Category Archives: Woodland Hills

14 Best Peanut Butter Treats in LA for 2018


I am a peanut butter fanatic, a peanut butter fiend, a peanut butter junkie. I am nuts about peanut butter and I love it more than almost anything else. If a restaurant or bakery has a peanut butter dessert on the menu, I automatically order it. And I always keep a jar at home in the fridge for snacking or adding to other desserts. After years of dedicated research, I share with you my 14 current favorite peanut butter treats in Los Angeles (in no particular order).

Peanut Butter Meringue Pie from Pie 'n Burger

1. Peanut Butter Meringue Pie from Pie ‘n Burger (913 E. California in Pasadena) This is one awesome pie. Creamy and delicious peanut butter pudding in a delcious butter crust topped with meringue. They serve it every other day, alternating with Butterscotch Meringue Pie.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream from Mashti Malone's

2. Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream from Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream (1525 N. La Brea Ave. in Hollywood) This frozen treat is rich and creamy with chunks of peanut butter and chocolate. It’s surprising that a store famous for their Persian rosewater ice creams and sorbets would make the best peanut butter ice cream in the city, but they do!

“Old School” Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich from PBJ.LA

3. “Old School” Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Sandwich from PBJ.LA (317 S. Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles) The hippest new stall in Grand Central Market is a purveyor of old school goodness, including this round sandwich of house-made peanut butter and house-made jam on two slices of soft crustless white bread which have been pressed together around the edges to form a pocket.

The Huell from Stan's Doughnuts

4. The Huell from Stan’s Doughnuts (10948 Weyburn Ave. in Westwood) Stan’s actually makes three amazing peanut butter doughnuts: a Peanut Butter & Banana Doughnut, a PB&J Doughnut and “The Huell,” with chocolate chips and peanut butter, named after local TV celebrity Huell Howser.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake with McConnell’s Double Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream from Charcoal Venice

5. Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake with McConnell’s Double Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream from Charcoal Venice (425 Washington Blvd, Marina Del Rey) If this rich, moist layer cake made with chocolate and peanut butter wasn’t decadent enough, it’s served with a generous scoop of McConnell’s incredible Double Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream.

Peanut Butter Popcorn from California Frozen Poppers

6. Peanut Butter Popcorn from California Frozen Poppers (7138 Shoup Ave, West Hills) If you’ve never had frozen popcorn, this is a good place to start. The Peanut Butter flavor at this awesome store is crunchy, salty and perfectly sweet.

Peanut Brittle Cookie from M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica

Peanut Butter Cookie from M Street Kitchen

7. Peanut Butter Cookie from M Street Kitchen (2000 Main St, Santa Monica) This is my favorite peanut butter cookie in town. It pairs well with a nice glass of milk.

Peanut Butter Chip Cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes

8. Peanut Butter Chip Cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes (9635 S. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills) This is my all-time favorite cupcake. Chocolate chip-studded peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting covered in chocolate sprinkles. They only have them on Tuesdays and Sundays.

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Cakewich from Cake Monkey

9. Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Cakewich from Cake Monkey Bakery (7807 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles) Happiness is a yummy yellow cake sandwich filled with peanut buttercream, housemade marshmallow and coated with bittersweet chocolate.

Peanut Butter Icebox Pie from Magnolia Bakery

10. Susie’s Nutty (Whoppie Pie) from SusieCakes (Locations in Los Angeles, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Studio City, Brentwood, Manhattan Beach and Marina del Rey) Who wouldn’t love two chewy peanut butter cookies sandwiched with peanut butter buttercream?

Susie’s Nutty (Whoopie Pie) from SusieCakes

11. Peanut Butter Icebox Pie from Magnolia Bakery (8389 W. 3rd Street in Mid-City) This is one of several peanut butter offerings from one of my favorite bakeries in the city. It has a super light, creamy and delicious filling which sits atop a denser crust. I can devour a slice in about five seconds flat.

Peanut Butter Stuffed Mochi from Fugetsu-Do

12. Peanut Butter Stuffed Mochi from Fugetsu-Do (315 E. 1st St. in Little Tokyo/Downtown) This sweet shop has some of the best mochi in town and my favorites are these soft and chewy mochi disks stuffed with peanut butter. It’s the Japanese equivalent of an Abba Zabba bar!

