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NAspy's Profile

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midtown/west hollywood/hollywood help

Have you tried Sadie or Ammo?

about 6 hours ago
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

Neighborhood Restaurant on Westside

I'm really sorry to hear about your mom. Talk and food helps, I hope. Anyway, if you pop down (south)Bundy to Ocean Park and go right (west) on Ocean Park, you'll come across a great little neighborhood place called Il Forno, in a funky strip mall several blocks west of Ocean Park and Bundy on the north side of the street. There's a Native Foods and other restaurants in the mall as well (and a Counter nearby), but Il Forno, despite its strip mall location, is the epitome of a small neighborhood place. Excellent Italian food, friendly service, nice wines, bustling but not loud. There is a chain of Italian places called Il Fornaio, and this is not related to those restaurants.

Another thought would be to go further east on Olympic and take in Kiriko on Sawtelle, just north of Olympic. That stretch of Sawtelle is chock full of amazing places to eat and you can probably eat for over a month at all the different (primarily Asian/Japanese influenced) places. Sawtelle is bustling, so if you like excellent sushi, Kiriko in the Olympic Collection on Sawtelle provide amazing food and a serene atmosphere.

Apr 07, 2015
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

L.A. Dish of the Month, February 2015 -- BURGERS

I agree. So happy our pediatrician is right around the corner! The fig burger with arugula is inspired.

Feb 21, 2015
NAspy in Los Angeles Area
1

Help! Too many ripe avocados! Need recipes fast!

This is a wonderful recipe that I've baked several times as is. Last time I added a cup of mini chocolate chips and a cup of coconut shreds to the batter, and according to the teens in the house, this was the best batch ever! Just make sure you bake it long enough and really test the middle to make sure it's baked through.

Feb 12, 2015
NAspy in Home Cooking

Is there anywhere to have a nice dinner in downtown LA?

I second that suggestion. We went during the soft opening and it was a very professionally run operation, serving the high caliber food you expect from Neal Fraser. In thinking about the noise level, the "outdoor" patio, seemed to diffuse a lot of noise. It's a very beautiful setting.

Jan 21, 2015
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

Non-ethnic, (ok maybe Italian is ok) not further than 10 miles East or West from Beverly Hilton

Does Westside Tavern take reservations? That's a great suggestion but they are always packed and there's usually a wait.

Jan 18, 2015
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

Non-ethnic, (ok maybe Italian is ok) not further than 10 miles East or West from Beverly Hilton

We live in the Culver City area, where a bunch of great restaurants have sprouted up probably since you last lived in LA. Many of them will be out of your price range, but two of them, at the eastern end of Culver City, should fit the bill nicely. Brunello Trattoria (yes, Italian) is a family owned and operated Italian restaurant with excellent bread, a small wine selection, and very good pastas, pizzas and entrees. There is also the now-venerable La Dijonaise, which I call "gringo French," but they have a varied menu and the place is quite popular with locals. It's also in the Helms Bakery Building, which is nice for a brief after dinner stroll around the furniture and accessories shops. If you go on a Saturday, there may be a number of gallery openings along Washington Blvd. that can be interesting for before or after dinner. Both places take reservations. From the Beverly Hilton, just pop down Robertson and if traffic cooperates, it'll be maybe 15 minutes. Street parking available.

Jan 18, 2015
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

Looking for restaurants in Southern California.

In Los Angeles in the summer with teenage girls, I would suggest going to dinner at one of the great places on Abbot Kinney in Venice: Gjelina and the Tasting Kitchen are both wonderful, and popular (reservations probably a must) with a definite chance of celeb spotting, which could also interest your daughters. They are both quite upscale, but there are less pricey/foodie choices on Abbot Kinney as well like Chop Daddy's or Wabi Sabi (not the best sushi, but fun). If they like to shop, there are some wonderful boutiques and small shops interspersed among the food places. Great people watching too. The "first friday" food truck gathering on Abbot Kinney is crowded and full of young'uns.

