November 2016 Weekend Rundown

Stan’s donuts Peanut Butter Banana and Family Dinner at Buca de Beppo


We just noticed Buca de Beppo opened at The Grove. My husband is a huge red sauce lover (but not picky). I saw his eyes light up. How do they rank as a chain Italian place? Is that parm or lasagna? It looks pretty darn good.

Have I asked enough questions? Okay, here’s one more. How was that donut? I eat PB everyday, but never thought of it in a donut. I bet it would be great warm :yum:.

You know for a chain I don’t mind be dragged there. That was their chicken parm and it’s pretty good. Good place for kids and large groups. Never too many questions…And that donut was indeed great.

1 Like

I wish we had gone yesterday! We took the little boys to see Trolls. Farmers Market can be a pain with them. We want them contained in a booth. Cheesecake Factory had an enormous line. We went to Marmelade, which used to be doable. It was horrible. Sweet staff. But slow, really inconsistent service. The food with the exception of a couple things was horrendous. I thought about posting one item on DOTM. But what would I write? “Here’s my crappy turkey hash at Marmelade. But the eggs were poached right.”

Anyway, thanks!

Ick (my 2 liras).

1 Like

somehow I ended up @ Manna in Little Tokyo Plaza; I haven’t been since their OG K-Town location > 10 years ago.

It is sufficient given enough pre-partying + Hite, but you have to go to the “black” teir @ $32pp to get galbi. This is a crime given Oo-Kook’s excellent options @ $27pp. I guess the real estate is expensive?

The quality was a far cry from Oo-Kook too.

Manna is nearly in the Arts District, some of the most expensive real estate in all of LA county. So could be haha

I bet it was better than my recent trip to Magal that was so lackluster I didn’t even feel like writing about it… =/

You’re funny. I take that to mean you don’t like the place? Too provincial for our J_L?

Not at all. I actually do patronize chains (gads!). But the coarse dreck served at Buca has never been to my liking, even when compared to its same-tier competitors.

What chains?

Well that’s fair enough.

Sen Chan Pad Pu

You have my attention, I gotta try this. And why isn’t this a Thing like pad see ew, pad thai, and pad kee mao?


It’s been a few years since we were last at Caspian. The decor is still as gaudy and ridiculous as before, LOL, with faux “ancient Mediterranean” plastic columns and moldings, etc. And Christmas lights on a stage where the band plays. :stuck_out_tongue:

Baghali Polo (Lima Beans & Dill Weed Rice, with Stewed Lamb Shank):

The Stewed Lamb Shank was tender and moist, but it lacked a real depth of flavor that we’ve had at other places like Darya’s. It was fine, but not really mind-blowing.

Their Lima Bean Bean & Dill Rice was well-balanced, though, with a good pungency and infusion of Dill.

Caspian Restaurant
14100 Culver Dr.
Irvine, CA 92604
Tel: (949) 651-8454

Little Highness Bao

Thanks to @chandavkl for the note, we should’ve taken heed to his warning. But a new specialist for Chinese Steamed Buns (Bao) sounded really intriguing so we decided to stop by.

They have illustrations on the wall marketing how they make their Bao from scratch.

The one highlight is that they allow you to mix & match, so you pick just 4 individual flavors for their Steamed Buns (instead of the usual places where you have to commit to ordering a full order of 6 - 8 Buns (and all of 1 type of flavor)).

Green Bean and Braised Pork Bun:

This was the most distinct in terms of flavors, but it still had a very similar taste to the others. The Green Beans gave a little bit of a textural contrast, and the Braised Pork is a more odd filling you usually don’t see in many Bao.

Rib and Veggie Bun:

This was the most disappointing. The menu clearly states this is “Rib” meat and the waitress said it was Pork Ribs, but I guess they debone it and grind it(?) with the Veggies to make the filling. It tasted like a really salty, dense, block of Ground Pork. :frowning:

Cabbage, Mushroom and Dried Shrimp Bun:

I could see what @chandavkl was saying at this point: Despite the seemingly different ingredients, this Bun tasted very similar to the previous Buns we had. It was very odd. I’m guessing they add the same stock / sauce to each one perhaps. What should’ve been a very different taste (with Cabbage, Mushrooms, etc.) turned out to be very homogenized (flavors) and underwhelming.

Chicken Gravy with Pork and Onion Bun:

And this one tasted just like the previous ones as well(!). :frowning: Salty, Soy Sauce-base, and just not very good. :frowning:

The Steamed Buns’ exterior had some bounce to it, but it wasn’t really standout.

Braised Beef Wrap:

Essentially their take on the 101 Noodle “Beef Roll,” their version was very thin, with very little meat. Probably only about 25% of the Beef filling as 101 Noodle Express’ version(!). :frowning: Flavor-wise, it was OK. It came out lukewarm.

Little Highness Bao
18333 Colima Road
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
Tel: (626) 363-4197

Chiou House

And as we were walking out, disappointed with Little Highness, we spotted another new restaurant opening in the same plaza, so we decided to check it out. The waitress said this was a Taiwanese style restaurant.

Sweetened Black Tea:

Each lunch plate came with a complimentary Sweetened Black Tea beverage. It had a really herbally, strong pungent flavor, balanced by the sugar.

Braised Drum Stick Rice Combo (Note: This is a Pork Chop):

Asking the waitress for a recommendation, she said this was their top seller. I had to double-check, but their English menu has a typo, clearly, listing this as “Braised Drum Stick” when in fact it’s a “Braised Pork Chop” LOL. :sweat_smile:

The first thing to note is their presentation: This reminded me of eating at a school cafeteria or something. :stuck_out_tongue:

Their Braised Pork Chop was deep fried and then dipped in some kind of sauce, making it rather soggy. The actual flavors were so-so, salty, heavy in Soy Sauce, but the meat was tender.

