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Joe's Jost's ( a quickie reminder review)

They have had a variety of beers available for several years now. It has been a while since it was PBR only.

Apr 15, 2014
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Joe's Jost's ( a quickie reminder review)

They have a far better selection of beer now... used to be a selection of ONE. PBR. That changed some years ago.

Apr 15, 2014
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Joe's Jost's ( a quickie reminder review)

Guilty as charged! I will be in Aloha land visiting those crazy knuckleheads in a few months.

Apr 15, 2014
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Mastro's, CUT, or STK? Looking for best steak in LA

Thanks! Been a while. Things look a lot different!

Apr 15, 2014
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Joe's Jost's ( a quickie reminder review)

I LOVE THIS PLACE. Get the Taco. The special is just too much bread for me. :).

Apr 15, 2014
woojink in Los Angeles Area

need help for 2 nights in Laguna Beach

Studio at Montage. Selanne's at the old French 75 location. Full disclosure - I know the owners at Selanne's and the chef at Studio.

Apr 15, 2014
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Mastro's, CUT, or STK? Looking for best steak in LA

If you really want the best steak, then get the Japanese Kobe/Wagyu at one of the places that actually carry the REAL Japanese Wagyu/Kobe. Call ahead and confirm that they have it available the night you are going and confirm it is REAL Japanese Wagyu/Kobe and the try to get the A5 grade (highest grade). This is an expensive steak. About 8oz will run you close to $200 for the steak, but it is definitely worth it. Have had it many times both here and in Japan. I know for sure that Cut has this steak and does it well. I have also had it at Boa several times. This ingredient is so good, that it almost doesn't matter where you go for it. It really is that good.

Apr 15, 2014
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Downtown LA - NYC Chowhounder with NO CAR

For GREAT sandwich lunches, you can take the Red Line to Union Station and have a French Dip at Phillipe's, and also you can take the Red Line the other direction to the Macarthur Park stop (two stops away? maybe 3? VERY CLOSE) to go to the holy shrine of all things pastrami at Langer's Pastrami on 7th and Alvarado. Langer's is only open during the day until 4:30pm. And yes, it is life changing pastrami.

Also, you can take the Dash or a VERY short/cheap cab ride to San Pedro between 2nd and 3rd and go to the Lazy Ox Canteen. Terrific, small plates cuisine... TOP notch chef Josef Centeno's new spot. As an FYI, just reviewed in the LA Times and got raves. Been there myself and the place is really terrific.

Feb 22, 2010
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Alone in Paris (almost) for two nights. Help please?

Thank you for the guidance. Actually, I am VERY adventurous from a food perspective and a wine collector, so have a very open mind. People watching or someplace good for a solo diner would be great. High end is OK with me. Budget can be pretty high... say, up to 200 Euro for dinner just for me? Certainly does not have to be that expensive. Just want it to be good and fun.

Thanks again for your help.

Feb 01, 2010
woojink in France

Alone in Paris (almost) for two nights. Help please?

Hello.... I am on a little bit of a last minute business trip and realized that I will be in the Paris area for a couple of nighs this week. I am actually staying near CDG airport in the town of Roissy. Right now it looks like I will have two colleagues with me the first night and then I will be solo the second night.

Can someone please give some recommendations on good/fun places in Paris that are accessible from Roissy? Or in Roissy itself?

I have been in Paris before, but can't say that I know the town. I have eaten at some of the pretty high end places like L'Arpege, Pre Catalan, Le Cinq, Taillevant, etc... but really don't have a lot of experience with the bistros which is probably more of what I am looking for this week. However, the night that I am by myself, I will be open for literally anything.

Thanks for everyone's help!

Jan 31, 2010
woojink in France

Best Korean Restaurants in K-Town

Also, another form (awesome and lovely) of Kalbi is Kalbi Jim, which are braised short ribs. Awesome comfort food. When done well, it's crazy good.