Grand Central Market is a great suggestion also. Downtown LA (DTLA) has become a food destination, with Bestia, Factory Kitchen Baco Mercat, Bottega Louie and the recently opened Redbird to name a few. Those these are more pricey and Bestia is almost impossible to get into, either reserve way ahead of time if you can, or go at 10 PM. JTown (also downtown) has Sushi Gen, Daikokuya (ramen) and some non Japanese locales (Lazy Ox) which are also good food choices.

LA hole-in-the-wall Institutions (some are not loved on this board, but have longevity, character and acceptable to excellent food to sustain them for years in a city where age gets no respect) Phillipe's, near Union Station and Olvera Street (home of the allegedly original French dip, sawdust strewn floors and a great wine by the glass selection), Cole's (also downtown, home of the other original French dip), Pann's near LAX for fried chicken, and Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles on Pico/LaBrea for exactly that, plus artery choking side dishes, Apple Pan on Pico near the Westside Pavilion (counter seating, always a wait, they serve the HickoryBurger, a famous thin patty burger, sandwiches and pie), Pinks for hotdogs (there was a near riot among the food cognoscenti when it was reported a few years back that Michelle Obama went there with Malia and Sasha, when she could have gotten a grass-fed, kobe piece of wiener art from any number of artisanal frank shops), Langers for very excellent deli, Versailles Cuban (garlic chicken and roast pork are their signature dishes, but they have lots of other choices), and Ciro's and/or Manny's El Tepayac in ELA for Mexican. There's also California's own In-and-Out Burger.

Enjoy! LA is a wonderful food town for any appetite and at any price

Jan 08, 2015
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

Sushi in South Bay (revisited)

There's also Playa Provisions Dockside, which isn't in South Bay proper, but adjacent in Playa. Really enjoyed the meal I had there and would like to go back and sample the seafood tower.

Dec 17, 2014
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

Lindy and Grundy Closed!

They were outrageously expensive and not worth it, IMHO. Harvey's Guss was just as good, if not better, and half the price. Although their meat isn't sourced in the same way.

Oct 16, 2014
NAspy in Los Angeles Area
1

Bluehour updates since new chef?

Actually we just ate there on Wednesday evening. We are from LA and went there because it was close to the hotel and the menu looked good. We were very pleased with our meal. We had: heirloom tomato salad, little gem lettuce salad, rack of lamb, the albacore tuna, and 3 amazing cheeses for dessert. Also a couple of glasses of wine. Everyone was very happy with their choices. I have to say the cheese was a particularly fine ending to the meal. And the tasting menu looks like a really good deal, with the wine pairings. Recommended.

Sep 14, 2014
NAspy in Metro Portland
1

College Visits and 3 Days in Portland

Thanks to everyone for great suggestions! As usual, schedules and time constraints made for more of an ad-hoc dining experience, but we thoroughly enjoyed Blue Star donuts (and brought several home) for "breakfast," Deschutes for lunch and Blue Hour restaurant (downtown) and Pizza Maria (Division) for dinner. We also waited the obligatory hour plus to eat at Pok Pok, which was underwhelming (I think certain aspects like long waits, Michelin stars and super high prices create a level of expectation in diners than can be hard to meet). We also enjoyed the food at Lewis & Clark and Reed. I think Pizza Maria was the biggest unexpected surprise, and recommend it to Portlanders. Massive, neopolitan style oven, thin crust, friendly service and outrageous crostini with creamy ricotta, olive oil and lemon. Very good wine selection. They are new to the neighborhood. By contrast, we found the ribs at Pok Pok dry, the papaya salad and boar collar overwhelmingly spicy, but the fish wings and stir fried spinach (on choy) and Cornish hen were quite good. Just not the wait.
We also took in Voodoo Donuts just to say we did. Eh. but Blue Star rocks!

Sep 14, 2014
NAspy in Metro Portland

Is a visit to Commanders Palace a must?

