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 L.A. Confidential

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  • Total Posts: 4463
  • Joined: 1/17/2006
  • Location: Pittston, PA
Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 01/3/13 2:25 PM (permalink)
That's not good.  I have an appointment with some stone crabs at the Bimini Boatyard in Ft. Lauderdale later this month.

    • Total Posts: 7595
    • Joined: 4/17/2005
    • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
    Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 01/3/13 3:00 PM (permalink)
    Ann is right about the corned beef.  It's purchased from a source and then sliced on their big slicing machine and not by hand. 
    I've eaten at Sherman's many times and it's just okay.  Nothing really stands out about it.  
    They also have a location in Rancho Mirage.
    I've passed The Crab Cooker many a time but I'm always going somewhere or returning.  It's never been a destination spot for me.
    Those prices seem high per pound but the menu prices seem on the low side to me.
    Around here Manhattan Clam Chowder (if you can find it) is always red.  We call the white, New England Clam Chowder or I think I've seen it called Boston Clam Chowder.  I guess if you're in New England you just call it chow-duh.
    I'm glad to see that they didn't give you squeeze packets of the tarter sauce.
    You are really getting around!

      Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 01/3/13 3:23 PM (permalink)
      Saturday December 1, 2012 (cont.)
      It was a short drive down the coast to Ruby's Shake Shack in Newport Coast, mentioned in the 500 Things to Eat book for their date shake.  You drive down the Coast Highway along the water and there it is, sitting on a small sliver of land between the road and the ocean.  We pulled right into a parking spot and noticed the sign that said it was for a half hour only.  From then on, we watched over and over as people were forced to sit in their car waiting for a precious spot to open up.  At times, it was so backed up, the line of cars were almost back onto the highway, which would be dangerous.  I was thankful for us getting a spot right away.
      The building is bright yellow,

      which makes it easy to find.  They do have a full menu of burgers and other sandwiches, but we were just here for the shakes.  And the shake options were impressive.  

      I chose the date shake, while Mariton went with the dark chocolate.  We grabbed a couple of seats on the lovely patio

      that looked out over the ocean view. 

      Now I understand why they have the 30 minute parking rule.  People have a tendency to linger at a place like this.  I know we could have just sat there and looked at the waves long after our shakes were gone.
      After a short amount of time, our shakes were delivered to us.  It wasn't until I looked at the cup that the connection to the Ruby's Diner chain was made.  I had never heard of Ruby's Diner before this trip, but we had seen quite a few.  They must be a fairly large chain.  But this place sure didn't have a chain setting.  The date shake

      was very thick, with much bigger chunks of fresh date than we had seen previously.  Some of the date bits were so large that they wouldn't go up through the straw.  Just when I thought Mariton was all date shaked-out, she probably drank more of this one than I did.  The dark chocolate shake

      was not as thick and the consistency reminded me of a Wendy's frosty, only it tasted much better.
      It was very tempting to linger and watch the waves, but it was only fair for us to give up our parking spot, so we moved on.
      Ruby's Shake Shack
      7703 E. Coast Highway
      Newport Coast, CA 
      <message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 01/3/13 3:26 PM>

        • Total Posts: 7595
        • Joined: 4/17/2005
        • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
        Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 01/3/13 6:06 PM (permalink)
        Very interesting that Ruby's is connected.  I sure hope they didn't buy in just for the location.
        Ruby's is a well received chain known for their burgers, shakes and fries.  Seems to me that a few of them are near outlet malls and at the beach.  They seem to like high traffic areas frequented by the younger crowd or parents with kids crowd.
        I like their chicken salad sandwich served on raisin bread.  I think.

          • Total Posts: 395
          • Joined: 6/13/2012
          • Location: Sunny, CA
          Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 01/3/13 6:12 PM (permalink)
          We go often to the Ruby's at the Outlet mall and their burgers are GREAT!  
          I especially like their Blue cheese or Garlic fries!  They LOAD the fries with either the garlic or the Blue cheese chunks!  

