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Last Minute Advice (Today) on 1 Lunch, Ice Cream, and Dinner. Visiting from SF!

benv Oct 24, 2012 02:59 AM

I just got into LA and will be leaving tomorrow Morning(Thursday) back to SF.

I am here solo, so will be dining alone which I do on most trips. I was in LA last month and enjoyed Animal, Baco Mercat, MB Post, Son of a Gun and Langers.

I am a big fan of ice cream, as I work at a very, very popular ice cream shop in SF and always like to check out every place I can. I have already been to Fosselmans, Bulgarini, Saffron and Rose, Scoops, and Sweet Rose.

I need some help deciding my day, today, of eating. Since I am a solo diner and do not mind a wait, I am pretty sure I could get into any of the dinner spots I listed.

Here is what I was thinking:

Breakfast: Already planned on going to Proof for breakfast goods. Might also stop at Nickel Diner for some donuts.

Lunch: Thinking either Langers(man I love the #19), Mo-Chica, or Gjelina?

Ice Cream: Carmela, Mother Moo, or Neveux?

Dinner: Red Medicine, Ink, Fathers Office, or Spice Table?

And if you could also name a dish at either of your recs that would be awesome.

I know most of the options are on different end of the spectrum, but any help would be appreciated.

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  1. Servorg RE: benv Oct 24, 2012 06:33 AM

    I would suggest lunch at Son of a Gun (see the blog that I linked in this post http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4262... for photos) and they have a communal table for singles (as a lot of places do). Dinner at Red Medicine would be my first choice. Sounds like a delicious day no matter which way you end up going.

    1. o
      Ogawak RE: benv Oct 24, 2012 07:04 AM

      Boy, tell me you work at Bi Rite Creamery, because we were just in SF and greatly enjoyed their ice cream. We also enjoyed Ici in Berkeley. And Super Duper had the best soft serve I've ever had.

      I think your choices are pretty spot on. I think you pay attention to the LA board better than I.

      I approve all three of your choices for ice cream, though I think Mother Moo would be an interesting visit being that she's also a canning expert and her shop is in the heart of the town of Sierra Madre

      For lunch I would pick Mo-Chica. I don't know whether you have anyone like Ricardo Zarate in SF. He does wonders with ceviche.

      Please report back.

      1. ipsedixit RE: benv Oct 24, 2012 07:27 AM

        Go to Mother Moo for ice cream.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit
          linus RE: ipsedixit Oct 24, 2012 08:51 AM

          would going to mother moo for ice cream bring the san gabriel valley into play for chinese? because that's a good thing.

          1. re: ipsedixit
            Savour RE: ipsedixit Oct 24, 2012 10:48 AM

            Ditto this. Though Carmela is also good. Mother Moo is better. And if you're going to be on the east side for ice cream, don't hit Gjelina for lunch -- it's too much driving. Mo Chica and Langers are both reasonable.

            1. re: Savour
              The Oracle RE: Savour Oct 24, 2012 02:43 PM


          2. westsidegal RE: benv Oct 24, 2012 08:56 AM

            if you end up going to gjelina for lunch, i suggest that you try to time your visit to arrive about 2pm.

            1. J.L. RE: benv Oct 24, 2012 10:06 AM

              Nickel Diner: Get the bacon donut

              Ice Cream: I'd go with the Mother Moo

              Dinner: Red Medicine - Try every dessert, Father's Office - Get the FO burger (hit the Helms location, not the Santa Monica location)

              That's some Serious 'hounding - Respect.

              5 Replies
              1. re: J.L.
                ipsedixit RE: J.L. Oct 24, 2012 10:08 AM

                Respect? More like "awe".

                If I had a day of eating like that, I think I would explode.

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  kevin RE: ipsedixit Oct 24, 2012 04:12 PM

                  That's not a lot if I'm not mistaken on the list:

                  a bacon donut, mother moo ice cream, some dinner from red medicine and then a burger from fo,

                  1. re: kevin
                    ipsedixit RE: kevin Oct 24, 2012 04:34 PM

                    Mmm, not quite.

                    From the OP:
                    1. Proof for breakfast AND a donut from Nickel Diner
                    2. Langer's for lunch (or Mo-Chica or Gjelina)
                    3. Afternoon ice cream
                    4. Dinner (either RM, FO, Ink, ST, or some comb of all of the above)

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      kevin RE: ipsedixit Oct 24, 2012 05:24 PM

                      still not bad, unless the dinner does consist of all the dinner houses or combo of those you mentioned in number 4.

                      by Proof for breakfast, are we talking for the coffee or a few pastries and a coffee and then the donut at nickel which would then be quite a gut-busting number of pastries.

                      1. re: kevin
                        Savour RE: kevin Oct 24, 2012 09:33 PM

                        I don't know - when I ate at RM (shared Brussels sprouts, foie gras, fish, and uni porridge plus 2 desserts) we had to roll out of there. I cannot imagine eating a hamburger afterwards.

