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Why does baguette s*ck in this country...

  • m

Sorry - random rant but it ceases to amaze me. Almost anywhere you go in Europe, the baguette it amazing. Crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle. I can eat it plain all day long, and with butter or spread, it's divine. I have never found one supermarket here that does it right. And almost every bakery is below average or terrible. I can count on one hand, the number of times I've had good baguette in this continent (and almost all are in Montreal). Amandine in West LA is decent but everywhere else I've been is sub par. Places like Panera and Corner Bakery are HORRIBLE. I'm too damn busy to bake it other than holidays. Why is it that no one here appreciates good bread??? Otherwise, why is it soooooo hard to find...

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  1. You're looking at the wrong places - go to vietnamese sandwich shops.

    Jon's is also good in a pinch.

    to answer your question: baguettes aren't really an american thing.

    23 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      Vietnamese sandwich shops have great bread, but they are not, in my experience, a European style baguette.

      And there are plenty of great baguettes in LA. Just not at supermarkets.

      1. re: cacio e pepe

        NOT plenty on the Westside. I've been yearning for a good
        baguette for ages, even asked here on chowhound. NADA.

        1. re: VenusCafe

          "I've been yearning for a good
          baguette for ages, even asked here on chowhound. NADA."

          Chaumont http://www.yelp.com/biz/chaumont-beve... has gotten some attention on the CH board of late. Probably worth your time and money to give it a try.

          1. re: Servorg

            Way too far and stressful. Add $7.25 to the baguette cost plus relentless stress during a very heavily trafficked 36 mile RT drive... for a decent baguette?
            That's a real problem, Servorg, if not downright insanity.

            1. re: VenusCafe

              Get some awesome Eclairs 4x flavors all delish while there then.

            2. re: Servorg

              Even for a Westsider, getting in and out of BH is a huge PITA. Only two roads to use, both of which are heavily traveled, just about all day long......

              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                Seeing as how they are open from 6:30 AM on Saturdays, and in and out of B. Hills is wide open until 9:30 AM at least, I don't find that a very compelling argument against the concept of buying baguettes from Chaumont.

                1. re: Servorg

                  Sorry, Saturdays are the one day a week I get to sleep in..... I seriously don't need or desire French bread enough to warrant driving in to BH on a Saturday morning..... If I were so inclined, I'd just go to Maison Giraud, which would take me all of about ten minutes, round trip ;)

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    Since I get to sleep in zero days of the week I don't find that a compelling reason either.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Well, that's your problem not mine.... ;)

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                        Much like the baguettes are your problem?

                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      …or Bouchon if it's absolutely necessary to be in BH.
                      I honestly don't understand the draw to Chaumont and the tourism has begun which turns a 10 minute errand into about an hour.
                      Having ordered special tarts from this place, and been heavily disappointed by the averageness of them, I'm just not inclined to have it on my destination list.

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                        Doesn't hubby work in Century City? Tell him to hop over to Chaumont at lunch to pick up baguettes and bring 'em home after work. Also, I wonder if Clementine does a decent baguette, which is super close to CC.

                        1. re: Wayno

                          No, Clementine doesn't carry baguettes…

                          Unless they make their bread themselves, somebody's doing it for them and they don't sell it individually.

                          1. re: Wayno

                            Breadbar (in the CC Mall) used to do good baguettes. Haven't been in a few years, but it was Eric Kayser.

                            1. re: Savour

                              Some of my favorite baguettes in Paris are from Eric Kayser. I will need to check out Breadbar - thanks for the heads up.

                              1. re: Searching4Dunny

                                I am told Eric Kayser has not been affiliated with Breadbar for some years.

                                1. re: revets2

                                  Yes, it's a totally different operation without him.

                                  Of course the original store on 3rd is long gone.
                                  Once they left it seems things aren't the same anymore.
                                  I was a huge fan of their cheese rolls (they had piles of them back then) but they make about 6/day and don't allow for special orders anymore.
                                  It used to be THE place to purchase bread.
                                  S*cks.

                                  1. re: latindancer

                                    Too bad. I worked in Century City 5 years ago and used to really enjoy the Breadbar there, but I haven't been in ages.

