It's been a long time since I've posted anything meaningful. I still need to post the Paris post but in the meantime, let's stay closer to home with some short vignettes.
Studio BBQ, Moorpark JEO Tujunga, Studio City.
Not someplace I'm going to rush to. The new owners are not efficient and have jacked the prices. The barbecue is OK but if you get it to go then you get this cute little dollop of their good, tangy BBQ sauce - not NEARLY enough. Sides are disappointing. Go to Dr Hogly Wogly's instead.
J. Joo Thai Cafe, Ventura and Arch, Studio City
It's in a minimall near a Popeye's and Tortas Mexico. Nevertheless, the food is surprisingly good. For some reason, I find the best Thai food comes from the people who run neighbourhood places in minimalls. The prices are correct, and the portions are generous. You can specify the level of spice you want and they will make it spicy - I mean THAI spicy, not silly-Anglo-yuppie spicy. They serve a number of things not often found on suburban Thai menus... I highly recommend their tung chai pork (marinated and fried with salty cabbage) and their Thai twice-cooked beef stew.
Daichan, Ventura and Eureka, Studio City
I'm sure many people ignore Daichan as they hustle toward the closed blinds of Sushi Nozawa... but just two doors down, in the same plaza, is a fabulous Japanese-Hawaiian restaurant. The signs, which cover the walls, advertise their "Japanese home cooking", sometimes in oddly-worded English. The staff are kind and make you feel welcome. The menu is enormous - there were probably 50 things I wanted to try on there. My wife had a sashimi bowl and I had a kalbi plate. They do, however, have saimin and various ramens and Portuguese-sausage-and-egg dishes, Spam musubi sometimes. Plates often come with kimchi (not very spicy) and macaroni salad, as they do at grindz in Hawaii. The prices are not horrendous though it's not bargain-basement pricing either. We can't wait to go back. Definitely try it when Nozawa-san is in a bad mood.
Suzanne's Country Deli, in that God-awful minimall with the Bally's across from Nozawa
Ignore the sandwiches and get one of their very good salads with dressing on the side and a piece of cheese toast. Just the thing on a hot summer night in the Valley. Value is pretty good - a salad is $7-$8 but easily feeds two.