              2. TonyC RE: benv Oct 24, 2012 10:31 AM

                Big ice cream fan here as well: Mother Moo and Neveux both uses Straus Creamery base, so if you do one, no need to do the other. But if you do either Carmela or Mother Moo, you might as well do both since they're kinda in the same area. FWIW, I like Neveux. It's very I'ci, some of the flavors are straight out of Leibovitz's book. It's very SF.

                From the list, definitely Langer's and Red Med.

                3 Replies
                1. re: TonyC
                  J.L. RE: TonyC Oct 24, 2012 10:48 AM

                  Has Neveux fixed their flavor issues recently? Cuz it was cloyingly sweet to the point of annoyance the last time I was there.

                  1. re: J.L.
                    TonyC RE: J.L. Oct 24, 2012 11:00 AM

                    Let's chalk that up to personal preference. Sweet Rose (in-house cream base) is far sweeter to "me", and Carmela hardly less. Straus creamery base is just cream, milk, and sugar, so unless Neveux is dumping tons of sugar (unlikely), the sweetness should be relatively uniform to the rest of the SF's Straus users (Bi-Rite, I'ci, Slocombe!)

                    I've read Paradis is "way too sweet", but "I" didn't have a problem with it.

                    1. re: J.L.
                      ipsedixit RE: J.L. Oct 24, 2012 03:52 PM

                      Neveux's ice cream has a grainy texture to me.

                  2. Dommy RE: benv Oct 24, 2012 11:14 AM

                    Sounds like a wonderful plan! You are also in great luck in that this week the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck is visiting from New York. So you get awesome ice creamand the L.A. Food Truck experiece... Their schedule is here:



                    1. b
                      benv RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 11:16 AM

                      Thanks everyone for the quick responses and suggestions to my last minute questions.

                      Briefly, here is how it went down.


                      As part of my original plan, headed over to Proof in Atwater Village. First time to this part of LA and arrived around 9am. Bakery was full of eaters and had a line 5 deep which moved super quick as it seemed like most people knew exactly what they wanted as I am sure that this wall their local spot. This place definitely has that "SF" hipster feel, I felt right at home. I heard that they are known for their croissants and it seemed as though everyone around me was digging into one so I picked out the almond croissant, a financier, and a salted choc. chip cookie. From what I have had from other bakeries in LA, Proof is definitely one of the tops. The cookie was very, very good. The almond croissant was tasty, though I wish it had more almond paste filling and a little more crisp to it. Size and look, good. I guess its hard as I have to compare every croissant I eat to the ones from Tartine here in SF. I would for sure return to Proof next time I am in LA to sample the other goods.

                      Right after Proof, I made my way over to Nickel Diner. I was not going there for any breakfast fare, just for the donuts. Not the nicest block of DTLA but did not matter to me at all. Walked right in, place half full, and put in my order for 3 donuts. I originally was planning to get the 3 to go, but after seeing them I thought they were the type of donuts you should probably eat with the help of a knife and fork. I got the Bacon, Strawberry Crumble, and the Irish Car Bomb. I took a seat at the communal tables at the front and one of the owners made her way over to say hi and introduce herself. Either she liked my style of eating or thought I was going to review/write about the donuts. Told her why I was there and she sent out a complimentary donut, the Red Velvet. So, I got 4 donuts in front of me, all to myself, and dug in. In order from favorite to least it would be Bacon, Irish Car Bomb, Strawberry, Red Velvet. I finished all except a 1/4 of the ICB and the RV. Good donuts, like the use of brioche dough rather than cake or yeast, but not my favorite in LA.


                      Went to Gjelina. After I finished I realized I should have gone with either of the two of my other choices. For one, it was for sure a trek out there and two, I should have gone with something that I could not already get in SF, like a killer pastrami sandwich. I got the smoked trout salad with avocado, grapefruit, red onion and lemon and the brussels sprouts with bacon. I was planning to order another dish after the two to see what I was in the mood for but ended up fine after the two. Must have been the donuts as well as trying to watch the time to fit in the rest of my plan that day.

                      Ice Cream:

                      Hit up Mother Moo and Carmela. Why not? It seems only stupid not to if your already all the way out there. Of the two, Mother Moo wins it for me. Carmela was alright, guy that helped me was very nice. Let me sample a few and ended up with the caramel and sweet potato in a made in house waffle cone. At Mother Moo, I got the cornflakes and triple milk in a cup. Moo definitely had a much better texture and overall better flavor. It seems they did less over run and higher butter fat content. But man is it in an interesting part of town. Someone should convince them to open up shop in LA proper.


                      Now I know it seemed that the overall vote from you guys was to go for Red Medicine but after looking at the menu and not seeing the rice porridge it made me second guess. It also seemed to be a better option for 2 or more people. The menu at Ink was right up my alley. It read nicely and was interested in almost every single dish on the menu. And, I absolutely loved the place. Seriously, I really, really liked it. I asked my server how many dishes I should get to have enough. She said 3-4. I got the brussels sprouts with pig ears, octopus with ink shells, lamb neck poutine, and the pork belly. And for desert I ordered the "Apple". It seems that Ink gets mixed reviews on the board here but I could not have asked for a better meal to end my trip with. I would go back to Ink over Animal any day.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: benv
                        ipsedixit RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 11:24 AM

                        I genuflect before you.

