Monday, June 26, 2006

The final update!

To all six of my loyal readers, I am leaving LA! I've got a job at UC Davis and will be starting my lab there. Restaurants in Davis are generally not so good, but I'll be close to Berkeley, SF and Napa, so the bon temps will continue to roll. I did a final update of the website to include the restaurants I didn't have time to write about while I was on the academic job market. Here they are (sorry no hot links, just look at the neighbourhood or cuisine page):

Alaska Seafood Restaurant - San Pedro Mexican mariscos kings
Chabuya - super Japanese ramen in Sawtelle
China Islamic - Islamic Chinese in Rosemead
Crown Cafe - Hunan in San Gabriel, a worthy successor to Shiang Garden
Danube - LA's first Bulgarian restaurant??? Not bad
El Hatuchay - Peruvian is tops here in North Hollywood
El Rocoto - Torrance Peruvian option
Father's Office - gourmet burger of legend in Santa Monica
Grand Casino - El cheapo empanadas at this Culver City bakery
Han Bat - K'town spot for your beef soup/sul lung tang fix
Komatsu - tempura bar in South Bay/Torrance
Krua Thai - LA's finest Thai noodle shop! North Hollywood
Las Quenas - excellent Peruvian in North Hollywood
Natraliart - Jamaican fare in Crenshaw, the best
Olive Branch - Persian in La Crescenta
Spago - yes, I did go! Beverly Hills temple of California cuisine
Tay Ho - Vietnamese banh cuon specialist in Little Saigon

There will be a final announcement on the main blog, but if all goes well I may have someone to continue the restaurant reviews.

Happy eating,

Simon aka Low End Theory

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Added a link to Gastrologica, where Steve posts strong opinions about cooking and restaurants. The job market and nascent papers continue to keep me away from adding restaurant notes. Of course I'm still eating well, have had wonderful Malaysian and other foods in Australia and NZ recently. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Great Taco Hunt

The vastness of LA and its unmatched diversity dictates that there is waaay too much eating for one man, even if that man is Jonathan Gold. So there is virtue in the pursuit of a single godly food item, and I have added Bandini's excellent Great Taco Hunt to my sidebar linx. His coverage is citywide, unlike my pragmatic Westside focus. I can testify to the 4.5-taco rating of King Taco, but Bandini's review does not mention the very unusual mojellas or sweetbreads that you can have in taco form. Keep up the good work Bandini!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ricos Tacos, Mama Voula's update

Here are the details about a new taco truck for y'all, it's one for the indecisive because there is only one dish available (you still have to choose carne del dia).

Also, I have just discovered the marides at Mama Voula's. It's one of the greatest fried fish dishes ever, right up there with the yellow croaker with stuff (black fungus?) in the batter at Giang Nan, or the jalea at any Peruvian restaurant - I must admit that in the latter case, sheer quantity is part of the attraction.

Unfortunately, my backlog of job applications is still longer than my backlog of restaurants, but you can expect more recommendations to trickle down.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Eating Chinese

Gary Soup's Eating Chinese site added to links in the sidebar. He's a Bay Area chowhound and Chinese food savant with a great list of links 'n stuff.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Las Quenas

Could North Hollywood be the most underrated food neighbourhood in Los Angeles? The wonderful Peruvian classics at Las Quenas add weight to the argument, and I'll certainly be returning there. As of today, my East San Fernando Valley page is officially overcrowded and must be split into smaller neighbourhoods!

Krua Thai

So long between updates! I apologize but the last month was filled with travel (mazel tov David and Rebecca!), experiments per usual and my very first application for a proper job. Regular service is unlikely to resume, given that I'll be applying to more departments and struggling to publish some papers in the next few months. Will post when I can so my loyal readership (2 hungry souls? 10?) have some fresh spots to visit.

