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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.

Jul 14, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
4

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

If Michelin returned to LA this year, which restaurants do you personally feel would get stars in the 2015 LA Michelin Guide?

A little heads up....Michelin's ratings haven't changed since at least the early 70s...3stars has always meant special journey etc...

Originally, Michelin guides were meant for travellers to find places to eat and sleep.

I don't know if there is a world class restaurant in LA that is worth a special journey - journey being more than a few hours.

Apr 23, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

German Sausage Deli Counters

I think Alpine Village is, hands down, the best in the city. Cold cuts, sausages and excellent german potato salad. Also an excellent selection of beer/wine and german supermarket items (chocolate, condiments etc...)

FWIW, my mom's German and I used to spend summers there when I was a child (Bavaria).

Apr 23, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Fresh roasted turkey sandwiches ?

Gelson's has them everyday...look in deli next to hot section. They're a little dry, bread isn't great but serviceable.

I always enjoyed Koo Koo Roo - the few remaining locations may still have them.

My favorite was three guys on Madison, but that's a little out of the way...

Apr 22, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Dinner after LACMA

Going to a movie at LACMA tomorrow night...should end around 930PM.

Not a huge fan of Ray & Stark...what else should I try within general vicinity?

Friend suggested Genwa Korean, but don't really feel like cooking my own food.

Republique? I wasn't crazy about Church & State when I visited a few years back...menu looks fairly similar.

Other options?

Thanks.

Apr 17, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Belcampo Cheeseburger

I like my burgers with fries and a soft drink/shake...so it's going to be $25...and the burger alone is $17 with tax and tip.

Certainly it's a "better" burger, but ultimately food comes down to how you feel afterwards...was it worth it and how do you feel when you pay the tab?

On that count, Belcampo fails, IMHO.

Apr 14, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Belcampo Cheeseburger

I tried the burger today, after unsuccessfully trying to order it the first week they opened (long story not worth repeating - however management handled it extremely well).

Fries are fine - unfortunately, the ketchup has cloves in it which is, IMO, a cardinal sin. Give me Heinz - it has never been improved upon, despite many chefs heroic efforts.

The burger is good, but maybe its just me - for $25 (burger, fries, coke +tax&tip) it's just not 400% better than in-n-out. I'll spend that much if I'm sitting on a patio overlooking the pacific or in a swanky hotel...but not in GCM!

Apr 12, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
2

Dan Tanas - what to order?

Honestly, none of the dishes are great, but most are decent if you go in with low expectations!

People rave about the steak, but I've never been blown away by it. The pasta sides taste like I'd imagine the Olive Garden tastes. People also swear by the garlic bread, but it doesn't sit well with me - I still taste it 48 hours later.

I like the fried calamari, any of the veal scalopini and the cappuccino ice cream.

FWIW, I've always enjoyed my evenings at Dan Tana's in spite of the less than stellar cuisine.

Apr 11, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Moorpark?

Have a soccer tourney this weekend in Moorpark and wondering if there are any gems in the area...will have a bunch of 10 year old boys, too, so nothing too extreme.

Thanks.

Apr 04, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

50th Birthday

BOA is fairly mediocre....I went with friends of the owners, so we got treated like VIPs (as well as a 30% discount). Even if I were to get 30% off, I wouldn't return.

Apr 01, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Restaurants not having websites only Facebook

I grew up in a time where the only menus were posted next to the front door, or you had to go in and ask.

Never affected my dining decisions or enjoyment of my meal.

Mar 21, 2014
manku in Not About Food

2014 - Best Sushi Omakase

I had a delicious Omakase at Jinpachi in Weho a few months back...first time visit - was recommended to me by a Japanese couple when I was dining a Kokkokkoo, or however one spells that Yakitori place in LT.

Was $110/pp, and more food than I could eat. Every piece was delicious, and ambiance was very relaxing. Surprised it doesn't get more love on this board...

Feb 18, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

2014 - Best Sushi Omakase

Concur...I've had great omakase meals at places I would normally never patronize, and mediocre ones at the elite sushi bars. The sushi bars with the best reputations are more likely to give you a great meal, but no guarantee.

I think it's fun just to try places without any preconceptions or biases...just drive by a place and try it. Sadly, in this day of yelp etc..., very few people will spend their money on ANYTHING without doing extensive, soul killing research.

Feb 15, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Animal Review

I've had pigs tails now at a few restaurants (spice table, tar&roses etc), and am convinced they are "the emporers new clothes"...fatty, in a bad way, difficult to eat, no meat...they are just gross, IMHO. I'm not a huge proponent of nose to tail cooking...it's appears to be gimmick designed to increase restaurant profits.

.

Feb 05, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

raised or cake ????? Which kind of gal or guy are you ????

Raised...I don't even consider cake real donuts.

Jan 27, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Trois Mec!!!

I guess I mean "steering" instead of "encourage"...certainly, it seems the glass pairing is more reasonable than the bottle price...though both are obscene, IMO.

I've stopped drinking, and one reason is I'm tired of the excessive alcohol pricing in this country. $15-20 glassses of wine (usually no more than 4 ounces) are routine in many restaurants. Even corkage has creeped up to $35-50 in many places. And wines that I used to buy for $50-100, now are $300+ - and I thought I was paying too much at $100!!!

Fortunately, I'm 48 and not 25 years old. Not drinking is not much of a social issue at this stage of my life...especially in LA.

Jan 27, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Trois Mec!!!

Wow...that is one terrible list...makes L'Ami Louis look reasonable!

I think Trois Mec is encouraging the wine pairing by pricing like this...not a terrible idea. Easier and more profitable, I'd imagine.

Personally, though, a meal that costs $150+ pp has to feel luxurious - I realize that old fashioned fine dining is out of style, but paying these prices for minimal decor, silverware/plateware is just not worth it, IMHO.

Jan 27, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area