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“… I’ve been there a hundred times.”

d
degustateur Mar 11, 2010 06:47 PM

We’ve all heard or said it before – “I’ve been there a hundred times”. Well, which SoCal restaurants have you eaten at 100 times or more?

Rules:

1. Full service restaurants only.
2. Either eat-in or take-out.
3. No fast food chains like McDonalds, Jack-in-the-Box, Tommy’s, In-N-Out, etc.
4. No street food or trucks.
5. No bars or clubs unless the primary venue is a restaurant where you ate.

I’ll start the ball rolling with mine (in alpha order):

Favori
The Golden Truffle
Jay Bee’s BBQ
Jubei
La Chiquita
Marche Moderne
Memphis Cafe
Merhaba
Original Pantry Cafe
Pacific Dining Car
Pina’s Bistro
Pinot Provence
Seafare Inn
Sushi Nozawa
Sushi Shibucho
Sushi Wasabi
Tradition by Pascal (formerly Pascal)

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  1. monku Mar 11, 2010 06:57 PM

    100 times is quite a lot and I've lived in LA for 36 years.

    Only place I can think of is the Montebello Country Club coffee shop where I play golf every week and have lunch, it's not bad for a golf course, but nothing to write home about.

    Take that back. They make a great half pound hamburger w/fries for $5.95, great Thai chicken salad and sometimes their lunch specials aren't bad....like $6.95 filet mignon w/potatoes and veg.

    1. wienermobile Mar 11, 2010 07:20 PM

      Langer's. I grew up in LA and I worked at my dad's store around the block in the Westlake neighborhood in the 1960's, we would have it for lunch a few times a week. We would always said hi to Al Langer. I still love it even after 100's of pastrami sandwiches.

      In second place is the long gone La Barbara's Pizza on Wilshire in West LA which I lived right behind. I still miss it to this day, boy was that good pizza.

      2 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile
        d
        degustateur Mar 12, 2010 09:48 PM

        I’ve read and heard many props for La Barbara’s pizza. I understand that it shuttered in the mid-eighties without my trying it. I did not become even remotely interested in pizza until post Y2K. I really feel that I missed out on a SoCal institution. It’s even mentioned on latimemachines.com.

        1. re: degustateur
          m
          mc michael Mar 16, 2010 05:20 AM

          LaBarbera's was partly about the pizza and partly the comfort zone atmosphere. There's better pizza around today, but I can't think of a place that comes close to the atmosphere..

      2. Servorg Mar 11, 2010 07:31 PM

        Over 200 times at Houston's in Century City.

        16 Replies
        1. re: Servorg
          d
          degustateur Mar 12, 2010 10:15 PM

          Hmmh, Houston’s - another place I’ve never been. One day, Servorg, I have to try those ribs that I’ve heard so much about.

          1. re: degustateur
            Servorg Mar 13, 2010 03:42 AM

            I would say they are good, but not great. I wouldn't go out of my way for them. Houston's is one of those nice "date" restaurants that my wife and I went to after the movies. Over time we got to know everyone that worked there and ended up never having to wait for a table, despite the Friday night crowds.

            If you do go sometime and you decide you want to finish with something sweet I highly recommend their apple walnut cobbler with vanilla ice cream. In my 200 + meals I probably had that 80% of time...

            1. re: Servorg
              DrBruin Mar 13, 2010 06:29 AM

              I think Houston's baby back ribs are the most consistently delicious and most tender (the bone pulls out clean) I've had in LA. Although, Lucille's is right up there (because I prefer their sauce more).

              Have you found great baby back ribs in LA?

              1. re: DrBruin
                Servorg Mar 13, 2010 06:59 AM

                Not really. We do them at home when we are in the bbr mood.

                1. re: Servorg
                  d
                  degustateur Mar 14, 2010 10:25 PM

                  Finding great baby back ribs can be difficult, especially barbequed. They must first be properly selected and then require a more concerted method of method than do other rib cuts.

                  Sounds straightforward and easy enough, right? Apparently not. I gave up the search for great BBQ baby backs a while ago. At commercial BBQ joints, I go for the St. Louis style, small ends, rib tips or, sometimes, burnt ends, when available, for a special treat. Baby backs are reserved for home, as Servorg stated, or restaurant (non-BBQ) preparation.

                  1. re: degustateur
                    Servorg Mar 15, 2010 07:04 AM

                    I've been having the baby backs at Pann's on a somewhat regular basis and had them again this past Saturday night. Pretty darn good. What was also nice was the turn out. The last few Saturdays I would call the crown "sparse" but this past Saturday night they were pretty busy, including a 3/4's full counter.

                    Penny (one of our favorite waitresses at Pann's) was serving the counter and she was hopping. Penny is probably Thai (maybe?) and has one of those almost "Betty Boop" sounding cartoon voices. In fact if some animation director is looking for a good voice for one of their "wacky" characters I say "go hire Penny!" She is a really nice person with a great personality, that's for sure.

                    1. re: Servorg
                      e
                      exilekiss Mar 15, 2010 10:52 AM

                      Hi Servorg,

                      I... I had no idea Pann's serves good Baby Back Ribs. (~_~) I've been missing out all this time?? :) Every time we go there, I can't pry myself away from their Fried Chicken / Wings. Thanks for the rec!

                      1. re: exilekiss
                        Servorg Mar 15, 2010 10:58 AM

                        It's a Saturday - Sunday special. And my wife get's the wings and waffle anyway so I score coming and going!! ;-D>

                      2. re: Servorg
                        d
                        degustateur Mar 15, 2010 08:46 PM

                        Yo Servorg,

                        I understand that Pann’s is pretty solid overall. To date, I’ve only enjoyed breakfast, notably their fried chicken wings, eggs and waffles - excellent. I’ve received rec’s to try their short ribs, bouillabaisse and, now, their baby backs. It’s off my beaten path these days, so it may be a while before I’ve done all three. My respect for your opinion puts the baby backs up next though. Are they served daily?

