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Pizzeria Mozza - amazing lunch

I had my first lunch at Mozza Pizzeria today and was very impressed. My party of four ordered three appetizers, all of which were fabulous. We had the beets with horseradish (I normally hate beets, but these were sweet, perfectly cooked, and interesting in their heat), the fried potatoes with herbs (I could have eaten a bucket full), and a lentil and fried goat cheese dish that was perfectly seasoned. We had a nice bottle of white wine for around $30. We then each ordered a different pizza and shared pieces - all were amazing, though mine (salame, mozzarella, tomato and fresno chiles) was to die for. Another bottle of wine washed it down but we wanted more. My friend said it best - "I could eat three more pizzas." Instead we had desert, a meyer lemon gelato pie or something and the signature butterscotch pudding. More delicious food. What really surprised me was the bill. Considering that we had appetizers, individual pizzas, dessert, and two bottles of wine, I was a bit nervous - but it came to just $100 per couple. Don't get me wrong, I don't spend that much on lunch on a normal day, but it seemed reasonable considering the big names attached to this place and the incredibly high quality of the food and service. Long lines were intimidating, but we had made reservations a week before.

First Time at Pinkberry: is this place for real??

I guess I long for food that is original and local and varied. Two flavors of frozen yogurt??

Oct 30, 2007
altadenafoodguy in Chains

First Time at Pinkberry: is this place for real??

I visited Pinkberry's for the first time today and was just sort of stunned at the total mediocrity of what the LA Times called "The place that launched 1000 parking tickets." I am, I should note, a serious yogurt fan. I will drive fifty miles to get some really interesting, homemade yogurt, and I could happily taste-test fresh Greek versus creamy French versus clumpy Indian for hours. Dairy is divine. Maybe that's why paying SO MUCH MONEY for a completely run-of-the-mill bowl of slightly-sweetened and extra creamy frozen yogurt with fruit topping strikes me as banal trendiness of the worst kind. I suspect that this place is spreading like a virus merely because it has a clean, modern aesthetic, offers "green tea" flavor, and manages to appeal to the health-conscious.

Next time, I will go to the grocery store, buy some full-fat yogurt, cut up some fruit, put it on top, and eat it. Delicious, easy, and cheap.

Oct 29, 2007
altadenafoodguy in Chains

Annual Sons of Norway Lutefisk & Meatball Dinner

This is just wonderful, thank you! This kind of regional European food culture transplanted to the U.S. is so common (and tasty) in parts of the midwest but seems kind of hard to find out here on the coasts. (Though I have fond memories of some kind of Polish food being served at a catholic church event in Humboldt County in No Cal when I was a kid . . . )

EVERYONE SHOULD GO TO THIS! Cancel your Providence reservations, save Craft for next week! Sons of Norway, baby!

Dinner at Green St. Tavern, Pasadena

Did you notice anything about the wine list? Did they have beer? I understand that you didn't order drinks, but the "tavern" in the name has me wondering if this place is posing as a tavern or if it takes its alcoholic beverages seriously . . .

Bulgarini - Bad Experience

When you're making gelato from scratch using fresh and (mostly) local ingredients, you run out of flavors depending on how many people come in and buy tubs to bring home. We are used to ice cream and gelato shops having everything on hand, but that is because they make everything ahead of time and just store it in the freezer for ever and a day. The flavor is inferior. Bulgarini is trying to be artisinal, and just as you wouldn't expect the vegetable stand at the farmer's market to have the same vegetables in the same quantities every day of the year, you kinda have to expect Bulgarini will not have everything available, and at certain times, will have very little.

They only use fresh ingredients - no chemicals. Flavor perception is, as we all know on chowhound, highly subjective. It sounds like you didn't ask for tasters - bummer. I usually get 4 or 5 and that way I KNOW that what I'm getting is delicious and what I want.

The scoop falling on the counter thing - I don't get it. Why did you pay??! Never accept inferior service, whether you are in a tiny gelato shop or a four star French restaurant. You are the paying customer and it is your job to demand excellent service. Otherwise withhold your money. If every restaurant got blamed for every lazy/tired/undertrained/stoned/stupid server that they made the mistake of hiring, there would be no good food in the world because EVERY restaurant would close. It is incumbent upon us, the consumers, to demand high standards.

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale in Los Angeles

Cap N Cork Junior Market on 1674 Hillhurst Ave in the Los Feliz area (close to Silverlake) has the best selection around. Their awesome website lists the following Hitachino beers: Hitachino nest ale 750ml, Hitachino nest celebration '06, Hitachino nest red rice ale, Hitachino nest white ale 750ml. I haven't had the celebration but the others are awesome. So good to see extreme craft beers coming out of Japan.

Coffee Shops in Pasadena

Jones Coffee Roasters at 537 S Raymond Ave is awesome. In addition to having the best coffee in Pasadena and possibly in L.A., it is a completely unique experience inside: the big roasters and grinders are all in the same, warehousey space as the counter, tables, and chairs. It feels like you are in someone's very eccentric loft, or possibly in a lounge in a coffee factory, or maybe just in an incredibly cool coffee shop in Pasadena.

