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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tito's Market

Tito's Market
9814 Garvey Ave
El Monte

Tito's Market is a very popular Argentinian sandwich shop.  This place gets packed.  There is a small market, but most of the building is dedicated to food service.  You order at the counter, where the lines can be very long.  But, they move quickly.

Chicken Milanesa, $4.79,breaded chicken with mayo, lettuce, and tomatoes.  I really liked this sandwich.  The chicken was full of flavor and tender.  The bread was lightly toasted and had a nice texture.  The veggies were fresh. 

Small Milanesa sandwich, $4.79.  As much as I liked the chicken milanesa, I didn't like the beef.  The beef was pretty bland and flavorless. 

Chicken empanada- $1.89.  A pretty good empanada.  There was a ton of well flavored chicken.  The outside was light and flakely.  But, one thing it didn't have much staying power.  I ordered two pieces and had one the next day.  The bag was soaked with oil from the empanada and was pretty soggy.  Best bet, eat it right away.

Beef empanada, $1.89. I didn't like the beef empanada as much.  They put olives in the mixture and the tangy, salty taste ruined it for me.  It just overwhelmed the beef. 

Service was good and the lines move quickly.  Don't be shy about asking if somebody is in line, because some people are standing there waiting for their food, but they look as though they are in line waiting to order.

I would go back for the chicken milanse sandwich and try some of their other sandwiches.  I think the prices for the sandwiches are a steal, and make this one of the best places to get a sandwich in the LA area.  I just won't get the milanese sandwich again.

Via-Mar Seafood Restaurant

Via-Mar Seafood Restaurant
5111 N Figueroa St
Los Angeles

So, Valentina Silva's blog, Eastside Food Bites, is a new found resource for restaurants I want to try, especially in areas like Highland Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park!  She reviewed three fish tacos restaurants; two of which I have already tried; Tacos Baja Ensenada and Ricky's Fish Taco, which is a stand, not a restaurant, but Via-Mar Seafood I haven't tried, yet. Valentina actually did another review of Via-Mar Seafood, for their other seafood items.

Via-Mar Seafood Restaurant is a small restaurant, with only outdoor seating.  It's on the very busy Figueroa St., and you maybe asked to buy candy or give spare change by some of the people walking along the street.

Every Monday is 2 for 1 shrimp tacos in a fried shell.  Tuesday, it's 2 for 1 shrimp tacos, regular price is $3.38.  Every Wednesday is 2 for 1 fried fish tacos, $2.25.  They have grilled taco, but I'm not interested in ordering that.

Shrimp taco, $3.38, deep fried shrimp with cabbage, tomatoes, crema and sauce.  Since I went on Tues., I got the 2 for 1 deal.  These shrimp tacos were huge!!  The batter is very light and crispy.  But, the shrimp was tough and chewy.  Leads me to believe the shrimp was either frozen or it wasn't very fresh.  There is too much cabbage for my tastes, but the tomatoes were fresh.  The sauce was kinda of just there, didn't add much flavor.

Fish taco, $2.47.  Deep fried basa fish with cabbage, tomatoes, crema and sauce.  The batter for the fish was the same as the shrimp.  But, the fish was much fresher and tastier.  This is a big portion of fish.  Again too much cabbage and the same bland sauce.   There is the perfect amount of crema.

The first time I went was for the Tuesday special, then went back on Thursday.  Both times the service was friendly and quick.

I liked the fish taco better than the shrimp tacos here.  But,  I wouldn't rush back here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

1739 Public House

1739 Public House
1739 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles

A couple doors south of Rocco's Italian Market and Deli, and on the same street as House of Pies Restaurant & Bakery, Fred's 62, and Palermo Ristorante Italiano, is 1739 Public House, a gastropub/sports bar.

A huge, three level bar, with a large number of beers on tap, 1739 Public House, is the place for the hipsters of Los Feliz to watch their favorite sports teams.

Grilled chicken wrap;  $8, avocado, yellow squash, tomatoes, in a flour tortilla. Served with a mixed green salad. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013


1734 Colorado Blvd
Los Angeles

After going to Monte 52, based on the review in the Eastsider LA, I read more reviews on Valentina Silva's blog, Eastside Food Bites and found her review of Meea's, a hot dog place in Eagle Rock.  It's across the street from the Blue Hen, a Vietnamese vegetarian restaurant, that I reviewed in 2006, and is still open.