Krua Thai is the NoHo Thai noodle shop to eclipse all others I've been fortunate enough to enjoy. Like a great fade haircut or a really cold black-and-white milkshake, a fried noodle dish is an ephemeral thing with a very short optimal time frame. Which is all the more reason to seek the finest.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Guatemalteca Bakery, Yongsusan

I love to find a new place that is clearly a centre for the local community, and it was wall-to-wall Guatemalan folks in Guatemalteca today (on Beverly a little ways from Pico-Union), not surprising given the excellent quality and value. Groceries, el cheapo baked goods and honest lunch plates; a Los Angeles about 7 miles and one universe away from the Westside.

Hard to find a more diametrically opposed restaurant to Guatemalteca than Yongsusan, the Koreatown royal banquet legend, but hey, this is Low End Theory's restaurants we're talking about here and I'll eat most anything. This meal was incredibly good, it ranks with the greatest multi-course extravaganzas I've had in any cuisine.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Umenohana now but a memory

Whoops, I forgot to post here about my Umenohana write-up, and now it's closed. I think the Chowhound post had some stimulating effect and I sincerely hope that some Japanese food-lovers made it out there before yesterday. When I am a loaded assistant prof driving a Lexus SC430 (hah!) I'll fly out to Japan to score some tofu siumai.


A while between posts, I was up in Vancouver confirming that their Cantonese restaurants are indeed superior to those in Los Angeles (amazing but true based on my limited sampling). Here are some notes on Uzbekistan, a wonderful and highly unusual restaurant on Sunset north of the Hollywood Russian ghetto centred on Fairfax and Santa Monica. I am keen to try Robert's Cuisine next, it's Russian not Uzbeki but I have heard good things.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mission 261

The exalted Mission 261 serves jaw-dropping dim sum in San Gabriel. I cannot imagine a more delightful shootout than comparing this head-to-head with Sea Harbor in a single weekend.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

New Concept

The mind boggles at the plenitude of mind-blowing restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. Add New Concept to the list of places that one absolutely must try whilst living in L.A. It's high-style innovative Cantonese in Monterey Park.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Swan, Giang Nan

Swan Restaurant, yet another Thai gem in North Hollywood. There is a huge Bhan Kanom Thai dessert store here too. I went back twice in three nights, then my friend Kathy left her phone there and brought back even more for Ian. Bonanza!

What a great, great meal I shared with Lambert and Peng at Giang Nan (Shanghai/Jiangzhe in Monterey Park). Some companions magnify the pleasure one has in delicious food, but this meal didn't really need the fine company to make its impressions felt. There was a priceless moment when Lambert showed his digital photos of the dishes to the curious waitresses ("ooh! Lion's head meatball... fish-head casserole... fried bread...").

Al pastor torta - for breakfast???

Carmen Foods added to Taco Trucks of the Westside. A highly unusual day when the low end theorist is out and about at breakfast time. There must be an alternate breakfast and lunch truck scene that one never experiences.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

okay noodle

After last night's extravaganza at Giang Nan (Shanghai/Jiangzhe magnificence, notes to follow) I am convinced that there is a universe of great eating in San Gabriel that is a fulltime job for a professional, not an amateur enthusiast like myself. Maybe these cats can help: okay noodle. They've just started but have had the good taste to link to the main Low End Theory blog. Then again, recommendation of sushi buffet is potentially hazardous. Include me out, as they say.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


A new blog link, mmm-yoso specializing in cheaper restaurants from San Diego and Orange County. Kirk is very informative for Hawaiian food, one of my personal favourites, and appears to be a healthy eater of multitudinous styles. "It's all good, from Diego to the Bay."

Monday, July 25, 2005

Din Tai Fung moved

Moved Din Tai Fung into the Shanghai page today, why I filed it with Northern fare escapes me now as I associate the magical xiao long bao (small soupy dumplings) with Shanghai. Certainly there are proper Chinese gastronomes who understand these matters more deeply than I do.