Jan 13, 2010
woojink in Los Angeles Area

OC Birthday Dinner, tired of all the chains...Help!

Yeah, it sounds like that has been the experience of several 'hounds. Kind of a bummer, especially since we've always considered MM to be one of our "go to" places for food and service - overall top flight experience. I guess I just thought everyone else had that same level of experience also.

Jan 13, 2010
woojink in Los Angeles Area

OC Birthday Dinner, tired of all the chains...Help!

I'm not sure if you're saying that I'm not used to good service or if you are making a general point. I do agree that if one doesn't know what good service is then one doesn't know what one is missing.

However, I must assure you, I am not a stranger to good service. In fact, I am fairly a strong stickler for good service. I guess I will give your post the benefit of the doubt.

One service experience at MM that I'll also share is that I had an entree at the wrong temperature (overdone) - only time this has happened - and asked to have it re-done. There was absolutely no issue with this from the staff (as it should be), and to make sure that there was no issue with me having nothing in front of me while my wife had her entree, they brought out a very nice scallop dish (maybe half an entree size) for me to enjoy while they were re-doing my original order. Didn't ask for this at all. Just brought it out to have good service.

I have had great service at restaurants all over the world and bad service as well. I would definitely say that MM offers very good service, very appropriate for the price point.

Jan 13, 2010
woojink in Los Angeles Area

OC Birthday Dinner, tired of all the chains...Help!

I have a little bit of a counter example on the customer service side. I've always had really good service at MM. We eschew Bday and Anniversary recognition at restaurants, so never mention it and personally prefer not to have that recognition, but my experience was of a different nature.

Sometimes we are at MM 2 or 3 times in a month, and sometimes it is 4 or 5 months in between visits. Just works out that way, not consciously, just situational.

One time we were there and as I was leaving I realized that I was billed for a cocktail that I never got. It was a great evening and everything else was perfect, so I really, REALLY, didn't care, but as we were leaving the front staff bid us farewell and asked if everything was OK, and I just passingly mentioned that I think I was billed for a drink that I never got. They were pretty shocked and VERY apologetic and immediately offered a refund and to take care of it. I didn't really care so I said, not to worry about it. It was late and the $9 didn't matter that much. As we were leaving, they insisted that they would take note and remember during our next visit.

Well, this was one of those times that it was several months (3 or 4 or 5?) between our visits (HEAVY travel schedule). However, the next time my wife and I showed up there, we were immediately greeted by our server and she apologized for the cocktail mix up from before and comped us both our first round of drinks that evening. We did not say anything and quite frankly, I had forgotten about it. The fact that they had taken note and remembered several months later was quite a big deal for me.

Again, I've ALWAYS had really great service and food at MM and have been going there for a while.

On the other hand, my experience at the Palmer place in/near Bloomingdales have been mediocre at best.

Jan 13, 2010
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Restaurant Supply Store

Restaurant Depot - you do need a membership. Good stuff. Also second/third/etc... Surfas.

Jan 12, 2010
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Need a sure thing celebrity spotting restaurant

Your biggest handicap will be that your only free night is a Monday. The best place I would recommend is the Chateau Marmont. It really is a celebrity hang out to the highest degree. Several of the gossip mags have incognito beat reporters that cover that place on an ongoing weekly and regular basis.

Jan 05, 2010
woojink in Los Angeles Area

What are you drinking right now?

2005 Scarecrow - really good. So far, for me, all the Scarecrows have lived up to the hype. Have had (and still own) every vintage, and all have been excellent. '07 should be interesting.

Jan 02, 2010
woojink in Wine

Celebrating 26th wedding anniversary in OC....seafood/fish.....what restaurant

Marche is a very good, excellent in fact.

I would also recommend Napa Rose - really terrific.

Studio at The Montage is now a top flight place with their new Chef (Craig Strong), and the view is just terrific.

Any of these three would be an excellent choice in my opinion.

Dec 27, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

I'LL EAT AT THE BAR

It is great, but I don't think it's fair to say that the service at the bar is better than at the tables. I've always had really great service at the tables there.

