Restaurants & Bars

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This Week's Issue of Los Angeles Area ChowNews (free!)

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Restaurants & Bars 3

This Week's Issue of Los Angeles Area ChowNews (free!)

Jim Leff | Feb 20, 2004 11:52 AM

If you wouldn't pay $15 to have an email like this pop into your mailbox each Friday for six months, you are stark, raving nuts. ChowNews is the ultimate resource for chowhounds - even those who read every posting here every day. ChowNews means you don't need to take notes, you don't need to look up address/phone, you don't need to search through thousands of postings for that certain tip. It means if you miss reading everything, you'll never ever suffer the consequences of not knowing about a great discovery. Read this, and I dare you not to sign up at link at bottom for a subscription (since the bottom of this post is far away, here's the URL:

Please send around the URL for this posting so others can read. Link to it, etc.


ChowNews Greater Los Angeles #111
February 20, 2004

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ABOUT CHOWNEWS

ChowNews is a hip insider's boil-down of the thousands of postings flooding into Chowhound.com. There is no better food info/tip sheet anywhere, but bear in mind that these are not the official opinions of Chowhound.com, the Big Dogs or the editors of ChowNews. If you spot the errant unsavvy tip, set everyone straight on our message boards (links are provided to each discussion).

ChowNews is brought to you by the Big Dogs at . US NEWS & WORLD REPORT deems Chowhound "The best web restaurant site." Read other Chowhound.com press at:


IN THIS ISSUE:

*Massive Mexican Round-Up, Kids!
*The Finest Corned Beef Sandwich
*Indonesian Food Court!
*New Candidate for Coolest Stretch on the Westside: Centinela (Now with Tacos!)
*New Silverlake Wine Store
*Organ Meats!
*O Jing! Korean Squid Stir Fry
*Tops from the BBQ Taste Test
*Quality Local Tortilla Chips
*We Condemn: Toye's

And, in General Topics ChowNews...

*Gin Dandy
*Decaffeinating Your Life
*Recyclable Hot Chocolate
*Cool-Brewed Coffee
*What to Do with a Cast Iron Pan After Seasoning it on a BBQ Grill
*Frying Polenta
*Soy Sauce: Light Versus Dark
*Reheating Frozen Crab Legs

Comments/corrections to laeditor@chowhound.com

Hot tip of the week: *elmomonster's* comments about the Indonesian Food Court in West Covina. See "INDONESIAN FOOD COURT!", below

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MASSIVE MEXICAN ROUND-UP, KIDS!

El Sazon Oaxacqueno [Beaches]
12131 Washington Place
Los Angeles 90066
310-391-4721
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

La Oaxaquena Taco Truck[Beaches]
Lincoln Blvd at Flower, south of Rose
Venice
Map:
http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?Pyt=...

Juquila Restaurant [West LA-ish]
11619 Santa Monica Blvd, between Federal and Barry
Los Angeles 90025
310-312-1079
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

King Taco [Citywide]
1-800-KING-TACO
http://www.kingtaco.com

King Taco Restaurant [East LA]
2400 E Cesar E Chavez Ave
Los Angeles 90033
323-264-3940
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

King Taco [Downtown]
645 E Washington Blvd
Los Angeles 90015
213-747-9915
http://www.kingtaco.com
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

King Taco [East LA-ish]
2904 N Broadway
Los Angeles 90031
323-222-8500
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

King Taco [East LA-ish]
4300 E Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles 90023
323-264-9051
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Taqueria Vista Hermosa [Downtown]
3655 S Grand Ave, in the the Mercado La Paloma
Los Angeles 90007
213-741-1251
http://www.mercadolapaloma.com/restau...
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

El Gran Burrito [East Hollywood]
4716 Santa Monica Blvd, at Vermont
Los Angeles 90029
323-665-8720
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

Alameda Swap Meet [Downtown]
4501 S Alameda St, at 45th
Los Angeles 90058
213-233-2764
Map:
http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?BFCa...

