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Taco Maria brick + mortar 1st Report, Costa Mesa - Excellent Tasting Menu

I need to get back there, I must have been on the one off night they've ever had. I'm basically drooling over all the photos.

Jun 05, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Restaurant Nora vs. Bistro du Coin for client dinner of 15?

I'm reviving an old thread but we went back to Nora for this year's conference again, and I am blown away by how great they are for events.

After originally reserving the wine library for what we thought would be 20 people the list ballooned quickly and the event coordinator, Camilla, called me day of and suggested moving us to a larger room - the Gallery Room. A bit apprehensive as the pictures looked a little too country style for us I agreed to take the larger space. It was great! They reserved the side room for a bar area, private bathrooms, and a private entrance. Our two servers were polite, accommodating, and very professional. The room also was beautiful at night and clients were again very impressed. They provided table numbers, a small table for place cards and were extremely flexible to provide whatever we needed.

Now I'm a walking advertisement :) but when a restaurant makes me look this good I feel it's necessary. My bosses were raving about what a good job I did (really the credit goes to Nora's). Great spot for a pricier rehearsal dinner if those requests come up a lot.

Jun 05, 2014
PHXeater in Washington DC & Baltimore

Informal Hound Get-Together Sun Feb. 16, 5:30-

I'm hoping this can be the start of more meetups, maybe tonight we can decide a future one at more of a culinary destination! This was just the easiest way to get people together for the first time.

I'll be at the Northern Trust Open today...really hoping we can get out of there in time...

Feb 16, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Ramen Zetton. Serious New Contender in OC

I do hate that they open at 6:30 for dinner. I like to get ramen a lot on my way home in the evenings, so small complaint, but relevant for any early birds like myself. Nothing more frustrating than having no cash so Santouka is out yet Zetton isn't open yet...the horror of my life sometimes.

Jan 27, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Ramen Zetton. Serious New Contender in OC

Oh, right, that's the most important part. The Huddle, has that delightful dive bar feel where everyone ignores you and nobody is caught dead dressing up, it's so nice to escape the Newport scene once in awhile...

Jan 27, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Ramen Zetton. Serious New Contender in OC

Yes, I can also verify they have a vegetarian option. Been back a few times and although the noodles aren't my preference otherwise it's a stellar spot, and the chewier noodles really are a preference, nothing wrong with them per se. Tsukemen is a great order there so thanks to Porthos for the suggestion, although I always seem to make a huge mess eating it :)

Santouka and Ramon zetton are my tops still in OC, just depends on what vibe I'm looking for, if I have cash or not, and if I want a beer and a game of pool after at the oddly addicting dive bar down from Ramen zetton.

Yamadaya's pork is inedible on the other hand and officially off my list which is unfortunate since their tonkotsu broth is absolutely spot on.

Jan 27, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

LA Hound Potluck get together, before the next holiday ? anyone down ?

I was not offended in the slightest :)

Jan 16, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

LA Hound Potluck get together, before the next holiday ? anyone down ?

His thread is much more descriptive than mine though, and he's a better known LA hound, so nosh for the win! Will delete mine.

Jan 14, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

LA Hound Meetup - O'Brien's 2/16 at 5:30 PM

The LA hound potluck thread got a little unwieldy so here is the info! Everyone will have their own tabs for drinks and food.

RSVP here so we can let the owner know how many to expect:
http://www.evite.com/event/0049POPNCP...

O'Briens Irish Pub
2226 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90403

Jan 14, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

LA Hound Potluck get together, before the next holiday ? anyone down ?

anything to help the cause :). A new thread with the link and info in the title wouldn't hurt either since this thread has gotten very, very long.

Jan 14, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

LA Hound Potluck get together, before the next holiday ? anyone down ?

PLEASE EXCUSE THE CAPS (I KNOW IT'S OBNOXIOUS).

IF YOU WILL BE ATTENDING THE CHOWHOUND MEETUP ON SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 16TH AT O'BRIEN'S AT 5:30PM USE THIS LINK TO RSVP:

http://www.evite.com/event/0049POPNCP...

Jan 14, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

LA Hound Potluck get together, before the next holiday ? anyone down ?

You know what sucks? There's no way to edit posts, as in to keep a running total of RSVP's. Perhaps someone could do it in a spreadsheet by monitoring this thread?

Jan 14, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

LA Hound Potluck get together, before the next holiday ? anyone down ?

Ok, so O'Brien's it is Sunday, Feb 16th at 5:00 pm? Right? If so, am in.

Jan 12, 2014
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Drinks after dinner at Quince? [San Francisco]

Looking for a great, laid back lounge/bar near Quince on a Saturday night. Somewhere we can sit down and talk to each other, but with a little life to it. We're in our late 20's but appreciate a good glass of scotch or a good Miller Lite :).

