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What's your fav ramen shop and why?

Being one to mostly dine not too far from home, it's either Ramen Nippon or Small Island. I'm leaning towards Small Island but the slow service usually pushes us to Ramen Nippon unless we've got the time to wait.

Jan 31, 2012
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

Need good variety of soup options in SF Valley

For ramen, there's Ramen Nippon on Reseda south of Saticoy.

Jan 27, 2012
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

Disney Update?

The chowder is okay. The beef gumbo has a small bit of spice to it. My wife and I liked it. Our oldest was fine with it as well but it's worth noting.

The menu at the French Market changes but it's generally where we go to get our meals.

The Plaza Inn fried chicken was also a winner with the family.

The corn dogs, for me, are a must with every trip we make to Disneyland. They have served us well as a tasty snack or lunch.

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French Market Cafe
2321 Abbot Kinney Blvd Ste 200, Venice, CA 90291

Aug 11, 2011
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

Korean BBQ in San Fernando Valley

Perhaps you got lucky. The quality of the food went down and the service was lousy the last few times we went. Shik Do Rak has done much better keeping us as customers.

Aug 10, 2011
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

Five Guys Burgers (Los Angeles) - New locations Planned?

I'll have to evaluate the bun a bit more next round as I really didn't pay it much attention before. Though I'm not sure it would really matter much. The rest is good and the bun didn't seem to distract from the taste (for us) so I can live with it.

Aug 05, 2011
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

Five Guys Burgers (Los Angeles) - New locations Planned?

Strange. My family and I are regular visitors to In N Out but once they tried 5 Guys Burgers, there have been comments about making the 30-minute trek back. What In N Out has going for it is a lower cost with the possibility of getting a shake.

What 5 Guys has going for it is tastier burgers with more options and better fries - In N Out's fries, which may be fresh, are also probably the 2nd lousiest of any fast food chain (leaving Del Taco to the worst unless you get their chili fries).

Fatburger's decent but their prices make 5 Guys look like a bargain and they have a tendency to overcook their burgers.

The Habit's decent but didn't leave us thinking, "wow, I'd love to come back here."

Aug 04, 2011
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

wine opinions

Might consider a Bogle Petite Sirah. Even the wine geeks are picking some up as daily drinkers.

Nov 05, 2010
Gnoop in Wine

Are all wines from St Emillion considered great?

You don't strictly chose wine by region. In France, the region may give you an idea of what type of blend and style it will be, but that's it. Quality varies from winery to winery and year to year. You might be fine if you were strictly buying Chateau Cheval Blanc or Chateau Ausone but most of us aren't going to be buying those bottles on a regular basis.

And... Chateau Neuf du Pape? Good wines can be made there. They are not all great and some can be pretty bad.

Nov 05, 2010
Gnoop in Wine

Italian Wine 101 for French Wine Lover?

You'll probably want to look at a region to start with.

My best recommendation is... wine by the glass. I've found a number of Italian restaurants in the area with decent wine lists that have some by-the-glass options I'm interested in. It's a decent way to test things out. You'll be drinking young wines, most certainly, so keep aging in consideration.

Piemonte / Piedmont is home to probably the most expensive of Italian wines - Barolo and Barbaresco, both from the Nebbiolo grape (100%) but it also includes Barbera, the good drinker wine. Nebbiolo-based wines can be tricky to drink young. In general, modern technique makers produce wines that can drink well young, old technique makers will tend to produce wines that require more aging (that's not to say that the new wines won't age well). Region-wise, Barolo tends to lean towards aging, Barbaresco a bit more approachable. Bargains with Barolo and Barbaresco can be tricky to find, particularly if you're looking for something to try young.

Toscano / Tuscany is home to probably the most popular Italian wines. Namely Chianti and the so-called Super-Tuscans. These are Bordeaux-style wines blending Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, typically. Toscano is also home to Brunello which is made from sangiovese, as mentioned. Quite an excellent wine. You can find some good super tuscan bargains if you look carefully.

Veneto. Another blender's region. The trio of Valpolicella, Ripasso, and Amarone (all using similar techniques with regard to drying the grapes, with some variation) make some really fantastic wines. Amarone tends to be at the top of the list collector-wise. This is a region I'm quite interested in exploring further.

As others have noted, Italian wines are acidic and designed with food in mind. As one Italian put it, the food is designed with wine in mind, the wine is designed with food in mind.

Nov 05, 2010
Gnoop in Wine

WINE SHOP not too far from Hollywood

Indeed. The climate controlled area has some nice wines. Though I did notice they had to buff their offerings in there, throwing in some Bordeaux also found on the regular shelves. Plus they do tastings on the weekend which I like.

However, just the Cabernet Sauvignon section compares with France and Italy combined (the two largest wine producing countries). Add in Chardonnay and they probably come close to all imports ;)

Nov 01, 2010
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

Where is the center of the LA food universe?

Indeed, LA is well known as a decentralized city. There have been attempts to improve downtown, but given the size of the city combined with lack of desire for traffic, that can only go so far. Thus, you'll continue to have places in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Venice, Pasadena, parts of the SFV and SGV and others.

Personally, I'm quite content with this. I don't have to venture into downtown for a nice restaurant. I have options.

Oct 28, 2010
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

WINE SHOP not too far from Hollywood

Another vote for K&L. Ordering online is easy and shipment from any of their locations for will call pickup at the Hollywood store is free.

Speaking of the Valley, Total Wine & Spirits just opened in Northridge. Quite a selection they have (though it's very heavy on U.S. wine).

Oct 28, 2010
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

Do you have a Chinese food guilty-pleasure?

With Chinese food, I generally only have two kinds. Dim sum for brunch and lobster for special occasions. It's rare I'll have Chinese food outside that.

I've gone to Chinese restaurants and watched as the Chinese uncle in our group received the only menu for the table of 10+, written only in Chinese. He rattles some things off and the food starts coming some short time later, probably very little of which was to be found on the standard menu. Thus, I'm not overly inclined to visit Chinese restaurants outside these two occasions without someone that can point out the places to go and what to order.

Oct 24, 2010
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

white truffles?

That shouldn't be too bad, then. White truffle risotto it will be!

Oct 24, 2010
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

white truffles?

How long does he have the local truffles? I recall Alba has a mid-January cutoff which is right about the time I'll be in need. Lucky me :(

Oct 21, 2010
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area

white truffles?

Or trained dogs for that matter.

Oct 20, 2010
Gnoop in Los Angeles Area