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Favorite sushi right now? With low price as a consern.

I went once, about 10-15 years ago, when I read about it somewhere...maybe Zagat. It was so terrible I literally couldn't touch sushi for over a year. Huge pieces of sushi that made me gag.

I've seen Groupons for it in recent months, which, IMHO, is never a great sign for any business, restaurants in particular.

As for the OP, there is no such thing as good cheap sushi. Best option is to do a lunch special, but generally speaking the quality is not as high as the a la carte sushi.

1 day ago
manku in Los Angeles Area

Dinner Omakase at Kiriko: A Pictorial Essay

Damage without drinks, tax and tip?

Aug 19, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung Rates With International Counterparts

I'm surprised anyone is even having this conversation...every DTF I've been to in the USA has been virtually identical. Some blogger, who got invited to the opening and may live in OC, says it's like Taiwan and everyone buys it hook, line an sinker.

Next thing you know we're going to discussing the superiority of the McRib at the newest McDonalds :)

PS. I love DTF, and will probably go next time I'm staying down in OC. But I'd bet the farm it's the same as the other three in LA.

Aug 18, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung Rates With International Counterparts

I was in glendale yesterday at lunch..wait was 20 minutes at 2pm.

I've never waited more than 45 minutes at any location, even during peak weekend hours.

Arcadia isn't that far from OC...if people wanted DTF that bad, they would have made the drive already.

It will be a zoo the first few weeks it opens, especially on weekends, I would imagine.

Aug 18, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

When did Salami get so expensive???

My 10 year old son adores salami (and most salumi), so we were in whole foods in Santa Monica yesterday...the salami ranged from $27-45/lb!

Yes, it was Framani and other "artisinal" producers, but there is just no way I'm paying more, or the same, for salami than parma proscuitto. I haven't been to Italy in a few years, but I can't imagine that salami sells for over 50e/kg.

Are then any good sources for moderately priced salami, or recommended producers?

Thanks.

Aug 18, 2014
manku in General Topics

South Coast Plaza Din Tai Fung Rates With International Counterparts

I've been to all the socal locations...food is pretty much the same, IMO. Which is to say, delicious. Everyone in my family loves it. The new location in Glendale is great...much closer to us, and it's enjoyable to kill the time while you wait for your table.

Not sure why people think it will be such a madhouse...just put down your name and go shopping, or browsing. It's easy to kill a couple hours in South Coast Plaza...and I don't really like to shop!

Aug 18, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

New in Santa Barbara

Thanks for advice...I've made reservations at Toma and Lark, so hopefully they'll deliver...I'll post my observations upon return.

I think what I meant by "fancy" is more the style of the cooking - my son likes "plain food" still, but he is getting more adventurous every day!

Aug 15, 2014
manku in California

New in Santa Barbara

My family lives in LA, but we go up to SB a few times a year. Our regular stops are:

La Super Rica
Via Vai (lunch)
Olio Pizza
Hitching Post Buellton
Ca Dario (though not very good last few visits)
Boathouse (OK food, great view)

We usually stay at Fess Parker's, and have a car. Breakfast is free at hotel.

We have a picky 10 year old and 17 year old pescatarian (sp?), so a place like Julienne or Bouchon is probably out - a little too fancy too.

Thanks in advance.

Aug 13, 2014
manku in California

Poke @ OC Costco (Tustin, The District)

Gelson's has Poke on sale this week for $12.99/lb...shoyu and spicy. My kids, who have a Poke addiction after visiting Hawaii, both thought it was great...not as good as Foodland or Kilauea Fish, but still very good.

BTW, the spicy is VERY spicy.

Aug 12, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Tsujita opens today. How do you think it'll do, w/Kiriko, Mori, Shunji less than 2 miles away?

Kiriko is an a la carte sushi bar...at lunch, the majority of customers order specials for under $20pp. And most customers I've seen do not do omakase at dinner or lunch.

This new place is Omakase ONLY...starting at $120.

Aug 12, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Sushi Tsujita opens today. How do you think it'll do, w/Kiriko, Mori, Shunji less than 2 miles away?

Sawtelle is where I go with my kids and friends for cheap, or relatively moderate, eats.

I don't think I've ever spent more than $50pp (and that was at the old Sasabune, which was a trek from the heart of Sawtelle).

Often I'll park, and then decide where to eat. $150pp, minumum with tax & tip, is a bit steep for a casual dinner.

Aug 12, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Hitt up the Palm before it movies, i haven't even been yet myself.

Palm was my birthday restaurant growing up in NYC.. at that time, they only had two locations across from each other on 2nd Avenue.

When they expanded, quality went downhill and became an average steakhouse at best. Lobsters were best item on menu.

