Upcoming trip: most LA Research done & just looking for a bit of input..
- passing thru Dec 19, 2009 05:15 AM
Hello LA 'hounds. First off, thanks much for the many informative posts to be found on this board that have already been so helpful. I'm going to be coming to your town on Xmas day and will be there until New Year's Eve + I've done what I think is a good bit of background research already. What I'd like to do here is list off roughly where I'm thinking of eating while I'm there and what I'd really appreciate is just a little bit of feedback along the lines of pointing out can't miss extras that are nearby where I want to go/am staying or any recent downhill reports I may have missed. If you really feel like there's somewhere I'm missing out on feel free to chime in with that as well, though I'm at least relatively confident that I have some good spots--though there is one area I could use at least a little help.
One side point of interest is that I do live near the Mass/RI line where there is only scattered decent Asian food and almost no Latino food (there was one ace Mexican restaurant, but the owner died and the family moved backed to Mexico) so what might not be totally top notch for you is likely to be pretty good for me on those spots. Thus, the very finer points of certain places being better than others in those areas is really not a huge concern. Additionally, I'm mainly in "under 25$" Ultimate Poll territory here--there seems plenty in this range to satisfy me, so I'll save the fancy places for next time, I think. But I would really appreciate any input you could give on the Latino stuff especially--the choices there are insanely overwhelming.
I'll be staying in Koreatown for the first part of the trip and then will be downtown at the Kyoto Grand for two nights. We're also probably going to the Huntington one day. We also should have wheels all week, since a friend has the week off and offered to chauffeur.
Anyway, enough back ground + FWIW here's a general guesstimate of where I've found that looks promising. Yes, I know that I will list far more places than I can possibly eat at while I'm there--you do understand this sickness, I believe. Thanks in advance for any extra info!
--for Koreatown, I'm leaning towards Sokongdong for soon dobu, Beverly Soon Tofu for grilled stuff, Dan Sung Sa for more casual things and/or Ondal 2 for crab stew. (I think the latter is on the fringe of Koreatown, but that's OK). The Northern Korean set meals at YongSuSan is a dark horse candidate.
--in Little Tokyo when we're downtown, it looks like Sushi Gen for sushi, Izayoi for pub food and Daikokuya for ramen. I also plan on checking out Fugetsu-do for mochi.
--the day of the trip out to the Huntington, I'm thinking that it makes sense to go to Elite for dim sum beforehand, do the gardens + the lithograph show there and then probably Mei Long Village for xlb etc on the way back. I've got a mountain of other places noted for SGV for things I can't get here--Giang Nan for Jiangsu, China Islamic for hand cut noodles, Seafood Village or Golden Deli for Chaozhou, Lu Din Gee for duck, Luscious Dumplings, Qingdao Bread Food...I could go on. I'm not that familiar with the geography, so while I think I'm well sold on Mei Long Village on the return trip I could easily work in some chow crawling for anything special along these lines nearby.
--places that I really, really want to go and would prioritize over others: Langer's, Jitlada, Mariscos Chente, maybe Monte Alban. Phillipe's also almost makes it here since I dearly love classic institutions, but I probably won't go hugely out of my way for that one if it's not convenient during the week. I'd also eat at the Kogi Truck, but only if it parks right nearby some night.
--For Mexican etc besides the two above, I do def. plan on hitting Grand Central Market when I'm downtown. Otherwise, this cuisine is where I am most adrift given the vast sea of choices. I would prefer places near or easy to get to from where I'm staying--I know from downtown I can now get to East LA via Gold Line, which might be promising. But otherwise I'm a bit at sea here--El Parian for goat tacos? Weekend Carnitas at Metro Balderas? Moles La Tia? Guelaguetza? Los Cinco Puntos? The staggering array of legal and illegal taco trucks? Help! Here again I'd lean towards places that have stuff that I can't get in the east--cemitas, huitlacoche, tasty offal cuts etc. Any pointers for me in this range most appreciated.
--one last note is that I think it's very possible that we'll hit the Hammer Museum to see the Burchfield show...this area seems like a bit of a chow wasteland, but it appears that Alcazar Express would be a solid lunch choice. And I guess that the original Stan's Donuts is fairly close, too. Am I missing anything else that's up this way?
Anyway, that's a rough sketch of what I'm thinking about the week or so before I descend upon your fair city. What say ye?
