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nick_r's Profile

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who is frying their frites twice?

I think Nic's Martini Lounge deserves inclusion -- Belgian, served in a paper cone, thick, crispy, and delicious. (The martinis there leave something to be desired, though.)

Jan 20, 2009
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

HELP - been offered a free dinner at fanciest, most impressive place of my choice

I'd go with the tasting menu at either Ortolan or Melisse. Both amazing. Can't go wrong with Spago or Providence either.

Dec 17, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Best Beer

Chowpatty has many good suggestions. I'd add the Library Alehouse on Main Street in Santa Monica. And, of course, there's the Yard House in Long Beach or Pasadena, with its 100 or so taps, but it's not so much a bar as a tourist trap.

But Father's Office is the daddy of them all.

Dec 16, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Great Martini Bars in LA?

Nic's has an impressive martini menu and amazing Belgian fries, but the martinis are borderline nonalcoholic.

I'd go with Lola's.

Dec 11, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

PLEASE POST YOUR VOTES HERE: Ultimate Los Angeles Restaurants 2008

Over $25:
Ortolan
Melisse
Osteria Mozza
Lou
Gjelina

Under $25:
Father's Office
M Cafe de Chaya
Canele
Tender Greens
Lula

Dec 03, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Best bar in Santa Monica area? (or beyond!)

Only Saturday night?

Nov 21, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Soft Wood...opening that is.

We were seriously underwhelmed by this place. Small, cramped, loud, frenetic; and the food isn't as good as I'd hoped. (I had the croissant benedict; my girlfriend had an egg white omelet). Might not be bad for a quick bite on a weekday morning, but as a nice weekend breakfast joint it didn't satisfy.

Nov 18, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

One year anniversary dinner

These places aren't as hard to snag as you might think. If OpenTable doesn't have anything, call the restaurant. They can usually work something out, especially if you're flexible on time.

Oct 14, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Molecular Gastronomy In LA?

When I had a tasting menu at Ortolan, there was a pretty good amount of MG on display -- granted, it was a special vegetarian menu, so he may have taken that as an excuse to bust out more wizardry.

Oct 13, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

REVIEW: M Café de Chaya, Culver City

1. It's not vegan; they serve fish.

2. It's owned by the same people as Chaya Brasserie, which serves burgers and steaks, so you would not be offending anyone's sensibilities by opening a "grilled meat" restaurant next to it.

Sep 24, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

ALL YOU CAN EAT BREAKFAST BUFFET

I'm not sure if it's reasonably priced, but the Warehouse in Marina del Rey is a fun AYCE brunch spot with good food.

Sep 23, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

LA folks - Couple of questions

Upstairs 2 is nice if you want a quiet place. If you want something more young and happening try Bodega (814 Broadway).

Sep 23, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

REVIEW: M Café de Chaya, Culver City

M Cafe isn't the most exciting or happening place in the Culver City restaurant explosion, but for me, a vegetarian, it's been by far the most useful since I can go there for any meal and get food I like. I tend to be picky when it comes to lunch, and most sandwiches don't do it for me -- but the vegan club there is absolutely outstanding. So are many of the salads. Homemade fries are perfect. Too bad the ketchup is strange.

One word of advice: skip the desserts. Contrary to popular belief, it is absolutely possible (sometimes even preferable) to make delicious pastries and sweets without a hint of dairy; but M Cafe is not one of the places that can really do it. Head to Mani's on Fairfax for vegan baked goods that will blow you away.

Sep 23, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Awesome breakfasts in LA, I can name two. How about you?

Vegetarian eggs benedict at Overland Cafe
Scrambled tofu at M Cafe de Chaya
Omelettes at Ammo
Mexican hangover scramble at Jack & Jill's
Coffee and a muffin at Intelligentsia
Breakfast burrito at The Coffee Table
Skillets at Square One
Anything at Hugo's

Sep 20, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Need CHEESE!!!

Well, since you've already denigrated all my favorite places in the course of asking for advice, I'd say just hit Whole Foods for everything and call it a day.

Sep 18, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Best Margarita + best Mexican food (w/ vegetarian options)? Near(ish) Pasadena...

Or, if you're like me, NEVER ask, because you don't want to end up with nothing but a mixed green salad for dinner.

Sep 18, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Is Spago still as good as ever?

