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Flashes - San Fernando Valley restaurants

  • 9/22/03 - $3.49 all-you-can-eat pizza lunch buffet includes a salad bar. I mentioned this in the 7/26.1/03 Flash, but today I try it. What can I say? They serve their 'thin' crust for the buffet, and some crusts are thinner than others. At best the thinnest was fair; the thickest poor. Fair cheese and toppings, but a few were somewhat salty and oily, with an OK salad bar. Water is free, but drinks are extra. It's Mon-Fri, 11a-3p, for $3.49, at Peter Piper Pizza, 13200 Osborne St., Pacoima, 818-899-4848, just south/west of Laurel Canyon, close to the 5 freeway, around the corner from Target and Big!Lots. Kids under three could be free, or something. It's a large room, full of video games, so maybe don't take the kids. You can't back out of their site at www.peterpiperpizza.com/.
  • 9/18/03 - I returned to Roma Deli today, Thursday, to try their Monday-Thursday all-you-can-eat Italian buffet. Friday is BBQ. It's at 6449 Lankershim Bl., 818-763-8296, open seven days. Everything was ok, or slightly better than average, as noted. They had ok sausage lasagna, ok eggplant parmesan that could use more sauce and cheese, better-than-average linguini with white, chunky clam sauce, ok manicotti with fake crab meat, better-than average chicken strips, along with rice, pasta salad, caesar? salad, and bread and butter. Ice water is free but drinks are extra. Two police men and a friend had sub sandwiches. P.S. - I don't object to fake crab meat, especially at a $4.99 all-you-can-eat buffet. Summary: Everything was ok, not real good, but ok. You may have noticed that I don't review or eat at Italian restaurant cause I like the immigrant/red sauce Italian dishes they do so well in New York and New Jersey. Most cooks can do as well or better at home, so why eat out and pay $12 for a pasta dish that costs $2 at home, and tastes better. Just get a good recipe, and learn to use fresh herbs and garlic. I mentioned a few other restaurant details in the 7/26/03 Flash, but I didn't try the BBQ. The Italian buffet menu varies each day and today they had an extra dish (eggplant) that wasn't listed on their sign. P.S. - "Ask us about our free lunch" the sign says. Something like you buy seven lunches and the next one is free.
  • 7/28/03 - ""Best of" Downtown 2003" is in today's Los Angeles Downtown News. Restaurants, bars, etc., and some have branches outside the downtown area. Try to find the actual paper which contains dozens of ads not on their site at www.ladowntownnews.com/. Also, a handy map in the paper. P.S. - you'll never know for sure if these polls are valid, but they can be fun.
  • 7/26.2/03 - Hacienda Sol, 6439 Lankershim Bl., North Hollywood, 818-761-5176, just north of Victory Bl. They do an all-you-can-eat Mexican buffer lunch, Wed-Fri only, from 11a-3p, for $5.99. This is a slightly up-scale place, with slightly-better-than-average food, and I'll use the 'names' they posted on the food. The chicken, except maybe the soup, was all white meat, which I prefer. On 7/25/03 they had an interesting 'chicken fajitas', in a red, mild sweet and sour sauce, and this was about the best dish. 'Chicken and mushrooms' had chunks of white meat with a mild tang and was ok. 'Shrimp and chicken rice' also had beef, fish, and maybe pork and was ok. This was something like paella, but without the saffron. 'Chile verde' was tender but bland but ok. The 'chicken soup' with vegetables was ok but needed salt - better than too much salt, as many places do. The 'cheese enchiladas' were ok. The rice and beans were average. This came with ok chips, but I didn't care for the salsa which went thouugh a blender. They also had five ok cold salads, the red and the white Mexican drinks, five flavors of ok cheesecake, and pudding and jello. The fresh fruit was ripe and sweet, and the fruit salad was good also. Mostly just ok food with a few better items, and not a bad price at $5.99, if you can take a long lunch and enjoy it all.
