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May 17, 2014 02:31 PM

Extra extra extra !!!! Get your JG 101 list for the bargain basement price of $3

At new stands now.

In case anyone was still interested in another silly little list.

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  1. It's in the Times? Or a separate publication?

    12 Replies
            1. re: TheOffalo

              Or save it to your reading list via Pocket and read it from there. Or use ADP in browser. You're the tech one here.

              1. re: chrishei

                Uh/oh. The Offalo, what kind of a techie are you ??????


                You can also drop $3 on the pocket guide and not have to deal with the insidious ensuing headaches.

                1. re: chrishei

                  I'm stuck at a school event with poor reception.

                  1. re: TheOffalo

                    The Offalo, due to the limitations of your current Internet fate, you are justly excused.

                    But as a spoiler, Shunji is No4. And Providence is one again number one followed by Spago and then Mozza and Shunji to round out the vicissitudes of the top 4.

                2. re: TheOffalo

                  Take LATimes out of your browser history.

                3. re: CharlesDarwin

                  My bad. That was the same link I just linked to.

                  The actual guide in the paper is a glossy little sexy thing with Phoyoshopped photos to a proverbial tee.

                4. re: mc michael

                  In side the Times, but
                  They are taking an extra dollar onto
                  The usual Sunday price because of this tiny little glove
                  Compartmet sized booklet.

                  Like a smaller thinner Zagat if
                  You will in size but not
                  Necessarily in Content.

                  1. re: mc michael

                    Its a separate smaller piece that comes with the paper.

                  2. Why doesn't Gold just do Counter Intelligence 2014...a more comprehensive guide...and be done with it? I'd buy, whereas I *won't* buy the LA Times. It's a rag. His food articles are the only things I read.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: annagranfors

                      I hear ya. This is off-topic (though when are we ever truly on topic) : but I so think the content of the Times has seriously gone precipitously down while the price has exponentially gone up. Not to mention a heavy duty dose of partisanship in the eyes of many.

                    2. Like last year, I'll post the list but not the text:

                      101.  Starry Kitchen
                      100.  Rocio's Mole de los Dioses
                      99.  Kobawoo House
                      98.  Mexicali Taco & Co.
                      97.  Golden Deli
                      96.  Nickel Diner
                      95.  Hunan Mao
                      94.  Border Grill
                      93.  Bulgarini Gelato
                      92.  Musso & Frank Grill
                      91.  Coni'Seafood
                      90.  Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong
                      89.  Newport Tan Cang Seafood
                      88.  Chichén Itzá
                      87.  Patina
                      86.  Picca
                      85.  Mariscos Jalisco
                      84.  Park's Barbeque
                      83.  Superba Snack Bar
                      82.  Mantee Cafe
                      81.  Meals by Genet
                      80.  Sapp Coffee Shop
                      79.  Mayura
                      78.  Cooks County
                      77.  Guisados
                      76.  Attari Sandwich Shop
                      75.  Ración
                      74.  Mo-Chica
                      73.  The Sycamore Kitchen
                      72.  Taco María
                      71.  Plan Check
                      70.  The Grill on the Alley
                      69.  Corazón y Miel
                      68.  La Casita Mexicana
                      67.  Gjelina
                      66.  Langer's
                      65.  Playground
                      64.  Bucato
                      63.  Little Sister
                      62.  The Hart & the Hunter
                      61.  Matsuhisa
                      60.  Marouch
                      59.  Colonia Taco Lounge
                      58.  Din Tai Fung
                      57.  Sqirl
                      56.  Shanghai No. 1 Seafood Village
                      55.  The Hungry Cat
                      54.  Bludso's
                      53.  Post & Beam
                      52.  Chengdu Taste
                      51.  Allumette
                      50.  Tar & Roses
                      49.  Drago Centro
                      48.  Sea Harbour
                      47.  Angelini Osteria
                      46.  Salt's Cure
                      45.  Manhattan Beach Post
                      44.  Sotto
                      43.  Vincenti Ristorante
                      42.  Guelaguetza
                      41.  Kiriko
                      40.  Fig
                      39.  Kogi
                      38.  Hatfield's
                      37.  Barnyard
                      36.  Lukshon
                      35.  Girasol
                      34.  Jar
                      33.  Connie and Ted's
                      32.  Bäco Mercat
                      31.  Guerrilla Tacos
                      30.  Tsujita
                      29.  Marché Moderne
                      28.  Hinoki and the Bird
                      27.  Son of a Gun
                      26.  Mélisse
                      25.  The Factory Kitchen
                      24.  Night + Market
                      23.  Pot
                      22.  SAAM
                      21.  Jitlada
                      20.  République
                      19.  Church & State
                      18.  n/naka
                      17.  AOC
                      16.  The Tasting Kitchen
                      15.  Rivera
                      14.  Bestia
                      13.  Red Medicine
                      12.  Alma
                      11.  Orsa & Winston
                      10.  Cut
                      9.  Animal
                      8.  Trois Mec
                      7.  Ink
                      6.  Rustic Canyon
                      5.  Lucques
                      4.  Shunji
                      3.  Mozza
                      2.  Spago
                      1.  Providence

                      By my count, I've been to 31 places and have had food from 8 more at food events.

