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 L.A. Confidential

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Re:L.A. Confidential Mon, 12/24/12 11:49 AM (permalink)
BB:  My deceased wife and I visited the Hearst Castle in 1989.  We drove the coast line from San Fran to Morro.  We spent the night close by and I had mussel's for the first time.  You brouight back some neat memories.  Super drive and super food.  I have read about the style of BBQ you enjoyed at about three different places..
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN

    Re:L.A. Confidential Mon, 12/24/12 2:17 PM (permalink)
    Wednesday November 28, 2012 (cont.)
    The drive back to Los Angeles was long, boring and uneventful.  Unlike yesterday when we had some great views to look at, the weather

    on this day made that impossible.  Mariton even fell asleep for a couple of hours.  By the time we reached our dinner destination, Les Sisters Southern Kitchen

    in Chatsworth, I was quite tired and glad to be out of the car.
    Les Sisters is a soul food restaurant with a distinct New Orleans flare. 

    Music is obviously a love of the owners, as you can tell by this mural

    and the unusual rememberances on the wall. 

    Before leaving on the trip, I received some excellent suggestions from Chris & Amy (ayersian) about where to eat.  The fact that they raved about the fried chicken at a Cajun restaurant in a Los Angeles suburb seemed like an odd choice, but I have learned to trust them in matters like this.  Here are a couple sections of the menu

    and this was one of those restaurants where I could of ordered one of about 20 different things and would have been happy with the choice.
    Our meal started off with an appetizer of Hot Links,

    which came in a sweet, delicious barbecue sauce.  These sausages were fatty, juicy with a crispy skin and I loved them, although Mariton did not.  More for me!  Being a fried chicken lover, Mariton had the easy decision.  You can get the fried chicken regular or Cajun and she chose the all dark meat regular.

    We both loved the heavily battered, brittle outside skin and the inside meat was wonderfully moist and juicy.  I thought this was clearly the best chicken of the trip, but Mariton still preferred what she had early at Pann's.  Her sides were the forgettable red beans and rice and collard greens. 

    Mariton jazzed up the greens with the vinegar on the table, which really brought out the flavor.  We both raced to eat as much as we could.
    Like I said, there was so much to like on the menu, but I could not pass up a chance to eat crawfish etoufee,

    despite us being so far from Cajun country.  There was plenty of crawfish in the dish and the sauce was very good, but there was no heat to it at all.  The waiter warned that the dish can be very spicy hot, so I asked him if they could back it off a little bit.  So, I ended up with a version with no heat at all.  I guess that is what happens when you mess with a dish.  The side of macaroni and cheese

    was dry and deserved no more than the bite or two it got.
    To drink, I got the fresh squeezed lemonade,

    that was delivered to my table with no sugar in it at all.  It was nothing but undrinkably tart.  After a couple of sips, I ended up putting some sugar in it, which is the first time I have ever done that.  As soon as I got the lemonade where I wanted it, the waiter came over and gave me a refill and I had to start over.  Dessert was a difficult decision between peach cobbler and buttermilk pie (I'm not much of a fan of bread pudding), eventually settling on the pie. 

    They sure don't shortchange you with the whipped cream, do they?  The pie was soft, sweet, with a pleasant tang to it.  Very enjoyable!
    Early on in our meal, the waiter found out we were not locals and when he found out I was from Pittsburgh, he said, "I really hate the Steelers."  Already knowing he was from Massachusetts, I replied with, "No problem, I really hate the Patriots."  It seems we had come to a mutual understanding and we received really good service.  Although I can't recommend all the food here, we did like most of it and would definitely return.
    Les Sisters Southern Kitchen
    21818 Devonshire Street
    Chatsworth, CA
    We drove a short distance down the street to find another restaurant reviewed here on Roadfood called Munch Box.  They were closed and there was a couple sitting on the picnic benches.  Knowing that their number was disconnected, I asked the couple if Munch Box was out of business, but they told me they just close for the Winter.
    Our hotel for the night was the Staybridge Suites, right around the corner from Les Sisters.  While checking in, we found out our room would be on the second floor and there was no elevator.  The nice young lady at the desk offered to have someone carry our luggage up to our room.  Since I have foolish pride, I said no, I can carry it myself.  Just before we walked away, she matter of factly mentioned that they were doing construction on that building and there was currently no internet.  Nuh uh, no way, not going to happen.  She said I could always come use the business center in the lobby.  I told her unless she wants me in the business center in my pajamas (or worse), she better get us a room with working internet.  Not my proudest moment, but I was tired.  She then said we could switch to another building with working internet, but our room would now be on the third floor.  Fine.  She asked again if I wanted help with the luggage and this time pride went bye-bye.  As someone who is 6'2" and 280 lbs., it is a little embarrassing to have someone carry your luggage up the stairs for you, but I didn't really care at this point.
    I was trying to remember if I have ever been on a trip before and only eaten two meals over the course of the day, but couldn't recall it happening before.  We both agreed that our best day of the vacation was followed by this, the worst day of the trip.         
    <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 12/24/12 2:24 PM>

