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Cheap and good CA restaurants?


jschyun
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Top Dog (especially the original one on Durant) is definitely better than either place, and I think is also significantly better than Pink's on La Brea that was mentioned above on this thread.

Top Dog is not better than Pink's, they're both great. Personally, I think you can't really compare them. Top Dog (esp Durant) rocks for the food and for the cool history. Pink's rocks for the dogs (but they are different) and a different, L.A. vibe that a NorCal person perhaps doesn't get. Different strokes for different folks, right?

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Top Dog is not better than Pink's, they're both great.  Personally, I think you can't really compare them. Top Dog (esp Durant) rocks for the food and for the cool history.  Pink's rocks for the dogs (but they are different) and a different, L.A. vibe that a NorCal person perhaps doesn't get.  Different strokes for different folks, right?

Now there is a novel concept for the california thread...:smile:

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Top Dog is not better than Pink's, they're both great.  Personally, I think you can't really compare them. Top Dog (esp Durant) rocks for the food and for the cool history.  Pink's rocks for the dogs (but they are different) and a different, L.A. vibe that a NorCal person perhaps doesn't get.  Different strokes for different folks, right?

Now there is a novel concept for the california thread...:smile:

I'm all for that - so what's good about Top Dog and what's good about Pink's? Why would someone choose one over the other? Other than the obvious 400 mile distance between them. I haven't eaten at either place.

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I have, they were indeed the best hotdogs I've ever cooked - but in the name of science I need to visit Top Dog before I can form an opinion on the place as a restaurant.  As a producer of hotdogs, they rock.

To be precise, they rock as a sourcer of great hot dog ingredients. Even the buns are not home made, they come from a local bakery (they told me which one once but I forget, it wasn't a famous one). The only thing they make themselves are probably the chopped onions.

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Duh, what's an empanada? In the dark on that one.
theyre baked or deep fried bready things with meat and or fruit. for a reference think calzone. but theyre not.

i have had sweet ones. theyre okay, but i like the savouries better.

i like them baked and i like them with beef with eggs and raisins and spices...

the one off of sawtelle is nice and clean and friendly.

Empanada's Place! I love the Argentine empanada, and this is the real thing. Eveything is Argentine, from the white lace cafe curtains in the windows to the posters of Tango competitions on the walls.

There are 16 empanada varieties at last count:

-Criolla (Beef, raisin, green onions, eggs, asstd spices)

-Cordobesa (Ground beef potatoes, hard boiled eggs, olives, spices)

-Pollo (Chicken w/ peas, carrots, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and herb spices)

-Sallena Desebrada (Chopped beef w/ peas, carrots, and potatoes)

-Fugazzela (Ham, fresh mozzarella, gresh onions)

-Chorizo Colorado (Pepperoni, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese)

-Chopped Beef (Chopped Beef, hard boiled eggs, Tucuman spices)

-Lemon Herb Ground Beef (Ground beef tomatoes, onions, seasoned w/ fresh lemon juice & spices)

-Fugazza (Fresh white onions, mozzarella, spices)

-Papa Cilantro (Russet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cilantro)

-Papa con Queso (Russet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, mozzarella, cilantro)

-Humita (Sweet cut corn, mozzarella cheese, white sauce)

-Pascualina (Chopped fresh spinach, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, white sauce)

-Broccoli (Broccoli, cauliflower, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese)

-Ricotta Queso (Ricotta cheese, fresh mushrooms, basil)

-Berenjena (Fresh eggplant, cheese sauce)

Each one is wrapped and decorated in a different style so that you know the contents. The edges of the dough are pinched or crimped or waved... The menu I brought home has a little drawing of each empanada style.

If you go, you HAVE TO try the Alfajores for dessert. It's incredible. Two light and crumbly cookies flanking a middle of thick and creamy Argentine dulce de leche. You can buy little clear boxes of the cookies at the counter. They are home-made. You can also buy jars of the dulce de leche. I bought one jar and finished it off in less than a day.... (cringe)

There are a couple more locations, now, too. One in West Hollywood on La Cienega and one in Tarzana on Ventura.