                  2. re: VenusCafe

                    Read the thread. A number of excellent options on the westside were shared.

                    I would feel for you, but the thread can take you from the deep food void known as the Pacific Palisades in the north, through Santa Monica and West LA, south to Culver City, east to Beverly Hills. All westside focused.

                    Not only has the OPs premise that the entire country makes terrible bread been utterly destroyed, but the idea that the westside has no good has also been debunked.

                    1. re: cacio e pepe

                      Not only has the OPs premise that the entire country makes terrible bread been utterly destroyed, but the idea that the westside has no good has also been debunked.
                      ==========
                      Yes, not to mention the most faulty premise of all "Almost anywhere you go in Europe, the baguette it (sic) amazing".

                      Quite simply not true.

                      1. re: Porthos

                        Agree with Porthos above. I had a baguette that was truly, unforgettably "de la merde" in the 5eme once.

                        But sadly for us in the U.S., in France there are almost as many incredibly delicious baguettes as there is crotte (dog doodoo) in the streets of Montmartre.

              2. I saw this pile of baguettes baked by the Bread Lounge at Fresco market when I was down there in September. Hope someone can tell me if they're as good as they look . . . I've regretted not buying one to try.

                http://breadlounge.com/

                http://www.frescomarkets.com/

                 
                23 Replies
                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  They are that good! Probably the best baguette in L.A. right now.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Good. Not as good as Acme though.

                    Republique has a better baguette. Bouchon might be even better. Nicole's in South Pasadena and Europane in Pasadena not bad either.

                    I haven't tried them yet, but Porthos says the frozen baguettes at Surfas are off the hook.

                    1. re: revets2

                      I'll stand by that rec ;)

                      Maybe a little touch of melted butter to the top before baking until brown. Crunchy, flaky outside and soft interior, but not too soft like the Vietnamese versions. Better than the baguettes at the chain places like Paul in Paris.

                      1. re: Porthos

                        Second.

                        Along with the fresh loaves they bake. I was surprised with the quality of bread from Surfas, not just the baguettes.

                        1. re: cacio e pepe

                          I love the fresh baguettes from Surfas and will travel quite a few miles when I know they're coming out of the oven.

                          1. re: latindancer

                            Get the frozen ones and finish in the oven at 400. Always fresh. No need to try to wait for the ones they bake. Piping hot and crispy. Pick up some echire butter which is conveniently located next to the frozen bread.

                            1. re: Porthos

                              Okay.
                              I appreciate the tip.
                              I really don't know they were offered until now.

                              1. re: Porthos

                                do you buy a bunch and just keep them frozen in the freezer?

                                1. re: TailbackU

                                  Each package comes with 2. They have both sweet and sour dough baguettes. I prefer the sweet. My Surfas is close enough I can always swing by and pick up a couple whenever I want ;p

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    What's the price? (If you don't mind me asking : )

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        Porthos no! I'm a thrifty girl! With limited free time! Driving from Glendale!

                                        I need to know the price to know if it's worth the time and drive. I can get killer vietnamese baguette's from Siam Bakery on Valley. I'm really close to Frisco Baking Company and I love their sourdough rolls and bread but have not tried their baguettes.

                                        I guess I could call them. But since you already know...!

                                        : )

                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            Just got off the phone with Surfas. The fresh baked baguettes (baked every morning) are $2.75 a piece. The 2 pack of par-baked, frozen baguettes are $5.50.

                                            Not bad at all! If I'm in the area, I now know to go in and nab some baguettes!

                                            1. re: happybaker

                                              Is culver city considered "west side"? Not sure, other hounds are claiming no viable options in westside.

                                              @Porthos-

                                              Do you know if they have baguettes at the Costa Mesa location?

                                              1. re: ns1

                                                I get mine at the Costa Mesa location.

                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                  Portos, i did Surfas baguettes, both fresh and frozen, but didn't really care for either one!

                                2. re: Porthos

                                  Same here, I'm going tomorrow! Thanks Porthos.

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    my SO said no to the frozen, so it will have to be the fresh.
                                    Surfas is still a long enough trip...

                                    1. re: VenusCafe

                                      It will be fresh after you bake them.