Site meter
not working, maybe I'll put this back on but I assume there are the usual ~100 daily visitors, mostly Google. I appreciate the positive commentz - there'll always be haters but the blog was supposed to be an altruistic venture.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Javan, Umenohana, Warszawa, Sea Harbor

The dust seems to have settled on my evaluation of the Persian scene with the addition of Javan to the Persian and West LA lists. An interesting tidbit from Wikipedia - faloodeh is one of the oldest of all frozen desserts.

Among L.A.'s high-end dining spots, Umenohana is certainly unique for its tofu kaiseki. Also a new neighbourhood, Beverly Hills, not clear when the low end theorist will return there!

Since when has Eastern European fare been splurge-worthy? Warszawa is a fancy and delicious Polish restaurant in Santa Monica. Some might see the proliferation of single-restaurant cuisine categories as extravagant, and there are undeniable overlaps between Bosnian, Polish and Uzbeki. Well, first of all I'm writing the website so national boundaries will yield to my hazy geographical pencil. Secondly, as the Balkan warfare in the Aroma Cafe comments indicates, some people feel very strongly that their local specialties are distinct and worth fighting for. Rather than amalgamating these into a pan-Eastern Europe section I've decided to let them proliferate. If I try some really great Nicaraguan and Guatemalan restaurants in future, their shared page could split too.

My, what a lot of updates today. Sea Harbor of Rosemead is the best dim sum I've had in L.A.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Old Updatez

Old updatez from back in the day, before I started Low End Restaurantz.

My favourite appetizers from the Westwood Lebanese marvel Sunnin.

Tacomiendo has quality Mexican fare in Mar Vista/Culver City.

Langer's pastrami is a sandwich without equal in its class. For no reason I can divine, it's in Pico-Union. Also, notes on the neighbouring and similarly essential Mama's Hot Tamale Cafe, where tamales from all over Latin America find a happy home. Kyushu Ramen is a noteworthy spot in Van Nuys when nuthin' but noodles will do.

Apologies for the lack of updates. Been burning the midnight oil at both ends in lab, and recent Blogger problems were most frustrating. I think the site works well again, do let me know if there are missing pages and I'll rectify. To make things easier for my "loyal" readership, I created new neighbourhoods: Downtown/USC area, Pico-Union/Alvarado, Pasadena, and Glendale/Eagle Rock. Look out for more updates soon!

One of the reasons I frown on "meat lovers" is that they frequently neglect equally hearty pleasures that don't involve giant hunks of environmentally questionable livestock. Like soon tofu, the killer Korean tofu stew that exemplifies the fact that tofu is not a meat substitute, just an ingredient with its own distinct place in the culinary constellation. Sokongdong is a K'town spot with great great soon tofu and surprisingly for a specialist restaurant, a spicy raw crab dish that is every bit as good as the house stalwart.

Sunshine Thai in North Hollywood, yet another terrific Thai restaurant for Thai people.

Baby Blues Barbeque features tasty 'que in Venice.

Annapurna, a newish South Indian option in Culver City. Chung King is yet another terrific Szechwan restaurant in Monterey Park.

Thoughts on Shahrezad, the Persian kingpin of Westwood Blvd. Also added notes about which Persian places I like and why. Extra menu recommendations for the Thai hotspot Ruen Pair.

Garcia's Bros of Culver City added to the Westside taco truck list. Quality new truck + Bill Frisell at Jazz Bakery, hard to find a Los Angeles day to beat that.

A paean to the expanded Simpang Asia, Indonesian grocery store extraordinaire in Palms. Added la.foodblogging to the linx.

Zankou opens on the Westside (West LA, that is), let there be rejoicing. And general chaos inside. Armenian chicken and garlic sauce are in the house.

Menu recommendations from the Hunan splendour of Shiang/Charming Garden in Monterey Park.

Menu info on Uncle Darrow's of Marina Del Rey. If ever a restaurant deserved the descriptor soul food, this is it. Also some notes on Raku, Korean-Japanese small-plate greatness in West L.A..