Gallo's Grill [East LA-ish]
4533 E Cesar E Chavez Ave
Los Angeles 90022
323-980-8669
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Taco Village [East LA-ish]
3501 W Beverly Blvd
Montebello 90640
323-722-9758
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Cozy Cactus [San Gabriel Valley]
7254 Rosemead Blvd
San Gabriel 91775
626-286-6171
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Guelaguetza [Koreatown]
3337 1/2 W 8th St, West of Irolo St
Los Angeles 90005
213-427-0601
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

Guelaguetza Restaurant [Koreatown]
3014 W Olympic Blvd, West of Normandie
Los Angeles 90006
213-427-0608
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

La Indiana Tamales [East LA]
1142 S Indiana St, just off the 5 Fwy near Olympic
Los Angeles 90023
323-262-4682
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

El Abajeno [Culver City-ish]
4515 Inglewood Blvd, South of Culver
Culver City 90230
310-390-0755
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Lares Restaurant [Beaches]
2909 Pico Blvd, at 29th
Santa Monica 90405
310-829-4559
http://www.laresrestaurant.com
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Mi India Bonita Cafe [East LA-ish]
4731 E Olympic Blvd, near Kern
Los Angeles 90022
323-267-8505
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

La Luz Del Dia [Downtown]
1 Olvera St
Los Angeles 90012
213-628-7495
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Tacos Baja Ensenada [East LA-ish]
5385 Whittier Blvd, at Atlantic
Los Angeles 90022
323-887-1980
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Baja Fish [South Bay]
611 S Gaffey St
San Pedro 90731
310-521-1931
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Maria's Fresh Seafood [Downtown]
317 S Broadway, in the Grand Central Market
Los Angeles 90013
213-626-7593
http://www.grandcentralsquare.com/ven...
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

King Torta [Downtown]
4507 Valley Blvd # 102
Los Angeles 90032
323-222-7006
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Pepe's Mexican Food [San Gabriel Valley]
511 W Valley Blvd
Alhambra 91803
626-289-8618
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Avila's El Ranchito [South OC]
2101 Placentia Ave
Costa Mesa 92627
949-645-0209
http://www.avilaselranchito.com/Home.asp
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Avila's El Ranchito [OC Beaches]
318 Main St
Huntington Beach 92648
714-960-9696
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Ana Maria's [Downtown]
in the Grand Central Market
317 S Broadway
Los Angeles 90013
213-620-0477
http://www.grandcentralsquare.com/ven...
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Badiraguato Restaurant [South LA]
3070 Firestone Blvd
South Gate 90280
323-563-3450
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

I, *Thi N.*, needed new Mexican places, so I posted a list of my favorites, and asked people to better them. My list follows, with others' comments appended.

Favorite tlayuda: El Sazon Oaxaquena (see also ChowNews #15, #79, #99). "Clayudas or tlayudas are a Oaxacan dish of usually a large crispy tortilla covered with beans and queso fresco," explains *Ernie*.

Favorite chilaquiles: Juquila (see also ChowNews #11, #25, #33, #47, #58, #64, #79, #99), when chilaquiles with salsa verde are on special and the good cook is in.

Favorite al pastor tacos: King Taco (see also ChowNews #62, #68, #72, #77). I've had better, but I can't remember where. These are great, though.

*David Kahn* recommends Taqueria Vista Hermosa (see also ChowNews #82, #83). Al pastor tacos here are "very good, with really nice clean flavors, and good tortillas." Lunchtime only.

Favorite asada tacos:

1. El Gran Burrito (Burrito (see also ChowNews #2, #15, #22, #26, #66, #79, #99, #102) when it's hopping - dinnertime or past midnight on a party night.

2. At the Alameda Swap Meet (see also ChowNews #77, #79), southwest parking lot, northernmost stall on the east wall. With ultrahot pinkish salsa. Damn fine asada. Only there weekend days, though.

*Ernie* says most asada tacos are made out of inferior beef, but there's good stuff at Gallo's Grill (see also ChowNews #48, #62, #68, #72, #77, #79, #107) and Taco Village (see also ChowNews #72).

Favorite enchiladas: none. *Ernie*'s favorite enchiladas are at Cozy Cactus (see also ChowNews #72, #106). His favorite: chicken enchiladas in poblano cream sauce, a special. Intense salsas too.