            • Total Posts: 7595
            • Joined: 4/17/2005
            • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
            Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 01/3/13 6:46 PM (permalink)
            I agree with the garlic fries.  They're outstanding.

              Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 01/3/13 6:50 PM (permalink)
              We walked past a Ruby's Diner while walking to dinner in Palm Springs.  I noticed through the window that the waitresses were wearing those cool old-fashioned uniforms.  It looked like a good place.

                • Total Posts: 395
                • Joined: 6/13/2012
                • Location: Sunny, CA
                Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 01/3/13 8:14 PM (permalink)
                Darn I want a Ruby's patty melt on toasted parmesan bread with some garlic fries!  IF only it wasnt so darn cold!  

                  Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 01/3/13 9:07 PM (permalink)

                  That's not good.  I have an appointment with some stone crabs at the Bimini Boatyard in Ft. Lauderdale later this month.
                  Wasn't there an old joke about stone crabs being sold by the "karat"?  It may actually be true this year. I wonder what the market price is right now at Joe's Stone Crab?
                  I found the quote.....  It is in the 500 Things To Eat book and the quote was from Damon Runyon. 

                  <message edited by buffetbuster on Fri, 01/4/13 8:13 AM>

                    Re:L.A. Confidential Fri, 01/4/13 9:33 AM (permalink)
                    Saturday December 1, 2012 (cont.)
                    Continuing south along the Coast Highway, our next stop was the Orange Inn

                    in Laguna Beach.  This place was in the older Roadfood books and reviewed just a few years ago by wanderingjew.  Among their claims to fame is that they say they invented the smoothie.
                    They had some great sounding menu items hanging on the board outside

                    and this made me wish we had the appetite to have a full meal here.  The inside is very casual,

                    to the point where they allow dogs inside,

                    which doesn't bother me at all.  There was never any doubt that we would be ordering the Orange Inn smoothie.  

                    Unlike so many smoothies I have had in the past, this one really didn't have a dominant flavor, where one of the fruits overwhelmed the others.  It really did blend together very well.  It was thick, the ingredients all tasted fresh and, maybe it was partially because of the beach community atmosphere, but I don't ever remember enjoying a smoothie more.  By the way, that is bee pollen on top of the smoothie.
                    Because all of the tables were taken, we were forced to sit on seats in the window sill, right next to the register and the glass cases with all the beautiful muffins. 

                    If I had it to do over again, we should have grabbed some muffins to go.
                    Orange Inn
                    703 S. Coast Highway
                    Laguna Beach, CA
                    We needed some non-eating time and drove to the famous Mission San Juan Capistrano.  This beautiful mission that dates back to 1776, is best known for the swallows that return every March, although they don't return in quite the large numbers that they used to.  The place was very crowded with tourists and there were many employees running around setting up sound equipment and seats for a program slated for later that night. 

                    Still, the mission is so pretty and photogenic, we spent a wonderful three hours walking around.  Some images:

                    Even though we thoroughly enjoyed the smaller, more intimate visit to the mission in Santa Barbara, it is easy to see why Mission San Juan Capistrano is known as the "jewel of the missions".
                    Okay, after all the walking around and photo taking, we were ready to eat again.  I put the address of our dinner destination in the GPS and it said it was only .3 miles away.  Considering the traffic and the difficulty with parking in the area, it made much more sense to walk to dinner.....     
                      mayor al

                      • Total Posts: 15059
                      • Joined: 8/20/2002
                      • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
                      • Roadfood Insider
                      Re:L.A. Confidential Fri, 01/4/13 10:21 AM (permalink)
                      I am really enjoying reliving my SoCal memories thru your report, Cliff. Thanks for posting this narrative. You folks are seeing some great places and enjoying fine food. Super reporting !