                      69 Replies
                      1. re: TheOffalo

                        I went to 54 of the places.

                        Though I'm not quite sure that's something to be proud of.

                        Oh yeah. I didn't count the food events. With the food events I've probably been to have a half dozen more. But I'll re count that shit.

                        1. re: TheOffalo

                          I've been to 58.

                          So...he's openly poaching OC restaurants now? hah

                          I am kind of glad though, as it completely validates those places, which, they really should be. I'm actually quite happy to see Playground and Taco Maria on the list. I think they should be much higher though. Marche Moderne was also an interesting choice to include, but most likely deserves it as well.

                          The top several make little sense to me personally, but oh well.

                          I'm very surprised to see Barnyard at 37, or there at all. His review of the place seemed kind of ho hum.

                          Very surprised to see Bucato ranked so low.

                          Also weird: Post & Beam over Willie Jane (based on his reviews/discussions of both).

                          Interesting to see MB Post make it, when the Weekly snubbed them. No FwD though, which makes sense to me.

                          I'm glad Starry Kitchen made it on, even at 101.

                          1. re: BacoMan

                            I went to Marche Moderne for lunch today. Based on that lunch it does not deserve to be in the top 100.

                            Barnyard was the biggest shocker for me as well. I've heard no ravings of it. Bucato was too low. Taco Maria from a performance standard should be top twenty easy, but I'm still thrilled it made it on the list.

                            People can hate lists all they want, but I will forever adore J Gold's lists! His 2011list introduced me to all the amazing eats of this city, which in turn led me to chow hound, which has led me across LA in search of epic food. So thanks Mr. Gold. I fucking love your list.

                            1. re: set0312

                              Seems like we lead parallel lives...

                              What other places do you think should be on the list that aren't this time around?

                              1. re: BacoMan

                                I will forever worship at the shrine of El Huarache Azteca. Their huarache with al pastor and all three sauces that looks like the Mexican flag is everything. So yes substitute that for Guisados or something.

                                I have a real special place in my heart for Wood Spoon. I still haven't found a comfort food spot in LA that I enjoy more, but obviously that will never be on the list so whatever. Although once upon a time Gold did do a nice write-up on the place.

                                Substitute Isaan Station (rank it like 100) for one of the stupid ones like Musso & Frank. I feel it is such an essential LA restaurant. A Thai place in K-Town blaring Thai music videos that specializes in Isaan.

                                Considering he dropped all the way down to Orange County, I find it silly he didn't include anywhere in Westminster. I find the pho at Golden Deli to be slightly above average and the rolls a major disappointment.

                                Only been once but I was actually really impressed with Bar Ama.

                                No other places jumping out at me, but it's 330 am so I'm not sure all my wits are with me. My main thing is his ordering gets a bit silly.

                                What would you include?

                                1. re: BacoMan

                                  I notice that Chi Spacca couldn't crack into the 101. Maybe it's 102?

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    It did.

                                    Mozza at no3 also encompasses chi Spacca, Mozza to go, Osteria Mozza.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      Fair enough. I also note he rates Shunji ahead of n/naka (but I didn't see any mention of Urasawa or Yamakase)

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        I think because of The reservation policy he skipped on Yamakase.

                                        Urasawa was included last year but this year i have feeling it was left off because of the wages for employees issue over there.

                                        He also dropped Casa Bianca, one of his perennial favorites as well as the fish taco joint that started it all, Tacos Baja Ensenada. I think that was pushed out by Mariscos Jalisco.

                                      2. re: kevin

                                        Yes, I got to count Mozza because I've been to Pizzeria Mozza.

                                        So regarding the invite only thing, does that mean Totoraku has not been on one of JGold's 99 lists before (wasn't on last year's 101, right?)?

                                        1. re: TheOffalo

                                          He's never reviewed Totoraku nor has it been on any of his lists on the Times or back on the LA Weekly days.

                                          Ginza Sushiko (back when it was around) was in his Counter Intelligence novella but of course it was not a "secret" restaurant.

                                  2. re: set0312

                                    I thoroughly enjoy these lists as well.

                                    1. re: set0312

                                      Bucato was 65, while the forgettable, poseur place The Factory Kitchen was 25...

                                      For the first time I actually feel almost betrayed by the list. It makes no sense at all how that could happen unless behind the scenes money is influencing it somehow...