                        1. re: degustateur
                          Servorg Mar 16, 2010 04:56 AM

                          As I noted to Exilekiss above, they are offered only on Saturday and Sunday (IIRC). Pann's for the visitors who don't live close are a good option when you have to fly in or out of LAX.

                      3. re: degustateur
                        a_and_w Mar 17, 2010 10:13 AM

                        Just a heads up that the ribs at Houston's, while tasty, are parboiled.

                  2. re: Servorg
                    d
                    degustateur Mar 13, 2010 09:21 PM

                    That apple walnut cobbler with vanilla ice cream sounds to me like reason enough to go. Thanks, Servorg!

                  3. re: degustateur
                    goodhealthgourmet Mar 15, 2010 10:45 PM

                    i don't know about the ribs, but Houston's serves the *best* veggie burger ever. seriously, it gets the thumbs-up from carnivores and vegetarians alike. and the spinach dip isn't too shabby either!

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      westsidegal Mar 21, 2010 08:38 PM

                      second your assessment about the houston's veggie burger;
                      coupled with the fact that they don't charge corkage, and that they will allow you to substitute different side orders for the fries, gives me a powerful incentive to return again and again

                      1. re: westsidegal
                        goodhealthgourmet Mar 21, 2010 09:06 PM

                        please enjoy it for me the next time you have one. i can't eat them anymore because of the gluten! :(

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                          westsidegal Mar 21, 2010 10:37 PM

                          truly, i feel your pain.
                          i can't eat walnuts and the veggie burgers at 26 beach and at the Spot both contain walnuts.
                          bummer

                2. ipsedixit Mar 11, 2010 07:59 PM

                  Won Won Kitchen (nee QQ)
                  Soot Bull Jeep
                  Sushi Ike
                  Sea Harbour
                  Cafe Pinot
                  Tonny's
                  Spike's Teriyaki Bowl (R.I.P.)

                  1. t
                    TravelPath Mar 11, 2010 09:27 PM

                    Langer's
                    Phillipes
                    El Cholo (but not since college 30+ years ago!)
                    Petrelli"s (going since 1951!)
                    Musso & Franks
                    Pacific Dining Car
                    The Cock and Bull (RIP)
                    Le Cellier (RIP)
                    Pantry
                    Thai Nakorn (both locations)
                    Juniors
                    Apple Pan
                    La Barbara's Pizza (all through High School...I went to school with one of the La Barbara boys...and college)
                    Ocean Ave. Seafood

                    There are probably more...I will have to think about it over dinner...at the Apple Pan!!

                    ...and after a hickory burger...

                    Bicycle Shop (RIP...I miss their onion soup)
                    My Brothers
                    The Smoke House
                    Tam O'Shanter

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: TravelPath
                      d
                      degustateur Mar 12, 2010 10:09 PM

                      Great list, TravelPath! We’ve shared many of the same dining experiences, albeit you far more often for your listed venues. As many times as I’ve been and as much as I love it, I was surprised to find that I haven’t been to Langer’s 100 times – too many 5-year stretches when I didn’t go at all.

                      Haven’t been to Petrelli’s since the 70’s, but it’s great that old school still lives on.

                      1. re: TravelPath
                        GenevieveCa Mar 15, 2010 10:32 PM

                        The Cock and Bull still exists on Lincoln.

                      2. westsidegal Mar 11, 2010 09:32 PM

                        mariscos chente
                        dinah's
                        souplantation
                        the spot
                        shamshiri grill
                        26 beach
                        samosa house
                        hide

                        1. DrBruin Mar 11, 2010 09:54 PM

                          Doesn't anyone cook at home anymore?

                          It would take me 16+ years of dining out twice a week just at the restaurants to rack up those numbers. Your Centurian Club is quite impressive. Which is your favorite of your list? And, is that the place you've dined at the most? Do they know you at all these places?

                          12 Replies
                          1. re: DrBruin
                            westsidegal Mar 11, 2010 10:20 PM

                            i stopped eating at home when my daughter stopped being around enough to eat with me.
                            i like ethnic food.
                            she doesn't.
                            cooking for one is not as much fun as going out.
                            besides, mariscos chente is 7 minutes from my house.
                            antica pizzaria about the same
                            ayara thai cuisine about 6 minutes.
                            dinahs, maybe 8 minutes
                            sauce on hampton 12 minutes
                            samosa house 8 minutes.

                            why would i eat at home?

                            1. re: westsidegal
                              d
                              degustateur Mar 13, 2010 09:24 PM

                              I'm envious, westsidegal. Compared to you, this eastsideguy lives in a culinary wasteland. (^_^)

                              1. re: degustateur
                                westsidegal Mar 13, 2010 09:43 PM

                                that would drive me to actually cooking at home.

                                irrc, streetgourmetla has done some reporting on worthy eastside food spots.. . .

                                1. re: westsidegal
                                  d
                                  degustateur Mar 15, 2010 08:56 PM

                                  Yes indeed, westsidegal, streetgourmetla’s wonderful investigative efforts have resulted in some terrific leads for me, most notably Mariscos Chente and the much-lamented Breed Street (R.I.P.). Problem is … I’m a lot further east …

                                  However, as you can probably surmise, I’ve been known to travel great distances for chow.