REVIEW w/foodie porn flix and pix! (Very) Luscious Dumpling

No, No, Bad Von Vivant! Never write positive reviews of Luscious Dumpling! It is too crowded already!

Luscious Dumpling = divine and luscious.


Neptune's Net or Malibu Seafood or ???

This is one of those questions that is hard to answer honestly. The only bad thing about Mailbu Seafood is the crowds, so . . . Don't go there . . . Even though it rocks.

Driving out to Petrillo's...what should I order?

monkuboy, the point I am trying to make is not that the pizza is "inauthentic" - it's that it is completely bland and utterly similar to thousands of other bland pizza joints that thrive, for reasons that are hard for me to understand, all across the U.S. Why is it that the toppings are so limited in these places? We are surrounded by farmers who could provide all kinds of fresh ingredients? Why is it that it always has to be the same pepperoni, sausage, canned mushrooms, etc.? I'm not saying that this isn't real Italian pizza, I'm drawing the comparison because it illustrates, I think, the faults with this kind of pizza. I'm 100% into imaginative fusion cooking, messing around with tradition, and doing the non-P.C. thing in a restaurant. I could care less about authenticity. What I care about is taste.


I tried Petrillos yesterday based on this thread and was mightily disappointed. Heavy, greasy, completely uncreative food with a stereotypical atmosphere. Ugh. I wrote a more thorough review here:

Driving out to Petrillo's...what should I order?

Maybe this doesn't need to be stated, but the pizza at Petrillos is thoroughly American, by which I mean that it is heavy, greasy, and extremely limited in terms of available toppings. This is a far, far cry from the range of pizzas that you get in Italy or in serious Italian restaurants (rather than Italian-American ones). The menu looks pretty much exactly the same as other Italian(American) restaurants of this ilk, and the atmosphere, while fine, also leads towards the stereotypical.

I went there yesterday with my family and was unimpressed by the blaring Harry Connick Jr. and the faux-leather booths, not what you want to be sitting on when the weather outside is 105 degrees. The food was fine, perhaps a few millimeters better than Domenicos on Washington Blvd in Pasadena, which is close to where I live, but not quite as good as Casa Bianca, which is close to my work.

I guess I would just prefer artisinal Italian pizza/food any day of the week to this terribly homogeneous version of Italian food that seems to be found all over this country. The Italian chow that I crave is creative and seasonal. Salads are made with the freshest local ingredients and dressings do not come out of a bottle. Pizza's are airy and chewy, with a huge range of potential sauces, cheeses, and toppings. The wine, I think it goes without saying, should be superb and varied.

A number of people commented in the "Best Pizza in SGV" post that they noted the lack of Chinese residents of San Gabriel in Petrillos. I have to admit, I wasn't surprised. Why would you go to Petrillos when you could go to any of the incredible, regional, subtle Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in the same neighborhood? The only reason I can think of is childhood nostalgia for restaurants like Petrillos rather than any particular delight in the food.

Take-out Chinese in San Gabriel Valley

Thanks, the basic advice that most places will do takeout is helpful. I have lots of favorite places in San Gabriel and Temple City already, so I'll just try them. I've never eaten a regional style of Chinese food that I didn't love, which is why I didn't specify one type!

My kids are pretty crazy, with some running around, but you're right - they would be fine in most places, especially dim sum. But it isn't always worth the energy required, so takeout becomes an attractive alternative. Thanks!

Take-out Chinese in San Gabriel Valley

I love the Chinese food options in and around the San Gabriel Valley but my kids are just too crazy to take to restaurants under normal circumstances. So, I'm wondering if there are any stand-out places that have great (and easy/accessible) take-out?

overrated/over hyped?

I don't know - Pie n' Burger seems just about perfect to me.

The York, gastropub in Mt. Washington

Hey, that's true, isn't it? I haven't been to the Eagle in a decade at least, because it is always so crowded and the service is so bad that the experience is kind of awful. But that gets us into the whole pub/bar vs. restaurant discussion (see numerous Fathers Office rants on these boards) and I'd rather not go there. I guess I would just say that a lot of successful gastropubs in England, which may have been inspired by the Eagle but which improved upon it, have effectively used waitstaff to improve the experience. One of my favorites is the Salt House on Abbey Road in St. John's Wood . . . I guess, in a selfish way, I wish The York would aim more in that direction:)

quirky coffeehouses

Jones Coffee Roasters on S. Raymond in Pasadena. It is sort of a warehouse style place with some comfy furniture and the big old roasting machines all going kuh-swoosh-a-swoosh around you, with the smell of roasting coffee permeating EVERYTHING. Awesome.

The York, gastropub in Mt. Washington

Hasn't anyone else visited? This place got no less than two write-ups in the LA Times last week, one a restaurant review and one in the Thursday _Weekend_ section (which was gloriously devoted to beer, yay!). I was surprised at how enthusiastic the reviewer was - I liked it, but wasn't sure the LA Times would. Anyway, I'd be interested to hear if others have enjoyed it.

REAL RAMEN fans....have you been to...