                                      I agree about Taco Maria as well. It's easily top 20 material. Makes little sense for it to be down at 72.

                                      I don't think he should've said "best". Really a shame. It makes the list make much less sense.

                                      How exactly did POT get on the list? It's pretty new. If POT made it, shouldn't Maude also make it?... Kind of weird.

                                      I also feel that any chains should be unable to be on this list. Din Tai Fung, for example, might be world renowned, but it's a chain. Los Angeles has enough unique food to not have to include chains in its top 101 restaurants.

                                      If the OC is fair game now, then I would personally put Jägerhaus on the list without hesitation.

                                      Its interesting that L&E Oyster Bar didn't make it. Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing Pho in Silver Lake on there as well. I would also like to see Taqueria Los Anaya on there. Some more Thai places could be on there as well.

                                      The Weekly's list might've actually been a bit better this time around...

                                      1. re: BacoMan

                                        It's just one man's opinion. I thought it was decent. And I actually thought The Factory Kitchen was great - a pleasant surprise because I thought it was going to bore me.

                                        Also, I think putting the 3 OC restaurants on the list can open a can of worms re the argument for even more inclusions. There's enough places in LA already to make the decision difficult.

                                        1. re: chrishei

                                          Eh, yes and no. There really aren't many great OC places =/

                                          I actually sort of hope his influence might change that about OC haha

                                        2. re: BacoMan

                                          "For the first time I actually feel almost betrayed by the list. It makes no sense at all how that could happen unless behind the scenes money is influencing it somehow..."

                                          I don't understand how you could so cavalierly imply that a well regarded and award winning journalist is being unscrupulous just because his opinions don't agree with yours.

                                          1. re: TheOffalo

                                            "I don't understand how you could so cavalierly imply that a well regarded and award winning journalist is being unscrupulous just because his opinions doesn't agree with yours."

                                            You obviously haven't been following along very closely in terms of Mr. Baco's prior posts in that case...

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              I have. I'm just still incredulous.

                                              1. re: TheOffalo

                                                There is a reason that the pot end of his stirring stick is permanently stained a deep, dark chocolate brown color...

                                                  1. re: TheOffalo

                                                    It's funny how allusion can be a more powerful tool as a descriptor than actually using the explicit term(s) at times..

                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                      Something I might just have to learn. :)

                                                      Maybe. One day.

                                                      1. re: Servorg

                                                        Btw. Sevrog how many of the list have you hit up ?????

                                                      1. re: BacoMan

                                                        If you are using the American English pronunciation of that word then I wholeheartedly agree it suits many of your posts on this board.

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          I was thinking of the Mexican chocolate sauce.

                                                          Do you know what moles are?... So far as I know, people don't stew them. And there's nothing particularly chocolatey about them.

                                                          1. re: BacoMan

                                                            "Do you know what moles are?"

                                                            I was envisioning the arcade game for some reason...

                                                1. re: TheOffalo

                                                  I wouldn't be that surprised if he wasn't even compiling the lists anymore.

                                                  This list doesn't seem to bear that much resemblance to his own reviews.

                                                  Gold might be fine. But the LA Times is a profit-driven organization.

                                                  If he was writing on "", then I would be less suspicious.

                                                  His lists have changed noticeably even from when he was doing the 99 at the LA Weekly. More variation, more cheaper eats.

                                                  What is more likely? That Gold's opinion suddenly changed somewhat drastically right when we went to work for the Times? Or that the Times has a different agenda to push than he does?

                                                  No matter how the end of the day the critic works for the corporate machine, and corporate machines like money.

                                                2. re: BacoMan

                                                  Baco- What do you have against Factory Kitchen? I really enjoyed it. With that being said, of all the Italian places on this list, Bucato could be the best.

                                                  I'm not sure what is more ridiculous. POT being on the list or POT being above Night + Market. Probably the latter.

                                                  I've not been to Pho in Silver Lake but I have a hard time believing its better than all of the OC places, but yes I think there was an underrepresentation of Vietnamese places.

                                                  I think the best way to look at a Gold list is to completely disregard number rankings and just look at the list as a whole. We all have our places, but aside from Maude, there aren't many restaurants that should certainly have been on the list.

                                                  1. re: set0312

                                                    I have no idea what everyone else likes about the place, but I had one of the most laughable meals of my life there.

                                                    Given all of the hype, I was really expecting something on the level of Bestia/Bucato. I was stunned at how bad pretty much everything was. The only ok dish was the porchetta. The level of cooking on display was literally laughable. They couldn't even properly steam some kale...

                                                    Besides that, the whole atmosphere seemed unusually tense. Men in suits were hovering over all the tables, but the service was non-existent. The waiter had zero recommendations on the menu. He seemed to have no clue how any of the dishes tasted. Ditto with the wine...the waiter couldn't even describe the differences. It seemed like they put a collared shirt on a busboy and had him fill in for a waiter last minute or something...