Thanks so much Blumie...and please don't think for a minute that you came off as "arrogant, jaded, or just an ass," as you mused in your initial post.

Sep 09, 2014
NAspy in New Orleans

Is a visit to Commanders Palace a must?

No, actually you didn't rebut it. You decided that impugning my knowledge of New Orleans was a better tactic. It's disappointing, but certainly illuminating, to discover how thin skinned people become when their opinions are not universally hailed as brilliant and provocative, but instead give rise to a different view. I don't think you needed to pull out the thinly veiled insults to get your point across. We disagree, how about that.

Sep 08, 2014
NAspy in New Orleans

Is a visit to Commanders Palace a must?

there are things that tourists do and things that locals do, and things that tourists do that locals do too. Locals go to Commander's Palace, so why can't tourists? I don't think a Chowhound post is really the place to discourse on what makes a city a city, or all the things I've done in New Orleans and elsewhere in Louisiana that would allow me to express an opinion on whether or not Commander's Palace is a must. There is a uniqueness to New Orleans among American cities that make certain activities more compulsory than others. There are plenty of Angelenos who have never been to Disneyland or the Getty or the Hollywood Bowl, but you can be certain that gobs of tourists go to all these places and so they should. Same with many of the special places in New Orleans.

Sep 06, 2014
NAspy in New Orleans

September Dining Review and Rec.

In New Orleans, you simply have to make room for a fourth meal. That's how we solved our dilemma of too many options and not enough mealtimes. You can ratchet down to two meals when you get home

Sep 03, 2014
NAspy in New Orleans

Is a visit to Commanders Palace a must?

I think the fallacy of your position is that NO ONE goes to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower. Half the reason that's why most people go.

Now the Lourve you can skip.

I would go to Commander's Palace if you've never been, just like you go to Bourbon Street, Galatoire's, Cafe du Monde and a cemetery tour. It's what makes NOLA NOLA!!!

Sep 03, 2014
NAspy in New Orleans

Kid Friendly Restaurant near El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles

Mel's is an old fashioned diner that would be fun for tween types. I suggest Lucky Devils which is across the street and a bit east of the El Capitan -- it kind of looks like a bar, but they have wonderful burgers and shakes.

Aug 28, 2014
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

If you were trying to impress, what would your dinner party menu look like?

I completely agree with the starter of tomato consomme or cold tomato soup -- heirlooms are peaking (or a bit past, but still there) and made amazing soup this year. Lots of great make-ahead recipes that can have a nice garnish of small shrimp or just a drizzle of oil or cream. And then grill something like tequila and lime marinated tri-tip with cherry tomato relish (that's a recipe from Gourmet, I think), and fresh corn off the cob. Make it easy on yourself. The parties that impress are the ones where people have a great time, and the hosts are having fun too.

Aug 21, 2014
NAspy in Home Cooking

Takeout Before 10am or Lunch for 12 People around Culver City on a Saturday

tubb's chili is an option -- on Sepulveda in a little strip mall. they have a pretty varied menu, and all their chilis and fixins go very well with beer

Aug 21, 2014
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

Teen-pleasing suggestions, please!

If she wants to feel cool, definitely grab a cab (or drive, but be prepared for horrendous parking opportunities) and head for Abbott Kinney in Venice. The aforementioned Gjelina is there, as are several other, quintessential Southern California places (my fave is Joe's, but your 15 would probably prefer Gjelina), super hipster boutiques and overpriced cronuts at Rockenwagner. On First Fridays, it's the place for every food truck in sight, so there's lots of residual coolness even if there aren't as many food trucks.

Nobu in Malibu might yield a few celebrities while it simultaneously empties your wallet, but the sushi is good.

My 17 year old, when she was 15, swore by Katsu-ya and their "super crispy spicy tuna roll" or something akin. We finally decided to try it. Very trendy place but decidedly mediocre food.

