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5 best bites of 2008?

Here are mine, in no particular order (and, of course, only limited to restaurants for purposes of this question):

the soft shell crab sandwich at Hungry Cat
steak tartare at Anisette
beef roll at Mama's Kitchen
pork belly at Robata-ya
foie gras at Robata-ya

I can't believe two of my top five bites were at Robata-ya, especially when I've been eating out so much this past year with manbitesworld (http://www.manbitesworld.com/), but that pork belly is ridiculous, as is the foie gras.

I'd love to hear others...

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  1. In no particular order:

    Sous-vide chicken at Hatfield's
    Butterscotch budino at Pizzeria Mozza
    Bacon-wrapped dates at A.O.C.
    A perfect bulgogi ssam (dduk-bossam, daikon, kimchi, bulgogi) at Guh Mok, in Torrance
    Soft-shell crab sandwich from Spago, at Wally's Wine Fest

    1 Reply
    1. re: donnival

      Sous vide short ribs at Hatfields even better! Best short ribs I have ever encountered.

    2. Hi mollyomormon,

      Nice topic. :) This is going to be tough... (not counting my eats in Japan this year (^_~)...

      * Grade A5 Hokkaido-Gyu Poached at Urasawa
      * Zosui (Made from scratch Chicken Soup) at Yakitori Bincho / Izakaya Bincho
      * Hokkaido Scallop Sashimi at Providence(!)
      * I Ravioli: Ravioli Carbonara with Speck at Valentino
      * Berkshire Rack Of Pork & Black Lentils at Craft

      Honorable Mention (darn you, mollyomormon for making me choose only 5! :P) -

      * Agedashi Tofu at Izakaya Bincho
      * Il Fegato D'Anatra (Foie Gras Creme Caramel, Fig Puree) at Drago Centro
      * Oh-Toro (Fattiest Bluefin Tuna Belly) at Sushi Zo
      * Atole de Guayaba (Hot Masa Drink with Guava) at Breed Street (Street Vendor)
      * Buta no Kakuni (Braised Pork Belly) at Izakaya Bincho

      And there's probably another 20 dishes I forgot. :)

      4 Replies
      1. re: exilekiss

        thanks, exilekiss! i have to add these to my to-do list!

        1. re: exilekiss

          where's breed street for the atole drink?

          and also foie gras creme caramel??? really. was it dessert or an appetizer.?

          1. re: kevin

            Hi kevin,

            The wonderful Breed Street! :) See this Chow thread and my link in there has a review, pictures, etc., and the Chow Place links.


            And, the Foie Gras Creme Caramel was an amuse bouche / appetizer. Yes, it sounds wild, but it was SO good! :) More details here:



            1. re: exilekiss

              Yes, the Foie Gras creme Caramel at Drago Centro is amazing!

        2. Hmm Top 5 in no order...

          Potato Balls - Portos
          Sweet corn agnolotti w/ truffle shavings - Spago
          Steak tartare - Totoraku
          Tuna Sushi & Holy Cow - Go's Mart
          Chicken Wings - Kyochon or bonchon i just need my KFC fix.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ldodb

            The fact that Totoraku has steak tartare and that I'm unlikely to ever be able to eat it is almost painful...

            1. re: mollyomormon

              i still don't understand how they're able to stay in business and refuse business. the whole thing about being a public ... (what's the word) being licensed, they can't refuse service say based on race or gender... ah well.

              1. re: mollyomormon

                He really does an amazing job with this dish, it has some sesame oil on it with a quail egg, and im not sure what all else, but it truly is awesome.

              2. re: ldodb

                ummm Potato Balls from Portos are the best!

              3. Great Thread:
                Fish Head Casserole - Hunan Seafood
                Manhattan made with Old Potero Rye - Bar at Comme Ca
                Telegio and Nettles Pizza - Pizzeria Mozza
                Pork Neck/Potato Soup - Ham Ji Park
                Tasmanian Sea Trout - Providence

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ciao Bob

                  been meaning to try ham ji park for a while now but finally did it after seeing it on your top five. had the soup to go. one soup is enough for two people. didn't know that when i ordered two soups. loved it. will be eating the leftovers tonight and will definitely be going back. thanks for the reminder.