Favorite chorizo: Guelaguetza (see also ChowNews #3, #4, #6, #15, #25, #33, #43, #45, #47, #49 #50, #56, #58, #64, #65, #77, #79, #85, #90, #99, #101, #103-104).

Favorite lengua tacos (and also favorite atole): La Oaxacquena truck (see also ChowNews #99), which serves after 6 p.m.

Favorite carnitas: for a while, Antojitos Denise in Hollywood had truly stupendous al pastor and carnitas. Such deep pork flavor it bent my mind. But then the sweet little old lady disappeared and two bored looking men took over the kitchen and it turned to crap. So I got no great carnitas tacos. Fantastic take-home carnitas at La Indiana Tamales (see also ChowNews #14, #40, #44, #60, #79).

*Wes* recommends carnitas at El Abajeno (see also ChowNews #42, #44, #45, #56, #58, #60). Moist, crustless carnitas. Good in taquitos, stuffed corn tortillas ("add a slice of avocado and sauce, WOW!"), super tostadas ("HUGE and very tasty") and tortas. *Xericx* particularly recommends taquitos: "Its just awesome, especially how 'greasy' the soft tortilla feels. Great texture, super moist, and the flavors just blend perfectly."

*PeteEast* recommends Lares (see also ChowNews #44, #64). "Huge chunks of pork, nice and crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside."

Carnitas tortas at Mi India Bonita (see also ChowNews #14, #26, #35, #47, #62, #67, #72, #77, #98) are "a thing of beauty," says *David Kahn*. (This place is best known for their albondigas soup on Wednesdays.) *Neta* also loves their carnitas tortas. She also recommends pozole on Saturday mornings.

*Neta* recommends carnitas at La Luz del Dia (see also ChowNews #44, #64), where "they serve everything with tortillas a mano."

Least favorite carnitas: Yucca's. I cannot believe this place is popular. The carnitas are flavorless...aside from the flavor of stale grease.

Favorite tamale: La Indiana's pork and beef tamales.

Favorite tortillas: At the birria joint on Cesar Chavez that I wrote up and forgot the name of... El... El... Argh! Anyway, genuinely hand-made (hand-patted, not hand-put-in-a-press), softer than hell, beautiful corn tortillas.

Favorite birria: Same joint as above. Though I haven't gone to many birria specialty joints; only had it at general-purpose restaurants.

Favorite cheese: Oaxacan cheese at Guelaguetza.

Favorite drink: Guelaguetza's squash drink.

Favorite fish tacos: Tacos Baja Ensenada (see also ChowNews #8, #39, #62, #75, #77, #79, #90, #92) remains, from my first month in LA till now, one of the best friends a boy can have. *Xericx* digs Tacos Baja Ensenada, but also recommends Baja Fish (see also ChowNews #31). "Great fish tacos...very fresh. Lots of that Mexican crema and fried perfectly." Made with different sorts of fish - like salmon.

*Mr. Grub* recommends fish tacos at Maria's Fresh Seafood (see also ChowNews #12). They're not crispy battered style. "Splendid. You'll have fish hands for weeks. The Tommy's Burger of fish tacos."

Favorite pibil: the stuff *Dommy!* brought to chowfest.

Tortas: *ks* recommends King Torta. "The bread is perfect (that necessary torta combo of soft and sturdy)." Good with carnitas and al pastor.

Tostadas: Delicious tostadas at Pepe's Drive Through (see also ChowNews #62, #72), says *Ernie*. Taquitos are also good, but tostadas are almost exactly the same - just as tasty - but less greasy. "If you try the tostadas, make sure you order the shredded beef version. The default beef tostada there is a carne asada version which was so-so, but the shredded beef version is where its at, very yummy and a meal in itself when ordered with their chunky guacamole." Also good chile verde burritos.

For a lot of things, *Sandra W* suggests Avila's El Ranchito (see also ChowNews #34). Great chile rellenos, lobster or chicken enchiladas, and "big beautiful bowls of homemade soups."