                        Re:L.A. Confidential Fri, 01/4/13 10:28 AM (permalink)
                        Coming from you, that means a lot!  Thanks so much.
                          mr chips

                          • Total Posts: 4715
                          • Joined: 2/19/2003
                          • Location: portland, OR
                          Re:L.A. Confidential Fri, 01/4/13 1:35 PM (permalink)
                          Capistrano was wonderful when the Chips family visited a few years ago. Did not know about the great Mexican available or about Ed Sails then
                            mr chips

                            • Total Posts: 4715
                            • Joined: 2/19/2003
                            • Location: portland, OR
                            Re:L.A. Confidential Fri, 01/4/13 1:40 PM (permalink)
                            Good to know how close Palm Springs road food eateries are. Hope to visit Sherman's, Palm Springs fudge and Shields. maybe I can convince trudy to go on the funicular.

                              Re:L.A. Confidential Sat, 01/5/13 11:09 AM (permalink)
                              Saturday December 1, 2012 (cont.)
                              On the short walk from the mission to our where we were eating dinner, we passed what is known as the Esslinger Building,

                              a real art deco beauty built in 1939.
                              El Campeon

                              is found in a small shopping center and is hugely popular.  We seemed to be the only non-Spanish speaking people here, but we had no trouble communicating.  Service is through a cafeteria line and fortunately for us, the menu board

                              is in English as well.  All of the hot food looked wonderful,

                              even though much of it we did not recognize.
                              We placed our orders and then walked around looking at all the other fabulous things for sale.  Fresh cut up fruit,

                              two big cases full of bakery items,

                              beautiful desserts,

                              they even offer cakes

                              for every occasion.  But what really caught my eye was the agua frescas and they offered six different flavors.  There was watermelon and pineapple,

                              strawberry and cantaloupe,

                              plus banana and horchata. 

                              If possible, I would have gladly tried one of each.
                              Knowing from the Michael Stern review that when your food is ready, they call your number is Spanish, I was keeping a close eye out for a tray that looked like ours.  And our number was called out in Spanish only.   I showed the young girl my receipt number and to order my beverage, I asked for "sandia grande".  As she was punching it into the register, she mumbled to herself, "large watermelon".  Okay, now I feel silly!  I also got a large cantaloupe (melon) for Mariton.
                              Many people were taking their food outside to eat

                              and those inside were glued to the soccer match on the tv. 

                              Apparently, the Los Angeles team was playing in the final match, which was of great interest to the patrons.  BTW, the Los Angeles team won and it was fun seeing David Beckham talk in interviews (obviously dubbed) in Spanish.  Anyway, we grabbed counter seats against the wall and dug in.
                              Mariton went for the El Campeon combination plates,

                              which is the deep fried pork, served with rice, beans and lettuce, plus some hot tortillas wrapped up in aluminum foil.

                              There was plenty of soft, tender pork and crunchy fried skin.  She was very happy with her dish.  Even though she had no hangover, she asked for a bowl of menudo. 

                              I will have to take her word for it that is was good, but nothing special, because there was no way I was splitting it with her.  My meal started with the palomita torta. 

                              This sandwich had thick ham, grilled cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole and beans on soft, buttered bread.  What a great sandwich, but very filling!  I also ordered a couple of tacos for us to share.  Mariton preferred the lengua (beef tongue),

                              while I was a bigger fan of the chorizo taco. 

                              They do have a small condiment bar
                              and Mariton especially enjoyed putting different sauces and pico de gallo on her taco, 

                              some of which were way too hot for me.
                              Now about those drinks..... 

                              These were absolutely amazing!  My watermelon had a serious amount of small bits of fruit floating around and could not have tasted fresher.  Mariton felt the same way about her cantaloupe.  Nothing artificial, not too sweet, just the juice of the fruit.  This may have been my favorite thing to eat or drink on the entire vacation in California.
                              We were completely full at this point,but still managed to split a dessert Mariton picked out, which was jello in a thick, milky substance. 

                              She said it reminded her of a dessert back in the Philippines.  
                              El Campeon
                              31921 Camino Capistrano
                              San Juan Capistrano, CA
                              While walking back towards our car, we noticed a new store front that had just opened in the same shopping center. 