I went to Orochan Ramen for the first time on Friday and found it to be amazing. Great noodles, very good soup, and excellent ingredients. The place was PACKED for lunch with a 75% Japanese crowd, speaking Japanese and looking like recent transplants. My waitress was Japanese as well.

I am a huge fan of Daikokuya and Yokohama Shinsengumi and have lived in Japan (and eaten sickening quantities of ramen there) for many years . . . But of course that doesn't mean much in the end since ramen appreciation is a pretty subjective area.

Nice restaurant for fish in Pasadena

Shiro's is worth it! French + Japanese = fantastic seafood.

Good Italian in Pasadena

It is.

Houston's Pasadena

They've never taken reservations for dinner. What can I say, it's part of the experience! Get there early and have a drink at the bar, enjoy yourself. Unless you arrive at peak hour on a weekend, you won't wait more than 30 minutes. Go early and don't wait at all. I think the food is worth it.

Ramen Wars!

All real ramen in Japan and its diaspora uses a meat broth, sometimes with seafood added as well. Some good ramen has a very healthy dose of lard added to the broth, particularly for the thicker soups. That's just the way it is. Vegetarian ramen does exist in this country, but occupies the same shelf in the culinary supermarket of ideas as cream cheese in sushi.

Ramen Wars!

Yes, please remember that ramen, though in theory originally from China, was perfected in Japan where the stinking humidity of a July or August day is enough to slap you down to the ground. Your only hope is to escape to the sticky air conditioning of a ramen shop, where the hot noodles and soup will correct your internal body temperature and prepare you for the rest of your train ride/bouncy bus trip/long walk home. Nothing sounds more appealing to me on a hot day than a big bowl of ramen!!! I learned to love it in Kyoto. RIP Chuka Karako Soba.

The York, gastropub in Mt. Washington

On Tuesday night I went to The York, a new gastropub at 5018 York Blvd. in Mt. Washington, near Eagle Rock. Pretty easy to get to from the 110/Pasadena Freeway.

The place was great. I had a cheddar burger and fries and several beers (ranging from local Pasadena brews to more exotic European fare) on tap. They had a small but excellent wine selection as well and a nice menu for a gastropub. The cheddar burger was perfectly cooked (when I say medium rare I often expect to get medium, but it was really medium rare!) on a delicious bun and with great hand-cut fries. Friends had the friend bread appetizer (good) and fish and chips (good).

The ambiance inside was nice - music not too loud, lighting not too dark, and trendy without being pompous. We stayed for hours. You can sit at the bar in the middle of the restaurant, along raised tables along one wall, at rectangular tables along another wall, or in some big comfy leather booths in the back on the left.

A few quirky details: they don't have any menus, but instead have everything written on a few huge chalk boards on the wall. This seemed to me like an annoying affectation that they will inevitably have to abandon because if you are sitting in a booth, it is a pain for everyone to get up to look at the wall. There also are no waiters, so you order and pay at the bar. It wasn't too crowded on Tuesday, but I can imagine that on a weekend it might be a struggle. Hate to sound snobby, but real gastropubs in the U.K. usually have waiters. It is especially annoying if you need something (I wanted mayo with those fries, mate!) to have to go the bar. I just walked back to the kitchen, but you shouldn't have to, you know?

One final note - the guy at the bar was happy to split our bill into four for our four credit cards, which was appreciated. Hope they can keep that up.

Bulgarini Gelato: Fabulous Flavors, Subpar Service

I go to this place a few times a week as I live up the street, and I have to disagree both with the expectations of the posters here and with the representation of Bulgarini.

First, some of their flavors are softer because of the presence of different fresh and unprocessed ingredients: higher sugar content, extreme concentration of natural citrus acids, or the presence of alcohol can all make gelato very soft. The very idea that all gelato should be the same consistency goes against what this artisinal shop is trying to accomplish.

Second, I have never seen more than one person scooping, usually because everyone is in the back making product, which is always absolutely fresh. Most gelato places make everything way ahead of time and store it in a giant freezer so they can have the whole staff scooping. This is just a different kind of shop and customers need to expect a different experience. Don't think of a big (corporate) gelateria in central Rome, which is the model for most gelaterias in the U.S.; think instead of a little gelato stand next to a church in a sleepy Roman neighborhood . . .

Oinkster in Eagle Rock

Just visited yesterday for the first time and had an amazing time. This place ROCKS! They serve Fat Tire Amber Ale, for Hops sakes! And the pastrami sandwich and pulled pork sandwich, not to mention the fries and cole slaw, were awesome.

The Great Pupusa Roundup

Ever been to La Caravana on Lake in Pasadena, just south of Washington (up the hill toward Altadena)? A Salvadoran friend loves it but he has a personal connection to the owners and that may bias him.

I'm a big fan of Delmy’s at the Sunday Hollywood Farmer’s Market (the way the masa and cheese gets browned and sort of crusty is what appeals) and am excited to try your recommendations!

Larkin's in Eagle Rock?

Anyone been to Larkin's ("A Contemporary Soul Joint") yet?

1496 Colorado Blvd. (cross Loleta)
Eagle Rock