The downtown Culver City area (drive east on Washington from the Marina about 6-7 miles and you are there!) has scads of upscale, fun places to eat, including Native Foods, Tender Greens and Lyfe, for the new "fast but healthy" options. There's also the Wallace, Public School, Akasha and Eastborough for more foodie locales, and City Tavern, Ugo, Sake House and Wildcraft Pizza (outstanding) for something in between. There are movie theatres there, but other than blocks of restaurants, not much else in terms of shopping.

Aug 12, 2014
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

One poster already mentioned a plethora of places on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Having lived in LA for 25+ years (from PA, by way of SF and Deutschland), the transformation of Abbot Kinney from a funky, gang riddled and drug addled pothole, to an upscale, pricey, gloriously pleased with itself food and shopping mecca, is really something. Galleries and $5 doughnuts abound. However, in the middle of all that change, Joe's Restaurant still remains among the best LA has to offer. It came in, replacing the iconic Rockenwagner, and remains a top notch, quintessential southern California food destination. It's tiny, but has a great menu for brunch, lunch and dinner, and you can stroll up and down Abbot Kinney and ogle all the current trends like Gjelina and the Tasting Kitchen, knowing that you've eaten at the place that came before them, and will outlast them all.

Aug 05, 2014
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

College Visits and 3 Days in Portland

"Upscale hipster" probably is an oxymoron, but generally means anything that might be considered cool and/or desirable to someone under the age of 25-- this can range from an underground club where you need to be on the list, to a trendy, overpriced mediocre sushi place like Katsu-ya in LA. Instagram-worthy a plus.

Jul 21, 2014
NAspy in Metro Portland

DineLA Meals Reported -- July 2014

DineLA at BLD for dinner was excellent: $25 for 3 courses (on a few dishes they added a supplement), generous portions, friendly good service. Starters were lobster roll, kobe beef tataki, tomato/arugula salad, and mains included pan seared branzino, surf n turf (hangar steak and langoustine), veggie lobster mushroom with hand torn pasta, and 2 yummy desserts. Great place for a casual, high quality meal at a great price

Jul 19, 2014
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

College Visits and 3 Days in Portland

My 17 year old daughter and I are traveling to Portland (with another mother and daughter) in September to check out Reed, and Lewis & Clark colleges. We are staying at the Benson and have 3 lunches, 3 dinners and 3 breakfasts, though with early-ish appointments at the schools, breakfast may be of the grab-and-go variety, except on Saturday. We live in LA, eat out a lot, like pretty much everything (except for offal) and definitely want to experience the cultural cuisine of Portland -- the coffee, pastries, local food, seafood, ice cream. I've been trolling the boards a bit and while Roe looks very intriguing, I have to consider that my daughter and her friend are going to want to be checking out the upscale hipster places, as well as the more popular college haunts, and may not be all that interested in a 15 seat chef's table experience. How do Higgins and Paley's Place fit in to this scheme? How is Vie on the waterfront? Other thoughts on places near the water that will give us a feel for Portland? We all love sushi, so Boxer looked good. What would be the best place for a good Saturday breakfast / brunch before we leave town? Also, the girls may want to go out on their own -- good, fun places for high school seniors who will want to be mistaken for college girls? Thanks in advance!

Jul 18, 2014
NAspy in Metro Portland

Christmas Eve and Day for a family of Jews visiting SF

Hi All

Our family of 4 (with 2 daughters, 16 & 13) will be staying in SF for a few days over Christmas. It's Bat Mitzvah season! I've checked the Board and other than the Top O the Mark, not seeing a lot of options for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We may still do one of those Top O the Mark meals, but haven't decided. Is it really worth it? Something one "needs" to have done?

Christmas Eve we'll be seeing a ballet at the Yerba Buena Performing Arts Center at 2 PM and afterward, would like to go somewhere nearby. I lived in SF back in the day when SoMa was a druggie wasteland, so I'm not real familiar with what is good there now. I did eat at an overpriced Indian place near the Marriott Marquis a year or so back. It was good, not great, and we aren't looking for anything crazy wonderful, but a good, upscale interesting place with a fun scene.