                                      Your SO is wrong on this one. Once it comes out brown and crispy and the butter melts into that hot baguette +/- touch of fleur de sel, your SO will be begging for a taste. Then you can remind SO that SO said "no".

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        I'll do that! He like TJs frozen croissants much better than
                                        the overpraised Maison Girard, so THERE!
                                        I'll get both the fresh and the frozen and compare.

                          2. re: Melanie Wong

                            Yes! They are good! LOVE Fresco market. It's a hidden gem.

                          3. Try Mr. Baguette. They have a few locations. And at $1.09, it's one of the best bargains too.

                            As far as grocery store baguettes go, surprisingly, Jons has the best imo. All the rest suck.

                            Also, not sure if they sell them, but the baguette at Republique is divine.

                            6 Replies
                              1. re: cacio e pepe

                                Note: I find that not all Jon's are created equal. The baguettes from NoHo Jons on Magnolia are consistently great. The ones I've picked up from Van Nuys Jons has been terrible.

                                1. re: ns1

                                  Ah! Thanks! The VN location is the one I occasion. Closest to my closest 99 Ranch.

                                  1. re: cacio e pepe

                                    You usually get the baguettes there? Maybe my baguettes from the VN location were outliers.

                                    1. re: ns1

                                      Ah! I meant I usually shop at that particular Jons. Never tried baguettes from Jons, though. I'll hold off until I can hit the NH location.

                                  2. re: ns1

                                    I've only tried the ones from the Jon's on Hollywood and Vermont. Very good.

                              2. OK so I'm sure there are a few decent places scattered around LA. I'm in on the Westside, and Amandine is my go to spot. But it's kinda of an annoying special trip which means I do it a couple times a year - drive to Amandine JUST to buy baguette before it sells out at 10AM. Again, anywhere in Europe, you can grab it at any street corner and not think twice about the quality. It's BREAD. I just don't understand how the average person thinks Ralph's or Panera is wonderful and doesn't think twice about eating rubbery, preservative filled Wonder Bread...

                                45 Replies
                                1. re: m3tan

                                  In Europe, you also can't get a great taco in "any street corner". Trade offs.

                                  1. re: TailbackU

                                    Fair point but it's BREAD. As in bread and butter. A staple food...

                                    1. re: m3tan

                                      You're looking for a European style bread outside of Europe. That's like saying "why does all the ramen outside of Japan suck?" or "Why does all the Chicago style deep dish pizza outside of Chicago suck?"

                                      You are looking for what can be considered a specialty item in this area. Some places will make it well, others will not. You can go to France and look for corn tortillas and then lament the fact that no one in France can make a good corn tortilla, even though they are a staple food for millions of people.

                                      1. re: boogiebaby

                                        That's like saying it's nearly impossible to find a particular food item in a metropolis outside the item's geographic point of origin - e.g., you can't find good Ramen outside of Japan or good DD Pizza outside of Chicago. Expectations shouldn't be that low. Since the ingredients are available outside the source locations, and there is a widespread effort by expert chefs to replicate the dishes outside the source area, we should expect to be able to find the properly-replicated dishes in a city like LA. There's no reason why there shouldn't be a solid handful of French-style baguettes available in LA.

                                        1. re: Wayno

                                          There is a solid handful, as noted in this thread. There just isn't 1 available on every corner, or if you aren't willing to drive 30 minutes for 1 baguette you're SOL.

                                          No need to reduce expectations to zero, just adjust accordingly.

                                          1. re: ns1

                                            driving 30 minutes for a baguette is outrageous.
                                            Add $6.00 for gas to the cost of bread.

                                            1. re: ns1

                                              I personally do not think this thread has developed a viable baguette list, and certainly not for the Westside. The suggestionsinvolve travel, traffic and spending up to $10.00 for gas.
                                              The supposed closer choices like La brea bakery do not cut it. La Brea bakery does not produce anything like a baguette; their breads, harder than rocks, all involve mouth torture.

                                              1. re: VenusCafe

                                                So you've tried all the west side suggestions in this thread?