So I went to Meea's, after having the hot dog at Schreiner's Fine Sausage, and being underwhelmed.  If you blink you'll miss Meea's when driving on Colorado Blvd.  Look for the Taco Bell and next door is Meea's.  A small area with only outdoor patio seating, Meea's has been open for about a year.

If you're looking for authentic hot dogs from other cities like Chicago or New York.  No Vienna beef  or Sabrett's hot dogs on the menu.  Meea's has their own all beef hot dog and that hot dog is in every hot dog on the menu.  They do have a veggie and turkey hot dog too.

Hot dog with yellow mustard and raw onions, $3.22. The hot dog was grilled, had good flavor, spices and juicy.  It was very good.  But, the bun overwhelmed the hot dog.  While the bun was nice and soft, with good texture,  it was just too big for the hot dog. 

Service was good.  The guy who too my order, who I believe is the owner, was nice and friendly.

If you're looking for an authentic Chicago hot dog, this isn't the place.  But, if you're looking for a good quality hot dog, you should give Meea's a try.  

Schreiner's Fine Sausages

Schreiner's Fine Sausages
3417 Ocean View Blvd

Schreiner's Fine Sausages is a long time Glendale institution.  They have a big deli case full of deli meats, hot dogs, sausages, and meats.  The other half the building is their dining area, where you can order sandwiches.  

Hot dog, $2.80, with mustard.  A hot dog on a French roll?  Come on.  The hot dog could have been very good, but it was served lukewarm, and the skin was tough and chewy.  If they had steamed the hot dog properly, this could have been a very good hot dog.  The hot dogs sell for about $6.29 a pound in the deli case.  The roll was too tough and just overwhelmed the hot dog.  They need to use a regular hot dog bun!

Corned beef sandwich on roll with mustard, $4.05.   I'm not expecting New York deli corned beef like I get from Canter's Deli, but this corned beef was like any corned beef you get from Boar's Head or a supermarket deli case.  When you order the sandwich they ask if you want the sandwich hot or cold.  I asked for hot, and I'm betting the meat was put in the microwave and heated for about 30 seconds. 

Service was good.  For some reason Schreiner's was packed when I went, but they moved the line quickly and your food is served quickly. 

I was disappointed in Schreiner's because I heard very good things about it.  The hot dog could have been good, if they cooked it properly.  But, the corned beef sandwich was no better than a supermarket sandwich.  I would go back and buy some hot dogs from the deli, so I can cook them myself.  But, I wouldn't go back for their sandwiches.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monte Carlo Deli & Pinocchio's Restaurant

Monte Carlo Deli & Pinocchio's Restaurant
3103 W Magnolia Blvd

A few blocks west of Handy Market BBQ, is Monte Carlo Deli & Pinocchio's Restaurant.  I've must have passed this place a million times but never noticed it, because the front part of the building is blocked by a huge overgrown tree.

Monte Carlo Deli & Pinocchio's Restaurant a huge place with the front of the building an Italian grocery store and the back part the restaurant and deli.  The deli is cafeteria style where the food is on steam or cold tables and you order what you want.

When ordering a sandwich to for dine in, the prices are higher because they include two salads. 

 Small meatball sandwich, $4.75.  WOW, these meats may have been the biggest I've ever had.  The meatballs were huge, moist, and full of flavor!  The meat sauce was kinda of bland, lacking the bold flavors I expect.  The bread did become mushy and fell apart from the sauce.  Interesting that the bread for the sandwiches come with seasame, but the bread for large sandwiches do not.  Overall I did like the meatball sandwich a lot.  I may try their spaghetti and meatballs if I go back.

Large Monte Carlo Combination sandwich, $5.75, mortadela, cotto salami and dry salami, provolone cheese, mayo, mustard, and tomatoes and onions in olive oil.

One thing I won't try again is their Monte Carlo Combination sandwich.  The meats were cheap low quality meats.  I mean you're an Italian deli, at least use a good brand of meats.  The mortadela tasted like baloney and the salami wasn't that much better.  The tomato and onion mixture was fresh, but I'm not buying an Italian cold cut sandwich for the veggies.

Service was good.  The lady was friendly and helpful.