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      Re:L.A. Confidential Mon, 12/24/12 8:12 PM (permalink)
      I toured Hearst Castle in 1984.  I remember the year because it was the year of the Los Angeles Olympics.
      There were several different tours when I did it.  What I remember was choosing the tour with the least amount of steps.  They made a definite difference by step number in the different tours.  I loved that. 
      Sorry the weather didn't act in your favor.
      Les Sisters!  I need to go there.  The chicken looks great, but for the price the etoufee looks meager.  All rice and no substance... But a beautiful picture.
      I've never had etoufee that was spicy so I find that fact interesting.  In fact, everything under the Cajun and Creole listings are not usually spicy except for the jambalaya.  Hmmmm
      I wonder if it's possible to get a sample of the sauce prior to ordering.  Does that seem out of line?  I'd hate to order a dish like that and not like it.
      My first thoughts on the lemonade were Really?  Then I thought that maybe that saves them from making two types for those that want artificial sweetener.  I have no other answer for lemonade without sugar.  Never heard of that before.
      I might have to go there just for the buttermilk pie!
      LOVING all of your choices!
        ann peeples

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        • Location: West Allis, Wisconsin
        Re:L.A. Confidential Tue, 12/25/12 3:30 AM (permalink)
        I am more than interested, as i am reading, about the beans!Sounds funny, but they appeal to me!

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          • Location: McKinney, TX
          Re:L.A. Confidential Tue, 12/25/12 9:06 AM (permalink)
          We made pretty much the same trip in December/January of 05 & 06.  Unfortunately, I didn't know then about
          Next time, thanks to you and Mariton, we'll have an even better time!
          And thanks to the Sterns, the technical folk, and the Moderators for producing this most enjoyable and informative site.
            The Travelin Man

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            • Joined: 3/25/2003
            • Location: Central FL
            Re:L.A. Confidential Tue, 12/25/12 7:13 PM (permalink)
            I am glad to see that you finally got in regionally appropriate meal at Les Sisters.

              Re:L.A. Confidential Tue, 12/25/12 10:36 PM (permalink)
              Thursday November 29, 2012
              First stop this morning was Earl's Donuts in Chatsworth.  Located in a strip mall (isn't everything?), we were surprised by how many people were standing outside. 

              And every seat inside was taken up, too. 

              This is a really popular place!  
              The donuts in the case looked great. 

              Knowing this was going to be a very heavy restaurant day for us, we decided to get a half dozen only.  After we ordered our six, the very friendly Asian couple who own Earl's told us we get another one for free.  We asked them if they were always this crowded and they told us there is a car cruise club that meets every Thursday morning, only it was too rainy out to bring the cars.  But, they still get together for coffee and doughnuts anyway!  The owner then pointed out their photo in front of what I think he told me was a 1934 Ford. 

              He told me it was his car, but the way he laughed made me think he was joking around.
              Since there were no inside seats, we took our pink box

              of donuts to the car.  Is there some kind of law nowadays that every box of donuts has to be pink?  I swear, the last three or four times I have ordered donuts in a non-chain, the box has been pink.  Here is our haul,

              which included a glazed, chocolate glazed, sugar twist, long john, custard filled, chocolate old fashioned and an apple fritter.  This chocolate

              was the standout for me.  It was still warm, incredibly light and melted in your mouth.  I could have eaten quite a few more of these.  Mariton fell in love with the apple fritter

              and surprisingly told me this is the first time she has ever had one of these.  Truthfully, we enjoyed everything we ate from Earl's and nibbled on these for the rest of the day.
              Earl's Donuts
              20429 Devonshire Street
              Chatsworth, CA
              We purposely did not get up too early because we had no desire to deal with the rush hour traffic heading into the city.  But even at 9:30AM, the traffic was fairly heavy. 

