Saturday, September 4, 2010

Los Angeles I

PTL Duck

A long weekend of enjoying sunshine and great food in Los Angeles.

On the first day we made a foray into Westminster to check out the Vietnamese offerings. 

Pho Thanh Lich - Pho Dac Biet Special w/ filet mignon - nice broth with a subpar clump of rice noodles.  O.k., though not great.  Duck Soup Rice Noodle w/ Duck chop - really ducky soup flavor and nice vermicelli rice noodles accompanied by some duck.  I actually preferred this to the Pho, but it's only offered on weekends.

Asian Garden Food Court - this mall is a fun little walk into a completely Vietnamese environment.  The food offered looked interesting, I went for a shrimp cake and some bun cuon.  The bun cuon was a bit dry and needed more filling, the shrimp cake on a sugar cane stick was nice, but not noteworthy.

We walked over to a nearby fruit stand where we found lots of giant durian, bags of rambutans, mangosteens, bell fruit and dragon fruit.  We got some to eat later.

In the same little strip mall we found a Banh mi Che Cali and ordered three different sandwiches: one ham and head cheese another xiu mi (meatball) and one bbq pork.  The bbq pork meat was juicy and well seasoned, the meatball was also good and the ham and head cheese was straightforward.  Unfortunately, we all felt that the bread was just o.k. and agreed that we preferred the sandwiches at Saigon Sandwiches in SF.

On our way out of the area we stopped at Galloway's Pastries -- we had a chocolate mousse cake and a cream puff.  The cream puff was average while the chocolate mousse cake was very good.

We went to browse the aisles at H Mart, which was much smaller than we had imagined.  J got a few items and we laughed at one of the stands named Dae Jang Geum.  Next door was a dumpling shop that specialized in giant buns -- wang mandoo.  They tasted almost exactly like Chinese mantou.

Overall, we found many places in Westminster, but lacked a good guide or information on which spots were best.  As a result, we weren't particularly impressed, but I see there is definitely potential in that neighborhood -- if only we had a local with us to properly explore it.

Our next stop was Venice Beach area.  A & J had a blueberry mint lemonade from Lemonade and a double chocolate chip cookie from 3 square. We looked at some furniture and were surprised by the intelligentsia coffee line, then again Blue Bottle has equally enthusiastic devotees. We stopped into Jin Patisserie fror a hazelnut and a chocolate dessert.  Both were very good.

Our next stop was Almondine where we picked up a croissant, it was light and airy, though not particularly moist.

Finally, we ended up at Park's BBQ - ordered the #12 pork belly and the #3 seasoned kalbi. 
pork belly, kim chi bbq

This is the best Korean bbq I've ever had.  The meat was very high quality and well seasoned, not overly sweet and the panchan were spot on.  The pork belly is thickly sliced belly then grilled with kim chi, a great combination. The seasoned kalbi is thick and juicy, full of flavor not too sweet. I would come back for either and would love to try their American Wagyu. Panchan was just o.k., but we liked our service. J thought the bibim naengmyun was very good, with a nice balance of sauce, cucumbers, and asian pears, and the noodles were above average.

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