                                                1. re: ns1

                                                  Most of them. The one's I knew about previously. I've been on the hunt for baguettes for months. The closest to me is Maison Girard, and despite the cheerleading from Dirty I find MG quite out of line; their prices gouge, as in a 19.00+ sandwich with A SLIVER of cod, 2 leaves of lettuce and cuke. Their croissants? How can you rave about them? Darien. Trader Joe's frozen are 100x better
                                                  Since their croissants lack distinction, for me, it would be an effort to attempt their baguettes.
                                                  .

                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                    This week, I'm trying the two ones I just discovered from this thread: Farmshop and Larder. Farmshop especially sounds viable and is fairly close and/or in the loop.

                                                    1. re: VenusCafe

                                                      Maude has mentioned that they are one and the same baguettes. No need to try both. I listed both to cover the geography.

                                                      1. re: VenusCafe

                                                        I would love to know what they charge for a baguette.

                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                          Farmshop baguettes are $3.25 and very delicious. I got the last two. Upon leaving I looked at my SO and said that I had never been to a place that had SO MANY THINGS that I did not want

                                                          The menu looks OK, but the prices are
                                                          truly over the top.
                                                          Sunday Dinner at Farmshop: choice of
                                                          Buratta with kale, carrot, tangelo and hazelnut oil, or Chicken with bulgar, snap peas, yogurt, feta, spices and oregano, plus one of two jammy desserts.
                                                          @ $48.00 Per Person???
                                                          GOUGE ALERT.

                                                          1. re: VenusCafe

                                                            Yes, they are really overpriced...... Thanks for the $ of baguette...seems its worth the extra 50 cents for me to stay with the palisades bakery....

                                                2. re: Wayno

                                                  There there are a solid handful in LA. The OP is lamenting the fact that they aren't available on every corner, and that the ones available are too far out of his search radius.

                                                  I didn't say it is nearly impossible to find. I was pointing out that saying Baguettes in this country suck because you can't find a good one within walking distance of your house is akin to complaining you can't find good ramen outside of Tokyo. You can find good ramen/baguette/tortillas/pizza (fill in the blank with whatever food you want) in most cities, but you have to be willing to look for it and go to it. If you want it to be available on every street corner and in every restaurant, then you have to live in the area where that item is eaten by everyone, everyday. That's why I used corn tortillas as my example -- here in LA, you can find corn tortillas on every corner, on every street. that's a staple food in this part of the world. In France, you have to search out the good tortillas -- you can't walk down the street to the local bakery and pick up corn tortillas. Same goes for the baguettes in LA.

                                                  1. re: boogiebaby

                                                    I guess the OP was lookin' for love in all the wrong places.

                                                  2. re: Wayno

                                                    The Chowhounds who are taking down as ridiculous, the idea of wanting a good baguette outside of Europe, would see how ridiculous their position is IF we were talking about PIZZA. How about the nerve involved in wanting a great PIZZA in SoCal?

                                                  3. re: boogiebaby

                                                    Re: tortillas in France, that's an excellent point and one that I was trying to make earlier.

                                                    France has outstanding food, no question about it. And there is diversity within French cooking, of course. But try to find Shanghainese chow nian gao in France. Or Shandong niu rou juan bing. Or Guatemalan bloody clam ceviche. Or Yucatecan poc chuc. Or Sinaloan grilled zarandeado. Or Texas BBQ brisket. Or Salvadorean pupusas. Or Korean goat stew.

                                                    If you're lucky, you'll find a French guy wearing a sombrero and a Mexican blanket soliciting you into a restaurant serving slop that wouldn't fly in LA's worst margarita mills.

                                                    Mr Taster

                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                      C'mon. I'm not lamenting not being able to find pot-au-feu or ratatouille at every street corner. It's BREAD. There are thousands of businesses in LA that bake fresh bread every day. Yet, most people will need to make a special trip to find very good bread. Being a staple food of all Western cuisines, that's kinda surprising to me. It's not very hard to make.

                                                      The only logical conclusion I can draw is that most people (Chowhounds on this thread excluded), have never had good bread. And most who have, don't care for it enough to tolerate the short shelf life. Good bread does go stale very quickly. I suspect that is the real reason...

