August 2019 Weekend Rundown

not sure, maybe just salt.

Mix Mix Kitchen in OC has a great Wine Wednesday special, i wish i could’ve taken advantage but i try not to drink on weekdays since i still have to drive back home to LA County.
They have a $49 prix fixe 4 course menu and on Wednesday they throw in a wine pairing for free, which is about a $20 value

i did the Bib Gourmand menu which is 3 courses for $39. i added the Chicharrones with spicy vinegar for $3.

Chicharrones with Spicy Vinegar

Pork Cheek Adobo, Garlic fried rice, chimichurri

Barramundi, gigante beans, bilbao chorizo, calabrian chili emulsion, squash, cherry tomato

Tropical Verrine (a take on Filipino classic Halo Halo) - coconut panna cotta, tropical fruit, mango sorbet, ube ice cream, macadamia nuts


Perfect! The name “Kali” always makes me think of Indian food.

Thank you so much for this, @porkybelly !!! The last time I had one of Gary Carpenter’s birds was at Alma, which I loved (yeah, I know lots of Alma haters around).

Nice to know Kali is switching things up - time for me to go back, especially with the squab dish.

The last few times I had squab was in SF at Quince (the chef surprised me with a bonus dish of squab risotto) and the dinner lottery at Chez Panisse upstairs.

Glad I have some options in LA now besides a Chinese resto.


you’re welcome, i hope you enjoy it. don’t forget the excellent uni spaghetti and meringue gelato with candied egg yolk shavings for dessert.


Wow those both look really good, Kali’s been on my list for a minute but just haven’t found the time. These photos make me wanna go ASAP!:rocket::running_man:

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Alright didn’t make it to Gwen but I had a return visit to Northern Thai Food Club, my pick for best new restaurant of the year! I made it pretty quick here, Norwalk to Boyle Heights was pretty open. Made a quick pit stop at Lassens Echo Park for some snacks/water for the Hollywood Bowl. I’m still running behind.

They got new menus…


No jackfruit curry! The jackfruit salad was very good from what I sampled today, probably better than Pailin. FYI just because it’s on the menu doesn’t mean they have it. I know I know.

Gaeng Kae Gai. Northern Spicy Chicken Soup. I didn’t think this was too spicy honestly. My body told me otherwise. I had the bubble guts later, was able to liberate myself before and after the show.


This time I added 2 generous spoonfuls of the table side chilli sauce. IMO this is needed for balance! In retrospect I should have asked for one more lime. The Khao Soi was superb.

I got the nam prik ong to-go so I will enjoy that later!

As always the Aunties and Uncles are very sweet here. What’s a better compliment then, “You eat like a real Thai!” Thank you!

I saved room because I wanted to bang bang with Pa Ord.
The Good: Pa Ord is one of the few places I think that uses Holy Basil in their Krapow. Most places will use Thai Basil. So big props for them for using Holy Basil. Krapow is easily one of the most loved dish by Thai’s. Yes I said it.
The Bad: You give me like 5 tiny pieces of basil!

The Ugly: Messed up my order and brought me chicken fried rice lol. No I wanted Krapow Gai, mild.
Wait…plate comes back and it’s fukin chicken breasts. Are you kidding me? The default is grounded chicken (or ground pork, ground beef, or even diced up shrimp). You wanted grounded because it will pick up the fish sauce, oyster sauce, shallots, garlic, sugar, chiles, and the fond. If I was Thai I bet you would have served ground meat. Or maybe it’s my fault but whatever I don’t got much time so I ate fast because I got to haul ass over to the Bowl. The check came I told Auntie,
“Why wasn’t this ground chicken?”.
“Did you tell her?”.
“It’s always ground chicken, why did you give me chicken breasts do I look like Farang to you???”

Walks away. I still tip your ass 20 and not a damn sorry.

Ode To Joy is a must see performed live.

Post meal at Burgers Never Say Die.

Pretty good size parking lot btw across from Silver Lake Wine and Red Lion(not a bad place to finish after some shenanigans).

Like a better McD’s cheeseburger! Nice crispy edges. At $7.35 a burger though, for me I finished it in 4 bites. Not sure if worth it. I personally love the flavor combo of ketchup, onions, and pickles on a burger so I am a fan. Plus their name is a play on The Goonies and when I walked in LL Cool J I Need Love was playing. I think Yuca’s on Hillhurst does it better. But BNSD opens late until midnight so that’s a plus when the craving hits.

