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Are you making a specialty food?

Coming down from SF to LA for a week, need advice...

polux3 Apr 9, 2012 10:03 AM


I'll be in LA this week-end and next week with my wife, and we're looking for advice on interesting restaurants.
We'll be staying in Pasadena, but will travel to Hollywood, Silverlake, Downtown, Burbank.
I made a reservation at Animal, after seeing it on Bourdain's, but otherwise nothing. I'm also a fan of ethnic food, and don't really care for super fancy places.

Thank you

  1. trolley Apr 9, 2012 03:31 PM

    in my opinion, i'd skip Julienne's/Fosselman's/Lazy Ox and try the ethnic route like Chinese in San Gabriel Valley and Korean in K-town. Even Mexican and sushi too. I only say this bc sounds like you're into ethnic. I used to live in SF and every time a SF friend visits the ones who leave sort of disappointed go eat at the LA Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax, Fosselman's, and Mozza. Go eat where LA shines which with Chinese in San Gabriel Valley or Korean in K-town. I know it's far but Japanese food in Torrance is great. Nothing like what you'll find in SF. I'd even try to go get sushi at Zo on the west side. It's fancy on the pocket book but not fancy as in dress up. After all you guys have Tartine, Altelier Crenn, Humphry Slocombe, etc. no need to try to get food here that is a facsimile of what's done so well in SF.

    1. t
      Titiany Apr 9, 2012 02:58 PM

      Wood Spoon (downtown) is another option. Casual and cozy vibe, good food, reasonable prices. People rave about the chicken pot pie, but I've enjoyed the short ribs and chicken stew even more, along with the croquettes.

      1. p
        PattyC Apr 9, 2012 02:11 PM

        In Pasadena, I like Vol 94.

        I wasn't impressed with Lazy Ox. Check the recent comments.

        1. ellaystingray Apr 9, 2012 01:28 PM

          Animal is a great start. Love Red Medicine. San Gabriel Valley is another good recco as is Little Ethiopia, though the SGV is more vast and far reaching in terms of options and LE is, well, little--but serious about the food. Hunting down trucks can be fun, but at this point, you have enough teriffic trucks in the City that it may not feel special.

          Beyond Spice Kitchen, I will work a little on some Downtown recs. None of these are super fancy.

          --Bar | Kitchen at the O Hotel. Improbably awesome. And in a hotel!
          --Starry Kitchen. Taste their balls.
          --Lazy Ox. Gastropub done properly.
          --Aburiya Toranoko. Japanariffic.
          --Wurstkuche. Wieners, wieners, wieners. And beer.
          --Rivera. Chef once had neon sign that said, "Chateau d'Yquem on Tap." That was the 80's. Now he rocks tacos though in a very thoughtful way.
          --Cole's. Claiming rights as the oldest public house in L.A. and the home of the orginal French Dip.
          --The Gorbals. Ilan from Top Chef. Wierd, irreverent and fun. Oh, food good too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ellaystingray
            Titiany Apr 9, 2012 02:52 PM

            +1 for Wurstkuche as a tasty, budget-y option. I also like Lazy Ox and The Gorbals, but it may be tough to get out of there for less than $100, especially if the OP has alcohol.

          2. wienermobile Apr 9, 2012 01:24 PM

            Some of the best Pastrami on earth can be found at Langer's Deli just a few blocks west of downtown LA. Open till 4pm and closed Sundays. You won't be sorry. Best sandwich in town.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wienermobile
              ns1 Apr 9, 2012 03:16 PM

              +1 to Langers, and if you can provide us a comparison to refuge SC that would be great.


            2. t
              tj442x Apr 9, 2012 11:41 AM

              Ethnic? Hit little ethiopia, I try a new ethiopian every time I go and it ranges from good to excellent. I would also try to hit Chego, as it is orders of magnitude easier to manage than food trucks and offers the prototypical mashups expected of such. Right off the 10, too.

