October 2019 Rundown

Going to take the “weekend” part off so all FTC monthlong dining can reside here.
Happy Autumn!


I guess I’m going to bite.

Crimson Coward (Downey)
Nashville Hot chicken has invaded the suburbs. I have seen this place since my gym moved into the complex, and people were giving rave reviews. Now keep in mind, none of them had ever been to Howlin’ Ray’s…but neither have I so who am I to judge (I am not going without a Fast Pass from the vault that I keep on missing).
So after two sessions, I hop over to check it out. They close at 10PM…which is late by suburbs standards for a stand-alone establishment, and it was 9:30PM when I walked in. After my order, the place was packed with last chance folks coming on in. All the other times I’ve seen it, there’s a heavy flow of traffic outside.
So when I check out the menu, it is very reminiscent of the HR menu…chicken sandwiches (one with cheese), tenders, wings, slaw, pickles (plain and fried), mac & cheese, and fries. Even the heat levels are a touch HR-inspired…country, mild, medium, hot & burn baby burn. They even have Crimson Fries…which sound a lot like Mario fries as it’s loaded with Crimson sauce (house made remoulade), cheese, slaw, and chicken. They even offer soft serve ice cream at this place.
So I order some wings in country and hot (I was warned that hot is habanero hot), the chicken sandwich in medium, and fried pickles.
The set-up is a lot like HR. Boxes/platters lined up along the counter and pushed down as they’re filled. The folks working in an open kitchen who are jovial and interact with the customers. I feel like Chef Johnny Ray Zone and Amanda Zone should get royalties or residuals for this.
I pulled an @TheCookie and opened the boxes with windows down and drove home to share.
The country wings are okay. Fried crispy and not greasy, very moist inside. My gripe is that the chicken could have been seasoned better.
The hot wings were fried as well as the country. And the hot is no joke. First bite and as I chew, I think this is going to be all right. So I keep on eating. And then about half way through, I feel the burn. My mouth and lips unpleasantly tingle and my throat and esophagus are effectively on fire. The house made ranch does not help. The creme fraiche in my fridge does not help. Only time subsides the heat. I don’t think I’m ever going to order those for myself again. On the flip side, the youngest chowpup ate it and loved it…told me the heat was pleasant and good. I don’t know where that kid got his palate from.
The medium sandwich was my ideal pleasant heat. Just the right amount of tingle and fire. They pound the breast into a paillard, bread it, fry it, and then paint it with sauce and sprinkle the spice blend. They take this kind of care with each piece of chicken coming out of the fryer…I’m guessing HR does the same thing. Back to the sandwich, brioche buns are buttered and griddled while the chicken is cooked. They are then given a generous squeeze of their Crimson sauce and a vinegar-based slaw before the finished chicken is added. These guys believe in chicken super overhang. It was a well constructed chicken sandwich, but I wish it was more crispy.
The fried pickles were exceptionally done. Thin pickle chips that are battered lightly and fried. These are neither greasy or an afterthought. They are some of the best fried pickles I have ever had.
Would I come back? Maybe. The $5 box of fried pickles would be enticing. But $12 for a spicy chicken sandwich or $12 for some decent wings isn’t going to tempt me much.
I need to get my ass Howlin’ Ray’s…with a damn Fast Pass from the vault. I’m not baller enough to TaskRabbit a line waiter.


Hi @attran99,

Thanks for the report back on this HR clone. Sounds like it has some potential. But most importantly…

What?! You haven’t been to Howlin’ Ray’s yet? :open_mouth: You must go! :wink:

If you can bring someone else with you, the time goes by if you tag-team and take turns waiting in line while you do some window shopping / browsing / actual shopping in Chinatown (there’s the great coffee shop in the same plaza, Little Jewel with New Orleans mini-mart 1 short block away, some OG Chinese markets nearby, shops, and you can get a Wax Paper sandwich (for later) across the street. :wink:

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Very few people I know would be game to wait up to 2.5-3 hours for food. I did that once during Kogi’s heyday, and even though it was good…I would never do it again. Anywhere. Fast pass or bust for me.


Hi @attran99,

Oh I totally agree! 2.5 is crazy. There are slower times, but on weekends? Yah I think it’s always 2+ hours. :frowning:

Just left Brent’s. Had the usual, black pastrami Reuben.


It never gets old seeing this beauty.

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Or eating it :slight_smile:

I wonder how it would be if I ordered it hand-sliced?

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Jaffa Palms: Roasted Chinook Salmon with spinach, chickpeas, and amba sauce which I believe is a fermented mango sauce. Salmon was nicely cooked – a bit crispy on the outside and very tender and juicy inside. The amba sauce added a subtle sweetness.


Generous portion, too!

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Tel Aviv Grill yesterday for lunch. Haven’t been there since they opened in their new Encino location (where Itzik Hagadol used to be).

Got the chicken breast plate and hubby got the shawarma laffa. The eggplant was a bit greasier than I like, and a couple pieces were burnt so tasted bitter. The food’s pricier in this location too. $16 for a laffa sandwich, $17.50 for plates. Ended up spending just under $40 with tap water to drink.

Good if you’re in the area but I wouldn’t make a special trip.


