During a two day visit this week, managed to squeeze in LA Board suggested visits to:
Wahid's in Alahambra for Sunday lunch
Arax for falafel
Sahag's for Basturma sandwich
Nate 'n Al's for breakfasts and airline box lunch.
re grape leaves there is no doubt in my mind: Sahag's were far superior to Arax. Arax's leaves were heavily brined, while Sahag's were mild and tender. Both fillings were good. None of the grape leaves went to waste, however.
Arax indeed has falafel as good as I've had anywhere in my 30 years of chick pea gorging.
Sahag's Basturma sandwich was earnest, well balanced. I would describe Basturma more as Armenian capicolla (rolled spiced cured ham) than as proscuitto. Great proprietors and great store.
Wahid's was just got in from the airport Sunday Lunch heaven--simple stuff, done absolutely right. Owner at the counter by the door, watching everything. Families feasting all around. Faded dining room decorated with faux painted arches framing mediterranean scenes. Tabouleh that was 95% parsely, just barely spiced with bulgar wheat, and made with fresh, not bottled lemon juice. Great romaine salad, plate of turnip pickles and excellent assorted olives, and smooth although heavily salted hummes came with the entree. Five single cut grilled lamb chops, still licking my lips.
Nate n' Al's was around the corner from my hotel. The food was pricey but ok, the waitresses an absolute trip, the requisite tables of celebrities in place. Got a very good and well-packed to go house roasted turkey/swiss sandwich for the flight back to Atlanta.
Thanks LA hounds for the 411. This is the first LA trip in 20 years where I've had good food. Now I can't wait to go back.