                2. Dear God. I have no idea how to respond to this.

                  1. Great question!

                    1) Taglierini al brasato de leper e melograno - an angel hair pasta with a Barolo wine braised Hare and pomegranate reduction sauce at Melograno, Hollywood. (pictured)

                    2) Thinly sliced toro with flower petals at Urasawa, Beverly Hills

                    3) Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcake with Cappuccino Ice Cream and Dulce de Leche Anglaise and Chocolate Sauce at Brooks Restaurant in Ventura. I swear, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.

                    4) Warm cheese gourgeres at Bar Marmont, West Hollywood. I actually had TWO orders, that's how good these are!!!

                    5) The Baco (carnitas, pork belly) at Lot 1, Echo Park (now that Centeno's gone, no need to ever go back). (pictured)

                    A few honorable mentions:

                    -Brown butter and cream corn ravioli at Palate Food + Wine, Glendale
                    -Fried anchovies with honey at Bar Celona, Pasadena
                    -Skirt steak with caramelized onions and chimichurri at Vertical Wine Bistro, Pasadena (dish is no longer on the menu. Sigh).
                    -Sticky toffee and peanut butter pudding at Baschan, Montrose. (pictured)

                    Clare K.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Clare K

                      1) Conchita Pibil Torta (I cried)- La Flor de Yucatan, Westake Dist.
                      2) Homemade Sicilian Olive Oil from Roma Deli(its the owner's friend from the old country), Pasadena
                      3) Shio Special Pork Ramen, Noodles Hard, Santouka, Mar Vista
                      4) Chippino, Colori Kitchen, Downtown LA
                      5) Cemitas Poblana de milanesa and Champurrado, The Surfer Taco Truck, Westlake Dist.

                      1. re: Food_destroyed_my_life

                        I'm assuming it's mexican cochinita and not argentine conchita. oh - good cemitas (probably not as good asthe truck) at don adrian's in van nuys. nota truck so you know where they'll be. but no champurrado at don adrian's.

                    2. Five huh? well bites... and newish for me...
                      1. Duck prosciutto (prosciutto d'anatra) at la Botte, santa monica
                      2. the zha jiang mian at Qingdao bread food, Alhambra/monterey park border (noodles weak but the sauce and meat are fantastic)
                      3. beijing style yogurt in the glass jar, blue cherry beijing style yogurt, main st, alhambra
                      4. hazelnut gelato, Ugo's, Culver city
                      5. the already pressed Dizi (lamb stew with garbanzos, mashed and pureed), at Canary Chicken, Westwood blvd, westwood.

                      1. In no particular order

                        1. Sweet corn ravioli in truffle broth @ Melisse.
                        2. Sous vide chicken breast with cheese grits @ Palate (melts in your mouth)
                        3. Egg Caviar, Poached Egg, Lemon-Chive Crème Frâiche @ Melisse
                        4. Fried sweetbreads with bacon and capers @ Prune (New York - does this have to LA?)
                        5. About three things I can't remember from the chef's menu @ both Manresa and Providence.

                        Honorable mention.

                        1. Homemade pistachio pappardelle with braised lamb ragout @ La Botte
                        2. Chevre shank confit @ Palate
                        3. Uni risotto flavored with melon jus @ Sam's
                        4. Lamb chops @ Dan Tana's (okay, this is weird, but if you like big fat juicy lamp chops, especially late, this is the place to go. Everything else ('cept the steak) sucks. I mean, really sucks.
                        5. Vichyssois @ Anisette (hangover food for me)

                        1. It was hard to narrow it down to just five without feeling guilty for omitting several other worthy contenders but, in deference to your ground rules:

                          Beef Daube at Anisette
                          Croque Madame at Hatfield's
                          Lamb Shank at Osteria Mozza
                          Porterhouse at Wolfgang's
                          Scallop Mousse at Ortolan

                          1. No particular order for mine, either, except for the last, which was the BEST:

                            The fries with aioli at Oinkster
                            Patty melt at Busy Bee Cafe in Ventura (only a hair better than Pann's!)
                            The sausage with chimichurri at the Sausage Esstravaganza
                            Duck breast w/raspberry sauce at Cafe Massilia
                            House-cured Salmon Benedict with salad at Square One!!!!!