CVT Soft Serve…CVT ooohh it’s that guy who charges social media “influencers” double when they want a freebie. I like this guy! Hell yeah he gets my money. And the soft serve is good. I should have got fries to dip! I’m not hard to please though with soft serve I love McD’s vanilla cones

I had a good day!


LOL goof stuff here!

What’s farang? I assume something along the lines of haole?

I also love krapow. Minced pork is my go to.



As far as I understand it, you’re basically correct with the haole comparison.

What I find particularly amusing is that in Farsi, farang is also used to describe “westerners” or foreigners (non Iranians) in general. In fact, the Farsi term for tomato (goj-e farangi) uses the word farang and literally translates to “foreign plum”.

Haha good one but I wanted it mild because I wanted to taste the HOLY Fing BASIL too bad they gave me like 5 tiny pathetic pieces.

I been making it at home with ground beef. My friends mom does a killer version with ground pork and ground shrimp, double meat cleaver action!

The Thai basil is fine but I have a hard time finding holy basil in the markets around me. I’ll have to try at the bigger Farmers Market. And next time I am at Costco I’ll pick up that Red Boat Fish Sauce.

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If you have to ask you must be…


Garlic & Chives (Artesia)
Started the holiday weekend with a leisurely lunch. This location now has lunch specials available during the week for $9. There’s about 10-12 dishes to choose from.
We got the chicken wings and pomelo salad to start and then got our $9 lunch specials. My sister ordered the rice plate special with grilled pork, fried egg, egg roll, and salad. I got the caramelized catfish with pork belly, pickled mustard greens, and crispy rice. Both were exceptionally well done…reminded us of Mom’s cooking.
This place always knocks it out of the park. I also ordered a tray of the pomelo salad for a dinner party tomorrow…they now have a catering menu available, but you have to ask.

Interesting news about the plaza Garlic & Chives is located in. There are some new businesses being built out in the already tight parking lot…looks like a branch of Trieu Chau is moving in. I can’t tell if it’s related to the Westminster/Garden Grove location. But it would be great if it was closer to my house.


I haven’t seen a large pigeon like that in a while!!! dame that looks great

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Dan Modern Chinese

Another place built up with so much hyperbolic hype on multiple websites and influencers prooclaiming it was better than Din Tai Fung (which isn’t that great), we tried this place last year and couldn’t bring ourselves to return (and we usually always try to return and give a place another chance), that’s how horrendous it was.

Walking in, the whole operation looks like it’s being run by a bunch of ABC kids out of college (along with random Non-Chinese help in the open kitchen).

It begins with the 4 panel illustration explaining in English how to eat a Soup Dumpling, which apparently involves biting the top off the Soup Dumpling and pouring Vinegar inside the Dumpling hole before you eat it. :open_mouth: :expressionless: Our Chinese friends couldn’t stop laughing when they read that.

Pan Fried Pork Dumplings:

These just looked wrong and unevenly fried and formed. But we were hungry and hoping they would be great. Sadly, they were not. :frowning:

Biting into one of Dan Modern Chinese’s Pan Fried Dumplings and you’re greeted with blandly flavored Ground Pork. It tastes wrong. Like they were made by a staff that had no idea what a Chinese Pan Fried Dumpling is supposed to taste like. It tastes mainly of Salt (not enough), and that’s it. :frowning:

It gets worse…

Scallion Pancake:

Just look at the pictures and you can see the texture is wrong, it’s totally saturated in oil (bad technique, wrong temperature), and the taste was even worse: Chalky, greasy, oily cardboard. :sob: :angry: This is easily the worst Green Onion Pancake we’ve tried in years. (@JeetKuneBao @beefnoguy @PorkyBelly @paranoidgarliclover @Sgee and others)

Dungeness Crab Fried Rice:

Wet, soggy Fried Rice. Zero Wok Hei (Breath of the Wok). It tastes like some kid / Non-Chef took some Rice, some Eggs and lightly sauteed them together in a Non-Wok, following instructions. There was no Dungeness Crab flavor coming through at all, it might as well been called “Fried Rice.” :frowning:

Pan Fried Pork & Crab Bun (Not Sheng Jian Bao):

We overheard one of the servers tell another table that their Pan Fried Buns are their Sheng Jian Bao. Just look at the presentation and pics. I’m sure @JeetKuneBao @beefnoguy @PorkyBelly @Ns1 would be all over this ridiculous presentation (not!). :expressionless: You get 2 Sheng Jian Bao per order, and they looked sad. Really sad.

