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dimsumfan

Two food-crazed people coming to LA next week

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Two of us coming in from Seattle soon (3/28-31). We always build our vacation days around food, whether it's finding all the best xiao long bao places in Taipei, following Bourdain/Zimmerns finds in NY, or looking for good holes-in-the-wall everywhere.

So, keeping in mind that we're not looking for high-end dining (we might do one meal at Fraiche, but that's about it - and not the highest end!), hoping for help:

1. Haven't had dim sum there in a few years, but used to like Empress in Chinatown and Ocean Harbor (?) in Monterey Park (better seafood there, I recall). Still good places? Better ones to recommend? Do they serve dim sum on weekdays, or only weekends? (Bonus: Where can we find more people to round our table to four, more ideal for dim sum!?)

2. Any good xiao long bao, aside from Din Tai Fung?

3. Any good ramen to recommend? Staying in Culver City, and recall some good, cheap places on Sawtelle, perhaps?

4. Is there a Thai temple that still does street food, or am I really dating myself?

5. Anything to recommend for the day headed down toward Irvine (there or Huntington Beach or Newport Beach) for the flight out?

6. Any fun food tours or events to consider?

7. Any place doing anything interesting with organ meats/offal?

8. Given the type of food I've been describing, any other suggestions for LA/Santa Monica spots to try? Again, we like unique, perhaps ethnic, unpretentious, etc. places.

Lots of questions...and lots of appreciation for any help!


Edited by dimsumfan (log)

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Are you coming down to spend some time in OC or just on your way to the airport?

There is a ton of great Vietnamese in the Westminster/Garden Grove area (mid OC). If you are looking for something to take with you on the plane you could grab some bahn mi to take with you.

I like these two, both are insanely cheap and delicious:

Bahn Mi Che Cali - 13840 Brookhurst St Garden Grove, CA 92843

Bahn Mi Cho Cu - 14520 Magnolia St., Ste. B Westminster CA 92683

Also there is great ramen in Costa Mesa right near John Wayne Airport at Santouka Ramen - 665 Paularino Ave Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Hope this helps.


"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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Two of us coming in from Seattle soon (3/28-31). We always build our vacation days around food, whether it's finding all the best xiao long bao places in Taipei, following Bourdain/Zimmerns finds in NY, or looking for good holes-in-the-wall everywhere.

So, keeping in mind that we're not looking for high-end dining (we might do one meal at Fraiche, but that's about it - and not the highest end!), hoping for help:

It looks like you’re wanting more casual and/or ethnic places, about $50-75/person at most?? So, no Providence, no Melisse, no, Sona, no Spago, no Urasawa or Matsuhisa, right?

1. Haven't had dim sum there in a few years, but used to like Empress in Chinatown and Ocean Harbor (?) in Monterey Park (better seafood there, I recall). Still good places? Better ones to recommend? Do they serve dim sum on weekdays, or only weekends? (Bonus: Where can we find more people to round our table to four, more ideal for dim sum!?)

Empress Pavilion in downtown Chinatown is still good. I’ve tried Triumphal Palace and Elite (formerly New Concept) in San Gabriel Valley. Pretty good, but I’m not familiar with SGV as well (Bonus answer: I could be counted as one-and-a-half people, but I’ve been on a diet recently. Mind you, something like a diet won’t stop me from helping others to round their table of four.).

2. Any good xiao long bao, aside from Din Tai Fung?

Sorry, I’m more used to Cantonese cuisine.

3. Any good ramen to recommend? Staying in Culver City, and recall some good, cheap places on Sawtelle, perhaps?

There is a website called Rameniac. The person was featured in an article by Russ Parsons in the Los Angeles Times back in Jan. 2008. Give it a try.

4. Is there a Thai temple that still does street food, or am I really dating myself?

Wat Thai is still located on the corner of Coldwater Canyon and Roscoe Blvd. There’s also Thai Town between Hollywood Blvd.(north) and Sunset Blvd. (south), Western Ave. (west) and Normandie (east). Thai restaurants stay open until 2 a.m.