                              Looks like El Campeon is going into the water business.
                              We checked into out hotel for the night, the Hyatt Regency in Irvine.  We had plans to go back out, but we were feeling lazy and ended up just staying in.  It had been a long trip so far and we were flying home the next day, so we were glad to get the rest. 
                              <message edited by buffetbuster on Sat, 01/5/13 11:22 AM>

                                • Total Posts: 115
                                • Joined: 3/5/2012
                                • Location: Lone Star, TX
                                Re:L.A. Confidential Sat, 01/5/13 1:52 PM (permalink)
                                Wow! Another excellent trip. Here in Northeast Texas with a large Hispanic population. There are many Mom and Pop eateries opening that are similar to the ones You visited, especially in the more populated towns. The food at some of these great and some others just ok. A couple of them you really have to speak spanish to be able to order, which I am not that great at. The food looks awesome and it looks like another great adventure for you. Thanks for taking the time to share.  

                                  • Total Posts: 7595
                                  • Joined: 4/17/2005
                                  • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
                                  Re:L.A. Confidential Sat, 01/5/13 2:55 PM (permalink)
                                  Great choice and choices! 
                                  I've always wondered how agua frescas escaped the wrath of the health department.  Good to see that the large glass jars (they all use the same type) are now covered.
                                  No Buche for you?  Never Buche for me!
                                  Do you ever wander in to grocery stores while traveling?  It's one of my to do things.  I love to see what's available locally.
                                  We have a small market chain here called El Super that offers everything seen at El Campeon...   Everything except for seating and television.

                                    • Total Posts: 470
                                    • Joined: 6/20/2007
                                    • Location: La Crosse, WI
                                    Re:L.A. Confidential Sat, 01/5/13 3:56 PM (permalink)

                                    Do you ever wander in to grocery stores while traveling?  It's one of my to do things.  I love to see what's available locally. 

                                    Me too, every time.  We would have a lot of fun exploring....everything.  And you learn about the local people and culture too.  Don't forget those hand-written ads in the entryway for local color.

                                      • Total Posts: 4542
                                      • Joined: 11/20/2000
                                      • Location: Rogue Valley
                                      Re:L.A. Confidential Sat, 01/5/13 4:11 PM (permalink)
                                      Buche is wonderful stuff, Mar. I usually get a buche, lengua, and chorizo 3some at my local taco place/butcher shop.(visited by Mr. & Mrs. Chips and Ed Sails on their visits here)

                                        • Total Posts: 7595
                                        • Joined: 4/17/2005
                                        • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
                                        Re:L.A. Confidential Sat, 01/5/13 5:34 PM (permalink)
                                        I'm getting heart burn thinking about it.
                                        Easydoesit....  you know it!

                                          Re:L.A. Confidential Sat, 01/5/13 6:00 PM (permalink)
                                          Sunday December 2, 2012
                                          Our flight was for 2:30 in the afternoon, which gave us time for a couple of meals, but not much else.  We gave serious consideration to driving to Long Beach for breakfast at Gaffey Street Diner.  Instead, we stayed closer and went to a place in Orange called Bruxie

                                          Bruxie is a waffle place with the strange house slogan The Bold Fold, which also appears on the back of their employees t-shirts.  You order at the walk-up window and then the food is delivered to your table on the side patio.  An interesting menu with both sweet and savory choices,

                                          mostly involving waffles and they offer some daily specials, too.

                                          First up was Mariton's leige waffle.
                                          It was pleasantly crispy on the outside, but too doughy in the middle

                                          and we both thought it was undercooked.  Who knows, maybe that is how they are normally served.  It came with powdered sugar and syrup.  We liked my green eggs and ham waffle sandwich much better. 

                                          This is grilled ham, lots of pesto, Tillamook cheddar and egg.  This combination worked really well together and this really fun to eat.  We sliced it up and ate it as several mini sandwiches.

