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Cascabel, Toluca Lake

Interesting place for a CH meet-up, un-announced except to those here. Just take over the patio on a week night around 6pm.
Been a while for a meet-up, especially in the Valley.
But this place warrants additional attention for those who like Mexican food beyond red sauce and yellow cheese - name your place of "choice"!

Mar 28, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Cascabel, Toluca Lake

Meet you there any night.
Couple of local friends have also been, and they too cannot wait to go again.
And it is so convenient, right off the 134 Freeway near Cahuenga.

Mar 28, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

RIVA BELLA CLOSED

From Matthew Kang at LA Eater:

IDG has decided with another quick switch with its prime located Rivabella. After flipping Chi Lin to h.wood (where it subsequently became Blind Dragon), IDG is turning their expansive Italian project Rivabella into a larger format Japanese restaurant called ROKU. Rivabella's last day will be March 14, with ROKU slated for a mid-summer debut along Sunset Strip.

Fusing a bit of their expertise with Boa, ROKU combines steakhouse elements to prepare meat and other dishes right at the table a la teppanyaki. It's a decades old format that Benihana's has already mastered, so why not go with a tried-and-true format rather than another spaghetti joint? (Pistola, Madeo, Dominick's, Dan Tana's, et al). Also, it's along the lines of what IDG's already done successfully with Katana just down the road.

In addition to the teppanyaki setup, IDG is hoping to use ROKU as a sort of "innovation hub" or test kitchen for the rest of its empire. So despite initial efforts to expand the Rivabella, IDG seems to be putting its chips into a more tested concept of communal teppanyaki, which is already dinner and a show at its best.

Mar 28, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Epicure Imports Sale March 27-28

For the Epicure Imports fans, Friday and Saturday are the days to get your charcuterie/butter/mustard/oils fix on.
https://epicureimports.wordpress.com/...

And they do have more than your share of sweets, if those may be of interest. All largely imported from Europe.

Mar 26, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Wally's Vinoteca (Beverly Hills): A Pictorial Essay

As I said, they must be pouring something beyond the non-vintage, which is the 2004. I did not look at the website to see any specifics as I rarely find a use for Wally's, except for their Central Coast tasting, which has not been held for several years now.

Mar 26, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Wally's Vinoteca (Beverly Hills): A Pictorial Essay

Selection top notch, exceeded only by the prices.
And as TailbackU says, a bottle of Veuve can be bought selectively around town for around $40-$42, so that $35 figure either means a glass of something beyond Orange Label, or ?

Mar 25, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Burger Continental Closed

Chang's has been for sale forever, and your assessment of it is correct. Maybe not the correct place for a Brentwood-focused comment, but since you brought it up...

Mar 24, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Hollywood and Highland

If more casual is of interest, then Mel's Diner is on Highland, just south of Hollywood Blvd.
You also might step into the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to determine if any of its options might suit you.
New place Birch just opened at 1634 Cahuenga, not REALLY close, but Brendan Collins is a very good chef.

Mar 24, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Cascabel, Toluca Lake

Interesting that your post drew NO replies.
Well, I went there last night, and can't wait to return.
Companion and I both had the duck confit tacos, which are excellent, making the assumption you like duck as much as I do.
The side dish of black beans was very good, as were the celery root/potato flautas.
Margaritas @ $10 were very good, fairly priced for these times, and the total bill for two was about $76.
As MagnoliaGardens stated above, the place does not look anything like a Mexican restaurant streetside. It looks more like the dental office next door. Once inside, oh my!
On Riverside Drive, 10717 to be exact, about one block east of Lankershim, meaning not in the heart of Toluca Lake.
Can't wait to return. Menu hardly your standard Mexican fare, which is such a good thing.
http://www.cascabelrestaurant.com/men...
Place was comfortably full, not overflowing like Casa Vega gets way too often with NO justification.
This kitchen is in the hands of people who know how to cook, not just apply tomato sauce and queso galore.

TJ's has NO walnuts for another 3 or so months - now where?

Didn't think I was until I examined the competition to TJ. They really are a deal when available.
I sort of took them for granted - no more.

Mar 21, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

TJ's has NO walnuts for another 3 or so months - now where?

Funny enough, but I too just returned from S&F, and those 1 lb. packages looked so unappetizing, that I went over to Costco, and after asking 2 different employees where they were, I finally found them. They are processed on machinery that also processes nearly everything else in the world, give or take.
I think I will check out the FMs, as I remember there is a nut specialist in the S/C FM, but due to the cyclovia tomorrow, I may hit the Encino version instead.
Or maybe travel up to Super King.
Gotta know the options.

Mar 21, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Recs for watching UCLA basketball Saturday morning in the Westside?

Best part about that is that there is NO sound.
When was the last time the announcers knew more than you did?
If you can't get the drift of what is going on, maybe BB is not your sport.

Mar 21, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

2 Questions: Where to buy European Nutella and Best (inexpensive) Oysters in LA?

Monsieur Marcel @ The Original Farmer's Market or now in Santa Monica would be worth a call.

http://www.mrmarcel.com/about/

Birch

I remember Brendan Collins from his days at Waterloo & City - his chicken liver mousse was outstanding, as was all the charcuterie on that platter. Likewise, ordered it every time I ate there.
Glad to hear he is now closer to me in Sherman Oaks.
And, yes, Hollywood is finally get rid of some of the fad dining concepts and becoming a finer dining option.
But parking in that area is still challenging and or expensive, or both!

