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Tokyo/Taito and Kyoto: short notice/walk in places?

These are all great. Thank you so much!

A question re: 468/yorropa. I can't find a phone number (the tabelog website says it's private). Do you think I need a reservation to eat there? If so, how would I best go about that?

Thank you again!

Sep 29, 2013
virtual balboa in Japan

Tokyo/Taito and Kyoto: short notice/walk in places?

We're staying near the Tawaramachi Station along the Ginza line. Does that help?

Sep 24, 2013
virtual balboa in Japan

Tokyo/Taito and Kyoto: short notice/walk in places?

Hi all--

We're going to be in Tokyo (taito area but will travel around, of course) and Kyoto for ten days in early October and I've neglected to plan very well. I'm assuming this puts us out of the running for some of the more destination worthy places but we're not too worried. So:

Does anyone have any recommendations on places we can get to with short notice or no reservations? We'll take almost any price range. Hoping for one really nice meal that will need a res, if that's possible, and the rest ideally are a little more casual--but we're fine spending $60-70 on some of these dinners if you think it's worth it). Food stands and such are great too!

Also if there are any websites you've used in addition to Chow to find food and restaurant info for Japan, that'd be amazing too.

I'm perusing past threads, too. Thanks in advance for any recommendations and guidance!

Sep 20, 2013
virtual balboa in Japan

Pasadena - Need Some Help

RaciĆ³n looks encouraging. I haven't been to Noir, but I went to a/k/a once. Expensive and ordinary. Pasadena's not great for mid/somewhat upscale stuff. I've actually heard lots of good things about the dinners at the Intelligentsia there. I've gotten several different things for breakfast and lunch, they were totally solid. Beer and wine, too.

If you're gonna splurge: I'm sure you know about the Royce. Supposed to be amazing.

I also really like the Luggage Room pizzeria--solid pizzas, apps, and a $5 corkage--so feel free to bring a wine from either Mission or the new Everson and Royce in Old Towne.

May 25, 2012
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Your top long beach restaurants

and with gusto! but enjoy the "favorito!!!"

Aug 02, 2011
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Your top long beach restaurants

I've never been to l'opera but am really skeptical. $9 minestrone and a history of being propped up by city "loans." almost all of those downtown places are largely skippable. it's encouraging to see the new beachwood location there!

if you want really unique, destination worthy italian in long beach - it's michael's or bust. la parolaccia on broadway is more traditional and inexpensive. their wine selection leaves something to be desired but the food is solid.

also michael's has a pizzeria now, right? how's that?

Aug 01, 2011
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Duck legs - where to buy in Los Angeles - moved from Home Cooking board

fig produce does NOT carry duck, btw. i just called.

Jul 29, 2011
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Where to find organic, lightweight chickens?

just wanted to do an update on this. i went ahead and tried many of the suggested chickens and the winner (for me) is....

HEALTHY FAMILY FARMS!

With the caveat that Mary's "pasture raised" chicken at Whole Food seems almost as good (little gamier but that's ok), and was definitely cheaper. And since the South Pas Farmer's Market conflicts with a class I'm taking, I'd be more likely to buy Mary's as a rule. HFF--which seems to have a *somewhat* larger breast and cooks a little more evenly--for special occasions/guests.

Also, Mccalls' in Los Feliz had a good, lightweight chicken, but it was expensive and not close enough to warrant the hike out that way.

May 03, 2011
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Where to find organic, lightweight chickens?

neat idea! what would you say yr success rate is?

also, i thought about McCall's in Los Feliz but might be real expensive?

Apr 01, 2011
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Where to find organic, lightweight chickens?

This seems like a potentially dumb question (apologies if so). But I wouldn't be asking you guys if I wasn't stumped. So:

Lately I've been roasting a lot of chickens at my house. Trying different recipes, methods (for the first time i ripped out the wishbone this past Tuesday). Love making them and I'm kind of trying to perfect it.

Anyway, nearly every recipe I've seen calls for a chicken that weighs between 2 to 3 pounds. When I go shopping I almost always come home with a bird in the 3.75 to 4.5 lb range. I've never found a bird that was organic/free range/etc that weighs under 3.5 lb. I've tried Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Bristol, etc. I don't even know how much weight matters when it comes to roast chickens, aside from cooking quicker and potentially more evenly?

