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The Ten Best Things To Eat In LA Right Now

Here's my list...looking forward to hearing everyone's feedback! Full post with pics at http://fattywantscheese.blogspot.com/

10. Il Covo's White Anchovies with Roasted Peppers

Sometimes the simplest thing on the menu is the one you keep going back for. Il Covo's previous chef, Roberto Maggioni, let the bright briny flavors of fresh white anchovies shine without needless augmentation, instead placing them unadorned on a pinwheel of roasted yellow and red peppers. The sweetness of the peppers lends the perfect balance to the sparkling acidity and rich oils of the fish - nothing more is required. Here's to hoping the new chef agrees.

9. Playa's Tamale Chipotle

I'm usually very skeptical of upmarket presentations of downmarket dishes. There are way too many Kobe beef hot dogs, ridiculous Wagyu burgers with white truffles, and order-it-and-be-forever-shamed cheesesteaks in existence for my liking, and at first glance Playa's filet mignon tamale sounds like it might deserve equal disdain. But it definitely does not. The beef is good, but the real star is the tamale itself, filled with an incredibly earthy masa and rich mushroom duxelle. The smokiness and mild heat of the chipotle bearnaise adds the kick. You won't find find this at your local taco stand but you'll wish you could.

8. Umami Burger's Hatch Burger

Umami Burger has expanded. A lot. And quickly. And now Umami lord Adam Fleischman has opened Umamicatessen, a megaplex downtown hosting 5 restaurants in one. The hubris! some say. He's doomed to fail! He's the Icarus of burgers! Maybe so, but I couldn't care less as long as I can still order and way-too-quickly throw down the glorious Hatch burger, a green chili-and-liquid-cheese bomb of meaty flavor. One of the less obvious secrets of Umami's success is their mastery of ratio: Fleischman and team have perfected the amount of beef to bun, and present it in a way that you can actually pick up and hold it and take a bite without it all falling apart, the way a burger should be eaten. If you find yourself reaching for a fork at your favorite burger joint, it's time to reassess.

7. Ray's and Stark Bar's Hamachi Sashimi

I really wish I could just call it Ray's and not the cumbersome Ray's and Stark Bar. They're really separate entities - the restaurant resides in a bright, airy glass-walled room in LACMA's piazza, while the open-air bar lies adjacent.There is Ray's, and there is Stark Bar. Set them free.

But I digress. Ray's is the perfect restaurant for LACMA, utilizing a modern approach that celebrates L.A. by combining its many disparate elements into an artistic whole. Also, the food is really good. Chef Kris Morningstar's presentation of the ubiquitous hamachi (aka Yellowtail, aka Japanese Amberjack) elevates a standard-issue sashimi offering with the inclusion of tangerines, cilantro, and aji amarillo, a peruvian chili pepper. What could be a better nod to L.A.'s culinary history than pairing Japanese and Peruvian flavors?

6. Drago Centro's Langoustine Carpaccio

The best dishes often begin as a surprise and end feeling as if they were inevitable - how could this NOT have always existed? Celestino Drago did not invent langoustine carpaccio (was it Robuchon? probably not), but when you eat his version, it seems that way: chilled, almost translucent sweet langoustines, pressed thin into a perfect square, dressed barely with whatever is in market at the time. The shellfish doesn't need and doesn't get much - Drago is a chef that recognizes a powerful flavor and does as much as possible to get out of its way.

5. Osteria Mamma's Pappardelle al Fumo

I'm not really sure why anyone would go to La Buca now that Mamma Loredana and her son Filippo are long gone and have their own restaurant right down the street. I guess it's good, because that means an easier path for me to Mamma's fantastic hand-made pastas, the best pastas in L.A. The Pappardelle al Fumo may very well be the best of the best, with the smoke-friendly scamorza melting into the chunky pancetta over a bed of perfectly al dente noodles. It may be even be better heated up the next day.

4. Pizzeria Mozza's Bianca Pizza

I love a white pie. Growing up outside of Philadelphia, the best white pie around was (and probably still is) at Tacconelli's, a brick-oven legend located in Fishtown. You knew Tacconelli's was good because you were willing to go to Fishtown for it. Want beer with your pizza? Feel free to bring it with you. I'm still thinking about their white pie, a simple crispy thin crust topped with mozzarella and plenty of garlic.