For many things, *David Kahn* suggests Ana Maria's in the Grand Central Market (see also ChowNews #25, #62, #107). Excellent carnitas burrito, chili relleno burrito, and gorditas are darn good. "If I ever leave LA, this may well be the restaurant I'll miss the most (along with Tacos Baja Encenada)."

For tacos and machacas, *Neta* recommends Badiraguato (see also ChowNews #107) "For some dynamite tacos (like what you might find in Matzalan). They serve a little cup of caldo with the tacos that is incredibly tasty with a squirt of lime. " Also good machaca.

Read the thread at: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]


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THE FINEST CORNED BEEF SANDWICH

Billy's Delicatessen [East San Fernando Valley]
216 N Orange St, between Brand and Central
Glendale 91203
818-500-9550
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Langer's Delicatessen [Midtown]
704 S Alvarado St, at 7th St
Los Angeles 90057
213-483-8050
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

"Corned beef sandwiches are one of my favorite foods," declares *mr. Mouther*. He's tried many across town. His favorite: Billy's. "Perfect medium thickness of slices, and a monster full of meat."

His story: "One day I bought a Billy's sandwich, and, while eating the first half, cruised back up towards work, and stopped by Berge's Sandwiches. I brought the second half of my Billy's sandwich in and showed the people behind the counter and the customers what a sandwich should look like. Yes, it was awkward. Yes, I enjoyed every moment of it. I hope, somewhere - in the heart of one of the youngsters sitting at a table perhaps - a lesson was ingested about what should and should not be settled for in this world. The thoroughly mediocre and personality-less sandwiches at Berges are simply unacceptable. when I left Berge's I felt so wonderful I went to another rotten sandwich-making place, and did the same thing."

*LesThePress* loves Billy's too. He hits it anytime he's in Glendale. "To be so close and not would be a cardinal sin."

Most agree that Langer's (see also ChowNews #6, #20, #25, #26, #36, #50, #55, #74, #84, #90, #95) still has the better bread, and certainly the better pastrami. *Griller141* still roots for Langer's corned beef, too. Be sure to ask for the pastrami hand cut.

Read the thread at: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]


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INDONESIAN FOOD COURT!

Hong Kong Supermarket [Inland of LA]
987 S Glendora Ave
West Covina 91790
626-814-9788
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

There's a small food court in West Covina, in Hong Kong Supermarket. Mostly Chinese food, but there are two Indonesian stores. *elmomonster* explores:

Satay Fong serves traditional Indonesian satays, grilled to order.

Lani Noodle serves Bakmi Gadjamada style noodles. "For those who don't know what this is, it's Indonesian-style egg noodles (which taste and feel homemade) tossed with a special oil dressing, and then topped with chunks of chicken and greens, or pork and greens." Served with hot broth. Also available: Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice), and fried items.

There's an Indonesian snack shop there too, with krupuks and teas.

Read the thread at: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]


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NEW CANDIDATE FOR COOLEST STRETCH ON THE WESTSIDE: CENTINELA (NOW WITH TACOS!)

Taqueria Sanchez [Beaches]
4541 S Centinela Ave
Los Angeles 90066
310-822-8880
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Tacqueria Sanchez [Beaches]
Inglewood, south of Culver
Map:
http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?Pyt=...

Lei Loy Barbecue [Beaches]
4507 S Centinela Ave
Los Angeles 90066
310-822-7988
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Tacomiendo [Culver City-ish]
4502 Inglewood Blvd, at Culver
Culver City 90230
310-915-0426
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

Centinela between Washington and Culver is *Just Larry's* suggestion for a fine, fine strip of wandering and dining. He hit up *J. Gold's* suggestion - Tacqueria Sanchez (see also ChowNews #25, #28) - and didn't get it the first time. But he's gone back, "and every visit I try something new and it has all been great." He's tried every sort of taco available. He's tried potato tacquitos. "The tacquitos, hot and crispy from the fryer, are squirted with crema and crumbles of cotija cheese. I dipped them in the Guacamole and crunched into sheer heaven." Excellent tamales, though microwaved when you order them there. Take them home and steam them, instead.

*YClops* says their carnitas and al pastor are "decent but nothing special." Explains *Just Larry*, "To get the full T Sanchez experience you need to get things like buche, tripas, chicharrones, and cabeza tacos. Asada, carnitas and lomo were what turned me off on my first visit." Also good fish tortas.