Deep Fried Fluffer Nutter with Fresh Bananas from Black Market Liquor Bar

13. Deep Fried Fluffer Nutter with Fresh Bananas from Black Market Liquor Bar (11915 Ventura Blvd. in Studio City) Top Chef’s Antonia Lofaso has created this dessert sandwich of peanut butter, marshmallow and bananas on sweet brioche, which is covered with panko bread crumbs and deep fried until golden. It’s wicked good!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich from Diddy Riese

14: Diddy Riese Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich (926 Broxton Ave. in Westwood) There always seems to be a line outside Diddy Riese, which bakes up delicious cookies. I love their ice cream sandwich made with Dreyer’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream and peanut butter cookies. At $2.50, the price can’t be beat!

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Calabasas, Downtown, Hollywood, Manhattan Beach, Marina del Rey, Mid-City, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Studio City, West Hills, Westwood, Woodland Hills

The 10 Best Burger Joints in Los Angeles

Cassell's Hamburgers
If there’s one food that we excel at in Los Angeles, it’s hamburgers. There are no shortage of excellent eateries in this city at which to celebrate the holy marriage of grilled meat patty and bun, preferably with a thick slice of melted cheese, a whole mess of sautéed onions and a couple strips of bacon in between. It has been a life-long mission of mine to identify the very best of these local burger establishments. Here are my top ten favorites:

"The Burger" from Golden State with Harris Ranch Beef, Fiscalini Farms Cheddar,  Applewood Smoked Bacon, Arugula and Ketchup

“The Burger” from Golden State with Harris Ranch Beef, Fiscalini Farms Cheddar, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Arugula and Ketchup

10. The Golden State (426 N. Fairfax, Los Angeles) This little gem lies in the middle of all the hip hop shops and Jewish bakeries on Fairfax. All ingredients in their awesome burgers and other menu items are locally sourced from California including high-end Harris Ranch beef and award-winning Fiscalini cheddar.

Piku "Fig" Burger from Pono Burger with Housemade Drunken Caramelized Fig Jam, Organic Beef Patty, Fermier Brie Cheese, Niman Ranch Bacon and Crushed Hazelnuts

Piku “Fig” Burger from Pono Burger with Housemade Drunken Caramelized Fig Jam, Organic Beef Patty, Fermier Brie Cheese, Niman Ranch Bacon and Crushed Hazelnuts

9. Pono Burger (829 Broadway, Santa Monica) The funky looking metal structure that houses this joint (it looks like a mini airplane hanger) will draw you in. The Hawaiian-style burgers, sweet potato fries and salted caramel shakes will keep you coming back.

Chef Katsu's Original California Roll Hamburger with Snow Crab Salad, Avocado, Sushi Ginger, Boston Lettuce, Tomato, Nori, and Wasabi-Shoyu-Mayonnaise

Chef Katsu’s Original California Roll Hamburger with Snow Crab Salad, Avocado, Sushi Ginger, Boston Lettuce, Tomato, Nori, and Wasabi-Shoyu-Mayonnaise

8. 26 Beach Restaurant (3100 W. Washington Blvd in Venice) There are several places that have an extensive menu of over-the-top themed burgers such as a Peanut Butter & Jelly Burger. 26 Beach is the best of that lot. They are especially known for their “Sushi Burgers” including a California Roll Burger, and Spicy Tuna Burger and a Mori Eel Burger.

Cheese Burger from Pie 'n Burger with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing, Pickles and Lettuce

Cheese Burger from Pie ‘n Burger with Homemade Thousand Island Dressing, Pickles and Lettuce

7. Pie ‘n Burger (913 E. California Blvd, Pasadena) This old school diner with a long winding counter is a mandatory stop for me when I go to the Rose Bowl or am otherwise in Pasadena. As you can glean from the restaurant’s name, you’re missing out if you don’t order both a hamburger and a slice of one of their amazing pies.

Griddled Cheese Burger from Ledlow with American and Cheddar Cheeses, Red Onion, Dill Pickle, Dijon and Garlic Aioli

Griddled Cheeseburger from Ledlow with American and Cheddar Cheeses, Red Onion, Dill Pickle, Dijon and Garlic Aioli

6. Ledlow (400 S. Main St in Downtown) The newest restaurant of local superstar chef Josef Centeno (Baco Mercat, Bar Ama, Orsa & Winston), Ledlow is more than just a burger joint. However, their Griddled Cheeseburger seems to be the speciality of the house and has quickly drawn much-deserved acclaim from LA foodies.

