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Advice for restaurants in Kauai

You don't want to drive the highway in the dark...its windy, dark (no streetlights), twisty and very often rainy or at least drizzling. There are many fatal accidents on the road.

I consider myself a decent driver with fairly good night vision, but I won't drive it again in the dark unless it's at gunpoint.

And, IMHO, there aren't any restaurants worth driving any distance for in Kauai.

Yet it still remains my favorite island, and probably the place I'd go if I knew the world was going to end tomorrow!

1 day ago
manku in Hawaii

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

The problem is until you've tried the dishes, you have no idea how big and filling they are. For instance, the hamachi at SOG is 3 tiny slivers of sashimi - you're stomach wouldn't even know you ate. But the chicken sandwich is huge...a full meal really.

2 days ago
manku in Los Angeles Area

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

If a restaurant is fairly inexpensive, which these days I considerless than $20 pp all-in, then I don't really care if it's overrated...it's not a substantial financial outlay, and worst case scenario generally is you get fed and, hopefully, full. There is little downside in trying these places for yourself and forming your own opinion, which of course is really the only one that matters.

Places I don't get are Tar&Roses - not particularly comfortable space, am done with small plates/sharing, and the food just never wowed me. Animal and Son of a Gun have good food, but not worth the effort and attitude - again, I'm sick of sharing my food!

Feb 27, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

10 Best Sausages In LA

I think the counter next to Alpine Village Market is as good as any of these, if not better. Better beer selection too. And a bunch of crusty old Germans and various south bay characters.

Feb 24, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

Two highly rated Burbank/Glendale restaurants...

Was in the neighborhood twice last week, so I decided to give these places a try, both at lunchtime:

1. Adana Restaurant. A NYT writer raved about this place a while back. A non descript middle eastern restaurant on an anonymous stretch of San Fernando Road, the place was about 50% full at 1 PM. Staff (owner?) were very friendly and enthusiastic. I got the cornish hen plate. It took about 25 minutes to arrive...with some average pita bread (warm) and crispy baked pita chips as well (average). Looked like every other Cornish Hen I've been served on Westwood Blvd and various places around Glendale. Don't really understand the rave reviews. Maybe there is something wrong with me, but I really can't tell the difference between most Persian/Armenian restaurants. The only one which I really enjoy, and think is a step up, is mini kebob.

2. Sushi Nishi-ya. In a depressing mini-mall on Victory, it is equally dreary inside. Only sushi master and a single waitress. I got there at 12, and it was empty. Only serve sushi - either a la carte or omakase (only option at bar). Omakase, so I was told when I asked, is between $50-100+. I chose a table and ordered a few items. Fish was fresh, expertly cut and well-sauced. Crab roll was soggy by time I ate it, as they delivered all five of my orders at once. With a diet coke, it was $38 with tip for 8 pieces of sushi and a roll (no toro or exotics). If I'm spending that kind of money, I need decent ambiance. Won't be returning.

I think the majority of decent restaurants in the Valley are on Ventura between the 405 and 101...this recent trip just confirmed it.

Feb 12, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Redbird (Downtown)

I like his reviews, in particular the photos.

However, it seems that he never gives anything less than a thumbs up review...it's like he's Gene Shalit of food bloggers.

Feb 08, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

Bon Appétit’s Exec. Editor spends 3 days eating in LA

I pray I never have to meet this pretentious windbag! Made me laugh, though...almost thought I was reading The Onion :)

Has Sugar Fish jumped the shark?

Concur...the 5 roll special at $17.50 is a pretty good deal too.

Last time I was at Sugarfish (Studio City), the fish was so poorly cut and assembled I promised myself I wouldn't return anytime soon.

best dine la restaurant for 2015

Dine LA has gotten progressively worse every year, to the point where out of the 100 or so restaurants, there might be 2-3 "deals" out there worth trying. And even with those, you are rarely saving much more than $10/pp. And to get the best savings, you'll need to then order dishes that you might not even want to eat!

