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Lunchtime chat with Jonathan Gold: Got questions about food and dining? Ask Times critic Jonathan Gold

That's a wrap for today. Our lunchtime chats with Jonathan Gold will resume next Friday at noon.

So send us your questions: Want to know where the best burrito on the Westside is? Is there affordable, quality sushi in the San Gabriel Valley? If you can't afford Vespertine, where can you go for a dining experience with the same sense of adventure? If you're lucky -- or interesting -- Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold will answer.

Amy Scattergood

That's it for this week -- thanks very much for playing! Please come back next Friday at noon for more fun with Mr. Gold.

Jonathan Gold

Rustic Canyon, which is terrific, and has a great wine list if your girlfriend's dad is into that sort of thing, is open until 10:30. Or if Santa Monica-adjacent restaurants are okay, both Gjelena and Tasting Kitchen are open until midnight, as is the haute ramen restaurant MTN. You're going to eat pretty well.

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Jonathan Gold

Max Goldman asks: It's my gfs bday on Tuesday. Her dad is taking us out for dinner. ot a recommendation for a place that's open late in Santa Monica?

Jonathan Gold

It's not wholly vegetarian, but the Indian restaurant Noor's, which isn't bad, has a lot of vegetarian dishes on its menu. There are lots of non-meat options - and not just pizza - at Zelo's, which is a criminally underrated pizzeria with an original cornmeal-enhanced deep-dish style. Yi Mei has great Taiwanese breakfasts of soy milk and such, although it is of course not strictly vegetarian.

Jonathan Gold

Mark Denton asks: What’s a good vegetarian restaurant in Monrovia?

Jonathan Gold

The combination of good margaritas and great Mexican food is more elusive than one might think. Salazar is pretty far fro Mar Vista, but I think both the drinks and the food are great. Guelaguetza is very good, if Oaxacan food works. Verlaine near the Beverly Center has good drinks and sophisticated Baja-Med style Mexican cooking - the chef is one of the two or three best chefs in Baja. And either of Ray Garcia's places downtown, Broken Spanish or BS Taqueria, would work too.

Jonathan Gold

Nancy Gardos writes: e have a friend from Dublin arriving in May and she wants margaritas and Mexican food.

You’d think that would be an easy one for me, but it’s tougher than I thought. What’s your go-to? We’re in Mar Vista, but I’m open to going anywhere.

Jonathan Gold

There are so many good Japanese restaurants to choose from at the moment! I'd still go with the original Tsujita though. The level of the ramen and the thick broth is still insanely high - the chile kick and the superfatted kick from Tsujita's annexes on Sawtelle are pleasant but unnecessary.

Amy Scattergood

prglickman asks: Favorite restaurant at the moment on Sawtelle?

Jonathan Gold

As far as I know, Michelin has no plans to return here. Los Angeles dining, where your favorite taquero may have the same expensively earned skills and use the same farmers market ingredients as the tasting menu restaurant down the street, is unusually unsuited to the Michelin star system. And while this year is seeing many more restaurants on the luxury level than ever before, I'm still not sure it would work. That being said, I have no inside information on this.

Amy Scattergood

Via Instagram, alimartinfilsoof asks:

Will Michelin ever return to LA, if so when?

Jonathan Gold

Interesting question. And I suppose the obvious answer might be Slurpin Ramen in Ktown. But the best kimchi noodles tend not to be ramen - I'm loving the kimchi gook soo at Hangari at the moment, which have a real depth of flavor. So maybe I'd nominate one of the Shin Sen Gumi noodleshops, which are outstanding Hakata-style ramen parlors in Gardena, Little Tokyo, Sawtelle, OC - all over - that offer kimchi as a possible topping. The best of both world, I think.

Amy Scattergood

Where can one get the best kimchi ramen in LA?

Amy Scattergood

Via Instagram, ginnycook91040 asks:

Amy Scattergood

Welcome back to our lunchtime chats; we'll be starting at noon. Send us your questions, either here in the comments or via social media.

Amy Scattergood

That is it for this week; thanks very much for playing! Please come back next Friday at noon -- and in the meantime, enjoy your tables.