5. Anything to recommend for the day headed down toward Irvine (there or Huntington Beach or Newport Beach) for the flight out?

Whatever Swicks says.

6. Any fun food tours or events to consider?

South of Thai Town, there’s Koreatown. Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Grand Central Market in downtown LA. How familiar are you with Southern California geography?

7. Any place doing anything interesting with organ meats/offal?

Almost any ethnic restaurant can get into offals. I can't think of any specific places, sorry.

8. Given the type of food I've been describing, any other suggestions for LA/Santa Monica spots to try? Again, we like unique, perhaps ethnic, unpretentious, etc. places.

Not into desserts?? There’s a few places you might want to try. Mind you, they tend to be in restaurants. Local neighborhood restaurants, you have to really search for them, depending on the locale. Since your base is in Culver City, you probably want to focus on Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, and the Westside. If that's the case, then I'm not as familiar as I am with downtown Los Angeles. Where are you hanging out during your vacation??

Enjoy your time in LA!


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I enthusiastically recommend my buddy Kirk's blog mmm-yoso for researching a lot of your questions above. While the blog mostly covers the kinds of eateries you're interested in down in San Diego, Kirk used to live and eat in the San Gabriel Valley, and makes frequent trips back to check out places there, as well as in other neighborhoods of LA, and in OC. He's also a discriminating fan of xiao long bao, as posts like this one demonstrate. :biggrin: Alas, according to Kirk, the wonderful food court at Roscoe and Coldwater Canyon had to close due to neighbor complaints about the traffic and parking snarls.

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So if you're in/around Culver City, you have to go to Surfas. Not a restaurant but a "shrine" to kitchen/restaurant supply stores.

Isn't there a Gualegetza (sorry, I can never remember how to spell it) on Sepulveda near Palms? Didn't somebody just write that up in another post about their visit to LA Food places?


So long and thanks for all the fish.

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While maybe a bit more fancy than you were hoping for, Pizzeria Mozza would be worth it if you can wrangle a last minute res. Also a walk in for lunch or early dinner is usually works too. In my opinion it really is that good and you can get out for $20-$40 per person depending on alcohol comsumption.

monster munching is a decent blog for OC ethnic eats...

http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/

Mitsuwa Market in Costa Mesa is also a goood Japanese market, Santouka is located inside, not sure why I didn't mention that in my earlier post.


Edited by Swicks (log)

"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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So if you're in/around Culver City, you have to go to Surfas.  Not a restaurant but a "shrine" to kitchen/restaurant supply stores.

Surfas is the best kitchen supply store I've ever visited, and I've visited many. A must-see in Culver City.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I would recommend Newport Seafood Restaurant in Santa Ana, and order the lobster dish and beef dish. Its a hole in the wall, where the food and flavor is amazing.

And, next door, is another hole in the wall that's been around forever but still has lines where you're likely have to share a table with other customers cause its just that crowded. But, the food is that good.

monster munching is a decent blog for OC ethnic eats...

http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/

I'd take that blog with a grain of salt as I wouldn't necessairly trust the writer's recommendations. I find he makes the mistake of overpraising average places, and missing great dishes when he does end up going to a good place. For example, when he went to Lotus of Siam in Vegas, he end up ignoring the Northern Thai menu and ordered dishes like Pad Thai.

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1) Dim Sum: Sea Harbor in Rosemead (on Rosemead and Valley), IMO best in LA. Gets really crowded on weekends.

2) Skip Din Tai Fung, 3rd visit two weeks ago, their XLB is really not good. Even Sea Harbor's XLB on the dim sum menu is better.

3) Ramen: You can stop by Santouka in the Mitsuwa food court near Venice (Venice and Centinela)

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I would recommend Newport Seafood Restaurant in Santa Ana, and order the lobster dish and beef dish. Its a hole in the wall, where the food and flavor is amazing.