Bar food at Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Marina Del Rey. Cool place to hang out.

Buffalo cauliflower, tri-tip sandwich and a pretzel. Beer not photographed for plausible deniability.


Sadly it is not as good as it used to be. And the condiments seem to be more limited.


Gracias Madre with an old friend transiting in LA. She’s vegan and gluten free, and I’m dairy free, and GM was central to both of us, so it made sense. I hadn’t been there in a couple years, so it was a good choice for us to relax and catch up.

Started with spicy mezcal margaritas. Really good!

Ordered the young coconut ceviche. We both really enjoyed this! It was nice and tart, and the textures were great. I could have made dinner out of this.

Next up was a cucumber tomato salad. I thought it was ok; friend really liked it.

House sangria for our second drinks. Not too sweet, which was nice.

We shared the flautas and the enchiladas for our entrees. Both were very good, with the flautas edging out the enchiladas. The black beans with the enchiladas were amazing - they had so much flavor. The kale side was meh. But we polished everything off.

Dessert was key lime cheesecake. So good! I dont get to eat cheesecake very much anymore so this hit the spot. It was very rich though so we had to leave the last couple bites.

Overall, it was a nice enjoyable dinner. Better than my last visit a couple years ago. We had limited choices due to my friend’s gluten allergy, so that ruled out a couple items that sounded good. We had a good server who kept checking on us, portions were nicely sized and cocktails were good.Total bill before tip was $134.


Ham and cheese croissant and coconut/apricot scone at tart one sycamore along with an iced americano. I usually shy away from filled croissants other than almond but this one was solid. Scone was delicious biscuity but soft and not dry with very nuanced apricot, seeds, and coconuts sprinkled through each bite.

Spot prawn and scallop aguachile with fried heads super sweet shrimp and scallops in a zesty aguachile that was not surprisingly spicy. Fried heads were super crunchy. Holbox
Seared whole branzino tasty and well cooked. Did not wow me but I always love a well cooked piece of :fish:

Roast pork belly siu yuk so juicy with crunchy skin. Consistently the best siu yuk I’ve had in LA.

Beef nasi goreng with egg and chicken sate, the shrimp chip adds a great crunch adding some sambal and kecap manis takes me back to Indo, great wok he at simpang, always great food served there wish we lived closer.


Is that my baby Ruby BBQ?

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Holy f*ck, all of that looks AMAZING from Holbox!

My contribution is afternoon tea from the London ($48/person w/ a “magical tea” for the youngin’ at $18). The plate that has the chicken tender and the tiny slider is the kid’s meal. The kid’s meal also include cotton candy as the dessert.

Perfectly pleasant, and I’d happily go again. Sandwiches (the usual suspects for a tea) were tasty and well-seasoned, the list of tea was blissfully short and listed from darkest to lightest, and the panna cotta was like crack. And they had clotted cream for the scones!!! Seating area is also VERY spacious (good for adults and kids), and the service (as expected) was very polite and unobtrusive. Nothing was amazing (except for the panna cotta), but it’s exactly what you expect… That plus the comfortable seating w/o being overly formal makes this a winner, IMHO.


That looks darling!

Tire Shop Taqueria daytime setup! 1012 Hooper Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021

I got a few carne asada and chorizo tacos, and they were awesome. I’d only been to their tire shop location a couple years ago, and it was even better this time. It’s been a while since my last time at Los Poblanos, but I thought this was just as good, if not better as others have said. It’s nice to have this daytime location and more centrally located too, thanks @Sgee for the heads up!

Curious about one thing. This location calls themselves Taqueria San Miguel (yelp photo below). Recent yelp photos of Tire Shop still show them as Tire Shop Taqueria. Otherwise, the menu design/font/prices are all exactly the same. Is Tire Shop just re-branding, or is this an off-shoot?

Bacio Di Latte (Century City) - I loved the chocolate sorbet here - really dark and smooth, not too sweet. I give the slightest edge to Carmela’s chocolate sorbet, which adds a little salt and might even be a little darker, but this was up there for me. I also tried the pistachio and giandujotto (sp?), which is their take on gianduja with whole hazelnuts and a little fudge ribbon. I liked both but they were a bit sweet for me.

Thanks @Haeldaur for the rec. I see what you mean about gelato texture, as these were all really smooth and creamy.

Beard Papa - They currently have a pumpkin filling, which is delicious! Sorta like pumpkin pie filling but creamier of course, goes really well with their regular puff. Prob good with their eclair puff too.

Northern Cafe (Monterey Park) – I was curious to try the youpo noodles having read so much about the dish at Best Noodle House. Sadly, I never made it there. But I enjoyed Northern Cafe’s version - a nice combo of spicy, salty, vinegary, and sweet although I would have preferred a little less sweet. Of course, the noodles are awesome as always. I also got the beef add-on for $1, which is a really good deal for the portion. Then again, the entire menu has generous portions!

Also tried the beef roll - the components tasted great, but the bing was only lukewarm when we we got it. It was still crispy, but either it sat too long before they rolled it, or the cold beef/filling just cooled it down too much. It’s a shame because it could’ve been a great dish.


Re: the name “Tire Shop Taqueria”

Bill Esparza coined that I believe and it caught on.