Jonathan Gold

Right at that corner?  I've got nothing for you. But within a few minutes, the Lebanese food at Sunnin, either on Westwood Blvd. or in Santa Monica would work there are lots of vegan mezze, appetizers. Up in Sherman Oaks there's Mizlala, which is kind of Moroccan in style, and good. Tagine in Beverly Hills is good for simple Moroccan cooking. (Sense the trend?) And if you're going during the day, the Iranian place called Attari Sandwich Shop on Westwood has a lovely patio, lots of vegetarian dishes, and an extremely good soup called osh.

Jonathan Gold

Harry asks via email: Near the 405 and sunset. Two elders and their vegan daughter. Something ethnic that has real food and that vegan @#! Where do we go please?

Jonathan Gold

The reduction of food waste is one of those principles that may be addressed more often in print than it is in practice. Good chefs try to use every part of the plant and animal that they can - that's why classic French cooking is so reliant on stock, which is the ultimate recycler - but it is hard for a pricey restaurant to justify serving less than pristine greens in a salad, no matter how technically edible they may be. That being said, quite a few chefs are using plants from leaf to root in creative ways (Josef Centeno is especially good at this) and quite a few restaurants start by breaking down whole animals, which means that they feel obligated to use every part. Journeymen seems to be the whole package.

Amy Scattergood

Via Instagram, katlynsbitchinkitchen asks:

What are your thoughts about LA and food waste? Can you share your opinion about nose-to-tail, root-to-stem, and off seasonal cooking in the LA food scene?

Jonathan Gold

I must admit - I go to Howlin Ray's fairly often, but the reality of the 2-hour line most often sends me scurrying to Chego or Kim Tar in that mall. The meals aren't expensive, but the time investment is formidable. I think the last time I went was in December, and I had the chicken hot but not Howlin Hot. Howlin Hot is tasty, but it requires another investment that your body may be unwilling to cash.

Amy Scattergood

Via Twitter, #LakersAllDay asks:

When was the last time you went to @howlinrays, and what heat level did you get?

Jonathan Gold

We have more Hawaiian restaurants here than you might think, from the Portuguese sausage omelets at Rutt's Hut to the abstracted beach food at Roy Choi's AFrame, the giant breakfasts at Bob's, and the crowded family lunches at King's Hawaiian. The big plate lunch chain LL has a few outlets here. But it is hard to believe that you could do better than the venerable Bruddah's in Gardena, where you can get your loco moco with a side of karaoke if that's your thing.

Amy Scattergood

Via Instagram, cphernand asks:

Best Hawaiian food in LA?

Jonathan Gold

The San Gabriel Valley has no shortage of Shaanxi-style restaurants - Xi'an's region - many of which are quite good. The wonderful Shaanxi Gourmet has served its last plate of biang biang noodles, alas, but Shaanxi Garden is pretty delicious.

Amy Scattergood

Via Instagram, evonsdad12 asks:

Question? This summer I was in New York and had Xian Famous Foods everlasting noodles.(Oxtail and Chicken) The broth was unreal and the noodles were the best I have ever had. Is there something similar in the LA area?

Jonathan Gold

Boat noodles are on me!

Amy Scattergood

I wish I were too. Next week?

Jonathan Gold

Are you at Sapp? I wish I were at Sapp...

Amy Scattergood

Happy Friday and welcome back to our lunchtime chats with Mr. Gold. Got a question? Ask in the comment section below, or via Twitter or Instagram. Or if you're at Sapp's, maybe just yell. Your time starts now ...

Amy Scattergood

That’s it for today’s chat; thanks very much for playing! Please come back next Friday at noon and we’ll continue the conversation. Meanwhile, happy dining.

Jonathan Gold

This is an eternal question. It may be in the wrong part of Glendale for you, but I really like La Cabanita, which neatly occupies that zone between old school and new school Mexican cooking in Los Angeles, but whose soups are lovely and chips are really good. Frida's in the Americana isn't bad for fancy Mexican. And you're pretty close to the Guisados in Burbank...

Jonathan Gold

Adobreports asks on Twitter:

I have a co-worker here who is asking where he can get the best Mexican food around the Glendale area?

Jonathan Gold

I don't, and I apologize. The cooking of Nadine Trujillo - respect! - was all over the map, but though I admired her mole and enmoladas (best in the town in those pre-Oaxacan times), I don't think she was Oaxacan herself, and the tacos con crema, chilaquiles, carne asada, caldo de pollo and other dishes I loved her for were pretty much all over the map.

Amy Scattergood

123457J asks:

"Do you happen to know from what region in Mexico the food at former Alegria on Sunset came (now the location of Trois Famiglia) ?
We miss their food after the owner suddenly retired. Thank you."

