manku's Profile

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Never have I been so baffled: Mama's House of Horrors

It's a really pleasant place to have lunch or an early dinner.

Is it overpriced? Yes and no...you ever check the prices at Nick's Fish Market, Merriman's Kapalua, Spago etc. It's about the same. You pay for the location and view. Of course, you can go to Subway and sit on the beach for a lot less!

I was only there once, about a dozen years ago. We had just landed from Kauai around 1:00 PM...it was a beautiful day, the beach and ocean were spectacular, my kids played on the beach and the outrigger while we ate. One of my nicest meals in Hawaii and I couldn't tell you a thing about what we ate.

Sometimes it's not just about the food...

about 3 hours ago
manku in Hawaii


Capo??? That's one of the priciest restaurants in town, with pastas running nearly $30, and mains mostly over $50.

Maybe when you went you didn't have prices on your menu :)

1 day ago
manku in Los Angeles Area

Connie and Ted's - pleasantly surprised

It's a solid restaurant...as you mentioned, a little pricey, but what isn't these days? Especially for seafood.

As for parking, I've never had a problem finding street parking within a block of the restaurant.

Restaurant recommendatins in the Princeville area of Kauai?

I've been to the St. Regis Princeville a half a dozen times over the past decade or so (used to be a Sheraton/Luxury Collection - only difference now is it's pricier and you need to valet for $30/day, also got rid of pool bar:().

The food in Kauai (north shore) is bad...I've been to most places on the north shore, and there isn't one place I look forward to returning to. And most places are pricey too. I could list them all, but won't as there really aren't any highlights.

Other places I've been to on the island were Duane's Ono Burger (fried food, OK, but tiny, burgers), Olympic Cafe in Kapaa (think weak diner food), Monico's Taqueria in Kapaa (average chain at double the prices), Beach House in South Shore (hotel restaurant food).

Despite all of this, the north shore remains my favorite destination in Hawaii. Don't let it deter you.

Lapperts is good ice cream, but hard to make three meals a day out of it (though my family tried!).

Sep 11, 2014
manku in Hawaii

Maude: September's Tomato Dinner

I walked by last night, and from the street at least, it looks really uninviting...like a private club.

I wouldn't mind trying it, and $95 pp is in the ballpark for similar restaurants.

However, I will never patronize a restaurant that is described as "A Restaurant by Curtis Stone"...it's not a film or novel! Too pretentious for me.

Sep 09, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Katsu-ya v. SugarFISH: Pre-Hollywood Bowl Dinner

I like the original Katsu-ya...it can be crowded, so make a reservation. It's busy, but not a scene. Is anything in the valley?

Sugarfish is has no sushi bar, and I was never a huge fan even going back 25 years ago when it was Nozawa. And my last meal there was dreadful...poorly sliced fish on top of lumps of rice. I won't be heading back anytime soon.

Neither one will make your top ten list, fwiw.

And, just wondering, why you don't picnic at the bowl?

Sep 06, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

New in Santa Barbara

Well, we ended up going to all my usual haunts. Had Toma and Lark reservations, but looking at photos on yelp, decided against it.

Super Rica was terrific as always. Katy Perry mentioned it in a video/song, and it's busier than ever.

Via Vai is a wonderfully relaxing spot to dine outside in Montecito...the food isn't great, but good enough especially since the kids love it! (pizza, calamari etc).

Olio Pizzeria has much better pizza, nice salumi and a very Italian vibe.

We ended up going to the new ice cream place in Santa Barbara Public Market - delicious. Returned to location in Montecito next day. BTW, public market looks like a fun place to dine. Not so easy with a family though, as its mostly counter seating and everyone wants something different.

Always nice to spend a weekend in beautiful SB.

Sep 03, 2014
manku in California

3% healthcare charge: coming to more receipts near you

I got an email today from Starbucks alerting me to the new android app update...now I can tip with my app!

Lucky me :)

If I see this HCS on my tab, it's coming right out of the waiters tip.

Sep 02, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

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.

Aug 22, 2014
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?


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

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

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:


Jul 31, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

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

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