  • 7/26.1/03 - $3.49 Mon-Fri all-you-can-eat pizza lunch. I may never get to try their Mon-Fri, 11a-3p, $3.49 pizza lunch which may include a salad, but I wanted to pass along the info. It's Peter Piper Pizza, 13200 Osborne St., Pacoima, 818-899-4848, just south/west of Laurel Canyon, close to the 5 freeway, around the corner from Target and Big!Lots. Kids under three could be free, or something. It's a large room, full of video games, so maybe don't take the kids. You can't back out of their site at www.peterpiperpizza.com/.
  • 7/26/03 - Surprises at the corner of Lankershim and Victory in NoHo. Reviewed 7/25/03. Most people in California don't walk much, but here are a few interesting restaurants within a few hundred feet of the corner of Lankershim Bl. and Victory Bl. in NoHo. Of these I have only eaten at Hacienda Sol as of now. Call to check details. ** 1 **. A few hundred feet to the west is Siam Victory at 11736 Victory Bl., 818-509-1142, open seven days. I have seen their small ad it a local paper. Their long menu offers Thai and some Chinese dishes, Mo-Fi lunch specials starting at 11a at $4.99, and combo specials all day at $8.50. Their menu says "We serve all white meat;" chicken I presume. ** 2 **. A few hundres feet to the east is Las Palmas, 11671 Victory Bl., 818-985-5955, seven days, with Cuban food. They open late, like noon or some days at 1p. Meals start at $7.50, and they have unspecified specials on Monday. ** 3 **. A few hunders feet to the north is the Golden Palace, 6411 Lankershim Bl., 818-766-6508. They open at 11a with Chinese lunch specials from $3.95-$5.75 and have dinner specials from $7.95. ** 4 **. Next to the north is Hacienda Sol, 6439 Lankershim Bl., 818-761-5176. They do an all-you-can-eat Mexican buffer lunch, Wed-Fri only, from 11a-3p, for $5.99. This is a slightly up-scale place, with better-than-average food, and a review will follow soon. ** 5 **. Next to the north - I actually came to this area to try the Italian food at the Roma Deli, 6449 Lankershim Bl., 818-763-8296, seven days. Mon-Thu they do an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet, from 11a-2p, for $4.99, with different Italian dishes each day. However, on Friday they have baked/BBQ pork ribs and chicken and stuff. This was Friday and I didn't feel like baked BBQ, so I went to Hacienda Sol instead. Roma also has "sub's*salads*pasta*pizza" and more, and Italian dishes from $4.99-$6.99. P.S. - I say 'baked/BBQ' cause it looked like it was done in an oven.
  • 7/12/03 - The early bird died. Since my intial, 8/4/02 review of the Sunday brunch at the El Torito Restaurant, 14433 1/2 Ventura Bl., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, 818-990-5860, the food has been going down hill, and they usually only offer one soup, menudo. Besides the taco meats and maybe breakfast meat, it's usually bland chicken two ways, the rock-hard pork chops, and either a pork but usually a beef dish. The beef dish could be good. But, now the early bird special, at about $9.99, has been discontinued. Now you'll pay $12.99, unless you'd rather get better food for less, elsewhere. Or, check with the Torrance (South Bay) outlet which years ago had better food.