Jonathan Gold

It's been a while since I've done the Route 66 thing. But I remember being fond of the green chile and the stacked enchiladas at Joe n' Aggie's in Holbrook. And Rod's Steakhouse in Williams is great.

Amy Scattergood

ehamilton1 asks:

"Going for a road trip through Arizona and New Mexico. Any suggestions for great tortillas and border food?"

Jonathan Gold

Personally, I don't mind knowing the provenance of the carrots, or whether the day's pork shoulder, when alive, preferred avocados to acorns. The specificity is kind of charming, actually. Although I admit that I too am occasionally vexed when it takes longer for the waiter to describe the ingredients in a dish than it does to eat the 12.5 grams of food involved.

Amy Scattergood

And here's the review of Longo Seafood Restaurant that Jonathan mentioned: http://www.latimes.com/food/jonathan-gold/la-fo-gold-longo-seafood-restaurant-review-20180119-story.html

Amy Scattergood

Rob't46 asks

"Don't we have the opposite problem in LA--small plate restaurants that think listing every ingredient improves the flavor of the food?"

Jonathan Gold

I've been curious about the $9888 banquet at Grand Harbor in Temple City... But seriously, I'd try probably any of the flashy Hong Kong-style places would be swell - Sea Harbour, Elite, King Hua, maybe the new Longo, which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. If your language skills are good, you could try Bistro Na, fresh from Beijing. I've always had luck at Chang's Garden, which isn't fancy but has delicious, chefly Hangzhou-style food.

Amy Scattergood

demdrew asks:

"Good afternoon. I have a group of about people coming from out of town and want to treat them to an amazing Chinese banquet. What restaurants in the SGV can you recommend that are both delicious and have some flair?"

Jonathan Gold

Coni' Seafood of course, and also the related Mariscos Chente in Inglewood - the Sinaloan seafood is great. You probably already go to the classic coffee shop Pann's. A little farther south in Hawthorne is the stunningly good Pakistani tandoor place Al-Watan. And if you make it to Chalet Edelweiss, tell me how you like it.

Jonathan Gold

On Twitter, Jimmy T asks:

Anything delicious near LAX? We work at Howard Hughes and want something fun. Any recommendations appreciated.

Jonathan Gold

Excellent question! There is a lot of pretty sub-standard baba ganouj in the city at the moment - so much liquid smoke. And I mourn the truly excellent version from Niroj in Agoura Hills, which closed last year. The Israeli-ish version at The Exchange, the subject of tomorrow's review, is excellent - it appropriately appears on the menu as burnt eggplant.'' I'm also happy with the baba ganouj at Adana in Burbank and Hummus Bar  Grill in Tarzana.

Amy Scattergood

denisecf asks: "Where is the best baba ghanouj in L.A.?"

Jonathan Gold

As Public Enemy's Chuck D might have phrased it: Word to Herb.

Jonathan Gold

A possible theme for the day comes from Mr. Howard Rodman, who has thoughtfully provided a passage from Joseph Mitchell: “We get a lot of goormies in Libby’s,” said Mr. Murchison. “I can spot a goormy right off. Moment he sits down he wants to know do we have any boolybooze.”

“Bouillabaisse,” said Mr. Flood.

“Yes,” said Mr. Murchison, “and I tell him, ‘Quit showing off! We don’t carry no boolybooze. Never did. There’s a time and a place for everything. If you was to go into a restaurant in France,’ I ask him, ‘would you call for some Daniel Webster fish chowder?’ I love a hearty eater, but I do despise a goormy. All they know is boolybooze and pompano and something that’s out of season, nothing else will do. And when they get through eating they don’t settle their check and go on about their business. No, they sit there and deliver you a lecture on what they et, how good it was, how it was almost as good as a piece of fish they had in the Caffy dee lah Pooty-doo in Paris, France, on January 16, 1928; they remember every meal they ever et, or make out they do. And every goormy I ever saw is an expert on herbs. Herbs, herbs, herbs! If you let one get started on the subject of herbs he’ll talk you deef, dumb, and blind. Way I feel about herbs, on any fish I ever saw, pepper and salt and a spoon of melted butter is herbs aplenty.”

Amy Scattergood

Happy Friday and welcome back to our lunchtime chats with Jonathan Gold (new day, new format). Got a question?

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