Edited by Raquel (log)

raquel

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe -Roy Batty

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Okay, here is the ultra secret about Empanadas Place -- now that I have all this coming back to me in waves of lovely memories (especially the Criolla! that one and the Mushroom, which I don't see on your list, were my favorites!)

But onto the secret -- a sauce. A lovely GREEN sauce that is not part of the regular serving! You have to ask for it and sometimes they won't have it. When the son was running the store in Redondo, I used to try and get out of him what the ingredients were in that special, lovely green sauce to no avail. It is herby and oil-based. Not a thick, mushy, pasty sauce. I'm thinking there is a going to be a road trip in store for me soon. Must have Versailles' Garlic Roast Pork, Shin-Sen-Gumi's Chunkonabe, and now Empanades Place amazing green sauce on ANY of their lovely empanadas!

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Empanadas are closed pies with filling. Calzones are sort of empanadas. Cornish meat pies and pasties from the upper peninsula in Michigan would be empanadas in most Spanish speaking communities. They can be baked of fried and the dough can vary considerably in its flakyness or even be made of puff pastry. An apple turnover might qualify. I have also seen the term "empanada" refer to fried food that's been breaded. Such is the dispersion of Spanish all over the world that locally, many words have different meanings. A Puerto Rican, or Mexican traveling in Spain may be in for the same sort of surprise as a Cajun in France.

Robert Buxbaum

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Okay, here is the ultra secret about Empanadas Place -- now that I have all this coming back to me in waves of lovely memories (especially the Criolla! that one and the Mushroom, which I don't see on your list, were my favorites!)

But onto the secret -- a sauce. A lovely GREEN sauce that is not part of the regular serving!  You have to ask for it and sometimes they won't have it. When the son was running the store in Redondo, I used to try and get out of him what the ingredients were in that special, lovely green sauce to no avail. It is herby and oil-based. Not a thick, mushy, pasty sauce. I'm thinking there is a going to be a road trip in store for me soon.  Must have Versailles' Garlic Roast Pork, Shin-Sen-Gumi's Chunkonabe, and now Empanades Place amazing green sauce on ANY of their lovely empanadas!

Ooooh! How intriguing, Carolyn. I have to plan a trip out to the Westside to try this Green Sauce you are talking about. Is it Chimichurri-esque? Parsley... citrusy...? I must say, something saucey would go very well with the empanadas. I haven't been there in a few months, but this thread has got me salivating!

The Criolla is good isn't it? One of my faves as well. I love all the vegetarian ones too. The mushroom one is called Ricotta Queso. Don't know why. It seems more mushroomy than cheesy. Oh well. Tastes delicious no matter what they call it...

What is Shin-Sen-Gumi's Chunkonabe?!?!?! I think it's something that I've missed out on.

raquel

I've seen things you people wouldn't believe -Roy Batty

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How about In and Out Burger?  You can get a double-double animal style with fries done well for under $10.

I love In & Out burger, but this thread was originally meant to find out about non-fast food for around $10.

But yeah, In & Out rocks. At least I think so, apparently my SO disagrees with me.

Edited by jschyun (log)

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Empanadas are closed pies with filling. Calzones are sort of empanadas.

I would add this detail: calzones are generally bigger and empanadas are more tightly filled.

Rental cars. Think rental cars. Empanadas are a 2-door compact or 4-door compact. (But they drip on your chin.)

A calzone is a four-door car with plenty of head room and not a lot of features.

You'll have to ask Bux directly about his experience with pasties (in foreign countries!), which surely diverges widely with mine (um, in other common uses). <insert emoticon here indicating, well, take your pick>

Hope that helps.

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The Anglophile in me loves Pasties... I have been having a serious craving recently for British sausage roll which I have yet to find in NoCal (probably available somewhere in the city, but doubtful I'd find it in the wine country).

Raquel, Empanadas Place green sauce is probably parsley-based -- and, I think, mint - but not overpoweringly so. Please go do some reconnaissance for me as I just remember the flavor in my mouth but am having a hard time breaking it down into components. I forgot that the Mushroom one was more Queso-based.

