Went on a trip to LA in the last week of 2016 (from the SF Bay Area) and ate a few things there:
Had a half pastrami sandwich with a cup of matzo ball soup. Probably the best pastrami sandwich I’ve had (note: I haven’t had that many pastrami sandwiches). Smaller in sheer size than Katz’s in NYC, kind of wish I’d gotten a full sandwich. Really tender, juicy pastrami and much better rye bread. Matzo ball soup was fine.
Was staying in East Hollywood near Thai Town, this was just a few blocks walk away. Ordered the southern curry soft shell crab (#76) and steamed mussels (#71). The soft shell crab was great. It was cut up into bite sized pieces and deep fried in a light crispy fluffy batter that looked like it had some spices mixed in. Served with a good curry that was spicy and sweet. Wished there was a little more of the curry to go with the rice. Steamed mussels were served in a heated pot. Mussels were fat and meaty. Broth was clear tasting with a bit of heat.
Sapp Coffee Shop
Also in Thai Town, within walking distance to my hotel. Had a bowl of boat noodles from here (#3 on the menu) with meatballs, tendon, beef tripe and beef liver. Probably the best bowl of boat noodles I’ve had (note: I have never been to Thailand). Liver in particular struck me as being very good. Cut into thin strips, soft and not overcooked at all. The blood infused broth was flavorful and a little funky (in a good way).
Bhan Kanom Thai
Thai dessert shop. I stopped by on the way back from Sapp Coffee Shop and had a sticky rice with coconut milk(?) and banana wrapped in banana leaf from the hot section. Didn’t get a picture, I ate it while walking. Nice little dessert.
Went here for lunch. Oaxacan restaurant in Koreatown. Known for their moles (their website is ilovemole.com). They give you some tortilla chips covered with a red mole when you sit down, that could have made a small meal in itself. Had the mole negro with chicken leg. Really good. Thick, and complex mole that was a little sweet. Chicken leg was skin-on and tender. Comes with a mound of rice and tortillas with which to sop up the mole.
In Koreatown. Went here for dinner. Was able to get a table pretty quickly as I got in before 6. There was a pretty long line when I left. There are pictures of Korean and US celebrities lining the entranceway. Probably the best KBBQ I’ve had (note: have not been to S. Korea nor any other KBBQ places in LA). The banchan were on another level really. Standouts among the banchan were the tofu in a spicy sauce and the beef stew. Even the side salad which I usually ignore was pretty good. Got the Park’s Galbi. They handle the grilling, temperature control, and cutting of the meat so you don’t have to do anything except pick it off the grill. New to me was a plate of little rice wrappers with which to wrap the meat in. Apparently a few places in the SFBA offer this as well. A little on the expensive side (I think it was around $45 or so for the one meat dish) but worth it given the quality of both the meat and the banchan.
I went to the Little Tokyo branch of Daikokuya for a late ramen dinner. Was packed at 11pm with a waiting list. I managed to get a seat at the bar without too much of a wait since I was solo. Had the Daikokuya ramen, half size, with firm noodles and kotteri (extra fat). Good bowl. Firm noodles were a good choice as they softened after a little while in the hot broth. Half size was enough for a light meal. Maybe should have ordered extra chashu. Egg was properly soft boiled, and broth was porky and flavorful. Even with the kotteri option didn’t seem too heavy.
Went to lunch at Tsujita in Sawtelle. Long line at lunch, took about half an hour or so to get seated. Had the chashu tsukemen with extra noodles, and a side of rice with tuna. This was a lot of food, I ordered too much - the normal chashu tsukemen would have been plenty. The noodles are thick and chewy and room temperature, as were the slices of chashu on top. Noodles are probably made by Sun as there were stacks of noodles in plastic Sun crates in the kitchen. The slightly warm dipping soup was very rich. Porky, salty, and unctuous with little bits of stewed pork within, and also a runny soft boiled egg. The soup had a little bit of a fish or dashi flavor to it and a layer of fat on top. You eat by dipping the noodles in the soup, takes a little bit of chopstick coordination. The noodles come with a wedge of lime. Wasn’t quite sure what to do with it so I squeezed it in the broth. I found out later you’re supposed to squeeze it on the noodles to cut through some of the fattiness. Tsukemen was really good. The combination of the chewy noodles and the rich broth and mix of temperatures was delicious. You can apparently get some broth mixed into your remaining soup after you finish your noodles to drink. Didn’t know about that at the time and I was pretty stuffed anyway. Should have done more research. The side of tuna over rice was ok. Was a little low on the tuna to rice ratio.
Connie and Ted’s
Was going to a show in West Hollywood and stopped at Connie and Ted’s for dinner at the bar. A seafood focused restaurant, maybe a little similar to Hog Island in the Ferry Building here in SF. Had a half-dozen oysters, a cup of New England clam chowder, the warm lobster roll with butter (you can also get a cold version with mayo and vegetables) with coleslaw. Oysters were quite good and shucked well. Clam chowder was also good, rich and creamy. The lobster roll was great. Lots of warm claw and tail meat and covered with butter that also soaked into the soft toasted roll. Coleslaw was ok, didn’t end up finishing it. Probably should have went with the fries instead. Lemons are wrapped in a cheesecloth to prevent the seeds and pulp from coming out, nice touch.
Ricky’s Fish Tacos
Food truck serving Ensenada style fish, shrimp, and lobster tacos. They were set up that day behind a Von’s supermarket in Hollywood. I had a fish taco and a shrimp taco. Dressed with crunchy cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños. They had large squeeze bottles with different salsas and crema in the front for you to squirt on your tacos. I put some of the red and green salsa on my tacos, and also some crema. Both tacos were very good. Light, crispy crunchy batter that was not dense at all.