September 2021 Rundown

Thanks @Dommy!

Had an excellent meal at Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach. It’s been years since we’ve been but it’s as good as it was back in the early 2010s.

After the pizza and garganelli ragu bolognese came out my kids requested another order of prosciutto. Never seen a plate of food eaten faster in my life. Daughter let the other 3 of us have 1 piece of pasta. 1 piece per person. The precision slicing of the prosciutto was impeccable. Mushroom pizza was fantastic as the first time we tried it and meat lovers pizza with sausage, bacon, guanciale and cappicola was extra meaty. Garlic bread was so good. Way better than mine. The only one quibble is that we’re pretty sure that they used to give 6 tomatoes in the caprese salad. Love scooping up the leftover pesto with some bread.


My ten year old boy who never eats sweets other than sour gummy candy (will not eat anything with chocolate or ice cream) says if he gets married he wants the apple pie as his wedding cake. I don’t know where these kids are from. The pineapple sorbet was a better version of dole whip.


… woe unto you should they ever discover jamón Jabugo in Spain. :smiley:


Or white truffles…

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Aside from all the lives lost due to Covid the next biggest casualty was the loss of the bacon bar.

After scouring several Whole Foods locations, I found one that has finally brought it back, kinda. Introducing “bacon bar lite”, or is it “son of bacon bar.”

There wasn’t much there, and it looks like because of the length of the pandemic, they forgot how to properly cook it. But, alas, under-cooked bacon is still better than no bacon.

Two sausage links are the guest stars in this sad looking portion of pale bacon. But still, oh so good.


Jar -

Strolled in for a late dinner on Friday evening.

Service was exceptional.

Everything was solid. Kansas City Steak was perfectly cooked with the right amount of smokey char. Scallops were seared and medium rare-inside. Cocktail program is on point with delicious drinks made with fresh muddled fruit…ask for the sour berry to be made with blueberries.

The most surprising thing…the onion rings here are knock-your-socks-off good. If you are looking for a non-pickled onion ring (thanks, Majordomo). Batter is slightly thicker than tempura and is seasoned well. Onions are delightfully sweet, and there isn’t one hint of greasiness.

The only small gap is that my white peach salad, while good…was a touch overdressed.

It was too dark for photos.


Solidness, thy middle name is Jar…




Farmer’s Market stuff from today…

Bao Bao House (not to be confused w/ “Bao House” or “Bao Haus”)

XLB were eaten too quickly to be photographed. They were more than serviceable; not sure if they make them in-house.

I am a sucker for black sesame anything, and I find many offerings to have WAY too little black sesame flavor (incl, alas, Chantilly Patisserie). Not here. The filling actually could’ve used a touch more (any?) sugar, whiich is quite possibly the first and only time I’ve thought that in my life. But this is the correct amt of black sesame otherwise. :smiley:

Taro filling actually appeared to have grated root in it (woo-hoo!).

Bao dough itself was… not good – gummy and overly moist. But this place has promise.

Délices du Chef
(Ratatouille and croque monsieur were from last month)

I’m normally not a fan of ratatouille (the few I’ve had didn’t cook down the vegetables enough for my taste), so I’m not sure why I got this. It was delicious. Finally, vegetables soft enough that you don’t get the horrific squeaking upon chewing that I so dislike (aside from a few cubes of the eggplant). We added a touch of salt. Glass jar is included. :slight_smile: (and you get a discount on your next order when you bring them back… I think).

The non-meat portion of the croque monsieur was dynamite, although it’s hard to go wrong w/ brioche + cheese. Ham portion of the sandwich was nothing special (and actually was “meh” enough to slightly detract from the rest of the sandwich… To be fair, I recall that Belle Vie touted the ham it was using in its version, and I didn’t find the meat that interesting then, either). So it could just be a me thing.

Other items for sale include moussaka, beef bourguignon, lamb stew (the person ahead of us in line took the last one!), and a variety of soups (incl ginger carrot, I think?).

The vibe from the food is as if your professional-chef, vague Jacques Pepin-ish uncle is doing some home cooking for you.

This will be eaten this wk:

Not pictured: the lovely vanilla cake (looked a bit like a financier to me w/ less browning).

The chef (who I think said he came to the US ~3 mos ago) is not quite completely fluent in English. I don’t recall if he said that brandade was supposed to be re-heated at 117 deg C or 175 deg C. :frowning: If it’s for 10 mins, 175 deg C makes more sense, right?

Edit (forgot to add): the French food ain’t cheap…


Some August and September eats…

Crustees Eatery - Windsor Park

Pecan sweet potato pie is probably one of the best sweet potato pies I have had. Just sweet enough with a creamy filling texture, flakey crust and a little bit of crunch on top from the pecans. The filling was delicately seasoned with autumn spices which only hinted and did not detract from the overall flavor of the pie. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

Across the street, the new Jon and Vinny looks to be making progress.

And right around the corner from Jerusalem Chicken @Dommy

Carnitas El Veneno - South Los Angeles Main St Location

Some really awesome carnitas are to be found at the Main St location on Saturdays and Sundays only, which is some of the best I have had in SoCal.

