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Aug 19, 2007 09:13 PM

Hard-to-Find So Cal Foods

I think that I've found the best of these hard-to-find dishes in Southern California, but I'm
searching for better!

1) western style fruit-stuffed mochi at JJ Bakery. In Japan, they serve a mochi filled with
whipped cream, custard, fruit, and sponge/pound cake. JJ Bakery is the only place
I've had it in Southern California, and it's good, but I'm looking for ones that taste like
the ones in Japan! No ice-cream mochi or fruit-only stuffed mochi please.

2) banh xeo at Van Restaurant. So many of my compadres and I travel here to eat
this Vietnamese dish, and only Vietnam House seems to come close in taste. Is there
anywhere else to eat this that tastes good?

3) low-brow al pastor better than Uncle Robby's. Can't find it better than here. A burrito
filled with al pastor, rice, beans, onions, and hot sauce for $4 can't be beat.

4) high-brow al pastor better than Babita. Yes, I think it's about $25, but with the hand-
made tortillas and the pickled veggies, it's one of the most delicious things I've had in
Southern California. (It's conchinita pibil here.)

5) aebleskiver anywhere other than Solvang. I think about this dessert often.

6) Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki at Gaja. A few places serve okonomiyaki, but is there
anywhere decent in So Cal that serves it Hiroshima style other than Gaja?

7) white chocolate blueberry tart. IMO, the best dessert is the white chocolate blueberry
tart at Sweet Inspiration Bakery in the Fillmore District in SF. With imported Maine
blueberries, I've paid over $50 for this tart. Anywhere in LA serving something similar?

Thanks for the help!!!!

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  1. One. Where is Uncle Robby's?
    Two. Al Pastor is different than Conchinita Pibil, which do you want?

    4 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        Man, someone needs to take a look at that menu - in taking a 2-second glance they have written "Al Pastor" 3 ways - "au paster", "au pastor" and "all pastor"... wonder how good it can be??!! ;-)
        I have never heard it being called comprable to conchinita pibil.

        1. re: WildSwede

          As long as Lou Pasteur doesn't enter into the equation I am not going to carp.

    1. When I lived in SoCal, I used to frequent the Torrance farmer's market on Saturdays (behind the mall). There was a pretty good Aebleskiver booth there which was comparable to those in Solvang. I also miss the pupusa stand from that market.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Carrie 218

        I know you can get good Aebleskiver (the same people who have the place in Solvang) at the Cal Lutheran Scandinavian Festival, but unfortunately, that is in April!! Sometimes they have them other places as well - street faires and the like, but I do not see them often.

        1. re: Carrie 218

          We just saw aebleskivers offered at one of the prepared food stands at the Hollywood Farmer's Market this past Sunday (across from the Arclight Theater).

          (Perhaps this is the same vendor from the Saturday Torrance Farmer's Market, but I have no information to confirm this.)

        2. I just tried Genki Living on Saturday and they do four types of okonomiyaki. Osaka, Hiroshima, tuna salad, and Korean kim chi. We tried the traditional Osaka and Hiroshima - they were just okay. They were both on the sweet side mostly because of the sauces being pumped up with sugar. I think if I were to go back, I'd ask them let me sauce them, and to grill and press the Hiroshima style more on the flip side.

          Genki Living also does takoyaki which is somewhat of a rarity in So Cal. It's not traditional in that they load the middle with lots of sauteed onions and very little octopus.

          Their real strength is in their crepes. They need no coaching there...

          4 Replies
          1. re: bulavinaka

            uh al pastor and conchinita pibil are two different things. theres a mexican restaurant nearby that serves traditobnal yucatecan food where conchinita pibil comes from. does anyone know where to get pastor where they shave it of a spit?

            1. re: AGENT FOODIE

              Yes, thank you for pointing out that conchinita pibil and al pastor are different. Sorry that I was not clearer in my original post. However, it is difficult to find al pastor cooked "on the rotisserie". I've only seen it in Mexico. I grouped the two together because they're both pork, they're both marinated in acidic juices, and they're both in the U.S. slow-cooked on the griddle, the difference probably being spices and the use of the banana leaf in conchinita pibil. Uncle Robby's delicious al pastor is (alas) cooked on the griddle and not on the spit.

              1. re: nomo_fan

                El Gran Burrito has a spit in the Parking lot after 8pm on Friday-Sun. There are many taco trucks that have a spit, usually the have a painting of the spit on the side of truck as a selling point, kind of like hecho e mano tortillas.

                1. re: Burger Boy

                  Can you give the address to El Gran Burrito? Any other places serving el pastor off the spit? Would love to duplicate the TJ experience.