StevenCinNYC's Profile

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NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

The pizzas at Milo and Olive look great, especially the BRAISED BACON & PEACH and the BIANCA. Nice looking sandwiches at Huckleberry, too.

Thanks.

Aug 06, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Thanks.

Mercado does look good, but the menu seems to have garlic and/or chili peppers in almost every dish so probably not for me. I really like Mexican food, but I only rarely find a place that doesn't approach the flavor palate without a base of garlic and chili peppers. They do exist, but they are few and far between.

Aug 06, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Now you're playing with fire! I generally avoid bagels, smoked sturgeon, or pastrami outside NYC. I'm not saying that other places might not have good versions, but when you live in NYC, why bother?

That said, even NYC isn't what it was. Growing up, my favorite was Herald Square delicatessen, plus Wolf's on 57th. Then, the Carnegie (and Stage) in the theater district. Katz's is great, too. I only went to 2nd Ave a couple times, and it was up there, but never held the same place in my heart (though I think I liked the egg creams). Most of these places are closed now, but we still have a couple plus Russ & Daughters, Barney Greengrass, and Zabar's. Most of the good bagel places have closed, too, but a few remain. I feel compelled to mention Yonah Schimmel (knishes from 1910) which is still around.

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

The dumplings look great. Thanks.

Aug 06, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Thanks. The desserts look incredible!

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

I've modified my request (above) because this seems to have been confusing.

I was looking for one upscale Chinese place (given up on that) and one buffet brunch place (Yes, it's mostly hotels that do upscale buffet brunches in my experience--found that).

Aside from that, I'm just looking for people's favorite restaurants that have menus that are not based on garlic and hot peppers.

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Looking at menus, I really like Maison Giraud, Gjelina, and Willie Jane so far. They look great!

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Thanks! I'll check those out.

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Thanks.

To be clear, I'm not looking for NYC food or SF food or Seattle food (another place I love to eat). I thought for people who knew those restaurants, it would clarify the sorts of places I like in those locations and it might be helpful for identifying places in L.A., but based on what you and others have said, it's probably not a good approach.

I'm sure you're right about the differences between NYC and L.A., and understanding those differences is helping me adjust my expectations. I do really like New American so I'm glad you let me know not to look for it in L.A. SF does that well and a couple places in Seattle, too (Crush, for one, that is really good). Cafe Kati in SF does great Asian fusion, but it's the only place I know for it (and it's not spicy which is great for me).

I enjoy all kinds of restaurants as long as they garlic/hot peppers are not an issue. I've been fortunate to travel a great deal for work in the past, getting to sample foods from around the US, EU, Scandinavia, and one trip each to Asia (Taipei, Siem Reap, Bangkok) and S. Africa. I'm not looking to eat chocolate covered bugs or drink snake blood squeezed from a dying animal, but I do enjoy a range of local cuisine.

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Thanks, Yes, Shun Lee is the kind of place I was wanting to find, but I understand now that it's not the kind of place LA really does. I don't need it so desperately that I'll bother with the mostly-miss places. Thanks for making that so clear.

The best Chinese food I've had was in Taipei (I've never been to China). I went to some really great restaurants; I'm not a night market kind of guy though, especially with my dietary restrictions.

I love those steamed juicy buns, Peking Duck, dongpo pork, and those black sesame rice balls. I had some really good Hakka dishes, but I don't recall the specifics of them. I also had great dim sum on that trip, but it's trickier in NYC--people won't always tell you (for language or knowledge reasons) what's in each dish so I don't bother.

In the US, I like the upscale places or the moderately upscale ones where families go for special occasions.

So unless I'm with someone who knows the owner, I don't risk it with the more casual places. There was one called Golden Pond in Philly that was really good that handled special dietary requests very easily. I don't know if it's still there, but I don't expect to find too many casual places that cater to my needs. I respect that, and I don't push it.

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

I'd like to modify my request to eliminate everything related to brunch, hotels, and Chinese food.

I've gotten plenty of material on all that. Thank you.

At this point, if you'd care to add anything, I'd welcome your favorite restaurants where it's really easy to avoid garlic and hot peppers.

Thanks!

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Thanks, that's very helpful. Yes, I saw that the St. Regis in Laguna has a buffet brunch, but it seemed a long way to go. I've been to that area a couple times for work (stayed at the Ritz there for one assignment--beautiful!) and a couple times by the John Wayne airport.

I'll check out those places.

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Sorry if I made it complicated. I'd like to experience whatever L.A. does best in general, but not hole-in-the-wall Chinese. In terms of adjectives, I like NYC and SF each for its own strengths and hope to appreciate L.A. that way, too, but no garlic and hot peppers.

We're staying in Santa Monica, but we're touring around so we'll be in different places on different days (not sure of the specifics yet, but we're going to Hollywood, Griffith Park, Pasadena, Anaheim, Downtown, Pacific Palisades etc.). Not sure on driving limits; probably don't want to drive more than an hour or so unless it's one of our destinations???

Thanks.

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

I'll check out those places to try. Thanks.

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Thanks, Yes, I saw those prior posts. Not looking for for holes in walls for Chinese food. I'll check out Shanghai No. 1.

Aug 05, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Thanks. My girlfriend found that the Four Seasons has a buffet brunch so we're probably going to do that.

Aug 04, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

NYer coming to LA for birthday: top picks? buffet brunch? upscale Chinese w/ Dongpo pork + Peking duck?

