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Dec 8, 2007 04:18 PM

Your most memorable 1st time in 2007....

As the year draws to an end (well, soon), I find myself reminiscing all the wonderful NEW culinary experiences (not necessarily new restaurants but my 1st visit) that I had in 2007. Here's my most memorable, how about yours?

URASAWA...finally made a pilgrimage to this Japanese culinary mecca this week. What can I say about this place that hasn't already been said on this board? Well, the experience was simply sublime & flawless! Will definitly return but, with 2 kids in private school, probably not as often as my heart desires.

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    1. There are so many places to eat that you simply dont have the opportunity to get to them all. So...I rediscoverd an old favorite this year and was I ever glad I did. Angelini Osteria/ I went in one late afternoon, looked over the menu and ordered Spaghetti with sweet sausage, black truffle, truffle oil and a small shaving of pecorino. I was just knocked over by how good it was. The spag was done perfectly with just a little toothy feel to it, the sausage and black truffle combination was this hard to explain mixture of extreme earth-savory-slighly sweet-salty sheeps cheese goodness that just never seemed to stop. There have been a couple of other highlights but of all the things that I have been blessed with eating this year, this one dish takes the cake for sure.

      3 Replies
      1. re: thomtompkins

        the key there was the time of day - they had time enough to do it correctly, as opposed to being too rushed by too many folks at the same 7-8pm time slot.
        That I have found is the key to enjoying many restaurants, meaning at non-peak traffic times.

        1. re: carter

          Thanks for the tip. Totally make sense.

          1. re: carter

            actually carter you may really have something there. i was pretty disappointed with my last Angelini visit - my pappardelle tasted like it had been sitting under a heat lamp - and on a friday night with a swamped kitchen it probably was. but, even still at those prices with the hype of Gino Angelini - everything should be spot on.

        2. I had 2 memorable first times this past year:

          1) Enrique's in Long Beach. This modest strip mall store front of a casual appearing Mexica restaurant really puts out some well done food.

          2) Tsuruhashi in Fountain Valley. I've yet to go when the 1st tier kobe short rib has been avaiable but, that 2nd tier is so good and the kimchi fried rice was so good as well.

          1. It was the most memorable first time as I lost my tasting menu virginity, giving myself away to Providence.

            3 Replies
            1. re: bad nono

              I also dined at Providence for the 1st time this year but didn't order the tasting menu because my friend who was paying for the dinner insisted we had their Australian lobster special which wasn't on the tasting menu. Each lobster was numbered and came with a certificate or something.....anyway, it was very very tasty but way pricer than if we've done the tasting menu. Also in my resolution to go back in 2008!

              1. re: fdb

                Providence's TM this year was a disappointment to me. I'd had it at the beginning of '06 and it was fantastic. This time around, it was less creative and surprisingly shoddy - 1 course had to be sent back due to being overcooked, and the longest wait between two courses was a slack 45 minutes.

              2. re: bad nono

                Providence is my most memorable 1st time of '07 as well.


              3. Mine was making the drive to Garden Grove and Westminster for the first time in the spring. Truly a dizzying array.

                4 Replies
                1. re: SauceSupreme

                  Where and what is amazing in GG/Westminster?

                  1. re: fdb

                    For starters, its size. Imagine the city of Pasadena except entirely in Vietnamese. Second, I still think it's the next great Chowhound frontier. Few stalwarts like me even bother to go down there, and our OC friends only scratch the tip of the edge of a bit of the surface.

                    I love the San Gabriel Valley. I do. But with the exception of com tam, anything that SGV offers gets *smoked* by Little Saigon. Smoked. I mention com tam because I like Com Tam Thanh Kieu in SGV better than its Brookhurst sibling. And I'm not saying that SGV is bad. I'm just saying that it isn't the end of the road, an appropriate metaphor given Little Saigon's distance.

                    For me, the essence of what's good in Garden Grove is the nem nuong cuon at Brodard. I say that because the experience itself is stuff no guidebook will ever tell you. This place is the very definition of hidden. Not only do you have to go to Little Saigon in the first place (it takes me 45 minutes during lunch to get there from Hollywood), but once there, Brodard is tucked behind a mall store front, past a bunch of dumpsters and along a pot-hole filled back lot. But you step inside, and you're greeted not with some small eatery. Brodard is enormous! That place seats about a hundred people at a time, and I've sometimes had to wait half an hour! And while the menu, like a lot of places, will have Vietnam's greatest hits (a pho section, a bun section, a com section, etc, etc), the real treasure here are the grilled sausage spring rolls.

                    So part of the magic is sifting through large menus (some places in SGV, like Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa, offer a shorter menu, which I like a lot since it shows focus and restraint as opposed to being everything to everyone) and panning for gold.

                    Where and what is amazing there? There's gold in the hills, and the gold tastes good.

                    Point of comparison, I had the bun bo hue at NNNH last week, and I thought the noodles were great, but to be honest, it wasn't as good as Ngoc Hue, which might not even be a proper Hue-style restaurant (my ability to note subtle differences in Vietnamese tonal characters are, sadly, non-existent).

                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                      I beg to differ on the com tam front.

                      Com Tam Trung Qui Cap (sp?), located on Harbor/Edinger. PWNS Golden Deli into tomorrow.

                      Never tried Com Tam Thanh Kieu however, but if you tell me where on brookhurst, we'll see if I've ever been there...

                      and as a counter point, I hate Brodard ^_^. Well maybe not hate, but find it overrated to a fault. I thought the nem nuong place I went to in the 626 also pwns Brodard into tomorrow...

                      1. re: ns1

                        I know I contribute to its overrated nature, but that's only to stir up the pot and get others to talk about alternatives for me to jump ship to! I'm definitely not the type to be married to any one dish or one restaurant, and so I'll gladly "eat around". I'll dump Brodard in a split second! Or better yet, I'll visit another place and totally not tell Brodard. I like you, Pho 79 in Alhambra, but I'm secretly seeing Pho Bolsa on the side. It's not you, it's me.

                        In the same way that there exists debate over NY style pizza, or debate over the LA burger, I would *love* for there to be a debate over Vietnamese food, especially stuff other than pho.

                        So your post is an example of what the board needs more of: standing up to defend their favorite Viet places! THIS place! No, THIS place! That's the type of energy that gets casual observers kinda curious. Sure, some might say it ain't all that or just another victim to hype, but if it leads even just one new Hound down the garden (grove) path, the thread is already worthwhile.

                        Com Tam Thuan Kieu
                        14282 Brookhurst St Ste 2, Garden Grove, CA 92843