The white pie at Pizzeria Mozza dresses things up a bit with four cheeses, including sottocenere, a truffly (is that a word? it should be) Venetian cheese that's starting to appear everywhere, and I'm definitely not complaining. Fried sage is laid on top to provide a sharp textural contrast and some needed saltiness. It's the best pie out of many great contenders. Don't have it delivered because it won't be the same - avoid the wait by claiming a seat at the bar and eating the entire thing as soon as it comes out. Shouldn't be too hard.

3. Sanamluang Cafe's Pad Kee Mow

Sanamluang Cafe has a sign that reads "Best Noodles in Town", and it's hard to disagree with that after you've had their Pad See Ew, flat rice noodles with egg, soy sauce and Chinese broccoli, or even better, their Pad Kee Mow, spicy flat noodles with refreshing mint and pungent green chili. It's criminal how cheap it is - the Pad Kee Mow with pork will run you all of $6.25 - $7.25 if you want to live like a Rockefeller and have it with shrimp - and you'll drive away thinking you just committed robbery eating that well for so little.

2. The Bazaar's Jicama-Wrapped Guacamole

I was so averse to subjecting myself to an SBE-fueled experience that I avoided The Bazaar for nearly three years. I wish I hadn't. Yes, the crowd can be grating, but they'd honestly have to pelt me with full, leaking cans of Axe body spray to get me to even consider staying away now that I've had Jose Andres' food, my favorite example being his perfectly seasoned guacamole with corn chip fragments, housed in a crisp, refreshing Jicama wonton. It's everything you love about chips and guacamole with none of the watching-the-game-on-the-couch heaviness - I've never seen Jicama used to such great effect.

1. Son of a Gun's Smoked Steelhead Roe, Maple Cream, and Pumpernickel

It's hard to get a clear answer as to what exactly a Steelhead is. Is it a trout? Is it a type of salmon? Whatever it is, it produces a ridiculously flavorful roe, and nowhere is it better presented than at Vinny Dotolo's and Jon Shook's celebration of all things salt air. This dish is all about balance: the sweet woodsy flavor of the maple cream, the burnt grain of the pumpernickel crisp, the burst of salinity of the roe. It's my favorite thing to eat right now in L.A., and it's not even close.

Fatty out.

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  1. 1. Gaugry Epoisses at LQ@SK cheese cart
    2. Sea urchin congee with echire butter at Red Medicine
    3. Braised goat and Vietnamese mints in rice crepe at LQ@SK
    4. "Ugly bunch" at Providence: sea urchin, abalone, mirugai on smoked panna cotta
    5. Yamadaya All Stars tonkotsu ramen
    6. Chicken, sausage, peppers special at P.Mozza
    7. Grilled langoustines in broth at Marche Moderne (OC)
    8. Brussel sprouts with fish sauce at Red Medicine
    9. Soft boiled egg with salmon roe at Torihei
    10. Pistachio Gelato at P. Mozza

    1st alternate: live king crab steamed with garlic if #7 is disallowed due to it's OC location

    19 Replies
    1. re: Porthos

      Can you describe these brussel sprouts with fish sauce for me?

      1. re: ns1

        Charred, delicious, and more flavorful than all the versions out there relying on
        bacon and/or fried pig ears as a crutch.

        1. re: ns1

          In a bowl: Brussels sprouts, fish sauce, and shallots, topped with shrimp chips (miniaturized versions of the ones that come with Peking duck, but a little less greasy). Just as Porthos described. It's a revelation, one of the most surprising things I've eaten all year.

          1. re: mrhooks

            It was waaaaaaay too salty when I had it. Had a lot of potential, but way over seasoned.

            1. re: TailbackU

              I had a similar experience, but I'm certainly willing to retry.

              1. re: TailbackU

                Had it 3 times already. It's salty as in well seasoned salty but not inedible salty like the pig tails at Animal.

                To ns1, better try it first before you try to rip it. Tougher to rip than it sounds I'm guessing. Not as simple as adding fish sauce to wok charred brussel sprouts.

                1. re: Porthos

                  man those pictures look AMAZING.

              2. re: mrhooks

                interesting, we'll try to rip this dish at home.

                is anything done to the shallots?

            2. re: Porthos

              Great list! I am dying to try that Epoisses, I am a huge fan of that cheese.