*YClops* says she prefers "the Sanchez mother ship" on Inglewood just south of Culver, and goes there often. "The fillings just seemed fresher and more vibrantly flavored. The pastor is just about my favorite...certainly my favorite on the Westside."

The Mexican seafood restaurant across the way from the Centinela Sanchez is terrible, says she.

One block north of the Centinela Tacqueria Sanchez is a nice, unnamed Chinese BBQ joint (we're pretty sure it's Lei Loy Barbecue). Good pork ribs in black bean sauce, tough but tasty chicken wings, and rubbery but tasty shu mai. He ordered something that the owner said was popular with Chinese customers - salt fish with ground pork. "The ground pork is like breakfast sausage and the sauce smells like sweaty feet. Once I got past the smell, it actually tasted pretty good. Lots of flavor." Duck available in advance; prices cheap.

Also on Centinela is TacoMiendo (see also ChowNews #25) - cheap and very good, says *Bonzo*. Good asada and carnitas.

Read the thread at: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]


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NEW SILVERLAKE WINE STORE

Silverlake Wine [Silverlake]
2395 Glendale Blvd, in the Rockaway Records Plaza
Los Angeles 90039
323-662-9024
http://www.silverlakewine.com
Map:
http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?Pyt=...

A nice new wine store has opened in Silverlake. The owners used to buy wine for Campanile. "April, George and Randy are the owners, and all are just really nice people who happen to love wine, want you to enjoy the good stuff, at plausible prices, and really expand your tastebuds," says *carter*. There's a tasting bar, featuring Wines From Around the World (TM!). Tastes available anytime for $1.50.

Read the thread at: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]


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ORGAN MEATS!

Orso Restaurant [West Hollywood]
8706 W 3rd St
Los Angeles 90048
310-274-7144
http://www.orsorestaurant.com/la/orsl...
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Dan Tana's Restaurant [West Hollywood]
9071 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood 90069
310-275-9444
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

Restaurant Devon [Inland of LA]
109 E Lemon Ave
Monrovia 91016
626-305-0013
http://www.restaurantdevon.net
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Organ meats! Organ meats! Lush, full-flavored organ meats! If the affection for dessicated, tasteless meats is akin to sexual desire for emaciated model-types, then cultivating an affection for organ meats is like learning to love the voluptuous. Oh yeah! Organ meats!

Liver lovers love Orso (see also ChowNews #87, #90), where liver and onions is sublime, says *hana*. A wonderful combination: mushroom risotto and aforementioned liver dish. Good sweetbreads, too.

Dan Tana's (see also ChowNews #10, #21, #34, #50, #90) has terrific liver and onions.

Calf's liver at Devon (see also ChowNews #40, #94) is excellent, says *Bert*.

*Jerome* suggests: "if you're ordering calves' liver or any fried, make sure to order it medium rare, slightly pink. Otherwise it may be as tough as shoe leather."

Read the thread at: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]


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O JING! KOREAN SQUID STIR FRY

Sa Rit Gol [Koreatown]
3189 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles 90006
213-387-0909
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

Soot Bull Jeep [Koreatown]
3136 W 8th St
Los Angeles 90005
213-387-3865
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Chosun Galbi Restaurant [Koreatown]
3330 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles 90019
323-734-3330
http://www.chosungalbee.com
Locater:
http://losangeles.citysearch.com/prof...

Sa Rit Gol (see also ChowNews #4, #20, #30, #106) is much better than Soot Bull Jeep (see also ChowNews #30, #41, #50, #63, #64, #69, #108) for Korean BBQ, says *Sonia*. "More authentic, slightly cleaner...only slightly."

Fine BBQ, but if you're feeling adventurous, try jun gol, a cook-at-your-table casserole. Best of all, says she: o-jing-o bokkum, a "squid dish (on the last page of the menu) that sort of like a stir-fry with onions & mushrooms. I have not had a better version of this dish anywhere." Many hounds love their panchan spread. Diverse menu.