                        That's quite a day of eating.

                        Thanks for reporting back.

                        (And re: the Mother Moo 'hood. You do know that Sierra Madre is the suburbs of Pasadena, right? And Pasadena itself is a an uber-suburb. So you essentially have the burbs of the burbs. 'Natch.)

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          Savour RE: ipsedixit Oct 25, 2012 04:06 PM

                          I would hardly call Pasadena the Uber suburb. If it weren't right next to Los Angeles, it would be a nice medium sized city in its own right -- a few intl. corporate headquarters, a major university, a hospital, several good museums...

                          That said, Sierra Madre is a pretty sleepy little town. It doesn't feel that far away if you're coming from DTLA rather than Venice, though!

                        2. re: benv
                          Dommy RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 11:25 AM

                          Thanks so much for posting back and the nice rundown! That's some good eatin'! :)



                          1. re: benv
                            Ogawak RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 11:34 AM

                            Thanks for reporting;

                            Tartine is my gold standard for croissants as well, as is Bi Rite for ice cream.

                            What are your favorite donuts in SF?

                            1. re: Ogawak
                              benv RE: Ogawak Oct 25, 2012 11:47 AM

                              I live a couple of blocks away from Tartine and anyone can pretty much find me there every morning right when they open. As soon as I landed into SFO and took BART back into the city a few hours ago Tartine was my first stop before even heading home. Always get the frangiapane croissant and a morning bun.

                              Donuts might be one of my favorite things to consume.

                              Here are some of my favorites in LA and SF in order of preference:

                              SF: Dynamo Donuts, Bobs Donuts, and Eagle Donuts.

                              LA: Primo's, Donut Man, and Stan's.

                            2. re: benv
                              J.L. RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 11:47 AM

                              Great account of your Chowday. Glad we could be of service.

                              1. re: benv
                                RoxyGrl RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 02:32 PM

                                The best and worst part about Mother Moo's location? I can walk there.....

                              2. b
                                benv RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 12:23 PM

                                My ice cream rankings in LA may not be precise as I have only visited most of them once and that is not good enough to get a good ranking going but off the top of my head I would go:

                                1. Sweet Rose
                                2. Mother Moo
                                3. Scoops
                                4. Bulgarini
                                5. Carmela
                                6. Saffron and Rose
                                7. Mashti Malone
                                8. Fosselman's
                                9. Milk

                                May have forgot a couple but that is my rough draft.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: benv
                                  ipsedixit RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 02:39 PM

                                  Bah. Bulgarini does not count as ice cream.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    bulavinaka RE: ipsedixit Oct 25, 2012 03:13 PM

                                    Oh please - nothing better than Bulgarini pistachio "ice cream" after slurping down some soup "dumplings" at Din Tai Fung... :)

                                  2. re: benv
                                    Savour RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 04:08 PM

                                    Interesting -- I was disappointed by Sweet Rose -- It was fine but nothing revelatory. I love Mother Moo's and Scoops, though! (I also love Fosselman's but it's in a different league. Still, it's also cheaper and feels more old-school)

                                    1. re: benv
                                      benv RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 04:14 PM

                                      I know I know. But I had to include it in the list because I enjoyed it a lot. I guess I can re-name the list to favorite "frozen treats" if that makes it any more politically correct.

                                      I tried it when I was down in LA two weeks ago for a couple of days. My brother who I was staying with lives in Pasadena so we hit it up on the way back from dinner. I was looking at their site earlier in the day and saw that their hours are until 9:30pm. Perfect, we can make it as its close and a little after 9. We pulled up and I was thinking the map we followed on my phone screwed up the location as it is a funny and hidden spot to have a gelato shop. The whole area was dark and we where the only ones in this shopping center. We walk up to the shop and see the tables up and lights turned down to see that they are now operating on holiday hours and they close at like 6:30 or something like that on the week days. Bummed, we turn around and start heading back to the car but then we hear a guys voice calling us out and inviting us in to get some of what is left.

                                      I give major props to them for that. Major props. The guy let us sample, was not rushing us, and it hit the spot.

                                      1. re: benv
                                        ipsedixit RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 04:18 PM

                                        Hey, I was just giving you a hard time about Bulgarini and "ice cream".

                                        There are definitely worse sins ... like calling a XLB a dumpling. :-)

                                        Personally, I just think it is unfair to traditional ice creams to compare them to gelato. Not a fair game. Sort of like entering Paula Deen in a beauty pageant when the rest of the contestants are Mila Kunis, Bérénice Marlohe, and Anne Hathaway.

                                        1. re: benv
                                          J.L. RE: benv Oct 25, 2012 04:26 PM

                                          Leo (Bulgarini) is a great guy.

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