                            2. re: DrBruin
                              d
                              degustateur Mar 13, 2010 10:37 AM

                              My “Centurion Club”, dating back 50 years, began with childhood visits to the Pantry and the Pacific Dining Car. The numbers add up quickly when eating out five days a week, twice a day. When I become enamored with a restaurant, I typically go once a week for a couple of years. Thereafter, my visits may lessen in favor of newer venues.

                              Favorites from my list include, in order:

                              The Golden Truffle – Alan Greeley is an incredibly talented, creative and versatile chef, as well as a wonderful person. I exhausted his entire menu before learning the ropes and just letting him start cooking for me when I walk in the door. His frequent catering engagements afford many off-menu surprises that you would not know were available if you relied solely on the menu. These vary greatly and are received fresh daily. Through the years, Alan has presented me with some of the very best meals of my life. Four to six courses are required to give him enough track to really open up and run through his gears.

                              Sushi Shibucho – My most revered omakase. A grand master of pre-preparation, Shibutani-san does wondrous things with fish. He has afforded me more opportunities to enjoy “the best toro I’ve ever had” than has any other Itamae. He recently graced me with what I consider “God’s Toro” - ultra fatty, insanely marbled and melts-in-your mouth. You could suck it through a straw. Retrieved from a cooler behind the bar, wrapped in layers of cloth and saran like a treasured possession, Shibutani-san prepared and presented it as if a rite of sacrament. He stood before me and watched, expressionless, as I ate the first piece. My satisfaction was immediate and sublime. I opened my eyes as his knowing yet humble smile emerged and met mine. Yet, another moment shared.

                              Marche Moderne - Chef Florent Marchand and his amiable wife Amelia exert Herculean effort in bringing outstanding French cuisine to an oft-demanding clientele. Florent is hands-on daily in the open kitchen and his presence is felt in every bite. I first met him at Pinot Province and was thrilled when he and Amelia realized their dream in opening MM. Amelia is a certified French pastry chef and her creations are marvelous. Their magnificent “Alsatian Pork from Head-to-Toe”, served to me twice late last year was among my greatest meals ever. It exemplified my raison d’etre in frequenting MM. More than once, I have enjoyed lunch there and returned for dinner that evening.

                              Merhaba – Ethiopian/Eritrean cuisine is near and dear to my heart. Hanna Haile, Merhaba’s owner/chef does an exceptional job in bestowing some of its best upon her loyal patrons. Everything is prepared with love. Hers is the finest injera (teff bread) I have ever tasted and her entire menu is most comforting to me, particularly her tsebhie derho (stewed chicken w/egg), kitfo (spicy beef tartare), hamli (mixed greens) and shiro (pureed chickpeas). Each of these, imho, is truly best of breed. I have eaten Ethiopian/Eritrean food regularly for over thirty years at many establishments yet, after seven years, Merhaba remains my go to. I feel at home there, and Hanna feels like Mom. I return “home” often and enjoy sharing a Coffee Ceremony with Hanna at meal’s end.

                              1. re: degustateur
                                t
                                TravelPath Mar 14, 2010 11:35 PM

                                I have been the recipient of the "special stuff" from Shibutani-san any number of times...he is such a master of choosing the very best. Last month, he gave me a piece of toro that was the size of a small steak...if only steak could taste as good as this was! Sushi Shibucho was my omakase of choice when Shibutani-san was in Los Angeles... it is still my omakase of choice...but now I have to travel to OC to get it...well worth the trip!!

                                As for Merhaba...I live very near Fairfax's little Ethiopia...and yet, I travel the 75+ mile R/T to go to Merhaba...As degustateur said..."my go to"!

                                1. re: TravelPath
                                  d
                                  degustateur Mar 15, 2010 09:21 PM

                                  TravelPath,

                                  Again, we share the same path. I have forsaken many years of awesome omakase having never been to Shibucho in LA when Shibutani-san owned it. Believe me when I say that I’ve surely made up for lost time over the past eight years he’s been in Costa Mesa. Per him, I was one of his first customers. He didn’t even have his alcohol license yet. That didn’t stop me from twice-a-week visits for quite a while.

                                  Speaking of licenses, Shibutani-san used to have an old VW van with the original California license plate: SUSHI … about says it all, doesn’t it.

                                  … essentially the same goes for Merhaba … 50 miles R/T, yet weekly for years.

                                2. re: degustateur
                                  e
                                  exilekiss Mar 15, 2010 10:54 AM

                                  Hi degustateur,

                                  LOVE Marche Moderne's Alsatian Pork from Head-to-Toe as well. :) If you ever hear of Chef Florent adding any parts of that preparation to his permanent menu, please let us know. :)

                                  1. re: exilekiss
                                    JAB Mar 15, 2010 12:54 PM

                                    Especially, those pig ears. Now, I'm imagining a plate full of those pig ears and a bottle of Riesling. Happy thoughts.

                                    1. re: exilekiss
                                      d
                                      degustateur Mar 16, 2010 09:21 PM

                                      Will do, exilekiss. In the meantime, Marche Moderne will be celebrating their third anniversary during the last ten days of April. Chef Florent will be offering a special Spanish Tapas menu that sounds absolutely delectable. Event info and menu are accessible from their home page at:

                                      http://www.marchemoderne.net/

                                      1. re: degustateur
                                        JAB Mar 17, 2010 01:08 PM

                                        Only available for diner. None offered for lunch.

                                    2. re: degustateur
                                      d
                                      degustateur Mar 16, 2010 08:14 PM

                                      Correction:

                                      The last name of Marche Moderne’s owner/chef is Marneau, not Marchand.

                                      To Florent and Amelia Marneau, my sincerest apologies.