Double Double from In-N-Out Burger

Double Double from In-N-Out Burger

5. In-N-Out (all over Los Angeles) Yes, it’s a fast food chain, but don’t hold that against it. At $3.60, the Double Double is the best deal in town and is better than most of the pricey burgers at nice restaurants. I like to add toppings from their secret menu, including chilies, grilled onions and pickles.

Hickory Burger from The Apple Pan

Hickory Burger from The Apple Pan

4. The Apple Pan (10801 W. Pico Blvd in Westwood) This 68-year-old diner is an LA landmark. All seating is at a U-shaped counter, where you’re served by uber-efficient grumpy old men. It’s super fun, especially late at night, and their Hickory Burgers are awesome.

Cheeseburger from Belcampo with Dry Aged Grass Fed Beef with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

Cheeseburger from Belcampo with Dry Aged Grass Fed Beef with Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

3. Belcampo Meat Co (317 S Broadway in Downtown; also 1026 Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica) It’s perhaps more of a gourmet butcher shop than a burger joint, but the cheeseburgers sold at this stall in Grand Central Market are phenomenal. They’re made with a special Wagyu-Angus meat blend and are served on fresh sesame seed buns. Belcampo just opened a fancier restaurant in Santa Monica where you can also get a burger, but I’m partial to the ones served downtown.

The Hatch Burger from Umami Burger with Roasted Hatch Chilies, House Cali Cheese and Roasted Garlic Aioli

The Hatch Burger from Umami Burger with Roasted Hatch Chilies, House Cali Cheese and Roasted Garlic Aioli

2. Umami Burger (multiple locations) In a short period of time, this revolutionary burger restaurant has expanded into a ubiquitous chain throughout Los Angeles and has been widely emulated. Their burgers are made from specially seasoned meat blends and their Portuguese-style buns are sweetened with milk and honey. It’s a toss up for me as to which of their burgers is the best: the decedent truffle burger or the spicy hatch burger made with four types of green chilies.

Cheese Burger from Cassell's Hamburgers with House Ground Prime Beef Patty and Cheddar Cheese on a Parker House Bun.

Cheeseburger from Cassell’s Hamburgers with House Ground Prime Beef Patty and Cheddar Cheese on a Parker House Bun.

1. Cassell’s Hamburgers (3600 W 6th St in Koreatown) This is my new favorite burger joint in LA. First established in 1948, this restaurant recently reopened in a cool retro space in the historic Hotel Normandie. Now under new ownership, their burgers have some similarities to the ones which made Cassell’s an LA institution, but are significantly improved. They are now the perfect combination of gourmet excellence and classic style.

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Filed under Burbank, Canoga Park, Downtown, Fairfax, Glendale, Hermosa Beach, Hollywood, Inglewood, Koreatown, Los Feliz, Marina del Rey, Mid-City, North Hollywood, Northridge, Panorama City, Pasadena, Porter Ranch, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Toluca Lake, Tujunga, Van Nuys, Venice, West LA, Westlake Village, Westwood, Woodland Hills

A Hot Mess

The Boiling Crab
The Boiling Crab feels like a guilty pleasure, not because it’s unhealthy, but because it’s insanely messy. Here’s how it works: You drive to Koreatown, Alhambra or Rowland Heights and wait for an hour or two because this is a popular restaurant chain that doesn’t take reservations. When you’re finally seated, you’re given a bib along with your menu.

Order a cold beer and a couple appetizers. The spicy gumbo and the fried oysters are a good call. But the main attraction here is the peel ’em and eat ’em shrimp, four different kinds of crab, crawfish and lobster, all of which are ordered by the pound and placed in clear plastic bags with your choice of seasoning (Rajun Cajun, Garlic Butter and my favorite — Lemon Pepper), and boiled to perfection along with corn on the cob and spicy sausage.

When the bags arrive at your table, the real fun begins. Hands get sullied, propriety is abandoned and chaos ensues in a whirlwind of twisting, cracking, digging and consuming. At the end you’re left with a glorious mess of discarded shells, dekerneled cobs and a mountain of crumpled, sauce-drenched napkins. Give everyone at your table a high five and never speak of this experience again, especially to uptight friends or significant others who frown upon such gluttonous depravity. What happens at The Boiling Crab should stay at The Boiling Crab.

