Pantry

The Pantry is one of Los Angeles’ oldest restaurants. I have been going to the Pantry since I used to go to USC. I am kinda sad that the Pantry Bakery closed, in favor of Riordan’s Steakhouse – owned by the former mayor. The Bakery had a nicer counter and had a better ambiance.

Nonetheless, the Pantry still remains. The food here is good, not great. But the breakfast is worth the trip. The large plate sourdough toast will fill you up if you don’t wait for your entree. The breakfast potatoes – make sure you ask for well done, are great as well. I like them crispy. I used to have a French Toast craving, but I realized I like my breakfast’s, as well as other meals, savory. The French toast is unspectacular, but ask them to make it with french toast – the combination of the sweet (the syrup) and savory (the eggs and sourdough flavor) give it a unique taste.

The late night meals – consisting of steaks, pork chops, and sandwiches, with the occasional specials of spaghetti and other entrees are done well. . . Only just this recently, did they offer breakfast at all times. I usually just order a couple of eggs and sausage with potatoes at all hours. Though, I must say, that the country fried steak is quite good.

On the weekends, the breakfast lines can take up to 1/2 hour or more. If you go with only 2 people, I suggest that you get a seat at the counter. The counter is a great place to sit, since you can see what and how they cook things. And the wait for the counter is shorter. Expect about 10-15 buck/person meal. No alcohol. Great late night place Period!

Original Pantry Cafe
Downtown
877 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 972-9279
pantrycafe.com

Breakfast and Potatoes! Even for dinner!

Country Fried Steak

Sourdough French Toast

Sourdough Toast

Original Pantry Cafe on Urbanspoon

Chicken & Waffles Woot! – Roscoe’s

This famous Los Angeles restaurant – originating near South Central Los Angeles, features southern style comfort food. Their staple of fried chicken and waffle is a favorite of Angelo’s and Hollywood stars at their Hollywood address. The Pasadena location caters to the northern Pasadena, San Gabriel Valley, and Altadena communities.

I personally like their fried chicken with gravy. Yes, I know fried chicken smoothered with a unhealthy portion of gravy. . . will significantly lower by health expectancy. But it is still so yummy. The chicken is consistent – not too dry, nor tough. I like dark meat myself, so it is never dry.

As any place, I like side orders. The side orders, in which I could all order and eat without entrees – which I might do in the future, is yummy in itself. My favorites are eggs with cheese & onions, mac’n cheese, rice and gravy, grits, potatoes, and yams. . .

On weekends, make sure you get there early for lunch/brunch. I have never gone for dinner. Expect about 15 buck/person. The comfort food is good, yet heavy. . . I probably come to Rosco’s about 2 or 3 times a year.

Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles
830 N Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA 91104
(626) 791-4890
http://www.roscoeschickenandwaffles.com/

1/2 of a Fried Chicken

The sides of Mac and Cheese and Greens

Gravy on the Fried Chicken – YUMMY!

The Waffles

Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles on Urbanspoon

MY TOP 10+ BARBECUE JOINTS IN L.A. from Eat, Drink or Die

I first read Eat Drink or Die this past week and realized that they have a great site. Then I saw Michael Lippman’s post about the top 10+ bbq joints. . . I found some places that I really want to visit.

From Michael Lippman’s Blog on Eat, Drink or Die –

MY TOP 10+ BARBECUE JOINTS IN L.A.

by Michael Lippman Thursday October 16, 2008

Why are people so passionate about barbecue? Why does barbecue take hold of the imagination so strongly? What about barbecue gives it an almost spiritual dimension? And … where’s the best barbecue in Los Angeles? (with links)

1. JAY BEE’S BAR-B-Q

Let’s start somewhere random. A shack in the middle of an industrial strip in Gardena. The woman who owns the joint is not the friendliest but, hey, she’s bombarded with crowds of people clamoring for her barbecue starting at 11:30 AM every single day of her life. It’s really, really good barbecue, and people know it and come for it — white collar, blue collar, no collar, cops, criminals — all walks of life descend on the joint. I order two meats – pork ribs and pork shoulder. I taste the rib first, I’ve had it before, it’s a solidly excellent rib, and the sauce is nice and round, with a heat that touches every part of the mouth. First rate. Cole slaw’s just okay, baked beans excellent and filled with pork. Then I try the pork shoulder — whoa! hello! holy sh-t! I don’t think I really understood “pulled pork” before today — who would want random bits of meat on a plate when you could be eating ribs? — but I leave the very good ribs in the dust and can’t stop pounding this pork shoulder, each bite different, some fattier, some crispier, some meatier — I start taking larger bites, so each bite has the full combo of textures, and the heat comes through strong, and boom, it’s all gone. I’m in love.