                                  2. Arthur Mar 11, 2010 10:14 PM

                                    I'm sure I haven't been to all of these places 100+ times, but I've been to them enough that I've long since lost count:

                                    1. Lamonica's. While there are better overall pizza joints in LA (e.g., Vito's, Zelo's), Lamonica's has been reliably/consistently terrific for the 20 years I've lived in the area, and their sicilian slices are far and away the best in town.

                                    2. Pico Deli. The one and only authentic kosher Jewish deli in all of Los Angeles, it might as well be called Second Avenue Deli West. Does not get anywhere near the recognition it deserves on this board. Their pastrami-chopped liver combo sandwich is to die for - and those of you with heart conditions should probably take that literally.

                                    3. Bay Cities. Gets the recognition it deserves on this board (along with occasional sparks of hatred). The bread they use at their sandwich counter has become the stuff of legends. So have the lines during the lunchtime rush. Better order ahead.

                                    4. Gilbert's. My favorite Mexican dive on the west side. Affordable and always agreeable.

                                    5. Hamburger Habit. Other than for banana cream pie, I still cannot relate to why so many people enjoy cramming themselves into the miserable, unfriendly, rip-off confines of The Apple Pan when a far superior burger can be had about a mile away at this infinitely more hospitable, never-fails-to-satisfy establishment.

                                    6. Sinai F&Y. A kosher hole-in-the-wall butcher shop on Pico that IMO grills up the finest takeout kebabs in the city. They do have rickety eat-in tables for those who either want to devour their order hot off the grill or simply don't stop to question the dining ambiance of a butcher shop.

                                    7. Dr. Hogly Wogly's. The local BBQ battle lines continue to be drawn, and the fight rages on without an end in sight. But IMO nobody does beef ribs better than The Doctor, and that's all I personally care about. I long ago surrendered to the forces of this Tyler, Texas contingent. Medic!

                                    8. Fritto Misto. It's easy to find a lot of divisive opinions among Chowhounds about this restaurant, but I'm definitely a fan. The extremely expansive design-your-own pasta option has made it a particular favorite with my family.

                                    9. The Sunday brunch buffet at Duke's of Malibu. A good all-you-can-eat meal that is very reasonably priced, but the main attraction is unquestionably the glorious oceanside view.

                                    10. Yang Chow. I haven't been there in a very long time, but I used to go there every week without fail with an old classmate of mine. Love it or hate it, their Slippery Shrimp is world-famous and in a class by itself. Personally, I think their tangerine-peel chicken or beef is the best of its kind anywhere. Anyone know if William is still there?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Arthur
                                      p
                                      pinpei Mar 12, 2010 10:19 PM

                                      William is still there.

                                      1. re: Arthur
                                        d
                                        degustateur Mar 12, 2010 10:36 PM

                                        Well, Arthur, you are indeed the “King”. I’ve yet to sit at the Round Table at any of the venues on your list. Dr. Hogly Wogly’s has been on my to go list for several years, just haven’t made the drive yet. I have heard concurrence, though, about Doc’s legendary beef ribs. Might be time to check ‘em out and join in the friendly joust.

                                      2. Kitchen Queen Mar 11, 2010 10:28 PM

                                        Brent's Deli Northridge... It's been around since 1967 according to their website and I've been eating there probably since 1970-1971! And, if this counts... I remember my mom buying cheesecakes from "the Jewish" husband and wife team selling from a warehouse somewhere in the back lots that is now Warner Center. The team and those cheescakes are now the Cheesecake Factory - which I've eaten at more than 100 times in several of their locations. - good and bad....

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Kitchen Queen
                                          d
                                          degustateur Mar 12, 2010 10:41 PM

                                          Nice bit of history, Kitchen Queen. I was not aware. I do feel that the Cheesecake Factory does a good job in filling their niche. I’ve enjoyed it (the original in Beverly Hills only) a number of times through the years.

                                          1. re: Kitchen Queen
                                            j
                                            Jwsel Mar 13, 2010 08:11 PM

                                            I remember the warehouse. It was a warehouse in back, but the front was a little storefrong with about three tables. I think it was on Erwin between Canoga and Topanga Canyon. My father and I stumbled in there about 25 years ago, right before I went to college (I was having my computer packed up at a business in the same complex). While we were looking at the different cakes, a man at a table started chatting with us and telling us about the different cakes. Then he asked us to try a few. It turned out he was the owner and he was there to taste the cakes to make sure they met his standards. During the conversation, he mentioned that they were planning on doing a "little expansion."

                                          2. j
                                            Jwsel Mar 11, 2010 11:10 PM

                                            El Torito (yes, I'll admit it)
                                            La Frite in Sherman Oaks (going back to when it was still called Yellow Fingers)
                                            Cho Cho San
                                            Hirosuke
                                            El Taco Llama (between the two North Hollywood branches)
                                            Versailles
                                            Thai 'n' I
                                            Hamburger Hamlet
                                            Picnik (close to work)
                                            Stan's donuts
                                            La Talpa
                                            California Pizza Kitchen

                                            I find that most of the places on my list are places that date back to when I was a kid and are family stand-bys. I also like to try a lot of different places, so 100 visits is a pretty high number to reach.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Jwsel
                                              d
                                              degustateur Mar 12, 2010 10:56 PM

                                              Fret not, Jwsel, I’ve enjoyed many a Sunday Brunch at various El Torito’s. I used to love their Enchilada Sunrise with the fried egg on top. With enough extra shots, their margaritas enabled me to overlook any culinary or other shortfalls.