I may go back to Monte Carlo and try the spaghetti and meatballs, because the meatball were awesome!!  But, the bland meat sauce prevents me from rushing back. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Monte 52

Monte 52
5200 Monte Vista St
Los Angeles

There are many sources I use to find out about restaurants.  I was reading a story in the Eastsider LA and noticed another story about a hidden gem sandwich place in Highland Park called Monte 52,  which is located inside La Tropicana Market. 

Cuban, $6, roasted pork, cucumbers, cheese, mayo, mustard.

I thought this sandwich was a bit dry and needed more mustard and mayo.  But, the roasted pork was well cooked and seasoned.  The thing about a Cuban sandwich is the variety of flavors, from the pork to the tangy pickles, and the mustard.  This sandwich had most of it, but needed more mustard.

Italian, $6, ham, capicola and provolone, lettuce, tomato, with spicy giardiniera and chimichurri sauce.  WOW, what a great sandwich. I usually get mayo on my Italian sandwiches, because I hate the vinegar and oil most places put on the sandwiches.  But, I figured I would try the giardinierra and chimichurri and wow,  they were great.  They added a bold and spicy flavor to this sandwich!  The veggies were fresh.   The meats were piled high and the bread was toasted perfectly. 

Service is good.  The guy, who I believe is the owner, was nice and friendly.  Though, he should have suggested a side item, when ordered with a sandwich $1, or ala carte $3.  The pasta and potato salad looked pretty good in the display case.

I would go back to Monte 52 anytime for the Italian sandwich, what a great sandwich!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ocean Star Restaurant-Closed

Ocean Star Restaurant
145 N Atlantic Blvd
Monterey Park

After getting some dim sum to go from Capital BBQ & Dim Sum Express,  I went across Atlantic Blvd and went to Ocean Star.  A huge restaurant on the second floor, I can imagine how busy they are on the weekends.

The weekday dim sum had the ladies with the carts full of dim sum walking around.  You pick what items you want and they will stamp your ticket. 

All these items are $1.68, expect the lobster e-mein, which was $12.

Shrimp har gow.  The inside was very flavorful.  But, eating the inside was like eating gummy bears.  Very gummy and chewy.

Baked BBQ pork bun.  Most people are used to the steamed BBQ pork buns, but I've started ordering the baked BBQ pork buns.  This was just ok, the outside is sticky, maybe made with honey, and had a tough chewy texture.  The pork was ok, not a lot of pork, and lacked flavor.

Steamed BBQ pork bun.  The pork is the same as the baked BBQ buns, but the the outside was good, with a firm texture.
Pork siu mai.  I wasn't too impressed with this.  The pork was ok, it could have used some more seasoning, but the portion size was good.

Lobster e-mein, $12.  The lobster was steamed perfectly.  But, the gravy lacked seasoning and was pretty bland.  The noodles were cooked perfectly too, but the lack of seasoning made this a mediocre dish.  But, the amount of lobster made this a great value, really, it's a steal!

Service was good, but the sui mai cart only came around once during my visit!  Not sure why, because sui mai is one of the most popular dim sum dishes.

I wasn't that impressed with the dim at Ocean Star.  But, the lobster e-mien is a steal, and a bit more seasoning would have made it a very good dish. 

Capital BBQ & Dim Sum Express

Capital BBQ & Dim Sum Express
727 W Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91754

In the same shopping center as NYC Seafood, is Capital BBQ & Dim Sum Express.  The to go store for Capital BBQ & Dim Sum, which is about five stores down.  I had only planned to get dim sum at Capital BBQ & Dim Sum, but afterwards we went to Ocean Star and even more dim sum!

Like other fast service dim sum places, like Four Seasons or Seafood Village, there is a large steam table stacked with dim sum. 

All items are $2.08.  I'm not sure if Capital BBQ charges more for dim sum on the weekends.

Pork siu mai, four in an order.  This was well steamed, had pretty good flavor and I like the portion size. 

BBQ pork bun, three to an order.  The portion size of BBQ pork buns have decreased as prices increase.  Not a good sign.  The bun was soft and moist, but the filling lacked flavor and the small amount of BBQ pork was tough.

Service is pretty good.  The lady is nice, but you do get the idea she wants you to order and get out as quickly as possible.

