It was primarily a work trip (a convention in Anaheim), but we managed to work in some good meals anyway – mostly dinners. If our choices seem lazy, we often went for ease, speed, and minimal travel rather than finding the best places. I had long work days and minimal downtime – this wasn’t a white-tablecloth trip.
We got up early here in Vegas to get to L.A. by lunchtime. First stop: Guelaguetza in K-town. The mole had complex flavors, but we’re just not used to sweet food anymore. That said, we liked the Colorado mole that they served with the chips better than the mole negro on the chicken, so we bought a jar of that for home use. Went to Whole Foods in Irvine to provision up (mainly lunches for S.O. – I was reduced to lunches at the convention center). Dinner was take-out Thai in the hotel room, from Thai Nakorn in Garden Grove. We both agree that their Tom Ka Pad (Tom Ka Kai minus chicken +extra veg) was better than the one at Lotus of Siam here in Vegas, and that’s sayin’ something. Double serving of that for dinner.
Pretty-good fresh fish at an L.A. (mostly OC) chain – California Fish Grill in Cypress. You take a number and order at the counter. Fish plates w/rice and veg for like --$10–12. S.O. had a shrimp appetizer; we each had Barramundi, which was good, but we wouldn’t order it again now that we’re more informed (it’s farmed).
Back to Thai Nakorn for takeout. More of the wonderful Tom Ka Pad – we can’t get enough, plus a pretty-good yellow curry. One thing we especially like about Thai Nakorn is that it’s 5 min. from the hotel, which in L.A. terms (and even for Anaheim) is practically next door.
I finished work by mid-afternoon, but (because of the previous long days) we opted to stay close, and I just picked up Zankou Chicken, which we’re both big fans of anyway. Great mutabbal (eggplant/garlic/tahini puree) in addition to the roasted chicken with its famous garlic sauce.
This is what we were waiting for. We would have spent a couple of additional nights somewhere in the Westside, just to eat our faces off, but it was a holiday weekend and hotel prices were crazy. Anyway. Breakfast at Jagerhaus in Anaheim: I had a corned beef hash that was as good as what I used to get at the late, great Hoffman Grill on Market in SF; S.O. had a potato/onion/bacon/ham fried thing (she skipped the egg), and a side of Polish sausage. Damn, it was all great. The ham was so smoky and tasty, that we might have to go back and order it as a main.
Then we drove downtown to take in historic buildings, and to walk the breakfast off. Next, Grand Central Market, where S.O. hadn’t been in years. She couldn’t eat any more after the Jagerhaus breakfast, but I didn’t let that stop me. I had a Belcampo Meat Co. dry-aged burger with caramelized onion, and tallow fries. This rates as probably the best burger we’ve had in years, with actual great meat flavor. I thought it was even better than the Pat LaFrieda burger we recently ate at Lucky Beaver in Stateline, NV. Excellent pineapple/apple/lemon/mint juice drink at Press Bros – not overly sweet. We walked around a while at GCM, taking note of all the other places we would have liked to try (Wexler’s, Berlin Currywurst, etc), but couldn’t due to limited stomach space. This seems to be a recurring problem. We also checked out the place with all the great chiles – next time we’ll show up with a shopping list.
Then on our way out of town, we made the obligatory stop at Langer’s for a loaf of bread and a half-pound of hot pastrami (and a pound cold for the weekend) – carside delivery. We ate pastrami tacos of sorts on the way home. Hot pastrami folded in a slice of that perfect rye bread. S.O. rarely eats bread, but she made an exception for this. We also took some of that wonderful Thai soup back home with us from Garden Grove. I think that covers it.
Thai Nakorn: http://thainakornrestaurant.com/
California Fish Grill: http://www.cafishgrill.com/home
Zankou Chicken: http://zankouchicken.com/
Belcampo Meat Co.: http://www.belcampomeatco.com/
Press Brothers Juicery: http://pressbrothersjuicery.com/