April 2019 Weekend Rundown

Bistro Na’s

Crispy Honey Shrimp…meh…cooked perfectly but not much shrimp flavor and a tad too sweet

Pea sprouts with mushrooms ~ yum

Braised pork belly ~ nice flavor, tender and fatty and with a just burnt sugar flavor, good over white rice

Verdict: food is average to above average and a high price tag. Not sure I would go back given the wait and how smashed in the tables were, we were literally sitting next to our neighbors.

Love Letter fried chicken wings

Anecpalco Orange

Not Paella ~ really good, all seafood cooked well.

Lamb Tatemado ~ great lamb flavor and a well balanced broth to cut through the richness. The homemade corn tortillas (blue corn and yellow corn) that were served with the dish were excellent.

Pasta Sisters ~ truffle cream with tagliatelle

Mochi Crunch Nori popcorn and Stella Muroka Genshu sake ~ really great popcorn and really amazing sake, I am a newbie at sake but this one was super fruity with strong honeydew melon flavor and a sweet long finish. @Chowseeker1999 @beefnoguy ever tried this one before?

T n T Aloha Cafe

Kim chee loco moco - kim chee fried rice, two Portuguese sausage patties, two eggs, gravy, and sriracha mayo ~ really good and I can’t believe I have never had this before. Nap ensued.



@A5KOBE is that the shrimp dish at Bistro Na’s that’s comparable to LoS? If so, how was it?

I would take Lotus of Siam garlic prawns over this 10 times out of 10. Very comparably in method of preparation, not so much in flavor.


LOL glad you asked, I’ve had at least two bottles of “Stella” already. I believe Hi Time Wine carries it now if you want to buy it to enjoy for yourself. First time I’ve seen it with the 2018 Gold Medal award(ed) sticker on it. Was this at Pasta Sisters or somewhere else (sorry I am not familiar with many LA/SoCal places) and how much was the bottle?

It’s damn good, it’s almost like a semi full bodied higher viscosity semi sweet Riesling or Sauternes without the noble rot. Great acidity and balance, fruity, and nice elegant finish. Freaking awesome with foie gras, fresh Hokkaido scallops, and perhaps something that a Muscat or Gewurtraminer would also work with. Best enjoyed chilled in a white wine glass.

I was also very fortunate to taste the unpasteurized version of the same Stella almost two months ago, although from an already opened bottle. Great stuff.

Easy to pair with salty and sour flavors. Surprisingly great with some non heavy duty miso flavors. It is hand crafted, undiluted, unfiltered, and a drip sake (not pressed, but allowed for the mash to gravity drip, resulting in a smoother product). Also a Junmai Daiginjo…so in that regard it is an unusual combination. The master brewer of this sake (and the brewery) is female.

If this were a dryer on the finish like an Alsace white, it would even be more perfect. Though it’s already quite excellent and great for beginners too (as well as the ladies who prefer something less harsh).

I can see this working very nicely at places like Hayato, (no corkage for sake allowed though), the platter at Mori Sushi and some of his white fish and shellfish, Shunji’s cooked dishes, and basically places where some of the wine fiends and VIPs go to with their White Burgundies.

Highly recommended.


Thanks for the report @A5KOBE. I’ve never tried Stella before, but thanks to @beefnoguy’s notes and your thoughts, I’ve bookmarked it. Very interesting. From Ibaraki.


Hello Hong Kong Cafe in Monterey Park! I love this crappy place despite their Hong Kong cha chan tang style service (reads disgustingly rude) for many years. But I must say that their service has modernized and it’s no longer HK cha chan tang style anymore…

Best HK street style rice noodle rolls in the city. There, I said it. The entire breakfast, minus one bun and toast, is only $9.5 before tax and tip (7:30AM to 11:30AM dine-in only).

HK Pineapple Buns - Warm and fluffy

Milk Tea - AKA smooth city. I don’t really drink anything besides water, but I always get HK Cafe’s milk tea when I’m here. Do ask for less sugar though.

Peanut Butter French Toast - AKA calorie city. Do dump on butter, maple syrup, and condense milk to amp up the flavor and calories.

Plain Jook/Congee - Plain Jane

Hong Kong Style Steamed Rice Noodle Rolls - 3 McChelin Stars. Getting this item is a MUST. It’s smooth, silky, and has a slight chew that’s immensely pleasant. The accompanying hoisin and sesame sauce complements the noodle roll’s delicate rice flavor perfectly. @JeetKuneBao @beefnoguy

If you’re a rice noodle roll kinda guy in the states, don’t talk to me until you’ve tried this.


I was also at Phil’s BBQ. #tremendousvalue

Does the San Marcos location fall under the San Diego sub-thread?

Sorry for the confusion, I actually bought the Stella at HiTimes for $65. They also had it at Tokyo Central in Costa Mesa; I was on a search for the Born Muroka Nama Genshu Junmai Daiginjo you recommended to me but no such luck at these two places.