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: Will Owen

                              wher's sausage extravagangza and wher's cafe massiia? never hear of either of them

                              1. re: kevin

                                The Sausage Essstravaganza Was held by Dommy and I for a bunch of SCARFers [So. Cal. Assoc of Radical Foodies] in Culver City this past Summer. Dommy Said it seemed like a good Idea at the time but was surprised that no one OD on Meat and had to be rushed to the hospital.

                                1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                  I gotta got back on the meat. I just was curious since I never heard of the Sausage Extravangza as restaurant. You're right, now that I think of it, I remember something on Scarf.

                                  I just made it the Farmer's Market food extravaganza a couple years back.

                                  You were the one that mentioned the hot dog/lobster rolls joint, L(the names starts with an L) in Long Beach, hard by the Ferris wheel. is it closed done for good, do you happen to know the details. i only tried the lobster roll once.

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    We went down to Long Beach to see the remains of Lawton's and though the sign was still there the Place was gutted. I am going back east for Christmas and am contemplating taking the 2 hour round trip to go to the original Lawton's to find out what the deal is.

                                    1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                      cool, thanks, if you do visit please report back.

                                2. re: kevin

                                  Kevin, Cafe Massilia is a French/Provençal place in Monrovia. If you're interested, do a CH search - I did a report on it here.

                                3. re: Will Owen

                                  Square One's house cured salmon is really amazing. Its got a sushi fresh quality to it.

                                  1. re: blackbookali

                                    Everything about that dish was amazing to me, from the crisp shredded better-than-latkes to the way the unassertive but perfect Hollandaise tied everything together. I't's going to take real balls on my part to eat anything else there again.

                                      1. re: blackbookali

                                        I had to try this for lunch today based on the recs and it is, indeed, amazing: the crunchy potato pancakes, the smoky saltiness of the fish, the runny yolk of the poached egg, the bitterness of the frisee and that perfect hollandaise. Thanks for the rec!

                                    1. -kale, octopus and pecorino flatbread with romesco, hungry cat

                                      -chocolate-guiness ice cream paired with salted dulce de leche ice cream at scoops

                                      -peanut butter molten chocolate cake with salted caramel ice cream at hatfield's

                                      -fried green tomatoes with salsa verde and burrata stuffed squash blossoms, my kitchen

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. Salmon Farfalle- Madeo
                                        Coconut Cupcake- Auntie Em's Kitchen
                                        Salmon from Grace
                                        Tuna from Lucques
                                        Cheese plate - Palate

                                        and i am leaving out all the amazing sushi i've had in various spots, it's too hard to even think of what the best bite could be. Uni Sushi rules though. So does the Oyster Sushi at Hirozen.

                                        EDITED because i totally forgot about the Escargot at Comme Ca. It was great!

                                        1. cornmeal pizza with fresh corn and caramelized onions at zelo's
                                          fennel sausage pizza at mozza
                                          cheese pizza at vito's
                                          slice of red velvet cake from susie cakes
                                          corn and morel ice cream at sona

                                            1. re: New Trial

                                              I did! I actually tried the foie wrapped in kobe skirt steak my first time there and SIV was right to not order it; the taste of the foie was completely lost. It doesn't appear that she tried much of the small hot plates menu, which is the section of the menu featuring both the foie and pork belly. Sounds like she tried the braised version of the pork belly, but the fried version is where the magic is...