*Ninja* recommends Chosun Galbi (see also ChowNews #11, #20, #30, #31, #64, #70, #90) for galbi. "The restaurant is huge, so they don't rush you out the door." Solid galbi, and "their chop chae is some of the best I've ever had." Note new address.

Read the thread at: [BROKEN LINK REMOVED]


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TOPS FROM THE BBQ TASTE TEST:

El Paso BBQ [West San Fernando Valley]
18938 Ventura Blvd
Tarzana 91356
818-996-5607
http://www.elpasoprimesteakandBBQ.com
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Smokin' Mo's BBQ [OC Beaches]
301 Main St
Huntington Beach 92648
714-374-3033
http://www.mosBBQ.com/index.htm
Map:
http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?Pyt=...

Rib Nest [South Bay]
1766 W El Segundo Blvd, at Western
Gardena 90249
310-329-6378
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Blake's Place Cafe & Catering [South OC]
2901 E Miraloma Ave # 1
Anaheim 92806
714-630-8574
http://www.blakesplaceBBQ.com
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Blake's Cafe & Catering [Inland of LA]
5670 Schaefer Ave # A
Chino 91710
909-902-5222
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Bad 2 Da Bone [South LA]
4565 W Century Blvd
Inglewood 90304
310-671-6600
Map:
http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?Pyt=...

Highest scoring in the BBQ Taste Test by chowhounds were (excluding things flown in from other states and things made at home by *russkar*):

In descending order, El Paso BBQ (see also ChowNews #30), Smokin' Mo's BBQ's pork ribs, Smokin' Mo's pulled pork, Rib Nest, Blake's pork ribs, and Bad 2 Da Bone (see also ChowNews #100).

About Rib Nest, *Sanda W* says: "The slaw was bland, the potato salad fair, but the mac and cheese was heavenly!" They take phone-in orders over $15.

*Chris G.*, though, objects to Smokin' Mo's high score. He was "underwhelmed." Memphis-style pork ribs "had a nice, tasty dry rub, but I was put off by the gray color of the outer layer of meat, which contrasted with the pink smoke ring of the inner layer. Also, the meat had shrunk on the bone considerably and the protruding bone edges were charred black. And the meat was lukewarm. That gave me the impression that some kind of 'hybrid' smoking/grilling/boiling technique was used to speed up the preparation process and that it wasn't 100 percent slow cooked with smoke and indirect heat. The pork had a slightly smoky taste and was tender, but I didn't get that Interstate Memphis funk I was lookin' for by a long shot." *Professor Salt* suggests their Philthy Phil's ribs, "which have a molasses/vinegar base and pulled pork. Of the ribs I've tried at Mo's, I think the Phil's sauce has the most unique personality."

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QUALITY LOCAL TORTILLA CHIPS

Super A Foods [South OC]
1010 S Main St
Santa Ana 92701
714-542-3322
http://www.superafoods.com
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Pioneer Supermarkets [Echo Park]
1625 W Sunset Blvd, at Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles 90026
213-250-3783
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

32 oz. bags of tortilla chips for $1.99 at Super A foods (see also ChowNews #74) are made fresh on premises. "They are simply fresh tortillas cut into wedges and fried in vegetable oil, the same as if you made them at home," says *Sam D.*.

"The chips at Pioneer Market in Echo Park are in a league of their own. They have an incredibly rich yellow corn flavor and perfect crunch," says *Scott Baio*.

Very popular are Hav'a Chips, from the Hare Krishnas, made at their Laguna Beach temple. Flavored with lime and soy. Available at all sorts of major supermarket chains, including Bristol Farms, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Co-opportunity, Irvine Ranch Market, and Gelson's.

"Growing up in Laguna, Hav'a chips are like Proust's madeleine for me," says *ciaolette*. "They are different from any other chip. They are delicate and crispy, the soy seasoning is subtle, and are perfect to dip in guacamole. The lime in the recipe is dry lime leavening, not lime/fruit flavor."

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WE CONDEMN: TOYE'S

Toye's [Midtown]
5301 Venice Blvd, near Cochran
Los Angeles 90019
323-936-0866
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?Pyt=T...