              If it wasn't for the left lane for two or more drivers (in Pittsburgh we call it the HOV lane, but they call it something different in Los Angeles), we might still be sitting there.  If you can't tell by now, I REALLY hate traffic.  
              Next up was Marty's Hamburger Stand

              which has been here on busy W. Pico Blvd since 1959.  This is just a tiny walk-up stand with a few seats on the sides.  The menu

              is almost all hamburgers and hot dogs, which is perfect since I was here to order what they call the combo.  The combo puts the hamburger patty and the hot dog on one bun and I let the young man taking the order talk me into adding cheese and chili.  How is that for a healthy breakfast?
              The grill is directly in front of the window and that makes it easy to watch it being prepared and to take photos. 

              The finished product is a thing of beauty!  

              According to the menu, they grind their own meat fresh daily, which is the only way you are going to get a hamburger that tastes this good.  And the hot dog, with a wonderful snap when you bit into it, was obviously a high quality wiener.  If I had it to do over again, I would have ordered it without the chili.  Though there was nothing wrong with the chili, it was more of a distraction from the other great flavors.  And despite everything that was on this burger, it was still an easily manageable size

              and I had no trouble finishing the whole thing.
              As much as we liked the burger, our favorite thing here was the onion rings,

              which were some of the darkest rings I have ever seen, with a seriously wicked crunch.  If you go to Marty's, do not miss out on these beauties!  To drink, we couldn't resist ordering something called an orange bang. 

              From what they described to me, I was expecting it to be like the frosted orange they serve at the Varsity in Atlanta, but it was more like an orangade.  Very refreshing and a nice change of pace.
              In between dodging the rain drops, we had a good time chatting with the two young men standing and eating by the front of the stand.  The one guy told us how he had been eating at Marty's for a long time, but he never had the combo burger until his friend introduced him to it.  Now he orders it all the time!  If I lived here, I would too.
              Marty's Hamburger Stand
              10558 W. Pico Boulevard
              Los Angeles, CA
              Next up, we finally go to a Mariton kind of restaurant.           
              <message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 12/25/12 10:45 PM>

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                Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 12:40 AM (permalink)
                I was lucky to have a gift of Earl's Doughnuts when the Ayersian Duo were visiting.  They are quite good.
                (Hoping you also went to Stan's Donuts in Westwood.  Your bar would be raised. 
                (That's 2 doughnut puns for those that didn't notice!  Woot!)
                Did you know about Marty's or did you see it when you were driving between Johnny O'Groats and Apple Pan?
                Seems funny reading about my stomping grounds. 
                Orange Bang came about when they added those whirling, blending devises on drink machines.  There are a few other Bang flavors.  Wonder if it's a west coast drink.
                I'm trying to figure out where you're going from here!

                  Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 7:34 AM (permalink)
                  I learned about Marty's from the Hamburger America book.  Other Los Angeles places in the book are Apple Pan, Pie 'N Burger, Irv's, In-N-Out and Cassell's.  Unfortunately, I had never heard of Stan's before, which is a shame, because we were in Westwood twice. 

                    Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 9:08 AM (permalink)
                    Thursday November 29, 2012 (cont.)
                    I think I have had sushi three times in my life and although it wasn't bad, it is so far down the list of foods I like, I would never go eat it on my own.  Now Mariton, she loves sushi.  And since my friend wanderingjew has reviewed two sushi places in Los Angeles, the least we could could do is go visit one of them and Mariton could do most of the eating.
                    But, which one should we go to, Ugly Roll Sushi or California Roll Factory?  We arrived outside of Ugly Roll Sushi just before 11:00AM and were disappointed to see they don't open for lunch until 11:30.  No big deal, that means we will go to the other place instead.  But, before we left, I asked Mariton to look at the menu on the door to see what she thinks.  When she got back in the car, she expressed surprise at how cheap the food was and that made her leery of the quality.  California Roll Factory was a mere two miles away and we were dismayed to find out that they don't open until 11:30, either.  Now, we are back to square one.  Mariton got out to look at the California Roll Factory menu and she also mentioned how low the prices were.  I reread the Roadfood reviews to her and asked her which one she preferred and she chose Ugly Sushi Roll.  So it was back to the other restaurant, where we still had to wait a few more minutes for them to open.
                    Ugly Sushi Roll

                    is located in, you got it, a small strip mall.  I told her the ordering here was all her.  After studying the menu board,

                    she surprised me by getting two entrees.  I reminded her that I was already fairly full and that I would be doing very little eating, but she said no problem.  I remained skeptical, because there was no way she was going to be able to eat all that food.
                    The first dish she attacked was the Ugly Combo

                    with eel and spicy salmon being her roll choices, plus the tempura shrimp. 