I'm willing to bet I could find smaller chickens at markets like Ranch and Superior, but ideally these birds would be free range/organic/blah. I live in Northeast LA.

Any help at all appreciated! Thanks much!

Apr 01, 2011
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Did Red Medicine commit suicide?

I don't want to seem like I'm taking sides with Red Medicine (they seem like vindictive tools) BUT...

First: Employees at restaurants upscale enough to get reviewed by her already knew what SIV looked like. Nothing new. But MORE important:

Second: She's a terrible writer. And I wish more people would acknowledge that. How many times do we need to hear about the chairs? How much passive voice can we handle? As an LA resident I hate knowing that any time a find dining restaurant opens up, Virbila's plodding review inevitably awaits. Her review of Red O was a farce, so was Valentino. That's just off the top of my head. And I hate the system there: why is she the only one that gets to review these places? Why shouldn't someone like Burum or Parsons or ANYBODY get to take a crack at the upscale places? And conversely (more importantly, too), when did she last review like a dumpling place? Or a taqueria? Or anything where the bill for a party of four doesn't equal the busboy's rent? It'd do her well, give her some perspective.

And the last award she won was like in 2005, right?

-----
Valentino (Santa Monica)
3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

Red O
8155 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Red Medicine
8400 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Dec 23, 2010
virtual balboa in Food Media & News

Best LONG BEACH restaurant.

Consider Michael's thirded. Great upscale Italian, friendly service, a beautiful patio. Just please stay away from the awful swill they'll feed you at the Reef. Your money is better spent if you throw half of it in the nearby Pacific and pick up burgers at In n' Out on your way back home.

Seriously, the Reef: dishes hover around $25 for sloppily thrown together, poorly presented plates that are neither original nor well executed traditional recipes. Also, the bathrooms are filthy.

Aug 30, 2010
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Any good Chinese or Indian restaurants in Long Beach?

yeah chinese and indian are two things long beach doesn't do well. if you're feeling like branching out into cambodian though, there's nowhere better (other than cambodia, of course). siem reap is a fantastic cambodian restaurant on anaheim and cherry i wanna say?

Mar 26, 2010
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Your top long beach restaurants

third'd for michaels, if you're looking to go high end.

Mar 26, 2010
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Bottega Louie for group bday dinner? Good or bad?

it's a loud, crowded mess with mediocre food and inflated prices. your group of 12 won't be able to make reservations (they don't accept them) so you'll need to wait. i tried to go there with a group of ten and the wait was two hours. i had talked with somebody there the night before over the phone, she said the wait would be 45 minutes at most. my ass! that was my last time.

Mar 11, 2010
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

LA Street Food Fest

Yes, what Nicole and Jwsel said. They need to limit how many people go to this (great way to do that would be to charge at least twice more per head).

Other option: as cute and nice as it is to get food from a truck, it doesn't work with crowds this big. Time to set up tents with bigger cooking stations for quicker service.

Feb 15, 2010
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Red Line/Purple Line adjacent restaurants, preferably with no table service

Hey everyone!

Sorry if this seems strange. Here's the backstory first: we're having a party with friends in a few weeks. We've already decided where we're gonna meet for drinks (right next to the blue/red/purple line station on 7th and fig) but we're looking for a place to eat beforehand. Here's the criteria:

1. Since we're going to be a lot of people, we'd like a place that doesn't have table service (no reservations, no fussing and adding and confusing when the check comes).

2. Ideally this place would serve drinks and SINCE the place would have alcohol...

3. We'd like the place to be a short walk from either the red or purple line (blue line suggestions welcome too but i'm not sure there is that much).

It'd be awesome if it was a place like Wurstkuche (which is an option for us, but we're a little reluctant because we'd have to transfer to the gold line).

Anyway, any help at all is appreciated. I know this is a really particular request so if you can't help, that's fine too. Thanks you guys!!

Feb 13, 2010
virtual balboa in Los Angeles Area

Thoughts on Restaurant Helene Darroze?