                                                    I would have overlooked the service issues if the food was great. But the food was...idk...not enjoyable to eat at all for the most part. The focaccia reminded me of damp microwaved pizza... the pasta tasted like store-bought Ragu packets... the steamed kale wasn't done properly... it was a disaster of a meal.

                                                    I left with the impression that the place was just cashing in on the trendiness that Bestia had built, but while they had the style down, they were totally lacking in substance.

                                                    It feels like everyone else must be eating at a different restaurant or something...

                                                    To see such a place listed 40 spots ahead of Bucato is mind-numbing to me. I've had some of the best meals of my life at Bucato. I took a friend there who still mentions that his life was literally changed by our meal there. If it was my list, Bucato would be in the top 10 restaurants in LA.

                                                    There's nothing worse to me than seeing a place that is awful getting heaps of praise... and to me that's the Factory Kitchen.

                                                    I truly don't know what's up with it. The men in suits looked rather "tough". Maybe the place has some kind of cartel connections or something, so the food press has been cajoled into rating them highly... that's what it seems like to me from my experience there versus how much praise they seem to get.


                                                    POT maybe can be on the list, but above N + M? Makes little sense. Previously N + M was at like 17 wasn't it? How could it possibly have fallen so much in the last year?

                                                    Pho in Silver Lake actually only has so-so go for the bun. Which is somehow not specialized in by many places. Actually, if restaurants in Long Beach are in the running, maybe a place called Number Nine should be put in instead, for their bun, which is highly Americanized, but in the best of ways.

                                                    Normally I would disregard the numbers but they made a point of switching it to "best 101"...and saying the rankings have meaning of some sort...

                                                    How do you explain the lack of Maude anyway?...

                                                    1. re: BacoMan

                                                      I think they switched it 101 so they wouldn't have any issues with the 99 essential.

                                                      Let's be real we probably shouldn't be putting places on the list just for a good bun.

                                                      Perhaps you hit Factory Kitchen on its worst night ever because although it may not be spectacular, its certainly aint terrible.

                                                      1. re: set0312

                                                        "Let's be real we probably shouldn't be putting places on the list just for a good bun."

                                                        We shouldn't? Well...I don't know what qualifies places for the list then really.

                                                        I am not even sure there are 101 restaurants in LA that do everything on their menu to spectacular standards.

                                                        Even if the Factory Kitchen is merely not spectacular...why would you ever bother going? For the same price you could go to Bestia, or Bucato, which *are* spectacular.

                                                        1. re: BacoMan

                                                          I just think as a whole the large majority of these restaurants are doing more than one thing very well. Exceptions are the obvious ones--Bulgarini and maybe some of the specialized Mexican ones. But gone are the days of Gold putting Dae Bok and that hot dog place on the list.

                                                          Well for one Factory Kitchen serves different food? The mandilli really is a special dish. And I seem to remember you adamantly disliking the focaccia di recco, but Factory Kitchen does offer that.

                                                          1. re: set0312

                                                            Is it a large majority? many places that do only one thing well:

                                                            Bulgarini, Langers, Golden Deli, Kobawoo, Mariscos Jalisco, Attari, Sapp...

                                                            And Langer's is ranked above such places as Gjelina, Corazon y Miel, and Taco Maria FFS.

                                                            Where is the line anyway? How many dishes can be misses before a restaurant suffers if we start ranking it based on how many dishes in total are great versus bad at places?

                                                            Personally, I've found almost nowhere that has 100% of everything on their menu be an absolute hit. I've had dud dishes at a lot of these places...

                                                            Have you had the focaccia di recco at Chi Spacca? The one that Colby literally spent a year in Italy learning how to replicate at the behest of Silverton? That dish is revelatory. Life changing in the way that tasting your first croissant in Paris is. It's somewhat embarrassing that anyone into food would talk about the focaccia di recco at the Factory Kitchen as if it deserve anywhere near the same attention because it has the same name. Even Yelpers constantly say that it's basically a soggy, limp pizza roll type of thing. Sort of like a tostino's microwaved pizza roll, albeit made with higher quality ingredients. So supposedly this is the "traditional" way of making it?... mmm, well, I guess I just can't taste the tradition in it... What tradition does it come from anyhow? I know the exact origins of the focaccia recipe at Chi Spacca. That seems much more traditional to me, as it literally precisely follows a, you know, tradition that is ongoing in Italy to this day.

