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West Side Deli Lovers Rejoice Wexler's Deli is Coming to Santa Monica

Good news, but I wonder if the older deli's had just upgraded their food and decor, they might still be in business...or dare I say, thriving?

Aug 29, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

bad manners to accept preferred treatment

Your friend is the one with the issues, not you.

The whole point of becoming a regular is to get special, VIP treatment.
Ask any restaurant's one of the few places a regular joe can get the same treatment as a celebrity, if not better!

Aug 25, 2015
manku in Not About Food

Odys & Penelope - Outragous Service Charge

Service charge is a tip...frankly, I think restaurants should do away with the tip line altogether when they have a service charge...Sugarfish does it.

If it were up to me, I'd include service charges and taxes in the prices...that way we would actually know what we would be paying without having to do the math!

Aug 21, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Sasabune, Beverly Hills

I ate there last month (someone else's dime)...he chose the Japanese Omakase for $ started off great, but the last few dishes (cooked mussells, salmon roe, uni) aren't my favorite so it sort of ended with a whimper.

I'd go again, but order a la carte.

Aug 19, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Bon Appetit announced its list of 50 best restaurants for 2015 and 4 are in LA.

I went to Jon&Vinny's the first week it opened...I realize that it was new and I only went once, but I don't think it's even in the top 50 for LA, or top 100 for that matter. Mozza is far superior, IMHO, and at least they play music I can tolerate.

And Gjusta and Petit Trois may be two of the most uncomfortable dining experiences in is excellent, but since when did customer comfort become a non-issue?

Aug 19, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Bazaar at the SLS - underrated, yes; overpriced, probably so.

I found it sort of pretentious and annoying...the best dish, by far, was the jamon - when a plate of ham is my lingering memory, that's not a good thing. I can make that at home.

And don't even get me started on the ridiculous desert area, or the $20 valet parking!

Aug 11, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Exorbitant cocktail pricing?

I grew up in NYC, and was always told that when dining/drinking out, you're not paying for the food/drink, but the real estate.

I won't pay more than $10/drink...I think it's silly. And I'm too old to get the real benefits of expensive drinks!

Rustic Canyon - good, but way too expensive!

Rustic Canyon, like many other restaurants in high rent districts around the country, is a "cafeteria" for the 1%ers...they don't care about price or value, for the most part, and in many cases are happy that it keeps the "riff raff" away.

I'd put Capo in the same category, as well as Georgio Baldi and Madeo among many others in this city.

I grew up in NYC, which has dozens of restaurants like these...local places with very high prices that cater to the wealthy.

Jul 22, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

La Scala Sucks

La Scala has awful customer service if you have a problem...that should be evident by the metal sign by the register that says it's the customers responsibility to ensure orders are correct. However, the waiter service at the restaurant has always been excellent.

Not every restaurant has to be customer friendly - it's their business choice, and seems to work out pretty well!

Jul 05, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Desert for July 4th Party?

I've been assigned "dessert duty" for a pizza/pool party tonight (host has pizza oven in backyard - we make our own)'s a very casual affair, a bunch of kids...around 20 people.

I don't want to spend a ton - any suggestions?

Also, I need to bring dessert the following night (July 4th) to the Hollywood Bowl - about 15 people.


Jul 03, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Catch & Release - anyone been?

Just read Kevineats blog report...he does a nice job with photos.

Looks pretty standard these days...probably a good local option, but not worthy of driving down to mdr (unless you're hitting up costco along the way!)

Jun 15, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Best Steakhouse in L.A.? Comparable to Porter House or Peter Luger?

Chains dominate the town here...Mortons, Mastro's, Ruth Chris.

Pacific Dining Car (at least downtown) is really pricey and wildly inconsistent...does have a great wine list though, and reasonable.

Cut doesn't do it for me...don't really enjoy the decor or vibe, though the food is excellent.

Personally, I like the Morton's on La Cienega, but haven't been in at least 5 years...out here in LA, it's pretty simple to grill a prime steak from Costco, bake a potato, get great greens from the farmers market and not have to drive home after consuming a bottle of Cab.

Jun 11, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

LA Restaurateurs Think the $15 Minimum Wage Hike Spells Doom for the Industry

All they need to do is add a $15/hr surcharge next to the 3% healthcare fee and it's taken care of!

Where can I buy whole beef rib racks?

Buy a vacuum sealed prime rib (with bone) prime, not choice, rack from costco...should run about $13-15/lb. Carve off bones (maybe butcher can do it there?), and slice up meat into spencer steaks, use bones for your recipe.