Capital BBQ & Dim Sum Express isn't some fancy dim sum.  But, if you need a quick dim sum fix, this is a good place to get it. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hot Dog Pops-Closed

Hot Dog Pops
808 N Diamond Bar Blvd
Diamond Bar

Does the outside of Hot Dog Pops look familiar?  Yes, this space used to be D' Antonio's, which was a long time Italian restaurant in Diamond Bar.  After D' Antonio's closed, a Thai restaurant opened and quickly closed; I doubt they were open for more than six months. Then Hot Dog Pops replaced them.

In regards to the name, hot dogs should be easy to figure out.  But, the pops is for soda pop.  They have a large selection of bottled soda!   Most of the bottled sodas are made with sugar, not that nasty HFCS crap.  

Hot Dog Pops has basically the same layout as D' Antonio's, I bet the booth are the same exact booths as D' Antonio's.  But, the decor is different.  There are empty soda bottles all over the store.  
Aron dog, $6.50, on Dutch bread with garlic spread, lettuce diced tomatoes, fried onions, and avocado.  The hot dog is a 1/4 pound all beef skinless hot dog.  I'm betting it's a Hoffy brand hot dog.  It was pretty average and nothing I couldn't get from the store.  But, the hot dog was deep fried, they never mentioned that on the menu.  The vegetable toppings were fresh, though I got tomato slices not diced tomatoes.  But, the onion rings were just frozen onion rings fried in their fryer.  The bread wasn't a bun, but Dutch bread.  This just engulfed the hot dog.  This hot dog was a complete waste of money and time.

Service was pretty good.  The server was nice, but she needs to be trained better.  She brought two boxes since we had leftovers.  When she walked by again, she asked if we needed a bag.  We said yes.  She come by and brings a bag and just leaves it on the table.  Why couldn't she take the 20 seconds to put the two boxes in the bag?  I'll admit this isn't that big of a deal.  But, come on, take the extra step to do a good job.

Hot Dog Pops really should change their name.  For a restaurant that has HOT DOG on it's name, they should have more hot dogs on the menu.  They only have 11 hot dogs on the menu.  But, they have over 20 sandwiches on the menu!  A Montana Dog has chili.  When has Montana ever been known for chili?  How about a Chicago dog?  Or a New York dog?  None of the hot dogs have just mustard and onions; your basic hot dog.   They only have one type of hot dog; a very average brand of hot dog.  They do not have any turkey or veggie dogs.   They could actually steam or grill the hot dogs, instead of deep frying them. Then the price of the hot dog; $6.50, is a complete rip off!  I saw on their business card that all their hot dogs and sandwiches are over one pound.  Well, hell, when the bread is about 1/2 pound, it's easy for the hot dog to be over a pound.

I won't return to Hot Dog Pops. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Taste Chicago-Closed

Taste Chicago
603 N Hollywood Way

I reviewed the Chicago dog at Taste Chicago in 2005, the day before the Chicago White Sox opened the World Series.  Of course, the WHITE SOX won that World Series vs the Houston Astros.   Unlike that other baseball team from the slums of the northside of Chicago; the LOSER Cubs who haven't won a World Series since 1908 or been to a World Series since 1945.  Suffer you drunk, idiot loser Cubs fans!!

Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of one of the biggest choke jobs in baseball history; the 2003 NLCS.  NO, you drunk idiot moron cubs fans, Steve Bartman did NOTHING to hurt your chances of winning Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS.  It was losers like Mark Prior, who couldn't get out of the 8th inning.  Or loser Alex Gonzales who couldn't turn that double play, that would have gotten the losers out of the 8th inning.  Or loser Kerry Wood could have held a 5-3 in Game 7.  Not to mention loser players like STEROID Sammy Sosa or Moise Alou or Eric Karros, who all could have actually gotten hits and driven in runs in Game 7.   Yeah, blame an INNOCENT fan like Steve Bartman for the choke job by the Chicago Cubs.   Hey Cubs fans you're nothing but a bunch of drunk idiots!!

Steve Bartman has always refused to make any money from this incident; he turned down $25K to sign autographs at a show, and has never spoken publicly about the Cubs choking in the 2003 NLCS.  This is the statement Bartman made the next day;

"There are few words to describe how awful I feel and what I have experienced within these last twenty-four hours. I am so truly sorry from the bottom of this Cubs fan's broken heart. 

