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chickens

c
cube May 15, 2001 02:04 PM

There's been a ton of debate on this board about burgers/pizza/tacos, etc. All worthwhile subjects. Aren't we overlooking, though, L.A.'s wealth of fabulous and loyalty inspiring takeout chickens (roast or charbroiled)? Thought I'd invite some debate on the subject with some of my own thoughts on some contenders. Mmmm, chicken . . .

1. Zankou, the odds-on favorite. Always delightful, but some might contend just average chicken with superior garlic accoutrement. Just living on reputation? (Note: we're talking roast chicken here, not chicken schewarma, which clearly rules)

2. Pollos a la Brasa. I love PalB. Very subtle smokey flavor can be accentuated with the super-hot-green-sauce. Also love the chicken-fat soaked fries. Salad is terrible, but, who cares.

3. Dino's Burgers. Perhaps lesser known. Unearthly orange color (paprika?). Tons of salt. Is this superior chicken, or am I just a salt junky, needing a fix? Another great side of fat-soaked fries. Really cheap, even in comparison to the others here.

4. Brentwood Country Market. Another sad joke foisted on unwitting Westsiders?

5. El Pollo Loco. Tremendously serviceable, I think, for something that's available around every corner.

6. Others? The supermarket?

  1. m
    mas May 15, 2001 03:26 PM

    They always look so good to me, just spinning away on the hot roasting spit - COSTCO. Has anyone ever tried them? Mouth-watering, just thinking about them, but I have never tasted them.

    7 Replies
    1. re: mas
      l
      LBQT May 15, 2001 06:11 PM

      I've brought them home for the family many times. They are always plump and juicy, and seasoned well. Even though I live in a house of beef lovers, there is never any chicken left when I bring one of these home.

      1. re: LBQT
        t
        Tom Armitage May 15, 2001 09:36 PM

        I brought home a rotisserie chicken on each of my last two shopping trips at the Torrance Costco. I was pleasantly surprised how delicious both of them were. They were big birds, succulently moist and nicely seasoned. Most supermarket rotisserie chickens are overcooked. As much as I love Zankou, you run the risk of getting an overcooked chicken there from time to time. (I've learned to ask specifically for a chicken that is "moist" when ordering at Zankou.) So I was extremely impressed at the quality control of the Costco chickens. Because the Torrance Costco isn't that far off course for me on my commute home, my wife and I decided that a Costco chicken would make a dandy take out on those evenings when we want to be at home and I don't feel like cooking, even though it seems sort of wierd to go to Costco just for one solitary chicken. I've also found some of the meat at Costco (particularly beef, lamb, and pork) to be of very high quality. On my last visit, I picked up some beautifully marbled ribeye steaks that were decadently good.

        1. re: Tom Armitage
          m
          Melanie Wong May 15, 2001 09:49 PM

          The Costco in Santa Rosa occasionally has hanger steaks which rarely make it to the butcher counter anywhere. I also buy skirt steak and sirloin strip for a crowd at Costco when grilling season starts (now!).

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            l
            LBQT May 16, 2001 12:07 PM

            Also check out their lamb. We've bought consistently excellent chops (and racks) for dinner parties over the years there.

            1. re: LBQT
              m
              Melanie Wong May 16, 2001 02:16 PM

              This may be heresy from a resident of the land of Sonoma spring lamb, but yes, the lamb from Costco can be very good. In a pinch, I'll use the butterflied leg of lamb (marinate overnight in Zinfandel, crushed garlic, cracked black pepper and fresh rosemary) on the grill. Also a few years ago I took part in a taste test of racks from Costco vs. Ver Brugge (Berkeley/Oakland's fine meat purveyor) and a few others. The Ver Brugge won, but Costco was only a hair's breadth away and probably half the price.

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                t
                Tom Armitage May 16, 2001 05:58 PM

                I agree, Melanie. My favorite way of cooking lamb is to dig a pit, and roast a whole baby lamb on a spit over real wood (usually oak or alder) charcoal. In the Los Angeles area, I purchase my whole baby lamb from Dino, an Italian butcher on Western Ave. in San Pedro. For rack of lamb, I usually buy Colorado lamb from the butcher shop at Bristol Farms Market. But one of my favorite "quick meals" are the little thickly cut loin chops I buy at Costco, quickly sauteed over high heat in garlic-infused olive oil. The whole operation takes me less than 10 minutes, and the flavor and tenderness of the lamb is quite satisfactory. The lamb at Costco is from either Australia or New Zealand. I can't remember which, offhand. But it is much better quality and more flavorful than much of the lamb that is imported from those countries that one finds in the supermarkets.

      2. re: mas
        d
        Deb H. May 15, 2001 06:18 PM

        I gave in and tried one from the San Francisco Costco a couple of weeks ago when I was moving house. At $5 the price was right, it was well seasoned and still warm,and the dark meat was moist and succulent. The breast meat was a little dry, though. At $5 I'm not complaining!

        Best,
        Deb H.

      3. n
        Norm May 15, 2001 09:22 PM

        El Pollo Inka and California Chicken Cafe both have pretty good roast chicken. I have been meaning to try Dino's Burgers since they were reviewed in the LA Times.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Norm
          d
          Dylan Yolles May 16, 2001 01:00 PM

          Call me a fan of the "Crazy Chicken" at Dino's Burgers. The fries are great (nb, clearly not from frozen potatoes), though somewhat greasy. The sauce is quite tasty. The service is terrible. Overall, delicious but difficult.

          1. re: Dylan Yolles
            c
            cube May 16, 2001 05:28 PM

            Yeah, it's a little slow, I guess. I figure, though, when you're getting chicken, fries, slaw, and tortillas for $3.75, (and that chicken can make a reasonable claim at being the tastiest around), that it'd be fair enough to have to catch it from out the window of a moving truck. That's just me. If you're in a hurry, or get annoyed by crowds, or the outside chance that they'll forget your order, you'd probably want to go someplace else.

        2. y
          Yumyumcha May 16, 2001 12:43 AM

          If you ever happen to be in the San Gabriel Valley but not really wanting to eat Chinese or Vietnamese food, there's a place name Bacalli's which has a pretty good priced and tasty rotisserie chicken. For $3.95, you can get a decent sized half chicken, plain or cajun style (its just the skin thats only somewhat spicy)plus rice or tomato paste pasta and some average steamed vegetables.

          Bacalli's is a Chinese style cafe but they also have a yummy Prime Rib - no lie..haha. But be warned, their service isn't that great, particular with the one free refill on drinks.

          They're located on the North side of Valley between Atlantic and Garfield. Back in the day, there use to be a George's Buffet (I think).

          1. b
            brian May 17, 2001 03:40 PM

            California Chicken Cafe in Encino. Long lines, worth the wait.

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