                                            2. j
                                              Jelly71 Mar 12, 2010 09:35 AM

                                              Melody's Kitchen in Reseda is probably the only one i have been to over 100 times. i am powerless over their chips, beans, and burritos.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Jelly71
                                                p
                                                prainer Mar 13, 2010 09:49 AM

                                                Agree with Melodys - same goes for Las Fuentes, their sister restaurant around the corner even if it is not full service. Chicken burrito gringo style with rice and beans. Great homestyle Mexican food at affordable prices.

                                              2. martyR Mar 12, 2010 10:32 AM

                                                Langers
                                                Tops
                                                Lee's Hoagie House
                                                Eat at Joes
                                                Marios Deli
                                                Phillipe
                                                Ana Marias in GCM
                                                Casa Bianca
                                                Colombos

                                                1. WildSwede Mar 12, 2010 11:18 AM

                                                  Pho 79, Las Fuentes, La Fiesta Grande, Little Mijares, Sabroso's, Thai in LA, Chili's, Chandra, PresidenTwo, Andy's Coffee Shop, Bob's Big Boy.

                                                  1. mollyomormon Mar 12, 2010 11:24 AM

                                                    In my nearly 9 years in LA, I think the only places I've been to over a hundred times are Gilbert's and Mrs. Winston's.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: mollyomormon
                                                      Discokill Mar 12, 2010 02:27 PM

                                                      Toast and Newsroom cafe. Though I'm not sure I should admit that on this board.

                                                    2. c
                                                      coffeebrownies Mar 12, 2010 03:05 PM

                                                      1. Bob's Doughnuts at Farmers Market. A conservative estimate would be every other week for 17 years, or 442 visits. However, there were certainly years in there when we went every Sunday morning, so we can probably round up to 500. Every now and then I think that I should really eat my way through every kind of doughnut they sell--but I have never done that. And yet, I still don't have a singular favorite doughnut , yet. (Maybe the next 500 will determine a winner.)

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: coffeebrownies
                                                        Servorg Mar 12, 2010 03:07 PM

                                                        Rules:

                                                        1. Full service restaurants only.

                                                      2. BubblyOne Mar 12, 2010 03:16 PM

                                                        At one point when I lived in LA, we ate out every lunch and dinner for almost 5 years, due to crazy circumstances-

                                                        Hamburger Hamlet on Sunset (over 100 times in 1 year, back when the Lewis' still owned it)
                                                        Cheesecake Factory, original in BH before it was a chain
                                                        Nate 'n Al
                                                        Jerry's in Studio City, when there was a Jerry
                                                        Casa Vega (Sherman Oaks)
                                                        Spago

                                                        in Laguna Beach
                                                        Javier's
                                                        French 75
                                                        Dizzs

                                                        13 Replies
                                                        1. re: BubblyOne
                                                          Emme Mar 12, 2010 07:55 PM

                                                          Nate'n'Al's!
                                                          though it makes me want to hang my head, i've been to Jerry's Deli way way way more times than I'd ever want to admit
                                                          i eat at Green Leaf Chop Shop a LOT
                                                          don't know about 100, but Ruth's Chris a heck of a lot... and combine that with the Palm, would probably put me over 100 for a combined total
                                                          oddly enough, probably not 100 times, but certainly over 50... Cynthia's on 3rd -- we went through a phase of once or twice weekly trips for the blackberry cobbler

                                                          [as a teen, i got dragged to Tony Roma's way too much... my ex-stepfather used to love their ribs, and so did my mom, esp during AYCE season... i hate hate hate this place, for the food and for the reminder of that man]

                                                          1. re: Emme
                                                            BubblyOne Mar 13, 2010 04:06 AM

                                                            LOL re: Tony Roma's, that was part of our rotation too!

                                                            1. re: BubblyOne
                                                              j
                                                              Jwsel Mar 13, 2010 08:13 PM

                                                              Tony Roma's was one of our family's regular spots. I used to love it, but went a few years ago and I couldn't believe how terrible it was. I remember loving the fried onion loaf, but it was a disgusting puddle of grease on my recent visit.

                                                              I think trying to reconstruct childhood places is a bad decision. For the past few days, I've been craving BBQ. I'm not a big fan of any of the places near me, but I remembered going to Rosie's BBQ when they had a branch in Encino. So, today, I ordered takeout from the Rosie's in Northridge. Big mistake. As scary as it might sound, I think Tony Roma's might have better food.

                                                              1. re: Jwsel
                                                                ipsedixit Mar 13, 2010 08:30 PM

                                                                We used to go to Love' BBQ when I was a little toddler.

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                  d
                                                                  degustateur Mar 13, 2010 08:54 PM

                                                                  Me too. Same for Chris & Pitts. Tony Roma’s came later. At one time or another, I loved all three. Did they slide or have we just raised the bar? I haven't been to any of them in eons.

                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                    j
                                                                    Jwsel Mar 13, 2010 09:08 PM

                                                                    The only thing I remember about Love's was their baked beans. Those were great -- though I would probably be disgusted by them if I tried them today.

                                                                    1. re: Jwsel
                                                                      DrBruin Mar 13, 2010 11:30 PM

                                                                      My strongest memory of Love's (which was our go-to rib joint when I was a child) was: those little bowls of hot water and thin slices of lemon they'd serve you to clean yourself up with. My second strongest memory seems to be the bright red glaze they had on the ribs.. but.. I can't be certain that was from Loves. I haven't been to Love's in decades.

                                                                      We eventually transitioned to Tony Roma's... Now, I haven't gone to Tony Roma's in years. The last time I went was to the location next to Lawry's on La Cienaga. I felt Tony Roma's quality had gone downhill. The onion loaf, which was a novelty, also just became more of a brick of grease to me and the ribs weren't that tender.

