[Los Angeles, CA] LA trip mini report

Went on a trip to LA in the last week of 2016 (from the SF Bay Area) and ate a few things there:


Langer’s

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.


Jitlada

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.


Guelaguetza

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.


Park’s BBQ

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.


Daikokuya

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.


Tsujita

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.

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Nice report . You hit up some great spots . Food Talk Central would be proud . It’ s got heavy L.A. posters . H.O is kind of dead for Los Angeles talk .

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Yes, you definitely hit all the right spots. All that’s missing from the list is Gjusta, which I’m assuming is because you were based in Hollywood. Other than that and Shibumi, you are definitely an honorary FTCer. :wink:

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Gotta say the fish tacos look awesome. Maybe I need a little mini break in San Diego.

Speaking of Ensenada, have you ever been to Hussongs?

Oh yeah, Gjusta was on the list, but there were only so many meals in the day. LA is definitely more difficult to get around in compared to SF without a car, although Uber and Lyft seemed to be a bit cheaper than here in the SFBA. Shibumi wasn’t on my radar, thanks for the heads up. Maybe next time.

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Haven’t been, haven’t been to Mexico yet. My only exposure to Baja style fish tacos other than Ricky’s has been the Rubio’s restaurant chain and maybe Garaje here in SF.

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I appreciate that you are willing to make clear your lack of experience with different food types, but also write about them.

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Hi @mariacarmen!

Here’s Gjusta info. https://gjusta.com/menus/ The selection of Smoked Fish and Cold Case items are the bomb! Favorite sandwiches are the Porchetta - some like the melt but I prefer the straight-up one with horseradish. Feel free to ignore me, as you may have your own food agenda. :wink:

Happy 17th!

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OMG is this the place you talked to me about recently? I can’t remember… it’s so close to where we’ll be! do you think we need a rez for Sat. night? We’re eating at Rose Cafe tonight!

Thank you!!!

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I’m not sure if I talked about it, except just now on WFD. No resys needed. It’s a swanky delicatessen, good for breakfast, lunch & takeout. Same people also have a good sit-down spot called Gjelina www.gjelina.com. But you’re doing great with Rose Cafe. They remodeled, enhanced the menu and peeps are lovin’ it.

Have fun!

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STOP!! NOW I WANT TO GO TO BOTH!!! :crazy_face:

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Rose on Friday, Gjelina on Saturday & Gjusta for brunch? :wink:

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Or do casual dinner at Gjusta.

Yep they have a wine list. Here’s the full menu.
https://gjusta.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/027_GJU_NEW_Menu_18_SEP_2019.pdf.
Sorry, Idk how to do that embedded thing everyone else does.

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thank you again!

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Hi @Saregama!

Could be. Haven’t been to Superba yet (lots of raves), can’t remember specifics about Gjelina, which may or may not be a good sign (friends love it). But Gjusta is my must in Venice. Beware: it’s pricey in Venice now.

Happy Venice Eating!

Side bar: celebrity sighting at one of my Gjusta visits - Alex Guarnaschelli. I get more excited about seeing chefs than movie stars. :relaxed:

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Soooo, Gjusto or Gjelina?? We’re going tonight.

Never mind, I just looked at the menus. Gjusto!

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Great! Looking forward to hearing (reading) about your experience. FYI - it’s counter service and first-come-first-serve seating. It gets a little hectic.

P.S. Some of my food buddies have been raving online about their soups this week (chicken dumpling, pozole verde, minestrone, french onion).

We had a great time in L.A. - Venice, to be exact. But I have to be honest, and it pains me to say it, we had some not-great food experiences! We split a piece of Gjelina pizza from their take-out shop on Abbott Kinney. It was ok but it did not wow us. First, they don’t reheat it, so even though it was in the mid-80s outside, the slice was luke-warm. And just a little blah.

But more disappointing was Gjusta. I wanted to love this place SO MUCH, believe me! I tried to get the BF to get the porchetta because I’d read (here?) that was the thing to get and I thought he’d like it. Instead he got the pastrami. They’d griddled the pastrami so parts of it were crispy and hard, and overly salty. There was no Russian or thousand island dressing on the sandwich, so therefore no sweetness to balance out the salty. BF did not like it at all.

I got the brisket banh mi - I should have gotten the porchetta! The brisket itself was silky and tender, with a slight smokiness, but it was so overwhelmed by the veggies piled on top it really didn’t taste like a banh mi at all. Don’t get me wrong - Banh mis are one of my favorite sandwiches of all time, and I love the pickled veg that comes on them. But this was unbalanced. You could barely discern the meat, and there was just too much veg on it - there IS such a thing. I pulled off almost all of it and it was better.