              1. re: Porthos

                Where the crab alternate from? Elite :)

                1. re: Ciao Bob

                  That's what I meant, forgot to add Elite to the alternate description...hard posting on an iPhone... :)

                2. re: Porthos

                  Going to have to add butternut squash flan with coconut nage and hon shimeji mushrooms last night at Hatfield's chef's spontanee tasting. Amazing.

                  1. re: Porthos

                    That sounds good...I love shimeji mushrooms.

                  2. re: Porthos

                    Regarding the Bianca Pizza at Mozza - one of the bartenders turned me onto ordering it with fennel sausage, which makes something that was already great into something spectacular!

                    1. re: aching

                      You know, I've heard you mention that before and when I tried to add fennel sausage to the Bianca Pizza, I was told no additions. This was 1-2 years ago. Maybe I'll give it a try the next time I'm back...

                      1. re: Porthos

                        Really? I've ordered it at least four or five times! I wonder if it depends on your server (if so, it shouldn't).

                        1. re: aching

                          It probably is server related. I'll try again. Sounds like it should be a regular option!

                    2. re: Porthos

                      Where is the live steamed crab with Garlic?

                      1. re: scottca075

                        Steamed king crab with garlic. Available at Elite. Also recently had it at Seafood Capital in Irvine. Available at most high end Cantonese seafood restaurants. Sea Harbour surprisingly rarely has it.

                        It can get pricy at $39-45/lb with an average critter being 7-10lbs.

                    3. 10 is too many for me to list, so i'll just list out what i remember in no particular order

                      Red Medicine - rice porridge with uni
                      Racion - duck stuffed calamari
                      Mother Dough - margherita pizza
                      Tacos Leo - al pastor tacos
                      Eva - Bread pudding (best i've ever had)

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: TailbackU

                        TailbackU - where and what is Mother Dough? Sounds interesting.

                        1. re: FattyWantsCheese

                          Neapolitan Pizza place in Los Feliz.

                          4648 Hollywood Blvd
                          Los Angeles, CA 90027


                            1. re: FattyWantsCheese

                              Mother Dough is definitely worth visiting.

                      2. Random thoughts:

                        Il Piccolino - mussels and fries
                        Dan Tanas - chicken beckerman (dark meat)
                        Sushi Sushi - seared salmon
                        Mastroes - porterhouse
                        The Brentwood - fried chicken
                        Barones - sausage pizza

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: BSW6490

                          Ok, I've always wondered what the Chicken Beckerman was at Dan Tana's - but always end up ordering the Chicken Parm or the Veal Karl Malden. I love dark meat so going to order next time - thanks!

                          I'm with you on Sushi Sushi as well - excellent.

                          1. re: FattyWantsCheese

                            The Beckerman is great. Make sure to tell them all dark meat. It has onions, think sliced patatos a light brown sauce and a ton of flavor. Very tender. I am going for it next week.

                            1. re: BSW6490

                              The Beckermab is great, but I prefer the Chicken Tana. It is chicken with a spinach lemon and garlic sauce. If you get it with the ferric Ina Alfredo, you will think you've died and gone to heaven. Tana's has the best mozzarella marinara saw well.

                          2. re: BSW6490

                            A couple more random thoughts:

                            Lucky Noodle King in SGV - dan dan mien

                            Gelina Take Away - banana cream pie (I think it's a rotating item - might even be random but the best BCP I've had).

                            Milo and Olive - garlic knots

                            Beijing Pie House - any of the meat pies

                            Gjelina - Vegetable dishes rule - chic peas; any roasted vegetable; mushroom toast.

                            1. re: bulavinaka

                              The Ina also has the most amazing caramel pot de creme! Out of this world!

                          3. Steelhead is a rainbow trout that makes its way out to sea for most of its life. Thus its bigger and pinker than a rainbow that lives is fresh water only. Delicious either way. Wonderful list. Good writing as well.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ebethsdad

                              Very interesting. Usually I hear that it is a trout, but some restaurants (and various websites) list it as a salmon. Trout seems to be the correct label. But yes - either way, it's great!

                              And thank you for the kind words!