Personally, I'd just as soon grill some prime steaks from Costco. I think steakhouses are expense account restaurants, or for dining with people with limited palates.

Aug 12, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Wexler's Deli - Yesterday

I've never been to a Jewish deli that charges me for pickles.

Using this weekend's crowds probably not a good example - it was just reviewed in the LAT - their readership is a bunch of 40-50 year old westsiders.

Part of the Jewish Deli experience is sitting in a vinyl booth or formica table and being served by some cranky old, yet charming, waitress/waiter. And hanging out for an hour or two.

All the food stalls at GCM are counter service, with a line of people breathing down your neck waiting for you to vacate your seat. It's the opposite of civilized dining. I didn't mind paying $2.00 for a taco, but paying restaurant prices for that kind of service/ambiance is, IMHO, the definition of hipster foolishness. (this applies to eggslut, belcampo etc)

I may be stupid for calling it hipster, but that doesn't change my opinion on the pastrami sandwich - I have zero interest in eating it again.

Aug 03, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

Best Steakhouse?

Seeing as money is not object, the one steak I want is at Chi Spacca...$175 for two. It sounds great, and will probably be different than your normal steakhouse fare.

Aug 02, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Wexler's Deli - Yesterday

Wexler's is another overated hipster joint...the bread is really not good, and the pastrami is fatty and not particularly tender. Also, the sandwich is already dressed with mustard - thank you, I'll take some spicy brown gulden's on the side.

Unless you eat pastrami sandwiches on a regular basis and yearn for some variety, save you sandwiches for a plain old Langers (not the #19, which IMHO, ruins the entire raison d'etre).

Also, at least dining at Langer's has an old school Jewish deli vibe...I'm not even sure how to describe eating at the GCM anymore.

Aug 01, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

FARMSHOP charging .30 for paper bag. Every other market in area charging 10 cents

I think you need to understand what gouging really means...here is a wiki link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_go...

Jul 31, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

Of course, that would mean you need to like Caramel Ice Cream - I'll eat it, but it's not my first or second choice.

An ice cream parlor should have more than one flavor!

Jul 19, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

GCM is Getting The Best Ice Cream Parlour

I was at the State Street location, twice, a few weeks back with my family. None us, after two visits each ordering different flavors, felt any need to return. It's too sweet. No one is really crazy about the flavors either.

The best item is the chocolate chip cookie with sea salt.

Lappert's in Kauai is significantly better, not that it does me any good!

Jul 18, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

DineLA Summer 2014 Picks (7/14-7/27)

Don't forget to get the WP gift cards at Costco...$80 for $100...I believe they're good at all his restaurants but Cut in BH.

Jul 14, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

Sherman Oaks dining 'renaissance' - will it draw Angelenos?

No...a few reasons:

1. Restaurants depend on business expense accounts, especially the pricier ones. The only part of the valley that could support that is Studio City/Burbank with the entertainment industry - however, in the past 25 years I can't recall a single destination restaurant in that neighborhood (some decent sushi places though, which seems to be the default choice).

2. Tourism. Unfortunately, aside from Universal Studios (and other studio tours) and the Brady Bunch House, there is no reason for a tourist to set foot in the valley. No museums, no galleries, no unique stores, no parks, no architecture. It may be a nice place to live, but like Westchester County in NY, no reason to visit. I won't even mention the heat in the summer.

3. These are all gastropubs, which center on drinking, not eating. Generally speaking, most people don't want to drive to far to drink - for obvious reasons!

4. While people may not want to admit it, the valley is different than LA. A lot of times, I feel like I could be in Middle America - not something you could say about Silverlake or Beverly Hills. Most city dwellers "look down" on the suburbs. And the valley is the suburbs, even if it technically is in the city of Los Angeles.

Restaurant Week is coming up soon and most of the menus are already posted

The only reason this dish is ever discussed is Frank Bruni, hands down the worst food critic the NYT ever employed, raved about it.

The dish is better than most versions, but you can take Hazan's version (onion and butter), throw in some basil leaves and have virtually the same dish.

FWIW, the service was so dismal last time I went to Scarpetta BH the manager comped our meal without a complaint from our table!

Finally, since I seem to cranky this Monday morning, I'd avoid almost all Dine LA experiences. A few years back they were great deals - a way to generate new business and reward loyal customers. Now, with few exceptions (Bouchon lunch), they are extremely poor values.

Jul 07, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Wexler's, Olio & G&B

I think, at least in my post, that I was with my son...the pastrami sandwich was very filling.

The pizza's are smaller than at regular olio, but also substantially cheaper.

