As I signed off on my last report, I noted our good fortune in parking. Part of that good fortune stemmed from getting up rather early on Saturday morning to beat the new crew at our parking lot. We used this pre-breakfast time to eat more donuts, admire the craftsman style houses in various states of condition in the Country Club Estates (?) section near Pico and Western and seriously consider, but ultimately reject a snack at Tortilleria y antojojitos Expresion Oaxaquena--only because it struck me as not too quick. Smelled great though, anyone been?
Along with Oaxacan, the plane ride got my wife jonsing for Roscoe Chicken and Waffles, the result of a story in the USA Today. So, we met a friend there for breakfast. The waffles were slightly more bready than ideal, yet as a combo, with the fried chicken, is about as good as eating gets. I suppose my deathbed request could be fried chicken and waffles, followed by a buttermilk bar (even if I had my donut before breakfast here).
On the way to the Farmer's Market we ran past La Brea Bakery. What kind of foodie in good measure could resist? They generously gave us samples when I told them we were there from Chicago. Ms. VI found the sticky pecan roll as good as her benchmark in Chicago. We looked over the brunch menu at Campanile, a look that would later haunt us, but I am getting a day ahead of myself.
I could write separate posts on each delicious meal at the Farmer's Market. A slab of top sirloin from the Brazilian place, beef rendang and tales of the disappearing Jewish community in Singapore, several tacos from Loteria--proudly displaying a chowhound review! and especially, the cherry danish from Bob's and the rhubarb pie at Du-Pars. While I had no bad donuts during the long weekend, I had a few weak pieces of pie. The pie at Du-Pars was not it, and maybe the single best thing consumed during the visit. The other great thing to come out of the farmer's market was a fish taco tip from the bus boy at Mr. Marcel. On the other hand, hardly any of the produce impressed. We purchased an expensive and unknown variety of peach called Indian. Very ripe but highly astringent, an odd taste, perhaps for a peach connoisseur only. Who buys all the good looking meat?
I am not sure what made us continue west on 3rd, but we had fun shopping, including, for chowhounds, a bookstore totally dedicated to food. But we could not wait too long to eat, and we stopped at the crowded Joan's on 3rd for coffee and a treat. The stuff we did not order, technicolor tomato salad, ice cream, open faced salami sandwiches, cakes, looked much better than our sweet lemon bar and so-so coffee ordered.
We really liked the pleasant yet chi-chi teashop, Chado. The smoky Ghengis Khan blend would make an ideal drink with good bbq. We took a ton home to Chicago.
Our first dinner was the recommended fish taco's at 7 Mares. I saw a rash of negative comments on this place from August 2003, and I wholly disagree. We really enjoyed the fish tacos, calamari tacos and fish ceviche. In fact, the fish tacos were much better than at Maria's at the Grand Central Market, but again, I am jumping to day 3 now.
Dinner 2 came at Philippe's, still rather bustling late on a Saturday night. I have to agree with the sentiments that the wine is rather a waste, killed by the pickle, mustard and cole slaw. And in my book, I'd rather have those things with my lamb dip than the glass of Decoy. Not so fine, boysenberry pie, tasting of canned filling, but the lamb dip, with blue cheese was like Cincinnati chili, even better than the hype. I just really liked the flavor and texture of the sandwich.
Dinner 3 came after a stroll around that old pueblo de los angleles area. Are there bands and stands every Saturday night? I am not sure if we picked the best of the competing taquito shops, but ours, Bueno Noche, charged much less than a few other places. The teaser that got us ordering these things was a vast bowl of green salsa. The whole thing, the fresh fried taquitos, the avocado salsa, the green, spicy salsa, left us, for the day, stuffed, but extremely happy.