AlkieGourmand's Profile

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Top 5 Downtown L A?

life is too short for mediocre food like Bottega Louie. It may be better than average but that's only because Americans have low food standards. In Italy or France this place would be empty.

Top 5 Downtown L A?

Maccheroni Republic
Tender Greens
Baco Mercat

10 favorite cheeses

Parmigiano Reggiano
Beemster XO
Mozzarella di bufala
Pecorino Romano

May 18, 2015
AlkieGourmand in Cheese

Green vs. Yellow Chartreuse

The biggest difference is probably that the yellow has more honey and less alcohol. It likely has more saffron too (though I believe the green has saffron).

Like most people, I prefer the green, but I think the yellow is underrated. The yellow is more like a dessert wine (but way stronger in alcohol); the green is like a strong digestif.

Apr 24, 2015
AlkieGourmand in Spirits

Best Thai Restaurant in Hollywood

I've only had two things there--the raw crab in black crab sauce/pla rah fish paste and the duck laab. Both were great; the creamy raw crab is one of the best things I've eaten in LA. It transcended the similar dish at Ruen Pair.

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

Phillipe's. Why, specifically? I don't know what to say other than the food is slop.

Isaan Station in K-Town should be on people's radars.

Thai people in LA often name this restaurant as one of their favorites. This is the best place for authentic Issan cuisine.

First Look At Peking Tavern

Good place. My favorite thing is the pumpkin shrimp dumplings.

They deliver in DTLA through trycaviar.com.

Is Guisados really that great?

I enjoy Guisados. Everything I've had there has been good. It strikes me as more overhyped than overrated.

I thought the chiles toreados tacos were very flavorful. But let's face it: They're too spicy to be truly enjoyable. I'd agree with "gimmicky" for those tacos.

Flores, Guatemala -- Bolontiku

The Bolontiku Hotel is about a 30 minute boat ride from Flores. I had dinner there twice. I am happy, and surprised, to report that the food was great. Every dish was prepared skillfully and plated nicely. The chef's ability is transparent.

My favorite dish was a whole fish from the lake wrapped and steamed in "Saint Mary's leaves." The fish tasted fresh out of the lake, and the leaves imparted an interesting, somewhat tangy flavor. The fish was served with aromatic white rice and butter broccoli, both cooked to nice al dente textures. In general, the chef does a great job cooking vegetables

Also great dish was chicken jocón. The Bolontiku version was better than a version I had at SabeRico in Antigua. The chicken pieces were nicely browned before put in the sauce.

Both the tortilla soup and the black bean soup were great too. All the food exceeded my expectations. My only complaint food-wise is that the butter (including a tasty herbed butter) was served right out of the fridge and was too cold to spread.

Drinks, on the other hand, were subpar. There was no wine list; so far as I can tell they only offer 2 or 3 wines, and only by the bottle. The spirit selection is also very limited. I don't think they have any aperitifs or digestifs. Cocktails tasted amateurish.

The outdoor setting on the lake is about as nice as it gets. Service was kind.

Antigua, Guatemala reviews

Some other places.


This is a cozy/cramped little French bistro that seems to be very popular. There were several people there when I stopped in at 5 p.m. As a snack, I had roasted tomato with olive oil, herbs, and sliced "gouda" (actually a local cheese, I believe). It was tasty. I would certainly eat a meal here if I had more time, though I prefer the more spacious interior of Bistro Cinq.

Cafe Condesa

I went to this restaurant on the square a couple of times for breakfast. This seems to be the most popular breakfast restaurant in town for local expats. I thought the British-style raisin scone was great, but I haven't eaten many British-style scones. Everything else was fine. Like at SabeRico, the garden setting is a plus.

The Refuge

On par with good coffee shops in Los Angeles. The walls were decorated with memorabilia of top U.S. coffee roasters (Intelligentsia, etc.). My pourover coffee was excellent--fruity and delicate. All the other coffee I drank in Antigua was typical dark-roasted coffee without any character.

Valhalla Macadamia Farm

The macadamia pancakes with macadamia butter and blueberry preserves lived up to the hype.

Hotel Posada Del Angel

I had a couple of complimentary breakfasts here. They were simple but nice. Good assortment of fresh fruit, and fresh tortillas. I didn't try the omelettes.

Antigua, Guatemala reviews

And here are some photographs from SabeRico: Pepián, gallina en chicha, the garden.

Antigua, Guatemala reviews

I live in Los Angeles and spent four days in Antigua. I found the food good overall. Here are some thoughts about restaurants I tried.


This is the restaurant I'd most highly recommend, especially for lunch. The menu is big and interesting, with both Guatemalan dishes and Western dishes. The food is good overall. But what sets the restaurant apart is the spacious garden setting.

I tried three classic Guatemalan poultry stews: pepián, jocón, and gallina en chica. All were served with a dense, unstuffed tamale and sliced avocado; the pepián also came with indigo-colored tortillas. The pepián was fabulous and easily my favorite of the three. Also very good was the gallina en chica. The jocón was bland to my tastes, but good nonetheless.

From the Western part of the menu, the zucchini carpaccio and grilled portobello mushrooms were both very good

Service is a little slow, but friendly and responsive. Plan on a long, relaxed lunch here.