Dec 25, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Pizza e Vino - Rancho Santa Margarita - Quite good!

A couple of nights ago I went to Pizza e Vino in RSM. Unlike so many of the spots that are highly recommended, this one was very close to my home... go figure.

Although, I had heard several good things about this place, I was still surprised at how good it was. Really good. Thinking about when I can go back good.

I was alone so did not order the entire menu, rather, I just had their antipasti and a proscuitto and funghi pizza. The antipasti was terrific! The mozzarella was really fresh, soft and pillowy. The olives tasted like real olives. Good start.

The pizza (proscuitto and funghi) was definitely a winner. Really great... and the crust was perfect. Just enough char without burnt. Really quite good. Reminiscent of Pizzeria Mozza, not the same, but not too far off either.

So happy that there is a place like this so close to home.

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Pizza E Vino
31441 Santa Margarita Pkwy, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

Dec 23, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Review: Napa Rose, Anaheim

I too have been seated at table for two people. However, I have no issue with banquettes, and usually try to reserve the counter.

You were probably seated at a banquette because they probably had multiple reservations for parties of 3 and 4 that used up their capacity of the tables.

Dec 23, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Break of Dawn - Laguna Hills

Excellent place! Been going for years. It really is a hidden gem of a place and the story behind it really is quite something. Chef Dee has wizard level chef skills and the experience to match. It's really one of the best food places around, and you really can't beat the prices.

You gotta try their hot sauce, the chef grows the peppers and makes it himself.

Dec 21, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

I'LL EAT AT THE BAR

I am the same - I eat alone frequently at the bar due to lots of business travel.

Have you tried Pizzeria Mozza? Eating at the bar is the perfect place! Getting a seat is also not too difficult as a single either.

Dec 21, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Review: Napa Rose, Anaheim

One of my favorite restaurants in Orange County. Totally awesome. Glad you enjoyed!

Dec 21, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

most fancy-pants resto in LA?

I would say that City Club is not THAT private. I would definitely try to give them a call and find out. Also, there are a lot of members there. If the OP has an attorney, accountant or any other professional that is based or has a friend based in downtown, they are quite likely close to a member. As a member, I've seen LOTS of non-members that are sponsored in for meals and such. Also, the City Club has a plethora of private rooms that may be available for a party. There are rooms for parties of as few as 6 or 8.

Dec 20, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

most fancy-pants resto in LA?

The post by David Kahn about the private clubs is probably your best bet. City Club on Bunker Hill is a great option. The food is pretty good (Melisse, Spago, Providence, etc... are definitely better), and pretty approachable - I don't know the palate of your friend's mom.

For dinner, the dress code in the dining room is jacket and tie REQUIRED for gentlemen and skirts for the ladies. Also the view is absolutely spectacular - 54th floor of the Wells Fargo Building downtown with floor to ceiling windows.

Also, the service there will be top notch. Especially for an 80th birthday.

Dec 20, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Best hot sauce in the LA area? Bottled or not.

There is a restaurant in Laguna Hills (near Lake Forest) area of Orange County called Break of Dawn. This is a breakfast and lunch place that is fairly well regarded on Chowhound. The chef/owner is a classically trained and seriously talented Vietnamese guy named Dee.

Chef Dee grows his own peppers and bottles a sauce that is used in his restaurant and served on the table as a condiment. It is amazing. You can tasted the peppers, heat and several layers of flavors in the sauce. This is a real deal, small batch, field to table experience in hot sauce.

Dec 20, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Lazy Ox Canteen - Chef Josef Centeno is BACK!!! - warning: very long post.

Fate dealt me a great favor this past Thursday evening as I ended up in LA overnight from behind the orange curtain for business.... and it was the night that this restaurant opened it's doors!

