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Barbara Hansen

Molotes; Credit: Barbara Hansen

Commerson Has a Surprising Mexican Flavor

Guess what you’ll find at Commerson? Really good Mexican food. Don’t go expecting a Mexican restaurant, though. Commerson’s food is typically Californian, with a farm-to-table approach. You might not even notice the Mexican dishes, because there are so few. Each is a gem, though, thanks to executive chef Sal Garcia....
Joelle Awad inside the Beirut Cafe; Credit: Barbara Hansen

Sample Authentic Lebanese Cuisine at Burbank's Beirut Cafe

Imagine you’re in a cozy mountain cabin in Lebanon, eating delicious home-cooked food. But you don’t have to imagine this. You can experience it right here, at the Beirut Café in Burbank. Step inside and you are in a wood-paneled room with just seven tables. The owners are Joelle and Jimmy Awad, siblings from Faraya, a mountain village in northern Lebanon. Jimmy Awad is the chef. Joelle Awad runs the front of the house and takes over the kitchen when her brother is away. A prep cook is their only helper....
Quinotto; Credit: Barbara Hansen

First Look: Inside the New Los Balcones in Studio City

The place to taste new-wave Peruvian food is Los Balcones, which has just opened in Studio City. The menu is loaded with striking, creative and colorful dishes thanks to consulting chef Ricardo Zarate, who has promoted high-level Peruvian cuisine in Los Angeles since 2009, when he opened Mo-chica in the Mercado La Paloma....
Avinash Kapoor; Credit: Barbara Hansen

First Look: Edgy Indian at Kapoor's Akbar Downtown

If you want edgy Indian food, head to the north end of downtown L.A. and Kapoor’s Akbar Indian restaurant. It’s on Cesar E. Chavez Avenue in a complex that once housed a Walmart. Open since March, Akbar downtown is putting out fun dishes for a young crowd, targeting students in the nearby Orsini apartments and anyone who wants something other than tandoori chicken, saag paneer and garlic naan, although these standards are on the menu, too....
Chef Nagabhushanam Kothakonda with his chicken biryani; Credit: Barbara Hansen

For the Best Biryani, Head to Canoga Park's Grand Bawarchi

Hyderabad is the biryani capital of India, home to the finest examples of this sumptuous meat and rice dish. It’s in south India, co-capital of the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. And Canoga Park? You could call it Hyderabad East, thanks to the opening of Grand Bawarchi last December. The owners are three guys from Hyderabad: Manohar Aedma, Sudheer Pendekanti and Shravan Maddela....
The decorative kebab grill; Credit: Barbara Hansen

A Jordanian Oasis in Pico-Robertson

There isn’t a clue, not on the sign outside or on the menu, that Oasis is Jordanian — the only Jordanian restaurant in Los Angeles. Chef/owner Ahmad Abulfeilat explains that most people have no idea what Jordanian food is and are not likely to take a chance on something they don’t know....
bánh xèo; Credit: Barbara Hansen

Bánh Xèo Is Sizzling on the Westside

This crispy Vietnamese crepe isn’t hard to find. It’s in Vietnamese restaurants all over Westminster, in the San Gabriel Valley and elsewhere. And it’s eaten throughout Vietnam, from north to south. But this is its first appearance in the La Brea restaurant corridor, introduced by Nong Lá Vietnamese Cafe July 14 in a version that you may not find elsewhere....
Credit: Barbara Hansen

Best Hangover Soup

Menudo isn't the only Mexican hangover remedy. The next time you have a cruda, head for Aro Latin in South Pasadena and ask for salmon-belly soup. It's a surefire cure from Apatzingán, Michoacán, hometown of Grecia Gomez and Teresa Tinoco, the Aro chefs who worked out the recipe. In Apatzingán,......