La Gastroteca

This is a traditional Spanish restaurant that opened a few months ago. The gregarious chef, who was born in Spain, told me he trained as a chef for many years in Basque Country.

This restaurant served the best and most serious food I ate in Antigua. Every dish was just right (albeit very traditional). Especially great was the fideuà.

There was a decent selection of Spanish wines (but no sherry). No bar. The place could use more liveliness. A tapas bar would seem more fitting to Antigua.

Bistro Cinq

This lively French bistro would fit well into any any upscale neighborhood in the USA. I enjoyed most dishes I ate here, especially trout amandine and duck dumplings. The dumplings--al dente and crispy--were particularly impressive. The tarte tatin, on the other hand, was a letdown, because the crust tasted undercooked and grainy.

The bar is stocked with a small, well-chosen selection of spirits and classic European aperitifs. The bar is most notable for its selection of about eight absinthes. It is fun to watch the bartenders perform the absinthe ritual (including flaming the sugar).

Dinner at the bar here was my favorite meal in Antigua. (I know: I've now identified three different restaurants for most recommended, best food, and favorite meal.)

Toko Baru

This is a funky, eclectic little restaurant that one would expect to find in Berkeley, California. It seems to be very popular with locals, who struck me as retired hippies. One person told me it was the "best food in town" when I was perusing the menu.

The menu is mostly Middle Eastern, but also has Indonesia dishes (rendang, etc.). The owner is from Holland, so it makes some sense.

I ordered a falafel sandwich. I found it wholesome and high quality, but I couldn't fully enjoy it due to the dry, whole-grain pita. I had similar impressions of the homemade "potato chips," which were more like thick potato wedges.

Service was very friendly. Atmosphere was good.

Edo-Style Sushi in LA- Who's the best right now (controversial)

IMO, Mori is the best, easily.

Water Grill vs The Lobster, Santa Monica

Yeah. I've been to Water Grill about 100 times, almost all downtown. It's certainly not as bad as the OP suggests. Moreover, it seems to me that the more you cook crustaceans, the "meatier" they will be. Very fresh, raw crustaceans are mushy, watery, and translucent.

has anyone tried GOLDEN MEAN CAFE in santa monica

I like the pizzas. The cakes are really good. Saffron-pistachio is worthy of chowhound mention.

But overall, the food is so basic and boring and healthy that I can't really recommend it.

South End on Abbot Kinney (sort of) - brief report

This place is really good. The onion and brie tart is one of the best things I've eaten recently. The pizza I had was excellent. Really loved the crust. A+

mo-chica downtown

I liked the old Mo Chica, but the new one downtown just isn't very good.

Daw Yee Myanmar Cafe - Monterey Park - Terrific 1st Meal

Agree. Yoma is terrific. It's not as "nice" as Daw Yee though.

Seabass-- best way to cook?

I like Asian preparations best, especially sweet (e.g., Vietnamese caramel) and umami flavors.

Dec 08, 2013
AlkieGourmand in Home Cooking

How much water to add to sipping Rum / Scotch

I tend to like around 70 proof for scotch. I just add water to taste. If I have clean ice cubes, I may drop one in for ten seconds, then take it out. I have never added water to rum.

Dec 08, 2013
AlkieGourmand in Spirits

I come to praise the carrot, not to bury it!

Mirepoix/soffritto or stock. Otherwise, I am not a big fan. Too fibrous when raw and too sweet when cooked.

Dec 08, 2013
AlkieGourmand in General Topics

Blue Bottle Coffee Beans

Barista Society in downtown LA is yet another place.

Chinese - Upscale and good

WP-24 is by far the nicest Chinese restaurant in the LA area. And the food is high quality. I have eaten there twice and enjoyed both experiences.

I understand why it's not a Chowhound favorite. You can have a tastier, more exciting meal in the SGV for 1/5 the price. But WP-24 blows away all the SGV restaurants on factors such as atmosphere, plating, and wine list. (I can't praise the service, unfortunately; it was memorably bad in my last meal there.)

What is the best Indian restaurant in LA?

I like udupi palace too.

What is the best Indian restaurant in LA?

I don't really love any Indian or Pakistani restaurant in LA--and that includes the restaurants in Artesia. But I do like some places in Artesia, such as Surati Farsan Mart, especially for "South Indian" food.

Best brands of Asian red/black vinegar and places to get in LA?

I'm not a big fan of the markets in Chinatown, but you could try Far East Supermarket.

I love the Ranch 99 in San Gabriel and definitely recommend you make the short drive there for Chinese ingredients.

Chow-worthy food in Woodland Hills?

I have had only exceptional experiences at Hummus Bar and Grill. But it's been a while since I've been there.

Dec 03, 2013
AlkieGourmand in Los Angeles Area

What's your LEAST favorite restaurant in LA ? (excepting of course for chains).

Let me add: All the burrito places, whether it be the Westernized ones like Qdoba, Chipotle, and Ocho or the more "authentic" Mexican American places that Chowhounders seem to love. In my opinion, Mexican American food--burritos and the like--is far superior on the east coast, especially in the Boston area.

Maison du Chocolat

FWIW, I recommend the reviews on this site when it comes to chocolate.


The site ranks La Maison third out of hundreds for boxed chocolates, which it describes as "across the board, merely magnificent."