I just read the other review of Lazy Ox and checked out the blog. The food pics look very nice and I was also at the Lazy Ox on opening night. I remember Chef Josef Centeno very fondly from his days at Opus. I used to LOVE eating there and the food was spectacular, so I was very happy to hear of Lazy Ox opening and the possibility of eating his food again.

I ate an enormous amount of food sitting at the bar all by myself and I think several of the dishes were different from the other poster, and so I am starting this separate review thread. Here are my thoughts…

Space is very nice, small and active, but quite nice with an open kitchen and small bar. Service seemed very eager and excited to be open. The feel and vibe of the place was on the trendy side, but not overly so. My overall description would be that this is fine dining in a trendy/cool space done in an accessible style and price point. Overall, service was very good, but I expect that part of that is due to everyone being VERY focused on having a great opening night. I’m sure as the day to day grind of having been open for a bit settles in, there will be your normal “new restaurant” miscues and tweaking. I think this is completely normal and acceptable and I also feel that Chef Centeno and restaurateur Michal Cardenas will have a strong focus on creating a world class service experience to match up to Chef Centeno’s super freakin’ tight food.

Enough about that stuff… here is what I ate (yes, I DID eat all this all by myself) and what I thought of it…

Khlii (Moroccan style beef jerky) served with fried egg (up) and salsa verde – really good. The spiced (cumin? Earthy) flavor of the khlii served as an excellent foil to the richness of the egg and tang of the salsa verde. This is served on a piece of bread/brioche. Quite a nice little starter.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Terrine with pearl onions and baby cucumber – A very high quality and perfectly executed terrine wrapped with a solid, smoky bacon. Really, really good. Served also with some toasted brioche, mustard and the pickled radishes and cucumber. I love me some pig and this delivered.

Cream of Pasilla Soup with Crispy Pork Belly – Pasilla is a chili pepper that is often called Ancho and comes from the Poblano area. This is a creamy textured green soup with crispy pork belly and slices of red grapes… the fruit in this soup is reminiscent of some the ‘fruit in the soup’ themes I’ve had in the past from Chef Centeno. This soup had very strong flavors and the crispy pork belly was absolutely spot on. One note is that the spiciness of this soup is not in the mild category and depending on your tolerance of heat/spice, it might be considered very spicy to some (not me, but it is above average in spice level). My recommendation would be to drink beer with this soup, not wine – unless you have a very nice half-dry reisling or gewurtz… or maybe even a nice Vouvray/Chenin Blanc.

Hand Torn Egg Pasta with egg (up), brown butter and citrus vinegar – Really great comfort food. I mean seriously great pasta and egg dish. It was pretty perfect. Generous portions of the pasta. Just lovely. Can be filling, so beware.

Caramelized Merquez Sausage with licorice pear, black garlic and charred tomatillo – DUDE. This was some seriously kick ass sausage… I ain’t even kidding a little bit. This was one of my favorite dishes. The other poster did mention the sausage was a bit on the smaller side, but I think given the fact that it is a pretty rich and heavy protein and this is really not an entrée but really more of a tapas level small plate, the portion was very appropriate. All I know is that it was a crazy good sausage and I LOVED it.

Charred Octopus with pickled shallots, lima beans and calamansi vinaigrette – I really like octopus and this did not disappoint. To me, this felt more like a warm octopus salad and the flavors were very rustic in nature and the coarse texture of some of the accompaniments matched quite well to the smooth, tender texture of the charred octopus. One note… I was surprised to see pomegranate seeds as a component to this dish and thought it more than a little odd… until I tasted them with the rest of the dish! Wow… seriously great contrast and flavor profile by putting these in. Thumbs up.

Crispy Buttermilk Quail with caramelized cipollini onions and walnut-chile tarator sauce – This was my favorite dish of the night. I really love small birds, they taste so darn great (had guinea hen tonight by the way – served with some killer sweet corn ravoli). I really love quail, and this was maybe one of the best expressions of quail I’ve had in a LONG, LONG time. There is a restaurant in SF called La Folie (chef Rolland Tassot) that used to serve a half quail roasted and stuffed with seared foie gras and topped with black truffles – this dish was up there in terms of showcasing a kick ass version of quail and loving it. This dish is really crispy and fried and the quail was perfectly succulent and tender underneath. The preparation really made this ingredient completely approachable for people who may not have had quail before. Awesome dish.