Jan 04, 2014
PHXeater in San Francisco Bay Area

LA Hound Potluck get together, before the next holiday ? anyone down ?

I'd go for a weekend too since I'm in OC, would love to make it and meet some LA area hounds.

Dec 15, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Taco Maria brick + mortar 1st Report, Costa Mesa - Excellent Tasting Menu

@TonyC - Haha! We just had more wine at home, bad idea!

@JAB - Agreed. The disappointment really was a combination of sky high expectations, kitchen having an off night, us ordering the pairings when we should've just ordered by the glass, and them plying us with extra wine which then made us extra hungry! Perfect storm perhaps?

And I just think "cheesy mushrooms" is a great description for a tasty dish, although I know it was far more complex than that! Now if only the bowl had been shaped to lick off the last drops.

@Revets - The aguachile background helps explain things since it really was swimming in citrus. But I love ceviche and strong flavors and I just don't know if this was how it was supposed to be. Interested to hear if anyone else has the dish and their thoughts on it. The service wasn't bad throughout but the explanations were rushed which could be why I was wondering where my bone marrow was :)

$175 for two. Which isn't a huge amount, but I expect to leave satisfied at that price.

No eggs thrown, WHEW!

Nov 21, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Taco Maria brick + mortar 1st Report, Costa Mesa - Excellent Tasting Menu

AGUACHILE
Rockfish crudo, serrano, citrus, watermelon jam
2007 Peregrine Riesling Central Otago New Zealand
----
GUACAMOLE
avocado, concord grape, pistachio, flax
2011 Paco & Lola Albariño Rías Baixas Spain

or

TAMAL de CALABAZA
kabocha squash, panela, pipian verde
NV Casa Vinicola Zonin Prosecco Veneto Italy
-----
JARDINEROS
shiitake,chile poblano, queso, caramelized alliums
2011Marcheti Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi Marche Italy

or

POZOLE de MOLUSCOS
shellfish, hominy, brassica, young meyer lemon
2011 Eola Hills Pinot Gris Willamette Valley Oregon
-----
ARROZ con POLLO
Mary’s chicken, toasted farro, hosui pear, fennel
2007 Damien Laureau Chenin Blanc 'Les Genet' Savennieres France

or

ARRACHERA
hanger steak,onion, quelites, bone marrow
2007Henry’s Drive Shiraz Padthaway Australia
----
four course prix fixe 44
beverage pairings 24

Nov 21, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Taco Maria brick + mortar 1st Report, Costa Mesa - Excellent Tasting Menu

Complicating this post is that the menu which I painstakingly took notes on somehow ended up disappearing. Luckily the menu online seems to be accurate. This is still more of a general experience post, and not as detailed as I would like when disagreeing with what seems to be a really knowledgeable group of hounds.

General recap: kitchen seemed to be having an off night and be in the weeds, everything was cooked perfectly but actual seasoning/flavors were very disappointing. We disliked wine pairings but that was our own fault, we should have looked more carefully and realized the pairings were not our taste. We also left hungry. At $175 all said and done we just weren't happy.

Amuse: a beet granita concoction of some sort paired with what tasted like half prosecco(?) and straight lemon juice.

1. Rockfish crudo (we both passed on salad) - we both are a sucker for crudo, or raw fish of any kind. This says "citrus" and they aren't kidding. The citrus again was just over the top and overwhelmed the delicious watermelon jam and great rockfish. We actively tried to shake off any of the citrus juice on the fish before we ate it. Way heavy handed., with just a few squeezes or dabs of the citrus juice it could’ve been a really great dish.

2. Guacomole - pretty tasty and nice twist with grapes but it was still...guacamole. I didn’t love the flax chips but that’s more of a personal preference.
Kabocha squash tamale - again, tasty enough, moist, perfectly executed but still a tamale to me, none of the flavors shone and it didn't seemed elevated enough.

3. Cheesy mushrooms :) - obviously these were good. But at this point in the evening with the slow pacing we were starting to get a little down on the meal, tipsy off all the wine the server kept serving to keep us busy, and just really hungry.
Pozole – again with the heavy handed citrus! This was actually good and the citrus worked better here but just not quite filling enough for this point in the meal.

4. Chicken: I’d say it’s the best cooked chicken I’ve had since the French Laundry. But, also again, no flavors popped here, it was very bland.
Hangar steak: I don’t remember tasting any bone marrow here. From what I remember it was a well cooked steak. Period.

The almond cookies served after were good…

The complex, layered flavors I was looking for were not anywhere to be found. The food was very well executed as far as how well it was cooked but simply, nothing was memorable. I do like more “in your face” sort of flavors, which I expected to find here being Mexican food, but most items were either not flavorful or had one note (citrus) to them.