                            2. Fantastic list and beautiful, funny writing....thanks, and welcome to posting here Fatty.
                              Sharp eye.
                              I really think you nailed soemthing that make umami shine - proportionality.
                              I cannot do 10 now, if I did 5-6 would be Chinese, but I think Tar and Roses roast chicken has leap-frogged a lot of my old favorites. Tsujita's green-onion ramen too.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                Thanks Ciao! I am a huge fan of roast chicken (isn't everyone?) - looking forward to trying Tar and Roses!

                                1. re: Ciao Bob

                                  Went to Tar and Roses this past weekend. I didn't love their roast chicken - not a fan of the citrus, and my chicken was moist but a bit burnt in spots (and not a good burnt). I liked the place though - the standout for me was the strawberry crostata dessert w/ honeycomb ice cream.

                                  1. re: FattyWantsCheese

                                    Sorry - I enjoyed the citrus/toasted bread combo

                                2. cool list...here are some of mine:

                                  broccolini with garlic and chili pepper at gjelina (super simple and amazing)
                                  orecchiete with spicy sausage at osteria mozza
                                  roasted snapper head at asanebo
                                  salt ramen at santouka
                                  chicken gyro at spitz
                                  feta stuffed roasted chicken at petros
                                  uni oyster and caviar at kzo
                                  the crispy tofu and iberico bahn mi at Saam
                                  pecan pie a la mode at mastros
                                  chicken macho taco at del taco (yea i said it)

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sdiddy

                                    I need to try that broccolini - garlic, chili and broccolini are such a great combination. Pizzeria Mozza does a good version. I also like chili sesame oil (i'm an addict) and garlic with brocollini.

                                    1. re: sdiddy

                                      I tried that uni-caviar-oyster dish at K-Zo and was very impressed. Thanks for the suggestion. I have to say I was pretty underwhelmed by the rest of their offerings. Pretty mediocre.

                                    2. 1) Cleo: BRUSSELS SPROUTS with Capers, parsley, Almonds, red Wine Vinaigrette

                                      This is the most addictive, wonderful dish imaginable. Cleo also has incredible dips with fresh baked bread... also to die for.

                                      2) Dal Rae: TABLESIDE CAESAR

                                      Simply the best Caesar.

                                      3) Osteria Mozza: RICOTTA & EGG RAVIOLI with Browned Butter

                                      This is so luscious, so wonderful, so sexy. Yum.

                                      4) Osteria Mozza: ORCCHIETTE w/ Sausage and swiss chard

                                      As others have mentioned, this is an incredible pasta.

                                      5) Dan Tana's: THE DABNEY COLEMAN

                                      Remains the best steak I've had in town, even better than Cut, et all. With a side of the spicy red pasta, happiness ensues.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Tom P

                                        I have to add a dish to my list:

                                        6) Canele': BEEF BOURGUIGNON

                                        Canele' has terrific food. I had a Veal Chop the other night, with Salsa Verde, that was out of this world. But their Beef Bourguignon, one of dishes that never goes off the menu, is incredible. Chef Corina reduces the gravy so much it is almost like a syrup and is incredibly flavorful. The meat has a wonderful crust as well. To die for.

                                        1. re: Tom P

                                          The Dal Rae Caesar is amazing. I agree. Best caesar in So Cal. Their banana's foster prepared table side is also fantastic!

                                        2. South Philly Experience Truck - Philly Cheese steak
                                          The Bazaar - The Philly cheese steak
                                          The Bazaar - Jicama Wrapped Guacamole
                                          Guisados - Sampler Taco Plate
                                          Animal - Foie gras Loco Moco
                                          Baco Mercat - The Original Baco Mercat
                                          ink - Spaghetti
                                          Cacao Mexicatessen - Aguacate Frito Taco
                                          Providence - Grilled scallop

                                          Just a few thoughts...

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: funkycold

                                            "The Bazaar - The Philly cheese steak"

                                            definitely didn't find them worth the cost. i'd actually prefer a normal philly.

                                            foie gras loco moco sounds outrageous(ly awesome)

                                            1. re: funkycold

                                              The original at Baco seemed to have cubed fat. I found it not good. Only thing wose was the service.

                                              1. re: BSW6490

                                                Choose any ten items on Milo and Olive's Menu.

                                                1. re: maudies5

                                                  I saw this thread come up again and I was going to mention the garlic knots at M & O.