                                                                      1. re: DrBruin
                                                                        monku Mar 14, 2010 07:19 AM

                                                                        My early memories of Tony Roma's are the same as your later memories. That onion loaf was always a brick of grease. Nothing at Roma's has changed over time....it's always been at the bottom of the hill.

                                                                        If Tony Roma's, Love's and Chris and Pitt's were still the only BBQ options today, I wouldn't be eating BBQ.

                                                                      2. re: Jwsel
                                                                        ipsedixit Mar 14, 2010 11:47 AM

                                                                        Jwsel: yeah, those baked beans were awesome. Sweet, tangy and a bit smoky. Totally tasted like something you could get from a can! :-)

                                                                        DrBruin: aside form the lemon water to clean yourself, I also collected "Love's bibs" as a kid. Good times!

                                                                      3. re: ipsedixit
                                                                        WildSwede Mar 15, 2010 04:59 PM

                                                                        "When you're in Love, the whole world's delicious". Anyone remember their commercial diddy?

                                                                        1. re: WildSwede
                                                                          ipsedixit Mar 15, 2010 08:43 PM

                                                                          Yup.

                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                            d
                                                                            degustateur Mar 20, 2010 02:25 AM

                                                                            Ditto.

                                                                      4. re: Jwsel
                                                                        Emme Mar 14, 2010 09:29 AM

                                                                        for some reason, your post reminded me we also used to go to Dr. Hogly-Wogly's. Admittedly, I wasn't a bbq fan, so i hated being dragged to any of these places, but IIRC, i preferred the Dr.'s to the Roma's. i remember particularly hating that at Roma's i couldn't get their vegetables without butter... at least, not without having to send them back three times. i recall their bread being buttery and a tad sweet... as a kid, i didn't mind this as much, but then again, i wasn't a big bread eater.

                                                                2. Senor Popusa Mar 12, 2010 04:21 PM

                                                                  Hide Sushi
                                                                  Gilbert's El Indio

                                                                  1. p
                                                                    pinpei Mar 12, 2010 10:21 PM

                                                                    Apple Pan (just ate there tonight)
                                                                    Nate 'n Al (will eat there this weekend)
                                                                    Duke's (once it left the Tropicana it was all downhill - now I don't even recognize it)
                                                                    Yang Chow
                                                                    Hamburger Hamlet (unfortunately)
                                                                    Kate Mantilini (when it first opened, there was no better late night spot - today, feh)
                                                                    Joss

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: pinpei
                                                                      w
                                                                      winstars Mar 12, 2010 11:10 PM

                                                                      I just said to someone that I must be old because I still say the "New Dukes!!!"

                                                                      1. re: pinpei
                                                                        westsidegal Mar 13, 2010 09:45 PM

                                                                        when you go to nate 'n als, have a matzo brie with caramelized onions for me. . .

                                                                        1. re: westsidegal
                                                                          Emme Mar 14, 2010 09:31 AM

                                                                          and say hi to larry king! :-)

                                                                          i always do egg whites omelettes here... and mom (nine times out of ten) will have egg white matzah brie, done larry king style.

                                                                      2. j
                                                                        jencounter Mar 13, 2010 07:45 AM

                                                                        Taco Llama, Northridge.
                                                                        Ricome Thai, Northridge.

                                                                        1. s
                                                                          schrutefarms Mar 13, 2010 08:27 AM

                                                                          Seacliff Liquor in Huntington Beach-the deli in the back is where I got lunch every day in High School. Also Polly's Pies-it was the go-to family restaurant as a kid in Long Beach. Still have a complete addiction to their Backburner soup, in fact have 3 quarts in my freezer as I type this, because the only one in LA closed a few years ago.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                            b
                                                                            buttermarblepopcorn Mar 15, 2010 12:01 AM

                                                                            Just double-checking: did you mean there are no more Polly's Pies in Los Angeles County... or, like, *LA* LA (meaning, roughly, the latitudinal swath going from the west side to a little bit east of the 101)? Since there is one in Torrance and a couple in Long Beach (but maybe that's too far south for your location?).

                                                                            1. re: buttermarblepopcorn
                                                                              s
                                                                              schrutefarms Mar 16, 2010 11:08 AM

                                                                              Meaning "LA, LA." Ever since the one in Santa Monica became a Panera. I went to the LB location, and that's where I picked up all the quarts that are now in my freezer. That's one of my favorite lunches-a bowl of backburner soup, with buttered rolls dipped in, and some chocolate silk pie to go.

                                                                              1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                                d
                                                                                degustateur Mar 20, 2010 01:54 AM

                                                                                There are still several in Orange County, including North Santa Ana. 20 plus years ago, I really liked their Chicken Pot Pie but, alas, I've raised the bar. Now, I favor The Grill on The Alley and the Wood Spoon versions.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Wood Spoon
                                                                                107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                                                1. re: degustateur
                                                                                  s
                                                                                  schrutefarms Mar 22, 2010 12:57 PM

                                                                                  No offense to Polly's, but it doesn't take much to raise the bar. I've had and made much more quality soups than Backburner, but that will still be one of the ultimate comfort foods to me. It's like your Dads grilled cheese. Yes, you could go to whatever fancy burger place just opened, and have a griddled gruyere on brioche with carmelized onions and crispy panchetta, but it won't ever taste as good as that Kraft on Wonderbread that Dad made you. :)

                                                                                  1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                                    d
                                                                                    degustateur Mar 22, 2010 02:09 PM

                                                                                    schrutefarms, I know EXACTLY what you mean. At one time, my Dad was a French pastry chef. His Chicken Pot Pie, made from fresh-slaughtered chicken and fully encased in his wonderful crust, still sits at the top of my world.

