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kwool2004's Profile

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Looking for Authentic Experiences in Barcelona

Hello All-

I will be visiting Barcelona for 5 days next week, and was wondering if you all may be able to give me some tips for my Culinary experience there. I am a Chef in Los Angeles and I am in search of restaurants, farmer's markets, bakeries, and anything else that define the culinary framework of that region. Essentially, places that the locals go. I will be going to San Sebastian for 4 days after Barcelona, so although I would like to dabble in Tapas in BCN, I will probably save most of my tapas dining for San Sebastian.

Although I have a tremendous amount of respect for classical and fine dining, I would like to avoid it for the most part this trip. I have done extensive research on the message boards, but am having trouble finding threads that focus on the criteria I am looking for. So far, here are the restaurants that are on my "must try list:"

Bar Canete
La Pubilla
Lolita Taperia
Paco Meralgo (will probably go there for dinner Sunday if all else fails)
Quimet y Quimet

I have not been able to find any solid reviews on bakeries/pastry shops, so I am definitely hurting in that department.

Has anyone tried Maur Urguell or Maur Muntaner? Any feedback? I will be staying equidistant from both locations so I'm up for trying either one. Haven't seen it mentioned in any reviews.

Most of the market reviews lead me to "La Boqueria." Although it seems awesome, I am a little concerned that it may be a tourist trap...any feedback? I generally like small markets that feature local growers, like traditional neighborhood farmers markets. I would love to check out La Boqueria if it is as good as it's cracked up to be.

I will be traveling alone, so I am hoping for an ambiance with either communal seating or a bar area, although I don't mind being a "table for 1" either.

Thank you all for your help, it is very much appreciated!

Aug 01, 2015
kwool2004 in Spain/Portugal

Searching for Hidden Gems on the North Shore, Oahu


I am visiting Oahu from LA with some friends next weekend, and since this everyone's first time on the island, we are in search of some unique and non-touristy experiences while we are there. We rented a house in Punaluu and will have a rental car. Polished establishments ok, but I prefer places off the beaten path. I'm a chef and not really into fine dining while I am on vacay, I much prefer to eat where the locals eat.

Casual/authentic lunch and dinner spots, ideally with an emphasis on seafood. Also love pork and bbq.

Any worthwhile sushi places anywhere on the island? Hole in the wall to high end is fine.

I will be going to the Farmer's Market Sunday Morning, then Tamashiro fish market. Are there any great spots for lunch around there? Asian food a plus, but not a necessity. Also, any recs on local fish to buy? So far Opakapaka, Ono, and Menpachi were my go-to's, but are there any similar fish that I should try? I will be buying them whole and butchering them myself.

Also, we may do one token night on the town in Waikiki. If so, are there any quintessential dining/drink destinations? House without a Key and Roys were mentioned in many threads, but I was hoping to get a few other suggestions. This will probably be our only high end meal. Is it possible to taxi or uber from Punaluu to Waikiki or should we have a designated driver?

I know this isn't food related, but if anyone has any hiking suggestions, feel free to throw them in! Waterfalls a plus!

I looked up as many recent Oahu threads as possible, so I already have my recs for shaved ice, breakfast, and desserts, but had trouble finding recs for the items listed above. Thanks in advance!

Jan 11, 2015
kwool2004 in Hawaii

Quintessential Dining Spots for a First-Timer in Manhattan

Thank you all so much for your help, I have started scouring message boards and going through the different menus for the restaurants you provided, everything seems amazing!

-Question: does anyone have any feedback on Uncle Boon's? I read an article in the NY Times about it and was intrigued, was wondering if anyone had any insight.

A lot of co-workers are telling me I NEED to do that a must or are there some lesser-known spots with just as good of food?

Thanks again!!

Apr 04, 2014
kwool2004 in Manhattan

Quintessential Dining Spots for a First-Timer in Manhattan

Ok, so to answer your questions:

-I am coming from Los Angeles, I am a chef at a high end steakhouse but I am definitely not interested in trying a bunch of steakhouses there (my employer can pay for that trip...haha)

-I will be in NY Sat around noon until Monday around 1 pm, all meal periods are potentially open.

-I'm willing to wait for a table but nothing too outrageous since my stay is short. Price point for us will probably have to max out around $125/person for everything, but I am willing to pitch to help cover my friend's tab for the right experience.

-Our itinerary is open, I am not into super-touristy stuff at all, and I love walking around a new city and exploring, nothing stuffy or with a confined timetable. I'm also fine with basing our day around our dining destinations!

-I would love to try NY unique-type food, bakeries, and brunch. All socioeconomic class levels and ethnicities are welcome.

Thank you so much for all of the tips, I am loving all of the info so far!

Apr 04, 2014
kwool2004 in Manhattan

Quintessential Dining Spots for a First-Timer in Manhattan


I am a chef at a restaurant in Los Angeles, and I will be going to NYC for a few weeks to visit a few friends and would like to experience a broad cross section of all NYC has to offer! My other friends are also in the restaurant industry but we are not necessarily interested in hitting the typical spots (per se, jean georges, etc), we personally go for the more hidden local gems.

All price points are welcome, but probably no higher than $100 per person check average. That said, we love going into hole in the wall places that cost $10 per person as well. All styles of cuisine are welcome also.

We will be staying at the Plaza Hotel but we would also like to visit Brooklyn, etc so would appreciate any suggestions outside of our immediate vicinity as well.

Thanks so much for your help, this is a very intimidating search so I appreciate any recs!

Apr 03, 2014
kwool2004 in Manhattan

Searching for some Hidden Gems in Santa Barbara


I'm heading up to Santa Barbara this weekend from LA for an overnight trip, and I'm looking for some great restaurants that are "off the beaten path." I'm a chef so I don't need to do anything fancy or ultra-refined, I'm mainly looking for any simple, relaxed, and delicious representation of the city.

I already have dinner planned, breakfast and lunch are the two places I'm looking for. Ambiance is no issue, the more casual, the better. I'm open to any types of cuisine as well.

I will be staying at the Canary hotel and ideally I would like to go somewhere within walking distance, but I'm willing to drive if it's worth it.

Also if anyone knows of any places to eat along the way, that would be incredibly helpful.

I'm trying to go through all of the message boards as well so if anyone knows of any threads, please send my way!

Jan 16, 2013
kwool2004 in California

Union Square Breakfast and Chinatown recs

Hi, I will be visiting San Francisco for a weekend vacation with a co-worker pretty soon, and I was hoping to receive some insight on good breakfast places and Chinatown lunch spots. I have visited San Francisco in the past and have always been overwhelmed by all of the dining options, so hopefully you guys can narrow my scope a little bit. I will be staying at the Hotel Nikko, and although I am driving, I plan on walking to my destinations, but am definitely up for a trek if it's worth my while.

I am traveling with a co-worker, and we are both adventurous foodies that work in the restaurant industry. We are not nearly as concerned with ambiance as we are with finding tasty, unique food. Nothing is off limits so please feel free to throw any suggestions our way. Thanks so much!

Union Square West Dinner Spots

Hi, a few friends and I will be visiting union square west this weekend, and I was curious if anyone had any recs for moderately priced, unique dining options. Two of us are vegetarians, so any restaurants with veggie options are a big plus. We are mainly hoping to find a place that offers international fare, especially indian or japanese, but any other worthwhile options are very much appreciated.

We're staying at the Hilton, and the closer proximity to the hotel, the better. I have been there once before and there were so many options to choose from, I didn't know where to start. Thanks so much for your help!!!

P C H eats

Hi, I will be visiting the L.A. area in February, and will be commuting from West L.A. (Bundy and Olympic-ish) to Agoura Hills via P.C.H. and maybe the 405 if I have no choice. I was wondering if anyone knew of any good spots to eat anywhere along these routes. I visit L.A. quite a bit but this isn't really my neck of the woods so In-n-out is presently my only option. I am open to pretty much anything from hole in the wall to sit down, but the more casual, the better. All cuisines are fair game, and I'm up for driving a little out of my way if it's worth my while.....thanks for the help!!

Jan 29, 2008
kwool2004 in Los Angeles Area

Thousand Oaks Eateries

Thanks for the tips, I will be sure to check them out while I'm down there. I posted back on the following message board in regards to Eugene-scene food:

Hope I helped, let me know your thoughts if you try any of them! Keep in mind that I did write about places in relative terms, so don't get your hopes up too high when it comes to places I mentioned in high regard.....after all, it's just Eugene :)

Aug 17, 2007
kwool2004 in Los Angeles Area


I have lived in Eugene for almost 10 years now, and I just graduated from culinary school here so I have a little insight on the restaurant scene, and what I do have is not very complimentary but there are some good places around. Here are my recommendations for places that I enjoy and have received good reviews from my classmates as well.

Maple Garden: It's on campus right across the street from the hospital, and it has the best chinese food in town and the best prices. The lunch special is unbeatable (an entree, soup, steamed rice, and a drink for 5.50), but unless you're indulging in that, I suggest ordering take out as the ambiance is not the best. Their mandarin chicken is always a crowd pleaser, but my favorites are their pork fried rice, pork chow fun, schezwan beef, and their orange chicken is "ok." One of my best friends is asian and it's the only chinese place she will eat with me.

If you're hungry and are looking for consistent, pallatable Asian-American food, kowloon is another good choice. It's right next to Autzen stadium ( on M.L.K. Jr. Blvd), has pretty views, and the prices are pretty reasonable as the portion sizes are pretty big. Their Hunan Chicken is good, as is their Mu Shu Pork, Chow Mein and Chow Fun are good, as is their Egg foo yong. Don't waste your time on the fried rice, get that at Maple garden. Oh and their egg rolls are AMAZING!!! best egg rolls I've had since I've lived in Socal.

