Lunch in the valley - Sepulveda/Oxnard area
I'm about to start a freelance gig on the far side of the Valley from me. The office I'm working out of is near Sepulveda, Oxnard, and the 405.
Any good lunch suggestions? Notable take out or delivery in the area? Any culinary quaqmires to avoid?
Pico Pico Rico is located on Magnolia, just east of Kester. You can place an order by phone or get take out. It is a small taqueria. All of the corn tortillas are hecho de mano, which means the tortillas for the tacos, sopes, gorditas and huaraches are fantastic. The meats can be a little uneven. The asada is sometimes fantastic and, other times, rather pedestrian. The carnitas are probably the most consistent. There is an older woman who does most of the cooking, and I find the quality goes down mainly when she is not around.
If you go east on Oxnard to Hazeltine, and take a right, you will see El Jerezano, another very good taqueria. Make sure you get the tacos with the handmade tortillas. These are the "large' tacos. They are very large (and more expensive than most taqueria's tacos), so don't over-order. The asada and pastor are usually very good. However, they may put lettuce and cheese on your tacos, so be sure to ask if you do not want that.
On Kester at Delano (between Oxnard and Victory), there is a little convenience store that has a taqueria in back. The tacos are good (and large), though not as good as Pico Pico Rico's or El Jerezano's. However, they also have a bunch of guisados to try. Usually, those are quite tasty.
Also on Kester, at Victory, is a place called Don Arden. It has chalupas, cemitas, and tacos arabe (these are served in a different type of bread than regular tortillas). I've only been twice, and enjoyed some of the beef items, but I prefer the other places that I've mentioned.
Kitty corner from Don Arden is a strip mall with a Peruvian restaurant. The chicken and fries are good, but salty. Sorry, but I forget the name of that place also.
D'Amore's Pizza Connection has probably the best pizza in the area. You can call the Encino branch for delivery.
At Victory and Sepulveda are two pho places. One is in the same center as the Ranch 99 Market; the other is directly across the street. I prefer the one across the street. Sorry, but I can never remember the names. I don't believe either delivers, but I have gotten take out from the one across the street.
In the center with the Ranch 99 is a Sam Woo Barbecue. They have ready-to-go barbecue items -- roast duck, roast pork, etc. -- that you can order by the pound just by walking to the counter. They also have a menu of other Chinese dishes from the kitchen.
The Ranch 99 has a good service deli, sliced sashimi-grade fish in a back shelf behind the vegetables, a hot Chinese-food counter (sort of like Panda express, but better), and various cold dumplings in the refrigerated section. You can definitely get a quick take-out meal from there. I am particularly partial to the spicy whole shrimp (salted and with shells) in the hot-food area.
For burgers, Billy's Grill at Van Nuys and Magnolia has good burgers. It also has exotic burgers -- venison, ostrich, and buffalo. I believe it is not delivery, but take-out only.
A pretty quick drive from there is Chili My Soul in Encino. Just take Burbank or Victory to Balboa and go to Ventura. You can order chilis to take out. The website tells you what chilis are available that day. www.chilimysoul.com
For hot dogs and sausages, you can go to The Stand, which is kitty corner from Chili My Soul on Ventura. Or you can take Sepulveda to Ventura, and go a few blocks east to The Wiener Factory. The Polish Sausage at The Wiener Factory is great.
Quagmires -- stay away from the Galleria. If you do wind up there, Fuddruckers for a burger or select items at Cheesecake Factory or El Torito Grill will do in a pinch.
Thanks for all those suggestions. I just got to El Jerezano yesterday, and the tacos were great. The refried beans were simmered up just how I like them, too.
I also found Pho999, and really enjoyed my beef noodle soup. There's a few more things on the menu there that looked good, so I'll definitely pop back in there again.
Good list. Don't avoid the galleria alltogether, there is a good crepe place there!
Also, on Ventura between van nuys and sepulveda is the Dressing Room(in la reina enter) good place where they build fresh salads, sort of the same way Subway builds sandwiches. The veggies are all from farms in the area.
Next to Zankou is Hong Kong 88, A pretty good chinese place.
El Katrochko on Kester and Burbank is new, and pretty good.
Down Van Nuys near Ventura, you can get good food to take out at the Gelson's Deli or Salad bar. Good soups, too.
Solly's, which is Jerry's Deli really, delivers, and is OK in a pinch.
Marmalade on Ventura right at the end of Kester, can do call in and pick up food.
On Sherman Way just past Van Nuys is Kyushu ramen. Good ramenr, small dishes and rice bowls.
Dr something or other (Deli, I Think) and the Salad Queen is on Van Nuys near the courthouse.
There is a Tommy's on Either Burbnank or Oxnard. I find it gross, but some people adore Tommy's
On Van Nuys south of Burbank, near riverside (and Billy's-Billy's has good burgerts) is a great salad place. HUUUUUGE salads. I forget the name, which is odd, since I work right down the block. It is like the "Natural Gourmet" or somehting.
4 and 20 also on Van Nuys south of Burbank, has great pies, and some good breakfasts, but everything else sorta sucks.
I'll add more if I can think of any.
i work in the galleria and everything there is depressingly corporately terrible. zankou is an excellent call, but even better is simon's cafe on sepulveda just south of ventura across from whole foods. simon is an amazing cook making morrocan food with a light hand and fantastic ingredients. he's truly awful at self-promotion so it's not too crowded, which is too bad, because the guy deserves a wider audience.
If you're willing to come up toward Ventura, there's also
California Chicken Cafe
Whole Foods - salad and hot bars
Corner Bakery (okay for salads and a deadly brownie bar)
In this heat, frozen yogurt and berries at Costco, after that massive slice of pizza :-)
I guess the Thai places on Sherman Way between Fulton and Coldwater (Krua, Swan, Sunshine), and Sri Siam on Vanowen and Coldwater, aren't that much different, distance-wise, than some of the other recommendations.
Nat's Early Bite Coffee Shop -- especially if you are hankering for breakfast. 2 miles from Oxnard & Sepulveda.
14115 Burbank Blvd. 91401
If you're willing to go up to Ventura and Hazeltine, check out Jinky's. Good diner fare-Try the breakfasts, as they're definitely the best.