                                                                          2. OC Mutt Mar 13, 2010 04:43 PM

                                                                            Greek Island Grille at least once a month since 2004
                                                                            http://www.thewholepita.com/
                                                                            Pho99
                                                                            Junior's Deli Westwood

                                                                            1. c
                                                                              calabasas_trafalgar Mar 13, 2010 10:38 PM

                                                                              Domenico's on Washington in Pasadena

                                                                              1. p
                                                                                PayOrPlay Mar 14, 2010 11:10 PM

                                                                                John O'Groats
                                                                                Yashima (formerly Mishima)
                                                                                Sawtelle Kitchen
                                                                                Ramen-ya, maybe
                                                                                Nate 'n Al
                                                                                Junior's, maybe
                                                                                Il Moro (although I have not been there in the last few years)

                                                                                and, although it breaks some of the qualification requirements, I have to mention the food court at Koreatown Galleria .

                                                                                For my wife, again breaking the rules, it's definitely Mrs. Winston's.

                                                                                1. Ciao Bob Mar 15, 2010 11:49 AM

                                                                                  What a fun thread!

                                                                                  So much more of where I spend my time and money has to do with things other than a straight-up restaurant choice: things like where I have lived and worked, than where I would choose to eat. Take Canter's - my ex-wife played the Kibbitz for years so I grew accustomed to their Tuna on toasted Rye with Bacon. Canter's has excellent, thick, smoky bacon that goes great with Tuna, IMHO. I petitioned the manager Bela for years – unsuccessfully -- to put a sandwich on the menu called Dr. Bob's BLT [bacon, lettuce, tuna].

                                                                                  Anyway, here's are my C-Note Joints:
                                                                                  Canter's
                                                                                  Angeli Caffe
                                                                                  Eat-a-Pita (sadly, gone now)
                                                                                  Giorgio Baldi
                                                                                  Yabu
                                                                                  Ocean Star
                                                                                  Jitlada
                                                                                  Yabu
                                                                                  Ham Ji Park
                                                                                  Yatai
                                                                                  Noma Sushi
                                                                                  And, sadly, Saint John's Hospital Cafeteria.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Ciao Bob
                                                                                    d
                                                                                    degustateur Mar 20, 2010 02:08 AM

                                                                                    I couldn’t agree with you more about circumstance, Ciao Bob. A number of my “C-Note” venues have been relatively close to where my offices or clients have been located. Fortunately, in most cases, they would have qualified as my eateries of choice as well. Interestingly, virtually none of them are close to home.

                                                                                    1. re: degustateur
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      mc michael Mar 20, 2010 06:25 PM

                                                                                      The Wood Spoon pot pie, though expensive, is well worth it. Real chicken without some gloppy gelatin filling.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Wood Spoon
                                                                                      107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                                                  2. c
                                                                                    cdub Mar 15, 2010 10:44 PM

                                                                                    beverly soon tofu
                                                                                    carnival
                                                                                    midori sushi
                                                                                    sri siam

                                                                                    1. m
                                                                                      mc michael Mar 16, 2010 05:14 AM

                                                                                      100 times is a lot.
                                                                                      Norm's.
                                                                                      Acapulco.
                                                                                      Hamburger Hamlet.
                                                                                      Chez Puce.
                                                                                      Shiro.
                                                                                      LaBarbara's.
                                                                                      Panda Inn.
                                                                                      Hey, I ate a lot of mediocre food in my yute.

                                                                                      1. m
                                                                                        mc michael Mar 16, 2010 05:27 AM

                                                                                        Over the years I probably ate 100 times at the spot where Cafe Jacoulet/Tra Fiori/Bizou have been located.

                                                                                        1. j
                                                                                          Jase Mar 16, 2010 09:32 AM

                                                                                          I00 is definitely a lot. I don't know if I've even hit 50 with some of my faves. The only one I can think of is Sam Woo. That was a family favorite growing up and is still my base comfort food. Roast duck, beef black been chow fun, char sui and beef tendon chow mein crispy are the standards whenever we go.

                                                                                          Growing up, I think we hit that place at least once a month sometimes twice. Even now, I usually hit it every other month or so.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Jase
                                                                                            ipsedixit Mar 16, 2010 10:42 AM

                                                                                            Yeah, if you include takeout, then definitely Sam Woo.

                                                                                          2. s
                                                                                            Sam D. Mar 17, 2010 03:28 PM

                                                                                            Phillipe's
                                                                                            Taylor's Steaks
                                                                                            Original Pantry, although I'll never go back again.
                                                                                            Pasadena Sandwich Company. That was when they were located on E. Colorado & Backus and our place was across the street.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Sam D.
                                                                                              d
                                                                                              degustateur Mar 17, 2010 06:21 PM

                                                                                              Sam D.,

                                                                                              Thank you for your response. I’m a bit curious. After so many previous visits to the Pantry, why would you not return?

                                                                                              1. re: degustateur
                                                                                                s
                                                                                                Sam D. Mar 20, 2010 04:56 PM

                                                                                                For decades I was a big fan of the Pantry. But beginning In the late 1990s the Pantry went into a headlong decline in quality. After about 5 consecutive, really disappointing meals there, I gave up. I didn't return for about 8 years until just recently after I had heard that they had improved. Fortunately I went alone because I wanted to test it out before inviting any friends to join me there. Sadly, it had not improved. If anything, it had slid further downhill. I had a horribly disgusting meal. The service was also terrible, even though at 7:30 PM the place was 3/4 empty. The prices had also risen dramatically. And to top it off, I witnessed a gross disregard for hygiene and sanitation by the staff during an incident that occurred while I was there.