  • 7/3/03 - Update to the 1/22.1/03 Flash - The Good Earth, 19510 Nordhoff Pl., Northridge (next to L.A. Buffet), 818-993-7306. I returned today to try the Mo-Fr, 11a-3:30p lunch beffet at $6.95. The food was fresher than for the Su buffet, but not very good. I started eating about 10:45a, trying to get fresh food. They had two fair soups, ok salad, fruit, and dessert bars, fair fish, chicken, and vegetable dishes (but I only tried a few), below average beef stew and ribs, and several international and American dishes. The Mid-Eastern beef and chicken kabobs were at first interesting, but quickly lost their flavor on the buffet. The Italian, Mexican, and Chinese dishes were clueless; I mean the cook needs recipes. Like, don't put yellow cheese on Italian food, and Chinese orange chicken usually contains orange. Do green beans and almonds come in a tomato sauce?? Also, mostly below average service. Nice idea for a buffet, but below average flavors. Also, a dinner buffet (Mo-Fr?) 4-9p at $8.95, and the Sa & Su buffet 10a-3:30p for $10.95, but call to check first.
  • 6/29/03 - I have made two more trips to Salomi (Indian & Bangladesh food) for their Sunday brunch, mentioned in the 5/5/03 Flash, and found good food with rather poor service. Today the two servers couldn't pick up dirty dishes from the three customers or bring me water. I did mention to the 'manager' that the two servers would rather talk to themselves than look after customers, but don't expect much. Good lamb curry, chicken 'something' in sauce, dryish veg curry items, and others. Compare this to the service at the Taj Mahal (just blocks away, with the best? food) where one server gets it all done quickly.
  • 6/27/03 - The LA Weekly 2003 Summer restaurant guide will be printed in July, in the 7/17 issue. This and past reviews will be/are on their web site at www.laweekly.com/food/. P.S. - In the past the printed guide has been much easier to use than the internet version, at least for me.
  • 6/25.1/03 - Update to the 6/7/03 Flash - Tequilas Mexican Restaurant: I returned 6/15 and found excellent food and service, however 6/22 was average food and service. You just never know, and it was all different service people each day.
  • 6/25/03 - mistake, see 6/27/03 Flash.
  • 6/20/03 - The LAT 2003 restaurant review mag will be in their 6/22/03 Sunday paper.
  • 6/10.1/03 - Mango Tango Mexican restaurant, several changes. Their Sunday buffet brunch say it includes "all you can eat**all you can drink." See review, at 11669 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, 818-255-9064. It seems they still do the weekday buffet also. Let a non-drinker drive.
  • 6/10/03 - Filipino restaurant changes, but call to verify. (1) One D.J. Bibingkahan is now called KSB (Kalnan Sa Barangay). They still seem to have the $3 combo special, but also a new Sunday buffet with lunch at $5 and dinner at $6. Karaoke Mo-Sa, and entertainment on Sa and Su which can cost up to $30(?). It's still at 13760 Roscoe Bl. (corner of Woodman Ave.), Panorama City, 818-894-5688, 7a(?)-10p. (2) Benny's is now called Toto's, still at 14441 Roscoe Bl. (just east of Van Nuys Bl.), Panorama City, 818-892-0310. The food looked about the same, and the same guy was working there. (3) One untried Filipino restaurant does have a web site at www.backtomanila.com/, where you may find some background info.
  • 6/7/03 - Tequilas Mexican Restaurant, 13627 Victory Bl., Van Nuys, 818-989-4040. They're across from a Circuit City. I tried their $7.99 all-you-can-eat Sunday champagne buffet brunch last Sunday: the food was much better than average with very good sauces, but the service was minimal - my table was almost ignored. Very good chile colorado, chile verde, chicken, fish, and cheese enchiladas in good sauces - plus good cold salads - and average menudo, handmade tortillas, taco-meat fillings, fresh fruit and desserts, and fresh fruit beverages (which I forgot to try). The chilli relleno seemed mass produced and were below average. I did try this place last year when they first advertised in the Daily News, but the food was only fair, with very poor service, and it took them a while to set up the buffet. Poor service on this trip just means you may not get drinks or champagne and the dirty dishes pile up. P.S. - their untried weekday buffet is $5.00.