If I'm forced to choose one, however, I'd say Bouchon @ lunch is your best bet. As for Dinner, I'd say Rao's - I've always wanted to try it, even though I'll probably be disappointed.

Jan 22, 2015
manku in Los Angeles Area

dineLA Restaurant Week - 2015 (Winter)

Ouch...when the best deal seems to be the Bel Air hotel at lunch, you know this promotion has gone on too long!

Dec 31, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

Flemings or Roy's

Having been to both (don't ask!), I would never set foot in the BH location again.

While the food is pretty much the same, the layout of BH is really uncomfortable. I don't know if there is a good table in the house.

Also, while the Fleming's in WH is sort of the best place in town, in BH Fleming's feels like, IMHO, a tourist trap. Very few locals, and I live in BH.

Dec 23, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Flemings or Roy's

I'd go to Fleming's...I've always had a nice time there (WH location), though it's probably the worst of the steakhouse chains.

Service is nice...ambiance and crowd makes you feel like your in Middle America, not LA, in a good way.

Unfortunately, the West Valley is a deathzone for anything but a few delis and ethnic dives. These two are about the best choices one has.

Dec 23, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Tacoteca--Good, Irritating, and Overpriced

$6 for a taco is not necessarily unreasonable...from a taco truck, yes. However, order fish tacos, or a taco plate at any restaurant and you'll get two tacos, maybe 3 if you're lucky, with some rice/beans for $12-18.

I went to Blue Plate in SM, had fish tacos, and got two tacos, no sides at all, for $17...or $8.50/taco. Let's not even talk about resort hotels, where I've spent north of $20!

If we're paying $20 for an individual pizza, and mid teens for a burger with no fries, then $6.00 tacos fall right in line.

Dec 19, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Tacoteca--Good, Irritating, and Overpriced

I've had mostly good service at 800 degrees (westwood)...it seems to be staffed by UCLA students, so I tend to give them a break!

Try and remember what it was like to be 25 (or younger) working a job like that next time...your mood may improve.

Dec 19, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Kokekokko (Little Tokyo) Will Close in Late January 2015

I've only been a few times, last time I struck up a conversation with a Japanese couple who had the black plates. Nothing they were served seemed like I was missing anything - personally, the offal and gizzards are my least favorite meats. I'll take the porterhouse...you can have the oxtail. There is a reason that the rich ate the "premium" cuts while the poor were left with the "undesirable" meats.

And the food is delicious...I've never had any attitude at all.

Dec 16, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Corona and Riverside???

My son has upcoming AYSO Soccer tournaments in Corona and Riverside coming up in the next few months.

I may have a bunch of 10-11 year old boys, or maybe just one or two.

Any recommendations, with or without the kids! No chains please...I'm familiar with all of them, unfortunately.

Thanks.

Dec 10, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

One dinner, seven months of planning.

Planning that far in advance will almost invariably lead to disappointment. Your expectations will be too high. And only choosing one restaurant really makes it a crapshoot.

Personally, I'd just go to LOS, maybe Raku Deserts afterwards. Save a bunch of money.

The restaurants on the strip don't have a lot of soul, IMHO.

Dec 05, 2014
manku in Las Vegas

terroni

Don't know how it could be worse, sound wise that is.

Last time I was at Beverly location, it made Bottega Louie seems quiet!

Dec 05, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Alimento adds separate gratuity line for BOH

One more reason not to dine out these days...

I despise the entire tipping culture in this country - just factor it into the price!

Maybe that's why I'm going to Kazu Nori tonight with my daughter.

Dec 05, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

I'm going to The Apple Pan tonight.

You haven't tried it, yet you're attacking it? I'm a little confused.

I've had Belcampo's burger...it isn't life changing, or even worth waiting for a stool - nor, for that matter, is anything else at GCM worth waiting in line for.

Dec 04, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

I'm going to The Apple Pan tonight.

I like the apple pan, but it's always been too expensive for what it is.

It's no worse, price wise, than what's being served at GCM (save pupusas and tacos)...yet GCM is getting a free pass!