                                            2. In alphabetical order by restaurant:

                                              • The stinky burger at Boneyard Bistro
                                              • Clam bellies at the late lamented Lawton's in Long Beach
                                              • Sauerbraten and red cabbage with potato pancakes at Musso & Frank's
                                              • Two words: Nozawa. Albacore.
                                              • I can't decide between the Oinkster's Belgian fries with roasted garlic aïoli and Square One's home fries

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: maxzook

                                                what is sauerbraten at musso and franks/ i presume it's a daily special, perhaps, wednesdays/ i know in the past chicken pot pie was on thurs, sat for short ribs, bouillabaisse marsellie on fridays, and tues corned beef and cabbage????

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  Yep, sauerbraten is Wednesdays.

                                                2. Fig and Cheese Tart at Josies
                                                  Crab shu mai at Honda Ya
                                                  Bacon wrapped prawns and a chicken dish at Cobras and Matadors
                                                  Fish with basil and Lobster special at Newport Seafood
                                                  L'Opera cake, potatoe balls at Portos Bakery

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: SmokeyDoke

                                                    oh, man lobster special at Newport Seafood, that's some good eatin'

                                                  2. Mussels at Brussel's Bistro
                                                    Shu Mai at Elite
                                                    Har Gow at Elite
                                                    Pork Dumplings at Sea Harbor
                                                    Tiaramisu at Sabatino's

                                                    1. As the Shakers would say Tis a Gift to Be Simple tis a gift to be free. so My things are simple

                                                      -The Croque Madam at La Mason Du Pain. Perfect Balance of everything. Mid City
                                                      -The Fried Clams at Lawton's [RIP] in Long Beach
                                                      -Tomato and Bacon Yakitori at Yakitori Bincho in Redondo Beach
                                                      -Egg Salad Sandwich and Crinkle cut fries at George's Coffee Shop in Culver City
                                                      -Applewood Smoked Bacon, Fried Green Tomato & Avocado BLT at Tupelo Junction Cafe in Santa Barbara

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                                        Tupelo Junction haven't tried it a few years or at least since they were at the old location. Great stuff, and the menu is so interesting and unique.

                                                        1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                                                          I had an amazing burger at Tupelo a few years back. Man, just thinkin' about it makes me want to get in my car and head back out there.

                                                        2. pork belly with mustard glaze at Foundry
                                                          Foie gras at Jiraffe
                                                          Scallops with goat cheese spinach risotto at Grace
                                                          Seabass skewer at Katana
                                                          Escargot at Ortolon

                                                          honorable mention:
                                                          bacon wrapped dates at AOC
                                                          fried machengo cheese at Raku

                                                          1. Cochinita Pibil Tacos at Yuca's
                                                            Chicken Wings at Pann's
                                                            Beef Bo Lac at Newport Seafood San Gabriel
                                                            Camaron al X'Catic at Chichen Itza
                                                            Sea Bass Ceviche at Chichen Itza

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Schweinhaxen

                                                              I don't eat out as much as y'all but here goes:

                                                              FO burger with sweet potato fries dipped in ketchup (this may always be on my list)
                                                              Sonny Boy pizza from Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix
                                                              Canneloni at Palate
                                                              Grilled Scallop appetizer at Campanile
                                                              Chilaquiles at Cafe Poca Cosa in Tucson

                                                            2. 1. chicken pho - pho dakao (garden grove)
                                                              2. burger - comme ca
                                                              3. halibut with shaved truffle sushi - asanebo
                                                              4. monkfish - citrus @ social - first time I ever tried monkfish! would love recommendations for more places to order it
                                                              5. pastrami sandwich #19- langer's


                                                              unmarinated short rib - go goo ryeo
                                                              black cod - gyenari
                                                              lobster roll - hungry cat
                                                              tofu in abalone sauce - sea harbour
                                                              meat pelemi - traktir
                                                              green tea flan - asanebo
                                                              special heart - robata-ya
                                                              beef tongue - robata-ya