They recommend using both the salsa rojo and verde together and I added the obligatory chopped cilantro and some pickled onions, all topped with a splash of lime. Each tortilla is reheated with lard.

Mixta - a mix of maciza, trompo, cueritos, lengua, costillita, chicharron and buche. This was a nice assortment of different flavors and textures.

Chicharron - get this and eat it on site as it is insanely good with the crispy skin reminiscent of Ruby BBQ in El Monte. Even the sound of the cleaver crunchy through the skin had a familiar sound, you pork skin fiends know what I’m talking about. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

Costillita - the hits keep hitting, this was a burst of pork flavor and the luscious mouthfeel of melted down pork collagen. Amazing and perhaps my second favorite to the chicharron. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

Cueritos - just great all around although maybe next time I might mix this 50/50 with the costillita.

Definitely check this one out @Jase

Doubting Thomas - Echo Park

Pork belly rice bowl

Oatmeal pancakes with apricot

Ordering is a bit slow, lots of indoor and outdoor seating and it appears they are very dog friendly.

Bar Ama - Downtown LA

Super nachos picadillo

Puffy tacos with carne guisada and ranchero chicken

Grilled okra - excellent

Little Coyote - Long Beach

Classic Italian sub - :heart_eyes::heart_eyes: this might be my favorite Italian right now. The bread is fantastic with a crunch and ever so slight chew yet does not become a disaster after taking each bite. It definitely has a spicy kick to get your attention which was unexpected and much appreciated.

Grandma squares (one pepperoni and one cheese) - the pepperoni was the better of the two, a lot of dough however tasty nonetheless and crispy crust. The pepperoni is sprinkled with a decent amount of chili flake which I enjoyed. The pepperoni they use has a nice punch of flavor. The cheese was good but I’d rather have two squares of pepperoni.

Three Stakxs Kitchen - Carson

Lobster rolls - done Connecticut style hot with butter but seasoned with what I detect as Cajun and some sort of garlic sauce but I could be wrong. Pretty tasty and the lobster was cooked well.

My Father’s BBQ - Carson

Chicken hot link was excellent.

The rib tips were decent but does not compare to Phillips or Woodys. The bbq sauce was really tasty though.

Note: they had a catering event so they had a limited number of items.

I-Naba - Torrance

And I just cannot get enough of I-Naba soba and tempura. Zaru soba and tempura perfection. :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

And as @PorkyBelly noted, tempura bar is open for lunch and dinner. Make reservations accordingly as seatings have always been limited.

And lastly I’ll @CiaoBob so he doesn’t feel left out.


Is the green stuff in the sandwich all pepperoncinis??? And is the cheese slice as thick as it looks???

who’s manning the tempura bar these days? last time i went sergio was working in the kitchen.

It was shredded lettuce, pepperocinis, olive salad and probably some other ingredients I am missing.

Maybe, it was definitely cheese but it was likely 2 or 3 slices. This sandwich is pretty large so the cheese wasn’t so prominent a flavor.

Sergio was definitely making tempura during lunch, then once finished he would go back to the kitchen.


thanks, good to know. are they still using half of the tempura counter to make sushi?

WOAH! Great eats. I am so glad you liked Crustee’s pie. I actually had not tried that variation… but the pumpkin pie is one of my favorites, especially with a Pastry crust. SO GOOD.

Will have to try those Picadillo Nachos at Bar Ama. I love Nachos of this type… it used to be what my mom would call Taco Salad… LOL!

I am a little wait and see about Johnny and Vinnys. The main reason for that location is to serve their Catering and SoFi business rather than a real desire to serve this community. They have been doing some outreach… but with Sunday Gravy so close, I kinda would prefer to patronize them. HOWEVER, since they own Cookbook now… if they have a market and bakery on site… I’ll go… as I am always down there (usually picking up a chili from Crustees once a week lol.).


Yeah, still shared counter. But the will power when sitting at the counter and deciding whether to let the tempura cool at bit or burn the shit out of the roof of your mouth is a real struggle.


Oh dang, I am going back to Crustees to pick up some more pecan sweet potato pies for a some of my coworkers so I’ll have to explore that chili. The pecan sweet potato pie was so so awesome in comparison the the peach crisp pie I also got.


Yes! You have to get that Chili… just a cup… it’s a bit intense in pie form… but that chili on top of some rice or fritos… chili perfection (If you like me, love bean and ground beef chili, quite different than the chili at places like Homestate)


Okay, so to follow up on my last post… I’ve never had brandade de cod b/f. It is supposed taste like really good mashed potatoes w/ chunks of stiff fish? B/c that’s what this tasted like. I did rather enjoy it, and the seemingly tiny portion was actually enough (+ 2 ears of corn each) for a reasonably satisfying dinner.

I was not actually needing dessert, but the Epicurus thread prompted me to finish off the last of our TJ’s frozen mini croissants. Not Epicurus quality, but baked dough + fragrant butter in almost any form is enjoyable. :slight_smile: