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What we're into: Giant soup dumplings

If you spend much time at San Gabriel Square, the enormous shopping mall at the corner of Valley Boulevard and Del Mar Avenue in San Gabriel, then you'll know how easy it is to get lost in the labyrinth of restaurants, tea shops and little boutiques. There is the 99 Ranch to negotiate, as well...

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    • Like pickled dishes? Here are some tangy dishes to savor around L.A.

      Like pickled dishes? Here are some tangy dishes to savor around L.A.

      Whether it's Indian achaar or Japanese nukazuke, pickles of all varieties are featured on menus around the city, and not just as side dishes. What was once used as a necessary form of preservation is now a way for chefs to playfully showcase their seasonal ingredients. The pickle plate began appearing...

    • Szechuan Impression skewers all expectations

      Szechuan Impression skewers all expectations

      Bobo chicken, at least as interpreted at Szechuan Impression, is a party in a pot, a ceramic pot that strongly resembles a novelty St. Patrick's Day hat, half-filled with chile-laced broth and with long bamboo skewers sticking up from the vessel in almost comic profusion, like spines from a porcupine...

    • Ago Sciandri to open Vespaio downtown; Cardamom, the One Up are open

      Ago Sciandri to open Vespaio downtown; Cardamom, the One Up are open

      Chef and restaurateur Ago Sciandri (Ago) will open a new Italian restaurant called Vespaio in downtown L.A. at the Emerson later this year. The 5,500-square-foot space will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week as well as weekend brunch. Sciandri plans to also have extensive...

    • Eight of the best tortas in Los Angeles

      Eight of the best tortas in Los Angeles

      Move over, tacos. It's time to share the spotlight with your sandwich counterpart: the torta. A torta is more than just a Mexican version of a beefed-up sandwich; it is an entirely different species. A good torta is usually available anywhere that a good taco is, with just as many regional variations....

    • L.A. by noodle soup: Yunnan 'crossing the bridge' noodles

      L.A. by noodle soup: Yunnan 'crossing the bridge' noodles

      If you make your way to southwest China and the province of Yunnan, you will encounter rows of noodle shops serving just one thing: guoqiao mixian. You’ll be handed a bowl of rice noodles and a platter of chicken, thinly sliced pork, tofu skin, bean sprouts and vegetables. And then without saying...

    • Alhambra's Shi Hai is best at its simplest

      Alhambra's Shi Hai is best at its simplest

      If you are looking for a clue to Shi Hai, the new Hong Kong-style seafood restaurant in Alhambra, you might find it in the cold cucumber appetizer, a dish that appears at both dim sum breakfast and at dinner. If this is your first time at the restaurant, you might be anticipating the well-garlicked...

    • The finest food in Los Angeles for even the thinnest wallets
      The finest food in Los Angeles for even the thinnest wallets

      Is it possible to spend more than $400 per person at some of the restaurants on this year's list of the best 101? Of course. Cuisine costs. But great cooking takes many different forms in Los Angeles, and some of the most exquisite flavors belong to us all.

      Attari Sandwich Shop

      Attari is a slice...

    • Ceviche in Los Angeles: 8 great spots for the cool fish dish
      Ceviche in Los Angeles: 8 great spots for the cool fish dish

      Summer may be almost over, but that stubborn Southern California sun isn't going anywhere. For better or worse, Los Angeles is stuck with stunningly perfect weather, a perfect excuse to eat ceviche every day.

      Ceviches are in the same category as tacos and sushi: foods that our city absolutely excels...

    • First Look: Szechuan Impression, for another long line
      First Look: Szechuan Impression, for another long line

      If you have been following the Chinese-restaurant scene in the San Gabriel Valley in the last few years, you probably know about Chengdu Taste, the restaurant that showed California the world of Sichuan cuisine that lay beyond mapo tofu and twice-cooked pork -- if only for the famous two-hour wait...

    • Delicious fare and a warm ambience put Pasadena restaurant ahead.
      Dining Review: Crossings is perfect for a date night

      Perhaps it was the Old Fashioned. Maybe it was the Oysters Rockefeller. It might have been the artful elegance of the decor. Whatever the reason, at more than one point in the evening I expected to look over and see Don Draper and Roger Sterling from “Mad Men” chatting at the next table. Such is...