The first bite is a mouthful of chalky, dried out, dense Bao (Steamed Bun) type of material, if it could be called that. I have no idea how any kitchen could make something this terrible. None of us finished our Pan Fried Bun. And the Dungeness Crab? At least you could taste something heavily briny (not fresh), but this was no bueno.

Broccoli with Garlic:

No Wok skills, No Wok Hei. Tasted like lightly sauteed Broccoli in a pan.

Xiao Long Bao (Pork Soup Buns):

And finally we got what various websites and people were proclaiming as “better than Din Tai Fung” Xiao Long Bao (XLB or “Soup Dumplings”). The XLB skin is thin-ish like Din Tai Fung, but that’s where the similarities end.

Like the Pan Fried Dumplings, the Xiao Long Bao filling tastes off: You get a bland, generic Ground Pork taste with some Salt, and whatever “Broth” was in there is sparse and tastes poorly made. Also some of the worst “Soup Dumplings / Soup Buns” we’ve had since I can remember. :sob:

Dan Modern Chinese feels like a bunch of fresh out of college kids decided to pool some money together and open up a “hip” “modern” take on Chinese Dumplings and Xiao Long Bao, opening this up in a cute little courtyard in Pasadena, in the hopes of pulling in as many Non-Chinese clientele as possible. Which is their choice and fine, except for the fact that they forgot to add anyone who can cook. :expressionless:

Every dish at Dan Modern Chinese tastes like some Non-OG, Non-Cook decided to Google “Chinese Dumpling Recipe” and then followed the instructions from a random Food Network recipe on how to make Chinese Dumplings. :sob: :stuck_out_tongue: :roll_eyes:

There is no soul to this food: It tastes bland, generic, poorly made. The Scallion Pancakes and Xiao Long Bao and Pan Fried Dumplings and Crab Fried Rice were all some of the worst examples of their dishes I’ve ever eaten.

There’s a reason @ipsedixit simply said “Dan is bad,” and said no more. We wish we had seen that warning before we went. Normally a restaurant this bad might’ve just caused me to delete all pictures and never speak of it again, but then I thought about all of my FTC’ers. FTC’ers don’t let FTC’ers eat bad food. Avoid at all costs.

Dan Modern Chinese
146 S. Lake Ave #105
Pasadena, CA 91101
Tel: (626) 817-9799

Shanghai Dumpling House

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, we had to stop by a place we knew delivered legit XLB and Dumplings. Time for a revisit to the generically named Shanghai Dumpling House. :slight_smile:

Seaweed in Spicy Sauce:

A touch on the salty side, but cool and refreshing as well.

Xiao Long Bao (Juicy Pork Dumpling):

Their Xiao Long Bao are listed on the menu in English as “Juicy Pork Dumpling” which totally baffled us, but luckily our Chinese friends pointed out that those were the Xiao Long Bao (written in Chinese).

These are medium-thick skin Xiao Long Bao (or “Soup Dumplings” / “Soup Buns”). Not as thick as Mei Long Village for those from our old board that have been to that place. The flavor is that of a beautiful, savory, soulful Marinated Ground Pork filling and succulent Pork Broth inside. Delicious! :blush: (Thanks again @secretasianman.)

Handmade Pork with Napa Dumplings:

Their Handmade Pork & Napa Cabbage Dumplings are excellent! Slightly thicker skin than their Xiao Long Bao, it has a nice toothsome mouthfeel, good bite, nice Marinated Ground Pork and Napa Cabbage filling. Perfect with a light dab in the Chinese Black Vinegar. :blush:

Shanghai Dumpling House
227 W. Valley Blvd., Suite #128B
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Tel: (626) 282-1348

Happy Noodle (Revisit)

Before heading back west, we had a craving for some of the great Vegetarian Dumplings @ipsedixit couldn’t stop raving about, so we stopped by Happy Noodle again.

Wonton with Hot Chili Sauce:

Happy Noodle’s Handmade Wontons in Chili Sauce (their take on the Sichuan classic) is made with a thin, soft outer Wonton skin, with a nicely balanced and seasoned Marinated Ground Pork filling, along with a real spicy kick. There’s also a big Garlic component as well. Tasty. :slight_smile:

Steamed Dumpling with Squash:

But the real surprise and must get dish here is the Steamed Dumpling with Squash. There is a perfect toothsome chew to the Handmade Dumpling skin. It’s pliable, tender, but also has enough of a chew to it. But then you get to the filling, made with Xi Hu Lu Squash, Wood Ear Mushrooms and Vermicelli, and with a quick dip in some Chinese Black Vinegar, you get some of the best OG Chinese Vegetarian Dumplings we’ve ever had! :blush: I can see why @ipsedixit likes them so much!

