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Noodles

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cold noodle box at Asian Box - FARLEY ELLIOTT
  • Farley Elliott
  • Cold noodle box at Asian Box
Attention, archeologists of the future: If you find yourself sorting through the rubble of post-America, trying to figure out what led to our downfall, here's a tip — check Burbank.

While not exactly a cultural touchpoint on its own, Burbank has of late become ground zero for a very particular sort of warfare: the box versus the bowl. And it's exactly this high-level, shape-specific fighting that's going to tear this society apart at the seams. Or, at the very least, make choosing a quick service midweek lunch option that much harder.

Smack in the middle of downtown Burbank is Asian Box, a recently opened Palo Alto import that specializes in rice bowls — err, rice boxes — along with chilled rice noodles, a slew of quick-fired protein options and a few vaguely Southeast Asian vegetable choices to toss the whole thing together. The shop is already a Bay Area hit, and has long had expansion plans in the Los Angeles area.

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

Thai Cuisine

Ord Noodles 2 in Panorama City: Noodle Up

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Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 6:42 AM
Papaya salad - A. SIMMONS
  • A. Simmons
  • Papaya salad
When you pull off the 405 for dinner in Panorama City, you're not aware you're entering a gastronomic wonderland. You're killing time because of bad traffic. You're there to buy a car at one of the many dealerships lining Roscoe Boulevard. Maybe you have a sudden pressing need to visit Kaiser Permanente on Woodman Avenue.

In any case, Ord Noodles 2 is a classic L.A. story. That studio-sized Thai restaurant alongside a pupuseria, a hair salon and a bleak sushi place in a little strip mall across from the hospital? Yes, it's actually really good.

We like laab rich with skin and offal and finger-staining, turmeric-laced, yellow fish-gut curry as much as the next dude, but that's attainable without much effort in Los Angeles. Discovering regional Thai food doesn't get us excited unless we're, say, 14 miles northwest of Thai Town, debating whether to hit Carl's Jr. or give the sushi joint a try.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Chinese Cuisine

3 Great Lamb Noodle Soups in the San Gabriel Valley

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Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Lamb noodle (#6), Shaanxi Gourmet, Rosemead - JIM THURMAN
  • Jim Thurman
  • Lamb noodle (#6), Shaanxi Gourmet, Rosemead
With a chill in the air, it's the perfect time of year for some soup. In the San Gabriel Valley, a steaming bowl of lamb soup with noodles is perfect for brisk days and nippy nights. A common item at restaurants featuring food from northwestern China, here are three great versions of lamb noodle soup around the SGV, all of which can be found along a less than two mile section of Valley Boulevard.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Best of L.A.

10 Best Ramen Shops in Los Angeles

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Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Tokushima ramen at Men Oh Tokushima Ramen - A. SCATTERGOOD
  • A. Scattergood
  • Tokushima ramen at Men Oh Tokushima Ramen
If you are not among the ramen-obsessed, it's probably difficult to fathom how people can get so worked up about a bowl of soup. Sure, there are ramen's various elements and regional categories, intricate as some medieval scholastic doctrine; the delineation of broth and tare, of noodle and topping; and the endless beautiful myths of origin. But maybe just stop a minute to consider the experience.

A crowded shop the size of a large closet, bowls lined up along the bar like an altar, orders not intoned but shouted as you pull up a seat between hungry strangers. Steam rises from the enormous vats where noodles are dunked in military precision, your bowl filled and outfitted with the necessary components in exacting order, then presented to you, a silent gift. You eat from the bowl as fast as you're able, ignoring the scalding temperature, slurping the noodles before they have a chance to cool or mellow. The level in your bowl sinks in direct proportion to your rising happiness until you're done, chopsticks down, head bowed, seat pulled back for the next in line. I once timed the drunk guys at a midnight ramen joint in Shinagawa at, on average, seven minutes from the time they came through the door, ramen ticket in hand, to when they left, still drunk but cheerfully sated.

You may prefer your ramen earlier in the day, with or without friends and booze and bullet trains, but the happiness factor is pretty much the same. And thankfully, there are many, many ramen shops a lot closer to home for us than Tokyo.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Noodles

Noodlepalooza: Great Noodle Dishes in L.A. (PHOTOS)

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Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 8:57 AM

udon at Marugame Monzo - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • udon at Marugame Monzo
If you're a fan of noodles -- as most of us have been since the age of maybe four -- then Los Angeles is a pretty great place to eat. Specifically, noodles of the non-European variety: ramen, dan dan mien, udon, tsukemen. Here's a visual aid to some of the best in town, past and present. Happy noodling.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

FARLEY ELLIOTT
  • Farley Elliott
Anyone out looking for a bit of Sichuan tingle (minds out of the gutter, please) has already heard of Chengdu Taste, the recently opened San Gabriel Valley restaurant that is awash in tongue-numbing peppercorns. Formerly the Golden Shanghai on Valley Blvd., Chengdu Taste moved into the neighborhood swiftly, bringing a cloud of tweets and Instagram photos with it. Apparently, this is Sichuan cooking that hasn't been seen in a while.