I ask that Cub fans everywhere redirect the negative energy that has been vented towards my family, my friends and myself into the usual positive support for our beloved team on their way to being National League champs."  Steve Bartman, Oct. 15, 2003

On the other hand, that jerk who ended up with the ball sold the ball for over $100K to a restaurant named after that terrible, overrated, drunk announcer Harry Carey.  People around him gained their 15 minutes of fame.

The Cubs organization handled the Bartman case with class, never blaming Bartman, for their own players choking!  Unlike the media; the Chicago Sun-Times, who actually published where Bartman worked and his hometown, or idiot Steve Lyons who broadcasted the game for Fox TV.  This is what that idiot Lyons, who was recently fired by the Dodgers because he's a terrible announcer, said after that play "Why? I'm surprised someone hasn't thrown that fan onto the field."  Really Steve?  Somebody should throw Lyons out of the broadcast booth!

All loser Cubs fans owe Steve Bartman an apology!  Oh, drunk idiot Cubs fans and loser Red Sox fans, there is no such things as curses!!  It's loser players and managers who didn't get the job done when it counted!  Yes, I know the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007.

Why the stuff about Bartman?  Well, besides getting a chance to rip the drunk idiot Cubs fan base, Taste Chicago is celebrating their 10th anniversary!  They have changed a bit since I went in 2005.  They enclosed the patio area and extended the kitchen and counter area.  Gone is that marquee sign and it's been replaced by a sign with the skyline of Chicago.  The walls are still decorated with Chicago sports teams items and pictures of the owner, who is a well known actor.

Mini deep dish sausage pizza, $7.35.  This was a much better option since I wasn't going to order a 14in. deep dish pizza for myself.  The sauce was ok, very mild and while you could tell it was there, it didn't really add much to this pizza.  The sausage were huge, but pretty flavorless.  But, the dough was just too doughy.  I'm used to a buttery flakey crust, with cornmeal at the bottom.  This was bland flavorless dough.  If you're looking for deep dish Chicago pizza in LA, go to Masa of Echo Park or Union Pizza; or in Orange County Rance's Chicago Pizza.  Sadly, Hollywood Pies has closed.

Maxwell Street Polish, $5.55, with mustard and caramelized onions on a poppy seed bun.  I knew from ordering the Chicago hot dog on my first visit, not to expect much.  Well my expectations were met!  The bun came straight out of the bag, not steamed, not toasted nothing.  The onions were pretty good, well caramelized and flavorful.  While the sausage is made by Vienna Beef, they either don't steamed it correctly or something.  It just tastes off.  Maybe it's not Vienna Beef, maybe it's been around too long.  Or maybe Taste Chicago just has too many items on their menu.  From hot dogs and polish sausages to pasta, to Italian beef and other kinds of sandwiches, two kinds of pizza; deep dish and Silician, salads, and even ribs! 

Service was overall good.  The server was nice and helpful when I placed my order.  He was nice to give a reusable bag to commorate the 10th anniversary of Taste Chicago.  But, when I asked him about why their website is down, he couldn't help at all.  He said it's been out for a long time.  Well, why don't you tell the owners?  Or at least tell the customers you will tell the owner and hopefully it will be taken care of.

I know Taste Chicago is owned by an actor from Chicago, but I could care less.  I don't think the food is any good here and the prices are very high; too high for the quality of the food.  No reason for me to go back!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Izzy's Deli

Izzy's Deli
1433 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica

Izzy's Deli was the second stop of my two stop Santa Monica deli tour.  I went to Fromin's Restaurant first and wasn't impressed. So, I was really hoping Izzy's Deli would be much better. 

A large deli with counter seating, I liked the vibe of Izzy's much better. 

Corned beef, pastrami, muenster cheese, on rye with macaroni salad, $15.50.  The rye bread was very good, nice texture and flavor.  The pastrami was pretty good, well cured, though it may have been a bit too salty.  The corned was very good, well balanced, flavorful, and well cured.

Service was good.  The server wasn't some kid, but an older lady who cared about her job and her customers.  The hostess was also very friendly and nice.

Izzy's Deli is so much better than Formin's, it's not even funny.  If you're in Santa Monica, don't waste your time and money at Formin's, just go a few blocks west to Izzy's Deli!