I tried finding a place and couldn't! Ah well. It was just south of $500 after the tip.

Jan 24, 2010
virtual balboa in France

Thoughts on Restaurant Helene Darroze?

Yeah, I guess you guys weren't unanimous at all, and if you were it was anti-Helene. Count me in now! I mean, it wasn't awful at all, some of the dishes were amazing! But just totally not worth the money paid (around $465 not including tip). It didn't ruin the night at all (I don't know what could have) and most of the staff were incredibly gracious and nice. But we went to Cinc Sentits in Barcelona and it was 100x better, more personable and half the price. And the portions were definitely not El Bulli size, these were like sizable bowls of risotto up next to a crowded plate of sea bass with greens and coriander sauce. There were people who were on their meat course when we got in, and by the end of the night we were both on the same dessert course. I can't say with 100% certainty but I think we got the two courses at once because they "squeezed us in" and wanted us out. And the lobster was rubbery! Honestly it seems more like this was a bad management decision than anything else, I by no means had my heart set on Helene and if a resto is booked for the night, it's booked. That's totally fine.

Thank for chiming in though!

Jan 24, 2010
virtual balboa in France

Thoughts on Restaurant Helene Darroze?

I wasn't impressed either, just wanted to bump this thread up with an update. STILL not cool. Here's a review I wrote for TripAdvisor.

I thought long and hard where I wanted to take my new fiancee after I proposed to her. I'd have loved to be able to afford a three star restaurant but couldn't. Helene Darroze's dining room looked to be my best option: two stars, excellent reputation, a commitment to locally grown produce and a website with a very relaxed, on-the-farm aesthetic, good praise from Chow Hound.

Upon arriving at our hotel in France I asked if the employee working the reception could squeeze a reservation in. Our reservation was for 10:30, the only one they had. A little late, but completely fine. The proposal went great, and we were off.

First (and this isn't a complaint so much as an observation): The dining room is without a doubt an extremely formal affair. Nothing like the homey quality on the website. I don't fault them for this, after all a website is just a website. I expected one thing got something else, it's totally fine.

Upon arriving (my fiancee in a beautiful dress, me in suit and tie) we were at first treated professionally and respectfully, we speak virtually no French but I don't think that was held against us at all. Once everything was set in order though and our meals started coming, things started to go downhill.

First, and I totally understand that this might be customary in French fine dining, the waitress informed us there was a supplementary truffle course. As soon as she did, another server brought the truffles on a bed of rice over to have us smell them. I'm sure they're wonderful truffles but it came off as a little bit of a gimmick and at the same time a little bit high-pressure. No, thanks. Other features that came off as gimmicks: a giant leg of ham on a cart that was chopped fresh at each person's table (it was kind of fun but was it necessary?) and an enormous cart of what appeared to be port wines, at least 50 of them (I could be wrong about what they were, I have no way of knowing because they were never brought to us, we were kind of thankful for that).

Our dinner was an 8 course meal we expected to last us the night. It didn't. Instead the meal was around an hour and a half. I think this was because we had a 10:30 reservation, had I known we would be rushed like that I would have gone with a back up choice. Our first four courses were brought out to us two at a time with "directions" on what order to eat them - it made each dish less unique and defining and we felt rushed to finish our first plate before the second got cold. The wine pairing was just three glasses (two white, one red) which is was completely OK with except for the fact that the server/sommelier FORGOT to bring the second white out until the very very end of our fish course, right before our meat course and (obviously) the next red. For a restaurant with two stars (and a price tag to match) I'm sort of shocked by that kind of unprofessional behavior (and the lack of an apology either in English or French wasn't spectacular, either). Because the occasion was so special and we were in such a good mood we didn't say anything, but the more I look back on it the more I feel like I should have said something.

Altogether, our chief complaint is that we were rushed. If 10:30 is too late of a reservation, that's fine, I just as soon would have gone somewhere else. It could be that I'm misreading French fine dining altogether, if so I'm sorry. But I think my opinion still stands as valid because I'm sure I'm not the first foreigner to eat at Helene Darroze, and certainly won't be the last.

Jan 22, 2010
virtual balboa in France