We looked into the Kosher Chinese Food thing but it's not really our scene. We will be having Dim Sum at Yank Sing on Sunday, as part of a pre Bat Mitzvah celebration.

Our kids' first real appreciation of good food came when we ate at Zuni Cafe in 2007. They seem to be booked solid, and/or closed -- thoughts about a restaurant that is similar? Innovative, but homey food? I also have enjoyed La Mer for dinner, but that was a few years back. Is Absinthe still around? Also, a friend took me for lunch at a really wonderful nuevo Italian place in the financial district/area last year. The name is escaping me. I know SF has some great new places, or even some "old" ones we need to get to, but I'm really drawing a blank at the moment.

Help! We are staying at the Adagio and will have a car, though we'd probably prefer to let it stay in its $50/night crib, rather than drive around the city.

thanks in advance!

Dec 17, 2013
NAspy in San Francisco Bay Area

THE One Best Place to Have Dinner in the East Bay?

Hi Hounds -- I am going to guess that this is a very open question. My family and I will be visiting the East Bay very briefly, to attend a Bat Mitzvah and do some college touring.

We have openings for one breakfast (is the Brick Hut still around?) 2 lunches (probably in Berkeley and Palo Alto), and one Saturday night dinner. I'd like help with all, but mostly would like to take the family to dinner at the ONE place that is the quintessence of East Bay dining. For me that place has been The Bay Wolf and we have reservations there, but I haven't eaten there in years. The menu looks good, but does the place stand up and is there someplace else that would be better?

In the past I've liked Lalime's, Chez Panisse (both up and down), Yujean's Modern Cuisine of China, the aforementioned Brick Hut, Fat Apple's, the Cheese Board, yes I am TOTALLY dating myself as I don't even know if any of these places exist anymore! I went to school in the Bay Area in the mid 80's, and precious pennies were occasionally squandered on good meals. I've been up since but I think Lalime's was the last place I tried, and that must have been in the late 80's. So I NEED HELP!

Suggestions? thanks in advance!!!!

I

Oct 01, 2013
NAspy in San Francisco Bay Area

Recommendations for a newish, innovative birthday restaurant?

I'm looking for a place for my wife and our two teenaged, foodie-esque daughters for a birthday dinner. I'd like to find a place we haven't tried -- we don't jump on every new place in town anymore, so I'm sure there is something out there that fills the bill! I was thinking of Larchmont, on Melrose, or Littlefork, but haven't seen any reviews here. I'd certainly like to hear from anyone who's been to either of these places.

Places we've been and enjoyed somewhat recently: Lazy Ox, Ammo, Sadie, Son of a Gun, Sotto, Public School (wife's thought, but we've been there) and most places in Culver City except for Bucato. Also have eaten at the Foundry and Hatfields.
In the past we've enjoyed Rustic Canyon, the now-shuttered Fraiche, JiRaffe (but haven't been in ages), you get the idea. Tried the Little Door, Melisse, Wilshire (used to really like it, but it's declined), Muddy Leek (undecided after 4 visits). We always have liked Hatfield's casual excellence, so anything like that or Ammo or Sadie would be nice.
Thanks in advance! Also, if I've missed a thread that discusses Larchmont or Littlefork, please clue me in.

Aug 29, 2013
NAspy in Los Angeles Area
1

staying at the ontario sheraton without a car - am i totally out of luck for good restaurants?

I stayed at the Doubletree recently for a conference and ate there with colleagues. It was "fine." Decent wine selection, wedge salad terribly overdressed, steak pretty good. Nice service. There is not much in Ontario with or without a car.

Jul 15, 2013
NAspy in Los Angeles Area

Good Chinese restaurant NOT in SGV?

And that will earn you a misdemeanor for making a false police report, which will will at least ensure that dinner conversation won't be lacking

May 11, 2013
NAspy in Los Angeles Area