  • 5/5/03 - ok to very good - Salomi (Indian & Bangladesh food), 17209 Ventura Bl., Encino, CA, 818-995-4989. Sunday champagne brunch on 5/4 at $8.99 was ok with three very good items. They could move into second place. Details soon. Menu says they take all Indian restaurant coupons.
  • 5/3.1/03 - WARNING - HomeTown Buffet, Van Nuys, with nationwide outlets. I heard an ad on the radio for their BBQed baby-back-pork and beef ribs, sausage, and chicken buffet on Thur and Sat, for a short time only. Save your money; they weren't baby-backs and they didn't know how to cook them anyway. If you like kids food, salads, and overcooked vegs, you can almost turn this into a meal. But why bother; HTB is always about the worst buffets I've tried. Went 5/1/03. Try www.hometownbuffet.com/.
  • 5/3/03 - Mango Tango Mexican Restaurant has changed their buffets somewhat in April. Call for details.
  • Prelim - 3/31/03 Papa's & Beer, 6740 White Oak Ave. (just south of Vanowen St.), maybe in Reseda, phone 818-609-8877 or 818-401-0015. $4.99 all-you-can-eat Mexican lunch buffet Mo-Sa, 11a-2p, but open seven days. The sign in front lists only one meat on the buffet menu, chicken fajitas, so that may not vary. The hot section of the buffet also includes cheese enchiladas, bean(?) burritos(?), scrambled eggs with vegetable bits, taquitos, rice and beans, and chips. The salsa section includes somewhat mild red and green salsas. There is also a hot orange salsa with a smokey taste, somewhat like chipotle, but of a different color. The small peppers are sure to be very hot. The last section contains a lettuce salad and two dressings and several fresh fruits, most of which weren't very sweet. There was also sliced bananas in a milky sauce and a ham-chunk salad. I arrived about 1p, past the peak for this buffet, as the last of the fajita fragrance fluttered afar. The other items were ordinary, but for a few seconds, the fajitas were good, with charred bits, the way I like them, with that special fragrance. Then someone ordered fresh fajitas and the aroma returned, if only for a few seconds. At least one salsa, especially maybe the green one, was rather salty, so go carefully. Do try the orange salsa with the smokey taste, in small doses. The room is ok with lots of windows, the men's room just passed my test, and don't expect anyone to speak English. No scientific explanation of how the waitress could get those jeans on or off was available.
  • 2/28/03 - Mom's B.B.Q. House, 14062 Vanoven St, Van Nuys, CA 91405, 818-786-1373. Southeast corner at Hazeltine Ave., east of Van Nuys Bl. Lunch special, Mo-Fi till 2p, three very good pork ribs, sweet/spicy sauce, two good sides, and white bread for $5.99. Open Mo-Sa, 11a (noon Sa) till 9:30p (10p Fi/Sa). Call for details. Details soon, but these are the best pork ribs I've had for a while. Also, untried stuff by the pound, chicken, fish, links, beef ribs, rib tips, and daily specials. Very small, six tables, zero decor, didn't see a bathroom. P.S. - In one section the windows are covered with paper (looking like they're closed), but use the other door.