Lastly, Chunkonabe really shouldn't be in this thread -- it is just a longing desire from SoCal. Chunkonabe is the soup that is made and served by and for Sumo wrestlers. Next to Shin-Sen-Gumi's yakitori restaurant on Western is a small, intimate, SEPARATE restaurant that is only open during sumo bouts. Folks gather there to watch the bashos and eat Chunkonabe. I am going to have to research when the next basho is slated and plan my trip south accordingly. It is like going to an extreme, food-based sports bar except that no one speaks English and it all seems so terribly civilized because most of the women who go are Geisha-like in their kimonos...

Okay, now I am REALLY missing SoCal!!!

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That Chunkonabe thing sounds fun, Carolyn.

I suppose it helps that I enjoy the sport of Sumo (as a spectator). I'm heavy, yes, but not quite THAT heavy to participate! :raz:

I have a number of books and studied the philosopphy and throwing techniques and I really miss the fact that in SoCal, bashos were broadcast on television. Not in Northern California, though. :angry:

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For Northern Californian empanada fans, Tango Gelato on Fillmore is supposed to have good Argentinian style empanadas, but I haven't tried them yet as they only serve them in the day time.

Among restaurants above $10, Limon makes a good empanada (they call it Empanada Don Walter), and El Raigon, the Argentinian steak house in North Beach has empanadas on their menu as well.

Edited by Malik (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Anyplace in the "tandoor-loin" in SF. They are pretty much all Pakistani-owned. Strict Punjabi non-veg "dhaaba"-style. Shalimar (already mentioned) and Naan n' Curry are the best known but I liked Lahore Karahi the best. Hard to spend more than $10 even if you stuff your face.

Sun-Ki Chai
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~sunki/

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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Anyplace in the "tandoor-loin" in SF.  They are pretty much all Pakistani-owned.  Strict Punjabi non-veg "dhaaba"-style.  Shalimar (already mentioned) and Naan n' Curry are the best known but I  liked Lahore Karahi the best.  Hard to spend more than $10 even if you stuff your face.

I've eaten at Lahore Karahi a couple of times and thought it was very good, but my personal favorite is still Shalimar. The nice thing with Lahore Karahi is they have a few dishes that none of the other restaurants have, in particular Paya, which is a slow cooked curry made of goat, lamb or beef hooves. But I think the Tandoori meat dishes are still better at Shalimar.

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Anyplace in the "tandoor-loin" in SF.  They are pretty much all Pakistani-owned.  Strict Punjabi non-veg "dhaaba"-style.  Shalimar (already mentioned) and Naan n' Curry are the best known but I  liked Lahore Karahi the best.  Hard to spend more than $10 even if you stuff your face.

I've eaten at Lahore Karahi a couple of times and thought it was very good, but my personal favorite is still Shalimar. The nice thing with Lahore Karahi is they have a few dishes that none of the other restaurants have, in particular Paya, which is a slow cooked curry made of goat, lamb or beef hooves. But I think the Tandoori meat dishes are still better at Shalimar.

paya is not a "curry"--except in the sense that anything made by an indian/pakistani/bangladeshi is a curry. it would be more accurate to call it a stew--you eat it with breads not rice.

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paya is not a "curry"--except in the sense that anything made by an indian/pakistani/bangladeshi is a curry. it would be more accurate to call it a stew--you eat it with breads not rice.

Good point, though I usuall call any indian/pakistani/bangladeshi dish that has sauce in it a curry. So what would you call Nihari?

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paya is not a "curry"--except in the sense that anything made by an indian/pakistani/bangladeshi is a curry. it would be more accurate to call it a stew--you eat it with breads not rice.

Good point, though I usuall call any indian/pakistani/bangladeshi dish that has sauce in it a curry. So what would you call Nihari?

i call nihari nihari. for an analogue in "european" choose the word that would describe a slow-cooked/simmered stewy thingy. "curry" is so generic as to be meaningless--somewhat like describing anything you eat in an italian restaurant as pasta.

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