                    And then there was a dish called Sushi II,

                    with salmon,tuna and shrimp.  I know that she ordered the shrimp because she knew that it was something that I would eat.  BTW, this might have been a special, because I don't see it on the menu board.  Anyway, she said everything was very fresh and much to my surprise, she easily ate everything on both plates.   I had one or two pieces here and there and while I am certainly not an expert, this was far superior to anything I have had back in Pittsburgh.  To drink, Mariton had a can of green tea,

                    while I stuck with water.
                    We had a pleasant surprise when we ran into wanderingjew outside of the restaurant,

                    but because he was working, he wasn't able to join us.
                    Ugly Roll Sushi
                    11128 Palms Boulevard
                    Los Angeles, CA
                    After three consecutive food stops, we were ready to do some sightseeing.  On previous visits to Los Angeles, one of my favorite places was The J. Paul Getty Museum, conveniently located on a high hill right next to I-405.  Interestingly, the museum itself is free, but it costs $15.00 to park in the garage.  From there, you catch a tram 

                    up to the museum.  Here is the attractive entrance to the visitor's center,

                    where we watched an introductory film.  It had been a dark dreary day already with off and on rain (whoever wrote that song It Never Rains in Southern California deserves a kick right where it hurts), but on this high hill, the fog was especially thick. 

                    If I remember correctly, you normally get a great view of the city, but there was no chance of that on this day.
                    There are either four or five big buildings that hold the permanent collection, plus another that is used for the current exhibition, which was Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance.  Having been to Florence just about a year earlier, this had special interest to Mariton.  Unlike the permanent collection, you are not allowed to take any photos, but we spent more time wandering around this exhibit than the others.
                    You are allowed to take photos of paintings in the permanent collection as long as you don't use a flash.  Among the many paintings we saw were from some of my favorite artists like Pierre-August Renoir, Eugene Delacroix, Jacques-Louis David, Jean Antoine Watteau, Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh.  Of all the artists we saw, Mariton seemed to be especially drawn to the work of Edgar Degas and not just the ballerina paintings.  But, there is so much more here to see that you would need a full day if not more.  And I don't want to make it seem like it is all paintings because there is gorgeous furniture,


                    tapestries and plenty of other priceless objects to be seen.
                    In all, we spent about three hours here.  But, we eventually got tired of running through the rain drops from building to building and were getting hungry again.
                    I should also mention that there is another arm of the Getty Museum in Malibu and from what they showed us in the film, it looks equally as spectacular.  This will be on my list of things to do on my next visit to Los Angeles.        

                      • Total Posts: 385
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                      Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 9:19 AM (permalink)
                      As always your posts are one of the highlights of coming to this site.  Having not been to the LA area in many many years now, I still see some things that bring back introduction to Santa Maria BBQ for one.  Your efforts are very much appreciated!

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                        Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 9:26 AM (permalink)

                        I had one or two pieces here and there and while I am certainly not an expert, this was far superior to anything I have had back in Pittsburgh.
                        It's amazing how much different something tastes without fries and slaw, isn't it?
                        Great report so far!

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                          • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
                          Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 9:29 AM (permalink)
                          I'm about to leave for my morning after Christmas shopping but I had to first check in here to see if you'd added anything.
                          Regional food!  I don't realize that because it's all around me.  Nice picture of WJ and glad to see that he's working.
                          You had the pleasure of standing and eating right next to my elementary school.  I see it's trees next to the umbrellas!
                          I think I'll go to Ugly Sushi for lunch today. 
                          Thanks for the early morning smiles and suggestion.
                          (I hate The 405)

                            Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 9:37 AM (permalink)


                            I had one or two pieces here and there and while I am certainly not an expert, this was far superior to anything I have had back in Pittsburgh.
                            It's amazing how much different something tastes without fries and slaw, isn't it?