2. PORKY’S

I’m not a big fan of Porky’s, so why is it on my list? Because a big part of loving barbecue is being opinionated about it, and when a place gets a lot of praise, and you think it’s overrated, you gotta say so. The ribs are served on a skillet, atop onions and peppers, loudly sizzling when delivered – which might be a tradition somewhere, but I’ve never seen it before.

IMG_1811.JPG I’ve had the ribs twice now, six months apart, and both times I had exactly the same notes. (Yes, believe it or not, I’ve been writing this article for months) There’s a caramelization about the rib I really like, and some bites are incredibly delicious in a kind of Chinese sparerib way. But the meat is not suffused with barbecue-ness. It’s bland. There’s no flavor in the middle of the meat. It’s like neither the cooking process nor the spice reached the center of the rib, and that’s just death. As they say so haughtily in the Wine Spectator: “tasted twice with consistent notes”.

3. BABY BLUE S
4. BONEYARD BISTRO
5. DR. HOGLEY WOGLEY’S
6. KANSAS CITY BBQ
7 & 8. JR’s & J & J’s
9. ZEKE’S
10. PHILLIPS BBQ
11. NY BBQ
12. BENNY’S BBQ
13. SPRING STREET SMOKE HOUSE

To read the complete post, click here

Cole’s French Dip

I was in downtown Los Angeles the other day for a seminar, and we decided to stop at Cole’s for lunch. In the heart of downtown, it is right next to one of the newest and hottest lounges – The Association. . . I’ll save that for another post. . .

With self-seating, first come first serve, I didn’t expect to get a table. Yet after ogling at the meat craving area, we found a few seats at the bar. Personally, I like bar seating. At the bar, you can also banter with the bartender and watch sports. But bar seating is not good for dates.. . . I digress. . .

We each ordered a sandwich and a side. I got the pork with blue cheese and a side of mac’n cheese. My friends order the beef with swiss and cole slaw, and another beef with tomato soup. After a short wait, our food arrived. I noted a comparison to these sandwiches to the great pastrami joints in New York – Katz’s and LA’s Langer’s. Those places pile the meat high. Both Cole’s and Philippes’s, Cole’s unofficial competitor for french dips, modesty provide serving that is a bit smaller – yet more than consumable and stomach-fillable. The meat slices, from the pork is a lot thinner than the beef ones – probably due to the type of meat cut. I’m a pork kinda guy and I thoroughly enjoyed my dip. I tried the beef, but I think the pork is much better. The manner by which you eat the sandwich is to dip the sandwich in the Au Jus, the juices, prior to each bite. Oh, I almost forgot, their mustard – homemade, is to die for. I don’t usually like mustard, but theirs had the added horseradish, for that extra kick. It was awesome. I’d come back just for the mustard on the sandwich. After squeezing and slathering mustard on the meat, inside the sandwich, I had some on the side to extra dip in. Unfortunately, the mac’n cheese was uninspiring. The cole slaw was fine. . .yet, nothing special.

Unfortunately, the parking is horrible. Only street and some 3 dollar lots, during the day. I suggest that you circle around the block nearby and hope for the best. The parking meters are also 3 dollars/hour as well. So, make sure you bring lots of coins. With a soda and a side with a sandwich, expect your bill to be about USD 15+ per person plus tip.

Another note, Cole’s is not only a great sandwich place, but is also a nice Downtown bar. It’s a great place to have a drink if you don’t want the large club atmospheres. Downtown LA’s Artwork, which is once a month, goes right by Cole’s. It’s a great place to eat before or after the artwork as well. Cole’s sister bars in downtown also have similar vibes – Broadway Bar and Golden Gopher. These two bar/lounges are my personal favorites.



Cole’s
Sixth and Main
Historic Downtown LA

Address
118 East Sixth Street
Downtown LA, CA 90014
213.622-4090
http://colesfrenchdip.com/

Cole's on Urbanspoon

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Cocktail of the Week – Er Guo To 二锅头



Er Guo To 二锅头

Just yesterday, I celebrated my birthday with some friends. I am quite thankful they all came out to the Silk Lounge. But there was a few that purposely wanted to get me drunk. . . .that I’m not that thankful for. So, loosely, as a rule – I get to pick the “drink.” I choose a small bottle from the shelf called Er Guo To, from Beijing. After just pouring 10 half shots – the bottle only has about 15 full sized shots, I drag my friends over to the bar. Strategically, I quickly tell them to just down the shot before they get the chance to smell the potent drink. . .

Bottoms up and BOOM!