I then cracked the Stella open at home and ate it like a heathen with some Hawaiian popcorn.

We finished the bottle last night with some ume hijiki from Japan over white rice and grilled sanma. Pretty good stuff, I liked it with the ume hijiki.

Thanks for the thorough info and pairing insight on the Stella! Always appreciated.


Thanks. It’s out of stock right now at Hi Time when I took a look at their website.

Good to know Tokyo Central has it too. It must be a new addition because I didn’t see it there in during a very short visit in early January.

I would also try the Stella at FWD or Connie & Ted’s.


That is a fancy pairing with Hawaiian popcorn! I like your idea of simplified luxury.


Pre-gamed with a croissant from Proof before heading to Costco for entree. Anyone on FTC enjoy a good old hot dog and chicken bake at Costco?

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Hot dog yes, but the chicken bake is gross

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Soft opening at Crispy School (Westlake)… Really tasty-looking burgers on the menu, made with quality ingredients! I ordered a Galbi Burger (brioche bun, deep fried beef patty, tomato, lettuce, cheddar cheese, pickled onion, with extra fried egg and avocado added), Portobello Fries (with tartar sauce and pineapple dipping sauces), and a Funnel Cake (with strawberry cream) and a Snozzberry craft soda to wash it all down. Indeed - Everything was as delicious as it looked. The crunch on the mushroom fries showed expertise. And the fried beef patty on the Galbi Burger offers a very interesting detour from your usual burger. Warning: It is a thick burger, so trying to devour it might get a bit messy. If you don’t want to get too down and dirty with your hands, I’d suggest a fork and knife to tackle this burger! The whipped cream that comes with the funnel cake is no joke fresh.


I used to hate the chicken bake but it has grown on me. They’re good when they’re really fresh, but lately I’ve also been buying a few to leave in the fridge for those late night snacks or desperation meals - 350’ on a pizza stone for X minutes = great.


Thanks for the heads up on this new place! I stopped by to check it out for lunch today, but unfortunately they weren’t open. I ended up getting some Thai food to go from the place next door (since I was there)—the family that runs the restaurant were super sweet, but the food wasn’t very good. Oh well—I’ll have to try Crispy School when they’re out of soft opening mode…

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Delicious Food Corner (MP location)

Ice Lemon Tea

Macau Minchi Rice.

Anyone else in SGV do a Minchi Rice?

How come Macanese food ain’t a thang?


Zait & Zaatar (Anaheim)
Dropped in for some take out to pair with the GoT premiere. Can I say that I love their fresh pita/saj breads? So light and fresh and idea pita.
Their hummus here is creamy and smooth…I rather like this style of hummus. There are chickpeas scattered throughout for textural contrast. I was an animal and topped it with chicken shawarma and mixed it all to eat with the delightful bread.
We also tried their baked bread pocket pie offerings. The beef and cheese was our favorite and even better with their garlic sauce. The chicken and cheese was also good, but it was a bit more doughy than the European hand pies that we’re used to…still very delicious!
The owner came out to chat with us and we found he also owns CheeSweet a few doors down.
Din Tai Fung (Costa Mesa)
My husband naturally gravitates towards this place whenever we are close by. Our standard order is the marinated cucumbers, garlic string beans, bok choy, pork & crab XLB, shrimp & pork wontons…and the shrimp & pork dumplings.
The service and execution is nearly identical to the OG Arcadia location. My only complaint was that their chili oil was not spicy…like not one bit. The Arcadia location chili oil can sear the taste buds off your tongue if you use too much. I used an entire spoonful into my soy-ginger-vinegar mix and didn’t feel anything…I doubled the amount for my husband and he noticed the same thing…no satisfying heat we are normally used to. The spicy sauce with the wontons was spicier. We were short on time so we didn’t mention it to the staff.


I’m not sure there is actually another way to eat this. If there is that is a foreign concept to me. We also like the fattoush salad with chicken schwarma on top. Throw some more of the chicken and mix with hummus and garlic sauce scoop up with bread.

If you didn’t try CheeSweets save some room for next time. Great baklava. Our favorite are the pistachio circle ones. Our kids love the little cigar rolled up ones.

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I tried LA Birria, a new-ish stand in front of a laundromat on Adams close to Crenshaw, about a block from Taqueria Los Anaya. These birria de res tacos were pretty good! Good spicing and depth of flavor, and solid crunch to the tacos ($1.75) and quesatacos ($2), thanks to the beef fat from the stew liquid that’s used to griddle everything. But the meat was strangely tough. In the photo, for the taco on the right you can kinda see a little stringiness.

This was definitely a tier below La Unica, which has a deeper flavor and is much more tender. But I enjoyed these much more than Teddy’s Red Tacos, which is perhaps a better apples-to-apples comp because LA Birria only does birria de res like Teddy’s. As others here have said (and I agree), Teddy’s gets a lot of social media love but isn’t that great.

Didn’t try their vampiro or burrito as I usually stick to regular tacos.


Looks like it’s been stewed for too long.