                                            2. Black sesame shave ice at Blockheads :-)

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: running pig

                                                Treat Tea & Ice in Torrance also does their shaved ice exactly the same way. Same consistancy with different flavored ice like taro, green tea, mango, etc. and similar toppings--condensed milk, lychee, mochis, etc. Yum!

                                              2. Had my first taste of ramps this season last night at Pizzeria Mozza Newport and it was excellent. Burrata and sauteed ramps on bruschette drizzled with saba (vinegar, not fish). Simple, delicious, and perfectly highlights the sweetness of the ramps.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. as an ode to spice table and their recent f&w nomination, the cold cut bahn mi there is the one thing that i've eaten this year that just still haunts me. thought it was a perfect sandwich when i had it a few months back.

                                                  11 Replies
                                                  1. re: cdub

                                                    Spice Table's pork belly banh mi was the best thing I've eaten so far this year!

                                                    1. re: dkme

                                                      I found the pork belly banh mi to be far superior to the cold cut sandwich.

                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                        Soft shell crab at The Hungry Cat is just about the most delicious dish I have tasted since the garlic knot at Milo and Olive. That crab is served on a bed of grits with lava beans, ramps and a piece of pork belly. Amazing!

                                                        1. re: maudies5

                                                          that sounds sooooo good. Santa Monica or Hollywood?

                                                          1. re: budlit

                                                            Meant to say Fava Beans. Sorry. This was at the Santa Monica location. Trust me, this was the best preparation of this dish I have ever experienced. The Soft Shell Crab was on the large side and so-o tender. I have never tasted a soft shell crab that was this tender. All of the flavors meshed perfectly. Split a dozen oysters and went on to the crab. Great meal! Love, love, the Naked Cowboy Oysters .

                                                    2. re: cdub

                                                      Spice Table's fried cauliflower is a truly crave-worthy dish... one of the best dishes that I have had this year

                                                      1. re: foufou

                                                        Interesting that so many people like this. I didn't think it was very good at all.

                                                        1. re: AlkieGourmand

                                                          For me that dish was a revelation...as a general rule,I really dislike cauliflower and yet I keep thinking of that dish and look forward to trying it again.

                                                          1. re: foufou

                                                            I agree. It's a great rendition. On par with the cauliflower fritti at P.Mozza.

                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                              That cauliflower fritti is amazing!

                                                        2. re: foufou

                                                          I thought Spice Table's cauliflower was OK. A bit salty and the coating was a little too heavy

                                                      2. Steelhead is a rainbow trout that spent part of its life in the ocean, and is returning upriver to spawn.

                                                        Mystery solved.

                                                        My top 10 contains some cliches. DEAL WITH IT. Also I'm not going to put them in order. Deal with that too.

                                                        Best part: EVERYTHING on my list is under 10 bucks. Shazap!

                                                        Langer's Corned Beef sandwich w/ whatever toppings you want (It's better than the pastrami, don't tell anyone)
                                                        The Godmother
                                                        Milo and Olive's Pork Belly Sausage Pizza
                                                        Liege Waffes from Patrick Pirson's Liege Waffle Co. Available at a farmer's market near you
                                                        Tonkotsu Ramen at Tsujita
                                                        Khao Soi at Pailin
                                                        Spicy Crispy Duck at Sri Siam (their crispy rice salad is tits also)
                                                        Naan Hut's Sangak bread, get it wrapped around a Kabab or made into a pizza if you like.
                                                        ZamZam Market's Chicken Biryani and Chicken Tikka - fucking incredible, just ignore their C rating. I'll let you guys know if I get HIV from it but until I do, it's a weekly destination for me.

                                                        The last spot, I'm debating between Bawarchi's Jalapeno curry, Simpang's Mie Tek Tek and SaMo Seafood's tuna tartare. These are all great dishes but I'm not sure any of them quite meet the standard set by the other 9 I've listed. But all these places and these dishes in particular get my full blessing, and like I said, none of them are upscale places at all. This is like my hole-in-the-wall, take out top ten

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: BrewNChow

                                                          I like your list - your destinations/recs definitely resembles the Chowhound-kind of places when I first started lurking on this site back seven-eight years ago - sigh.

                                                          Is ZamZam the place on Washington in Culver City? Chicken Tikka is one of my wife's favorite dishes in the world.

                                                          Also glad you mentioned Naan Hut's sangak - one of the most amazing breads in LA.