Jun 25, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Wexler's, Olio & G&B

Went today to GCM...son got a pizza from Olio, I tried out the standard Pastrami at Wexler's.

It looked nice and neat, if a little small. The pastrami was fatty, in a bad way - large globules of fat are never tasty. The seasoning was quite mild, and the bread was already spread with mustard - I'll do it myself, please. Mustard tasted more like a whole grain dijon than Gulden's Spicy Brown - whatever it was, not an improvement. However, the bread was not good - it was mushy and just sort of fell apart half way through eating the sandwich. The lack of even a spear of pickles I found quite disturbing - just charge me $13.99 and include the slaw/pickle. Staff seemed very enthusiastic and passionate - I'll try some other items. In the meantime, when a craving for Pastrami hits, I'll go to Langers.

My son enjoyed his Olio cheese pizza...for $8 it was a fair value. A side note: they just give you your cc receipt with no line for tip! What a refreshing change. I'm tired of being guilted into tipping for every purchase I make these days.

Tried G&B for the first time...didn't want coffee, so I got some tea/hops/fizzy iced thingie - it was clean and refreshing, but in a medicinal way. My son's brownie was delicious - dense and moist.

Jun 24, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Sherman Oaks: is there any place worth crossing the hills for?

My MIL lives in Tarzana, and we live in the hills (so SO is almost faster than BH depending on traffic)...the valley is a grim wasteland of dining. My only exceptions:

Flemings in Woodland Hills...not a huge fan of Flemings, but the one in WH is pleasant and feels like a real restaurant, as opposed to the tourist trap in BH. If you have to have a "nice" dinner, this would be my reluctant choice.

Mandarin Deli in Northridge: Love the potstickers and noodles...been going here for over 20 years. Don't know if I'd make the trip, but will eat here if in the neighborhood.

Asanebo: Excellent every time I've been...very steep tariff...over $300 per couple with minimal drinking.

Katsu-ya in Studio City: Much cheaper than starck copies, with a lively vibe. Family enjoys it, even if it isn't Jiro Sushi :)

Jun 24, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

"Chef" The Film & It's Food

Saw it last night...if you go in accepting that the movie is a fairy tale, you'll should really enjoy it. Don't think too hard, or start picking apart the movie or else your brain will start hurting...like I did.

For example:

1. Creative chef makes by the book traditional sandwiches and sides in his food truck...which for some reason creates a buzz? And these sandwiches, which look no different that anything I've had in Miami or NYC, prompt the food critic to want to fund his restaurant?

2. Why does Dustin Hoffman hire a chef on the rise to cook hotel food? And why would Favreau have ever accepted the offer? They keep mentioning sweetbreads, but when we see Favreau cook at home he prepares Carne Asada and other fairly safe dishes.

3. Why is he butchering a pig in the opening scene? It's clear the only pork he'll serve at the restarant are the prime cuts.

4. Why does he go the Vergara's ex for money...she lives in what looks like a 5-10 mm house in brentwood (?)...how is borrowing from your ex's ex better than your ex your still on good terms with?

5. Favreau, a broke, overweight chef, is screwing two of the hottest actresses in Hollywood!

Despite all these flaws and more, the movie somehow works and is a pleasant way to spend two hours.

May 17, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

Is Settebello pizza special?

Went to the one in MDR last month...it's good, but hardly worth the detour. I can't recall anything about my meal, actually. That can't be a good sign!

Too many restaurants opening these days that serve simple foods for high prices - pizzas and hamburgers in particular. Some feel it's worth the premium - I don't.

May 12, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Bouchon, first time - review

Don't expect to hear a response. I never heard back from them after a really dismal dinner a few years back.

I've had good, if dull, meals since. Best meal I think they have is breakfast/brunch.

May 10, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

Any good Chinese Take-Out in Hollywood (Highland/Fountain) ?

Concur...I used to drive by all the time and never even noticed it...tried it twice (in last year)...a dozen bagels each time...they were dry and hard, and didn't even toast well.

I, too, like the Factory on Robertson. Even Larry King's place on Beverly in BH is decent.

May 01, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Nobu Malibu, on the beach side of PCH, has anyone been ??? Is it a decent place to get a couple of drinks and maybe a tartare or a dish or two, i mean the food probably sucks, but how's the view and eye candy.??????????????

$10 isn't obscene...the $14 I paid at Bazaar was, though...I'll never return (also, the fact that the best, and only memorable item, was sliced ham!)

May 01, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Republique by Walter Manzke, impressions+photos

Manzke was there the times I went...usually hanging out with the staff.

Everyone has different opinions,,,which is why, unless you really know someone's palate, they are pretty worthless (including my own!).

Apr 28, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area