                            Great report so far!
                            Now this made me laugh out loud! 


                              Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 11:12 AM (permalink)
                              BB: My brother and I visited the museum a few years ago when we were racing with NHRA in Pomona.  Awesome views, awesome architecture and a very nice presentation.
                              Paul E. Smith
                              Knoxville, TN

                                Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 11:13 AM (permalink)
                                Thursday November 29, 2012 (cont.)
                                We made our back to West Hollywood to another burger stand from the Hamburger America book, Irv's Burgers

                                From what I had read in the book, this was a place I was really looking forward to visiting.  It is located on a corner of very busy Santa Monica Boulevard.  Irv's, which opened in 1948, is famous for several reasons.  It used to be a hangout for Jim Morrison, who lived around the corner.  The inner sleeve of Linda Ronstadt's 1978 album Living in the U.S.A. shows the band sitting down for a meal at Irv's, while Linda is reaching for a bag of chips.  And best of all, they are known for their excellent burgers and the friendliness of the Korean-American family who own Irv's.
                                There were no other customers when we walked up and we stood in the front checking out the menu board. 

                                Since she had such a big lunch, Mariton wanted to split a burger with me.  We walked over to the side of the building and placed our order with Sonja Hong.  When we mentioned this was our first time here, she became our new best friend.  Sonja owns the place along with her brother Sean and of course their mother, who is referred to as Mama.  Sonja is quick witted, with a smile and laugh that can light up a city block.  She told us to have a seat and the food would be delivered to us.  They do have a small dining area on the side and back of the building,

                                but we wanted to be at the cushy stools in front of the building so we could chat with Sonja and watch the food being prepared.
                                The first item brought to us was the large root beer we were sharing. 

                                Sonja then asked me if I wanted the pink straw or the blue straw.  When I replied that I better take the blue straw, she wiggled the pink one at me and asked "Are you suuuuuure?" and laughed again.  I think you had to be there to appreciate how funny she is.  Meanwhile, I had a great view of our double cheeseburger, with everything but tomato, being cooked on the grill. 

                                I had also noticed that Sonja was doing some writing in the kitchen. 

                                Knowing ahead of time that she sometimes writes messages on customer's plates, I figured that is what she was doing for us. 
                                When Sonja delivered the burger to us, we had a sweet message right on our paper plate. 

                                The reason for the WM was that I was wearing my green College of William & Mary t-shirt.  It is thought that she draws pictures of what people are wearing to remember what food they ordered.  I asked if she would pose with the burger,

                                which she was happy to do.  
                                This is a substantial burger

                                and we were thankful that it was already cut in half for us. 

                                Even then, it is a handful.  Once again, they use fresh, never frozen ground beef and the grill gives the outside of the meat a real nice crispiness.  Along with a ketchup, onions, mustard, pickles and lots of lettuce, all on a toasted bun, you have the recipe for a fine burger.  As a side, we got an order of the fresh cut fries,

                                which were pre-salted and delicious. Noticing that I was taking so many photos, Sonja teased me by asking if I wanted to take a photo or the salt and pepper shakers and laughed, so of course, I did!

                                For most of the time we were at Irv's, we were the only customers, so Sonja had plenty of time to chat with us.  She told us about them buying the place in 2000 from a man named Irv and that the Hongs were now the fifth owners.  She had some great stories passed down to her from the Jim Morrison days and had many more about the neighborhood.  I also asked about the attempt by Peet's Coffee to take over her little space in 2004 and how she was able, with lots of hard work and determination, plus the support from the community, to fight them off.  It is so nice to hear about the little guy winning one of these battles.  To help insure the future of the business, Irv's was declared a historical building.