  • 2/26/03 - Afghan House Restaurant, 8516 Reseda Bl., Northridge, CA 91324 (behind Burger King), 818-709-6233. "Halal meat. Authentic Pakistani, Indian and Afghani cusine." Open Tue-Sun, 11a-9 or 10p. The buffet is Tue-Sat, noon-??, at $5.99. But, always call and check first. The buffet today offered murgh kabob (chicken kabob), badenjan chalaw (eggplant), and sabzi (spinach) from the Afghani menu and lamb korma (chunks) from the Pakistani and Indian menu. They also had white rice. For salad there was lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers with a bottle of dressing. That was it, not as many items as I've come to expect at a buffet. The rice was ordinary, the eggplant and spinach were only ok (not as good as Indian versions), the chicken was interesting - ok with flavors, but the lamb dish was excellent with good flavors and very lean. I don't ever remember such tender lamb or even beef. Other items, eat in or to go, from about $6-$12, but it will require a few to make a meal. The buffet is worth trying, but I wish they had more items. Indian restaurants typically offer more items of good quality at this price. P.S. - This was reviewed in the LA Weekly, but they didn't mention the buffet. Basic decor and ok bathroom.
  • 2/15/03 - Mission Burrito, 14867 Vanowen St. (north-east corner at Kester Ave., near DMV), Van Nuys, 818-901-1844. Mexican buffets: seven days 4-8:30p at $6.95 and Sunday brunch (all day?) at 7.95. Quality foods, many items, but no spices, little decor, slightly worn look, ok bath room, almost no kids. Bring your own hot sauce or ask for theirs. I ate Fri 2/14, about 5-7p, and was impressed by quality of food, but surprised by lack of spices (maybe it's kid friendly). Add your own spices, whatever. Details soon, but try it anyway. Also, locations in West Hills and Canoga Park, untried.
  • 1/22.1/03 - The Good Earth, 19510 Nordhoff Pl., Northridge (next to L.A. Buffet), 818-993-7306, with a brunch/buffet Sat & Sun at $10.95 was a nice idea; a mix of Italian, Indian, Chinese, mid-eastern, American, seafood, and whatever dishes. However, it starts at 10a and I ate from about 1:30-3:30p, when the food was up to five and a half hours old. But, I can't suggest such old, tired food. See 7/3/03 Flash.
  • 1/22/03 - Both D.J. Bibingkahans (see addresses below) have been doing their $2.99 specials: two items with rice and soup. But, the one close to Van Nuys Bl (at least) has added a new dish: pork in coconut milk, ginger, spices; more like a Thai curry. Get some soon. Not every day? You might call to see it they have it today.
  • 1/03 - January is reported to be the slowest month of the year for the restaurant business. There are a few coupons in the papers for the less-expensive restaurants.
  • 12/17/02 - Caution - At the LA Buffet, their Saturday lunch buffet jumped up to $7.95, and I told the manager that was too much. The Asia Buffet is still $5.99, with better food.
  • 9/28/02 - watch for another Chinese buffet, Wonderful Chinese Restaurant, 16952 Parthenia, North Hills, CA 91343, 818-894-0893. Mon-Fri. 11:30a-2:30p lunch buffet for $4.95 with 20 items. Site at www.wonderfulchinese.com/ doesn't work yet.
  • 9/15/02 - working - LA Buffet, 19530 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91324, phone 818-678-6688. See Chinese page.
  • 9/12/02 - Hong Kong 88, see Chinese page, working.
  • 9/7/02 - D.J. Bibingkahan, 13760 Roscoe at Woodman. Two item Filipino combo at $2.99. OK food like the other larger store, but unswept floors, dirty dishes on tables, and single rest room needs help. Soon.
  • 9/7/02 - Filipino discounts: Zita’a Grill's $4.99 buffet becomes $3.99 for this month. D.J. Bibingkahan at Roscoe and Woodman has $2.99 combo special.
  • 9/5/02 - New Chinese buffet, see New Town Super Buffet.
  • 9/1/02 - New Filipino buffet restaurant. See that page.
  • 8/27/02 - A new pizza place.
  • 8/24/02 - A cluster of three more Indian restaurants plus another - working on the Indian page.