I don't care what people say, the Glenwood is a horrible establishment and doesn't deserve an iota of the business it gets. The food is low quality, service is a bunch of brain dead fools, they pay their cooks poorly, it's overpriced, and they still do great business. I have had nothing but bad experiences there. For example: Mother's Day breakfast: hair in my food, but would not replace/grant refund, never refilled my water glass once during my visit, even though it was EMPTY, burned breakfast potatoes that they wouldnt return/refund, rubbery eggs to go along with them. Ordered a fruit bowl to go with my breakfast once and they were out of all the fruit so they just gave me grapes, no discount or apology, simply "Uhh....we were out of all the fruit so........" Ridiculous.

If you want a good breakfast, go to Buddy's Diner. it's on Coburg Rd. and Willakenzie is the nearest cross street. Reasonable prices, good food made to order, they make their own biscuits and hamburger buns and breakfast potatoes-none of that shredded nonsense, and best of all it's not a chain. Lunches are good too.

As far as I'm concerned, if you want good Italian or Mexican Food, you're sh*t out of luck, especially for Italian. All of the "popular" places are waaaay overrated, although I hear Mazzi's is alright.

There is a farmer's market that runs on Tuesdays, which I prefer over Saturday's because it is a lot less crowded and it seems to cut out the dirty riff raff that attend Saturday Market, so you aren't forced to smell mildew and body odor while you're trying to pick out food (summertime can be almost unbearable). Oh and there is supposed to be an excellent tamale stand that attends the Saturday Market and occasionally the Tuesday one. Another great thing about the tamale place is that it's one of the only prepared foods that you can be assured are prepared under sanitary conditions, as they are made off site and simply held there. I have gotten food poisoning from other Saturday Market food and I know others that have as well. No running water...questionable hygiene from employees, go figure.

A BBQ place opened a few months ago over on Franklin on the way to campus called Howling Coyote. It is locally owned and operated, reasonably priced, and for Eugene, it is pretty darn good. Their baked beans are outstanding, and their fries are good enough. Definitely a fun place to eat if you're into BBQ. I am unaware of its authenticity, but it's the best you're gonna get here.

Oh and one last little thing, the culinary program at LCC has a student run restaurant in the cafeteria, called the renaissance room. The food is really good, extremely reasonable (free labor!!), everything's from scratch, and it helps support the culinary program there. It is open for like an hour and a half-2 hours Monday thru Thursday, and you can call to make a reservation and find out what's on the menu. The phone number is 463-3533. Leave a voicemail if no one answers and they'll call you back.

Hope this helps!!

Aug 17, 2007
kwool2004 in Pacific Northwest

Thousand Oaks Eateries

Hi, I'm a 21 year old recent culinary school grad who was born in Thousand Oaks but has since moved to Eugene, Oregon. I am planning to visit Thousand Oaks in a few weeks, and I was hoping I can get some insight on good dining places in Thousand Oaks, as I am unfamiliar with the scene, now. I have noticed that many are quick to put down the dining scene in Thousand Oaks, but let me tell you, once you live in a place like Eugene Oregon, you will relish the diversity available in Thousand Oaks and Agoura. That may sound silly, but it's absolutely true, people wait over an hour on any given weekend just to get a table at El Torito or The Olive's sickening.

Anyway, I am in search of any well priced, established, tasty restaurants, but Italian and Chinese are my two faves. I used to go To Geppeto's off of T.O. Blvd. when I was a kid, but that's been gone for years, and I have yet to find a suitable replacement. I also used to go to Schezwan Chen's off of Arboles all of the time, but the last few times I have gone I have been unimpressed, I'm not sure if I am ordering the wrong things or it's just gone downhill in general. Used to frequent Hunan as a tot, but am unsure as to menu faves there. Any advice is very much appreciated!! Thanks a lot!

Aug 16, 2007
kwool2004 in Los Angeles Area

San Fernando Hotspots

Hi, I am a 21 year old recent culinary school grad that was born and raised in the Conejo Valley, but has since moved to Eugene, Oregon. I am planning a routine visit back to Ventura county, but have decided to focus some attention towards the San Fernando Valley, as I will be spending a considerable amount of time there as well. My mom spent the majority of her life there, but most of her favorite restaurants have either closed down or changed ownership since her departure.

My main interests are reasonably priced, established, ethnic restaurants of all sorts. I am open to just about anything, but it is extremely daunting for a novice like myself to be able to decipher the good restaurants from the bad amidst the sea of strip malls and chain restaurants. I will be staying off of Victory right by the 405 freeway, but I am always up for a drive if it's worth my while. Last spring break I visited and drove down one street, I don't recall the name but it had "Circus Liquor" on it (Vineland perhaps), and I saw several italian and mexican restaurants that looked like they had the potential to be good, but who knows. Any ideas or feedback? Help is much appreciated, thanks in advance!!!

Aug 16, 2007
kwool2004 in Los Angeles Area