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Traveling and dining in other Arizona cities and beyond
DiyaMarketing
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8 years ago

Last trip for a while, and will have 2 dinners in LA (Friday & Saturday)... suggestions?
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uhockey
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8 years ago

High end:

Providence. Even though my second visit wasn't as wowing as the first, it is still a solid Michelin 2*. http://endoedibles.com/?p=1423

Melisse. Probably the best restaurant in LA. http://endoedibles.com/?p=296

Lower end:

Red Medicine: One of my best meals last year, and FAR cheaper than other contenders for that title. Joradan Kahn is the man, and that rice porridge is simply breathtaking: http://endoedibles.com/?p=1395

Jitlada for a lunch or dinner would be a good choice since I hear complaints that the Valley lacks good Thai: http://endoedibles.com/?p=1532

ink. I went early in its lifespan and I've heard rumor it has only gotten better. http://endoedibles.com/?p=1365

Animal/Son of A Gun could also be considered, as could Osteria Mozza.

From people I trust, Picca, Rustic Canyon, and The Spice Table are all places on my 'must visit' list the next time I go.
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Skillet Doux
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8 years ago

uhockey wrote:Jitlada for a lunch or dinner would be a good choice since I hear complaints that the Valley lacks good Thai: http://endoedibles.com/?p=1532
It does. Badly. But I know sinosoul is becoming less enamored with Jitlada as of late, though whether that's because he feels they're slipping or because there are equally good options that aren't a zoo, I'm not sure. Hopefully he'll jump in here at some point.
Dominic Armato
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uhockey
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8 years ago

I went to Jitlada at lunch. There were ~8 of us, total, in the place.
It is pricey, but everything we had was good.
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Skillet Doux
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8 years ago

That's not so busy!

Don't get me wrong, I'm dying to get to Jitlada. Just meant that sinosoul's pretty tight with that scene and might have a couple of other recs as well.
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uhockey
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8 years ago

Skillet Doux wrote:That's not so busy!

Don't get me wrong, I'm dying to get to Jitlada. Just meant that sinosoul's pretty tight with that scene and might have a couple of other recs as well.
Gotcha. I'd like to go back with a group, but it didn't pan out on that trip unfortunately.

Urasawa is on my 'must' list, though obviously a bit more pricey.
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MyLifeOnVacatio
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8 years ago

If you're going to be downtown LA for breakfast, we loved Nickel Diner (went two days in a row). I know many folks are approaching bacon burnout, but their maple bacon donut is mighty fine, as was the strawberry crumb donut we tried.

We had a really fun dinner at Lazy Ox one evening.
We always mean to get to Water Grill, but it just hasn't worked out yet.
Same for Wurstkuche....they are supposed to have good brats in a beer hall type setting, but the line of hipsters out the door the time we found it was just too daunting and we went elsewhere.

If you're going to be closer to West Hollywood/Beverly Hills, I echo the above recommendation for Animal (for something meaty) and Son of a Gun (for something fishy). I had to laugh...Son of a Gun has a very clear nautical theme in their decor and the song "Brandy" was playing when we arrived - I thought they might do a whole nautical theme in their playlist, but "Brandy" was the extent of it (sadly).
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uhockey
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8 years ago

If in Hollywood, Griddle Cafe is a must for breakfast. It is the only restaurant I've been to more than 3 times, all inclusive. I'll go every time I'm in LA.
sinosoul
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7 years ago

Son of a Gun made the Mrs barf out her $7 lobster slider along with half of the $12 shrimp toast. SoaG and Animal are 2 restaurants I will never, ever go back to again. In the beginning, the Animal schtick was really fun, especially during the grand opening month. But a few times in, you're just sick of feeling the lard bomb traveling through your intestine and hoping it wouldn't come out too explosive at the end.

Right now, Crispy Pork Gang and Darabar Secret Thai are holding it down in a big way in Thai-town. I know "Fuck Yeah" Ryan Gosling is a big fan of Jazz @ Jitlada, but I have yet to pay my homage in 2012. Have not the time, nor the money these days.

Don't even know how to respond to Red Med as a "lower end" restaurant. That's akin to calling Blue Ribbon lower end compared to Yasuda, Marea lower than EMP. (Namedropping NYCers seem apropos in this response, tho it's not who I am. Don't know what's what in PHX, apologies.)