The Boiling Crab is located at 742 W. Valley Blvd. and 33 W. Main Street in Alhambra, 18902 E. Gale Ave. in Rowland Heights and 3377 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles (in Koreatown). UPDATE: The Boiling Crab has expanded quite a bit. There are now additional locations in Westwood, Albhambra, Rosemead, Woodland Hills and Burbank for you to make a mess in. Plus there’s a “Boiling Crab To Go” wing at its Koreatown location so you can make a mess at home.

Fried Oysters

Fried Oysters


Gumbo

Gumbo


Cajun Fries

Cajun Fries


Shrimp with Rajun Cajun Seasoning

Shrimp with Rajun Cajun Seasoning


Snow Crab Leg with Lemon Pepper Seasoning, Corn and Sausage

Snow Crab Legs with Lemon Pepper Seasoning, Corn and Sausage


Worth the wait

Bibs are the new must-have fashion accessory.


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Filed under Alhambra, Burbank, Koreatown, Rosemead, Rowland Heights, Westwood, Woodland Hills

It’s a Dog Eat Dog World

Los Angeles Hot Dogs

Like every great American city, Los Angeles has its fair share of wieneries; gastronomic temples dedicated to finely seasoned and cured processed meat cylinders served on long soft buns with a variety of condiments including mustard, relish, sauerkraut, onions, cheese and chili. Pink’s is the most famous in town, but hardly the best. Dodger Dogs are overrated. When I want a truly spectacular red hot — a juicy dog that snaps with every bite and explodes with flavor in my mouth — I head to one of my five favorites listed below.

The Chicagoan from Carney's

Carney’s

#5 Carney’s (8351 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood and 12601 Ventura Blvd, Studio City). This dive restaurant in an old yellow train serves amazing hot dogs, including a spicy “New Yorker,” a traditional “Chicagoan” and a “Red Baron” with spicy mustard and red cabbage. If you like your dogs slathered with messy, meaty chili, there’s simply no better place.

Fab Hot Dogs

Fab Hot Dogs

#4 Fab Hot Dogs (19417 Victory Blvd, Reseda) Well worth the drive to Reseda, Fab Hot Dogs are perfection. You can get grilled pastrami or BBQ baked beans on your dog and their speciality is a crunchy deep-fried “Bald Eagle Ripper” with housemade spicy mustard relish. It’s also well worth the risk to your arteries.

The Slaw Dogs

The Slaw Dogs

#3 The Slaw Dogs (720 N. Lake Ave, Pasadena; 19801 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills; 1355 Huntington Dr, Duarte) Their bacon-wrapped LA Street Dog topped with grilled peppers and onions, garlic mayo and pico de gallo is one of the best things ever. There’s also a Chicharron Dog with pork belly and kimchi and a Thai Dog with peanut curry satay sauce.

Vicious Dogs

Vicious Dogs

#2 Vicious Dogs (5231 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood) The most fun and creative hot dogs in LA can be found here. I love the “Hot Chick,” which is bacon-wrapped and topped with mozzarella, chopped chicken tenders, ranch dressing and spicy Buffalo wing sauce. There’s even a hot dog with peanut butter and jelly.

Fritzi Dog

Fritzi Dog

#1 Fritzi Dog (in the Original Farmer’s Market, 6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles) Newcomer Fritzi Dog has become my favorite hot dog place in the city. It’s truly gourmet and elevates the hot dog to a whole new level. Their eponymous dog served on a fresh soft pretzel bun (pictured above) is not only insanely delicious, but a work of art. I also love their juicy “Porker” dog served on a sweet and doughy “Parker” bun (they have buttery brioche and gluten-free buns as well). Best of all, you can get a tasting sampler of mini dogs to make your hot dog selection a little easier.

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Fab Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon
Carney's on Urbanspoon
Carney's on Urbanspoon
Vicious Dogs on Urbanspoon
The Slaw Dogs on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Duarte, Mid-City, North Hollywood, Pasadena, Reseda, Studio City, West Hollywood, Woodland Hills

10 Best Sub Sandwich Shops in LA


Subs, Grinders, Hoagies, Po-Boys, Heroes, Submarines. Whatever you call them, they’re a central part of the national diet, especially for lunch. A long roll filled with deli meats and/or cheese along with toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes or peppers, and condiments such as mustard and olive oil sounds like a simple thing to make, but discerning eaters know that not all deli sandwiches are created equal.