Braised Beef Paleron (pot roast) with cream of wheat, kumquats and red wine sauce – Braised (forever probably) beef was really great. Meet was “spoon tender”, just falling apart with a deep, rich beefy flavor that only comes from hard core braising and putting the absolute perfect sear prior to the braise. The starch component of the cream of wheat seemed to be a bit playful, but I suspect there are some who may scoff at this combination… if they knew what it was… I think if the menu described it as a creamy puree of wheat polenta, people may like it more. Either way the smoothness of this worked quite well with the dish. The kumquats (more fruit with the protein) added a really terrific flavor contrast to the dish that worked very, very well.

Lemon Curd dessert – I forgot to write stuff down about this, but I recall very clearly that the lemon curds were NOT overpowering, but rather had a nice delicate lemon flavor that tasted great without assaulting you with strong lemon flavors.

Overall, I was very, very happy with my meal at the Lazy Ox Canteen and more than a little happy to Chef Centeno back in front of a stove. Several of the dishes certainly carried themes that were very recognizably “Chef Centeno Classics”, but they all seemed updated in very thoughtful ways. One thing currently missing from the lineup was Centeno’s awesome and amazing “bacos”. According to Centeno, the bacos may (MAY, not for certain) make an appearance in January. I hope so, because they were truly awesome.

My experience has been that Chef Centeno has always pushed the boundaries of foods, flavor profiles and what to expect. Sometime, as adventurers do, the combos have failed, but they are invariably very interesting. Now that he has hooked up with a serious veteran restaurateur in Michael Cardenas the focused nature of his food is really developing into something special. It was very good to see a chef of Centeno’s caliber and talent able to express himself so well in this setting and clearly Cardenas knew how to spot this talent and showcase it in style.

Final detail – currently it seemed that the Lazy Ox only has a beer and wine license, not a full bar. The beer selection is very good on both draft and bottles. The wine list was also pretty well thought out and well balanced with some good unique offerings.

My recommendation… RUN, don’t walk to Little Tokyo and grab a seat at the Lazy Ox Canteen, but leave a seat at the bar open for me!

Dec 18, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

Monday dinner near LAX?

I don't know why people have a hard time understanding the time issue - 6 hours between flights - budgeting about 3 hours for the excursion. You're pretty clear. Since you are flying to Asia, you are probably on one of the many 11pm to 1am departures from Bradley International Terminal at LAX. If you're connecting from a domestic location, your airlines should easily just transfer your luggage and you will probably have boarding passes already, so getting back and on the flight later in the evening should be really easy. If you're back at the airport within 90 minutes of your departure time, you will be MORE than fine. I fly to Asia from LAX at least 10X per year, so I'm really familiar with this.

Also, the fact that you will be returning well after peak traffic times helps you a lot.

My recommendation would be to stay in the South Bay to eat. If you're looking for faster, ethnic or casual restaurants, there are some options already given. But I think you'll see a lot of that type of food in Asia already, so my recommendation would be to see if you can get some New American or updated contemporary fine dining stuff before leaving.

One of my primary "go to" places in the South Bay is Chez Melange in Redondo Beach. It's about a 20 minute drive from LAX and you should be well within your time window. New American style cooking with various influences, good wine list and they make a proper Sazerac.

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Redondo Beach Cafe
1511 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Chez Melange
1716 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Oct 30, 2009
woojink in Los Angeles Area

What are you drinking right now?

I've always thought that Masseto competed very well vs. Petrus - at a fraction of the price. One of the best merlots on the planet.

Araujo is one of the best producers in Cali IMO.

Oct 29, 2009
woojink in Wine