                                                            It's completely crazy to me. Even now when I look at the menu of FK it LOOKS like everything would be really great. But you can't just have things that sound good on a menu... you have to actually execute them. I don't know. Maybe the dishes sounding good on the menu + a nice atmosphere is enough for most people, but I go to restaurants for the food, not much else matters to me. (Although the service at FK was some of the worst I've had in my life...and that sentiment is reflected very strongly in the Yelp reviews as well; also, one of the original people raving about FK on Chowhound had a personal connection to the restaurant. I am beginning to wonder whether you need to have some kind of "in" at the place to get the good food/service? Or is it possible that the quality is truly just so variable that one night it might be the worst food in the city, and another night closer to the best? Still, that's quite the gamble to take isn't it?)

                                                            1. re: BacoMan

                                                              For debate purposes Baco--what would your top 20 be? Don't fret over the order. Just real quick. Top 20.

                                                              1. re: set0312

                                                                Just, my favorite 20 ? Or do I have to go for "Best 20"? I'm not personally a very big fan of sushi, or really kaiseki restaurants, so it matters quite a bit. One would virtually be forced to put places like N/Naka, and Shunji into a "best" list. One also probably has to put Providence, Melisse into their top, but I'm just not *that* into tasting menu dining in general. (The majority of my experiences at Alma actually were before they went maybe I should drop them from this list...not sure).

                                                                My favorite 23, at which I have never had a bad meal, and most of which have been significant influences on the development of my palette:

                                                                Angelinia Osteria
                                                                Bäco Mercat
                                                                Chichen Itza
                                                                Chi Spacca
                                                                Corazon y Miel
                                                                Guerilla Tacos
                                                                Night + Market
                                                                Rustic Canyon
                                                                Salt's Cure
                                                                Starry Kitchen
                                                                Taco Maria
                                                                Tar & Roses
                                                                Taqueria Los Anaya
                                                                The Hart & The Hunter
                                                                Willie Jane

                                                                People may feel free to use this as a reference for ignoring anything I write. (I actually wish everyone had this kind of short list more immediately listed so it was easier to figure out who to ignore versus who to take seriously based on mutual taste profiles).

                                                                1. re: BacoMan

                                                                  Good list, but let me just say that 20/23 are on J. Gold's list as well.

                                                                  1. re: chrishei

                                                                    "...let me just say that 20/23 are on J. Gold's list as well."

                                                                    Please don't confuse me with the facts that don't fit my preconceived notions.

                                                                    1. re: chrishei

                                                                      Not in his top 20 though are they?

                                                                    2. re: BacoMan

                                                                      I do agree n/Naka and Shunji are must haves.

                                                                      I personally have a very similar palate to you. Almost all of these restaurants (haven't been to about 7 of them) would be in my top 50. Not particularly impressed by Hart and Hunter or Corazon y Miel but whatever. Point is, I respect your choices.

                                                                      But seriously, if you disregard numbers on Gold's list it is a very solid list. I even think a collaborative chow hound list would be very similar to Gold's list. Especially if you eliminate restaurants that he obsesses over that we would never go to--at least with any frequency. Places like Cut and Spago and Jar maybe. Good restaurants no doubt, but the types of places that can be found in every decent city in the world.

                                                                      1. re: set0312

                                                                        I agree, from your posts, it seems like we have very similar tastes (I usually try to go to places you end up recommending in your posts).

                                                                        What did you have at the Hart & the Hunter? It may be because I haven't had that much Southern food in my life, but it seems like I always leave the place very satisfied. The last time I went was for brunch, and it was a very fun affair. The pecan praline pancakes were some of the best pancakes I've had in LA (beating out pretty much everyone except maybe Salt's Cure's oatmeal griddle cakes). Smoked trout was great. And the crab cake Benedict on fried green tomatoes was a subtle twist on the breakfast classic that was really nicely done.

                                                                        And of course, they seem to make the best damn biscuits in all of LA. They're a bit small, but damn are they tasty. I keep trying the "incredible" biscuits at other restaurants where people love them, but have yet to find any biscuits that come close to the marvelous textures of HatH's. Plus, the condiments are great. But maybe I'm just a sucker for blackberry?

                                                                        If you are getting better Southern food someplace else though, I'd be happy to hear about it.

                                                                        Corazon y Miel...I guess maybe it's just me. I always really like my meals there. I guess other people don't really, but I usually really enjoy it. I love the mammoth turkey sandwich (now an off-menu item I believe). Put just in general, the food is a lot like Animal's aesthetic, but with more Latin flavors, which I quite like. Last time I was there there was a dish of spicy ribs with blood sausage which were both outstanding. The ribs were nearly as good as Bludso's, and had a seriously spicy kick (habenero I believe), while the blood sausage was perfect in texture. It seems like we don't get nearly enough blood sausage in our LA diets, so I was very happy to see it. The pork shoulder with raspberries was also fantastic. Just always seems like I am getting things that I can't get anywhere else there. And the bill always seems to be incredibly reasonable (I suppose it helps that they're out in Bell).