                                                      1. re: m3tan

                                                        C'mon. I'm not lamenting not being able to find pot-au-feu or ratatouille at every street corner. It's BREAD
                                                        =========

                                                        You are specifically asking for baguette, so no, it isn't just "bread". There are plenty of good other types of bread.

                                                        It is like lamenting there is no good biryani and saying it's just rice.

                                                        Baguette is just as specialized as ramen or pizza. Maybe even more so (eg. Why is there no good roman style pizza or bonito flake based ramen).

                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                          I could extend my comments to almost all breads. I lived in Vienna and Munich for about a year and there was amazing baguette, pretzels, strudels, and croissants at every market, corner, and street vendor.

                                                          1. re: m3tan

                                                            I enjoy traveling abroad and do so several times a year. As much as I enjoy the different cuisines each country has to offer, traveling abroad always makes me appreciate more how good we have it here in terms of food, culture, lifestyle, etc.

                                                      1. re: boogiebaby

                                                        QUOTE:

                                                        The irony about the tortilla comment is that you can't even find good tortilla chips at most supermarkets. The stuff that they sell at Whole Foods, Bristol Farms etc.. may be healthy but it pales in comparison to anything you get at a decent Mexican restaurant. You need to go to a Mexican grocery store to get good tortilla chips. So I guess I'm asking way too much to expect decent baguette except at a speciality bakery.

                                                      2. re: m3tan

                                                        Well, it's bread, but it's not ordinary bread.

                                                        A loaf of processed bread can stand around on a shelf for many days.
                                                        A specialty loaf of 'bread' like a baguette has a shelf life of, at the most, 5 hours in my experience. Who wants to eat a baguette when it's not fresh? Not me.
                                                        This isn't France. This is LA. A fresh, hot baguette, right out of the oven, isn't a staple in LA for many, like it is in France.
                                                        You're talking oranges and apples.

                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                          Well it is interesting. Judging by the Supers, LA DOES
                                                          have a jones for bread, so why is expecting decent baguettes so out of line?

                                                          And why is everyone attacking the OP for daring to want it?

                                                          1. re: VenusCafe

                                                            I don't think anyone is attacking the OP for daring to want what he/she wants. I think they're attacking the attitude that comes w/ the "request" (in this and other threads....).

                                                            1. re: ilysla

                                                              Is that a creamed beef chip I see on his shoulder?

                                                                1. re: ilysla

                                                                  Probably better to drink it. ;-D>

                                                            2. re: VenusCafe

                                                              "And why is everyone attacking the OP for daring to want it?"

                                                              Cuz the OP claimed in his opening post that all baguettes in this country suck and nobody appreciates good bread. As noted numerous times in this thread, that thesis has been thoroughly destroyed and we haven't even expanded outside of the LA region.

                                                              1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                I'm not attacking the OP.

                                                                What I stated in my earlier post is that there ARE good baguettes to be found, but possibly not within a mile radius of your home.
                                                                What I also suggested is the greatest rec (in my opinion) on this board.
                                                                Surfas/frozen/freezer/fresh/hot/delicious.

                                                                  1. re: happybaker

                                                                    That's a decent price. Though it'll cost me at least that in gas....

                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                      But since it's frozen, you could presumably buy in bulk, no? =) So the cost of gas is amortized over many loaves.

                                                                      Haven't tried the frozen dough myself, but, after all the praise of it here, I'm really interested....

                                                                      1. re: ilysla

                                                                        Now that sounds like a plan! Again, just to reiterate, I am not the one bitching & moaning about how hard it is to find decent baguettes. I agree w the OP to a degree that it's difficult to find decent bread in LA, but I gave up that fight years ago, and have already found decent bread thanks....

                                                                        1. re: ilysla

                                                                          There was some great discussion on easy bread making techniques that we split over to Home Cooking so a larger audience could read and contribute. Check that out here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/972751

                                                          2. re: m3tan

                                                            You can say "suck". No need to censor yourself.

                                                            Chowhound is filled with broadly worded laments like "why is there no great X in Los Angeles" (let alone the whole nation, which is hyperbolic to the extreme, not to mention off topic.) And the answer is, sometimes we don't, but often we do. And when we don't, there are about 23,981 things Los Angeles also does magnificently well, which you can learn to appreciate. Or not, and stay stuck in your mindset of wanting LA to be somewhere it isn't.