Their Sides that came with the meal were OK. Nothing really noteworthy for any of them; pretty straightforward.

Their Rice with Ground Pork on top was the tastiest part of this lunch set:

Fried Stinky Tofu:

I took a dare on this once a couple years ago, but one of our friends who came with us insisted we try the Stinky Tofu here as well. :unamused: So we obliged. And?

Wow, “stinky” is the appropriate term! We could smell this coming out of the kitchen before it hit our table! LOL. :slight_smile: It’s funky, smelly, but the actual Fried Tofu was piping hot and crisped, and eating it with a bit of the Pickled Cabbage (slightly sweet and tart) helped to balance it out. I still can’t get used to this dish, so I’m not sure how this compares with other places.

Large Fried Chicken Fillet:

The waitress said this was also a specialty of theirs so we ordered this as well. It was crisped, but sadly way too salty! :weary:

I think ipse’s recommended Old Country Cafe was better than this place, as well as a few others we’ve tried over the years (I forgot their names).

Chiou House
18303B Colima Road
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
Tel: (626) 474-8788


Thanks to a bunch of FTC’ers talking about this place, we decided to stop by.

It’s right in the heart of Little Ethiopa, a few stores down from Rahel’s.

Ethiopian Spiced Tea:

Wonderfully fragrant, with Cloves, Cardamom and other spices, it was refreshing. :slight_smile:

Veggie Utopia (Special combination of Fourteen Veggie Dishes: Shibera Asa, Gomen, Shero, Miser (2), Dinich, Cabbage, Ater, Suf (sunflower seeds), Tematim Fifit, Fosalia, Azifa, Keke Aletcha, and Salad):

My favorite was probably the Green Lentils. They were perfectly balanced, just the right amount of salt and herbs, stewed for hours until a nice, soft, stew consistency. Delicious. :slight_smile:

The other dishes were generally pretty good as well.

Doro Wot (Chicken Stewed in Special Berbere Sauce and Seasoned Butter; Served with Hard Boiled Eggs and Homemade Ethiopian Cottage-Cheese):

This piquant, spicy (slight burn), with tender chunks of Stewed Chicken. It was tasty, but I’m not sure if I’d crave this. The Hard Boiled Egg was really overcooked though.

Lamb Yebeg Alethcha Wot (Succulent Pieces of Fresh Lamb Sautéed in Creamy Sauce Seasoned with Mild Spices and Fresh Herbs):

This was delicious! :slight_smile: Really tasty, and the sauce was delicate, letting the Lamb’s gaminess shine.


Their Injera was probably less tart than other local places. Springy and soft.

Overall, it was a solid Ethiopian restaurant, but everyone of us that went have all been to Rahel’s as well, and we all agreed that Rahel’s was lighter and more flavorful (non-meat dishes of course). There was a heaviness to the Veggie dishes here that we didn’t experience at Rahel’s.

I think if I had to choose between the two, I’d go to Rahel’s first, but Lalibela is a nice alternative as well.

1025 S Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Tel: (323) 965-1025

Eagle Rock Brewery

Kale Salad (White Anchovy, Slow Egg, Crouton, Pantaleo Cheese):

This was a surprisingly delicious Kale Salad (for a Brew House). Fresh farmers market Kale, White Anchovy and Slow Egg really helped to break things up and make it stand out.

Fried Cod Sandwich (Manifesto Batter, Slaw, Malt Vinegar, Aioli):

This was pretty tasty, the Fried Cod having a good crunch and some crispiness. It felt a bit greasy though. Honeybird’s Fish Sandwich is much better.

Bucket of Ribs (Smoked Spare Ribs, Texas Toast):

Our server heartily recommended this dish, so we decided to try it. There was a good smokiness to these Ribs. They were very tender, and almost fall-off-the-bone, but not quite. It still had some meatiness to them.

But flavor-wise, it tasted mainly of smoke (good), salt and pepper. :frowning: I was hoping for more depth of flavor and interesting seasonings. Still, they were tender, moist and generally pretty solid.

Eagle Rock Brewery Public House
1627 Colorado Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Tel: (323) 739-0081


I am curious, did the bucket of ribs include just two ribs?


No no. It was more like 6 ribs or so?

1 Like

Good report @Chowseeker1999!

Sorry about the dreck you had to suffer thru at a few of the places. I would have had a real problem with those pork buns :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:.

Glad to see you tried Lalibela. You’re good at discerning :wink:. Nice close ups of the individual portions. I read raves about the Veggie Utopia and wanted to order it. But it was just two of us and we wanted sambusas. So glad you did a Rahel comparison. I remember loving Rahel. But it had been some time since eating there and I couldn’t make an accurate comparison. When we had Lalibela’s Doro Wot at the City of Gold screening it was prepared for standing & eating, with ground instead of bone in chicken (possibly crumbled egg mixed in). Though we thoroughly enjoyed it at the restaurant, we actually preferred the ground chicken version. I would definitely eat at Lalibela again, especially living close. But looking forward the favored, Meals by Genet.


1 Like

#Baohaus #takeabao

Chairman Bao - Braised Berkshire pork belly served with Haus Relish, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro.

Birdhaus Bao - fried chicken, brined 24 hours, served with Haus Seasoning Salt, lemon-garlic aioli, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro.

Fried Fish Bao - Fried fish filet served with Haus Tartar Sauce, lemon cabbage slaw, fried garlic, crushed peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar, and cilantro.


Hi @PorkyBelly,

Nice pics.

Was it worth it?

Now that looks like my kind of bao. How was it?

They were all solid with a nice soft bun. The fried chicken is the second best fried chicken at the far east plaza. Good snack while you wait for howlin.