When I started this blog, I declared the Godmother at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery the best sandwich in LA. While I still believe this is true today, for other varieties such as a Caprese or Pastrami sub, I prefer All About the Bread on Melrose Ave., which was clearly inspired by Bay Cities but has shorter lines. Both places have unbelievably amazing, crispy and chewy artisan bread which is baked fresh every 20 or 30 minutes, use Boar’s Head meats and fashion extraordinary combos of bread, meat and cheese using the freshest and tastiest ingredients. While these two places are my clear favorites, there are several others in this city worth visiting. After an extensive amount of carb-loading research, here are my top ten favorite sub sandwich joints in LA:

All About the Bread

#1 (tie) All About the Bread (7111 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles near West Hollywood) The name pretty much says it all. I’ve loved every sandwich I’ve had here, but my favorite is the Buratta with Sundried Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, Homemade Pesto, Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers. It’s one of the best things ever.

The Godmother from Bay Cities

#1 (tie). Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery (1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica) The insanely good bread is the secret to their huge success. My favorite sub is The Godmother (Genoa Salami, Mortadella, Capicolla, Ham, Prosciutto and Provolone) with “The Works.” I challenge you to find a better sandwich.

Dan’s Super Subs

#3 Dan’s Super Subs (22446 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills) It’s one of the only restaurants that I love in the West Valley. Their delicious bread has sesame seeds and is steamed for each order. Subs are completed with Dan’s signature chopped tomatoes and pickle spears. Not open on Sundays.

The Jose Andres aka “The Spanish Godfather” at Ink Sack

#4 Ink Sack (8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles in West Hollywood) Celebrity Chef Michael Voltaggio’s sandwich shop serves creative versions of classic subs. My favorite is The Jose Andres aka “The Spanish Godfather,” which is named after Voltaggio’s mentor and former boss at The Bazaar. It’s made with Serrano Ham, Chorizo and Manchego Cheese.

Storefront

#5 Storefront (4624 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles in Los Feliz) This Eastside hipster sandwich shop is the new kid on the block and was opened only a few weeks ago by the chefs of Salt’s Cure. I am already impressed with “The Mousa” (pictured above), their Italian deli meat sub which includes picked cayenne peppers.

The No. 3 from Larchmont Village Wine Spirits & Cheese

#6 Larchmont Village Wine Spirits & Cheese (223 N Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles in Mid-City) This gourmet wine and cheese shop has some of the city’s best Italian sandwiches, which are served on either a crusty baguette or soft ciabatta. They all come with a nice little side of olives and cornichons.

Mike’s Deli

#7 Mike’s Deli 4859 W Slauson Ave, Los Angeles in South LA) There are very few tables and it’s generic and fast food-esque in appearance, but this simple deli makes simply great subs with top-notch ingredients including Boar’s Head meats and cheeses. A second location opened recently in Little Tokyo.

The Spicy Italian Sub from Mario’s

#8 Mario’s Italian Deli & Market (740 E Broadway in Glendale) A Glendale institution, Mario’s is an old-school Italian market with all sorts of imported goodies and a very popular deli. They cut their sub rolls in thirds lengthwise, so that there is a “mezzanine” layer of bread in your sandwich between two layers of filling.

Busy Bee Market

#9 Busy Bee Market (2413 S Walker Ave, San Pedro) If you’re in the South Bay, it’s the place to go. This unassuming deli counter in a small and rundown-looking neighborhood market turns out excellent subs on super-soft bread. But be warned: it’s cash only, take-out only, and they’re closed on Sundays.

“The Sandwich” from Roma Italian Deli & Grocery

#10 Roma Italian Deli & Grocery (918 N. Lake Ave, Pasadena) Enter this little Italian market, go to the counter on your right and ask diminutive elderly Rosario to make you “The Sandwich.” Watch as he prepares it with fresh meats and cheese and no toppings or condiments other than olive oil. Consume and enjoy.

UPDATE: I’m sad to report that Storefront has closed. If you enjoy Consuming LA, subscribe for free at the top right of this page and you’ll get an email once a week when I post. And please forward this to your friends, repost on facebook and retweet!

All About the Bread on Urbanspoon
Busy Bee on Urbanspoon
Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese on Urbanspoon
Roma Italian Deli & Grocery on Urbanspoon
Mario's Italian Deli & Market on Urbanspoon
Dan's Super Subs on Urbanspoon
Mike's Deli on Urbanspoon
Mike's Deli #2 on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Fairfax, Glendale, Inglewood, Ladera Heights, Larchmont, Los Feliz, Mid-City, Pasadena, San Pedro, Santa Monica, South Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Woodland Hills