Ever since visiting Thailand back in 2007 I’ve been on a futile quest to recapture some of the great meals I had there, minus the expensive plane ticket. Pad thai from a street cart in Bangkok, khao soi from a night market in Chiang Mai, rice noodle soup from a shack in Phitsanluk (oh, how I miss you legs hanging rice noodles.) So back in July when The Guru called Siam Sunset, a coffee shop looking restaurant connected to an America’s Best Value Inn, the Thai-est Thai restaurant in Thai-Town I was instantly interested. He described it as being the cafe you’d find around the corner from your apartment in Bangkok, but the thing that got me most excited by the review was the fact that they have a menu of specials for just $3.95. That’s right. 4 bucks!
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Last month The Guru released his annual 99 Essential Restaurants list, and naturally I scoured it with an eye towards under $10 lunches. One in particular that caught my eye was Kobawoo, a Koreatown bossam specialist. Their signature dish (the bossam) is a big $27 plate filled with slices of boiled pork belly, a special kimchi, and possibly raw oysters? As great as it sounded it’s waaay out of the ML price range- but I was super excited to discover that they have a lunch special portion of bossam for under $10!!!
Urgh. I’m barely half way through Jonathan Gold’s 99 Things to Eat Before You Die, and this week he he goes and drops his 99 Essential Restaurants list. Thankfully there is some crossover, and I already got the memo about a bunch of the places (Chichen Itza, Daikokuya, Huckleberry, Jitlada, Langer’s, and Sapp’s Coffee Shop- to name a few) but it did add a bunch more to my constantly going wishlist of lunches… like the birria from El Parian, the bosam at Kobawoo, that damn doughnut at Nickel Diner (that’s lunch, right?!), and Ethi0pian at Meals by Genet. I’m also curious about Flame in Westwood, although I can’t help but wonder if this one will get replaced on next year’s list by Attari Grill!
Best Banh Mi is Not in the SGV: Great news for those of us banh mi fans who don't have time to tavel to the San Gabriel Valley during lunch: "The Guru" has reaffirmed Buu Dien (on Broadway in Chinatown) as the best banh mi spot in L.A. That is completely do-able for anybody who works Downtown...
Posted at 10:00 am, July 19th, 2010 | 0 Comments
If a measure of a city’s food is the length of their citizen’s “To Eat” lists Los Angeles could be top 5 in the world. It’s bad enough that Saveur released their gorgeous ode to L.A. eating the very month I moved here… add to that all the recommendations, the emails, comments, in the forums, suggestions from friends, and of course all the great food blogs. And now this: Jonathan’s Gold’s 99 Things to Eat in L.A. Before You Die!?! My lord, you people are killing me. (And yet it be a crime if I didn’t say this… keep ‘em coming.)
I thought long and hard what my first lunch in L.A. would be. In Midtown it was this place called Hing Won, and it epitomized everything about what a perfect Midtown Lunch should be. So I wanted my first lunch here to be just as special. Street food? An all you can eat buffet? French dip? So many options. And then I saw this on Squid Ink. When asked by a reader where she could find the best khao soi in L.A., “The Guru” (aka Jonathan Gold) pointed her towards Spicy BBQ- a Northern Thai restaurant on Santa Monica and Normandie, on the outskirts of Thai Town.
I’ve been a big khao soi fan ever since trying it for the first time a few years ago in a Chiang Mai night market. You don’t see it too often in American Thai restaurants because it is exclusively a Northern Thai dish, and most restaurants here don’t serve dishes from the north. I had actually never tried (or even heard of) khao soi before seeing it being eaten by others in that night market, and my wife had to use the patented finger pointing ordering system to get us a bowl.
I found a decent version in Midtown, but it was a far cry from the original (isn’t it always?) and I was pretty excited to see if L.A. could do any better. (Spoiler Alert: It can, and it does.)