As an aside, I went to Gulp across the street the other day before a movie at Landmark. Great happy hour special...burger with fries and any beer for $12...so I had a nice goblet of Chimay and a very respectable burger in a much better setting!

Dec 04, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Alimento adds separate gratuity line for BOH

Stuff like this makes me want to dine out less, not more.

Eating out is supposed to be relaxing...figuring out my tab at the end of the meal is becoming more stressful with every surcharge and option.

Even though I'm not the biggest fan, I'd rather go to Sugarfish, just sign and leave!

Dec 04, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Mama's Fish House or Nick's In Maui?

I wouldn't dine at Mama's past Sunset...the ambiance is half, or more, of the experience. BTW, that goes for almost all oceanview restaurants in Hawaii - you are not paying $50+ for entrees for the food - save your $$$ for the mainland, or Honolulu at least!

If you do decide to dine at Mama's in the dark, it won't matter where you sit.

If I were you, I'd eat at Flatbread or Paia Fish House instead. Or even Da Kitchen.

Nov 27, 2014
manku in Hawaii

What time do I have to show up to get Tsujita tonkotsu ramen

I'm clearly in the minority, but have been to both Tsujita's multiple times and EVERY SINGLE TIME I feel ill the rest of the day...something about their food doesn't sit well with me, and I'm a fairly adventurous eater. FWIW, no other ramen place makes me feel this way - and I've tried a good dozen in LA.

Nov 15, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Vegas with boring old farts...

Quick report back:

Mon Ami Gabi - Sat outside, view of Bellagio fountains great, ambulance sirens and lowlifes walking by not so nice. Interior seemed fun as well. Very crowded for a Tuesday night - especially as Vegas seemed fairly dead. Service was terrific. Food was standard Bistro fare - nothing exceptional, nothing terrible. Bread was good.

Pantry at Mirage - Ate both days, as we were staying here and food was comped (high roller - not me, friend!). Solid breakfast chow, standard fare, nice setting. A little slow, but would return if I were staying at hotel.

Lotus of Siam - Never went, ended up going twice. Terrific meals both times - not sure what to order, but we had 6 different dishes, all of which I'd eat again. Very friendly and warm service. In a dreary mini mall (actually, a huge mini mall) between Sahara and Karen - not on Sahara directly. Makes me want to go to Thai Town in Hollywood - but there probably is nothing as good!

Looked for a place with a good beer selection - tried Public House, but Amazon.com convention just ended and it was packed 30 year old male geeks - literally couldn't get in. Ended up at BLT Burger at Mirage, which had a decent selection - bartenders were a**holes however (at 5 in afternoon, fairly empty).

Nov 14, 2014
manku in Las Vegas

Sushi Tsujita or Q?

Better people watching too!

Nov 04, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

2014 Sammy Awards - Who's In?

1. Langers Pastrami on Rye, Gulden's spicy brown mustard (never yellow mustard!). Nothing else.

2. Joe's Falafel on Lafa (not pita) sandwich.

3. Bay Cities Meatball hero...though personally I prefer buying 5 meatballs and a loaf of bread instead.

Nov 04, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area

Kauai in January

Agree...also, Kauai is really not a culinary destination. Having been numerous times over the past decade, I don't think there is one restaurant I look forward to revisting. Food should be the last item on your daily agenda - for me, food in Kauai is nourishment, nothing more!

It still remains my favorite island and one of the great spots in the world (especially the north shore)!

Nov 04, 2014
manku in Hawaii

Sushi Tsujita or Q?

Makes me glad I had the $17.50 five-roll special at kazunori the other day instead!

Nov 04, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area
1

Restaurant Wine - Opened two days ago

Wine open for more than 12 hours, or sometimes even less (especially with old wines - generally not an issue with restaurants by the glass), can change dramatically.

I insist on a freshly opened bottle every time - if I'm paying a 500%+ markup on my drink it better be in perfect condition!

Oct 31, 2014
manku in Los Angeles Area