Added advantage is that the vacuum sealed beef is not blade tenderized.

May 21, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Large Group in Santa Barbara - Kids!

My soccer team is travelling up to Santa Barbara for a tournament in early's a team of 10-12 year old boys, so needless to say they can be a little loud and boisterous.

I'm looking for a place to eat...we'll probably be around 30 people for a relatively early dinner on a Saturday night. Team is staying at a hotel on upper State.

We would like to keep it reasonable, very casual with decent food.

Any recommendations?


May 16, 2015
manku in California

Jon & Vinny's

I enjoy kevineats, especially the photos, but I don't think I've ever seen a critical review by him.

As for focusing on price, of course it's important. None of us said the food was bad, but just way overpriced. If Innout started charging $15 for a burger, I'll bet you that they wouldn't have a lot of fans either!

Apr 25, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Shake Shack is coming

My patty melt at Cassell's yesterday was terrific...pies were great as well.

Unfortunately, they don't have fries and other sides were meh.

Apr 23, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Jon & Vinny's

Marinara...frankly, 800 degrees version is twice as good at half the price!

Apr 21, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Jon & Vinny's

Had a late lunch today...very mediocre, dull and overpriced. Service was excellent and very friendly, though with only one other table occupied and two diners at the counter, it better be!

Pizza was truly average, and small too. Crust was flavorless, with bottom like a cracker. Tomato sauce was also very weak.

Cold Spaghetti - tiny, I mean tiny, portion. Maybe 8 bites. Was very tasty, but for $12 a bit of a joke. Not surprising, though, considering some of the portion sizes at SOG.

Asparagus. 6-7 spears, grilled with shaved parmesan (or some other cheese), olive oil. Fine, yet something I could make at home. And for $11, PEEL THE STALKS!!! I do at home, it's the least any restaurant charging nearly $2 a stalk could do.

And, as a final insult, upon receiving the bill it was only at the last minute that I noticed the "service charge" of 18% (? - didn't ask amount). Waitress didn't mention it, and of course there is a line for the tip on my CC receipt. If you're going to add service automatically, get rid of the tip line - it's a f****ng insult!

Oh, and get rid of the rap music as well.

Quick report from first timer

Spent two days in Seattle/Tacoma last week (college tours)...thanks for all the advice on a previous post.

Stayed at Waterfront Marriott...convenient location, nice hotel, obscene parking charges - but I guess all Seattle hotels are like that!

Went to Pike's Place around 11 AM, had some mac&cheese and tomato soup at Beecher's - it was inexpensive and quick - that's about the best I can say about it.

Walked up to Starbucks Reserve on Pike...really cool and different than every other Starbucks...much swankier, but virtually the same price. Well worth a visit, especially for Starbucks addicts.

Had some ice cream had Mora on Bainbridge...wouldn't serve samples until you bought ice cream ( do I know I'm going to like it...but I guess that's what they do in Italy)...huge portion, hit the spot. Not destination worthy, though.

Dinner at Tavolata...good vibe, nice room. Fantastic burrata appetizer, huge pastas. Excellent service. Would definitely return.

Breakfast next day at Le Pichet...fantastic oj, cafe au lait, baguette and ham/egg dish. Very inexpensive too. Favorite restaurant of trip.

Had a couple beers at Harmon Brewery in Tacoma...perfectly nice bar with decent local beer. Food looked pretty standard...didn't order anything.

Burger the next day at Goofy Goose by UPS in Tacoma...solid fast food type burger with friendly service. Teriyaki chicken looked solid as well.

Thanks for all the tips.

Apr 09, 2015
manku in Greater Seattle

What does New York have that LA doesn't?

As someone who grew up in the village in a food obsessed family, I'd say this is a great list.

Yet, somehow, I don't miss any of it.

Apr 08, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Bombo report

A rare GCM visit today...Bombo didn't have a huge line, so I went for it. Mark Peel was manning the stoves. Had seafood stew, served in a cardboard bowl. Took about 10 minutes to make, maybe longer. Staff was very nice.

Portion is very small...two shrimp, two mussels, two clams, a small piece of fish. Some tiny diced potatoes and other legumes. Flavor was excellent, if a bit mild. Finished everything (good!), but was still hungry. Finding a seat to eat is a chore, and not what I'd call a pleasant dining experience. At least before it was dirt cheap and the atmosphere matched the prices.