                                Mariton surprised me by asking Sonja if she could recommend a good place to get her haircut.  Mariton doesn't like to get her haircut in Pittsburgh, because there are so few Asians here and she feels they don't know how to cut Asian hair properly.  She usually gets her hair cut on one of her trips back to the Philippines or visiting her aunt in Japan.  But, if she hasn't traveled for a while, we will drive down to northern Virginia and she has a favorite Korean salon near Falls Church.  We were supposed to go to Virginia the weekend before this vacation, but we had to cancel when I got tonsilitis.  Sonja said there were lots of choices in Koreatown and she even drew us a little map

                                to get there.
                                We had already spent a good hour and a half at Irv's and other customers had arrived, so we said our goodbyes.  Both Mariton and I loved our time at Irv's and this was my favorite Roadfood experience of the trip, if not the year.  Since I have been home, George Motz, who wrote the Hamburger America book, tweeted that he heard Irv's may be closing, but there were no other details.  Needless to say, this has me nervous and we certainly home it isn't true.
                                Irv's Burgers
                                8289 Santa Monica Boulevard
                                West Hollywood, CA
                                We drove around Koreatown for a good bit, until Mariton found a place that looked good.  We stopped, I stayed in the car while she went in to ask them some questions, before waving me in.  Knowing that this was going to make her happy and that it was also preventing us from having to be in the after work rush hour traffic, I was quite content to relax at the salon.  And she was very happy with the finished product!
                                <message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 12/26/12 11:23 AM>

                                  • Total Posts: 2368
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                                  Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 11:26 AM (permalink)
                                  I just saw this report of a burger joint closing in L.A. early next year, but it wasn't Irv's.

                                    Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 11:30 AM (permalink)
                                    Thanks for that link JRPfeff.  A burger stand is a public nuisance, huh?   

                                      Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 12:48 PM (permalink)
                                      Thanks so much for the kind remarks!
                                      You always amaze with the breadth of your knowledge and the extent of your travels.  It seems anyplace that we go, you have already beat me to it.  I am glad if some of these trip reports bring back fond memories for you and I am looking forward to seeing you and Roz again in Mobile.
                                      At which place was I next to your elementary school?  If you do make it to Ugly Roll Sushi today, please report back and let us know what you think.

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                                        • Location: Sunny, CA
                                        Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 12:51 PM (permalink)
                                        I know you go "After" Christmas bargain hunting every year the day after but you have more Chutzpah then I would ever thought of having!
                                        2 days I NEVER go shopping and that's the day BEFORE Christmas and the day AFTER Christmas!
                                        There is no amount of savings that would make me go anywhere near a Mall or shopping center on those days!
                                          carolina bob

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                                          Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 1:02 PM (permalink)
                                          Thanks for posting about Tam's, JRPfeff. The way the owner was treated is typical government bullcrap... harass the little guy until he gives up and throws in the towel. Nonsense like this is why I've turned into such a cynic in my old age.
                                          <message edited by carolina bob on Wed, 12/26/12 1:08 PM>

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                                            Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 5:58 PM (permalink)
                                            Back from shopping and lunch.  The day after Christmas is not crowded at all.  Just don't tell anyone.  The stores are practically empty...  at 7AM.
                                            I had bluer skies for Ugly Roll Sushi which is next to my elementary school.

                                            Gotta love the wall.  I looked for BB and Mariton but didn't find them.  WJ wasn't at work, either.

                                            I ordered my standard, The Spider Roll which is soft shell crab.  But first I ate the $1.00 that's one dollar shrimp.  You can order one serving with a roll:

                                            These are battered and fried after you order them.  Fresh and hot right out of the fryer.  They were delicious.  I could eat a meal just of the shrimp, but they don't serve that.
                                            The Spider Roll:

                                            This was also made to order.  I arrived there at 11:35AM so the rice was freshly made.  It's always been that way when there so they either have a great steamer or make only what they need at the time.
                                            I wouldn't say this roll was the best I've ever had, but for $6.00 you sure can't beat it.
                                            I like Ugly Roll Sushi!

                                              Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 6:06 PM (permalink)
                                              Thanks so much for the report back mar52.  Great photos!  Even a sushi frowner like myself can agree that looks pretty good. 

                                                • Total Posts: 4542
                                                • Joined: 11/20/2000
                                                • Location: Rogue Valley
                                                Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 6:07 PM (permalink)
                                                I can't believe you still have your tonsils, BB. 

                                                  Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 6:20 PM (permalink)
                                                  You'd think with all the free ice cream, I would have had them removed six or seven times by now!

                                                    Re:L.A. Confidential Wed, 12/26/12 7:26 PM (permalink)
                                                    Thursday November 29, 2012 (cont.)
                                                    It was now late enough so that we experienced very little traffic heading to our dinner destination, Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada

                                                    This is a mix of commercial and residential area and we had some trouble finding a parking spot.  It took several passes by the place, but we finally found one about a block away.  We took notice of the attractive outdoor seating area

                                                    on the way in, but it never did warm up on this day and Mariton wanted to eat inside.
                                                    You know how some restaurants have such a big menu that it makes it hard to decide what to order?  This is not that place.  Here is the entire menu. 