And Melisse being LA's "B"est restauarant -- superlatives are so limiting? Personally, culinarily important LA restaurants go something like: Guisado's, Kang Hodong Baekjeong, DGM, Papilles, Rocio's Mole de los Dioses, Chuan Ma's (Sichuan) in Rowland Heights, Wong's Java House (Alhambra), Yoma (Monterey Park), Torihei in Torrance (and Torihei's brother restaurant Jidaiya, Torrance), Spanish Fly, and most of Pinata Row.

Melisse can be any Frenchy restaurant in US that's doing multi-course degustations. While that may make it a good restaurant, it certainly doesn't make it a great "LA" restaurant. The "B" word just scares me shitless these days.

Picca is a fantastic scene with a hypnonic vibe. I go to indulge in air kisses and almost always pre-game at Kebab Mahaleh or Sangak Cafe. Did Spice Table once, tasted majority of the menu with a group of LTH'ers, and had no desire to return; its Hainan Chicken is certainly an exercise in comedy. Rustic Canyon is fine for that Cali F2T type of food, but the opening chef has long bounced, the burger ho-hum -- PIGMON once disgustedly tossed the entire burger back onto its plate after 1 bite. Then again, PIGMON also likes Father's Office. :twisted: Griddle Cafe? Not a screenwriter living in Hollywood, I'd rather have Greenblatt's pastrami for brunch. To really glam it up at brunch touristy style: Petrossians, sit on the sidewalk, watch supercharged Range Rovers cut dinky little Corollas off while partaking in caviar eggs benny. Lazy Ox is a rollercoaster ride. It opened strong, but the absentee chef departed long ago to plan his Baco Mercat, which appeals to me in the same way as Animal. OTOH, LO's new Spanish chef seems interesting (hello! His name is freakin' PERFECTO!), and deserves a new visit.

Understandably, everyone's recs are meant to be useful for visiting star (chef, Michelin, Michael Cera, or otherwise) chasers, but they seem sadly soulless when purposed as such. Then again, I don't read OAD, and I don't ball hard like an MD, so... different perspectives, different goals.

NB: OMozza, as I've learned from ErikM, is best done at the bar, and only if N. Silverton is at the mozzarella bar. It's LA's Zuni/Panisse the way that none of the others listed will ever be. And her book's ice cream recipes are depressing.
Last edited by sinosoul 7 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
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uhockey
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7 years ago

While the condescending tone is much appreciated - amusing even - opinions are just that.........and since we're namedropping here, Marea is not 1/10th the restaruant EMP is. I don't give a shit where Ryan Gosling eats or where Michael Cera goes (had to look that one up - the goofy kid from Superbad and Scott Pilgrim it appears) - I was giving my opinion.

...its too bad no one pays for unveiled feigned knowledge, you'd be rollin' in cash.
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phxmacbear
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7 years ago

Just got back from a long weekend in LA, where I let Yelp guide my dining experiences.
We didn't drive anywhere out of the way specifically for a place, I just asked my partner what type of food he wanted and then picked a nearby highly-rated, oft-reviewed place on Yelp....Scary, right?

It worked beautifully! I had some of the BEST food I've had in a couple of genres, and we left talking about what great eats we had the whole time.

I won't bore you with full reviews of every morsel, but I highly recommend any of these.

Wirsthaus (German) Beverly and La Brea - wirtshausla.com
Near The Grove/Farmer's Market if you're over that way - Best German I've ever had, hands down. They have a huge beer selection if you're into that (I'm not, so I can't tell you anything about it). Let me just tell you that the fried potatos had huge pieces of charred onion (in a good way) and big hearty chunks of crisp bacon. Not just pieces, but actual curled up chunks of bacon, fried to a delicate crisp.

Kentro (Greek) In Downtown Fullerton, aka not too far from Disney. kentrogreekkitchen.com/
Great concept, I wish we had one here. Order-at-the-counter, but your food is delivered. Contemporary setting, casual vibe. AWESOME Greek food. Really good roasted corn appetizer. Really good lamb chops.