As an aside on GCM, they don't validate parking anymore. It's $2 for 90 minutes. And, like many gentrified neighborhoods, the clientele now is completely different. A little sad, IMHO. Roast-to-go and Ana Maria were virtually customer free...yet there was a huge line at Tumbras. And Eggslut is just plain's like watching the lemmings jump off a cliff!

Mar 30, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

College visit...first time in Seattle!

Thanks for info...unfortunately, Tacoma Courtyard is booked.

Still mulling the Boeing tour...

Mar 29, 2015
manku in Greater Seattle

College visit...first time in Seattle!

Marriott in Seattle on the water downtown. I'm driving her to Tacoma for an overnight, so Friday I'll be on my own!

Thinking about going up to Boeing Saturday AM for tour

Mar 29, 2015
manku in Greater Seattle

College visit...first time in Seattle!

Going with my daughter to visit University of Puget Sound this week...first time in Seattle.

I have reservations at the Marriott...please let me know if any Starwood or Hyatt properties are better...I have tons of points.

My daughter is a pescatarian (is that a word?) know, she eats seafood, but not meat.

We're coming up from LA, will have a car but would prefer close places.

We'll be in town from Thursday morning to Sat PM...when we head down to Portland and then Eugene. Any reccos for those two areas, both touristy and food, would be great.

I don't really want to spend a fortune, but looking for anything that is unique and really speaks to the character of Seattle.


Mar 28, 2015
manku in Greater Seattle

Hipsters on Hillhurst

Had a little lunch and desert today...first, Sqirl, which is really too cool for school. Funny, the employees are OK, but the patrons won't make eye contact with anyone. As for the food, my french toast was delicious and my daughter's Sorrel Bowl was just OK...she didn't finish it, and I, who usually eat all the leftovers, had no interest either. Delicious pistachio and apricot cookie.

Then went to Jeni's Ice Cream which just opened. Very crowded at 4 PM, nice space. Sampled a bunch of flavors, but chose to abstain after eating desert for lunch. Daughter had a regular size bowl, which was two small scoops for $6.01! Yikes...I'll grab a pint of Haagen Daz at Pavilions for $3 instead.

And, lest I forget, please remove the tip lines from the receipts. I'm tired of tipping every time I eat or drink. Frankly, I wish they'd include tax in the price so I knew what I would be paying upfront.

Mar 24, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Mastro's - Best location?

I love dining ocean side...but not at night!

Mar 19, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Mastro's - Best location?

IMHO, most dining seaside after dark is fairly grim...looking out on a vast sea of blackness is depressing.

So, in that vein, I recommend dining a couple hours before sunset to fully enjoy the view in Malibu.

Beverly Hills location will be full of uncles with their nieces :)

Mar 19, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

What are some over-rated L.A. restaurants to you? Why, specifically? Only one each!

I haven't been in a few years, but was never treated poorly there. Always had a good time, though, and left full and satisfied.

As for the different rooms, I prefer the left because of the bar, but many high profile people request the other's not Siberia.

Mar 17, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Coming from LA for a few days...

Thanks for all the's a quick report:

1. Lunch at Fish 101 in Encinitas. Traffic was hell, family was starving and this got good reviews on Yelp...turned out to be an excellent choice. Fish Tacos, Poke, Fish and Chips were all excellent. Nice relaxed beachy vibe.

2. Dinner at Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar. Never had been to Little Italy before, and this restaurant seemed out of place because, well it's not Italian. Decor was interesting and fun, but hardly family oriented...we had the only kids in the place (at 7:30 on a Saturday night)...lots of first dates, and small parties with 30 year olds. Food was OK...nothing particulary great or weak. Best dish was the Salmon. Service was excellent.

3. Gelato at Pappalecco around the corner. Not a huge selection, but everyone enjoyed their choices. Would return...hazelnut was superb.

4. Lunch at El Prado in Balboa Park. Needed a place to eat, patio is lovely. Food was adequate, and fairly reasonable considering location. Tacos (both steak and fish) were better than apps and salads. FYI, beans have pork in them.

5. Went back to Fish 101 on way home, this time not so successful. Very busy, but moved quickly. Calamari were heavily breaded and not so good - my son, who won't share Calamari when it's good, offered me half the plate. Fish sandwiches were very average, and awkward to eat. Worst part was a plate of mussel's that didn't have beards removed (yuk), and manager somehow thought that was normal (I made a separate post on the General Topics page). After this disappointing meal, I would probably return, but only if I was in the area.

We had a great time, in spite of the heat wave....Midway and Balboa Park were tons of fun!

Stay Classy San Diego :)

Mar 16, 2015
manku in San Diego