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Montreal chowhounder needing L.A advice.

Heading to L.A and San Francisco on the 18th. We are staying 4 days in L.A (West Hollywood near CBS) then flying to San Fran. Here are a few places I have on my mind:

-Pink's
-Mozza (for Lunch since I know dinner reservations are hard to come by)
-Loteria Grill
-Baby Blues BBQ
-In n out burger
-Farmer's Market Fairfax
-Vito's Pizza
-Pinkberry's
-Griddle Cafe
-Vivoli
-Lucques

Which one of these is worth it?

I also need help finding:

-a Steakhosue (is Taylor's or PAcific dining car any good)
-Chinese (Mayflower? dunno...)
-Dim Sum (888 Seafood? suggestions plz)
-Tacos(Los Tacos, Tacos Bajas, el Chato? are these any good?)
-Seafood?(Should I just pass if I'm heading to San Francisco?)

We're also heading to little Saigon for half a day can you guys recommend some good Vietnamese?

Sorry for the long post.

Thanks in advance for your help.
:)

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  1. I like your ideas for Mozza, Loteria, Luques and Griddle Cafe, all of which provide rather unique-to-LA experiences. Be ready to wait for Griddle but the LA hipster breakfast scene and the food are worth it, IMHO.
    Pink's sucks...sorry...just drive or walk by and see the crowd, that's all you need.
    I think in-n-out, Baby Blues, and Vito's (which I love, btw) are a waste of your LA time. While all are good-for-LA, they are basically just decent-but-not-Earth-shattering versions of common food that is done (much) better elsewhere.

    I would also consider animal, Mastro's (for steak tho' Taylor's and PDC are OK, it is better...way better), many other Chinese ideas that ARE NOT Mayflower -- search San Gabriel Valley on this board, Dim Sum - Elite is my favorite now, Seafood - Mariscos Chente or Providence, Taco's - what kind?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Ciao Bob

      I'd like to try both Fish tacos and Beef tacos, Mexican food is soooooooooo bad in Canada so your worst mexican is probably better than our best.

      1. re: Evilbanana11

        Having grown up in NY I can relate.

        Fish - Taco Baja Ensenada. At Mariscos Chente, if you get the Pescado Zarandeado (and you MUST), you will also be making some of LA 'sbest fish tacos YOURSELF. Eduardo's has yummy shrimp taco's.

        Carne - Tacomiendo is one thought but there are so many. Goat Taco's seem to be all the rage lately: La Barca's are amazing.
        I look forward to seeing what others here at ch-LA suggest.

      2. re: Ciao Bob

        Ciao Bob said it, I think you should listen to him. You will enjoy LA much more with these recs than the previous on your list.

        1. re: Ciao Bob

          i completely concur with ciao bob about SKIPPING pinks, in-n-out, baby blues, and vitos.

        2. In Little Saigon:

          Xanh Bistro -- The most expensive restaurant in Little Saigon, you will feast on such delicacies as pan-seared orange roughy with green mango salad and sweet potato strings; filet mignon in a slightly sweet soy-based sauce; catfish simmered in a pepper and caramel sauce (this is better than it sounds). Expect to pay $15-$20 per person.

          Com Tam Tran Quy Cap -- This place serves one thing: "broken" rice plates, with various toppings. All plates come with a bowl of soup and cut up vegetables (pickled and un-pickled). Toppings are varied -- grilled pork or beef, Chinese sausage ("lap xuong"), tofu skin stuffed with shrimp paste ("dau hu ky"), egg-and-pork quiche ("cha"). Expect to pay $8 or so per person.

          Vien Dong -- my favourite all-around restaurant in Little Saigon. Get the egg rolls (called "nem ran" or "cha gio" on the menu), they're the best in Little Saigon. They specialise in do-it-yourself noodle bowls ("bun cha Hanoi") where you get noodles, herbs, chilies, seasonings, and a bowl of grilled pork and pork meatball in a thin papaya-based sauce. You build a bowl to your liking (add lots of herbs!) and eat it. They also specialise in "cha ca Thanh Long", which is fish fillet marinated in turmeric and grilled with onions and dill. Absolutely delicious. The iced coffee ("ca phe sua da") is excellent here. Expect to pay $8-$12 per person here.

          Pagolac -- specialises in "bo bay mon", or seven courses of beef, which is (as you might expect) seven courses of various beef dishes. Delicious. Expect to pay $15 or so per person (exclusive of drinks).

          Pho Thanh Lich -- my favourite pho place, they specialise in pho tai, or rare-beef pho, and they make it with filet mignon. Ask for the beef on the side (so you can cook it rare in the boiling hot soup) for an extra $0.75 or so, you get a little extra too if you do it that way. Special pho tai is $6.50.

          Banh Mi Che Cali -- While this isn't my absolute current favourite sandwich shop in Little Saigon, it is the most archetypal and also one of the cheapest ones that's also reliably good. If you've never had a Viet sandwich, it's meat of your choice, plus a spread made of garlic mayonnaise and often a soy-based sauce, pickled vegetables, hot chilies and cilantro on a crusty French roll or baguette (you can get either kind of bread). Roast pork is excellent ("thit nuong"), as is grilled beef ("bo nuong"), but honestly the best one to get is the daily special ("dac biet"). Sandwiches are $2.25-$2.75 each, but if you buy two of the French roll kind you get the third free (and nobody orders fewer than 3). The same deal ("mua 2 tang 1") applies to the coconut-based desserts called "che" they sell. Just point at whichever ones look interesting, they're $1.50 per container, buy 2 get 1 free.