              1. JeMange Apr 9, 2012 11:32 AM

                Check out this link by a resident DJ/Atlantic Monthly writer on nearby Taco Trucks. The Taco Zone in Silver Lake has killer offal tacos - the tripe and cabeza are my favorites - and the best salsa bar among the local competitors. They don't really get going until 8pm and continue through into the wee hours.


                1. JeMange Apr 9, 2012 11:24 AM

                  As a previous poster stated, the adjacent San Gabriel Valley is arguably the country's best place for various types of Chinese and Vietnamese food. You've gotta try JTYH Heavy Noodle II in Rosemead.


                  We also enjoy stopping for dessert at Fosselman's Ice Cream in Alhambra. Try the horchata ice cream. It's pretty amazing.


                  1. Peripatetic Apr 9, 2012 11:23 AM

                    Just to help us, what restaurants (if any) have you visited in LA in the past and liked?

                    1. Porthos Apr 9, 2012 11:21 AM

                      I'm switching cities with you this weekend.

                      I recommend Red Medicine the highest. Get the brussel sprouts with fish sauce, maitake mushrooms with long beans, foie gras, porridge with butter and uni supplement, gage plum dessert.

                      If you're downtown, I also recommend Spice Table. Get the fried cauliflower with fish sauce, lamb belly sates, beef rendang, and kon loh mee.

                      Skip dim sum down here as I still find Koi Palace superior on the high end. But the rest of the asian food down here is worth trying.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Porthos
                        Jason_King Apr 9, 2012 11:39 AM

                        I second this advice. I'd add the bone marrow to the Spice Table recommendation.

                        1. re: Jason_King
                          ns1 Apr 9, 2012 11:56 AM

                          I was not that impressed with the bone marrow. The prawn saved it, but it could have been cooked down a bit more.

                          Now that pork belly banh mi, that's something special.

                      2. ocshooter Apr 9, 2012 11:15 AM

                        My favorite in the Pasadena area is Julienne's in South Pasadena. They are only open for breakfast and lunch, and there can be a weight at prime times. They also have an adjoining take-out/gourmet food store.

                        Check on Yelp or Facebook for food trucks in the area. There is debate about how good the food really is, but it is one of the few real street foods available in the Southland, and worth an afternoon or evening to experience.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ocshooter
                          Peripatetic Apr 9, 2012 11:20 AM

                          Julienne's is actually in San Marino, about a quarter mile from South Pasadena. You might want to check out this sub-thread before going: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8376...

                          1. re: Peripatetic
                            ocshooter Apr 9, 2012 11:45 AM

                            I disagree. I love the place. I like the vibe, I like the food... But then, I almost always get the same things, French toast for breakfast and the lamb sandwich for lunch.

                        2. e
                          ebethsdad Apr 9, 2012 10:57 AM

                          As you will be staying in Pasadena, and are a big fan of ethnic food the San Gabriel Valley beckons. A quick search will reveal dozens of threads recommending wonderful places near you. A quick suggestion is Seafood Village in Temple City. Its a short drive from Pasadena. Their house special crab is excellent. There is also a long thread recommending the sandwich from Roma deli which is in Pasadena. Enjoy your visit.

                          1. n
                            ns1 Apr 9, 2012 10:06 AM


                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ns1
                              polux3 Apr 9, 2012 10:14 AM

                              From food truck to $80 for 2.

                              1. re: polux3
                                Servorg Apr 9, 2012 11:02 AM

                                Don't miss Korean food in K town. Park's BBQ is excellent but if you want something more esoteric just post and one of our resident "K food experts" will be glad to make some recommendations I'm sure.


                                1. re: Servorg
                                  wienermobile Apr 9, 2012 01:20 PM

                                  A big +1 for Park's BBQ. Wonderful meats. Wonderful Korean flavors. Their Seasoned Gal-bi is one of my favorite dishes in LA.

                                  1. re: wienermobile
                                    ns1 Apr 9, 2012 03:15 PM


                                2. re: polux3
                                  Titiany Apr 9, 2012 12:39 PM

                                  Does the $80 for two include drinks, tax and gratuity?

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