Watch their faces! WOW. . .that was fun. Each of them fighting for glasses of water or coke to wash away the strong taste. Oh gosh, I’m smiling as I recall this. Their faces cringe with this unknown bitter taste. Knowingly, the shots of patron or vodka won’t come my way, unless this bottle is finished. I know, I’ll be left alone, and hopefully sober, as I know I have the protection of Er Guo To. Er Guo To or Chinese White Wine (Baijiu) is usually 50% ot 56% alcohol (100/112 proof), sometimes 36% or 72 proof. It has the flavor, as described by my friends, as motor oil, bad vinegar, pure hell, medicine, and my favorite – ass! Heck, I know friends in China that won’t touch this stuff.

A little history . . . I used to work and live in China. I used to be able to finish a bottle and half (each bottle about 500 ml.) Chinese White Wine (Baijiu) is made from a sort of Grain called Sorghum. Other brands of Baijiu is made from rice. Flavored with ginseng, walnuts, and other type of roots and nuts. . . this distince flavor is the drink of the People. Long before other types of alcohol, such as wine, beer, and other liquors, Chinese white wine has had a long history. Other well know brands of Baijiu include Maotai jiu, Gaoliang jiu, and Wuliangye. The strong flavor of the wine goes great with Chinese Hot Pot. The spiciness and the heavy vinegar is offset by the robust flavor from the wine.

Er Guo To means head of the second pot. Er Guo To has several different producers that claim this name. Er Guo To means a type of distillery – manner by which it is produced. Red Star is a strong brand in Northereastern China. You’ll also find a type of Er Guo To in Southern China as well as Taiwan.

One of these days, I strongly suggest that you try Baijiu. My favorties are Er Guo To and Maotai Jiu.

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Garlic Ramen . . . OMFG – Ramenya

One night, I went with my friend to Ramenya. Ramenya is a Japanese Ramen house. It is a small dinky restaurant with great food. My type of place! I haven’t been here in a couple of years, but I will always remember this place to have good Ramen.

Anyways. . .back to Ramenya. I was at my friend place just hanging out before a mixer that I was to attend to (in which I actually could go – cause I was late and lack of parking) and we were discussing where to go for dinner. The idea of ramen came up and I said yeah, lets go! There are actually a couple of good ramen houses on Sawtelle worth going to. I had already knew which ramen house to go to and what I was going to order. I ordered the Aho Ramen (garlic) and my friend under-my-positive-influence also ordered the same. We got the noodles soon after our order – which was a pleasant surprise.

The ramen was steaming hot – which it has to be. You could see the flakes of dried garlic floating with the chives. And inside the clear broth you could see the cloves of garlic. My friend, after a couple of bites, asked if we could eat the cloves. I told her thatthe cloves are like the ones from the Stinking Rose – they are cooked(boiled) so they are soft and tasty. I knew the consequences – my breath would stink and would last all night. . . but I didn’t care. This was well worth it. Those in contact me would have been envious of my Aho Ramen! The ramen itself was the right softness – not too hard(undercooked) nor not too soft (overcooked). I did think they over did it with the chives or green onions. Other than that, with the complementary Buckwheat tea, it was a great meal. I only wish they were open late and had another site on the eastside or in downtown.

Aho Ramen(garlic)- well recommended

(Reposted from my old blog)

Ramenya
11555 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
310 575 9337
11:30am – 9:30pm daily
http://www.ramenya-usa.com/

Image from http://d1.biggestmenu.com/00/00/93/0b4fb1dd014f0101_m.jpg
Ramenya on Urbanspoon

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Sixes – Top Hawaiian Restaurants in Southern California

1. Bob’s Okazuya – Old timers swear by Bob’s
2. Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine – Innovative high brow Hawaiian
3. Ono Hawaiian Grill – not to be confused with Ono Hawaiian BBQ.
4. Bruddah’s Hawaiian Foods – Lau Lau, Lomi, & almost everything here is great.
5. Back Home In Lahaina – Just good Hawaiian – Loco Moco!
6. The Loft Hawaiian Restaurant – Island Style Fried Chicken is the best fried Chicken around.

The Famous Pasadena Salad – Green Street Cafe

The Diane Salad from the Green Street Cafe is probably one of the best salads I have ever had. I usually don’t order salads myself, but the Diane salad is one of the best. One of the rumors is that Green Street Cafe came up with the Chinese Chicken Salad, which derived from the Diane Salad. I wouldn’t be surprised.

This salad is so big, that you almost have to split it. A half order is good enough for a lunch. The salad is made with white chicken, crisp Asian noodles, toasted almonds, sesame seeds & lettuce. This salad is light and healthy.

Green Street is great for brunch and or a weekday lunch. The Diane Salad is a bit pricey at 13 bucks. If you are coming to Pasadena to go shopping either in Old Town, Paseo, or Lake Avenue, stop by Green Street for the Diane Salad.

Green Street
146 Shoppers Ln
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 577-7170
www.greenstreetrestaurant.com


Green Street on Urbanspoon

Boiling Crab

After hearing so many positive things about this place. . . I had to try it. My friends all rave about this place with its great Crustacean fare.