    • What's the most-visited great restaurant in Los Angeles? Border Grill
      What's the most-visited great restaurant in Los Angeles? Border Grill

      Southern California is full of great restaurants. But which ones do people really go to the most?

      At least according to the voters at Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants, it’s Border Grill by a landslide, followed by the Kogi BBQ Truck, Langer’s Delicatessen and the Mozza-plex (Pizzeria and Osteria...

    • Dude, where's a buyer for my house?
      Dude, where's a buyer for my house?

      Ashton Kutcher has put the word out that he is interested in finding a buyer for his Hollywood Hills home, quietly shopping it at $12 million.

      The modern-style, three-story home built in 2007 has views of the Hollywood Reservoir and the Hollywood sign. There are five bedrooms and eight bathrooms...

    • At Awu Delicious Food in Arcadia, much to try along with your koi jello
      At Awu Delicious Food in Arcadia, much to try along with your koi jello

      When you order koi jello at a new Chinese restaurant, there are many things you might expect to see on your plate. Perhaps the dish will turn out to be a version of the jellied carp your Jewish grandmother used to make or something like a Russian fish zakuska under an inch of hardened aspic. It...

    • Events: Mozza alums at Santa Anita Park, tapas pop-up, 'India & Pakistan' lecture
      Events: Mozza alums at Santa Anita Park, tapas pop-up, 'India & Pakistan' lecture

      The Belmont Stakes horse race is Saturday, with California Chrome trying to win the prestigious Triple Crown, and the Chandelier Room at Santa Anita Park will be hosting a viewing party for local residents. The Chandelier Room’s consulting chef Christian Page, along with Osteria Mozza alums Christopher...

    • China's famed Hai Di Lao brings its hot pot to San Gabriel Valley
      China's famed Hai Di Lao brings its hot pot to San Gabriel Valley

      What is it like to eat at Hai Di Lao, the Ferrari of Chinese hot pot restaurants, to assemble your dipping sauce from an infinite bank of possibilities, to swish your bits of meat and fish through your own pot of seasoned broth instead of having to endure a communal pot that may not be precisely...

    • An around-the-world tour with 6 great rice salads in L.A.
      An around-the-world tour with 6 great rice salads in L.A.

      If you are like most readers of The Times' Food pages, you probably read Russ Parsons’ article on rice salad last weekend. You may have even saved that great-sounding recipe for cucumber-yogurt rice salad to your Evernote. But did you also wonder where you might find rice salad in a restaurant?...

    • Where these chefs are taking mom for Mother's Day
      Where these chefs are taking mom for Mother's Day

      Ask chefs who most influenced their cooking or to whom they attribute their success, and they're likely to tell you it was mom.

      "My mom told me to follow my passion and work hard and luckily I listened," says Ari Taymor, chef-owner of downtown restaurant Alma, which has pulled no shortage of accolades. 

      ...

    • The Raymond gets a menu revamp for the first time in 35 years
      The Raymond gets a menu revamp for the first time in 35 years

      Name: The Raymond in Pasadena. 

      The chef: Tim Guiltinan, who took over the kitchen in 2008. Guiltinan, who has worked at Five Feet in Laguna Beach and under Mark Gold at Cafe Rouge, has recently given the menu its first real overhaul since the restaurant opened more than 35 years ago. 

      Concept:...

    • Chinese star Newport Seafood opening in Beverly Hills
      Chinese star Newport Seafood opening in Beverly Hills

      San Gabriel’s popular Newport Seafood will be making the big leap to Beverly Hills.

      Ranked last year by Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold as one of the 101 best restaurants in Southern California, Newport specializes in Southeast Asian-inflected Cantonese food.

      Gold wrote: “When...

    • Five Chinese restaurants where MSG isn't on the menu
      Five Chinese restaurants where MSG isn't on the menu

      Monosodium glutamate: Love it or hate it? Some people are convinced it’s toxic, though there isn't much science behind that claim. Others compare it with table salt.

      Regardless of which camp you fall into, it’s no secret that MSG is used heavily in restaurants – especially in traditional Chinese...