Mar 20, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

TJ's has NO walnuts for another 3 or so months - now where?

That is good to know. While I enjoy walnuts, I'm not sure I need a 3lb container at any one time.
The Super King on Van Nuys Blvd. is closer than any Sprouts Market, and while I get to Smart & Final periodically, I don't know why, but I am not sure how good theirs may be.
Organic is preferred.

Mar 20, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

TJ's has NO walnuts for another 3 or so months - now where?

They have all the other kinds on the shelf, save maybe one variety of almonds, per the sign posted.

Mar 19, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

TJ's has NO walnuts for another 3 or so months - now where?

Do I have to buy a lifetime supply, or just for a month or two?
As to Sprouts, there closest store is nearly 15 miles from Sherman Oaks - we are just talking walnuts here.

Mar 19, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

TJ's has NO walnuts for another 3 or so months - now where?

Contamination at the plant forced TJ's to remove all walnuts from their stores.
Well, just checked at WFM and they have organic halves & pieces for $18 per pound.
Any other, hopefully less expensive, ideas?

Mar 19, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Corned beef prices in LA

Interesting, I bought mine at the new Ralphs Sherman Oaks store on either the 13th or 14th.
btw, turned out really well after 3 hours at very slow heat.
Adding the 2 tall cans of beer made all the difference. Not salty at all

Mar 18, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Lunch for 15+ near Wilshire and La Cienega

The former Café Carrera at 235 S. La Cienega is now Tutta Post Trattoria, and has gotten some very good yelping to show for its few months in business. Might be worth a shot.

http://tuttaposttrattoria.com/lunch-m...

Mar 18, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Recs Near Ahmanson Theatre

If by chance you might find vegetarian Vietnamese cuisine of interest, that mini-mall at the SW corner of First & Hope, across from both Disney Hall & the DWP building, houses a new place back in the corner called Au Lac, previously Promenade, First & Hope, or Vivere, depending on how far back you care to go.
Its original location is in Fountain Valley, and is quite well thought of.
Have not been myself. Park at the Ahmanson & walk across the plaza to the 1st & Hope corner, cross the street, and you are ready for dinner.
If you happen to be going on a night when there is a concert also going on at Disney Hall, then their cafeteria kind of set-up at street level actually provides a decent meal at modest prices, with cafeteria kind of seating. Not intimate, whatsoever, yet functional and affordable. Entrees vary every day. Product of Patina Group, which operates all venues at the Music Center, including Disney Hall.

Mar 16, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Baltaire in Brentwood

I'm with you on this one. To me, eating at an expensive place operated by the Coral Tree folks is one step above McDonald's going into the same business.
And for that $75/person, any Hillstone operation would be a much more enjoyable experience, with quality food and service above expectations.
And the parking issue there is not a picture of fun either. I used to work around the corner, and in that block, that side of the street, no one wanted to eat at any of them more than once.
Welcome to Brentwood.

Mar 15, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Toto di Notte in Encino - where is Emilio?

They sold the place to the current owner back in 2003. Apparently a health issue was a partial cause, but then they also pocketed considerable change to sell the place so they could leave the area if they desired.

Mar 12, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Hollywood Area and Universal Studios

Just across the freeway from Universal is Mercado for Mexican food. Joe's falafel is just down the street from Mercado, doing Middle Eastern food.
Poquito Mas also does Mexican food in a fast food format, not far from Joe's.
All 3 places are on Cahuenga West, between Barham & Lankershim.

Mar 12, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Mako-- Japanese for DON'T GO HERE? Candidate for worst below average meal ever.

Mako Tanaka is a very good chef. Since it is his first name, since his cred was at Spago, etc., I doubt he opened in Beverly Hills, not far from Spago, with any thoughts of who or what may be happening in the sushi world DTLA.
But most importantly, why is this subject even being brought up now - Mako is doing his sushi thing down in RPV?

Corned beef prices in LA

The Gelson's brochure mentions they have it, yet no prices quoted. So, when I went in last night to get something else, I noticed that their flat cuts were $10.99 per pound!
Yeah, I guess beef prices have gone up!!!
Probably will walk to local Ralphy today to get one. Don't wait until the last minute, as sell-outs occur every year.

Mar 11, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Looking for Classic Mexican in Santa Monica

I also think Talpa has the best food, and the atmosphere is very local, very familial.
Like Lares as well, yet something about it still seems a bit strange to me, if nothing else due to the 2-floor configuration.

Border Grill, while not as vintage as the others, still has very good food and a more updated décor.
I mean it's only 20 years old!

Mar 11, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Looking for Classic Mexican in Santa Monica

Also Lares or The Talpa or even Border Grill DTSM.

Mar 10, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

Racion - pleasant spot for a longer lunch in Pasadena

Ate dinner here once, and must say, the food is about as exciting as the décor. Nothing bad, nothing memorable except my desire to never return.
And no cheese plate will ever serve as an inducement.

Mar 09, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area

818 Public School Open?

May put more than Murph's out of business - maybe the entire Sherman Oaks Galleria food court.
And speaking thereof, there is some effort being made to re-tenant that food court with more current day food operators. I go to the gym upstairs, and cannot even bear to see the logos of the existing operations, they are so out of date.

Mar 09, 2015
carter in Los Angeles Area