                                                          1. re: bulavinaka


                                                            Yeah it's where one washington meets the other. They have super weird hours. Thurs thru sunday only. Generally you're good if you go at the following times

                                                            Thursday - 5-7pm
                                                            Friday thru Sunday - 3-5 pm

                                                            But if you're really looking for the tikka make sure and call first, their number is listed on their yelp page. They'll hold it for you. It's by far the best chicken tikka I've had. She'll love it.

                                                            PS there's a newer place called sangak bakery cafe making sangak in that Kosher area on Pico, Haven't had it yet but I've yet to find a sangak that wasn't outrageous.

                                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                                              We tried zamzam tonight and really enjoyed it. We got shut out on the chicken biryanI ( have to call ahead- I think this calling ahead routine may be a new thread). The chicken tikka was moist and expertly seasoned/roasted - the heat aneaks up on your tongue - the chickwn tandoori was milder in heat but more seasoned. And the freshly baked naan was hot and comforting. The place might be Spartan but the food is straight from the heart.

                                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                My bad. I forgot to tell you to order ahead.

                                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                                  They gave us the drill too - standard operating procedure. Call around 1PM with your name and how many to reserve. They're open approx. 12 or 1PM to 10PM, Thursday thru Sunday...

                                                            2. re: BrewNChow

                                                              Dang, someone just outed my favorite biryani... I was hoping to keep this little gem for myself. Now the crowds will be even more intolerable.

                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                It was already outed on these boards and I had the same reaction as you. I think the owners are as wary of the crowds as we are...

                                                                Zam zam is definitely a hidden gem (emphasis on the word hidden) but the real diamond on that list is the liege waffles.

                                                                Everyone needs to try these and support this guy. They're the only liege style waffles I've had outside of Belgium that didn't outright suck, and his are actually superior to most of the ones I had in Belgium.

                                                                I personally get them at the west LA farmer's market (near sawtelle and samo blvd) on Sunday. But he's at several markets, call and ask 626 201 1742

                                                                1. re: BrewNChow

                                                                  I've been looking for good Belgian waffles in L.A. (I have close family members who live in Brussels, and I often visit - those waffle in the subway stations are incredible there!)

                                                                  Will try to give them a shot this weekend...

                                                                  1. re: BrewNChow

                                                                    Patrick seriously needs some sort of web presence. No website, no Facebook, no Twitter?

                                                              2. Gjelina Take Away - scones
                                                                Bhan Khanom Thai - panchi
                                                                Drago Centro -- truffle crusted chicken breast
                                                                Coni's Seafood -- pescado zarandeado
                                                                Pizzeria Mozza -- pizza
                                                                Spago --- agnolotti
                                                                Gjelina -- gnocchi with honey and brown butter
                                                                Marrouch -- muhammara
                                                                Urasawa -- seared toro
                                                                Tasting Kitchen -- branzino

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: AlkieGourmand

                                                                  Agree 1000% with the Spago - agnolotti mention. I have to get it every time I am there. Once, I even went there straight after dinner at Bouchon and sat at the bar and ordered it - and ate the whole thing. It is THAT good. ;-)

                                                                2. In No particular order, some may be cliche, also maybe not the best things, but my favorite,some have been mentioned. I have lived in Hong Kong for the past two years, but was born and raised in LA, and these are the things I need to eat when I come home:

                                                                  Dal Rae Caesar Salad
                                                                  Lou on Vine Pig Candy
                                                                  Madeo Calamari Affogati
                                                                  Nanbankan Tsukune
                                                                  Sushi Zo Blue Crab Handroll
                                                                  Jar Creamed Corn
                                                                  Hollywood Farmer's Market Green Corn Tamale with tomatillo Sauce
                                                                  Hatfield's Croque Madame
                                                                  Kogi Black Jack Quesadilla
                                                                  Marouch Quail with Garlic Sauce

                                                                  I've got a bunch of others, but these are the things that I find myself craving, completely miss, and that you can't get out of LA.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Food622

                                                                    Thanks Food622. I thought Nanbankan had closed yrs. ago. They must just have moved to their present location. Their yakitori is heaven. I'm going to find out if they still serve grilled burdock root. I read some reviews and see they still serve their Australian lamb.