                                                                        That being said, I have experienced some duds there, mostly in terms of the cocktails and the desserts. But the fried banana is awesome. And the bottles of wine are very reasonably priced, so I don't care too much. (Interestingly, the dishes I've had at Animal that have been duds have also been desserts... ).

                                                                        I admit I have a morbid curiosity about what you had at Corazon y Miel that you didn't like. But then again my dining companions are usually less happy with the dinners there, like I said, so maybe it just hits a weird note with me somehow. Maybe I just like the spices (and spiciness) of the food in a certain way.

                                                                        Maybe there's somewhere else doing the same style of food, but better that I am unaware of?

                                                                        Out of curiosity, which 7 have you not been to from my list?

                                                                        1. re: BacoMan

                                                                          I had the biscuits--which I liked but actually preferred the biscuits at Nickel Diner which seems absurd but I thought the apple butter at Nickel Diner was really good.

                                                                          Had the crab dip, the grits, the hanger steak, the green tomatoes, the lemon box pie and some other dessert I don't remember. I actually think I liked most everything I had (didn't love anything except the tomatoes I think) but remember thinking it was way too expensive for the little amount of food I got.

                                                                          Corazon y Miel-- Had the corazón y miel, the street corn salad, the ceviche and the lomo hash. I actually went after going to La Casita though, so in retrospect I fully acknowledge I need to return and give some of the bigger dishes a whirl.

                                                                          Amusingly, I thought the best thing at Animal in my most recent visit was the dessert--that granita cheesecake strawberry thing was everything.

                                                                          In regards to your list, I've not been to

                                                                          Angelina Osteria
                                                                          Chi Spacca (don't worry it's next)
                                                                          Willie Jane
                                                                          Los Anaya
                                                                          Tar & Roses

                                                                          Tar & Roses I've been trying to round up a few people for one of the family style dishes. Because quite honestly the rest of the menu doesn't appeal to me.

                                                                          I'll hit up Jagerhaus soon.

                                                                          Whenever I consider going to Angelina Osteria I end up at Bestia.

                                                                          Considering I go to CI multiple times a month, is Los Anaya worth checking out?

                                                                          1. re: set0312

                                                                            So the shrimp and grits at HatH isn't a great version of the dish? I have pretty limited experience with the dish, so if that is a mediocre version, then hot damn a great version of it must really be something!

                                                                            It sounds like you have barely scratched the surface of Corazon y Miel though. I would definitely recommend a return trip.

                                                                            I like it way more than La Casita actually. I didn't fully get the hype behind La Casita when I went. Price was reasonable, food was ok, but not necessarily the most amazing thing ever. Maybe just too much hype? I don't remember much of anything from the meal.

                                                                            You should definitely go back to C y M if only to get the Pan con Chompipe though ;)

                                                                            That strawberry cheesecake pudding was INCREDIBLE at Animal, but we also had the Lemon Sherbet...which pretty much sucked. It was a weird contrast between the height of desserts, and the low...

                                                                            Angelini is a tough sell these used to be the only place in town even just a few years ago, but then Bestia and Bucato opened up. Now, it's true, it's kind of hard to end up there when you want Italian... There's also Gusto which remains on my to-try list, but looks increasingly great every day. I would say that if you want to try Angelini though, go on a Tuesday night for the Veal Kidneys. It's something very special that you won't find anywhere else, even places as great as Bestia and Bucato. Carved table side. They're really nice.

                                                                            Yeah, it took me 2 years to round up enough people to get the goat dinner at T&R, but it was worth it. The regular menu is not bad though. The oxtail dumplings, pho carpaccio, duck necks, english peas, carrots with harissa creme fraiche, and strawberry ricotta crostata are all very good dishes. It sounds boring on paper, but it's actually really good in person. Of course, the family style dinner is something completely special though. The price for the amount of food is also oddly reasonable.

                                                                            CI = Chichen Itza right? Los Anaya is something else entirely from CI, but it's run with a similar ethos. In terms of flavor, it's comparable. I have always liked pretty much everything at Los Anaya, but the best thing I've had is their huevos rancheros. To be fair, I am a huge fan of that particular dish. It's one of those things that is deceptive in its simplicity. Every element needs to be done well for the dish to really be worth ordering (otherwise it's basically just eggs with some tortillas, beans, and red sauce...). The version at Los Anaya is spectacular because everything is freshly prepared, and absolutely bursting with flavor. Take a bite of anything by itself and it's perfect in texture, and in purity of flavor. Combine it all, and it becomes something transcendent. I recommend asking for some of their habenero hot sauce to toss on as well, though its not necessary.

                                                                            For my palette, Los Anaya makes the best tortillas of anywhere in LA. I have no idea what they do differently, but they're made fresh obviously and they always seem to be sort of pillowy, yet slightly chewy.