Hi. We're coming to LA for the week of Labor Day. I've been a couple times in the past but really don't know LA. I'd love a couple recommendations. Whenever I travel, I try to sample the best of local cuisine.

My favorite restaurants in NYC are Eleven Madison Park, Aquavit, and Dovetail--these are fairly innovative and yummy places with great service in my book.

In the Bay Area, my favorites include Fifth Floor, Firefly, Cafe Kati, Stacks pancake house, Baker+Banker, Park Tavern (wider range here--formal to casual, innovative to comfort food to Asian fusion to pancakes).

What should my L.A. favorites list include???

In addition, NYC doesn't really have a great Sunday brunch buffet, but I love them so I always look for a great one when I travel. Most recently had a great one at the Four Seasons in Georgetown and over the years have had others at the Park Hyatt Bellevue in Philly, the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes and Hyatt Grand Cypress in Orlando, Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, and the Four Seasons in Las Vegas.

Top pick for a gourmet Sunday brunch? A little over the top is just fine!

Finally, I was hoping for an upscale Chinese place for my birthday. I love Peking Duck and Dongpo Pork. But if that isn't what L.A. does best, I'm open to other cuisines/ideas.

Lastly, my stomach is sensitive to hot peppers and garlic so those places that use them in every dish are not for me.

Thanks very much!

Steven

Aug 04, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Los Angeles Area

Aquavit vastly exceeded expectations!

I had no idea about the Groupon. Thanks!

Glad that this thread resulted in your trying it, too. That's great!

May 02, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Aquavit vastly exceeded expectations!

Sorry for the slow reply, but I'm very glad you enjoyed it, and I hope if you return, your expectations will only be higher!

May 01, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Aquavit vastly exceeded expectations!

I couldn't agree more! I had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner there at the end of last year (traditional Swedish cuisine) and then a wonderful "regular" (innovative Swedish) dinner in March--excellent! I don't that the Michelin stars make any sense in the US. Per Se and Daniel are completely unexceptional and unimaginative--and undeserving of 3 stars. I will say that EMP delivers a great experience and great food, but Aquavit is more cutting-edge at this point. So glad that you agree!

May 01, 2014
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Aquavit vastly exceeded expectations!

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's great that more people are trying and appreciating it.

May 08, 2013
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Dinner recommendation Midtown/Upper East Side for Sat night

even better!

Apr 27, 2013
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Dinner recommendation Midtown/Upper East Side for Sat night

Yes, it's in a funny spot in a way--even though I think it's great, I never think to go to that neighborhood. The only reason I made it there was friends from CT chose it. I'm really glad that they did, but I don't think that they generally book up too far in advance so I agree that they could have tables available, and it would certainly make it a more special occasion.

From what I can tell, if you really want to stick to midtown or UES Italians, I'd say Ai Fiori as the best choice for more inventive fare and Uva for what sounds like great but perhaps more straightforward food (I've never been to Uva, but btwn a hound mentioning it and great reviews and nice menu online, it does seem like a good choice).

Let us know what you decide and what you think...

Apr 25, 2013
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Dinner recommendation Midtown/Upper East Side for Sat night

Never been to Uva, but it looks good. Thanks for mentioning. It seems more straightforward fare than Ai Fiori so it depends on what they want. Good to know for me, too!

Apr 25, 2013
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Brunch for 40 people upper west side

Thanks. I'll keep Tolani in mind! I've never tried it.

Do you like Ocean better than Atlantic Grill overall? I tend to think of Atlantic Grill Lincoln Center as the best of the BR Guest's fish places, but I only went to Ocean once a long time ago so maybe it warrants a second look?

Apr 25, 2013
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Brunch for 40 people upper west side

Sorry. No offense intended. It's just that I think that Sarabeth's does a good job at brunch, and I've done with 15 people and felt it was relaxed, and they had young children, etc. so it seems on target, and I don't understand your basis for objecting to Sarabeth's, particularly in terms of being rushed. On the other hand, I wasn't in a private room, and maybe they charge by the hour for that? I don't know.

I tend not to think of the places you suggested for brunch, but I've never eaten at any of them for brunch except Arte Cafe so you probably have a better knowledge of what they can do. The truth is that though they aren't really places I like so I just admit that. Thanks.

Apr 25, 2013
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Brunch for 40 people upper west side

What's your basis for saying this? Have you ever been rushed out of Sarabeth's? I never have. Is that why you recommended a bunch of Italian restaurants instead of brunch places?

Apr 25, 2013
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Brunch for 40 people upper west side

Yes, I think that the 59th St. Sarabeth's should be better for a large party than the Amsterdam location. I've done the 59th w/ about 15, including kids, and they did fine. I just wanted to clarify because both are on the UWS.

I agree about Atlantic Grill being the best of the rest, and Calle Ocho does a nice job, but when I wanted to do a private party there, they wanted a lot of money, plus people have to like garlic and/or hot peppers.

Apr 24, 2013
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Corton or The Modern?

Let me know because I was unimpressed with my one visit. I'd appreciate the perspective of another skeptic!

Apr 23, 2013
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan

Dinner recommendation Midtown/Upper East Side for Sat night

I'll second Ai Fiori! Hadn't thought of that. Marea is really Upper West Side.

Apr 22, 2013
StevenCinNYC in Manhattan