What restaurants have ruined you?
Sometimes the first encounter with a particular foodstuff will (for lack of a better word) stain you for life, for better or worse.
I want to discuss the "worse" kind here.
What I mean is, sometimes the first iteration of a particular dish you eat will forever make you think that that *is* the way that dish should be made, even if it is a subpar example.
Example. My uncle is a die-hard fan of the bun at Pho Pasteur for no other reason that this was the first place he's ever had bun thit nuong. While I think their version is ok, I definitely think there are better versions out there, e.g. Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa and Vietnam Restaurant just to name two places off the top of my head (with apologies to all those other great choices in the OC).
Another example. McDonald's soft-serve ice cream. For me this *is* the way soft-serve ice cream should be, even though many will argue that both Foster's Freeze and Dairy Queen, and even Baskin Robbins, puts the stuff McDonald's spits out to shame.
Another example. Bob's Big Boy Spaghetti with meat sauce. A friend considers this *the* way spaghetti with meat sauce (or any type of red sauce) should be prepared. Anything else, in her opinion, is just not right. Why? Her first encounter with what she calls "Italian food" was at (gasp!) Bob's Big Boy.
Any restaurant stain you for life with respect to a particular dish?
Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa
9016 Mission Dr, Rosemead, CA 91770
8821 Valley Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770
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+1 on McD's soft serve
Ruen Pair's papaya salad
Kagaya's shabu shabu
Nanbankan's gobo maki (ok, I've never seen this anywhere else but so be it)
Chez Panisse's panna cotta (I had it about 15 yrs ago and still remember the silky texture... never had anything remotely close even though panna cotta is such an easy throwaway dessert)
I stumbled onto this thread looking for something else, but briefly, the Panna Cotta made by Chef Isaac (who used to cook at Cucina Paradiso in Palms) isthe most silky, insane PC I've ever spooned. I mean just insane, the sole reason for eating dinner there when it was open.
I think he's at Il Sole now, which leans toward an overpriced star and agent studded hole, but HAS to be worth a stop for dessert if he's making this.
Just thought I'd throw that out. Let us know if you go!
8741 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069
I still get the chili spaghetti whenever I go to Bob's. Have been eating it since I was a kid and LOVE IT!!
I actually think the McD's soft serve is delicious! And now that I found Krokan at the Alpine Village Market, I will be eating it more often!
Alpine Village Market
833 Torrance Blvd Ste 1A, Torrance, CA 90502
The chicken fried steak at Eat At Joe's in Redondo Beach. I'm sure people think there are much better versions, but I can't find anywhere else that duplicates the taste of the meat and gravy for me.
The chili fries at Tops in Pasadena (Walnut). It's just fries and nothing-special chili, but I love it.
There's a carne asada burrito at The Burger Shack (used to be called Cypress Burgers) on Walnut in Pasadena that I crave about once a week. It doesn't taste like most other places but I have to have it.
9868 Garvey Ave, El Monte, CA 91733
Eat At Joes
, Redondo Beach, CA 90254