                                                                            When I think of my favorite Mexican food experiences in LA I usually instantly think of CI's cochinita pibil (and pollo asado), and Los Anaya's huevos rancheros.

                                                                            1. re: BacoMan

                                                                              Not that the shrimp and grits isn't great, maybe I just didn't care for the cuisine. But i will give Corazon y Miel another shot soon. Bell is an awkward place to get to given that I'm in orange county (for the time being) and the girlfriends in brentwood.

                                                                              As for Angelini, it is one of those I'll get there when I get there places.

                                                                              On a note regarding your above belief that Gold has mellowed since leaving LA Weekly, he more or less admitted that in this article. There is nothing extraordinary in it, but it does seem our suspicions are confirmed. He admits that he can't really review the six seat restaurant anymore.

                                                                      2. re: BacoMan

                                                                        Ah, lists.

                                                                        Why do we feel compelled to measure our experiences against someone else's? (A stranger, no less? Pulitzer notwithstanding.)

                                                                        I feel that these kinds of lists have become a sort of ersatz competition- a way to measure our own credibility against another's. The reality is that none of this means anything, because someone else's list is neither reflective of our personal development as people, nor as Chowhounds.

                                                                        But lets play the game for a moment, and see where it goes. I've lived in LA for nearly 18 years and I have been to just two of your 23 (8.7%), and I've been to 29 (28.72%) of the current 101. I think that's because JGs list proportionally reflects more restaurants that have been around longer than 5-10 years. Tacqueria Los Anaya, Angelini and Chichen Itza are the only three from your list that jump out at me as having been around that long.

                                                                        Your palate and mine have evolved on completely different tracks, yet Los Angeles has played a significant part in my development, too. My experiences eating foods from around the world has spurred me on to spend a significant amount of time in those countries where the food originated. Most importantly, my experiences exploring the San Gabriel Chinese scene played no small part in my wooing of Mrs. Taster (a/k/a LTA™), who is from Taiwan. (We've been married over 7 years now).

                                                                        The point I'm trying to get at is that lists are just lists, but its the personal element that makes them actually meaningful. No list-for-public-consumption will ever mean as much as the stories, and the very real personal growth, associated with our individualized lists that each of us carry with us.

                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                          You mean the infamous the one and only The Lovely Tasting Assistant (trademarked, right ????). ??????

                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                            I thought Taqueria Los Anaya had only been around for a few years? I seem to remember their grand opening like 4 years ago or something, or was that just a grand re-opening or something?

                                                                            Ultimately you're right. Actually, the recommendations I get some someone like Set0312 on here are more valuable to me than J Gold's because it's clear that we share quite a lot of "palette overlap".

                                                                            Out of curiosity, how did you really explore the SGV?

                                                                            It seems like it probably remains largely unexplored, even with J Gold putting places like Chengdu Taste and Hunan Mao into his list... but by and large it seems like there's not much critical coverage of the rather huge area. Where do you begin? Have you just been trying random places there for 18 years?

                                                                            You should probably start a blog, because somehow there is still somewhat of a hole in food coverage surrounding the SGV it seems like.

                                                    2. re: TheOffalo

                                                      57 (But to celebrate the list being out I went to four today!)

                                                      I hit Mexicali, Chengdu Taste, and Colonia in one swoop.

                                                      1. re: set0312

                                                        Is it that easy to get into Chengdu Taste? I thought it was really difficult?

                                                        What did you order to keep it light?

                                                        1. re: BacoMan

                                                          So I'll break it all down for you.

                                                          Mexicali first after I picked the girlfriend up from the west side. Split an al pastor taco and a carne asada. Quite frankly, I was not really impressed. And flour tortillas? WTF? But supposedly that's how they do it in Mexicali so I can't knock that. Also got a vampiro which is basically a quesadilla. It had cheese, a mix of al pastor and carne asada I think? and some lovely garlic sauce. Real basic food but super enjoyable.

                                                          Colonia next--Four tacos and a michelada which I couldn't finish. Holy shit those things are weird. Anyways--cauliflower taco was superb, if not surprisingly heavy. Reminded me somewhat of the cauliflower at Bucato. Some chicken mole taco which was what you'd expect. Somewhat earthy, a hint of spice. Then a chef's special fish taco that was really damn good and a pork and pumpkin taco that was perhaps my favorite of the bunch. I really liked this place. Much more so than Guisados.

                                                          At Chengdu, we got the numbing wantons. Practically inedible. Absurdly spicy to the point where it completely derailed my tastebuds for twenty minutes. Water didn't taste like water. Coke didn't taste like coke. I had two. Girlfriend could only handle one. It was so strange. It didn't seem that spicy--no mouth burning or difficulty breathing like habaneros or something. But my god I would never get that again. Then ordered the flour pork which I hated. Super gelatinous texture. And finally the green chile fish soup thing everyone gets. That dish alone makes this place worth trekking for. Big filets of fish. A spicy but tolerable, almost cleansing broth. Hot in all the good ways.