                                                            The bottom line is that for sheer quality, variety and overall value of food, Los Angeles is an extraordinarily hard city to match.

                                                            As for baguettes, if you insist on going to supermarkets, Jon's are pretty wonderful. But more often than not, I go for the baguettes at Papa Cristo/C&K at Pico/Normandie.

                                                            Neither of these is on the Westside. But we do have them, so you should consider changing your lament from damning the entire country to something like, "why doesn't LA's Westside have any good X". Or, like TailbackU says, "why do all baguettes suck within a 5 mile radius of me?"

                                                            Mr Taster

                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                              Eh - LA is better than most places in the US but is actually below average considering the size of the city. I'm not willing to go down this path again though. Suffice it to say, I can find good almost anything in LA, (especially Middle Eastern / Asian) but baguette is a really basic Western European staple. It's just shocking to me that someone must seek out baguette as if it is a specialty item..

                                                              1. re: m3tan

                                                                In this country, it is a specialty item. Wonder bread is not.

                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                  the title of this thread is misleading

                                                                2. re: m3tan

                                                                  m3tan 0

                                                                  Well - we're not french. So it's not a given.

                                                                  That said, I live in Glassell Park, so I can hit the Frisco Baking Company, or Super King, Fresh and Easy or La Brea Bakery bread at Ralph's or Costco and have some darn fine choices.

                                                                  Go to Kansas City, MO to look for baguettes and then report back to me about how bad LA is.

                                                                3. re: m3tan

                                                                  In many parts of Europe, particularly Paris, I've purchased a baguette at any given part of the day, fresh and hot and delicious. My favorite place closes when they run out and reopen with fresh ones.
                                                                  You're comparing apples to oranges and I also think you're also looking in the wrong places.

                                                                4. This is starting to turn into a rerun of my Thai/Indian food on the Westside thread. Sure I know of Lee's Sandwiches etc.. but I can't drive 20 miles to buy a loaf of baguette. I live in the Westside and there are no Lee's, Jon's, or Mr. Baguette's anywhere close to me...

                                                                  29 Replies
                                                                  1. re: m3tan

                                                                    so then maybe you should edit your post title to "Why does baguette's suck in the 5 miles radius of me?"

                                                                    1. re: TailbackU

                                                                      Zing! That's it.

                                                                      m3tan, LA is a big place, and you chose to live in your neighborhood, right? I mean, were you forced at gunpoint to move to the Westside? If so, then you have my sympathies and should probably file a police report.

                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                        Do you have kids? The Westside is probably the safest place with good schools that has SOME decent food. Downtown, Venice, West Hollywood, are not options if want a safe neighborhood with good public schools. So ya, kinda a gun to my head. I hate most of my neighbors but live here for my kids. I'm much more a downtown or Abbott Kinney person...

                                                                        1. re: m3tan

                                                                          San Gabriel Valley. All the French baguettes you could hope to eat, along with a staggering array of magnificent Chinese and Vietnamese food.

                                                                          http://www.sgvtribune.com/social-affa...

                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                            South Pasadena and La Canada are not exactly close to Arcadia or Monterey Park. I don't know how you people find the time to drive 20-30 minutes to buy one item...

                                                                            1. re: m3tan

                                                                              Well you need to stop by the chinese bbq shop to pick up some roast pork after buying baguettes right?

                                                                              and don't forget the frozen dumplings you've been meaning to buy but haven't had the desire to make the drive to SGV...

                                                                              etc, etc, etc.

                                                                              1. re: m3tan

                                                                                Driving from South Pasadena to Alhambra or Monterey Park can actually be easier than driving similar distances on the Westside. Also, there's a lot more free parking.

                                                                                1. re: raytamsgv

                                                                                  Yup. The drive down Garfield through San Marino is always wide open for me. S. Pas to Banh Mi My Tho is 3.6 miles, or a 9 minute drive. Plus, you have the glories of the rest of the San Gabriel Valley at your disposal, along with good school districts, and cheaper cost of living than Westside.

