Archive for the 'Long Beach' Category

Phnom Penh Noodle Restaurant – Los Angeles (Long Beach)

Phnom Penh Noodle Restaurant - Long Beach

Dining at Phnom Penh Noodle feels like sitting down for a meal at good friend’s home. It might have something to do with the converted house the restaurant is located in, but mostly it’s the warm service and soulful cooking that put The Astronomer and me completely at ease.

Phnom Penh Noodle Restaurant - Long Beach

The Tan family has been dishing up Cambodian-style noodles, porridge, and fried breads in this quiet building on Long Beach’s Cherry Avenue since 1985. These days, the restaurant is mostly run by the proprietors’ cheery brood, a passionate bunch poised to take over the day-to-day operations in the coming years.

Phnom Penh Noodle Restaurant - Long Beach

The Phnom Penh noodles are a must-order for first-timers and regulars alike. Each bowl is layered with springy rice noodles, tail-on shrimp, porky odds and ends, fried garlic, and fresh cilantro, and can be served ladled with scalding hot soup or “dry” with a bowl of broth on the side.

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Siem Reap – Los Angeles (Long Beach)

Siem Reap - Long Beach

Khmer cuisine hasn’t quite hit the mainstream like the food of its Southeast Asian neighbors, namely Thailand and Vietnam, but here in the heart of Long Beach’s Cambodia Town, the country’s robust cooking is celebrated on every corner. Siem Reap, a grandiose restaurant decked out with a full bar and dance floor, composes classic Khmer dishes that display as much flare as the ambiance.

Siem Reap - Long Beach

While the menu lists dozens of Thai and Chinese-American dishes, it’s Chef Huey Be’s Cambodian specialties that are really something special. The walls and windows both outside and inside the restaurant are covered with blown up images of Khmer classics to guide those new to the cuisine.

Our waitress was sweet enough to walk me through the specialties, literally, and from those I selected three dishes that sounded delightful.

Siem Reap - Long Beach

As we waited for the food to be prepared, The Astronomer and I snacked on complimentary sweetly pickled cabbage and carrots served with a side of salty peanuts.

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{swoon} Pig Candy at Bigmista’s Barbecue

Bigmista's Barbecue - Los Angeles

A lengthy wait for a table at Canele prompted the Astronomer and me to stroll over to the Atwater Village Farmers Market to kill some time. After skipping along the aisles and nabbing samples of oranges, apples, and strawberries, we stumbled upon a man with a giant-ass smoker and a long-ass line. It turns out that Bigmista’s Barbecue is a big draw here on Sunday mornings.

Neil and Phyllis Strawder, also known as Bigmista and Mrs. Mista, launched the roving barbecue operation in 2008. They started vending at the Watts farmers market, but have since moved on to the Atwater farmers market (Sunday), the Torrance farmers market (Tuesday and Saturday), the El Segundo farmers market (Thursday), and the Echo Park farmers market (Friday).

Bigmista's Barbecue - Los Angeles

After checking out Bigmista’s menu of delights, a part of me wanted to ditch our brunching plans and instead dine on some down home goodness. Alas, I was accompanied by The Astronomer’s visiting family from Alabama who eat ‘cue on a regular basis, so only a small bite would do. I guess the ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and Moink balls (bacon-wrapped meatballs) will just have to wait!

Bigmista's Barbecue - Los Angeles

I could not resist ordering some Pig Candy ($1.50) even though brunch was moments away. It was comprised of thick slices of bacon, slathered in brown sugar and spices and smoked until the edges caramelized. Initially, it was the smoky sweetness that registered on my tongue. As I savored a little more, an intense heat was unleashed. Small, deliberate bites are the best way to approach this beastly good Pig Candy.

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