    • Spice market trip with 9021PHO's Kimmy Tang, home brewers unite, paella at Cafe del Rey
      Spice market trip with 9021PHO's Kimmy Tang, home brewers unite, paella at Cafe del Rey

      Chef Kimmy Tang of 9021PHO will host an Asian spice tour and lunch Saturday. Meet at a market in San Gabriel at 10 a.m. for a two-hour tour, during which Tang will show you which herbs and spices are used in her French-Vietnamese cooking. Then at 12:30 p.m., head to one of Tang's favorite restaurants...

    • Chengdu Taste's 'secret menu' revealed: spicy shrimp with sizzling rice, and more
      Chengdu Taste's 'secret menu' revealed: spicy shrimp with sizzling rice, and more

      Regulars at Chengdu Taste, the Alhambra Sichuan restaurant famous for its toothpick lamb and its two-hour wait for a table, know they can order specials off the menu. Stop in for dinner, and servers regularly carry platters of lion fish -- a "secret menu" special of intricately sliced and deep-fried...

    • Jonathan Gold picks 7 places for rainy-day pho
      Jonathan Gold picks 7 places for rainy-day pho

      Is there anything more annoying than the friend who corrects your pronunciation of pho, insisting that you call the Vietnamese beef noodle soup "fuh" instead of "foe" – that girl who rolls her eyes at the idea of a restaurant called "9021Pho?" Perhaps not. But when the weather is damp, the radio...

    • Here's a secret about Whittier: It's ascending as a great food city
      Here's a secret about Whittier: It's ascending as a great food city

      Until now, Whittier's blossoming restaurant scene filled with contemporary regional Mexican food, craft beer and oyster bars, serious gastropub fare and original puffy tacos was L.A. County’s best-kept secret. But it’s time to stop being selfish and share its delicious wealth. Here is the best...

    • Pigs ears and vampiros: Jonathan Gold finds 7 good tacos with a surprise inside
      Pigs ears and vampiros: Jonathan Gold finds 7 good tacos with a surprise inside

      Can’t you just cruise down to the corner of Venice and La Brea, order a couple of tacos al pastor from the Leo’s truck, and be happy as a well-stuffed clam? (I’ll have mine con piña, por favor.) After a week in the godless confines of New York or Boston, aren’t the chicken tacos at King Taco good...

    • Where you have to go whole hog, try these three places in the L.A. area
      Where you have to go whole hog, try these three places in the L.A. area

      Critic's Choice: Sometimes a chop or a rasher just won't sate that pork craving. That's when these three spots become the place to pig out.

    • Grist & Toll bread bake, 'What Shakespeare Ate,' Scotch tasting at the Bazaar
      Grist & Toll bread bake, 'What Shakespeare Ate,' Scotch tasting at the Bazaar

      Bake-your-own-bread: Local organic flour mill Grist & Toll presents the first in a new series of community pop-ups and workshops at its Pasadena location on Sunday. This first event will feature M.O.M.O. (Michael O'Malley's Mobile Oven), where guests can bring in their own dough to be baked in...

    • For an oyster-and-craft-beer hot date, Portsmouth in Whittier
      For an oyster-and-craft-beer hot date, Portsmouth in Whittier

      Name of restaurant: Portsmouth, named for is seafood-heavy menu.

      Concept: A very unpretentious neighborhood oyster bar with a dozen lightish local craft beers and an easy-drinking wine list, all meant to enhance the fresh seafood. Hip playlist too.

      Chef: Daniel Salcido, who is behind the Whittier...

    • A waitress who served more than just food
      A waitress who served more than just food

      For more than 40 years at Shakers restaurant in South Pasadena, Margaret McWhorter transformed legions of customers into friends.

    • Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Colonia Taco Lounge is a new jewel in the crown
      Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Colonia Taco Lounge is a new jewel in the crown

      Are we living in the golden age of the California taco? We may be — or at least it can seem as if we are when your tummy's full late on a Saturday night. Nobody finds it odd that Roy Choi, the local chef with the most international attention on him at the moment, became famous making Korean short...

    • Four great vegetarian Chinese restaurants
      Four great vegetarian Chinese restaurants

      Unlike the kale-laced skinny salads of so many vegetarian restaurants across Los Angeles, Chinese vegetarian dishes -- part of a culinary culture that goes back thousands of years -- don’t look all that different from their meaty counterparts. Dishes are heavy on artificial meat and are artistic...

