Superb Thai and some Mexican pastries in North Hollywood
Since moving here back in April, I hadn't ventured up to North Hollywood, which, one would think from the name, is somewhere near Hollywood. Turns out it's about 10 miles north (but I'm probably telling you something you already know). In any event, jgold had written pretty positive things about a Thai place called "Swasdee," which is in the tiniest of minimalls in a completely barren area just off Roscoe (I don't have the address handy). I was pretty much blown away by it - in my view, the most authentic Thai cooking I've ever had outside Thailand. The two dishes I head were pretty basic - pineapple pork fried rice and pork with mint - but both were delicious, and had an underlying flavor which I remember well from Thailand but I've never tasted duplicated in a restaurant here. I can't wait to go back. I live in the Hollywood Hills right near the regular Hollywood Thai town, and I think it's worth the extra trip up to North Hollywood for places like this. (The much adored Palm, Vim, and Sanamalung don't compare, in my view.)
(And as a side note: I'm STILL desparate to find a place that has Thai fried chicken. This is REALLY beginning to bother me. Thai fried chicken is FANTASTIC. An authentic recipe might also do.)
Then I drove along Roscoe a little further west. There were lots of Thai and Mexican places that looked worth trying. I stopped at a Mexican fast food complex and bakery called "El Gallo Giro" where I had some great Mexican pastries (normally I don't like Mexican pastries much; the great thing about these is that they were incredibly fresh, and with some patience, they could be had hot from the oven). The savory foods looked good here too, and they had some interesting looking dessert tamales. It was also inordinately clean and brightly lit.
Two for two in a completely unexplored part of town. In Chowhound terms, that's as good as it gets. Sign me happy.