And, next door, is another hole in the wall that's been around forever but still has lines where you're likely have to share a table with other customers cause its just that crowded. But, the food is that good.

monster munching is a decent blog for OC ethnic eats...

http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/

I'd take that blog with a grain of salt as I wouldn't necessairly trust the writer's recommendations. I find he makes the mistake of overpraising average places, and missing great dishes when he does end up going to a good place. For example, when he went to Lotus of Siam in Vegas, he end up ignoring the Northern Thai menu and ordered dishes like Pad Thai.

Good to know, i don't read it that much and don't consider many blogs to really be a be all end all for advice. That was just one that popped into my head.


"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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[Good to know, i don't read it that much and don't consider many blogs to really be a be all end all for advice.  That was just one that popped into my head.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of better alternatives. The OC Register's food section simply cannot compete with the LATimes, and the OC Weekly website is not very user friendly to search. And, there simply aren't a lot of other sources covering the OC area.

But, that still doesn't mean his blog isn't any less terrible. The Frank Bruni wannabe is highlighting particular places not because the food is any good, but because it gives him an oppurtunity to write about the scene or location. He's spending most of it on anything but the food. While having lunch somewhere, there was a nearby accident and that's why he wrote up a particular spot to go eat.

Now, this wouldn't necessairly be a problem if he was a better writer. He's a good writer in that he comes up with interesting descriptions. But, he's a poorer writter because he gets so wrapped up in his descriptions, where he doesn't tell if the food is good or not. Too often, he'll write something up and readers' comments will be swooning about how they now want to try it. But, then, he'll respond and admit that the place really wasn't that good. Its just poor writing if the reader can't tell if a place is good or not.

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[Good to know, i don't read it that much and don't consider many blogs to really be a be all end all for advice.  That was just one that popped into my head.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of better alternatives. The OC Register's food section simply cannot compete with the LATimes, and the OC Weekly website is not very user friendly to search. And, there simply aren't a lot of other sources covering the OC area.

But, that still doesn't mean his blog isn't any less terrible. The Frank Bruni wannabe is highlighting particular places not because the food is any good, but because it gives him an oppurtunity to write about the scene or location. He's spending most of it on anything but the food. While having lunch somewhere, there was a nearby accident and that's why he wrote up a particular spot to go eat.

Now, this wouldn't necessairly be a problem if he was a better writer. He's a good writer in that he comes up with interesting descriptions. But, he's a poorer writter because he gets so wrapped up in his descriptions, where he doesn't tell if the food is good or not. Too often, he'll write something up and readers' comments will be swooning about how they now want to try it. But, then, he'll respond and admit that the place really wasn't that good. Its just poor writing if the reader can't tell if a place is good or not.

well said, I couldn't agree more. I rarely if ever read it.


"A man's got to believe in something...I believe I'll have another drink." -W.C. Fields

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Bumping this because I stumbled into the OC during Restaurant Week and wondering what some of you locals think? I've looked at some of the online menus for places I've been and it looks reasonable but I am suspicious of pris fixe "events" like this where restaurants that don't normally operate in this model try to fit into the econo-menu concept.


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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monster munching is a decent blog for OC ethnic eats...

http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/

Also, a warning to unsuspecting foodies, that same guy somehow leveraged that blog into a position as the restaurant reviewer at the OC Weekly. I was never a fan of Gustavo Allerano's-I-can't-be-a-racist-because-I'm-Mexican shtick, but at least his Hole in the Wall wasn't that bad with his recommendations.

My friend and I spent almost $90/person for omakase at a sushi place because the reviewer at the OC Weekly was swooning all about their omakase. Needless, to say, the omakase wasn't that good- the sushi guy didn't really understand how to do omakase and things were jumbled all out of order. I might as well have gotten a seat at a table. And, to add insult to injury, the sushi, from the rice to the quality of the fish, wasn't that great.

It upset me that we spent that much for a mediocre meal, when we could have gotten a very good meal somewhere else for the money we spent. Given how divergent our experience was from the review, I was curious what went wrong- did that place simply have a very bad night. I googled that place, only to discover that the OC Weekly writer was the same infamous elmomonster blogger. No wonder that place was such a disappointment.

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