Uncle Darrow's [Beaches]
2560 Lincoln Blvd
Venice 90291
310-306-4862
http://www.uncledarrows.com/locations...
Locater:
http://yp.yahoo.com/py/ypMap.py?&...

Toye's (see also ChowNews #67, #92, #94, #109) took over the original Uncle Darrow's space, and kept up the Creole thang. It was pretty good when it opened, we heard, but now has slipped off the rails, say some. "Toye's is an excrutiatingly bad creole joint," says *kevin*. If it were half as good as the previous tenant, Uncle Darrow's, it would be slightly good. Service: rude. Jambalaya: flavorless, "but to add insult to injury the jambalaya was cold in parts and slightly warm in other parts." With burnt bits. Oyster po' boy: "there were about four oysters, half way rotten, on a small, skinny loaf followed with must have been about a good couple ounces of mayo. The sandwich must have about half mayo and roughly half bread. Beyond terrible. Uncle Darrow's even at its worst had to have been at least 10 times better." *StockClerk* found their food uninspired, salt-drenched, and fat-drenched. And overpriced.

Note: positive comments about Toye's roast pork sandwich in ChowNews #94. By *Mr Grub*, who now surmises: Toye's is a family joint trying to get by on sheer skill of chef without regard to service or marketing. So...hours become erratic, fewer and fewer customers visit, lethargy sets in...all the symptoms of a restaurant in death throes. Have had the absolute BEST pulled pork sandwich anywhere in the US at Toye's and excellent po boys and jambalaya to boot. Superior to the Uncle Darrow's it replaced. But, when cooking one order at a time and short-ordering provisions to minimize spoilage, quality suffers and the end nears - probably quickly."

Uncle Darrow's (see also ChowNews #1, #25, #34, #35, #76) is still good, in new, shinier digs in Venice.

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*c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w*

GENERAL TOPICS CHOWNEWS!

(comments/corrections to generaleditor@chowhound.com)


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GIN DANDY

At around $44 for a fifth, Old Raj Cadenhead Gin is a serious investment, but it is one of the best gins *Shoeman* has ever had.

Its yellow tint is due to saffron used as one of its botanicals. There's less of a juniper flavor than in London Dry gins, but its deliciously spicy quality doesn't even require tonic; *missem* just uses a squeeze of lime. It's also great for making very floral-tasting martinis (*JudiAU*).

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DECAFFEINATING YOUR LIFE

Here are ideas for delicious non-caffeinated hot beverages to warm you up without giving you the jitters:

Ginger drinks are full of flavor without caffeine. Brew your own by combining fresh ginger, lemon, and a sweetener. *h2obemo's* recipe: add about 10, 1/8-inch thick slices of fresh, unpeeled ginger, a couple cloves, a few green cardamom pods, and several whole black peppercorns and an optional cinnamon stick to a saucepan of water. Simmer from 15-20 minutes, strain, and sweeten with honey.

You can buy ginger drinks ready-made at Asian markets. Other Asian market choices: decaffeinated green teas, barley teas, and a tea made from dried crabapples. *Irwin Koval* suggests looking for a packaged coconut drink similar to a hot cocoa, sometimes seen in Chinese markets (prepared, it's like hot coconut milk). Jars of marmalade-like citron and honey tea concentrate can be found in most Korean markets. *PollyG* recommends packaged, roasted corn, available at most Korean markets, for a nice tea.

An exotic Persian drink, "jujube panacea tea," calls for boiled jujubes simmered with sugar (*LisaPizza*).

Try putting either a large strip of lemon or lime peel into a tea ball and steeping it in hot water (*Pat Hammond*).

Infuse apple cider or pear nectar with chai spices (*EMDB*).

*EMDB* also builds beverages around lemongrass (two three-inch sticks), dried lemon and/or orange zest, lemon or orange juice, and ginger syrup or sliced fresh ginger (and, optionally, cardamom pods).

Combine hot milk and dulce de leche; "it's like drinking a sugar baby," gushes *hillvalley*.

Hot almond milk is a good alternative to herbal teas when going decaf at a coffeehouse (*LisaPizza*).

Bored with the usual herbal teabags, *drdawn* goes to the spice rack to experiment with different whole spice add-ins.