                                                                                                The only good thing I can report is that the Pantry's cole slaw is still excellent. So is the sourdough bread & butter but those items are outsourced.

                                                                                                There was a time when Taylor's also went through a couple years of decline in food quality but they have long since got their act back together and returned to their prior standards.

                                                                                                1. re: Sam D.
                                                                                                  westsidegal Mar 21, 2010 08:41 PM

                                                                                                  probably they 'improved' relative to their nadir, which it appears you missed.
                                                                                                  lucky you!

                                                                                            2. d
                                                                                              degustateur Mar 25, 2010 04:54 PM

                                                                                              I have another centurion to add to my list – the Black Sheep Bistro in Tustin. Years ago when they served lunch and, subsequently, operated a lunch deli I was quite the regular. I easily racked up over 50 visits to the deli alone – more than enough in total now to put me over the century mark after 20+ years. I still enjoy dinner there several times a year.

                                                                                              -----
                                                                                              Black Sheep Bistro
                                                                                              303 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: degustateur
                                                                                                t
                                                                                                TravelPath Mar 26, 2010 11:52 AM

                                                                                                I have not been to the Black Sheep Bistro in years...has their quality held up?...and how are their mussels...I have to take an OC relative out for dinner and he is craving moule frites!

                                                                                                I also have thought of a few more 100 visit restaurants...Ships (RIP), Los Alamitos Fish Company, Pie and Burger in Pasadena, Jongewaard's Bake & Broil in Long Beach, Le Pain Quotidien (over 100 times in So Cal and in Brussels)...and while not in Los Angeles, Mrs. TravelPath and I have been known to drive up to Santa Barbara to La Super Rica for dinner and drive back...it is often faster than driving to OC!! In the old days, the family went to Scandia on the Strip for every occasion...I started counting and it is well over 100 times.

                                                                                                This exercise you began is eye opening...considering I am out of the SoCal area 100-150 days a year for work, I am amazed at the number of restaurants I frequent!!

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Black Sheep Bistro
                                                                                                303 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

                                                                                                1. re: TravelPath
                                                                                                  JAB Mar 26, 2010 12:17 PM

                                                                                                  Speaking of moule fites and Brussells, you may want to try Brussells Bistro in Laguna Beach for those.

                                                                                                  1. re: JAB
                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                    TravelPath Mar 26, 2010 06:18 PM

                                                                                                    As much as I want to like it...and I have tried 4-5 times...the mussels served at Brussels Bistro are usually are overcooked and mealy...I do like their croquettes de crevettes and their carbonnades de boeuf...and of course, I love their selection of beer...We'll see...maybe I will give them another chance for moules!

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    Brussels Bistro
                                                                                                    222 Forest Ave, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

                                                                                                  2. re: TravelPath
                                                                                                    d
                                                                                                    degustateur Mar 26, 2010 11:10 PM

                                                                                                    Hello, TravelPath

                                                                                                    It is amazing how those dining numbers start to rack up. My post has heightened my age-awareness for sure. Just think, only five visits per year for twenty years … I’ve done that and more at quite a few places with more on the way.

                                                                                                    Black Sheep Bistro has been around for a quarter of a century. The quality has indeed been maintained, perhaps even improved, over the years. Although it fills its own niche handily, its challenge has been to keep up with the competitive pressures created by the many outstanding Orange County restaurants that have come on the scene during that time, some of which have come and gone, e.g., Aubergine, Gustaf Anders and Troquet. Ooops, Gustaf Anders … many wonderful lunches ... another likely centurion!

                                                                                                    I do encourage your next visit to BSB, however, you will find several versions of moules, including at least one with cooked potatoes but, alas, no frites. (._.) The one with sausages and potatoes is superb, however.

                                                                                                    I hate to steer you away, but I highly recommend the traditional moules frites at Marche Moderne – over the top the last time I had them. Pescadou Bistro in Newport Beach does an excellent version as well as does Pinot Provence in Costa Mesa.

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    Marche Moderne
                                                                                                    3333 Bristol St 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                                                                                                    Black Sheep Bistro
                                                                                                    303 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

                                                                                                    Pescadou Bistro
                                                                                                    3325 Newport Blvd, Newport Beach, CA 92663

                                                                                                    Pinot Provence Restaurant
                                                                                                    686 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                                                                                                    1. re: degustateur
                                                                                                      t
                                                                                                      TravelPath Mar 27, 2010 11:34 PM

                                                                                                      The length of my list explains the preponderance of gray hair on my head and the extra inches around my waist...and that there are fewer restaurants in my future than in my past...and therefore the ones in the future have to be good! I will give BSB another try as well as Marche Moderne...I know you are a big fan of the latter!! Thanks!...and I really miss Gustaf Anders as well as Troquet...we had many family meals at both (but no 100 visits!)

                                                                                                2. b
                                                                                                  broccoliluv Mar 26, 2010 12:39 PM

                                                                                                  I don't eat out a lot (budgetary reasons), but do treat myself to a late breakfast nearly every weekend at LeRoy's in Monrovia and have been doing so for about 20 years (that's a scary number when I add it up). It's my kind of comfort food -- big traditional breakfasts (they serve lunch too), and friendly attentive staff that seem almost obsessed with keeping the coffee mug full.

                                                                                                  1. g
                                                                                                    granadafan Mar 27, 2010 12:49 PM

                                                                                                    Rodeo Mexican Grill on Olympic near downtown.

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    Rodeo Mexican Grill
                                                                                                    1721 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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