Baby Blues BBQ - (Venice) - babybluesvenice.com
I don't know if it would win competitions, I'm not THAT much of a BBQ afficionado, but we really enjoyed our brisket and ribs, corn on the cob with cotijo, and cornbread.

BONUS - If you're driving to LA and get hungry around Blythe, there is a pretty good alternative to the usual fast food. WE ate at Rebel BBQ http://www.rebelbarbeque.com/ ...had some awesome pastrami. The whole menu looks pretty good. Again, I'm not suggesting you drive from Phoenix to Blythe just to eat here, but it was MUCh better than McD's!
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

phxmacbear wrote:I won't bore you with full reviews of every morsel...
Personally, I say the sooner we can break people of the notion that more detail is a bad thing, the better :-)

Awesome report, phxmacbear... thanks! What I particularly love is that all three are genres that I'd never think to identify with L.A. Another reminder that I need to get back there ASAP (even if I'll probably just end up stuffing myself with eight varieties of Asian every day).
Dominic Armato
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Dapuma
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7 years ago

For breakfast last time we went to Langers and split a #19, it is in the hood but it is worth it

Don't they you can get chilli cheese fries until 10 but they coursed it for us first the sandwich then the fries after 10 or something along those lines - awesome and that will hold you over until dinner

I like Bouchon for brunch on the weekend, if they have anything with porkbelly as a breakfast special get it - we generally go there and am always hoping for the toad in the hole with the Pork Belly steak they had one weekend...WOW

Did Park's Korean BBQ which is supposed to be the best Korean BBQ place in LA, however I thought it was just ok, I don't like going to a restaurant to make my own food - not my thing but the rest of the group enjoyed it

I would recommend Tiki Ti for drinks

Next trip to LA for me for upscale is between Providence and Red Medicine, Melisse sounds good as well just because I havent had good French in awhile - I think if I could go earlier in the day i would pick Providence or if i was going later at night Red Medicine

Ink screwed our group on our reservation last time I booked a long time in advance so that has taken down my drive to want to go there
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uhockey
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7 years ago

Odd - I don't consider Red Medicine and Providence on the same level - one is fine dining and the other is creative, but much more hip/casual (even for LA.)

Things about Providence: Make sure Cimarusti is in the kitchen when you go. If he isn't, cancel. There is a huge difference imo. Make sure you get the cheese cart. Don't go if you're not doing the tasting.

Things about Red Med: Go early and ask to sit away from the kitchen - the noise level is kinda ridiculous.

Melisse: Get the truffled egg - even if it is $90 - it is one of the two most wowing things I've eaten stateside. Otherwise, the restaurant is 'meh. I had as good a meal at Christopher's last week for half the price and better food at Kai for the same price. Vegas is better for French than LA.
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Pato
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7 years ago

There are tons of places that I would love to go in LA on the higher end. My experiences have been on the lower end (but still have been great). Some cheap favorites over the past years.

The Hungry Cat hollywood location (not so cheap)
It was a great time. We split a one tier seafood platter, the chorizo & clams, and the cod. They nailed it. Really great service. High quality seafood. I wished after that we had just got the two tier, but then we would have missed the fantastic dishes. We had the special cocktail of the day. I think it was called Blueberry Hill. I remember thinking it was one of the best drinks I have had as I was drinking it. Cannot remember what was in it now (other than blueberry).

Umami Burger hollywood location
I was really blown away and was expecting a lot with all the hype. My wife was less thrilled, but that could be because I was taking so long and we ended up being a little late for the Cirque thing at Kodak. I am not sure this burger works for everyone. My wife liked it, but I really liked it. You just need to try it and see if it is your thing. This one is not easy to describe.

Joan's on Third
Great shopping and a fantastic BLT. It is like a deli and a restaurant and a store. I feel bad for not digging a little deeper at Joan's, but I wanted a BLT. I will be back. If you love a good deli, you will love it here. Everything looked very fresh and high quality.

Pizzeria Mozza hollywood location
We were a little buzzed by the time we got to Mozza. We could only get 11 pm reservations. Anyways it was great. I had the bone marrow and the clam pizza. My wife had fried squash blossoms and the sausage pizza. Everything was good. I wished I had gotten the meatballs instead of the bone marrow though. I like bone marrow, but in really small portions. It is just over the top for me.

