OMG Food!

Soup's on, folks! I'm Tina M. Courtney, aka PoetKitty -- a Los Angeles based food writer audacious enough to think I can critique all manner of eateries. It's a labor of love, and I'm honored to welcome you. Grab a fork and let's get this party started.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Golden Deli: Delish, No-Frills Vietnamese

Golden Deli
815 W. Las Tunas Dr.
San Gabriel, CA 91776

The Event: Lunch with my crew
Cuisine: Vietamese

The Very Best Friend happens to be a bona fide Vietamese goddess, and if she says go HERE for the pho ... I hop to it. Hoppity hop.
We hit the scene around 11 am on a Sunday, and the place was already almost completely full. The decor is the usual non-descript, oldish glow, but it's clean enough and it smells like pork. Those are good things.
The menu is loaded with things I can't pronounce or even begin to imagine, but luckily my pal is present, and she takes the reins.
Service is manic and rushed, because these folks are busy and they just don't have time for our lollygagging.


An amazing lime, sugar, and sparkling water concoction that is the first non-alcoholic brew in ages to make me giddy.


Fried Eggrolls
These mammoth, greasy suckers were loaded with veggies and pork, and came with lettuce leaves to cut the oil and add a wee bit o' the healthy kick. I said a wee bit. Quite good, but needed the spice of the accompanying sauce in a big way.

Shrimp Spring Rolls

Now these were a home run - the chewy, fresh skin housed gobs of shrimp and vegetables. I didn't love the spicy, sweet sauce that came with them, but the consistency and texture made this a huge winner.

Pho, and lots of it

We all opted (by friend's DEMAND) to have the Pho Tai, which is the version with cooked beef. This heavenly, steamy bowl of goodness comes equipped with a platter of raw veggies, like mint leaves, bamboo shoots, lime, jalapeno, and much more. The vermicelli noodles aren't homemade, but they are realllly good. The broth had a lovely, salty kick, and with the right combo of hot sauce and plum sauce, few things may a rainy day more enjoyable.

My tip to you - Get the pho, skip the fried goods (did I just write that out loud?)

Damage for 2 appetizers, 6 lime drinks and 6 bowls o' pho - about $60. Bargain!!

Worth it? Every freaking penny and then some.


Ambiance - D+
Service - C
Food (Taste) - B-
Food (Presentation) - C-
Wine/Drinks - B (no alcoholic types spied or sampled)
Value - A
Vibe/Energy/Scene - B

Overall Experience - B-

Parking: Nice big lot, it's in a strip mall
Attire: Super casual
Pros: Awesome, authentic, inexpensive Vietamese food stuffs
Cons: It's a schlep if you aren't near San Gabriel, and there isn't much ambiance

Final word - Absolutely phobulous, eat your heart out.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, March 03, 2007

En Sushi - Raw Lunch, Anyone?

En Sushi
1972 N. Hillhurst Ave.
Los Feliz, CA 90027

The Event: Just another lunch-fest

It's day time, I'm craving sushi and Los Feliz bound, and my pal N and I land in En Sushi.
Are we lucky duckies, or just plane lame?

I'm aware of another En Sushi but really hadn't heard peeps about either. This is a pretty new space in the restaurant row area of Los Feliz, and it has that clean, sterile glow one likes to see from one's raw food havens, so what the hay. First observation - eeep, it's warm in here. But no scary fishy smell, so I'll take it.

En has a standard sushi menu with a few interesting specials, but N and I both b-line for a lunch set. He opts for cooked delicacies, I go for a mixture.

Service is shoulder-shrugging; OK. Again, I'll take it.


Soju-based martinis that kind of blow, but some good sake selections. Of course, it's not noon yet, so I'm having tea.


(See photo above)

Five pieces of mixed sushi with 2 pieces of california roll, along with vegetable udon soup and a few trimmings
- Mmmm k, so the sushi is fresh-ish and more than decent, but the soup was pretty darn bland. No kick whatsoever, with a thin, tasteless broth. And the side of tempura flake? Weird and oily.


Udon noodle soup with vegetable and shrimp tempura
- His soup was the same heaping bowl of nothing that mine was, but he adored it. His tempura was the same old tempura you get anywhere and everywhere, but that's not a complaint. Fried stuff with batter is good. Period.

My tip to you - Expect fast and average fare that doesn't offend but doesn't wow either.

Damage for 2 lunch sets, 1 tea and 1 soda: just under about $28 before tip.

Worth it? Sure. Why not.


Ambiance - C+
Service - C
Food (Taste) - C
Food (Presentation) - C
Wine/Drinks - C+
Value - C
Vibe/Energy/Scene - C-

Overall Experience - C

Parking: Street during the day, valet at night
Attire: Casual
Pros: Decently fresh, decently priced
Cons: Nothin' you can't get a million places elsewhere

Final word - If I'm in a rush and wantin' some fishies, I might just be back.