A couple points here:
-I have been to many prix fixe, tasting menu restaurants. I actually worked at one for two years. I despise when people complain about portion sizes because by the end of the meal you always find yourself very full. And despise the “I guess we should go get a burger” jokes. But really, we both left here very hungry.
- The kitchen seemed slammed. Our courses, and the surrounding tables, were definitely having pacing issues where courses had an extremely long wait between them. Whether the server wasn’t firing them at the right pace, or kitchen was busy, who knows. From the servers reaction it did seem to be unusual so perhaps I hit on the inevitable off night.

*Ready to have rotten eggs thrown at me for disagreeing with the consensus"

Nov 21, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area
1

Why Does The Orange Curtain Exist? - A Discussion Regarding OC's Trailing of LA

Got it. I will update main thread when I'm back on laptop and not painfully slow iPad typing (traveling). I also somehow lost my copy of the menu so will be working solely off memory.

Nov 20, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Why Does The Orange Curtain Exist? - A Discussion Regarding OC's Trailing of LA

Not sure if this is what you mean but if you're implying they know what they're talking about I agree, I've read their stuff and that's why I went. But that doesnt change my disappointing experience. The kitchen was clearly in the weeds, food came out painfully slow, so who knows what flavors and details were missed with it being a hectic night I'm fully prepared as a newcomer to get flamed for speaking out against a new board favorite but that's the way it goes sometimes...

Nov 20, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Why Does The Orange Curtain Exist? - A Discussion Regarding OC's Trailing of LA

Haha, sorry for the sarcasm. Your commentary is just hilariously blunt/negative sometimes, like "Playground fucking sux". I always think...and?

Nov 20, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Why Does The Orange Curtain Exist? - A Discussion Regarding OC's Trailing of LA

Kevin, your positivity is overwhelming...

Nov 20, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Why Does The Orange Curtain Exist? - A Discussion Regarding OC's Trailing of LA

Sol del Sur is next on my list but with Thanksgiving probably won't get over there until December.

Did have a disappointing meal at Taco Maria, especially after all the accolades. Will write in the main thread but man, I was REALLY excited to go there and it was a let down.

Nov 20, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

good sushi in Orange County?

I really enjoyed Ikko. Didn't go omakase route but instead did chef's choice for some sushi. Six pieces each (12 total) at $45 was a steal for quality of fish and variety given. Plus hamachi kama, a couple soups, and other hot items, we walked out of there for $97.

What do you mean Ikko isn't a "sushi restaurant"? I understand it's not 100% purely authentic but there certainly weren't any Vegas rolls on the menu. The omakase items coming out of the sushi bar/kitchen did look more creative but the straightforward sushi I had was exemplary.

Nov 20, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

Marcellino Ristorante in Phoenix

I have always found Marcellino's to be fantastic, although the prices for pasta are not for the faint of heart.

Nov 17, 2013
PHXeater in Phoenix

Conference at the Anatole

Thanks for the ideas! FT33 looks perfect and I'm willing to cover part of it on my own for an outstanding meal. Probably will walk over tonight or tomorrow. Unfortunately my breakfasts and lunches are not free at all though because the other suggestions in this thread look really good.

Nov 12, 2013
PHXeater in Dallas - Fort Worth

Conference at the Anatole

Bumping this...anywhere within WALKING distance of Anatole? Typical business expensed trip so flexible on price, eat anything, just don't want to burn up the per diem on a round trip cab ride. I'm happy to walk up to a mile.

Nov 11, 2013
PHXeater in Dallas - Fort Worth

Possible to hire a Mexican fruit cart vendor for a party?

Hired a taco guy once in Phoenix. Drove around morning of party and asked the first one we found and liked...we promised him $250 in sales I think. There was a bit of drinking by guests and that amount was surpassed in about an hour. Very easy.

Also hired a hot dog guy off Craigslist once.

Nov 11, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area

restaurants near Shea and Tatum

Salty Sow would be my first choice but Bootleggers is good for the area too. Had Bootleggers PBLT which a publication just called "best sandwich in Phoenix". I disagree but was still a decent spot, good cocktails and reasonably priced.

Nov 10, 2013
PHXeater in Phoenix

Ramen Zetton. Serious New Contender in OC

Yup, crisis averted, just opened late. What's with these both Ramen Zetton and Ikko not opening until 6 (or apparently later)?

Disappointed not to be able to try it again but Ikko even at 5x the price was a pretty great deal and pretty nice spontaneous Thursday night! Soon I WILL make it back to Ramen Zetton.

Nov 07, 2013
PHXeater in Los Angeles Area