Rocamojo is a packaged, high protein, roasted soy product that you brew in your coffeemaker. They also make a half-coffee version. *LisaPizza* adds a small amount of vanilla to smooth it out a little. Check out Rocamojo at: .

Hot broth, hot milk, hot cider, or just hot water are all sippable.

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RECYCLABLE CHOCOLATE

Steeping cocoa nibs in milk makes for a great cup of hot chocolate, and you can reuse the nibs by rinsing them off and allowing them to dry...then eating them as a snack later (*lynn*).

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COOL-BREWED COFFEE

Cool-brewed coffee delivers full-bodied coffee flavor without acidity. You can either use a Toddy brand cold brewing device to brew it at home or order the cool brewed concentrate premade from CoolBrew. *Montrose* travels with a flask of concentrate to make great coffee quickly anywhere.

Order a Toddy:
http://www.toddycafe.com

Order Cool Brew coffee:
http://www.coolbrew.com/coolbrew.html

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WHAT TO DO WITH A CAST IRON PAN AFTER SEASONING IT ON A BBQ GRILL

o avoid setting off the smoke detectors, go outside to season a cast iron pan on your gas barbecue grill. Use indirect heat (turn on only one burner - on the opposite side of the grill from the pan), and leave it in there for about 20 minutes (*mic9ael*).

After seasoning, use your pan for making steaks, fried chicken, pineapple upside down cakes, or killer corn bread. *swingline* makes a perfectly-crusted pizza by greasing the pan, heating to a high temperature, carefully removing from the oven and dropping the raw pie right in, then replacing in the oven until it looks done.

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FRYING POLENTA

When frying firm squares of polenta, use plain water as the cooking liquid. Dairy or stock added to the cooking liquid will cause it to melt into a mush in the frying pan. Coating heavily with flour before frying will also help keep it all together (*bigskulls*).

In general, use about 2/3 the amount of cooking liquid used with soft polenta if you plan to fry it (*SAJ*).

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SOY SAUCE: LIGHT VERSUS DARK

To paraphrase Shizuo Tsuji's "Japanese Cooking," light soy sauce is amber in color, clearer, and thinner in body, but is saltier. Dark soy sauce has a deeper color and has more body, but is less salty and needs to be applied in greater quantities. Light soy sauce is mainly used for aesthetics. Kikkoman's light soy sauce is imported from Japan, but they produce dark soy sauce in the US (*Gypsy Boy*).

"Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art" by Shizuo Tsuji
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/...

Japanese soy sauce is generally a bit sweeter than Chinese, but the salty qualities of the light and dark varieties remain the same (*Yimster*).

Dark Chinese soy sauce often has added molasses or caramel color for body and sweetness (though when balanced with the salt, the sweetness is not pronounced). There's also "thick" soy sauce which has a large quantity of added molasses and is often used in restaurants to darken the color of fried rice. Pale Cantonese sauces almost exclusively use light soy sauce. (*BarbaraF*)

The Chinese names to distinguish them are:
"lao chou" = dark
"sheng" = light
(*Gary Soup*)

Light and dark relate only to the color and body of the product, and do not reflect the sodium level of the soy sauce - but some US-produced brands use "light" to describe their reduced-sodium products.

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REHEATING FROZEN CRAB LEGS

Frozen crab legs tend to be salty, especially the Russian and Snow Crab varieties, so be sure and serve with unsalted drawn butter and a bit of lemon to cut the saltiness (*Candy*).

Throwing a bit of sugar into the water can take away a bit of the freezer burn taste often plaguing frozen crab legs (*the Rogue*).

Microwave crab legs wrapped in a moist towel in 15 second intervals until just heated through (usually 45-60 seconds) (*Dorothy*).

Steaming them can cause excess water to collect in the legs. Try broiling or grilling quickly at high temperature instead (*beth*).

Mushiness in Dungeness crabs occurs when, a) the crab has recently molted, b) the crab was dead too long, or c) the crab became too warm and bacteria degraded it (*IHTJ*).

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*c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w-c-h-o-w*

YOUR CHOWNEWS WAIT STAFF

Executive Editor: Jim Leff
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