Sunin on Westwood Blvd. is a good choice near the Hammer for Lebanese. If you want to go a bit further afield, but still near Westwood, Simpang Asia is a very good small Indonesian market and cafe on National where it makes a 90-degree turn just a little east of Overland. Across the street from it is the Indo Cafe, which is also a very good Indonesian place.
As for XLB - if you go to Mei Long Village, I urge you to do a taste test with J&J which is just two storefronts up from Mei Long in the same shopping plaza. I far prefer the XLB at J&J, although Mei Long does have a much more extensive menu.
Have fun. Eat well. You have indeed done some good homework.
You were doing fine till you said that the area around the Hammer is a chow wasteland. With Tehrangeles right there, you've got Shahrzad for Persian. Lebanese-wise, Sunnin is excellent too. Don't miss the cookies of Diddy Riese in Westwood Village.
Sushi-wise, get thee to Mori Sushi. Sushi Gen is OK, but the bar experience at Mori-san's is exemplary. L.A. is the best sushi town in the U.S., and possibly all of North America, IMHO.
If you're in Little Tokyo, go to Kappo Ishito for an excellent kappo meal. Also, try Raku Plus (also in Honda Plaza with Sushi Gen), which serves Japanese homestyle mixed in with a bit of Korean flay-vah.
While you're at MLV, run next door to compare & contrast the XLBs at J&J. You're coming all this way to L.A.... a few more steps in the same shopping center won't hurt.
Oh, and ditch the snow clothes. Here, it's 75 and sunny today, December 19th.
For hand cut noodles in SGV, ditch China Islamic and head over to JTYH.
Golden Deli isn't really Chaozhou, more Vietnamese-Cantonese than Chaozhou, but then that might be nitpicking in your book.
For Mexican, also consider Babita (which i would prioritize over Monte Alban if your travel plans permit)
The OP has definitely done some serious research on our board. I want to piggyback on ipse's post in hopes not only for the poster's reading, but maybe ipse can elaborate or add more info/recs.
Having been the beneficiary of many of your past recs, one that may apply to the OP is buying frozen dumplings from places like Luscious Dumplings or 101 Noodle Express. The quality is exceptional, they're easy to prepare, and the keep (if properly frozen) for a good month or two. I can easily see four bags of frozen dumplings going into the check-in luggage.
Frozen dumplings are definitely a "go" in my book.
But I wouldn't necessarily hit up Luscious Dumplings for frozen dumplings, unless you call way way ahead in advance, which you can do and all would be good. Thing is with Luscious Dumplings is that they only make so much for the lunch crowd and then another batch for the dinner crowd. Small operation, so very little leeway. Thus, if you go the Luscious Dumplings route, definitely call ahead.
101 Noodle Express would be ok as well, although I'm generally not a fan of their dumplings.
Other places to consider would be Dumpling 10053 and JTYH (esp. the lamb ones). But the folks who really specialize in frozen dumplings are the folks at Qing Dao Bread Food. Go there if you want mass quantities of frozen goodies (I would still call ahead though).
Now, if you want frozen XLB (not to be confused with dumplings), go to Dean Sin World (or Tastio). Go. Buy bagfuls. Take home. Eat. Game over.
I once sent some frozen dumplings - via Fedex Overnight - packed with dry ice to some friends in Columbus, OH. They didn't thaw much, but they did thaw just enough that when they refroze in my friend's freezer, they all stuck together in a way that they were never able to get them apart without tearing the skins. There must be some way to pack frozen dumplings for travel, but it's not as easy as it seems like it should be.
If you are going to buy frozen dumplings for shipping, ask that the store sprinkle in EXTRA flour into the plastic bag.
And, if the dumplings thaw partially and then are re-frozen so that they end up stuck together, when you cook them, just drop them into the boiling water frozen as is (usually you should defrost the dumplings before cooking) and then squirt a good amount of sesame oil into the boiling water. It prevents sticking and tearing of the dumpling skins.
You've done a lot of work. In Westwood, I'd hit up Ambala Dhaba on Westwood Bl for Indian. A good Mexican near downtown is La Serenata de Garibaldi for good seafood items especially. You might also check El Tejado in East LA. http://www.marisqueriaeltejado.com/ Great raw oysters, pretty good giant seafood platter.