    Here are some San Fernando Valley restaurants, just over the hill and northwest of L.A. I'll post a few as time allows, and more details and updates may follow. So far I haven't found a Chinese, Indian, or especially Mexican restaurant that compares to those in the South Bay. But, the search continues. I tend to look for buffets and combo specials, especially at Chinese and Indian restaurants, where the price of an a la carte meal can get quite expensive. Always call first, and check for the newest details like days, hours, prices, parking, cards, to-go, delivery, catering, handicapped access, FAX numbers, alcohol, senior and kid discounts, coupons, etc. Please put your suggestions and comments on my new message board - no email please.

    Types & Restaurants Green is newest Comments
    BBQ, Southern style
  • Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas B-B-Q, 8136 Sepulveda Bl., Van Nuys, CA, phone 818-782-2480 or 818-780-6701.
  • Plus historical comments on ten other BBQ places, some in the South Bay.

    Brazilian BBQ?

  • Espeto's do Brazil Restaurant, 8751 Van Nuys Bl., Panorama City, CA 91402, phone 818-892-5988. See link to review of a restaurant in Brazil.

    Chinese buffet

  • New Town Super Buffet, 1100 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, CA 91504, phone 818-238-9398.
  • Asia Buffet, 8220 Van Nuys Bl., Panorama City, CA 91402, phone 818-988-8979. 7/20/02 - Discount coupons of about $1 were in yesterday's Daily News U section.

    Filipino

  • Zita’a Grill, 13551 Roscoe Bl., Panorama City, CA, 91402, phone 818-780-1311. Buffet.
  • D.J. Bibingkahan, 14417 Roscoe Bl, Panorama City, CA, phone 818-894-6378. Cafeteria.
  • Benny's Lechon, 14441 Roscoe Bl., Panorama City, CA, phone 818-892-0310. Cafeteria.

    Indian

  • India's Tandoori, 142 N. San Fernando Rd., Burbank, CA 91502, phone 818-846-7500. Not directly related to place below?
  • Taste of India, 13903 Ventura Bl., Sherman Oaks, CA, phone 818-501-5550.
  • Great India Cafe, 12321 Ventura Bl., Studio City, CA 91604, phone 818-761-8140.
  • India's Tandoori, 19006 Ventura Bl., Tarzana, CA 91356, phone 818-342-9100 or 1-800-INDIA-LA.
  • Taj Mahal, 17815 Ventura Bl. Ste 201, Encino, CA 91316, phone 818-345-2244. 7/20/02 - $1-off-buffet and another coupon on their web site. May also be in Thursday LA Times Valley Edition Calendar (or Daily News??)
  • India Cafe, 4523 Sepulveda Bl, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403, phone 818-986-8555.
  • Clay Oven, 14611 1/2 Ventrua Bl., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403, phone 818-995-1777.
  • Closed - New Indian Restaurant, had a buffet, about $5.95, at about 14444 Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks. Moved or gone-for-good?

    Mexican buffets

  • Mango Tango Mexican Restaurant, 11669 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA, phone 818-255-0964.
  • El Torito Restaurant, 14433 1/2 Ventura Bl., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, phone 818-990-5860.

    Pizza

  • Italian Express, 22207 Sherman Way, Canoga Park/West Hills, phone 818-992-7490.
  • Pizza Hut, 14455 Van Nuys Bl. (just north Ventura Bl.), Sherman Oaks, CA, phone 818-990-7600. Buffet.
  • How to eat a buffet. I'll need to revise this, but here are some ideas. Try Buffet Hints.

    How hot/spicy should it be? For example, Filipino food, along with Indian and perhaps Mexican food, is ment to be respiced (and made hotter) by the eater at the table. Order the food mild, if you wish, and add hot sauce and stuff as you like. In a French or Italian restaurant, for example, the chef might not appreciate this.

    Delivery

  • 8/13.1/02 - Restaurant Delivery Guide, the [East] San Fernando Valley edition, lists the menus for over 40 local restaurants. They deliver for the restaurant price plus their charge, no other mark ups, they say, unlike others. They may not show specials, buffets, etc. See www.freewayfood.com/.

    Reader's Choice Best of Report

    8/13/02 - Reader's Choice. The Daily News plans a 'reader's choice best of' report from their readers in the Friday, 8/30/02 edition. These usually include restaurants, but the 2001 report at www.dailynews.com/socal/ads/live/readerschoicedn/f-edition.htm is a total mess, so who knows? PS - that page locked me up.

    Historical Tidbits

    8/10/02 - "Prologue: A brief History of Travel," a shortish, 17-page section relates historical tidbits from travel (back to about 3000 B.C.), hospitality/lodging (back to about 500 B.C.), and restaurants (back to about the 1600s). The book is titled "An Introduction to Hospitality Today" by Angelo and Vladimir, a textbook from the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Hotel Association, © 1998. This book could be hard to locate, but there may be others with this type of info.

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