January 2023 Rundown

Welp, Jan is off to a healthy start.

Went to Frenchifornia last wk (partner had read about it in… the NYT? LA Times?). Never had King’s cake b/f, so I can’t compare. Puff pastry + almond filling sounded a bit heavy to me, but it tasted quite good (and wasn’t overly heavy). Raisin roll fine, but I (strongly) prefer Clark Street’s. The shape of the kouign-amann was the strangest I had ever seen; I have no memory of what it tasted like (so it couldn’t be bad).

I think this is a very good neighborhood place but not necessarily worth a trip across the city.




Tried Ludivine today along Pico, just went of Beverly Glen. Really tasty. Partner liked the fig jam in the brie sandwich; I thought it was a bit sweet for me but the sandwich overall worked well. Partner’s “Paris-to-Rome” sandwich was VERY good.

Bread for both of these were EXCELLENT, as in, like, maybe approaching the platonic ideal for these items. We walked back in to buy a boule; we already have a La Brea baguette at home, so didn’t need that. Also, the baguette is not as sour and tangy as La Brea.

Salad needed to be tossed much more thoroughly to mix in the dressing.

Croissant (very much) needed to be reheated, and I singed the top of it (“after” not pictured). :frowning: Toasted, the outside was nicely shattery w/ a fluffy-ish and more bread-y interior. Some butter flavor, but Chaumont is still my favorite. Ludivine’s croissants would make an excellent sandwich.

Lemon meringue very good. Sugar in the meringue was undissolved. I didn’t mind the textural contrast w/ the custard, but partner wish it had been dissolved. Nice mix of sweet and tart.

I wish my boules looked like this. ::sigh::

Very cute space and well worth a visit (at least based on this one trip).

People living in the area (@Omotesando) are lucky to have this + Tuscan Son.





Edit: had the boule tonight. Like the croissant, it’s got a fluffy(ish) crumb, and it worked beautifully for our toast + mushroom.

For eating bread on its own, I would say that Acme in SF remains the gold standard for me.

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La Tavolata in Cerritos for Sunday dinner. Small cute little dining room. Every single table was occupied and walk ins were being told 2 hours to get seated. Reminded me of local mom and pop Italian places growing up in Queens. Very solid food at reasonable prices. Carafe of house red wine was $28. It felt like being back in Italy. Thanks to @attran99 for the recommendation.

Appetizers. Caprese salad, mista salad and calamari. Liked the Gorgonzola in the mista salad. Nicely dressed. The calamari was well fried and not oily. Thin breading and tasty marinara.



Pastas were cooked nicely. Al dente home made pasta. The only miss was the carbonara which was very dry. Tasted ok but wouldn’t order again. Forgot a picture. The amitriciana, bolognese and chicken in vodka sauce were all hits. They said their vodka sauce is the most popular dish. A lot of meat in the bolognese. My son devoured the amitriciana since it had all his favorite things like capers, bacon and olives. Great flavor and not too salty with all these ingredients.



The salmon and eggplant parm were delicious. Lovely breading and fry on the eggplant. The chicken parm was ok but my daughter did not love because they used breasts instead of thighs. Smart girl said it was a bit dry and not as tasty as my version.



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Your chowpups are gangsta. I also don’t enjoy breast parm. And the vodka sauce is my favorite there, too!

Nice to know secondi is as solid as the pastas. Salad, copious amounts of garlic bread and pasta just about do me in there. Never thought to venture out to the meat courses.

What’s crazy is there was a time not too long ago when a plate of house made pasta would run you about $14 before tax and tip. Time and the market have adjusted since.

So glad you had a great family evening without schleping into the city.

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Prices were still very reasonable compared to LA or Newport area. All of the pasta dishes were $20 or less. Entrees were $22 to $24.

Forgot about the great crusty bread. We tried not to fill up on the bread but it was warm and delicious.

Lovely neighborhood joint. Haven’t been to Cerritos in a minute but that area is hopping.

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Great dinner at Mother Wolf last night. Feels like the initial mad rush has calmed a little into just an extremely busy, buzzy restaurant. Packed on a Sunday night but still possible to walk in and get a two-top in the bar area without a reservation. Rigatoni with oxtail ragu was a stunner, along with my favorite cocktail there, the Vesuvio–perfect Sunday dinner. More and more I’m coming around to the view that the best way to enjoy these new places is to give them a few months to get their feet under them rather than rushing in day 1.