There’s a textural contrast component to this - the tenderness of the Xi Hu Lu Squash, the crunch from the Wood Ear Mushrooms, a bit of inbetween bite with Vermicelli, all inbetween a nice Handmade Dumpling skin. (And it’s naturally Vegan as well.) :slight_smile:

Happy Noodle
4815 El Monte Ave.
Temple City, CA 91780
Tel: (626) 279-7558

Northern Cafe (Monterey Park)

We originally didn’t pay much attention to FTC reports about “Northern Cafe” because having tried a couple branches, they were mediocre at best. But as @chandavkl and @J_L thankfully clarified, this particular branch of Northern Cafe in Monterey Park (on Garfield Avenue) is not related to the other Northern Cafes. We stopped by this branch with a few Chinese-speaking friends who spoke at length with a manager, who emphatically said that their store was not related to any other “Northern Cafe”. Interesting. :slight_smile:

You can see them making fresh Noodles by hand every few minutes.

Cold Plate - 3 Items:

Northern Cafe Monterey Park has a small selection of Cold Appetizers to choose from. Their Cucumbers in Garlic was the best item, crisp, crunchy, garlicky.

Their Beef Stomach was OK. A touch salty, a bit too chewy. The Pig Ears were so-so. Not that compelling, one note seasoning.

Northern Cafe interestingly has a variety of items that feel all over the board (Fried Noodles, Skewers, Dumplings & Pastries).

Grill Beef Tendon Skewers:

Unfortunately Northern Cafe Monterey Park’s Beef Tendon Skewers were not good at all: Sticky(!), chewy (like Nougat), no real grill flavor, definitely a far cry from Aburiya Raku’s legendary Tendon Skewers (RIP). :frowning:

Green Onion Pancakes:

Greasy, over fried, not crispy. Floppy. :frowning: Much better than Dan (Pasadena), but just a pretty mediocre Green Onion Pancake otherwise.

Spicy Chicken (with Sliced Noodle):

But the dish to get is under their “House Special” section simply called “Spicy Chicken (with Sliced Noodle)”. What arrives at your table is a huge metal plate filled with piping hot Sauteed Chicken, Wood Ear Mushrooms, Bell Peppers, Onions in a Spicy Sauce. It’s like a Stewed Chicken dish in a way.

Taking a bite, it’s tender, flavorful, fresh-tasting Chicken morsels in a gentle, nice Chili flavoring, and it is delicious! :blush:

And then you dig within and see some Knife Cut Noodles, thick, toothsome, with a beautiful chew. A perfect accomaniment to the Chicken! (Thanks @J_L for the recommendation!) :blush:

Beef Roll:

Since the decline of 101 Noodle Express’s famous Beef Roll, we haven’t really found something standout. Northern Cafe Monterey Park’s Beef Roll is tasty: A medium-thin outer layer that isn’t greasy, with some nice Marinated Beef Shank slices, a good punch of Green Onions and Hoisin Sauce. A solid Beef Roll. :slight_smile:

Northern Cafe (Monterey Park)
128 N. Garfield Ave.
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Tel: (626) 766-1258


I’ll ask the Son at Trieu Chau in Santa Ana about this possible new location. (New Trieu Chau on Brookhurst x Westminster is not as good). I am due for a visit.

Interesting is Phnom Penh Noodle Shack Cerritos location is down the street (It’s called Rice Noodle I think).

So you got Viet and Cambodian style down the street from each other!

Little Saigon also has 3 different styles of Hu Tieu.


Lol at Dan. My Grandma would laugh at that. Man I miss her hot fresh scallion pancakes with some scrambled eggs on the side. Just some sad looking dumplings and scallion pancakes.

Happy Noodle’s squash dumplings are some of the best veg dumplings in SGV. Pretty unique filling compared to other places.

Been looking for another place for XLB so thanks for visiting Shanghai Dumpling House.

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Cornucopia of porcine goodness. Mixta, buche, costilla taco with a side of chicharron at the Chicharron Man in Canoga Park