                                                                  2. Well, FattyWantsCheese, these all sound like great places. I am familiar with Sananluang. They have great, authentic Thai food. I love many dishes there. My personal favourite--the Generals Noodle soup. Talk about a rich broth. Because I am a hugh veggie lover, I always ask them to
                                                                    slightly reduce my noodles. Then I tell them the veggies I want...green onions, bean sprouts, bok
                                                                    choy and chinese broccoli. Then I get extra garlic along with the spice tray and sail away to heaven. Ooo, I can smell and taste it now.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: basildip

                                                                      I will try the General's Noodle Soup next time I go. I wonder which General it's in honor of?

                                                                      1. re: FattyWantsCheese

                                                                        My best guess...General Charles C. Campbell, United States Army... ;-D>

                                                                    2. I love this thread! Here are mine:

                                                                      - Caesar Brussels Sprouts/Grilled Romesco (tie) - Baco Mercat
                                                                      - Biscuit & Gravy - Baco Mercat
                                                                      - Butterscotch Pudding - Lazy Ox Canteen
                                                                      - Fried Cauliflower - The Spice Table
                                                                      - Breakfast Tots - Short Order
                                                                      - Hatch Burger - Umami Burger
                                                                      - Stir-Fried Green Beans - Din Tai Fung
                                                                      - Ravioli with Poached Egg - Bottega Louie
                                                                      - Lamb Belly Roti Canai - Lukshon
                                                                      - Oxtail Poutine - Animal

                                                                      1. Peking duck hash at Zengo during brunch.

                                                                        1. hmm... in no particular order:

                                                                          lobster roll/son of a gun, buttery toast is simple and nice, lobster falls apart in your mouth

                                                                          beef noodle soup/dai ho, really strong and flavorful, bolder than other shops in the area

                                                                          green eggs and ham/huckleberry, really lovely perfect breakfast item, nice to look at too

                                                                          udon/ichimi ann, worth the drive, fresh made i think, i really enjoy the hawaiian music at lunch

                                                                          bread/ray's stark bar, dinner is superb, maybe cause bread rarely enhances a meal nowadays

                                                                          pork chop/salt's cure, big chunk of meat to sink your teeth in, most items involving salt here excel

                                                                          tsukemen/tsujita, tastes on par with what you'd find in tokyo, so satisfying, so fat

                                                                          spot prawns/any good seafood specialist, its the season for them, i them sauteed with butter

                                                                          fries with brainaise/umamicatessen pigg, french fries and pig brain sauce is guilty fun

                                                                          caramel pudding bubble drink/half and half, sweet and yummy, perfect for a hot afternoon

                                                                          kinda random list i made. i'd say though, that pizza seems to be the real trend now

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: andrew_eats

                                                                            Couldn't agree more about the bread at Ray's. Their bread and Cooks County's bread are my top two breads.

                                                                            Maybe that's another thread - best bread in the city?

                                                                            1. re: FattyWantsCheese

                                                                              Rays is really kicking it on all cylinders right now, I went last night for the first time mostly beacuase of fatty's post...loved it.

                                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                Tempura squash blossoms stuffed with shrimp and squid / shaved fennel / radish / fava bean puree..this is what I had after a dozen of the most delicious oysters at The Hungry Cat in Santa Monica Canyon. Incredible meal.

                                                                            2. Much as I love the shout out to Sanamluang's Pad Kee Mow, it's criminal to neglect the mention of their Kanom Pak Kard, which is strangely difficult to find in LA area Thai restaurants. (Although I'm not certain that they still make that at the western incarnation -- I usually eat at the Sanamluang in Pomona)

                                                                              1. Going to bump this thread and have to add the abalone and summer black truffle spaghettini at n/naka last night. Outstanding and what dreams are made of with a 2004 Niellon Chevalier Montrachet.

                                                                                And while I'm at it, I'll also add the kegani (hokkaido hairy crab) at Shunji as one of the best things to eat in LA right now.

                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                                                  porthos....lol.....let me guess what else you had last night :)

                                                                                  01 leflaive batard monty
                                                                                  04 leflaive batard monty
                                                                                  04 bouchard chevy monty
                                                                                  04 boillot chey monty

                                                                                  i heard you guys had a great dinner!

                                                                                  1. re: rickym13

                                                                                    :) spectacular food, wine, and company.