    • 28 great L.A. bakeries
      28 great L.A. bakeries

      Maybe it was the rise of kouign amann -- the uber-buttery, caramelized "it" pastry from Brittany -- and better access to fresh-baked baguettes that lately has helped reinvigorate an Angeleno culture of neighborhood bakeries, all butter and sugar and love.

      There's a bakery out there to suit any...

    • Chengdu Taste's secret-menu item — lion fish — is a rare find
      Chengdu Taste's secret-menu item — lion fish — is a rare find

      When my friends Margy Rochlin and Anne Fishbein traveled to China with a delegation of women chefs a dozen years ago, they visited cooking school after cooking school to witness the progress that was being made in provincial Chinese kitchens. And in the article they produced for Gourmet, something...

    • L.A.'s best sweets, treats and buttery breads
      L.A.'s best sweets, treats and buttery breads

      A baker's dozen of favorite neighborhood shops where the house specialty is more than the icing on the cake.

    • Five craft beer bars you need to know about

      When the L.A. Tourism & Convention Board put together a list of the “Top Craft Beer Bars and Restaurants in Los Angeles” for its Discover Los Angeles website, it didn't just slap together a few of the best-known spots. The list was detailed, well researched and comprehensive. 

      Compiled by Joshua...

    • For National Cheeseburger Day, free mini cheeseburgers at Dog Haus
      For National Cheeseburger Day, free mini cheeseburgers at Dog Haus

      Drop your kale salads! It's National Cheeseburger Day, and Dog Haus is offering its new mini cheeseburger for free at all of its locations until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

      Though there are several competing claims about who invented the first cheeseburger, one story attributes it to a fry cook in Pasadena....

    • Jonathan Gold's $15 Chinese broccoli dish that's worth every penny
      Jonathan Gold's $15 Chinese broccoli dish that's worth every penny

      You may, in the course of your travels, alight at New Bay Seafood, in a building that has been home to approximately a trillion Hong Kong-style restaurants since it began as Jumbo Seafood in the first San Gabriel Valley Chinese restaurant-boom in the early 1980s. And if you are familiar with the...

    • Where to buy quality cured meats in the L.A. area
      Where to buy quality cured meats in the L.A. area

      Not all that long ago, I would have to drive all over the city on the hunt for decent prosciutto or salami. Now a number of purveyors have upgraded to the good stuff and trained staff to slice it correctly. Below are some recommended sources for cured meats. And if none is nearby, Bristol Farms...

    • Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Chengdu Taste serves down-home Sichuan
      Jonathan Gold | L.A. restaurant review: Chengdu Taste serves down-home Sichuan

      Along with its many unique dishes, the acclaimed restaurant's menu now features Diced Rabbit With Younger Sister's Secret Recipe.

    • Banh mi goes gourmet; here's 11 of Los Angeles' best
      Banh mi goes gourmet; here's 11 of Los Angeles' best

      The latest wave of sandwich shops (Hero Shop, Superba Food + Bread, Trencher) and modern Vietnamese cafes (East Borough, Phorage) in Los Angeles have generated tantalizing new spins on banh mi, the beloved Vietnamese sandwich that is the culinary result of French colonialism in Southeast Asia.

      ...

    • The A to Z of Los Angeles pizza
      The A to Z of Los Angeles pizza

      In celebration of National Pizza Day, here's a run-down of Los Angeles pizza, including go-to delivery spots, Chicago-style, New York-style, Neapolitan-style and New York-Naples hybrids. Here's where to get your gooey, cheesy, melty, crispy- and/or chewy-crusted pizza fix.

      800 Degrees Neapolitan...

    • Jonathan Gold's 101 best restaurants in L.A.
      Jonathan Gold's 101 best restaurants in L.A.

    • 9 great breakfast sandwiches plus one killer burrito to try now
      9 great breakfast sandwiches plus one killer burrito to try now

      A perfectly balanced breakfast sandwich the size of your head goes a long way toward improving the prospects of almost any day. (And there’s nothing like it for curing a hangover.) It has to have melted cheese, protein (preferably crisp bacon), eggs (of course) and bread (from tortilla to loaf,...

    • The great L.A. coffee scene: Your dream caffeine fix may be just around the corner
      The great L.A. coffee scene: Your dream caffeine fix may be just around the corner

      You're a coffee fiend keeping track of every new specialty coffee shop that opens in L.A.? With one new cafe opening after another, it's not so easy anymore. But it is a lot easier to come across a great brewed coffee or perfect pull of espresso, whether in south Santa Monica or North Hollywood,...