                                                                                  I think we've thorough destroyed the thesis statement of this post.

                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                    Unchowish I know, but I think most prefer the mild weather on the Westside - that is one of the major draws to most living here. I make the Westside-SGV drive when ever possible, and on the hotter days, I am always glad to return home - no matter how good and wide the food options are in SGV.

                                                                                    One has to be a little more forthright about the traffic in SGV as well. The freeways in and around SGV, as well as the major boulevards can be tortuous by midday.

                                                                                    Schools can be hit or miss in the SGV as well - it depends what area one lives in. One of our neighbors is a teacher out in SGV and tells us firsthand about the school situations out there. And buying into the more preferable areas is becoming very difficult with the huge influx of buyers from China - they're loaded with cash and see SGV properties and their surroundings as a total bargain r.e. major cities in China.

                                                                                    There's no doubt that if one is after Chinese AND Vietnamese food, SGV has no equal, but the Westside has its stars as well. The categories and prices are obviously quite different, but blowing off the Westside in every shape and manner is not objectively sound.

                                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                      Having grown up in the SGV and having moved to the westside a little less than 10 yrs ago, I can say that the weather is one draw.... The other draw, for me, was that the lack of ethnic diversity the SGV is actually (IMO) no worse than the relative lack of the same on the westside. So, when you put those two experiences together, I get the lifetime diversity I like. ;)

                                                                                      I don't think anyone was blowing off the westside. I think some were simply reacting the impression the OP was giving of "everything in LA stinks compared to western Europe" and "there's no other acceptable place to live in LA, except for weside, La Canada, and S. Pas" (I'm exaggerating for effect, but the strong undertones of culture/race inherent in these statements are not easily ignored).

                                                                                      BTW, were you the one who recommended California Ranch Olive Oil in another thread awhile ago? I tried it, and I love it. =)

                                                                                  2. re: m3tan

                                                                                    <I don't know how you people find the time to drive 20-30 minutes to buy one item…>

                                                                                    Seriously?
                                                                                    If I want fresh and quality when it comes to food, in this case, I'll drive just about anywhere. Why would I settle for less? It makes no sense to me. LA's spread out. I know too many people who've spent their entire lives living in a 5 mile radius. BORING.
                                                                                    "We people" are a unique population. We'll find whatever we need and drive to wherever it is.
                                                                                    Chinese food, baguettes, fresh fruit, stellar meat….the list is endless.

                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                      Not to mention that Chowhound was founded on the principal that this was a community of people who go to great lengths to achieve maximum deliciousness.

                                                                                      http://web.archive.org/web/2000051006...

                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                        Guilty as charged. I shlepped my sorry ass from Santa Monica out to freaking Glendora the other day, just to get me some Donut Man.

                                                                                        Calculating time spent and the current cost of gas, I could have saved the trip and bought me a decent lunchtime omakase at Shunji.

                                                                                        1. re: J.L.

                                                                                          That makes me think of my Sunday 6 AM breakfast jaunts out to Brent's Deli in Northridge...although those are totally worth it...

                                                                                          1. re: J.L.

                                                                                            I'm 'guilty as charged' pretty much every other day in LA.
                                                                                            I've shlepped all the way to Santa Barbara from LA just to pick up a favorite BD cake.
                                                                                            I've sat in rush hour traffic at least once a week for my favorite beet sandwich at Proof (their bread is undeniably outstanding)…at least an hour each way.
                                                                                            The list is endless.
                                                                                            The truth is…
                                                                                            I won't settle for the ordinary. It's against my innate sensibilities :).

                                                                                      2. re: m3tan

                                                                                        when I lived in SoPas, our "neighborhood" included Arcadia, Monterey Park, LaCanada, Alhambra, Pasadena, San Gabriel, San Marino etc. Child went to school in Sierra Madre so traveling from South pas to these neighboring towns is probably an everyday thing for most residents of the SGV.

                                                                                    2. re: m3tan

                                                                                      La Canada, dude.

                                                                                      Safe neighborhoods, fab schools and incredible food in Pasadena, Altadena, Alhambra, Glendale and more.