                                          Some of you may have noticed that coffee has not been mentioned in this thread, despite all of the breakfasts that we have eaten.  I have never been a coffee drinker and Mariton stopped drinking it right before this trip.  She noticed that if she didn't have a cup of coffee by 11:00AM, she would get a headache and feel sluggish.  So, she gave it up.  It was tough at first, but at this point, she no longer craves it.  To drink at Bruxie, I ordered what they called a fresh lemonade,

                                          which was achingly sweet and had almost no lemon flavor.  We drank less than half of it.  Instead, we shared a mint chocolate chip milkshake. 

                                          There was too much whipped cream and all the chocolate was at the bottom, but it still tasted pretty good.
                                          Overall, I would give Bruxie a mixed review.  If you do go, make sure you try that green eggs and ham.  Dr. Seuss would want it that way!
                                          292 N. Glassell Street
                                          Orange, CA
                                          We had thoughts about stopping in at Watson Drugs and Soda Fountain in Old Town Orange, but they had quite a few streets in the area closed.  In fact, we had to take several detours just to get to Bruxie.  It looked like some kind of event was happening that day and we wanted to get out while we could.  Just a few more stops to go.....  
                                          <message edited by buffetbuster on Sat, 01/5/13 6:09 PM>

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                                            • Joined: 11/20/2000
                                            • Location: Rogue Valley
                                            Re:L.A. Confidential Sat, 01/5/13 6:05 PM (permalink)
                                            I thought sure, looking at the menu, that the Ogura would be one of the entrees. Most of the menu items look intriguing except for the fact I don't like waffles. 

                                              Re:L.A. Confidential Sat, 01/5/13 6:13 PM (permalink)
                                              The menu really does have some interesting options that would probably be worth exploring.  I was expecting Mariton to choose the Ogura, but she surprised me with the leige waffle.  The Ogura would be at the top of my list if I ever get back.
                                              Sorry, no bruche!  Just a matter of not enough stomach space for everything we wanted to try.  Can't say I have ever explored the grocery store in another city, but it isn't a bad idea.

                                                • Total Posts: 7595
                                                • Joined: 4/17/2005
                                                • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
                                                Re:L.A. Confidential Sat, 01/5/13 6:25 PM (permalink)
                                                What a great trip.  I enjoyed it thoroughly both pictures and commentary.
                                                Bravo, BB, Bravo.

                                                  Re:L.A. Confidential Sun, 01/6/13 7:33 AM (permalink)
                                                  Saturday December 2, 2012 (cont.)
                                                  While doing some research into where to eat in Orange County, I read really good things about a bakery in Tustin called Cream Pan.  There is some confusion about the name though.  From what I learned, this place started off as Cream Pan, then switched names to Japonaise Bakery & Cafe.  And then they bought the neighboring storefront in the little strip mall, adding a seperate door for Cream Pan.  Confused?  I know I am.  Because when we pulled into the shopping center to find the place, we noticed a building where a sign for where the name Cream Pan used to be.

                                                  Okay, that isn't helping.  Just look for the Bakery & Cafe sign,

                                                  with lots of people walking in and out the doors and you will be fine.
                                                  We were expecting the lines

                                                  here to be long and they were on a Sunday morning.  The clientele was mostly Asian and what we saw in the cases looked wonderful.

                                                  But we were limited with what we could buy, since we had a flight coming up.  Cream Pan is best known for their strawberry croissants

                                                  and just about everyone in line in front of us was walking out with at least a few.  
                                                  I ended up putting these in my luggage, because we still had a few more stops to make.  I had planned on carrying them on the plane for the long flight, but forgot about them and they didn't get eaten until a few days after I got home.  Unfortunately, that meant Mariton did not get to try them at all.  Which was a real shame because these strawberry croissants

                                                  were worthy of the praise they have garnered.  The croissant part was still perfectly flaky, while the custard was not cloyingly sweet.  The strawberries could have been fresher, but guess who's fault that was?  An apple croissant 