    • 5 best not-Cronuts in L.A. (and a map that includes all the rest)
      5 best not-Cronuts in L.A. (and a map that includes all the rest)

      It's easy to succumb to a faux-Cronut addiction. Intrigued by a meta-pastry trend, I've eaten every version of the croissant-doughnut hybrid in Los Angeles that I could find, from Spudnuts in Canoga Park to DK's Donuts in Santa Monica.

      I've had the original Cronut, the "half-croissant, half doughnut"...

    • Falafel! 6 great places to get your fried-garbanzo fix
      Falafel! 6 great places to get your fried-garbanzo fix

      There's an art to making falafel so that the ground garbanzo beans are perfectly light and fluffy, the exterior crisp but not greasy, the mix of textures and spices habit-forming.

      Falafel's exact origins are unknown, but it's believed to have started in Egypt, then made its way through the Middle...

    • MSG-free bowl
      No MSG, no worries

    • Cold-pressed juice, hot in L.A.
      Cold-pressed juice, hot in L.A.

      Shortly after Chipper Pastron opened the first Juice Farm in Pasadena in January, a developer asked if he'd be interested in setting up another in the same neighborhood. No way, Pastron said, thinking there wouldn't be enough demand.

      Six months in and he and his partners are negotiating a space...

    • L.A. restaurants: Top 13 spots on hotter-than-ever Sawtelle Boulevard
      L.A. restaurants: Top 13 spots on hotter-than-ever Sawtelle Boulevard

      The stretch of Sawtelle Boulevard often referred to as Little Osaka recently has expanded so quickly that it's bursting beyond its traditional boundaries. With so many new restaurant openings, they're popping up north of Santa Monica Boulevard and south of Olympic. 

      Shin Sen Gumi officially opened...

    • Chicken karaage list: 6 great places to get your fried fix
      Chicken karaage list: 6 great places to get your fried fix

      Chicken karaage, the Japanese version of fried chicken, is addictive. Unlike its American cousin, karaage are boneless, cut small and mostly dark meat. It's easy to pop five into your mouth in quick succession. The coating, made of potato starch, is light, almost paper thin and delicate. And the...

    • Best banh mi sandwiches
      Best banh mi sandwiches

    • Where to find the best bibimbap
      Where to find the best bibimbap

      Several locations specialize in the many varieties of the favorite Korean mixed-rice dish.

    • Easy dinner ideas from the Los Angeles Times California Cookbook
      Easy dinner ideas from the Los Angeles Times California Cookbook

      99 EASY DINNER RECIPES to help you when you need something fast.

    • The $10,000 martini
      The $10,000 martini

      The $10,000 martini from Vaucluse is literally on the rock - a one-carat, rough cut diamond added to the drink.

    • The hunt's on: Three restaurants deep into game this season
      The hunt's on: Three restaurants deep into game this season

      Critic's Choice: Josie Restaurant, Patina at Disney Hall and Saddle Peak Lodge are there to indulge your hankering for wild boar, elk, quail and other manner of game.

    • 25 Cinco de Mayo recipes: Guacamole, tostadas, chiles rellenos and more
      25 Cinco de Mayo recipes: Guacamole, tostadas, chiles rellenos and more

      Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with recipes for margaritas and tacos and other great fare. Avocado tips: Best way to get unbruised avocado

    • Three L.A. restaurants that are good brunch bets
      Three L.A. restaurants that are good brunch bets

      Critic's Choice: Bucato, Girasol and Farmshop are three L.A. restaurants that know how to do brunch right, which can be a lifesaver when you have houseguests.

    • Places to eat for $5 or less in Southern California
      Places to eat for $5 or less in Southern California

      Dining out for $5 or less may seem like a fantasy, but Southern California has much to offer for those on a tight budget. For affordable Vietnamese fare, venture to Garden Grove. Or look to food trucks for inexpensive eats. Even some pricier restaurants offer cheap eats during happy hours.

    • Pancakes, on a grand or silver-dollar scale, in L.A.
      Pancakes, on a grand or silver-dollar scale, in L.A.

      Critic's Choice: Pancakes are an American comfort food favorite. Three L.A. eateries offer terrific examples: Cooks County, Valerie and Axe.

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