                                                                                  2. re: Porthos

                                                                                    I think Chef Niki's pasta variations should be always featured in the top 10 best bites in L.A. at any given moment...

                                                                                      1. re: maudies5

                                                                                        Tried it at Milo & Olive the other day - It was DRENCHED in middle-of-the-road caliber olive oil. Nasty.

                                                                                    1. re: Porthos

                                                                                      +1 for n/naka abalone pasta. i've heard it was good but tasting it was still unbelievable. rarely does a dish over-deliver on high expectations, this one does!

                                                                                      1. re: zack

                                                                                        Best pasta dish in L.A.

                                                                                        Interesting that it would be found not at an Italian eatery, but as part of a Modern Kaiseki...

                                                                                        1. re: zack

                                                                                          I have been dying to try n/naka for months.... This will put me over the edge, I must try it, I hope it is available when I finally get to go.....

                                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                                              Oh, I would, no worries there! Just may take me a while, as we need to have a babysitter for those occasions, and with the busy holiday season already bearing down on us, it may take me a while. And I understand abalone has a "season", so. It may be best to wait for that to come around again......

                                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                Let the babysitter know: The n/naka modern kaiseki experience can last 3+ (blissful) hours.

                                                                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                                                                  Will do! Thanks for the heads up.....

                                                                                      2. I've got to say that linguine & clams with uni aglio olio at Son of A Gun was the best thing I've eaten this year, and their fried chicken sandwich that I got to go, and ate about three hours later runs a close second....just phenomenal. I wanted to lick the pasta bowl clean.....but got some bread instead to sop up every last bit of the olio.....

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                          Just about all of those dishes were available at the Alex Loves Lemonade Stand this past weekend. Son of a Gun was so generous with Fried Chicken. Thanks to all of the chefs. Loved the chicken oyster thingie from Sotto, the Fried Ipswich clam sandwich from Providence was fabulous. Can't wait for "connie & ?" their casual seafood restaurant opens. This is the Food Event of the Year. I can not begin to describe all of the wonderful offerings. Getting back on topic: Son of A gun makes damn good fried chicken. How about Pizza Bianco ? OMG,no wonder Nancy and Mario looked to Phoenix for great advice.

                                                                                          1. re: maudies5

                                                                                            Did they happen to have the linguine & clams too? Probably not, I bet that would be a hard thing to make giant orders of....

                                                                                            Will have to sign up for that next year....looks like a great event, but usually shy away from events like that that draw such huge crowds that its inevitable that you get shitty service, long lines & disappointing food.... Thanks for the tip, maudies5

                                                                                            1. re: maudies5

                                                                                              The fried chicken drumstick they served was THE BOMB! As you say, so many great tastes in one place is such a treat.
                                                                                              My other faves:
                                                                                              --Raw bar, with shots of uni and mezcal from Hungry Cat was quite a lot of fun.
                                                                                              --Gordon Ramsay @ the London was serving a poached lobster with a corn pancake that was divine.

                                                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                Wish I recognized you, Ciao Bob. . Agree that Hungry Cat's raw Oyster Bar was great. Loved the "peel and eat shrimp" which were already peeled.. Did you happen to have the Sweet Rose Creamery's S'mores? OMG. So much good food and such a great cause. Although, there were about 1400 people there, we never encountered long lines. This was a perfectly organized event. Truly, was the best of the best in Los Angeles, SFO, and those sausages from the New Orleans restaurant were so memorable.

                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                    Don Link - Cochon and others - always brings fab boudin to Alex's

                                                                                          2. Technically OC but, Belon oysters flown in from Brittany at Shuck Oyster House. Amazing. Bring some champagne.

                                                                                            1. Clam Chowder at L&E Oyster Bar. OMG, easily one of the top 3 best things I ate this year.

                                                                                              1. I've never heard anyone recommend Sanamluang before, thought we were the only ones who knew about it. A chef friend told us about it several years ago, and said their duck salad was one of the best things he'd ever eaten. I believe him.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: judybird

                                                                                                  I used to work in Hollywood and LIVED on their Pad See Ew and Pad Kee Mow. Yum.

                                                                                                2. The fried chicken at The Parish is pretty damn good.

                                                                                                  1. The short ribs at Parks Finest BBQ.

                                                                                                    1. that is one great list fatty. looking forward to 13's update of the best right now.