                                                  also made it home, but tasted old by now.  Needless to say, I want to return and try these again straight from the case.  But, I feel confident in giving Cream Pan a high recommendation.
                                                  Cream Pan
                                                  602 El Camno Real
                                                  Tustin, CA
                                                  We still had four hours or so before our flight and we weren't sure what to do.  Mariton then announced that she was in the mood for pho.  I got on my phone and started looking for the reviews for the best pho in Orange County.  One website names Pho Tranh Lich as the best in the area and a phone call confirmed that they were open on a Sunday morning.  So, we were off to Westminster.  As we approached, we knew we were in the right place when all the businesses in the area were Vietnamese.
                                                  Pho Tranh Lich is located in an old Pizza Hut building

                                                  and it warms my heart to see mom and pop restaurants taking chain buildngs back.  The inside

                                                  looked pretty much like an old Pizza Hut, too.  A couple of pages from the menu:

                                                  I ordered the pho tai dac biet,

                                                  which is the pho with rare filet mignon in it.  Mariton went with the pho dac biet adding tripe to her noodle soup.  You get a plate

                                                  with sprouts and some mint leaves on it and Mariton loaded up her pho with both. 
                                                  Anyway, Mariton loved her pho and on that account alone, the place was a rousing success.  She commented over and over how good it was and how much more meat it contained, especially compared to the place we ate earlier in the trip in Hollywood.  I also enjoyed mine very much.  The interesting thing about pho is that I wouldn't necessarily describe it as hearty, but it really does have a way of warming your whole body up and making you feel better.
                                                  We did have a hard time communicating with the older gentleman who was waiting on us.  With her thick Philippino accent, Mariton especially had a hard time being understood.  But, she always finds a way to get her point across.  When it came time for ordering the beverages, she walked over and asked another customer what she was drinking and then told the waiter that is what she wanted.  This is her avocado shake,

                                                  which had wonderful flavor, but they were out of tapioca bubbles to make bubble tea.  I didn't care for my Thai iced tea

                                                  as the flavor was too concentrated and intense.
                                                  For dessert, you get a complimentary cup of a thick, sweet custard-like dish,

                                                  which Mariton said is a favorite of hers in the Philippines, so I was quite happy to let her enjoy it.  Here is our check:
                                                  Pho Tranh Lich
                                                  14500 Brookhurst Street
                                                  Westminster, CA
                                                  We had time for one more stop and there is really only one possible way to end this lengthy trip report and that is with a photo of me next to an anteater. 

                                                  The nickname for the sports teams at UC-Irvine is the anteaters, so we drove onto campus to get a quick photo of the anteater statue.  From there, it was off to he airport and the end to a great vacation!    
                                                  <message edited by buffetbuster on Sun, 01/6/13 7:45 AM>

                                                    • Total Posts: 399
                                                    • Joined: 1/11/2006
                                                    • Location: Birmingham, AL
                                                    Re:L.A. Confidential Sun, 01/6/13 7:47 AM (permalink)
                                                    Excellent trip report, BB!  Makes me want to rush right off to California to recreate it! Fabulous food and excellent sights!  Thank you for sharing this epic journey!

                                                      Re:L.A. Confidential Sun, 01/6/13 9:01 AM (permalink)
                                                      A striking resemblance! 

                                                        Re:L.A. Confidential Sun, 01/6/13 9:02 AM (permalink)
                                                        Cliff - best report of the year Emmy is deserved!

                                                          • Total Posts: 192
                                                          • Joined: 8/29/2007
                                                          • Location: Raleigh, NC
                                                          Re:L.A. Confidential Sun, 01/6/13 9:34 AM (permalink)
                                                          Great report. I really enjoyed it.

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                                                            • Joined: 7/12/2011
                                                            • Location: Fox Valley, WI
                                                            Re:L.A. Confidential Sun, 01/6/13 9:40 AM (permalink)
                                                            Awesome report BB! Great flow, narrative, and outstanding photos. Thank you for the journey.
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