Spago is as good as ever -- which is to say, great.

But Melisse is quieter, and arguably better (though I'm somewhat comparing apples to oranges here since I've never had a Spago tasting menu).

Sep 12, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Nook

Glad you enjoyed it. Nook is a wonderful neighborhood spot, the type that West LA doesn't have enough of -- seems like all the great new places keep opening east of La Brea (or at least La Cienega).

And the communal table is not just a wise choice for the small space, it also makes dining more fun.

Sep 12, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Artisanal cocktails

Not to knock comme ca specifically, but the fact that $9.58 constitutes a "special" on cocktails is one of the depressing realities of imbibing in LA.

Sep 12, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Did anyone go to the event at the Hammer tonight with J.Gold? [moved from LA]

I concur -- it would have been a better event if Evan had been the moderator. Gold seemed ill at ease at times, and he's not all that good at speaking off the cuff (which made me wonder why he didn't seem to have any notes, either).

But I still really enjoyed it.

Sep 12, 2008
nick_r in Food Media & News

Artisanal cocktails

Yes, Hungry Cat rules the roost. However, some very interesting choices can also be found at the Hall at Palihouse and Blue on Blue.

Akasha is definitely going this route, but the cocktails we had there opening week were unimpressive. Maybe it's gotten better.

Sep 11, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Simon LA

Went there earlier this year and actually quite liked the food. And the desserts... just wow. Yes, they did have the junkfood sampler but we didn't get it. (I had some kind of ridiculous chocolate sundae with chocolate-PB&J sandwiches on the side.)

Aug 07, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Fun and moderate in Portland

Wow! I think we're going to have to do a couple more trips just to incorporate all these great suggestions. Thanks, can't wait to try some of these.

Aug 07, 2008
nick_r in Pacific Northwest

Fun and moderate in Portland

Many thanks for all the suggestions. Sounds like we'll have a lot of great places to try.

Aug 05, 2008
nick_r in Pacific Northwest

Fun and moderate in Portland

Our brand of veg= no meat, chicken or seafood, but dairy/eggs are fine.

So tell me about this happy hour scene!

Aug 04, 2008
nick_r in Pacific Northwest

Fun and moderate in Portland

We're a couple of LA hounds doing our summer vacation in Portland next week, staying four nights at McMenamins' Kennedy School (sans automobile) and hoping to have a great time without breaking the bank.

What are some of the eating and drinking spots with a lot of bang for the buck? (Vegetarian-friendly is a plus.)

Bonus question: Where's the best espresso joint?

Thanks in advance. It'll be our first time in Portland and we're really excited.

Aug 04, 2008
nick_r in Pacific Northwest

Veggie Pre-fixe anyone?

Melisse is a lot more than "decent," my friend. It's one of the very best meals I've ever eaten.

There aren't that many places that have vegetarian tasting menus/prix fixes -- but happily, most (if not all) places that have any kind of tasting menu can do a vegetarian version upon request. Call ahead to find out their policy on it; some of them can just do it on the spot when you get there, while others require advance notice to the chef.

I've had veg tastings at Providence and Ortolan, neither of which advertises that option on their website/menu, and both were great. Lucuqes' Sunday Supper, one of the great cheap prix-fixes in town, always has a meatless option even if it's not shown. When we went, our server even gave us the option to have Suzanne Goin whip up something vegetarian for us off the cuff, so of course we had to take her up on it.

Aug 01, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Repeat meal at Ortolan: From Good to Outstanding [long-ish review].

The meal my girlfriend and I had at Ortolan this spring was definitely one of our all-time favorites. Chef Eme specially prepared us a vegetarian tasting that seemed to go on forever. Hearing about your experience makes me want to go back sooner rather than later!

Jul 28, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Kid Friendly Restaurants in Los Angeles

With a two-year old and a three-year old I'd stay with places that are tourist-heavy and boisterous. Mel's (Sunset), El Coyote (Beverly/Fairfax), or any of the places in the Grove should be good.

Jul 28, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area

Good Indian Food - Los Angeles

Tantra is in your hood and has good stuff, plus it's a hip hangout.

In Hollywood, it's a serious hole in the wall but I like Star of India on Melrose near La Brea.

In Pasadena, All India Cafe is not bad.

Jul 25, 2008
nick_r in Los Angeles Area