Loteria Grill hollywood location
This was a cool experience. We walked down the hill after a Rodrigo y Gabriela concert at the Bowl. They were closed by the time we got there. There was a guy taking in some chairs and saw us looking at the menu on the wall. He said "you guys can still get some food". We went in and there were a few people at the bar and one or two tables of people with drinks. He showed us the menu, we picked, he continued to say, "we do not have that at this time". Finally we said, "we will just have some tacos". He brought out some assorted tacos. Really good! Had to be let out of a locked Loteria.

Papaya King hollywood location
What can I say. It is authentic in the sense that the employees don't give a shit and they are out of papaya drink with overflowing trash can. Tasted great....but this was very late at night so... (I did feel like i was in nyc for a split/split second)

Mendocino Farms maria del rey location (i remember when they just called it Venice)
This was a nice surprise. I highly recommend it. I had the Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi and was very happy. The next time we go I am just going to have my wife order for me and surprise me. I have a feeling you cannot go wrong in this place. I wish them well as we need more of this type of thing to catch on.

I really want to go to Salt's Cure, Spice Table, Son of a Gun, Father's Office, and of course explore the higher end.
sinosoul
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7 years ago

Pato wrote:The Hungry Cat hollywood location (not so cheap)
Have you tried the burger? It's awkward and kinda fun. Quality beef.
Pato wrote:Mendocino Farms maria del rey location (i remember when they just called it Venice)
I wish them well as we need more of this type of thing to catch on.
Absolutely. Quality, quality ingredients, done low(er)-brow. Even the sodas are ... more.... what's the word? Less harmful? One of the most remarkable thing about LA's food scene is the proliferation of these little "chainlets" that approach food from an ingredient perspective, and are able to take the farmers market ethos into a wider scale. This is so much more important to a healthy/tasty eating style than the big ticket meals since everyone is able to afford to eat these more regularly. Pitfire Pizza, 800 Degrees, Mendocino Farms, Burger Lounge and Tender Greens are all such purveyors. On the other hand, a $10 sandwich isn't exactly cheap, but it's the price structure necessary for Tender Greens to run a non-profit.
Last edited by sinosoul 7 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
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Pato
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7 years ago

@sinosoul
The Hungry Cat burger was the reason I wanted to go (and the lobster roll). I ended up with neither. We were going to go for lunch, but somehow it turned into dinner. I really need to get back there. That burger is a bit of a legend, and glad to hear another good review. It is a difficult place to decide what to do. Part of me wants the burger or the lobster roll and beer. Part of me wants to sit at the raw bar with some oysters and cava. Part of me wants a seafood platter & wine. Part of me wants their entrees. Part of me just wants the cocktails. The Hungry Cat is all over the place. Somehow they seem to pull it off as if it were easy.

Great description of the "chainlets". I first head of Tender Greens a month ago when we were in San Diego. People were excited about it opening. I assumed it was a local San Diego thing. Since then I keep crossing paths with Tender Greens. I spent some time on the site and now wished I had stopped by. Thanks for the heads up on Pitfire Pizza, 800 Degrees, and Burger Lounge. All new to me. I prefer the stand alone independent restaurant that does it's own thing and that is not going to go away, but we do need quick, reasonably priced restaurants with food prepared by people who care. Business people will see this trend and want to make Chipotle out of all of them. Some will become Chipotle and a smaller some will bring us great food.
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uhockey
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7 years ago

...the sudden start of the NHL season has me heading to LA to see them raise the banner next week. Trying to get together the agenda at this point. It is crazy how quickly their food scene changes - never have I seen highly touted restaurants open and close so quickly.

Thinking n/naka for one dinner, but with what tickets to the game are costing I'm reconsidering and looking at 'lesser' sushi spots, Dim Sum, or spots like Hungry Cat - glad to see it get some mentions here.
sourcetags8codes
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7 years ago

La trip insight. I love this city except for the traffic. With saying that, the food scene is amazing


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Lets start small, squirrel is a little cafe on a corner. It serves very simple rustic french fare and shares a space with the coffee culture of g and b.

