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With holiday visitors flying in and out of LAX, Kanpai has two locations on major streets that are great alternatives to taking the 405 Freeway going south towards the airport. I went to the one on Lincoln for a late night light bite after picking up an East Coast transplant. They serve everything from sushi to ramen, with choices ranging from a $30 tempura set to a $170+omakase. I am sure that your appetite and your wallet will find something to please both.

The shitake mushrooms for $8.80were beautifully presented and lightly handled with a special soy.

Baked eggplant for $7.50 with ginger, green onion, and bonito flakes, which looked like a banana until we realized they had peeled it!

Every component of the basic chicken teriyaki dinner with steamed broccoli and potato salad for $28 was fresh, lightly cooked, and flavorful.

Miso black cod for $28 was a beautiful tender rendition, and a thick filet, so even though it was pricey for the portion, the quality of the fish was fair for the price point.

Both locations are open until 1am so whether you want something light, healthy, or just a good old fashioned Japanese place with pages of options, Kanpai is a great option on either Lincoln or Sepulveda.

Fast Casual restaurants have many variations that can either surprise me with pleasure or disappoint me with mediocrity. I’m happy to say that Urban Plates has pleasantly surprised me more than a few times both in visits to a location and with delivery.

It has been chilly for Southern California this past week with temperatures dipping into the 50’s and 40’s, and yes I know I am spoiled by the temperate climate here:) Soup was the number one thing I wanted, and I was hopeful when I saw their tomato soup had a drizzle of pesto. It was more of a tomato sauce than soup, with the overpowering flavor of fresh basil. I would either add some heat to this from their condiment bar, or get it as a side cup accompaniment next next.

Their grass fed steak salad was excellent, from the medium rare steak, to the crunchy roasted cashews, contrasting with the fresh flavors of jicama and mint with mango pineapple salsa in a jalapeno lime dressing for $14.50 this was a hearty salad, but for an even heartier meal, you can add another side of protein.

Because it had been awhile since I had eaten mashed potatoes and it was a chilly day, the comfort of a side of mashed organic potatoes with gravy was a welcome side dish.

Having had a good experience dining in, I was happy to find their salads also traveled well ordering from one of the delivery services. The wild line caught ahi salad niçoise had fantastic tuna, green beans, organic egg, organic tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, marinated olives, and a mustard champagne vinaigrette. All the ingredients were fresh, and the dressing was ok, but I found the individual components bland and lacking any seasoning or flavor on their own. The dressing helped perk it up a bit, but I ended up eating this with salt and pepper instead of the dressing.

The delivery BBQ chicken salad for $13.50 included grilled cage-free chicken, corn, black beans, grilled onions, avocado, organic cheese blend, crispy wonton strips, red bell pepper, with a chipotle lime dressing. The BBQ sauce was a bit too sweet, and like the tune niçoise, the individual ingredient were fresh but boring on their own.

The Moroccan chicken braise for $10.50 was a warm comforting hearty bowl of free range chicken, slow cooked with squash, onions, preserved lemons, olives, turmeric, paprika, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, parsley and cilantro. This is also offered as a side, and one of my favorite meals at Urban Plates.

The Asian chicken salad for $13.50 was a wonderful medley of grilled cage free chicken, organic carrots, green onions, oranges, spicy roasted peanuts, red bell peppers, wonton strips, in a spicy peanut dressing. I found the dressing much too thick, sweet and cloying, but used sparsely it was fine. Overall, the ingredients were wonderful, but if you are looking for a fresh light salad, have the dressing on the side or choose another dressing.

I prefer to eat at the location, especially with their very professional personable staff, but getting a delivery on a chilly or rainy day from a solid option for fresh ingredients can be priceless.

Urth Caffe has always been one of my favorite places for coffee, but I usually stop in for lunch or a coffee and sweet treat. I finally went in for breakfast and it is now on my breakfast cafe rotation when the line isn’t out the door (which it is pretty much any week-end).

They make fantastic granola, which is tied to my own recipe for my favorite, but since I haven’t made granola in months, it was far easier to go there to eat their granola parfait with honey and berries than go through the shopping and prep required to make my own. Definitely a full breakfast for a light appetite or a nice supplement to a savory dish.

 

The italian sausage omelette comes with wonderful bread and a side salad, definitely enough for a big appetite.

The chicken pesto omelette comes with  the same great bread and side salad and again was a hearty portion with a very tasty pesto preparation.

Their omelettes are great for those who like their eggs dry and very well done, but I found them a bit too overdone and you can not adjust their doneness, so although they are very tasty and made with excellent ingredients, I would prefer to stick to my granola parfait and my favorite dark roast oat milk cappuccino.

If it is a nice day (which in Southern California is almost every day) chose a seat on the patio near a fountain and appreciate the wonder of dining al fresco in the middle of Winter 🙂

I’ve eaten at many of the famous landmark restaurants in Los Angeles, including Musso & FrankPig & WhistleDinah’s, and of course The Pantry, but I had never been to Pann‘s until recently. It is a famous setting for many movie scenes, but more importantly (to me) it serves wonderful diner classics perfectly and everyone is treated like a member of the family, whether it is your first time or your 100th visit.

I was invited by a family who has know the owners for years, but they treated every customer walking in as a long lost friend, and many of the customers were greeted by name with hugs. If you new to town or flying in or out of LAX, stop by Pann’s for some warmth and comfort food.

When I saw chicken wings and waffle on the menu, my only dilemma was how many wings to get 😉 I opted for 2 wings with my waffle for $13.45. The chicken had a crunchy scald while the meat remained moist, and the waffle was crisp and light. Heartier appetites might want to up the fried chicken to a breast and wing for $16.15 or even have a fried pork chop with their waffle for $16.95.

For those who want an old fashioned southern style breakfast, sausage patties with eggs, grits, and a biscuit for $12.95 will stick to your ribs and warm your memories. We asked for a side of gravy for the grits which made it an even heartier meal.

This fluffy biscuit is definitely recommend over toast as a side, but choose your preference…

I came back on another day wanting something a little healthier so opted for 2 wings with a side of spinach. The spinach was simply steamed but very fresh and utterly delicious even without the whipped butter on the side.

For a brunch, the scrambled eggs with hash browns, a hamburger patty, and buttered toast for $12.95 is a good combination.

They have options like blackened catfish, collard greens, and turkey burgers, if you want something a little lighter, but when you are looking for old fashioned homestyle comfort food, this place serves it with a smile and fresh ingredients that show the care they put into the preparation.

I hope everyone enjoyed a delicious meal with those they love this holiday 🙂 Here are the pictures from my three turkey Thanksgiving dinner, made by six of us over the course of two days. Enjoy the feast for your eyes:)

Menu

first plate 🙂

Mixed greens salad with Granny Smith Apple Cider vinaigrette & pomegranate seeds

One of 3 cider glazed dry brined turkeys

One bird carved, 2 more to go…

Spiced orange cranberry sauce with star anise

Pecan wood smoked deconstructed ham with pineapple kiwi rye gravy

Russet potato Dauphinoise

green apple, chicken chorizo, parsnip dressing with fresh sage

haricots verts with fried shallots (forgot to take a pic of the shallots)

caramelized cane sugar sweet potatoes with pecans

the line for the feast

lime watermelon sorbet palate cleanser

 organic pumpkin custard profiteroles with maple dipping sauce

 jello bundt

sweet potato meringue pie

salted caramel butter cake

roasted pecan bourbon pie

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