                                                    They did have a couple of specials going on,

                                                    but we were going to stick to the basics.  I ordered one fish taco and one shrimp taco for both of us and threw a couple of bucks into yet another distinctive tip jar shell.

                                                    The tacos come out plain

                                                    and then it is up to you to cover it with the condiments of your choice.  And what a condiment bar they have! 

                                                    They have six different salsas.  From left to right, they are radish relish, traditional,

                                                    mango less, mad mango,

                                                    pineapple kiss and avocado salsa. 

                                                    Notice that four of them warn you that they are hot.  And on the end is a larger dispenser simply labeled cream. 

                                                    The ingredients in these condiments is apparently a secret.  For instance, in the mango less, all they tell you is there is no mango.  This is most likely because you can buy jars of the salsa to take home.
                                                    Both Mariton and I enjoyed experimenting with the different toppings.  In this way, it reminded of us of another Chris & Amy recommendation we visited while in Connecticut, Chef's Dog House, with their relish bar.  While I was more conservative with them, just putting on small amounts

                                                    until I found out for sure that I enjoyed the flavor, Mariton went all out and really loaded her tacos up! 

                                                    Of all the salsas, we both agreed that the pineapple kiss had the best flavor, a flavor that really jumped out at you, even though it was borderline too hot for me.  Several other salsas were clearly above my heat tolerance level, but were child's play for Mariton.  The best topping though was the slightly sweet cream.  I don't know what was in it, but it really brought out the flavor of the fish and shrimp.  The one complaint I had was that the salsas were liquidy, which weakened the tortillas and made them real soft and if left sitting very long, made them break apart while trying to lift them to your mouth.
                                                    To drink, they have two of my favorites, jamaica and horchata. 

                                                    The inside of Best Fish Taco is small and there was a line most of the time we were here. 

                                                    There are a scattering of tables, with counter seats in the back,

                                                    facing the surfboards on the wall.
                                                    We give Best Fish Taco in Ensenada a very high recommendation!
                                                    Best Fish Taco in Ensanada
                                                    1650 N.Hillhurst Avenue
                                                    Los Angeles, CA
                                                    After the tacos, we were thinking some dessert would be the proper way to end our day.  We ended up at Fosselman's Ice Cream Company

                                                    in Alhambra.  It looked like the typical ice cream parlor

                                                    and the young guys working here were giving me strange looks for taking photos.  No big deal, I am used to that by now.  The available flavors of ice cream:

                                                    I ordered a hot fudge sundae.  Of course, they asked me if I wanted whipped cream, nuts and a cherry and I said no to them all.  I am tired of taking photos of ice cream sundaes and all you can see is a layer of whipped cream on top.  As it turns out, I could have gotten those toppings because instead of a typical cup, my sundae arrived in a banana split boat. 

                                                    Regardless, I did not like this sundae at all.  The vanilla ice cream was bland, while the hot fudge tasted old.  I threw away over half of it, which never happens to ice cream.
                                                    Mariton originally said that she would just share mine, but when I noticed a couple of her favorite flavors, I got her a couple of scoops. 

                                                    The banana walnut was very good, but it was the fresh mango that really made a big impression.  This had wonderfully fresh and intense mango flavor and we both really enjoyed it.  We gave thought to going back up and ordering another scoop, but we were tired at this point.
                                                    Fosselman's Ice Cream Parlor
                                                    1824 W. Main Street
                                                    Alhambra, CA
                                                    From there, it was an easy drive to our hotel for the night, the Hyatt Place near Ontario airport.            
                                                    <message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 12/26/12 7:32 PM>

                                                      Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 12/27/12 7:57 AM (permalink)
                                                      Friday November 30, 2012
                                                      After Mariton had her usual breakfast of oatmeal and fruit, we headed east on I-10 towards the Coachella Valley. The scenery through here is very pretty,

                                                      with the mountains and the hundreds, if not thousands of wind turbines. 

