Category Archives: West Covina

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2020

This past year was brutal for all of us, and the restaurant industry was hit especially hard. Like many of you, I have tried my best to support the eateries I love by ordering take-out or delivery. Plus I think we all need delicious comfort food now more than ever to make us feel better and provide a sense of normalcy. As in prior years, I have put together a list of my favorite ten dishes I wrote about (mostly via Instagram lately) during the past year. Here’s hoping for a happier and healthier new year!

Ube Creme Caramel (in the center) from Creme Caramel LA.

10. Ube Creme Caramel from Creme Caramel LA. This Filipino-inspired dessert shop specializes in different flavors of crème caramel. All are amazing but the Ube (purple yam) flavor is my favorite.

Bagels from Maury’s

9. Bagels from Maury’s. We are in the midst of a bagel renaissance in L.A. and these are some of the best. They are ideally consumed hot out of the oven with a scallion cream cheese schmear.

Crispy Soft Shell Crab from Rustic Spoon

8. Crispy Soft Shell Crab from Rustic Spoon. Crunchy, salty and crabilicious, this is my favorite dish at my favorite Valley Thai eatery. It’s served on a bed of Papaya Salad with a sugary Plum Sauce on the side.

Cheeseburger Potstickers from Ms Chi Cafe

7. Cheeseburger Potstickers from Ms Chi Cafe. These jumbo fusion dumplings made with Ground Chuck Roast, Diced Onion and Shredded Cheddar Cheese, and served with Tomato-bacon Jam, were a winning dish for Chef Shirley Chung on Top Chef.

Fried Clam Basket from Connie and Ted’s

6. Fried Clam Basket from Connie and Ted’s. Whole Belly Ipswich Clams are hard to find in LA., and the ones fried up at Chef Michael Cimarusti’s New England-themed restaurant are wicked good!

Bee Sting Pizza with Tomato, Soppressata, Chile, Honey and Basil from Roberta’s

5. Bee Sting Pizza from Roberta’s. Brooklyn’s most hipsterish pizza joint has expanded into Culver City, and this spicy, doughy, cheesy and slightly sweet work of culinary art is not to be missed.

Bread Pudding from B Sweet Dessert Bar

4. Bread Pudding from B Sweet Dessert Bar. In addition to her other incredible offerings, talented pastry chef Barb Batiste serves a rotating selection of 50+ hot bread puddings, each with its own accompanying sauce. My favorites are Salted Caramel, Glazed Donut, Banana Chocolate and Pumpkin.

Lobster Risotto from Melisse x Citrin

3. Lobster Risotto from Melisse x Citrin. There is no better place on the Westside to splurge for a special occasion. This fine dining establishment’s fixed price menu of gourmet delights changes every week and, when ordered to go, includes instructions on assembling each course at home. This heavenly Risotto was from their “Lobster, Lobster, Lobster” set menu.

Dulce de Leche Besito Cookies from Porto’s Bakery

2. Dulce de Leche Besito Cookies from Porto’s Bakery. “Besito” means “kiss” in Spanish and I am head-over-heels in love with these Cuban buttery cookies filled with gooey thick caramel and dusted with powdered sugar.

Uni Pizza with Santa Barbara Uni, Uni Cream Butter, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil from The Joint Eatery

Uni Pizza from The Joint Eatery. This gourmet seafood restaurant and market offers a seafood-themed pizza on Sundays. Every version of this pizza I’ve ordered there has been amazing, but the one that they occasionally make with Uni, Mushrooms and Truffle Oil is transcendent. It’s the best thing I consumed in 2020.

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Filed under Burbank, Culver City, Downey, Glendale, North Hollywood, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Toluca Lake, Valley Village, West Covina, West Hollywood, West LA

Burger Battle!

In case you haven’t heard, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, a hugely successful national chain which started in Washington DC, has come to conquer LA. In the world of fast food hamburgers and fries, Five Guys occupies the same space in the market that In-N-Out Burger has locally dominated for many decades; super-fresh, never frozen ingredients, fries made from potatoes cut in the restaurant and fried in trans fat-free oil, and burgers which are all cooked to order. As we all know, In-N-Out is a Southern California institution. It’s the object of many late-night cravings, the home of an awesome “secret menu” and hidden biblical verse references, as well as the place most frequently visited by LA vegetarians when they’re ready to start eating meat again for the first time. Is Five Guys better than In-N-Out? No, it’s not. But it is better than most other fast food burger restaurants.

The burgers at Five Guys, like In-N-Out, are really good. Five Guys even has several more choices for toppings than In-N-Out, including bacon, jalapenos and sauteed mushrooms. Five Guys also gives you free peanuts to munch on while you’re waiting for your food to be cooked. While I like both burgers a lot, I slightly prefer the burger at In-N-Out mainly because In-N-Out has much better buns. I love the fries at In-N-Out, but Five Guys also has great fries, and you can order Five Guys’ fries with cajun seasoning generously sprinkled on top! Unfortunately, I found the service at Five Guys to be less than stellar. They are not staffed with the uber-efficient yet exceedingly friendly, clean-cut kids that one always encounters when going to In-N-Out. The last time I was at Five Guys, after waiting about 20 minutes after ordering, I was given our burgers and unapologetically informed that they ran out of fries and we would have to wait another 20 minutes while they prepared a new batch. This would never happen at In-N-Out! Also, Five Guys in notably more expensive. So while Five Guys is definitely worth trying, I think In-N-Out has nothing to worry about.

Five Guys currently has locations in Culver City (at the Westfield Culver City Mall), Valencia, Carson (at the Southbay Pavillion) and Thousand Oaks; more locations are opening soon including Northridge, Mid-City and Downtown. In-N-Out is all over Southern California. UPDATE 12/10/11: Five Guys now also has locations open in Cerritos, El Segundo, Northridge, Whittier and Downtown. UPDATE 5/25/13: Five Guys now has additional locations in Long Beach, West Covina, Lakewood, Westwood, West Hollywood and Studio City.

Five Guys Burger

Five Guys Fries

Lots of bragging on the walls at Five Guys

In-N-Out: Still the Champion

Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon
Five Guys Burgers and Fries (Carson, Avalon Blvd) on Urbanspoon
Five Guys Burgers and Fries (Cerritos Promenade) on Urbanspoon
Five Guys Burgers and Fries (USC W27th) on Urbanspoon
Five Guys Burgers and Fries (Valencia Town Center) on Urbanspoon
Five Guys Burgers and Fries (El Segundo) on Urbanspoon
Five Guys Burgers and Fries (Whittier) on Urbanspoon
In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon
In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon
In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon
In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon
In-N-Out Burger on Urbanspoon


Filed under Carson, Cerritos, Culver City, Downtown, El Segundo, Lakewood, Long Beach, Mid-City, Northridge, Studio City, Thousand Oaks, Valencia, West Covina, West Hollywood, Westwood