          4 Replies
            1. re: Evilbanana11

              Bienvenue qm!

              I ate really well on my last visit to Mtl thanks to the CHs (my zillions of previous visits were all "chez les parents" with the occasional trip to a cabane a sucre), so I'm happy to be able to return the favour.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Could you point me to some of the Montreal posts that you found most helpful? I've got some friends going there this weekend and would love to help point them in the right direction.

                Mr Taster

            2. re: Das Ubergeek

              Great suggestions from Das as usual. :)

              I second those recommendations; Das will point you in the right direction. I still dream about the Chao Gio at Vien Dong. :)

            3. I'd shoot for Pizzaria Mozza, Lucques' new plce - Tavern in Brentwood, CUT for steak, and pass on Seafood.

              1. Only half a day for little Saigon! One tear just ran down my cheek for you. This is how I'd schedule a half-day Little Saigon excursion-

                Pick one or 2 of these for ROUND ONE!

                Brodard -- for nem nuong
                Banh Cuon Tay Ho -- for an order of banh cuon - it's not too filling and an order can be easily shared amongst a large party - ALSO - there is a Vietnamese dessert place that is PACKED that is right next to here that is fantastic - but I can't recall for the life of me the name.
                Quan Hy - you can order the small, imperial style dishes for light eating during the day - my favorite is the banh beo.
                Banh Mi - ditto Das U's rec for Banh mi Che Cali

                walk it of... Then for ROUND TWO!

                Ditto Das U's rec on Pagolac for 7 courses of beef - another place I like for that is Anh Hong Restaurant.

                Royal Seafood Restaurant - my favorite place to get a HUGE roasted catfish (ca nuong). All the other dishes here are fantastic too. You just need to come prepared to listen to loud karaoke. If that doesn't fade you, this place is golden!

                Pho Dakao - not a fancy place by any means, but this place makes some BOMB chicken pho.

                As for the other things you need - my favorite Dim Sum is Sea Harbour in San Gabriel Valley. And if you're going out to SGV you might as well stay there a while and try Pho Minh, IMO the best Pho in this area!

                -----
                Quan Hy Restaurant
                9727 Bolsa Ave, Westminster, CA 92683

                saigon eden
                san gabriel,ca, san gabriel, ca

                818
                san gabriel, ca, san gabriel, ca

                Royal Seafood Restaurant
                12342 Brookhurst St, Garden Grove, CA 92840

                3 Replies
                1. re: maiweezy

                  Wow all sounds great, we'll stay the whole day if there's lots to do/eat for sure. Just to clarify SGV is where to go for chinese/vietnamese restaurants right? How long is it from WEst Hollywood by car?

                    1. re: Evilbanana11

                      Almost impossible to say. I live in West Hollywood and go to SGV to eat a lot. I do avoid weekday dinners though.
                      Most other times, especially lunch or weekends I can make it in 35-45 minutes.
                      A weekday dinner at 7:30 PM can take 60 mins or more (unless its a Monday, a day with much less traffic).

                  1. Steakhouse - Cut or Mastros.
                    Spago is still a must try - it is still one of the best restaurants in the country and is a quintessential California experience. Even if you go for lunch it's well worth it (you can only get the pizzas at lunch I believe)
                    Dim sum - Ocean Seafood downtown LA / Chinatown
                    If you can get into Pizzeria Mozza (good luck), it's spectacular
                    Personally, I think In-n-Out burgers taste like dog food and their fries are limper than 3 week old lettuce. You couldn't make me eat another with a gun held to my head.
                    Pinks you can also live without - try a Tommy's chili-cheeseburger with chili cheese fries instead.
                    Also, Pinkberry IMO started the despicable scourge of tart yogurt. I literally can't stand tart yogurt and wish it would go away from this earth. It's inedible. Penguins yogurt - cookies and cream flavor is terrific.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: OC Mutt

                      I love tart yogurt. It is so refreshing and tastes like yogurt, not sugar. I don't like too sweet at all. Cookies in yogurt is a despicable thought.

                      1. re: OC Mutt

                        Thanks for the recs. Quite honestly Pinkberry is for my little sister, she's a big fan of the Hills (haha i know...) and wants to try some of places they frequent like the Ivy ,pinkberry etc.. LOL

                        1. re: OC Mutt

                          oc mutt:
                          until reading your post i thought that i was the only one who held those opinions about in-n-out.
                          not only are their fries and burgers awful, but their shakes are bad too.. . .

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            Good to know someone else has functional taste buds! I know it's considered blasphemy to do anything other than heap completely un-warranted praise upon In-n-Out "Burger" in California, but I'm seriously befuddled, it's not just that it's not good, or even mediocre, it's awful - chewy overscorched "meat", "fries" that are more like potatoes blanched in oil because they have never heard of the concept of "crisp" and also the final indignity of being forced to wait in long lines for this dreck. The Emperor really does have no clothes.

                            1. re: OC Mutt

                              your every word is ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.
                              you forgot to mention that the vanilla shake tastes similar to cool whip --has no flavor of vanilla whatsoever .

                                1. re: epop

                                  I'm a blasphemer as well. The whole thing is a scam. It is a hair (and I mean just a hair) less putrid than McDonald's. THAT"S IT. THE CHAIN LIVES FOR THAT REASON ALONE. GOD I HATE THAT PLACE AND THE LINES OF CARS EVERY SINGLE ONE HAS. Why? Am I projecting some deep inner hatred?

                                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                                    I suggest an hour with Sigmund Freud to find out.

                                    I don't hate the chain. I simply avoid it and just about everywhere else.