Cosmetic improvement, I'm back in black. Ian has a hilarious new blog, and I also link to Pam's Daily Gluttony (another haw flake eater), Santo's Meet Me At The Corner Of Third And Fairfax and BBQ Junkie.

Soot Bull Jeep, the famous Koreatown restaurant with charcoal barbecue.

Notes on how to eat at Raffi's Place, the Persian kabob legend in Glendale. Yai Noodle is a new noodle house contender in Thai Town, see also Thai list. Where does one eat downtown? How about Sarita's Pupuseria (Downtown and Salvadoran lists). I'm almost never in O.C., but if you are, check out elmomonster's Monster Munching as an adjunct to Professor Salt.

Tacos Don Kike has pretty good tacos and a stunning downtown view. In Taqueria
and Downtown lists.

Probably an only-in-L.A. experience, wonderful handmade sarashina soba at Otafuku. See also Gardena and Japanese noodles.

Added Chowpatty/Pat's estimable Eating L.A. to Special Sources. A nostalgic note about Hulu House to accompany a significant picture.

Yungui Garden
notes, this is the former Yunnan Garden and Hua's Garden. Can't they settle on Yunnan Rice Noodle Restaurant, the Chinese name? Also see Szechwan and Monterey Park lists.

The marvel of Beijing/Peking duck at Lu Din Gee. Also in San Gabriel and Northern Chinese lists.

A note about molagapodi, and check out Professor Salt's blog.

Woodlands added to Indian and South of LA lists. Tremendous South Indian fare.

Aroma Cafe inaugurates the Bosnian section with a bang. Also in West LA/Pico list. Made a taco truck glossary at Ian and Kathy's suggestion.

At Ian's suggestion, reorganized Taco Trucks of the Westside by geography, and linked to the relevant neighbourhood lists. Extra notes about Tacos Junior truck as well - my new favourite flavour of Jarritos is Mandarina.

King Taco and La China Poblana in East LA list, the latter in Mexican Regional list.

Messob added to Ethiopian and Fairfax lists. Kitfo is worth working up one's courage for.

Added NBC Seafood Restaurant to the Cantonese and Monterey Park lists.

Added Mama Voula's to the Greek and West LA lists, and Cocido Azteca de Oro to Taco Trucks of the Westside.

Added Ka-San Korean bbq to Glendale/Pasadena/Eagle Rock page, it's in La Crescenta. Maybe I will split this neighbourhood in two sometime. Also on Korean barbecue page.

Added Good-Ha!!! (takeout menu does have three exclamation points) to Glendale and Filipino lists. Breakfast that should last all day, take your flip-flops to fit in with the crowd.

Added Greece's barbeque to the American:BBQ and Hollywood/Fairfax lists. The first tip from a blog visitor, thanks gbarn (at)!

Recommended additional dishes from Yai, the completely unstoppable Thai Town favourite.

Added Max's of Manila to Glendale and Filipino guides. Strictly for Pinoys and their peeps!

Added Special Sources, a list of great places to find more info about L.A. restaurants.

Posted some old reviews from with appropriate tinkering. It's all hotlinked from the neighbourhood and style guides:
Thai desserts, Hakata Ramen Shinsengumi, Wa Sushi, Isla Buffet, Jerk Pit, Taqueria Vista del Hermosa, Ruen Pair, Yunnan Garden/Hua's Garden, Torafuku, Dos Burritos, Attari Sandwiches, International Tofu House and Brodard II. Enjoy.

Low End Restaurantz... with a "Z"

Hey food loverz,

Here's a phat joint from Simon of Low End Theory "fame" - a new blog describing updatez at my restaurant website, Low End Theory's L.A. Restaurants (occasionally using amateurish African-American idiomz). It promises to be yet more digressive and opinionated than the old-skool guide, so watch out!

Always on point,

Low End Theory aka Simon

below: chicken karaage from the wondrous Minako in SF. It gots soul!

Chicken karaage - Japanese soul food from the wondrous Minako in SF