                                                                                      1. re: m3tan

                                                                                        West Hollywood is not a safe neighborhood?...

                                                                                        Are you afraid your kids are going to "catch the gay" or something?

                                                                                        I honestly cannot imagine someone saying WeHo is an unsafe area with a straight face unless that's what they were implying.

                                                                                        1. re: BacoMan

                                                                                          WeHo actually has a much higher crime rate than most neighborhoods on the Westside.

                                                                                          http://www.city-data.com/crime/crime-...

                                                                                          1. re: m3tan

                                                                                            I think the red outline on that map merely defines the boundaries of WeHo, but the crime density is shaded the same as Beverly Hills...or am I reading that incorrectly?

                                                                                  3. re: m3tan

                                                                                    There's more to this country than just West LA.

                                                                                    1. re: m3tan

                                                                                      Milo + Olive/Huckleberry make a nice, though rustic baguette.

                                                                                      Surely Maison Giraud sells their baguettes.

                                                                                      All westside.

                                                                                      But if you're in the westside and you're complaining about the "special" trip to Amandine then I don't know what to say. There are even a number of high-end grocery stores in the area.

                                                                                      But feel free to lament that LA isn't Paris. That's very true.

                                                                                      1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                        Had the country loaf (yes, I know it's not a baguette) from Milo and Olive this weekend. AMAZING. I assume that BreadBar/Lounge/whatever would also do a great baguette.

                                                                                        The baguette from Amandine isn't very good (at least, it wasn't the one time I had it); you could easily make a better baguette on your own.

                                                                                        Does anyone know if La Monarcha does baguettes and if they're any good?

                                                                                        As an aside, I think the westside would be a HORRIBLE place to live w/ kids if you must depend on the public school system..... And San Marino is really, REALLY close to San Gabriel and Alhambra. All a matter of perspective....

                                                                                        1. re: ilysla

                                                                                          Zoe Nathan cut her teeth at Tartine in SF so it's no surprise that her stuff is so good. And it isn't Tartine South. She has her own perspective and style. I think she's great!

                                                                                          Amandine get a lot of love, but I think more for value than for true quality. They are okay, but inexpensive so that boosts them in the eyes of many. I'm with you on that.

                                                                                          La Monarcha I think only makes Mexican style rolls and pastries.

                                                                                          I just remembered that Farmshop in the Brentwood Country Mart (what a misnomer) has excellent bread.

                                                                                          So . . . yeah . . . it's true that most grocery stores and supermarkets are not making high quality baguettes, I think we've covered a nice little slice of the westside (Palisades, SM, WLA, BH) that has good baguettes specifically without much extra effort added to the shopping errand.

                                                                                          1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                            Farmshop buys their bread from The Larder. I agree it's good.

                                                                                            1. re: cacio e pepe

                                                                                              I know nothing about Tartine. But I know what my stomach likes. =) A friend had made a beef bourguignon for dinner this weekend, and the bread was absolutely *perfect* for sopping up the broth w/o turning to mush. And even by itself, bread was incredible.

                                                                                              I am deeply confused by the accolades for Amandine. I really want to like it. I think that tarts are good but not exceptional. Those are pretty much the only things I consistently like there. I literally live one block away; I don't go all that often.

                                                                                              For some reason, I thought La Monarcha was Spanish. Will have to investigate. =)

                                                                                              1. re: ilysla

                                                                                                >>For some reason, I thought La Monarcha was Spanish. Will have to investigate. =)<<

                                                                                                Some of the best examples pan dulce I've personally tried in LA - pricy compared to the prices at traditional panaderias - but well worth it.

                                                                                        2. re: m3tan

                                                                                          Your complaint is just as true for coffee, avocados, other fruit, croissant, in fact, every restaurant meal: namely, if it LOOKS like (coffee, avocados, fruit, croissant, etc) and you CALL it (coffee,avocados, fruit, croissant, etc.) it does NOT have to TASTE like good (coffee, avocados, fruit, croissant, etc) to fulfill its purpose, which is to be sold to a distracted, uncaring and un-food-educated public.
                                                                                          To be a Chowhound and relentlessly search for sincere, artisanal food is an uphill struggle...
                                                                                          Gast