                                                          But seriously, take my thoughts on Chengdu with a grain of salt. I just cannot wrap my head around Sichuan cuisine. Or Chinese food as a whole if I'm being truly honest.

                                                          Anyways, wait was no more than thirty minutes at 9:30. There are so many other worthy places nearby (Colonia, Shanghai Seafood, etc. that it might be worth trekking over to check out the line and decide how much you're willing to endure)

                                                          1. re: set0312

                                                            I've been to Mexicali a few times. When you have more of an appetite, go back for the carne asada nachos. Best experience I've had there. Everything is generally tasty though. Simple but tasty. You can get corn tortillas for the tacos if you really want I believe.

                                                            I also like Colonia more than Guisados. I completely agree about the michelada as well, haha. I'm amazed people really like those things...

                                                            Are you a food critic as a profession?... It seems like you spend your whole life just driving around going to restaurants. (No offense, juts curious, and perhaps a bit envious haha).

                                                            1. re: BacoMan

                                                              A man can dream. But in reality, I have a very flexible job and a car that gets good mileage!

                                                              Not much of a nacho person but I'll be back next time I see the Dodgers play, and I will give those a shot.

                                                            2. re: set0312

                                                              At Chengdu, we got the numbing wantons. Practically inedible. Absurdly spicy to the point...."
                                                              you meant: Absurdly "numbing" to the point....

                                                              which means they did a good job and didn't skimp on Sichuan peppercorn, which is one of the reasons they were the only 1 of 3? (was it the highest? I didn't read it cept in Offalo's post) non-chain Chinese restaurant on the list
                                                              would've thunk someone has hit 99 of these since there are so many star fuckers (mods: not a bad thing, not an ad hom) in LA. Personally, I'll never break 98 since I'm not paying for nnaka/NM/POT.

                                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                                this the best spot to go to for hot and spicy Sichuan? what are the top few dishes to get there for a lunch with 3 folks?

                                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                                  It'd be rather insincere of me to say it's the "best" spot, but here are some dish recs:

                                                                  That said, Hunan Mao, also on Dr. Gold's list, is equally "hot and spicy", with a interesting human story behind it:

                                                                2. re: TonyC

                                                                  NM = Night + Market? It's a pretty cheap meal... Usually like $25-$30/person max it seems like.

                                                                  1. re: TonyC

                                                                    TonyC-- Two things. I completely acknowledge that I don't appreciate Chinese cuisine. It's a taste I'm trying to acquire, but for now it's still a mystery! I'm certain Chengdu Taste's food was authentic and well-prepared.

                                                                    And yes they did not skimp on those peppercorns. I fully agree they should be ranked as high as they are. Heck, I would have supported them being ranked higher just on that fish soup alone.

                                                                    Out of curiosity, why wouldn't you pay for nnaka or NM? Would you also never do high-end Mexican?

                                                                    1. re: set0312

                                                                      Would you also never do high-end Mexican?
                                                                      Love haute Mexican that is so pervasive in Chicago thanks to Bayless. LA desperate needs more of this. And I'm not talking about Babitas or La Casita/Rocio's/Corazon Y Miel. I'm talking bout the Amor Y Tacos/Yxta/Loteria (I've repeatedly frequented all 3) that is serving more than just a giant torta ahogada on a melamine plate.

                                                                      Basically, tacos maria before nnaka, NM and hell, even Providence.

                                                                        1. re: TonyC

                                                                          Seriously overdue on a
                                                                          Visit to Babita. Seriously for
                                                                          That shrimp tompolapoabmpo.

                                                                          And goat milks flan.

                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                            Better coat your stomach in advance for that shrimp.

                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                It was for me. Lotsa Habanero in that dish.

                                                                          2. re: TonyC

                                                                            I can't quite tell from your post, do you think Amor Y Tacos/Yxta/Loteria are good places and La Casita/Rocio's/Corazon are bad places? Or the other way around?

                                                                            Either way, could you elaborate on what is bad about the one set and good about the other?

                                                                            It seems to me like Castia/Rocio's/Corazon are all doing much more than "serving more than just a giant torta ahogada on a melamine plate." ?

                                                                  1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                    with this list, seems to me that somewhere around 30 is the cutoff between an actual hound and a food slut.

                                                                    1. re: barryc

                                                                      I do love sluts though.

                                                                      It must be said.

                                                                      And there I said it.

                                                                    2. Its free in today's times.

                                                                      1. Whoa, Kevin-- you're back from the phantom zone? When did this happen?

                                                                        Mr Taster