You'd never know it just from walking in, though. The monochrome walls, birdcage lighting and hanging opera masks look more like a movie set version of a Chinese restaurant than the actual thing. Even the wooden chairs have been hastily pulled from the back lot art department; and the coffee cup logos carved into each seat are more Central Perk than Chengdu Taste. Still, the place has an amiable attitude, with a kind waitstaff willing to wade through the finer points of the peppery menu.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chinese Cuisine

4 Great Dan Dan Noodles in San Gabriel Valley

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Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Chuan Ma - CHRISTINE CHIAO
  • Christine Chiao
  • Chuan Ma
Leading up to this year's Best of L.A. issue (due out Oct. 3), we'll be bringing you periodic lists of some of the best things we've found to eat and drink around town. Ice cream sandwiches and bowls of tsukemen, fish tacos and dan dan mian, cups of boba and glasses of booze. Read on.

It may be placed in the snack category, but dan dan noodles, however small the portion, require a fair amount of commitment, given how many pungent ingredients a bowl can contain -- from dried red chiles to the alarmingly copious pour of chili oil. Even the garnishes, crushed peanuts, minced garlic or sautéed ground pork, come packing with flavor. It's not really the kind of meal meant to be eaten in polite company -- not that some of the better meals are enjoyed otherwise. An order made is a gauntlet thrown.

Noodles made in the dan dan style tend to be cooked on the softer side, unlike a knife-cut or hand-pulled noodle. Whereas thin noodles and the presence of chiles are requisite, the average bowl may not include peanut or sesame sauce, a sticking point that more than one Sichuan native will emphasize. You can expect most bowls of dan dan noodles in the San Gabriel Valley to be cooked to order -- anything less than that would be hard to accept, even as traditional notions of hot food may have shifted.

For our search, we looked from west to east in SGV, simply because of the demographics -- more Chinese folks have settled in the area than in other parts of Los Angeles. As it would turn out, we found no less than three great bowls of dan dan noodles within close proximity of one another in Rowland Heights. It's good for locals and even more so for those who live farther away, as another bowl can found just around the corner, if one place is closed -- or if you're still hungry.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cold noodles at 88 Beef Noodle - CHRISTINE CHIAO
  • Christine Chiao
  • Cold noodles at 88 Beef Noodle
Cold sesame noodles are often considered more snack than meal in Chinese cuisine -- fast and accessible. At most restaurants in town, there's one general style: noodles, typically thin, with julienned cucumbers and a variation of a sauce heavy on sesame paste, punctuated by splashes of minced garlic, soy, vinegar and red chili oil. It's often simply and matter-of-factly referred to as cold noodles, or liang mian in Mandarin. A mention of shredded chicken, if served, might work its way into the name; otherwise, you'll be hard-pressed to even find a reference to 'sesame.'

Cold sesame noodles tends to be presented like a DIY craft kit and, depending on the restaurant, varying in levels of customization with ingredients layered and flavor components arranged in smaller containers to the side. It's a dish made for summer, cool to taste and warm in flavor, which is even better on boiling hot days. Turn the page for three great versions in West San Gabriel Valley.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Korean Cuisine

3 Great Cold Noodle Dishes in Koreatown

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Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM

cold acorn noodles at Ma Dang Gook Su - BARBARA HANSEN
  • Barbara Hansen
  • cold acorn noodles at Ma Dang Gook Su
Forget the bulgogi and galbi. Instead, chill out in Koreatown with the coolest noodles around. You probably already know naengmyeon, the buckwheat noodles that come either in chilled broth or dry, with spicy seasonings. It's a Koreatown staple, but so are other cold noodle dishes that you'll want when it's too hot to eat anything, well, hot. Ready to think outside the pasta box? Then turn the page for three places to get really great Korean cold noodles.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Läghmän with lamb sauce at Silk Road Garden Restaurant - SUSAN JI-YOUNG PARK
  • Susan Ji-Young Park
  • Läghmän with lamb sauce at Silk Road Garden Restaurant
Silk Road Garden opened last year in a busy shopping center populated with Chinese restaurants. If you're keen on assertively seasoned hand-pulled noodles with distinct Chinese flavors, you won't find it here. The aromas of pork, caramelized soy sauce, smoky ginger and garlic, oil and spices heated beyond the flash point, and the musky charred scent of well seasoned woks are entirely absent. Instead, you have the distinct scent of grilled lamb, slow-cooked meat broths, baked dough and cumin of Central Asian cooking.

At Silk Road Garden, Uyghur and Muslim tapestries and photos of Xinjiang cultural life adorn the walls. Small shelves are lined with wooden Uyghur dolls reminiscent of Russian matryoshka.

Open less than nine months, proprietor Asker Abuduxkur is still training his staff and will continue to add dishes. Ququra (alternatively spelled "chuchura"), soup made with thumb sized dumplings, isn't available yet, though it's on the menu. But manta, ququra's fist sized cousin, bursting with juicy minced lamb and onions or pumpkin, are available.

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