, way too much fat in the sauce provided: excessive (same for the MacNChz; just too much, and the salad dressing was all fat, almost no oil). There was a very good veggie chili.

So what this means is it was all tasty, gotten there by excessive fat. It tasted really good at first but very quickly one feels bloated and bogged down by the richness. I don't mean this as a terrible criticism; we were very happy with the place. Good, very good perhaps, but not great.

Service was excellent-ish, particularly considering how crowded they were.

Thanks very much for introducing me to this Gma place. Judging by the average age of the crowd, this is not the only grandma who enjoys this restaurant. AT 50-something, I felt well below the average age there, it was a little odd.

I will hold on to all those other suggestions for the future too. Thanks for the great list and thoughts, all.

Apr 06, 2013
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Grandma really only likes American...

26 beach has been a sort of go-to place for the Gma for years but I got sort of fed up of the shabbiness myself. Personally, I have a problem with calling shabby chic; most everything I own is authentically shabby, and let me tell you, no one would mistake that for chic. But just calling it so isn't, so really, all that pretentiousness is too much for me.

But in general, yes, that would be a place I knew about that was +/- spot-on, though it's true, I was looking for slightly more elegant or at least new-to-us tonight. But indeed, those burgers are just what the mother ordered....

thanks!

Apr 06, 2013
aliris in Los Angeles Area
1

Grandma really only likes American...

Thanks, dirty - that's a fun list I hadn't even thought of hardly one for. Budget? I dunno -- I was just looking at Hal's website and it's just a lot of money, but we *could* go that high... higher, no. I'm guessing, therefore, that, say, Jiraffe is out. I don't even know of some of the others so I'm looking forward to looking at them. But I guess the budget would be about around what Ocean Ave Seafood was.

Another issue is noise. Grandma can't take noise and hustle/bustle. Teens want white table cloth.... Burgers a plus for Gma. Veggies, 4 me ... sigh. I hate this; it's why I almost always just cook at home these days. :)

Again, thanks for the list. I'll get cracking on it...

...and Westside Tavern it is! I'll report back. Thank you so very much. It looks like it may be perfect, with the exception, perhaps, of noisiness... we'll see. Thanks again!

Apr 06, 2013
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Grandma really only likes American...

sigh. I was thinking of going to Ocean Ave Seafood but that seems to have bitten the dust. She likes Spitfire but I'm not a huge fan ... any suggestions anyone please, for boring old American food on the westside? Thanks!

Apr 06, 2013
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Early family breakfast near LAX

I'm not sure where the Sheraton is - can you please give an address? There's a good-enough really iconic 50's family restaurant (still owned by the third generation family) on the corner of Jefferson and Sepulveda called Dinah's. They have good german apple pancakes and a pretty large variety of other "specialty" pancakes. It's none of it fantabulously delicious, but it's a fun place to go and I really think your kids would enjoy it as well as anything else. Personally, I'm no fan of Pepy's at all thought they do have a couple Mexican 'breakfast'-y specialties that others like (e.g. machaca). It's on Venice Blvd at Grandview in the bowling alley there. Both are north of LAX; Dinah's about 6 min drive from LAX, Pepy's closer to 15m away. I recommend Dinah's.

What happened to the mapping feature on Chowhound?

If you're going to go down to Manhattan Beach as another suggested, I think the breakfasts at Good Stuff are pretty good. That's about 15m from LAX to the south. Possibly further?

Apr 06, 2013
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Budget friendly Montreal for young couple

We just had fun at Akhavan for lunch. There may well be better restaurants for Persian food -- this is a grocery store with a side-flaming bit. The waitress was about as surly as they come, but it was still so fun just to be in this grocery -- I think it's a wonderful slice of Montreal. They have huge vats of various soft cheeses and mounds of nuts and masses of olives, looking at the packaged goods is a peek beyond. I just love it in there. Highly recommended to visitors (of which I am now one)! It's on Sherbrooke a little east of Cavendish, south side of street. They have a parking lot.

Dec 30, 2012
aliris in Quebec (inc. Montreal)

Town and Country Resort

Perhaps asking for a good restaurant in this conference resort ("Town and Country") is an oxymoron; I know coughing up good food to captive audiences doesn't happen much.

So I'm going to ask about relative merit... I will be with a daughter at a conference in San Diego at the Town and Country and am wondering where would be better than elsewhere to eat in particular: breakfast. We must celebrate her birthday at a breakfast there and I'd like it to be edible and nice if possible. I understand these two variables might fix cost higher than I'd like, but for her birthday that's OK. (I suppose the renovating trope of 'fast, cheap or quality; two of three but not all' might apply in the feeding world as well?)

Any suggestions? I do have a car, but leaving for breakfast or lunch might be unwise. Dinner, maybe better. As far as requests for other meals, just "good" of any ethnicity would be great. Good and good value or even cheap would be best of all!

Many thanks...

Jun 28, 2012
aliris in San Diego

Balboa Park: Good, Cheap, Fast?

Hey everyone -- thanks! I thought about all these suggestions but ended up opting for the Japanese tea house. It was good-enough. Not great by any means, and not really cheap either, but not outrageous. And it was pleasant in the sun, overlooking the cherry blossoms, listening to a concert.

We'll try the rest of these next time.

And gosh, were all those people at the park not tourists then? What are the tourists all doing downtown?

Mar 12, 2012
aliris in San Diego

Balboa Park: Good, Cheap, Fast?

Hi yall -- I can't believe this isn't what 85% of visitors want to know: where to go in Balboa park (Sunday for us) that's decent, cheap and fast please! We're swooping in from very far away to hit one museum and don't want to spend much time eating; but we don't want to have wretched food either.

Any hints please?

Many thanks SD!

Mar 10, 2012
aliris in San Diego

Key lime pie on the Westside?

I agree that key lime pie is mostly whipped cream. But if you go for it understanding that, it's yummy. Sometimes it's cream you want, like a banana cream pie. This is a key-lime version of banana cream, if you follow. Good, but maybe not classic. I like it, in agreement with another poster. But I can't wait to try Dolce Isola - thanks for that tip!

Jan 25, 2012
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Recommendation for inexpensive but good dinner for 8 in West LA on a Monday night

Wow; that's great to know. thanks.

They were *so* helpful a month or so ago when we found ourselves with 2 youngish children arriving back in town, very hungry, very tired, really very, very - dangerously tired (long story) -- I steered us over there, plonked into a table and they fed us in very short order so that we could roll out and get this day behind us. It was the next best thing to having a mother around; very helpful. Very appreciated. And the food is cheap even without that lunch special option and very tasty too. I really appreciate their presence.

Oct 11, 2011
aliris in Los Angeles Area

Recommendation for inexpensive but good dinner for 8 in West LA on a Monday night

Seconded (thirded?) ... and there's a $20 for $10 coupon on yipit today. Don't know how long these things are available. I love Tara's food - very authentic for that general region.

Thai Boom on the same block is also very good, but a little less atmospheric.

-----
Thai Boom
10863 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

Oct 11, 2011
aliris in Los Angeles Area