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Small kitchen with some food on display

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Duck Pate. Man no wonder so many people trek here for breakfast just to see a line out the door. The food here is killer

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Rolled mangalitsa pork, pickled dates, parley salad. Old school!

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Sausage and cheese pasty.

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Charred bread, egg, kale, Charred tomatillo salsa. really great way to start

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Burnt bread, starberry preserves, house ricotta. They make everything, and the jam has that sweetness than counters the char nicely. Its pretty awesome to see someone just char over an open flame

Image brief stop to handsome coffee. If you love coffee, i would make a special trip for this place. Beautiful shop along with some killer coffee. One of the primary roasters in la.

Hoping along down the block is a dangerous setup. A pie shop on one side and a sausage/fry shop on the other. Why not try both

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wurstkuche is a shop known form grilled meat in tube form, beer, and fries. The spicy italian made with veal and kraut was killer.

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I had to get the fries. twice fried with an array of sauces.

After a beer, few snacks, and a logical way to kill time before dinner, we decided to grab pie.

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Affagato with vanilla ice cream. great ice cream with awesome coffee

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Earl grey tea pie, pistachios.

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Chocolate tart, salty caramel, crostada. reminded me of a really good pop tart

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Oreo, chocolate, potato chips. Guilty pleasure

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Green chilie pork pasty

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mac and cheese pasty. It was hard to leave this place. Too much happiness here.

On our way to dinner, we saw from far away the kogi truck. i've never been but I ran over and jumped the line. Later what happened was one of the coolest things ever. Roy Choi is the man, he is the godfather of food trucks. He now has six trucks, two full service restaurants, and is well enived by david chang.

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Short rib korean taco with shrdded brussel. Man the beef was good.

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Kimchi quessidlla, cheese, chilie sauce. Dude..... this was killer.

So while I'm ordering, I notice the guy calling out the orders and i start to nerd out with a friend who think of roy choi as an idol and realize that its him

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He must have heard us geeking out because next was the coolest thing that has ever happened to me
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He must have heard us geek out and gave us this "trial" burrito for us to try. We started chatting with him about food and where we were going to eat and it was a pretty cool experience.

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menu

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Picture with the man himself. He was awesome. Incredibly nice and humble for what he has. So still recovering from the mis of food plus what just happened we make our way over to the tasting kitchen located in venice.

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Menu

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house bread

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Poached egg, nettle puree, farro, green garlic

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winter chicories, cheese. Crazy amount of cheese but great none the less

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Spot prawns and uni emulsion. You can't go wrong with this.

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rice pudding, chocolate, orange, cinnamon. Very light for a rice pudding and not too much cinnamon. It gave it more of a spice than sweetness.

The last meal of the night was one of the most talked about meals by everyone else. I was curious to try this place again and so after hours of on the phone reservations, we landed a ten om reservation for 6 people at animal.

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Beef tenon chips, pho spices, pho dip. One of my top favorites from this year

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hamachi tostada, fish sauce, peanuts, cabbage. This is another stand out

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The thing that surprises me is their salads. A lot of thought goes into all of them. roasted beets, greens, pita chips, creamy sumac dressing.

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tandoori octopus, tamarind, mango, raita

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veal tongue, west indian gherkin, steelhead roe, black mustard, the only let down of the evening

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melted petit basque, chorizo, grilled bread

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veal brains, vadouvan, apricot puree, carrot

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marrow bone, chimichurri, caramelized onions

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pig tails, “buffalo style,” celery, ranch

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kung pao sweetbreads, english pea, szechuan peppercorn

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poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar

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tres leches, dulce de leche

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bacon chocolate crunch bar, s&p ice cream

This meal was awesome. I didn't get pictures though of the quail, pork belly sliders, gnocchi, and something else. Its a great meal though to take people that love food.

Sqirl With G&B
720 N Virgil Ave
Ste 4
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Wurstküche
800 E 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Neighborhood: Downtown

The Pie Hole
714 Traction Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Handsome Coffee Roasters
582 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

The Tasting Kitchen
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

Animal
435 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90048
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BarbaraToombs
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7 years ago

Oh. My. GOD. I am green with envy. Just LOVING this stuff, sourcetags! :grin:
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