After a short wait, which I’ve been told is typical, we were quickly seated at table with a roll of paper towels and no silverware. Inside, the Boiling Crab looks like a sports bar – with college basketball games. The raucous crowd seemed to be enjoying their time with shellfish.

At the Boiling Crab, they substitute plates and silver with bags of shrimp & crawfish. They don’t use fine linens, whereas rolls of paper towels are available. But it sure is tasty. You can have the seafood with different levels of spiciness. in addition, they are available with a cajun spicy, lemon pepper, garlic butter, or all of them together. We had the dungeoness crab, the fried catfish, and a slew of shrimp and crawfish. As you pulled out the meat from the shell of the shrimp or crab . . . you need to they slosh it around in the juices of the bag for extra flavor. I enjoyed the fried catfish, which is the typical Louisiana fare. In addition the sweet potato fries and corn help round out our meal. Boiling Crab also provides a crab smasher hammer with bibs for everyone. I preferred not to use the hammer but my hands and teeth.

This type of dining, where you use you hands and must get a little intimate with the food – is in my opinion a great place for a 1st date. Some people disagree with the fact “getting down’n’dirty” with your food means great a date experience. But the idea of using your hands bringing out your animalistic instincts with food heightens the moment.

Expect the bill to be about 25-35 dollars a person including alcohol. With a small parking lot, expect to park on the street.





Boiling Crab
742 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra, CA 91803
(626) 576-9368
www.theboilingcrab.com

Boiling Crab on Urbanspoon

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World’s Best Street Food

I got this link from Digg.com. I thought it was pretty interesting. I would love to try all of these places – even the dirtiest ones in Mumbai. Anyways. .. I hope you enjoy it.

Here is the original link from Concierge.com
http://www.concierge.com/ideas/foodwine/tours/2274

World’s Best Street Food
by JJ Goode

Street cooks are magicians: With little more than a cart and a griddle, mortar, or deep-fryer, they conjure up not just a delicious snack or meal but the very essence of a place. Bite into a banh mi—the classic Vietnamese sandwich of grilled pork and pickled vegetables encased in a French baguette—and you taste Saigon: traditional Asia tinged with European colonialism. What better proves the culinary genius of Tuscany than the elevation of a humble ingredient like tripe into a swoon-worthy snack? To sample merguez sausage in Marrakesh’s central square is to join a daily ritual that has persisted for centuries.

Sadly, street food has acquired a reputation as a potential trip-wrecker, which means too many travelers leave, say, Singapore without having a steaming bowl of fish head curry or a few skewers of saté. No one wants to get sick, but avoiding street food means denying yourself an essential part of the travel experience. So peruse our list of some of the world’s best street food vendors, and don’t be afraid to try something new. But pack a little Pepto—just in case.

The dish: Banh mi

Where to find the best: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Word on the street: It takes almost no time for the peddler who sets up her tiny cart and knee-high charcoal brazier every weekday at 5 pm at 37 Nguyen Trai Street (in District 1) to turn you into a banh mi lover. As soon as you order, she swiftly assembles a sandwich that, despite its colonial French exterior (a stubby baguettelike loaf), is Vietnamese through and through. Peel back the newspaper wrapper and bite: Your teeth crash through the bread (a touch of rice flour makes it exceptionally crispy) and into still-warm morsels of grilled pork, a crunchy spear of cucumber, sweet-tangy shreds of pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, and a smear of Vietnamese mayo. Add a squirt of hot sauce, and this might be the best sandwich you’ve ever had. Or at least the best one you’ve ever had for 30 cents.

Click here to read more . . .
http://www.concierge.com/ideas/foodwine/tours/2274

Ass Kicking Ramen! – Orochon

On the subject of Ramen . . . I thought I’d talk about a Orochon!

Special 2 ramen = Pain (Period)

I have never tried the Special 2. The special features Jalapeno peppers, a spicy soup base, and other hot ingredients. I know personally, that my lips would be burning all night if I just try one bite. I know I would have BTS if I had more.

This super hot ramen – Special 2, has been featured on Man Vs Food. The super spicy ramen, if you can, finish with soup, in less than 1/2 hour, you can have you picture taken and post on their wall of fame. Thousands have attempted.. . and only a few have survived. I saw pictures with people with their finished bowls in less than 12 minutes. . ..Amazing

Orochon has different levels spiciness for their ramen. I can only try the 2nd lowest spicy ramen without too much pain. If you click on the link, you can see the different levels of spiciness and other items on the menu.

This place is not the best ramen house here in Downtown little Tokyo. Daikokuya is probably the best ramen house in the area . . . and that’s for another review at another time.

Orochon Ramen
123 Astronaut E/S Onizuka St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Little Tokyo
(213) 617-1766
http://www.orochonramen.com/


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