                                                      Our first stop was a Roadfood classic, Wheel Inn in Cabazon.  This place is best known for the huge dinosaurs they have in a little park behind the building and this was even used in the 1985 movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure

                                                      I love the giant EAT sign out front, but the white banner Under New Management made me nervous. 
                                                      But before we could eat, first we had to take some tacky tourist photos. 

                                                      I particularly like this one,

                                                      which looks like a scene from prehistoric times.  And this one

                                                      has the Apatosaurus munching on a palm tree.  Anyway, we had a good time posing with the dinosaurs, but it was time to eat.
                                                      Wheel Inn is a 24 hour truck stop at heart, with a convenience store right inside the entrance.  Normally I would sit at the great looking counter,

                                                      but it doesn't have the best light, so we grabbed a booth right next to the window, underneath the tv.  Not really feeling hungry, Mariton said she would just share what I order.  The waitress did inform us that anything on the menu, including breakfast, lunch or dinner is always available.  On past visits, I have enjoyed the typical diner like foods, such as a meatloaf sandwich or a hot roast beef.  This day, I had a hot turkey on my mind, but the friendly waitress threw me a curve.  She told me that in her opinion, their two best dishes were the reuben and the Monte Cristo.  This really didn't seem like the right environment for a good reuben, so I ignored that advice.  But the idea of the Monte Cristo intrigued me.
                                                      First thing out was a hearty bowl of vegetable soup,

                                                      which was good, but had too much celery.  The Monte Cristo was a thing of beauty. 

                                                      For those that don't know, this is a ham and cheese sandwich that is dipped in egg and then fried.  This version also had turkey in it

                                                      and was sprinkled with powdered sugar.  It was wonderfully light and supremely eggy.  To my surprise, the waitress brought over some syrup and a container of homemade strawberry preserves to use on the sandwich. 

                                                      Trying to keep an open mind, I tried the syrup, but it was too sweet and it didn't work.  However, the strawberry preserves added to the flavor and this was the way that we ate the Monte Cristo.  Highly recommended! 
                                                      Wheel Inn is also known for their homemade pies.  Here is the list of desserts: 

                                                      The last time here, I had an excellent slice of banana cream, but wanted to try something different.  Once again, the waitress made a recommendation with the peanut butter pie.  She even made the remark that "I know that peanut butter in pie doesn't sound good, but it really is."  I didn't realize until later that she was maybe thinking we haven't ever had peanut butter pie before.  That seemed odd, because it is a very common pie.  

                                                      It was ultra-soft, creamy, with a strong peanut butter flavor.  Not as successful as the banana cream, but still quite good.
                                                      Wheel Inn
                                                      50900 Seminole Drive
                                                      Cabazon, CA
                                                      Our next destination was a mere two miles away.       
                                                      <message edited by buffetbuster on Thu, 12/27/12 9:29 AM>

                                                        • Total Posts: 4719
                                                        • Joined: 11/5/2004
                                                        • Location: Stoughton, WI
                                                        Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 12/27/12 9:03 AM (permalink)
                                                        I do believe I'd enjoy spending some money at Best Fish Taco.  The Camarones Abrigados sound really good and your tacos look great!

                                                          • Total Posts: 7384
                                                          • Joined: 1/18/2001
                                                          • Location: East Greenwich/ Warwick, RI
                                                          • Roadfood Insider
                                                          Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 12/27/12 9:20 AM (permalink)
                                                          Just because its around you doesn't mean it's unique elsewhere. I remember 3 summers ago when I was in South Dakota, folks there were shocked that Chislic wasn't a national dish. My friend Julianne from Milwaukee was astonished that no one knew what a fish fry was when she moved to Seattle nearly 20 years ago.
                                                          BTW, I saw plenty of places selling bagels in the Dakotas, so whats so unique about getting them in NYC? 
                                                          I agree, there is nothing like Ugly Roll Sushi or California Roll Factory that exists here in Rhode Island, I certainly can't get get anything nearly as good here. One of the girls at the Main Street Coffee near me who attends UCLA said the same thing.
                                                          Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada looks like my kind of place! Looking forward to more!

                                                            • Total Posts: 7598
                                                            • Joined: 4/17/2005
                                                            • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
                                                            Re:L.A. Confidential Thu, 12/27/12 12:32 PM (permalink)
                                                            WJ and BB.... that's what I was trying to say.  I'm surrounded by sushi places so I don't notice them as being regional or different.
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