We did have a trio of absolutely perfectly delicious salads - marinated peppers (to die for), some roasted potato salad, and a chopped salad. Really good. Too bad about the sandwiches! Very cute space, there was NO WAIT at 7:00 p.m. Sat. night and we got a lovely table on the patio.

Also disappointing… I’m not into sweets, but the BF is, and I’d heard they were good bakers. I bought three of their baked items to go: Bread pudding, pear tatin, and a polenta almond cake. The almond cake was too sweet, the polenta super crunchy in places, and it tasted more lemony than almond-y. The other two were ok, but nothing spectacular. We didn’t eat them, and the next morning I took bites again - they were at least a little more tender, but we ended up throwing them out (should have put them out for the homeless - kicking myself for not doing that.)

I have no doubt there are items we would have loved there, this just wasn’t the time. :frowning_face:

Rose Cafe, however was spectacular. We split the hamachi crudo with tomatoes, tomato water, chilis, mustard green oil, and I forget what else. Incredibly fresh and meaty, with a touch of sweet! Awesome.

Then, a smoked watermelon salad with feta, tomatoes, and arugula in which you could actually taste the smoke on the watermelon. Fantastic.

BUT THEN!!! A dish recommended by our server: boiled heirloom potatoes with crispy tuna “prosciutto,” a beautiful Araucana egg, porchini marmalade, and a chive oil/beurre blanc. HOLY CRAP, that was one of the best dishes I’ve tasted in like, 2 years maybe? Seriously incredibly delicious, perfectly balanced flavors and textures. The potato itself tasted like it had just been dug out of the earth. The mushroom jam was sweet and earthy. The beurre blanc and chive oil blended together in a buttery/herbal dream. I am only a little ashamed to say I tipped that plate to my lips and sucked down every last drop. I almost ordered it again as dessert, and told the BF we would probably have to go back before the weekend was over so I could have it again.

The last thing we ordered was their signature dish: radiatore carbonara with another gorgeous egg and fatty, smokey chunks of guanciale. Unfortunately, it was very salty. Bummed because the meal had been so perfect up till then. I’m a salt fiend and I only managed a few bites. BF said it was only not great in comparison with the rest of the meal and wolfed it down

After that, we ate mostly cheap eats (fries with our bloody marys and beers, really bad Mexican food on the boardwalk [no one to blame but ourselves, but HOW do you ruin Mexican food in So.Cal.??], a pretty blah pupusa, etc.), except for a snacky take-out Peruvian chicken quarter and ceviche from El Huarique (also on the boardwalk, surprisingly.) Super fresh ceviche, and the chicken was on point, with fiery aji verde.

and we DID end up at Rose Cafe again, waiting around for our late flight back home. I got the potato dish again (still mind-blowing), and then i went too far and got 2 pieces of their Korean chicken. I should have known it would be too sweet, but also a little tough - very craggy and thick batter. Not bad, just not as good as everything else we had there.

I’d be in trouble if Rose Cafe was in SF. Loved the space too, and our 2nd dinner there we ate at the bar.

I didn’t do almost any research for this trip because i knew we were going for such a short time, and I didn’t want to start chasing places far away from our rental apt. Good thing this was all nearby. I’ve already told the BF I’d do this trip again next year. (We both grew up in L.A. but have only been back when forced to and haven’t been up on the food scene for a while.)

@TheCookie - thanks for your tips! Even though it didn’t work out this time, I really did appreciate it.

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Hi @mariacarmen!

Thanks for reporting back. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Gjusta. I can’t argue because I haven’t tried the dishes you had and haven’t read anyone talk or report on them, with the exception of the Banh Mi which is kinda’ meh. My faves are the Porchetta Butcher, Porchetta Melt, Prime Rib Sandwich and their terrific house Smoked Fish (smoked salmon belly is :kissing_heart:) But there’s also a chance that since the daytime is when they’re busy they have the B-team cooking at night. It happens.

On a positive note, I’m happy you guys enjoyed Rose Cafe. I haven’t been since the remodel, but have always loved it and hear the new menu is great!

The Westside is not really my stomping grounds. We live in the Miracle Mile/Beverly-Grove area. L.A. is such a great eating city right now (upscale, hole-in-the-walls, sushi!). There’s actually some great spots already on this thread. If you come again maybe you’ll trust me with more recs… to the places we really frequent. :wink:

Happy Eating!

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