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Some recent meals:
Colapasta




Emmy Squared



Noree Thai



Pho 79

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What’s in the first pic for Emmy Squared?

And how was all of the food there??? I don’t think anyone else has written a review yet.

That focaccia from Colapasta is looking much better than what I had during DineLA week (where it was decidedly blonde).

That Emmy Squared one was the one with vodka sauce and pesto. In general I like Emmy Squared but once Bootleg reopens it’s head and shoulders above Emmy as far as westside Detroit style places. Also a weirdly huge menu; they’ve got burgers and chicken sandwiches too but we haven’t tried those yet.

Noree was wonderful. I thought the jade noodles were a step below the khao soi and the kaeng kua but it’s all just so much better than anything we have on the westside, including Emporium. I didn’t perceive much difference from Luv2Eat. The only issue was nobody else came with us so we only had three dishes :slight_smile:

The crunch on the focaccia was certainly there but the flavor was pretty bland, which is surprising because Colapasta usually knocks flavors out of the park (and did with all of the pastas we ordered…basically did OOE but only took pictures of those two).

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Friendly advice on this place: though yelp and Google suggest that plate50 is open until 11, the dining room closes at 9. I learned that the hard way.

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January’s also a notoriously slow month.

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Chinatown but also phin brewed coffee in the East Village, sturgeon at R&D’s, and many more upcoming. Happy New Year from Manhattan Chinatown!

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Bun and Mi, new Vietnamese place in the stroller capital of the city, Montana Ave Santa Monica. I thought the bread was really good, crackly outside and soft inside. Wanted more of the pickled daikon/carrot; thought the flavor of the filling in general was muted compared to Westminster spots. Veggie + mushroom spring roll was fine; I admittedly don’t have strong spring roll feelings. Peanut dipping sauce was fine. Will be back and hope they do well!

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What is the filling on the right?

I am also personally not a huge spring roll person, but partner likes them. If this place has the bread right, I honestly think that’s more than half of the battle won right there…

I’m guessing chicken.

That spring roll looks a little carelessly wrapped. Mine used to be that uneven shape when I started learning how to do them at 6 or 7.

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Went to the first night of the Isla pop up last night. Plenty of issues that you’d expect during night one (service, timing, etc) but I’ll leave that alone for now. Food wise we were impressed enough that we’ll go back again if they’re able to secure a brick and mortar space. Here’s what we ate:

The Good:
Rice - great with and without the duck katsoubushi
Dungeness Crab - it was a skewer and Sergio nailed the cooking
Chicken sausage - kids devoured it so I didn’t get a chance to try
Roasted cauliflower
Stuffed kampachi - impressive deboning of the whole fish. easily enough for 3 people and possibly 4
Budino - very good but it ain’t Nancy’s

The Meh:
Smoked mussels - didn’t blow me away but the two year old liked dipping bread in the sauce
Trumpet Mushroom - skewered and not on the Bavel/Matu level
Purple Haze Carrot - cooked perfectly but flavor wise I was underwhelmed
Duck breast - skewered and cooked nicely but flavor wise I wasn’t inspired.
Cookie - nothing wrong with this cookie but I make damn good cookies at home so you’re really gonna have to whip up something special to blow me away at a nice restaurant.

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On a spur of the moment thing we hopped over to Irv’s to get The Menu Burger available all month.

”Just a Well-Made Cheeseburger. Served w/Crinkle Cut Fries for $9.95”

It certainly doesn’t look as well-made as Chef Slowik’s and I have no idea if it tastes like Chef Slowik’s. :wink: But! It was indeed just a well-made cheeseburger with all the elements of the infamous movie burger - two patties smashed on the griddle, crispy edges, onions griddled underneath one patty, lotsa melted american cheese, pickles + Irv’s sauce on a toasted sesame bun. We loved it. :yum: The crinkle cut fries were under-cooked and not well-made.

A Delicious Well-Made Vanilla Shake & a Pepsi

Irv’s is so my husband’s kinda joint. I can now see him sneaking off to cheat with a double cheeseburger (maybe some chili) while listening to punk & new wave sitting underneath a picture of his punk heroes.

Happy Eating! :hamburger:

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A friend saw Tire Shop Taqueria stand on Cabuenga in Hwood. Looks like the same as the Avalon location.

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Do you know where on Cahuenga? :smirk:

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I wonder if they had a Magnificent 7 cheeseburgers? Of maybe they surfed over for their Hamburger Mama!

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